SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Major League Baseball today announced the Arizona Fall League’s (AFL) 2021 rosters and coaching staffs for the developmental league’s six clubs. Four of MLB Pipeline’s top-seven prospects and 17 of the top 100 highlight this year’s rosters, headlined by former Arizona State standout and 2020 MLB Draft No. 1 overall pick 1B/3B Spencer Torkelson (No. 4 MLB Pipeline) of the Detroit Tigers. MLB also announced that after extensive testing this season in the Minor Leagues, the following experimental rules will be used in the Arizona Fall League: pitch timer, restriction on defensive positioning, larger bases and the Automatic Ball-Strike System (“ABS”). Pitchers and catchers also will be permitted to use PitchCom, a pitcher-catcher communication device.
Torkelson will be joined by fellow top-10 Detroit Tiger in Salt River OF Riley Greene (No. 7 MLB Pipeline). Both teammates from the Tigers organization made the jump from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo this season as they continue their hopeful ascent to the Majors. Torkelson slugged a scorching .552 with 113 hits this season, including 29 doubles, 29 home runs and 90 RBI, while Greene slugged .528 with 144 hits, including 24 doubles, 23 home runs and 82 RBIs.
The AFL will also showcase a pair of shortstops who rank among the top six overall prospects in baseball in San Francisco’s Marco Luciano (No. 5 MLB Pipeline) and San Diego’s CJ Abrams (No. 6 MLB Pipeline). Luciano, who will suit up for Scottsdale, registered 41 extra-base hits and drove in 71 runs across two levels this season at Low-A San Jose and High-A Eugene. Abrams highlights a Peoria squad that features an AFL-high five top-100 prospects. He finished with 48 hits, including 14 doubles at Double-A San Antonio this year.
Below is a complete list of MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects who will be playing in the AFL in 2021, listed in order of their prospect ranking:
The AFL’s six coaching staffs will be managed by the following in 2021: Jair Fernandez (Glendale; Los Angeles Dodgers), Lance Rymel (Mesa; Chicago Cubs), Anthony Contreras (Peoria; San Diego Padres), Matt Erickson (Salt River; Milwaukee Brewers), Greg DiCenzo (Scottsdale; Cleveland Indians) and Mario Lisson (Surprise; Washington Nationals).
Below is a summary of the experimental rules that will be tested during the Arizona Fall League:
- Spencer Torkelson, 1B/3B, Salt River Rafters (Detroit Tigers)
- Marco Luciano, SS, Scottsdale Scorpions (San Francisco Giants)
- CJ Abrams, SS, Peoria Javelinas (San Diego Padres)
- Riley Greene, OF, Salt River Rafters (Detroit Tigers)
- Triston Casas, 1B, Scottsdale Scorpions (Boston Red Sox)
- Nolan Gorman, 2B/3B, Glendale Desert Dogs (St. Louis Cardinals)
- Gabriel Moreno, C, Mesa Solar Sox (Toronto Blue Jays)
- Brett Baty, 3B/OF, Salt River Rafters (New York Mets)
- MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Peoria Javelinas (San Diego Padres)
- Nick Gonzales, 2B, Peoria Javelinas (Pittsburgh Pirates)
- Asa Lacy, LHP, Surprise Saguaros (Kansas City Royals)
- Shea Langeliers, C, Peoria Javelinas (Atlanta Braves)
- JJ Bleday, OF, Mesa Solar Sox (Miami Marlins)
- Bobby Miller, RHP, Glendale Desert Dogs (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Justin Foscue, 2B, Surprise Saguaros (Texas Rangers)
Sam Huff, OF, Surprise Saguaros (Texas Rangers)
- Bryson Stott, OF, Peoria Javelinas (Philadelphia Phillies)
- Pitch Timer: Following successful testing in Low-A West that reduced game times on average by 21 minutes, on-field timers (one in the outfield, two behind home plate between the dugouts) will be implemented to enforce time limits between delivery of pitches, inning breaks and pitching changes.
- Defensive Positioning: The defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, each of whom must have both feet completely in front of the outer boundary of the infield, and two infielders must be positioned entirely on each side of second base.
- Larger Bases: To reduce player injuries and collisions – and create shorter distances between bases to impact the success rate of stolen base attempts - the size of first, second and third base will be increased from 15 inches square to 18 inches square.
- ABS: The Automatic Ball-Strike System (“ABS”) that began in the Atlantic League and Arizona Fall League will be continued to assist home plate umpires with calling balls and strikes. ABS will be used in games played at Salt River Field.
The AFL is comprised of six teams – the Glendale Desert Dogs, Mesa Solar Sox, Peoria Javelinas, Salt River Rafters, Scottsdale Scorpions and Surprise Saguaros. Each Major League team will send seven top prospects to fill the rosters of the six teams. The AFL teams and their MLB affiliates will be as follows for the 2021 season: Glendale (Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox), Mesa (Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, Baltimore Orioles), Peoria (Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates), Salt River (Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers), Scottsdale (San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Rays, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins) and Surprise (Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees).
The 2021 AFL season is set to open on Wednesday, October 13th. The League’s annual Fall Stars Game will be played on Saturday, November 13th while the AFL Championship Game is scheduled for Saturday, November 20th, both of which will air LIVE beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. MT on MLB Network as well as streaming on MLB.com and in the MLB App.