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Team-by-team guide to AFL's Fall Stars

November 4, 2017

The Arizona Fall League's 12th annual Fall Stars Game will be broadcast live on MLB Network and streamed live on tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Here's a team-by-team guide to the prospects who will take the AFL's biggest stage:ANGELSRHP Samil De Los Santos The 6-foot-4 Dominican right-hander began his

The Arizona Fall League's 12th annual Fall Stars Game will be broadcast live on MLB Network and streamed live on tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Here's a team-by-team guide to the prospects who will take the AFL's biggest stage:
RHP Samil De Los Santos
The 6-foot-4 Dominican right-hander began his career in the Astros organization, but was released by Houston in March 2016. The Angels signed him a few days later, though he only threw 16 1/3 innings that season. He spent most of the 2017 campaign in the California League, striking out 10.4 per nine for the year and saving 12 games in 14 attempts.
:: 2017 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game ::
1B Matt Thaiss (Angels No. 3 prospect)
The Angels' first-round pick in 2016 out of the University of Virginia, taken No. 16 overall, Thaiss used his advanced approach at the plate to hit his way to Double-A in his first full season. Combined, he drew 77 walks for a .375 on-base percentage. A catcher in college, Thaiss moved to first base upon signing with the Angels.
OF Kyle Tucker (Astros No. 1, MLB No. 7)
The No. 5 overall choice in the 2015 Draft out of a Florida high school, and the younger brother of fellow Astros outfielder Preston Tucker, Kyle is an advanced hitter whose power is starting to translate into game production. One of 10 Minor Leaguers to reach 20 homers and steals in 2017, he batted .274/.346/.528 with 25 homers and 21 steals in 120 games between high Class A Advanced and Double-A.

3B/SS Sheldon Neuse  (A's No. 14)
The 2016 second-rounder's impressive first full season led to him being dealt from the Nationals to the A's in mid-July as part of the trade that sent Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington. The change of scenery had little effect on Neuse's progress, as the 22-year-old infielder ultimately posted a .321/.382/.502 line with 16 homers in 117 games across three levels including Double-A. He's been one of the Fall League's top hitters so far, ranking among the league leaders with four home runs, five doubles and 18 RBIs.

RHP T.J. Zeuch (Blue Jays No. 5)
Toronto's first-round Draft pick in 2016 (No. 21 overall), Zeuch, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound right-hander, missed significant time with a back injury but pitched well when healthy, showing a combination of stuff and pitchability, with excellent ground-ball tendencies. Now making up for some of the lost time in the Fall League, Zeuch, 22, has been as one of the circuit's top pitchers, allowing just one earned run in 14 innings (0.64 ERA) across four games (three starts) for Peoria.

C/1B Max Pentecost (Blue Jays No. 8)
Pentecost was named a midseason and postseason All-Star in the Florida State League this year despite playing in just 72 games, two shy of tying his career high. The 24-year-old produced when healthy, hitting .274 with nine homers, and he was back behind the plate for the first time since 2014, before a rash of surgery-requiring shoulder injuries threatened his career.
OF Ronald Acuna (Braves No. 1, MLB No. 5)
Now the second-highest-rated prospect in the AFL, Acuna rose to No. 5 overall thanks to going from A ball to Triple-A over the course of the 2017 season. Still just a teenager, he turned in a 20-40 season and is using the Fall League to get ready for what should be his big league debut in 2018.

RHP Touki Toussaint (Braves No. 14)
Toussaint had a bit of an uneven 2017, though he handled the challenge of a late-season bump up to Double-A well, with a .207 BAA and 10 K/9 (also 5 BB/9) in seven starts. After 145 innings across two levels, he's pitching in shorter stints in the AFL.
3B Austin Riley (Braves No. 10)
There is no doubt the power is legit, as the 2015 draftee has amassed 20 home runs in each of the last two full seasons. While there is some considerable swing and miss to his game, he did improve his walk rate and decreased his strikeout rate in 2017, all while reaching Double-A for the first time.

1B/3B Jake Gatewood (Brewers No. 18)
The 2014 Competitive Balance Round A pick struggled over parts of one-and-a-half seasons in the Midwest League before breaking out in 2017 with a .264/.333/.441 line, 15 home runs and 40 doubles, all career highs. He made his progress at a pair of advanced levels, too, beginning the season in the Carolina League before moving up to Double-A Biloxi in early August. 
OF Corey Ray (Brewers No. 2, MLB No. 58)
Selected fifth overall in 2016, Ray was challenged offensively in is first full season as he batted .238/.311/.367 with 40 extra-base hits and 24 steals in 112 games for Class A Advanced Carolina. After a slow start in the AFL, the 23-year-old outfielder has rebounded to collect hits in six straight games for Salt River.
RHP Sandy Alcantara (Cardinals No. 9)
There is no question about Alcantara's raw stuff, headlined by a fastball that touches triple-digits, to go along with an above-average changeup and a power breaking ball that has the chance to be better than average, too. He is continuing to work on refining his command, something he'll need to do to remain a starter, though he did pitch out of the bullpen during his big league debut this season.
Best tools in Fall Stars Game: Alcantara (changeup)
RHP Jordan Hicks (Cardinals No. 14)
Though Hicks was drafted in 2015, he didn't make his pro debut until the following year because of a shoulder issue. He jumped on the radar with a strong summer and followed it up with a solid first full season in 2017, reaching the Florida State League in the process. He still needs to work on command, but he also just turned 21 in September.
C Andrew Knizner (Cardinals No. 27)
Knizner, who began his college career at North Carolina State as a third baseman, moved behind the plate after his freshman year. He's taken to the position well and really jumped on the prospect map with a strong first full season in 2017, double jumping from A ball to Double-A and hitting a combined .302/.349/.471.

RHP Adbert Alzolay (Cubs No. 3)
The best advanced starting pitching prospect in the Cubs system, Alzolay backs up a 92-97 mph fastball with a hard curveball. Signed out of Venezuela in 2012, he went 7-4 with a 2.99 ERA and a 108/34 K/BB ratio in 114 1/3 innings between high Class A and Double-A.
2B/OF David Bote
With his hitting ability, gap power and versatility (he has played everywhere but catcher and center field as a pro), Bote could play a utility role. An 18th-round pick from Neosho County (Kan.) CC, he batted .272/.353/.438 with a career-best 14 homers in 127 Double-A games.

RHP Jake Stinnett
Stinnett showed a plus sinker and slider at Maryland, which got him drafted in the second round in 2014, but his stuff regressed in pro ball. He missed the first three months this season with an injury, then posted a 1.19 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings as a reliever, mostly in Double-A.
LHP Kirby Bellow
The lefty pitched across three levels this season but only accumulated 39 2/3 innings as he had a pair of lengthy trips to the disabled list. Bellow missed roughly two weeks in late May and about five weeks in June and July. When he was healthy, Bellow proved to be a solid bullpen option for Class A Advanced Visalia as he struck out 31 in 25 2/3 innings and posted a 2.81 ERA.
OF Victor Reyes (D-backs No. 19)
Reyes, a switch-hitter, has hit at every level he's played at. The 23-year-old doesn't have significant power, but he makes consistent contact and is a career .298 hitter. Reyes hit .292 in 126 games with Double-A Jackson this season. While he may have gotten off to a slow start in his first Double-A experience, he certainly figured it out as the season went on, hitting .316 in the second half.

1B/3B Matt Beaty (Dodgers No. 30)
The 2017 Texas League MVP, Beaty batted .326/.378/.505 and led the circuit in hitting and doubles (31). A 12th-round pick from Belmont in 2015, he controls the strike zone well and has the versatility to play almost anywhere on the diamond.
OF Yusniel Diaz (Dodgers No. 5, MLB No. 76)
The Dodgers spent $31 million to sign Diaz in 2015 after he defected from Cuba, $15.5 million for a signing bonus and a matching amount as a penalty for exceeding its international bonus pool. A center fielder who could have solid or better tools across the board with the exception of his power, he hit .292/.354/.433 with 11 homers in 114 games between high Class A and Double-A.
RHP Tyler Cyr
Cyr has advanced quickly since signing as a 10th-rounder out of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) in 2015. Primarily using a fastball that sits at 92-94 mph and a curveball, he recorded 18 saves and a 2.19 ERA in Double-A while fanning 57 in 49 1/3 innings.
C Aramis Garcia (Giants No. 8)
Garcia, who hit .191/.304/.277 for Scottsdale last fall, is back with the Scorpions and has a chance to contribute on both sides of the ball. The 2014 second-rounder from Florida International is improving defensively and batted .274/.323/.485 with 17 homers in 103 games between high Class A and Double-A.

C/3B Francisco Mejia (Indians No. 1, MLB No. 13)
The 22-year-old switch-hitter received his first taste of the Majors this year as a September callup after batting .297/.346/.490 with a career-high 14 home runs in 92 Double-A games. A catcher primarily for his entire career, Mejia is using the Fall League to learn a new position, third base. The Indians, meanwhile, hope that his increased defensive versatility will lead to more big league at-bats for Mejia in 2018.
RHP Argenis Angulo
A 19th-round pick in 2014, Angulo appeared in a career-high 41 games while going 15-for-17 in save opportunities with Lynchburg. A Carolina League midseason All-Star, the 23-year-old righty pitched to a 2.29 ERA with 68 strikeouts and a .160 batting average against in 55 innings.
OF Braden Bishop (Mariners No. 5)

The 2015 third-rounder excelled on both sides of the ball in his second full season, highlighted by an impressive 31-game showing at Double-A Arkansas to end the year. Altogether, the 24-year-old center fielder slashed .306/.393/.413 in 119 games across two levels, tallying 41 extra-base hits and 22 steals as well as 89 runs scored.

RHP Matthew Festa
Festa, 24, showed big strikeout potential during the regular season with Modesto by compiling 99 strikeouts and 19 walks in 69 2/3 innings (42 appearances). A 6-foot-2 right-hander and a seventh-round pick in 2016, Festa sits in the low 90s with his fastball and complements it with a mid-80s slider.
OF Braxton Lee

Lee set career highs in most offensive categories in his second Double-A season, batting .309/.395/.384 with 27 extra-base hits and 20 stolen bases in 127 games. That progress caught the eye of the Marlins, who acquired the 24-year-old outfielder from Tampa Bay in June as part of the Adeiny Hechavarria deal.
SS/3B Luis Guillorme (Mets No. 11)
Guillorme is coming off of a solid season in Double-A in 2017, finishing with more walks than strikeouts while continuing to play outstanding defense. He has been seeing time at multiple positions, though some see him as a potential everyday second baseman and excellent double play combination with Amed Rosario in the future.
Best tools in Fall Stars Game: Guillorme (defense)

C Tomas Nido (Mets' No. 9)
Nido had a breakout with the bat in 2016 in the Florda State League (.320/.357/.459), but his offense regressed with the move to Double-A in 2017 (.232/.287/.354), though he did make his big league debut. He's working to rediscover his consistency in the batter's box while continuing to refine his work behind the plate after throwing out 45 percent of would-be basestealers in Double-A.
OF Victor Robles (Nationals No. 1, MLB No. 2)

The top-ranked player in this year's Fall League, Robles was assigned to the Fall League after he finished the season on Washington's NLDS roster, following an impressive showing as a September callup. The 20-year-old outfielder batted .250 with three extra-base hits in parts of 13 games with the Nats down the stretch, putting a bow on a regular season in which he established career highs in many offensive categories in Double-A.

Best tools in Fall Stars Game: Robles (speed)
3B Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles No. 3)
The second of Baltimore's two first-round picks in 2015, Mountcastle's impactful bat netted him mid-season All-Star honors in the Carolina League followed by a promotion to Double-A, where he was shifted from shortstop to third base full time. Though he was challenged at the higher level, Mountcastle still finished his age-20 season with a .287/.312/.489 line, 18 home runs and a Minor League-leading 48 doubles. He's one of the younger everyday players in this year's Fall League.

LHP Tanner Scott (Orioles No. 6)
A 2017 Futures Game selection, Scott is back in the Fall League for the third straight year -- only this time with a taste of the big leagues under his belt. Baltimore rewarded the 23-year-old southpaw with a mid-September callup after an impressive Double-A campaign in which he posted a 2.22 ERA with a .188 batting average against and 87 strikeouts over 69 innings (24 starts). While his pairing of a triple-digit fastball with a wipeout slider portends a future bullpen role, Scott is continuing to work as a starter in the AFL.
1B Josh Naylor (Padres No. 10)
Selected 12th overall by Miami in the 2015 Draft only to then be shipped to San Diego at the Trade Deadline the following year as part of an eight-player trade, Naylor batted .280/.346/.415 with 10 homers and 25 doubles during the regular season while reaching Double-A as a 20-year-old. The two-time Futures Game selection (2016-17) also demonstrated improved plate discipline, boosting his walk rate to 8.8 percent in 2017 from 4.9 percent the previous year.
SS/2B Luis Urias (Padres No. 3, MLB No. 48)
Another talented 20-year-old, Urias slashed .296/.398/.380 with 27 extra-base hits and 77 runs scored over 118 Double-A games in 2017. More impressive was that the 5-foot-9, 160-pound middle infielder accrued more walks (68) than he did strikeouts (65) for the fourth time in as many seasons. He's continued to showcase his on-base skills in the Fall League, posting a .333 average with six walks and three strikeouts over his first nine contests with Peoria.
Best tools in Fall Stars Game: Urias (hit)

RHP J.D. Hammer (Phillies No. 30)
The Rockies drafted Hammer in the 24th round of the 2016 Draft after a ho-hum college career as a starter. They put him in the bullpen and he had pitched his way from low A to high A when he was sent to the Phillies in the Pat Neshek deal. He has back-end-reliever potential and threw extremely well (0.57 ERA, .154 BAA, 2 BB, 20 K in 15 2/3 IP) following the trade.
OF Cornelius Randolph (Phillies No. 12)
More than anything, Randolph, the Phillies' first-rounder (No. 10 overall) in 2015, stayed healthy in 2017 after an injury-shortened first full season. He played in 122 games in the Florida State League and while he still needs to cut down on the strikeouts, his walk rate and power output went up.
RHP Mitch Keller (Pirates No. 2, MLB No. 18)
The top pitching prospect in the AFL, Keller reached Double-A at age 21 during the 2017 season. He was dominant for the second straight year in the postseason, helping the Altoona Curve win the Eastern League title. He has the combination of stuff and command that points to a future as a frontline starter.
Best tools in Fall Stars Game: Keller (fastball, control)

2B Kevin Kramer (Pirates No. 9)
Kramer was off to a solid start in Double-A when a fractured hand sent him to the disabled list in June. He returned, albeit with considerable rust, in time for the second round of the playoffs and is now making up for lost at-bats, while also getting time at shortstop for the first time since college, in the Fall League.
LHP Adam Choplick
Choplick had Tommy John surgery as a high school junior before attending Oklahoma and signing as a 14th-rounder in 2015. Using a 92-96 mph fastball and a hard curveball, he had nine saves, a 2.93 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 55 1/3 high Class A innings.
2B Brandon Lowe (Rays No. 13)
Lowe, a 2015 third-rounder, garnered Player of the Year honors in the Florida State League this past season after he batted .311 and set single-season franchise records in slugging percentage (.524) and OPS (.927) over 90 games with Class A Advanced Charlotte. The Maryland product's average dipped with a late-season promotion to Double-A, though it didn't detract from what was a breakout campaign.

LHP Brennan Bernardino
A product of Cal State Dominguez Hills, Bernardino has been exclusively a reliever since the Reds drafted him in the 26th round of the 2014 Draft. The southpaw spent the 2017 season with Double-A Pensacola, striking out better than a batter per inning (42 K's in 40 1/3 IP) while also inducing groundball outs (1.55 GO/AO).
3B Michael Chavis (Red Sox No. 2, MLB No. 92)
The 26th overall pick in the 2014 Draft out of a Georgia high school, Chavis broke out this year by batting .282/.347/.563 in 126 games between high Class A and Double-A, ranking third in the Minors in extra-base hits (68) and tying for fifth in homers (31). He began to tap into his huge right-handed power potential when he adopted a more patient approach.

RHP Yency Almonte (Rockies No. 10)
An Angels 17th-round choice as a Miami high schooler in 2012, Almonte got traded to the White Sox in February 2015 for James Beckham and the Rockies nine months later for Tommy Kahnle. A sinker/slider pitcher who tops out at 98 mph, he went 8-4 with a 2.91 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 111 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
RHP James Farris (Rockies No. 21)
Part of Arizona's 2012 College World Series championship club, Farris signed with the Cubs as a ninth-rounder in 2014 and came to the Rockies in a trade for Eddie Butler in February. He recorded 11 saves, a 3.59 ERA and a 69/17 K/BB ratio in 57 2/3 innings at Double-A and Triple-A.
SS/2B Nicky Lopez (Royals No. 11)
A 2016 fifth-round selection from Creighton, Lopez hit .279/.348/.356 with 21 steals in 129 games in his first full pro season while advancing to Double-A. A defensive standout at either middle-infield position, he's a contact hitter with solid speed.

RHP Gerson Moreno (Tigers No. 25)

Moreno made strides once again this season and was bumped up to Double-A in June. After posting a 2.01 ERA with Class A Advanced Lakeland, Moreno posted a 6.43 ERA in 20 games with Erie, struggling to command his plus fastball and solid slider.
LHP Tyler Jay (Twins No. 8)

The Twins' first-round pick, taken No. 6 overall in 2015, was slated to move back into the bullpen in 2017, a role he excelled in while at Illinois. But injuries kept him off the mound for nearly the entire season and he's making up for lost innings this fall while getting himself reacquainted with pitching in relief.
LHP Jace Fry
A lefty reliever with a low-90s fastball and an effective curveball, Fry recorded a 10.80 ERA in 11 September appearances with the White Sox after posting a 2.78 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings in Double-A. Drafted in the third round out of Oregon State in 2014, he had Tommy John surgery in college and again in 2015.
SS/2B Thairo Estrada (Yankees No. 17)
Signed out of Venezuela in 2012, Estrada is a quality defender with the versatility to play several positions, and he also offers solid hitting ability and plus speed. He batted .301/.353/.392 in 122 Double-A games.
OF/1B Billy McKinney (Yankees No. 23)
A Texas high schooler taken in the first round (24th overall) of the 2013 Draft by the Athletics, McKinney moved on to the Cubs in the July 2014 Jeff Samardzija trade and the Yankees in the July 2016 Albertin Chapman deal. Known most for his pure hitting ability, he batted .277/.338/.483 with 16 homers in 124 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

LHP Justus Sheffield (Yankees No. 4, MLB No. 79)
The Indians included two first-rounders in the package they sent to New York for Andrew Miller in July 2016: Clint Frazier and Sheffield, the 31st overall pick in 2014 from a Tennessee high school. Armed with a 92-96 mph fastball and a pair of tough breaking balls, Sheffield went 7-7 with a 3.12 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 98 innings, mostly in Double-A.
Best tools in Fall Stars Game: Sheffield (slider)