Since the Arizona Fall League wrapped up last Saturday, MLB Pipeline has been finding a variety of ways to analyze who stood out in the league's 27th season. There's been a story on breakout prospects as well as a look at the top Statcast™ performances of the season. An AFL
Since the Arizona Fall League wrapped up last Saturday, MLB Pipeline has been finding a variety of ways to analyze who stood out in the league's 27th season. There's been a story on breakout prospects as well as a look at the top Statcast™ performances of the season. An AFL Top 25 prospects list is in the works.
With so much talent on hand in one league, putting together an All-AFL Team is a fun exercise. Using performance, along with a nod to prospect status at times, the following is that lineup based on who impressed the most this fall.
C: Austin Allen (Padres' No. 25 prospect)
Allen followed up a strong move to Double-A in 2018 (.290/.351/.506) with a solid AFL campaign (.263/.358/.421). He led all backstops with a .779 OPS. The offensive-minded catcher also got valuable reps behind the plate, and threw out 28.6 percent of potential basestealers.
Runner-up: Daulton Varsho (D-backs' No. 5)
1B: Tyler Nevin (Rockies' No. 11)
Nevin finished second in Fall League MVP voting, losing to Keston Hiura after topping the league in average (.426), on-base percentage (.535) and slugging (.593). The corner infielder picked up a hit in all but one game in which he got an at-bat.
Runner-up: Peter Alonso (Mets' No. 2)
2B: Keston Hiura (Brewers' No. 1)
Hiura won MVP honors, finishing with a .323/.371/.563 line over 23 games. He topped the AFL with 33 RBIs and 54 total bases thanks to 12 extra-base hits. The second baseman, currently No. 30 on the Top 100, got more defensive reps in and stole seven bases.
Runner-up: Jahmai Jones (Angels' No. 4)
3B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays' No. 1)
Even though he ran out of gas down the stretch in the AFL, the No. 1 prospect in baseballl finished with a robust .351/.409/.442 line. He was fourth in average and sixth in RBIs (17), and he walked (8) more times than he struck out (6).
Runner-up:Yu Chang (Indians' No. 6)
SS: Cole Tucker (Pirates' No. 5)
Winner of this year's Stenson Sportsmanship Award for how he conducted himself, Tucker also hit and fielded well. The shortstop finished third in the AFL with his .370 average and fourth in OBP (.442), while walking (12) the same number of times he struck out. He also swiped six bases.
Runner-up:Lucius Fox (Rays' No. 9)
OF: Luis Robert (White Sox's No. 4)
The No. 44 overall prospect missed most of the 2018 season with a left thumb injury, but he certainly made up for lost time this fall. The outfielder finished with a .324/.357/.432 line over 18 games and went a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen-base attempts.
OF:Daz Cameron (Tigers' No. 8)
Cameron continues to put things together, building off of a strong 2018 season, his first full campaign with the Tigers. (He came via the Justin Verlander trade.) He posted a .344/.406/.459 line, finishing eighth in the AFL in batting average and sixth in OBP.
OF: Ryan McKenna (Orioles' No. 12)
McKenna dominated the Class A Advanced Carolina League, but he struggled comparatively when he got promoted to Double-A. Based on his .344/.474/.590 line this fall -- he finished second in OBP and slugging percentage, and sixth in average -- it looks like he'll be ready to hit the upper levels running in 2019.
Runners-up: Sam Hilliard (Rockies' No. 9), Buddy Reed (Padres' No. 13), Nick Heath (Royals)
DH: Will Craig (Pirates' No. 16)
Craig was an on-base machine in his first full season of pro ball, without much power, but then hit 20 homers and drove in 102 runs in Double-A in 2018, while losing some of his advanced approach. This fall, he put all of it together over 79 at-bats, finishing tied for the home-run lead with six and third in slugging (.570) while hitting .304 with a .378 on-base percentage.
Runner-up: Nico Hoerner (Cubs' No. 6)
SP: Forrest Whitley (Astros' No. 2)
As the No. 8 overall prospect, Whitley came in as the top pitching prospect in the AFL. He certainly solidified that title by leading the league with 36 strikeouts in 26 innings. He walked only seven and allowed 18 hits (.189 batting average against) while finishing with a 2.42 ERA, eighth best in the AFL.
SP: Jon Duplantier (D-backs' No. 1)
The No. 80 overall prospect missed a good chunk of the 2018 season with arm fatigue, but showed it was in his rear-view mirror with a strong AFL showing. While he walked a few too many (10 in 21 2/3 innings), he finished second to Whitley with his 32 strikeouts. He capped things off with four scoreless frames in his final start of the fall.
Runners-up: Garrett Williams (Giants' No. 20), Jordan Yamamoto (Marlins' No. 17)
RP: Darwinzon Hernandez (Red Sox's No. 7)
A starter throughout his Minor League career, there had been questions about his ability to stay in that role because of his command. Now the Red Sox know what it looks like coming out of the bullpen and it's very good. The lefty struck out 24 in 11 1/3 innings, allowing only eight hits (.195 batting average against), more than enough to land him a spot on the 40-man roster.
Runner-up: Melvin Adon (Giants' No. 19)
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.