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10 standouts from AFL championship game

November 18, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The fall of Ronald Acuna concluded in appropriate fashion. The Arizona Fall League's best prospect and MVP led its best team to the championship Saturday afternoon, driving in four runs as the Peoria Javelinas defeated the Mesa Solar Sox, 8-2.After the Braves outfielder lined out to third

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The fall of Ronald Acuna concluded in appropriate fashion. The Arizona Fall League's best prospect and MVP led its best team to the championship Saturday afternoon, driving in four runs as the Peoria Javelinas defeated the Mesa Solar Sox, 8-2.
After the Braves outfielder lined out to third base in his first at-bat, he went down to get a breaking ball from Cubs right-hander Alec Mills and lined it into center field for a third-inning RBI single that tied the game 2-2. An inning later, Acuna fought off a high fastball from right-hander Jake Stinnett and dumping it into right-center for a two-run single that doubled Peoria's lead to 6-2. He later capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.
:: 2017 Arizona Fall League championship game coverage ::
It wasn't Acuna at his most spectacular -- his explosive bat speed produced a league-high seven home runs during the regular season -- yet it still was more than enough for the Javelinas' first title since 2012.
Here are nine other players who impressed during the AFL's championship game:
Michael Chavis, 1B, Peoria (Red Sox). His improved approach resulted in 31 homers during the Minor League season and was evident when he battled back from an 0-2 count against Mills in the first inning, grounding a single to center off a 95-mph fastball in the seventh pitch of the at-bat. Chavis used the opposite field well in the eighth, lacing a ball into the right-center gap and aggressively running it into a triple against sidearming Athletics right-hander Nolan Blackwood.

Eric Filia, RF, Peoria (Mariners). His lone plus tool is his hitting ability, and it showed when he led the AFL in batting (.408), on-base percentage (.483) and OPS (1.088) during the regular season. Filia went 0-for-3 against Mesa but contributed two defensive gems, diving to steal at least an RBI single from Victor Robles (Nationals) in the second inning and leaping at the right-field wall to take extra bases away from Kyle Tucker (Astros) in the seventh. The Robles catch was as crucial as any play in the game.

Alex Jackson, C, Peoria (Braves). He snapped a 5-for-34 slump by singling in his first two at-bats against Mills and Stinnett, setting up the Javelinas' first run in the second and driving in the go-ahead runs with a two-run knock in the third. Jackson made a lot of strides offensively in 2017, though his defense behind the plate still needs a lot of work.

Andres Munoz, RHP, Peoria (Padres). He had the most electric arm in the AFL and began the eighth inning by throwing 19 straight fastballs at an average of 99.3 mph and a peak of 101. Munoz whiffed Sean Murphy (Athletics) and Sheldon Neuse (Athletics) on heaters and mixed in a couple of interesting sliders, looking like a future closer despite giving up a pair of well-placed singles.
Sean Murphy, C, Mesa (Athletics). He went 1-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts but where Murphy really shined was behind the plate. The AFL's top catching prospect -- and maybe its best overall defensive prospect -- he stole a called third strike against Filia in the fourth inning with his framing ability, displayed a quick transfer when he threw out Luis Urias (Padres) stealing in the fifth and deftly blocked several balls in the dirt.
Victor Robles, CF, Mesa (Nationals). Acuna's rival as the top prospect in the Fall League, Robles repeatedly stood out with his quickness on the bases and in the field. He started the game by turning on a sinker down and in from Blue Jays right-hander T.J. Zeuch and drilling it down the line for a single, and he later added an infield single off a 101-mph fastball from Munoz. With more luck Robles could have gone 4-for-4, but Filia robbed him in the second and he sharply lined out to center in the fifth.

Kyle Tucker, RF, Mesa (Astros). After having a rough Fall League offensively and defensively, he looked more like the blue-chip prospect Houston has deemed untouchable in trade talks. Tucker had line-drive singles off Zeuch in the second and fourth innings before pinning Filia to the right-field wall in the seventh.

Art Warren, RHP, Peoria (Mariners). He was the AFL's best regular-season reliever, recording three wins and three saves while not permitting a run in 11 1/3 innings. So it was fitting that Warren closed out the championship with a perfect ninth inning, relying almost solely on a 94-96 mph fastball with late life.

T.J. Zuech, RHP, Peoria (Blue Jays). The day started poorly for Zeuch, who looked tired while sitting at 89-91 mph with his fastball and giving up two runs in the first inning. After Filia's diving catch bailed him out of a second-inning jam, he was a different guy, repeatedly touching 93 and 94 mph with his sinker while pitching into the sixth. He threw 49 of 70 pitches for strikes and induced three double plays in 5 2/3 innings.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.