Hey now, you're a Fall Star: Prospects make splash in AFL
Yankees' Sanchez, Giants' Black among prospects who made impressions
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Gary Sanchez's power bat and strong arm earned the catcher a $3 million bonus when the Yankees signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. Both of those impressive tools stood out during the Arizona Fall League's annual Fall Stars Game on Saturday night.
Sanchez has been the AFL's best hitter during the first four weeks of play, batting .328/.353/.688 and leading the league with six homers and 17 RBIs in 15 games. He showed off his considerable strength on Saturday, homering off an 86-mph changeup from Kyle Freeland (Rockies) in the fourth inning.
The Fall Stars Bowman Star of the Game, Sanchez also shined behind the plate. The Yankees' No. 5 prospect recorded a well above-average 1.82-second pop time when he threw out Christian Arroyo (Giants) trying to steal second base in the first inning, delivering the throw right on the bag.
Here are six other players who made a positive impression at the Fall Stars Game:
Ray Black, RHP, Giants. The hardest thrower in the Minor Leagues didn't hit 104 mph like he did earlier in the AFL season, but he did pop a 101-mph fastball and averaged 99.4 mph with seven heaters, including two others than registered 100 on the radar. Black often has trouble harnessing his fastball but didn't in this game, throwing five of seven for strikes in a perfect eight-pitch inning. If the Giants' No. 19 prospect can continue to find the strike zone and stay healthy, he could make an impact in San Francisco in the very near future. Video: [email protected]: Giants prospect Black lights up radar gun
Phillip Ervin, OF, Reds. The 27th overall pick in the 2013 Draft, he has batted just .253/.341/.406 in three Minor League seasons. But he was locked in at the plate on Saturday night, smashing a pair of line-drive singles off a 96-mph fastball and an 87-mph slider and running the bases aggressively. Though he hasn't developed as quickly as hoped, he still has the potential for average or better tools across the board.
Chad Girodo, LHP, Blue Jays. As a ninth-round senior sign for $5,000 out of Mississippi State in 2013, he doesn't have the strongest prospect pedigree. Girodo also won't light up radar guns with his 87-89 mph fastball, but it features a lot of sink and he complements it with a short slider. He retired three of the four batters he faced, keeping almost all of his pitches at knee level, and he looks like he could help Toronto in 2016 as a situational lefty.
Damien Magnifico, RHP, Brewers. He matched Black for the most efficient inning, requiring just eight pitches in a perfect third. He averaged 97.7 mph with his fastball and whiffed Clint Frazier, the Indians' No. 2 prospect, on three consecutive sliders. Magnifico thrived after becoming a full-time reliever this year and will surface in Milwaukee quickly if he throws strikes as easily as he did in the Fall Stars Game.
Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates. In his first plate appearance, he showed a good eye in a seven-pitch at-bat that concluded with him driving a 96-mph fastball from Adam Ravenelle (Tigers) just over the right-field fence for a home run. The ninth overall choice in the 2013 Draft, Meadows, baseball's No. 22 overall prospect, has the best all-around tools in the AFL even if he didn't get a chance to show them all off in the Fall Stars Game. Video: [email protected]: Meadows extends lead with two-run shot
Jurickson Profar, DH, Rangers. The game's consensus top prospect entering the 2013 season has missed most of the last two years after tearing a muscle in his right shoulder. Profar isn't ready to throw in game action but his bat speed and bat-to-ball skills looked as good as ever while he was singling twice (once from each side of the plate) and walking twice in five plate appearances. While he has put on some weight and isn't as quick as he has been, he did steal two bases.