Monday's top AFL prospect performers

October 26th, 2021

Here's a look at Monday’s top performers in the Arizona Fall League from each team's Top 30 Prospects list.

Rangers: Ezequiel Duran, 3B (No. 7), Surprise Saguaros
Out of the leadoff spot, Duran paced Surprise’s offense in a wild 16-15 win over Mesa. Duran was a sparkplug all afternoon for the Saguaros and collected three of the game's combined 34 hits, his third straight game with three hits. The 22-year-old finished a home run short of the cycle and reached four times after being hit by a pitch in the sixth. He drove in a pair of runs on his double to left in the second. Duran played for two High-A teams this year after being traded from the Yankees to the Rangers in the July blockbuster deal that sent Joey Gallo to New York. In 105 games between Hudson Valley and Hickory, Duran batted .267/.342/.486 with 19 homers and 79 RBIs. More »

Red Sox: Jeter Downs, 2B (No. 5), Scottsdale Scorpions
Downs continued his power binge to start the Fall League season by crushing his first grand slam -- and fifth homer overall -- of his six-game campaign in Arizona. The 23-year-old's blast came in the bottom of the eighth inning of Scottsdale's eventual 7-6 loss. After going 1-for-2 with a single in his first AFL game on Oct. 14, Downs has homered in five straight, a total that is already over a third of the 14 he belted during the regular season for Triple-A Worcester. Over 99 games at Triple-A, Downs delivered nine doubles, but the infielder’s overall slash line sat at just .190/.272/.333. More »

Cardinals: Juan Yepez, 1B (No. 27), Glendale Desert Dogs
Since going hitless on Oct. 13 in his Fall League debut, Yepez has been a tough out. Monday was arguably his best performance so far in Arizona with the first baseman finishing 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and three RBIs as Glendale took down Scottsdale by a run. Yepez got his team on the board with an RBI double to left in the first and capped the Desert Dogs’ scoring by cranking a solo homer to left-center in the ninth for the game’s decisive run. In between, Yepez laced an RBI single to right in the fifth. In 111 contests between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis this season, Yepez batted .286/.383/.586 with 27 homers and 77 RBIs.

Reds: Michael Siani, CF (No. 11), Surprise Saguaros
Hitless after his first four games in the AFL, Siani has come alive. The Reds outfield prospect roped a run-scoring double in the bottom of the second, an RBI single in the fifth and two more singles. Siani has seven hits over his last four games to boost his early AFL slash line to .269/406/.346 for the Saguaros. The 22-year-old spent his third Minor League season with High-A Dayton this year, playing in 97 games and batting .216/.321/.327. Siani averaged more than a strikeout per game at the plate over the summer with 103 K’s. So far, he’s been much improved in that regard for Surprise with just four whiffs in eight games.

Marlins: JJ Bleday, LF (MLB No. 71), Mesa Solar Sox
Bleday reached in the first five of his six plate appearances. Following a walk in the first, Bleday belted a two-run homer, his first of the fall, to right in the third. The outfielder singled to left in the fifth and right in the sixth before walking again in the seventh. The only time Bleday didn’t reach was on a flyout to left in the eighth. In his first full pro season since being drafted in 2019, the 23-year-old spent the summer with Double-A Pensacola and batted .212/.323.373 in 110 games with the Blue Wahoos.

Blue Jays: Gabriel Moreno, C (MLB No. 32), Mesa Solar Sox
Playing in his fourth AFL contest, Moreno broke out with a perfect day at the plate. He went 4-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and a walk. Batting out of the No. 2 spot, Moreno singled in the first, walked in the third, doubled in the fifth and singled again in the sixth. After driving in a run with a seventh-inning sacrifice fly, he delivered an RBI double in the eighth to cap his day. Moreno is making up time in the AFL this year after playing just 37 games between Rookie-level, Double-A and Triple-A during the Minor League season, and he was able to post a .367/434/.626 slash line in his limited action.

Astros: Korey Lee, C (No. 1), Glendale Desert Dogs
Pedro Leon, CF (No. 2), Glendale Desert Dogs
The top two prospects in the Astros system combined to rack up six of the Desert Dogs’ 15 hits in their win over the Scorpions. Lee collected hits in his final three at-bats of the day, lining an RBI single to right in the fifth, doubling to the left side in the seventh and singling again to right in the ninth. Leon started his day by beating out a single to short in the second, then singled to left in the sixth and roped a ground-rule double to left-center in the eighth. Both Lee and Leon split their time this season between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land in the Houston system.

Yankees: Austin Wells, C (No. 6), Surprise Saguaros
Wells stayed hot in his seventh game of the Fall League season, tallying his 10th hit with a single, two walks and three runs scored. Wells also made an impact in the field, picking off Blue Jays prospect Spencer Horwitz at first base in the top of the first. The Yankees’ 2020 first-round pick is seeing additional game action after playing 103 games during the 2021 regular season. Wells batted .264/.390/.476 with 16 homers and 76 RBIs between Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.