November is a month of voting. This week, that extends to the Arizona Fall League.
The Fall Stars Game will take place at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. The game will be broadcast on MLB Network and also be streamed on MLB.com and the MLB app.
The six Final 2 candidates are as follows:
Marco Luciano, SS, Giants
Jeter Downs, SS/2B, Red Sox
Michael Toglia, 1B, Rockies
Following the early departure of Spencer Torkelson, Luciano (SF No. 1/MLB No. 5) became the most high-profile prospect remaining in the Fall League. He also happens to be the youngest player on the circuit, having turned 20 on Sept. 10. The shortstop can display lots of tools, especially when it comes to his power from the right side, and he’s shown that in flashes in the Fall League, including a two-homer game on Oct. 19. His .210/.329/.306 line and 26 strikeouts in 17 AFL games speak to his inexperience and need to adjust to upper-level pitching at this early stage in his career. That said, few, if any, players in Arizona this autumn can match Luciano’s long-term potential.
Downs (BOS No. 5) has a chance to head to the Fall Stars Game following a promising return to form with Scottsdale. The 23-year-old middle infielder was famously acquired by Boston in the 2020 trade that sent Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, and after the lost 2020 season, he finally got to make a first, albeit rough, impression this summer at Triple-A Worcester. Downs hit just .190/.272/.333 with 14 homers in 99 games with the WooSox and headed to Arizona in hopes of ending 2021 on a brighter note. He helped accomplish that early, homering in five straight games from Oct. 15-25, and those five blasts are still tied for fifth-most in the AFL. It’s been mostly power from Downs this fall, but he has also managed 14 walks, a .393 OBP and .915 OPS in his 13 games.
Toglia (COL No. 6) has a recent history of performing in prospect showcases. The 2019 first-rounder crushed a 444-foot homer in this summer’s All-Star Futures Game in his potential future home of Coors Field. He has shown off a little pop for Salt River this fall, clubbing three homers in 19 games. He sports a .250/.321/.426 slash line in his 78 plate appearances. A switch-hitter, Toglia is best known for his above-average power potential, but he’s considered a quality defender at first base as well.
Brendan Donovan, INF/OF, Cardinals
Jackson Cluff, SS, Nationals
Korey Lee, C, Astros
Donovan (STL No. 18) could be a great fit on a mishmashed All-Star roster given that he’s played five different positions this fall -- all four infield spots as well as right field. He’s been a solid performer at the plate as well, batting .342/.435/.553 while picking up more walks (six) and extra-base hits (one homer, five doubles) than strikeouts (four) through 11 games for Glendale. The 2018 seventh-rounder hit .304/.399/.455 with 12 homers and 19 steals in 108 games across the top three levels of the St. Louis system during the regular season.
Cluff (WAS No. 19) was a classic Fall League example of a player who headed to the Southwest to make up for lost time. The 24-year-old shortstop was limited to only 35 games with Double-A Harrisburg due to a broken thumb, and in the games he did play, he managed just a .190 average and .556 OPS. It’s been a different story in Arizona. The left-handed slugger is hitting .339/.441/.464 in 15 games with Surprise. Cluff is considered an above-average defensive infielder, so his offensive improvements are encouraging for both himself and the Nats.
A lot of eyes were going to be on Lee (HOU No. 1) after he climbed to the top of the Houston rankings in the middle of the 2021 season. The 2019 32nd overall pick has above-average power and an absolute cannon of an arm from behind the dish. It’s been a mixed record of success in the Fall League (.244/.346/.267, 28.6 percent caught-stealing rate), but that comes after the Cal product climbed three levels in technically his first full season. Lee batted .277/.340/.438 with 11 homers in 88 games across High-A, Double-A and Triple-A.