The 25th season of the Arizona Fall League is now complete, and the silver anniversary edition of the league was one of the best in terms of top prospects and outstanding performances.
It wasn't just the elite-level prospects and the more known names who stood out, though it was certainly exciting to see the Gleyber Torreses of the world live up to, and exceed, expectations. But every year, the AFL helps the more under-the-radar types put themselves more firmly on the prospect map.
:: 2016 Arizona Fall League championship game coverage ::
Many players had what could be considered breakout AFL campaigns. Here's a group of 10 of the best. There might be some crossover with the Top 20 Prospects list coming out this week, but it's largely a group of names everyone should get to know a bit better based on how they played this fall.
Greg Allen, OF, Indians: Allen is No. 19 on the Indians' Top 30, but you can bet he'll move up when the list is re-ranked in 2017. He showed tremendous on-base and base-stealing skills, tying for the AFL lead with 12 thefts. With seven extra-base hits (three homers) in 78 at-bats, there might be more bat there than some expected.
Brian Anderson, 3B, Marlins: He's in the Marlins' Top 10 already, but Anderson certainly raised his profile outside of that organization this fall. Always thought to have good raw power, he tapped into it more consistently and led the AFL with five homers in 77 at-bats.
Yu-Cheng Chang, SS, Indians: He's not super low-profile, being that he signed for $500,000 and is in the Indians' Top 10, but this was the first opportunity Chang had to shine on a more national stage. Not only did he hit .304, the 21-year-old Taiwanese product impressed with his defense at short.
Austin Gomber, LHP, Cardinals: The Cardinals' No. 18 prospect, Gomber followed up a successful regular season that saw him reach Double-A. He topped the AFL in innings and strikeouts, holding hitters to a .205 batting average against.
Ramon Laureano, OF, Astros: At the outset, Laureano was the talk of the Fall League as perhaps the top breakout candidate, winning Player of the Week honors in the opening week. The Astros' No. 27 prospect cooled off a bit and went home at the end of October, but he definitely left scouts wanting to see more.
Jared Miller, LHP, D-backs: Perhaps no prospect raised his profile more than the 6-foot-7 lefty reliever and he was recently added to Arizona's Top 30 as a result (when a replacement was needed due to Tyler Wagner's departure). Using a deadly fastball-slider/cutter combination, Miller threw 18 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just six hits and four walks while striking out 30.
Edgar Santana, RHP, Pirates: Santana burst on the scene during the regular season, pitching his way from the Class A Advanced Florida State League all the way up to Triple-A. Using a 94-98 mph fastball and outstanding slider, the Pirates' No. 29 prospect struck out 18 (vs. just two walks) in 13 2/3 shutout innings this fall, and that doesn't include closing out the Fall Stars Game.
Andrew Stevenson, OF, Nationals: Stevenson brought a reputation as being a plus-plus defender in center field out of LSU in the 2015 Draft, but the question was how much he'd hit. The Nationals' No. 8 prospect hit well enough to reach Double-A in his first full season, then finished second in the AFL with his .353 average. Eight extra-base hits in 85 ABs and nine steals were also impressive, showing he might profile as an everyday center fielder when all is said and done.
Zach Vincej, SS, Reds: Not on the Reds' Top 30, Vincej finished second in the AFL with a 1.011 OPS and third with a .352 average. He showed surprising pop (.676 SLG) with 13 XBH on 71 ABs, and he finished tied for second with 18 RBIs, all while playing a very solid shortstop. Not protected on the 40-man roster, he is eligible for the Major League phase of December's Rule 5 Draft.
Eric Wood, 3B, Pirates: A pitcher during his amateur days, Wood is still refining his approach at the plate. While he still struck out a bunch (28 K's in 88 ABs), he also had a .388 OBP and hit .330 this fall while leading the AFL with 20 RBIs. While he impressed at third, he also showed versatility by playing first and left field. That could attract teams as they explore options for the Rule 5 Draft, as Wood was not added to the Pirates' 40-man roster.