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Padres distribute turkeys, give back

Club also raised close to $3 million with cycling event
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Generally speaking, November represents the start of the offseason in the baseball world. For the Padres' charitable efforts, it's anything but an offseason.

The organization uses the month of November -- and Thanksgiving week in particular -- to kick things up a notch in the community. Padres Pedal the Cause -- a one-day cycling event to raise money for cancer research -- is the crown jewel event of the team's efforts. It took place last weekend, featuring 2,513 participants, and is expected to raise close to $3 million.

SAN DIEGO -- Generally speaking, November represents the start of the offseason in the baseball world. For the Padres' charitable efforts, it's anything but an offseason.

The organization uses the month of November -- and Thanksgiving week in particular -- to kick things up a notch in the community. Padres Pedal the Cause -- a one-day cycling event to raise money for cancer research -- is the crown jewel event of the team's efforts. It took place last weekend, featuring 2,513 participants, and is expected to raise close to $3 million.

Then, on Monday, members of the team's front office and alumni group distributed Thanksgiving meals to underserved families in the San Diego area, in partnership with the San Diego Food Bank. Padres Hall of Famer Randy Jones and fellow former pitcher Brett Tomko doled out more than 600 turkeys to those families.

"It's such a great time of the year, and it makes all the difference in the world to these families," Jones said during a brief break from the turkey distribution. "You know it makes a difference to be able to give them the supplies to create a meal for the family and get together, it's pretty special."

Tweet from @Padres: Kicking off #ThanksgivingWeek by giving back 🤗 pic.twitter.com/C6dcPZZZ3o

That spirit of giving is slated to continue into December, when the Padres will again embark on their annual holiday caravan. They'll make various stops throughout the community over the next few weeks, giving back with various events in San Diego and the Baja region of Mexico.

"It's so important all the charitable work the Padres do," Jones said. "And the more it's needed, the more the Padres respond to the community. You can't help everybody, but those you do, it makes a difference in their lives, and that's what it's all about."

As for Padres Pedal the Cause, it's grown into one of San Diego's premier events over the past few years. This year's edition marked the sixth in the event's history, and the most successful.

The Padres have raised $2.4 million, with a goal of surpassing $3 million by Dec. 8. That's a significant uptick from last year's $1.8 million, and it brings the six-year total to $7.2 million and counting.

Proceeds are distributed among the Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, the Salk Institute and Rady Children's Hospital -- four local institutions with impeccable research track records.

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and former Padre Tony Gwynn Jr. were among the participants in the event, which featured cycling routes of 25, 55, 88 and 100 miles.

"How do you not walk away from that event inspired?" Padres vice president of community affairs Tom Seidler said. "You hear from cancer survivors, families who have lost loved ones, then you combine that with the world-class cancer research being done right here. You try to create an event that's best in class, we couldn't be more proud to have our name attached to it. This thing is going to grow."

It already has -- in a big way. So too have the Padres' community outreach efforts in San Diego. Those efforts are on display now, during the holiday season, more than ever.

"Part of being a Padre," Jones said, "is giving back to the community, giving back to the people of this city."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres

Trade away Myers? Pros, cons for Padres

Analyzing why San Diego should or shouldn't deal from depth
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' desire to sell an outfielder is not a secret. They've been vocal about their surplus, and general manager A.J. Preller has noted several times that there's interest from other clubs on his corner-outfield trio.

Makes sense. Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes are all righty-hitting sluggers. It certainly feels like there's only room for two, given that the Padres have some depth in Franchy Cordero and Travis Jankowski.

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' desire to sell an outfielder is not a secret. They've been vocal about their surplus, and general manager A.J. Preller has noted several times that there's interest from other clubs on his corner-outfield trio.

Makes sense. Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes are all righty-hitting sluggers. It certainly feels like there's only room for two, given that the Padres have some depth in Franchy Cordero and Travis Jankowski.

Myers, of course, is the biggest name of the bunch, and the Padres reportedly discussed a deal with the Mariners that would send Jean Segura and Mike Leake back to San Diego. Indications are that the deal hasn't been scrapped, but those talks have cooled and are far from being completed.

There are arguments both for and against trading Myers. Here's a look at three on each side:

THREE REASONS TO TRADE MYERS

1. It clears an outfield logjam
The Padres love what they got from Renfroe and Reyes in 2018. So much so, they might be willing to turn the corner-outfield spots over to them full time. Of course, that means one of two things: Either Myers stays at third base, where he struggled mightily in August and September. Or he's traded elsewhere. If he's traded, the Padres feel pretty confident in a starting outfield of Renfroe, Reyes and Manuel Margot, with the lefty-hitting Cordero spelling all three on a regular basis, and Jankowski serving as a defense/speed option.

2. It would fill holes elsewhere
The Padres' offensive depth chart looks something like this: solid in the outfield, solid at catcher, gaping holes in the infield. Were they a deeper team across the diamond, the Padres might be comfortable hanging onto their three righty-hitting corner outfielders and letting them compete for time. But a Myers deal would presumably bring in help on the left side of the infield and on the mound. Those are two huge areas of weakness for the club.

3. Money
At the time of the deal, Myers' contract seemed reasonable. He was 26 and coming off an All-Star season, and six years, $83 million was widely considered a fair price. But the deal is backloaded, with $64 million remaining, and Myers has struggled in the two years since. The Padres would likely need to take on similar money in a return (as would be the case with Leake and Segura from Seattle). But at least in doing so, they'd be allocating that money at a position of need.

THREE REASONS TO NOT TRADE MYERS

1. He's their best outfielder
OK, maybe Myers wasn't the Padres' best outfielder in 2018. (And he wouldn't have been in '17 either, for that matter.) But nobody in the San Diego outfield has a track record like his. Question marks linger about the long-term viability of Reyes, Renfroe, Margot and Cordero. All four have shown flashes, none have sustained. Of course, Myers hasn't been particularly consistent either. But his 10.1 career WAR, according to Baseball-Reference, is just a 10th of a point lower than those four combined.

2. They'd be selling low
Myers is capable of much more than his 2018 season. He averaged 29 homers, 29 doubles and 24 steals in the two years before it. If the Padres think Myers has another '16 campaign in him, they might be best served sticking him in a corner, allowing Renfroe and Reyes to compete for playing time, and waiting for his stock to rise. If he puts forth a first half similar to his '16 season, he'd fetch a much greater haul at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

3. How deep is this outfield, really?
To be sure, the outfield is deeper than anywhere else on the Padres' roster (except maybe catcher). But that doesn't mean it would be deep enough without Myers. Cordero is coming off elbow surgery. Margot took a major step back last season. The success of Renfroe and Reyes is mostly limited to the second half of 2018. Assuming Jankowski fills a backup role, that's a lot of question marks in those first three spots. If the Padres can shore up another position in a Myers trade, it obviously makes sense to do so. But it would also stretch them a little bit thin, leaving little room for error with their four 26-and-under outfielders.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Wil Myers

Here's a player to be thankful for on each team

MLB.com @RichardJustice

Even if the Red Sox aren't your favorite team, you can still be thankful for having witnessed a season in which Boston won 119 times. In a season of spectacular turnarounds -- the A's improving by 22 games, Braves by 18 and Phillies by 14 -- the Red Sox had a season that's likely to be Major League Baseball's gold standard for awhile.

You don't need 119 wins to appreciate your favorite team. Every fan has plenty to be thankful for, and on this Thanksgiving week, here's one player from each team we feel that way about:

Even if the Red Sox aren't your favorite team, you can still be thankful for having witnessed a season in which Boston won 119 times. In a season of spectacular turnarounds -- the A's improving by 22 games, Braves by 18 and Phillies by 14 -- the Red Sox had a season that's likely to be Major League Baseball's gold standard for awhile.

You don't need 119 wins to appreciate your favorite team. Every fan has plenty to be thankful for, and on this Thanksgiving week, here's one player from each team we feel that way about:

NL EAST

Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr. had turned 20 a few months earlier when he made his debut last April. Few prospects were more hyped. Few have ever delivered more completely. He's now the face of a brand new era of Atlanta baseball.

Video: Ronald Acuna Jr. is named the NL Rookie of the Year

Marlins: Brian Anderson's first full Major League season was a smashing success, as he led all qualifying rookies by hitting .367 with runners in scoring position and was second with 49 extra-base hits. His 161 hits were the most by a Marlins rookie in nine years.

Mets: Perfection? Jacob deGrom was close. He's the 10th pitcher since 1920 to toss at least 200 innings with an ERA of 1.70 or lower, and the first to have an ERA below 2.00 with at least 260 strikeouts, 50 or fewer walks and 10 or fewer home runs.

Video: Jacob deGrom wins NL Cy Young Award on MLB Network

Nationals: Max Scherzer is that guy who comes along every generation or so and sets a nearly impossible standard for every future generation. In four seasons with the Nationals, he has averaged 220 innings and 282 strikeouts with a 0.926 WHIP.

Phillies: Aaron Nola and Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander are the only two Phillies pitchers in the past 110 years with at least 200 strikeouts and an opponent's batting average of .200 or lower.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Christian Yelich was on his way to a very nice season when something clicked around the All-Star break that propelled him to the NL MVP Award and the Brewers to the NL Central championship. He batted .367 with 25 home runs in his last 65 games and won the Brewers' first league batting title.

Video: Yelich discusses his first year with the Brewers

Cardinals: Yadier Molina has become the face of the Cardinals during one of the best stretches the franchise has ever had. That's nine postseason appearances and two World Series trophies in 15 seasons. His resume includes nine All-Star appearances and nine Gold Glove Awards behind the plate. This year, he was honored with the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.

Video: WS2018 Gm2: Molina's family accepts Clemente Award

Cubs: Anthony Rizzo may be the prototype for what every team would like all of its players to be. Besides being the face of the best era of Cubs baseball in the past 110 years, he's been a three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner while playing an average of 154 games the past six seasons.

Pirates: Jameson Taillon gave all of us lessons on courage and perseverance while working his way back from cancer in 2017. This season was about fulfilling the promise the Pirates have had for him. His 2.63 ERA was MLB's fifth-lowest after June 1, and he allowed three earned runs or fewer in his final 22 starts.

Reds: Is there anything better than watching Joey Votto at home plate? He just led his league in OBP for the seventh time, joining an elite list of six players, including Ted Williams (12), Babe Ruth (10), Barry Bonds (10), Rogers Hornsby (seven) and Ty Cobb (seven).

NL WEST

D-backs: The best player in the game? Paul Goldschmidt is in that conversation almost every season. He was also Arizona's Roberto Clemente Award nominee for the fifth straight year in recognition of his community work, philanthropy and positive contributions on the field.

Video: Goldschmidt takes home fourth Silver Slugger Award

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw is the prototype of a Hall of Famer: three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, seven-time All-Star, five-time ERA champion. Take a good look at him, Dodger fans. You may not see one as good as him again.

Giants: San Francisco fans may one day remember Buster Posey alongside franchise greats Willie Mays and Willie McCovey. Posey doesn't have their slam-dunk Hall of Fame credentials, but since his arrival in 2010, he's been one of the faces of a franchise that has won the World Series three times.

Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr. is just 19 and has yet to make his big league debut. But he's MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect and represents the Padres' optimism about the future.

Video: Fernando Tatis Jr. ranked No. 2 prospect by MLB.com

Rockies: Who says you can't have dominant pitching at Coors Field? In his second Major League season, Kyle Freeland established himself as one of baseball's best starters, with 202 1/3 innings and a 2.85 ERA. At Coors Field, he was close to dominant, posting a 2.40 ERA and allowing three earned runs or fewer in 14 of 15 home starts.

AL EAST

Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will make his big league debut sometime early next season, and in doing so, kick off an exciting new era of Blue Jays baseball. MLB Pipeline ranks him its No. 1 overall prospect, and he's part of a wave of kids about to transform baseball in Toronto.

Video: Chisholm on Vlad Jr.'s Fall League performance

Orioles: Yusniel Diaz was the highest-rated prospect acquired in the Manny Machado trade with the Dodgers, and he is the player who represents an exciting new era in which the Orioles will invest in youth and a restructuring of both their philosophy and baseball operation.

Rays: All that 25-year-old Blake Snell did in his first full Major League season was lead the AL in ERA (1.89), ERA+ (219) and hits per nine innings (5.6). He was ninth in AL MVP voting. And, oh yes, he was also the AL Cy Young Award winner.

Video: Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young Award on MLB Network

Red Sox: Mookie Betts is the new face of the Red Sox. He was never the highest-rated prospect as he made his way through the Boston farm system. He was the guy who needed a shot to be completely appreciated. Only 26, he's the reigning AL MVP Award winner and also a three-time Gold Glove Award winner and three-time All-Star.

Video: Mookie Betts reacts to winning first AL MVP Award

Yankees: Aaron Judge has become the face of the most famous sports franchise in North America. At 26 and with two full big league seasons under his belt, he could get even better. Judge was just the second Yankee with at least 25 home runs before the All-Star break in back-to-back seasons.

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Francisco Lindor has been everything the Indians hoped he'd be -- not just in production at the plate and slick work on defense, but also in a resplendent smile that has made him one of the faces of an entire sport.

Royals: Salvador Perez led the wave of touted prospects that arrived in 2011 and eventually helped the Royals to reach the World Series in consecutive seasons (2014-15). He's still around, beloved by fans and teammates alike, hopeful of leading the Royals back into contention.

Video: Perez wins his second career Silver Slugger Award

Tigers: Christin Stewart, the Tigers No. 1 prospect, made his debut in September and held his own with a .792 OPS in 17 games. A first-round pick in 2015, he represents the makeup of the team going into 2019 and beyond.

Twins: Byron Buxton's skillset is off the charts, and that's why, even after a difficult 2018 season, he'll have every opportunity to get back on track. Once baseball's No. 1 prospect, he could still help transform the Twins, and quickly.

White Sox: Eloy Jimenez's time has arrived. Despite being limited by injuries to 108 Minor League games in 2018, the slugging outfield prospect still showed the White Sox that their belief in his being a franchise cornerstone is justified.

Video: #NextSox: Chris Getz on OF Eloy Jimenez

AL WEST

Angels: So you didn't see Mays or Ted Williams? Someday, you'll tell people you got to watch Mike Trout in his prime, and that'll carry about the same weight. That's where his career arc is taking him.

Video: Mike Trout wins his sixth career Silver Slugger Award

Astros: George Springer represents everything the Astros hope to be in terms of production, energy and, yes, laughter. In these last four seasons -- the best the Astros have ever had -- no player has been more important.

Athletics: Matt Chapman makes plays at third that take your breath away, and he does it so often that his teammates admit to losing perspective on just how good he is. He's the face of a team that just won 97 games and is poised to be one of baseball's most interesting in 2019.

Video: Chapman wins Wilson Defensive Player of the Year

Mariners: Edwin Diaz's numbers are so good that the first reaction is, "Wait, what? Are you sure?" He led the Majors with 57 saves and is the biggest reason the Mariners were 77-0 when leading after eight innings. Diaz was 27-for-30 in one-run save chances, and he averaged 15.2 strikeouts per nine innings with a 0.89 ERA.

Rangers: Joey Gallo hits home runs that become conversation pieces. That is, towering moonshot balls that seem to vaporize somewhere over the outfield. His 93.9-mph average exit velocity trailed only Judge and Nelson Cruz in 2018.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Padres sending Villanueva to Japanese club

Third baseman won NL Rookie of the Month in April
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' wide-open third-base race took an unexpected turn on Tuesday.

Christian Villanueva, the 27-year-old infielder who burst onto the scene with 20 homers and a .750 OPS in 2018, was designated for assignment, as part of a series of moves on Tuesday as the Padres cleared space on their 40-man roster. In an Instagram post, Villanueva confirmed he's headed to Japan to play for the Yomiuri Giants, who bought his contract rights from San Diego.

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' wide-open third-base race took an unexpected turn on Tuesday.

Christian Villanueva, the 27-year-old infielder who burst onto the scene with 20 homers and a .750 OPS in 2018, was designated for assignment, as part of a series of moves on Tuesday as the Padres cleared space on their 40-man roster. In an Instagram post, Villanueva confirmed he's headed to Japan to play for the Yomiuri Giants, who bought his contract rights from San Diego.

It's a surprising twist, given that Villanueva figured to be in the mix for a starting job at the hot corner next season. Evidently, the Japanese club approached the Padres with the possibility of working out a deal to acquire Villanueva, who had pushed for the opportunity.

• SD clears 40-man space with 3 deals; 4 DFA'd

The Padres negotiated with Yomiuri on a fee that would release his contract. Villanueva, meanwhile, negotiated his own contract separately with the club. Eventually all parties came to an agreement.

Padres general manager A.J. Preller refused to comment on the specifics of the move when reached Tuesday evening.

"In talking to [Villanueva's] camp, they felt like there was a real opportunity for him in some different things that we felt we'd give him the chance to explore and we'd be supportive of, understanding that we were going to have to look at some other different options at third base," said Preller.

In his rookie season, Villanueva batted .236/.299/.450. He broke out with a brilliant April that earned him National League Rookie of the Month honors before regressing during the remainder of the season.

Video: Must C Classic: Villanueva homers thrice at Petco

Villanueva was among a handful of candidates to open the 2019 season at third base for San Diego, all of whom have flaws. With Villanueva gone, it's now a near certainty the Padres look to add in their infield. As things stand, Wil Myers is probably the projected Opening Day third baseman, and he struggled mightily in his debut at the position in August and September.

"We're still looking at different fits, different options, going forward," Preller said. "On the roster, you have Wil, who we'll still keep looking at. … We'll probably get through the Winter Meetings and have a clearer picture with where we're at third base, and more specifically with Wil."

Myers is an obvious candidate to be traded, and MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday that the Padres have spoken with the Mariners about a potential deal. It's also very possible that the Padres move Franmil Reyes or Hunter Renfroe, which would presumably clear space to allow Myers to shift back to a corner-outfield spot.

In any case, it seems unlikely that all three are in San Diego on Opening Day, meaning third base is probably vacant. Ty France was one of seven prospects added to the 40-man roster on Tuesday, and he'll compete for the job in Spring Training, as will Jason Vosler, who was acquired in a trade with the Cubs. The duo combined to hit 45 home runs in the upper levels of the Minor Leagues last season.

Still, it's far likelier the Padres add a third baseman via trade or free agency over the next month. They were almost certainly going to do so, even before Villanueva's departure. Now, it's a necessity.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Christian Villanueva

SD clears 40-man space with 3 deals; 4 DFA'd

MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' youth movement, which recently turned a depleted farm system into the best in baseball, made a dent into the big league roster on Tuesday afternoon.

General manager A.J. Preller needed to clear space for seven prospects to be added to the 40-man roster, lest they be exposed to next month's Rule 5 Draft. He got creative in doing so, parting with a handful of veterans.

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' youth movement, which recently turned a depleted farm system into the best in baseball, made a dent into the big league roster on Tuesday afternoon.

General manager A.J. Preller needed to clear space for seven prospects to be added to the 40-man roster, lest they be exposed to next month's Rule 5 Draft. He got creative in doing so, parting with a handful of veterans.

The Padres traded a trio of right-handers on Tuesday and designated four players for assignment, including Christian Villanueva and Cory Spangenberg.

• Villanueva DFA'd, could move to Japan

They did so in order for the following seven prospects to be added to the 40-man roster:

• RHP Chris Paddack (Padres' No. 5 prospect according to MLB Pipeline)
• RHP Anderson Espinoza (No. 12)
• C Austin Allen (No. 25)
• OF Edward Olivares (No. 28)
• RHP Pedro Avila (No. 29)
• 3B Ty France (unranked)
• RHP Gerardo Reyes (unranked)

None of those players were particularly surprising additions. Their status on the 40-man means they won't be eligible to be picked in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 13 at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, where longtime Minor Leaguers can be selected by other clubs but must remain on the big league roster all season or be offered back to their original team.

The five top-30 prospects listed above were always likely to be added to the roster. All five would've been projected as early Rule 5 selections if they were left exposed.

Video: Top Prospects: Chris Paddack, RHP, Padres

France and Reyes, too, would've been candidates to be taken. France hit 22 homers last season between Double-A and Triple-A, and he could compete for the job at third base after Villanueva's departure. Reyes, meanwhile, posted a 2.77 ERA and a 29-percent strikeout rate last year and could've easily been stashed in a rival's bullpen if left unprotected.

"There was a real chance he'd get taken if we left him unprotected," Preller said. "You don't want to see that kind of stuff, that kind of velo, from a guy with a lower slot, leave. He keeps getting more consistent. He was a guy we didn't want to risk losing in a Rule 5 situation."

Among the Padres prospects who will be available in next month's Rule 5 Draft are righties Hansel Rodriguez and Trevor Megill and outfielder Michael Gettys. Rodriguez, who was acquired for Melvin Upton Jr. in 2016, was recently shut down in the Arizona Fall League due to olecranon stress reaction issues in his elbow, though the club doesn't believe surgery will be required.

As for the seven players subtracted from the 40-man, here's a look at the moves Preller made to clear some space:

Right-hander Colten Brewer traded to Boston for infielder Esteban Quiroz

Brewer found himself on the roster bubble in a crowded Padres bullpen. He might have cracked the 40-man if not for the trade. But the Padres like what they're getting in Quiroz, so they decided to deal Brewer, a high-spin right-hander who posted a 5.59 ERA in 11 big league appearances last year. Quiroz, a utility infielder, spent most of his career playing in Mexico, but he posted a .283/.406/.547 slash line in the Red Sox system last year, mostly at Double-A.

"He just hits," Preller said. "He hits everywhere he's been. We had a lot of eyes on him in the Fall League, a lot of people that saw him there. He was a guy that's continued to perform, and it's hard to find left-handed bats at the upper levels of the Minor Leagues that can take a walk and do damage."

Right-hander Walker Lockett traded to Cleveland for right-hander Ignacio Feliz

Lockett was always a likely casualty of the roster crunch, and the Padres were pleased with their return for the 24-year-old right-hander. Feliz made 10 starts for the Indians in the Arizona Rookie League, and the 19-year-old posted a 3.00 ERA.

"It's a good arm at the lower levels of the Minor Leagues," Preller said. "We felt like he was a really good get, and he's another guy who we have time in our system to develop and grow and give him a chance to perform."

Lockett spent most of last season at Triple-A El Paso, but he made four big league appearances and allowed 16 runs in 15 innings.

Right-hander Rowan Wick traded to the Cubs for infielder Jason Vosler

Wick, like Brewer, had a case to remain on the 40-man if he weren't dealt. But the Padres landed a high-upside infielder in Vosler, who slugged 23 homers between Double-A and Triple-A in the Cubs' system last year. He batted .251/.340/.467, while playing first, second and third base, and he'll go into camp with a chance to compete for a utility role on the Opening Day roster.

Wick, meanwhile, posted a 6.48 ERA over 10 appearances in his big league-debut season in 2018.

3B Villanueva, IF Spangenberg, RHP Colin Rea and SS Allen Cordoba designated for assignment

Rea and Cordoba hardly qualify as surprises. Both dealt with serious injury issues in 2018. Cordoba, a former Rule 5 selection himself, missed the first half of the year with a concussion, and when he returned, he didn't play a game above Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. Rea, meanwhile, hasn't been the same since his '16 Tommy John surgery, and he posted a 5.73 ERA in the Minors this year.

As for Villanueva, he appears destined for Japan. The Padres intend to sell his contract rights to a team in Japan, likely the Yomiuri Giants, according to sources. That move opens the Padres' third-base job even more. At this point, it's a near certainty they add another infielder this offseason.

Meanwhile, Spangenberg was due a raise in his second year of arbitration. In all likelihood, that was the driving force behind the Padres' decision to cut ties with him and not fellow infielders Carlos Asuaje and Jose Pirela. Preller, however, refuted that notion. 

"We feel like we have other options and other possibilities that fit a little bit better, some younger players we're going to give opportunity to," Preller said. "He gets a fresh start and a chance to go outside and do something different. From a numbers standpoint, we just felt like we had other options we felt were better fits for our ballclub and our roster setup. It was a tough decision."

Spangenberg, the Padres' first-round Draft selection in 2011, batted .258/.318/.391 in five seasons with the club. But his on-base percentage dipped below .300 in '18, and there wasn't going to be much playing time available in '19 with infield prospects Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr. eventually in the mix.

On the whole, the seven additions and subtractions mean the club's 40-man roster remains full. Further trades or signings of big league players would require other players be removed from the roster.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Pedro Avila, Allen Cordoba, Anderson Espinoza, Edward Olivares, Chris Paddack, Colin Rea, Gerardo Reyes, Cory Spangenberg, Christian Villanueva

Allen among AFL's top Statcast performers

MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

Analytical information isn't always easy to come by in the Arizona Fall League. It's why MLB Pipeline so often relies on scouts in attendance as well as services like TrackMan to help provide the measureables (e.g., velocity, home-to-first times, catcher pop times, etc.) we use in our AFL game stories.

Statcast™ data is available for games at Salt River Fields, the Spring Training home of the D-backs and Rockies and the AFL home to the Salt River Rafters. The only caveat is that Salt River is one of six fields used in the Fall League, meaning lists of the top performances are often skewed, for better or worse, toward the players with the largest sample sizes at that ballpark.

Analytical information isn't always easy to come by in the Arizona Fall League. It's why MLB Pipeline so often relies on scouts in attendance as well as services like TrackMan to help provide the measureables (e.g., velocity, home-to-first times, catcher pop times, etc.) we use in our AFL game stories.

Statcast™ data is available for games at Salt River Fields, the Spring Training home of the D-backs and Rockies and the AFL home to the Salt River Rafters. The only caveat is that Salt River is one of six fields used in the Fall League, meaning lists of the top performances are often skewed, for better or worse, toward the players with the largest sample sizes at that ballpark.

For that reason, Statcast™ data from the AFL should be taken with a grain of salt and by no means be viewed as a sure-fire predictor of future success.

At the same time, such raw data can still effectively shine light on certain physical tools, giving evaluators a general idea about whether a player is capable of the type of physical feats that are commonplace in the Major Leagues.

Below is a look at the players who ranked near the top in four different Statcast™ categories for the 2018 Arizona Fall League.

AFL top exit velocities (in mph)
116.4 -- Daniel Johnson, Nationals (groundout)
116.3 -- Peter Alonso, Mets (double)
114.8 -- Sam Hilliard, Rockies (home run)
114.7 -- Trent Giambrone, Cubs (single)
114.6 -- Monte Harrison, Marlins (single)
113.8 -- Peter Alonso, Mets (home run)
113.5 -- Darick Hall, Phillies (single)
112.9 -- Jaylin Davis, Twins (double)
112.5 -- Austin Allen, Padres (lineout)
111.8 -- Jazz Chisholm, D-backs (home run)

MLB Pipeline No. 1 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s 117-mph double, as recorded by TrackMan, off the left-field fence during the Fall Stars Game likely will be remembered as the hardest-hit ball of the 2018 AFL season. However, it was Nationals No. 7 prospect Daniel Johnson who posted the Fall League's highest recorded exit velo on Oct. 10 at Salt River Fields on a groundout to shortstop.

Johnson, 23, batted .145 over 18 games in the Fall League this year, but still made a major impression with his raw tools. In addition to showing pop in his left-handed bat, he also showcased elite sprint speed at 30.7 feet per second (above 30 is elite) while running to first base on the same play.

The only player to appear twice on the above list is Alonso, who recorded his 116.3-mph double and 113.8-mph home run in the same game on Oct. 24. Alonso not only hit his double harder than any ball hit by a Mets player in 2018, but harder than any ball a Mets player has hit since Statcast™ started tracking data in '15.

Video: Peter Alonso on Fall League, Mets' Statcast™ mark

The Mets' No. 2 prospect (No. 58 overall) finished tied for first with six AFL home runs -- seven including the booming solo shot (110-mph exit velo) he hit off Nate Pearson (on a 103-mph fastball) to center field in the Fall Stars Game.

White Sox No. 1 prospect Eloy Jimenez (No. 3 overall) set the Statcast™ record for exit velocity in the AFL in 2016, when he blistered a ground ball at 119.4 mph. After that, it's this year's top four -- Johnson, Alonso, Hilliard and Giambrone -- rounding out the top five spots on the all-time list.

Top fastball velocities (in mph)
100.9 -- Justin Lawrence, Rockies
100.5 -- Justin Lawrence, Rockies
100.5 -- Justin Lawrence, Rockies
100.4 -- Justin Lawrence, Rockies
100.4 -- Nate Pearson, Blue Jays
100.2 -- Nate Pearson, Blue Jays
100.1 -- Nate Pearson, Blue Jays
100.0 -- Justin Lawrence, Rockies
99.8 -- Justin Lawrence, Rockies
99.8 -- Nate Pearson, Blue Jays

Those who tuned into the Fall Stars Game saw Pearson, the Blue Jays' No. 4 prospect (No. 90 overall), push the radar gun up to 104 mph while consistently hitting 103 during an eye-popping first inning. Forrest Whitley (Astros' No. 2, No. 8 overall) and Angels righty Brett Hanewich also hit triple digits in the game, while Melvin Adon's (Giants' No. 19) fastball topped out at 102.

Outside of that game, the top four fastball velocities in this year's Fall League belonged to Lawrence (Rockies' No. 17), whose 100.9-mph heater on Oct. 27 was the AFL's top recorded velocity in a regular-season game since Mauricio Cabrera threw 103.1 in 2015. Lawrence occupies six of 10 spots on the list, while the remaining four belong to Pearson.

If we turn on the Lawrence/Pearson filter, Dauris Valdez (Padres), a 6-foot-8 right-hander, stands out as the only hurler to appear inside the top 20 on the Statcast™ leaderboard after throwing three fastballs that registered at either 99.6 or 99.7 mph.

Top spin rates (four-seam fastball; in rpm)
2,872 -- Darwinzon Hernandez, Red Sox
2,841 -- J.B. Bukauskas, Astros
2,823 -- J.B. Bukauskas, Astros
2,804 -- J.B. Bukauskas, Astros
2,801 -- J.B. Bukauskas, Astros
2,775 -- J.B. Bukauskas, Astros
2,769 -- J.B. Bukauskas, Astros
2,766 -- J.B. Bukauskas, Astros
2,763 - Jesus Tinoco, Rockies
2,769 -- J.B. Bukauskas, Astros

Scouts have long wondered how Hernandez's stuff might translate in short bursts out the bullpen, and in this year's AFL, the Red Sox's No. 7 prospect showed it translates quite well. He posted the top four-seam fastball spin rate and consistently blew away hitters with 97-98-mph velocity, finishing with a 1.59 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings across eight appearances for Mesa.

Meanwhile, it's fair to wonder whether Bukauskas, as an undersized right-hander with an electric, high-spin-rate heater at 97-98 mph and a wipeout slider in the upper 80s, might be best suited for a bullpen role long term. In six starts for Scottsdale, the Astros' No. 8 prospect compiled a 3.33 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 10 walks in 24 1/3 innings.

Video: Bukauskas on his Fall League win over Peoria

Also finishing in the Top 20 in the category were Erasmo Pinales (Astros, 2,745 rpm), Nolan Long (Dodgers, 2,742) and Devin Smeltzer (Twins, 2,741).

Top spin rates (curveball; in rpm)
3,239 -- Trent Thornton, Blue Jays
3,235 -- Trent Thornton, Blue Jays
3,231 -- Trent Thornton, Blue Jays
3,227 -- Jordan Sheffield, Dodgers
3,217 -- Jordan Sheffield, Dodgers
3,207 -- Jordan Sheffield, Dodgers
3,193 -- Trent Thornton, Blue Jays
3,143 -- Darwinzon Hernandez, Red Sox
3,113 -- Jordan Sheffield, Dodgers
3,121 -- Trent Thornton, Blue Jays

The nasty curveball that Thornton showed out of Scottsdale's bullpen surely caught the attention of the Blue Jays, as they acquired him from Houston earlier this week, just days after the AFL season's completion. That pitch, paired with a 93-95-mph fastball, gives the right-hander a chance for success as either a starter or reliever.

Sheffield's (Dodgers' No. 26) best curveballs trailed Thornton's only slightly in terms of spin rate, and he showed the ability to set up the pitch with a fastball that was consistently 96-97 mph out of the bullpen.

Hernandez's appearance on both spin-rate leaderboards suggests he might own the best two pitches in the Fall League. Long (2,930 rpm) also checks in on both leaderboards, while Marlins No. 17 prospect Jordan Yamamoto (2,920) and Reds righty Wyatt Strahan (2,911) are both inside the top 20 on the Statcast™ leaderboard with their respective curveball spin rates.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Tatis Jr. launched a massive bat flip

Nineteen-year-olds are supposed to be skateboarding in abandoned parking lots and filming terrible YouTube vlogs. The Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr., the No. 2 prospect in baseball, is out there crushing pitchers instead. After bashing 16 home runs in Double-A during the regular season, Tatis headed to the Dominican Winter League to play for Estrellas Orientales. 

Looks like he'll need a bigger challenge.

See who's new on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Is the Hall of Fame ballot "logjam" almost at an end?

With the Baseball Writers' Association of America electing a record 16 candidates over the past five years, including at least two per year, Cooperstown has been plenty busy in recent summers. While plenty of holdovers remain on the ballot, the clock continues to tick on their candidacies, and this year's voting figures to say a lot about their ultimate chances of being elected.

Is the Hall of Fame ballot "logjam" almost at an end?

With the Baseball Writers' Association of America electing a record 16 candidates over the past five years, including at least two per year, Cooperstown has been plenty busy in recent summers. While plenty of holdovers remain on the ballot, the clock continues to tick on their candidacies, and this year's voting figures to say a lot about their ultimate chances of being elected.

In the meantime, a host of name-brand stars have entered the fray, headlined by one legend who figures to get Yankees fans flocking upstate in July. Below is a look at the players on the 2019 BBWAA ballot, announced Monday by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with an early guess on their Cooperstown fates. The election results will be announced on Jan. 22, live on MLB Network.

Video: 2019 Hall of Fame ballot includes 20 newcomers

FIRST-BALLOT LOCK

Mariano Rivera
Closers typically face a divisive electorate when it comes to the Hall, but with a record 652 saves and an incredible 0.70 postseason ERA, Rivera is really in a class of his own. Rivera's induction could challenge the record crowd of 82,000 that saw Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. receive their plaques in 2007, with Derek Jeter's certain election in 2020 figuring to do the same.

Video: Yankees Retired Number: No. 42, Mariano Rivera

FIRST-BALLOT INTRIGUE

Roy Halladay
A pair of Cy Youngs and a pair of no-hitters (including one in the postseason) would figure to get the late Halladay over the hump. But his 203 wins may seem paltry to more traditional voters, and we just saw another ace from Halladay's era, Johan Santana, go one-and-done with just 2.4 percent of the vote. The guess here is that Halladay gets in, however, and perhaps even squeaks through on his first ballot.

Video: MLB remembers the greatness of Roy Halladay

Todd Helton
Only 19 players since 1900 have accrued 5,000 plate appearances and put up a .300/.400/.500 slash line, and Helton is one of them. But so is Helton's former teammate Larry Walker, who's entering his ninth year on the ballot as a longshot. Voters are still wrapping their heads around the Coors Field factor, so Helton's candidacy could be debated for a while.

Andy Pettitte
Postseason moments are strong boosters for election, and no pitcher has more wins in October than Pettitte. But the lefty's 3.85 career ERA and his admission to using human growth hormone might ultimately leave him just shy of the Plaque Gallery.

Video: Yankees retired number: No. 46, Andy Pettitte

LAST CHANCE

Edgar Martinez
Martinez's candidacy has a full head of steam, jumping from 58.6 percent to 70.4 percent last year. Will 2019 finally be Edgar's time? Last year, the Tacoma News Tribune pointed out that each of the past 10 players who received between 70-74 percent of the BBWAA vote gained election the very next year, and every candidate who's crossed the 70-percent threshold has eventually gotten into Cooperstown via either the BBWAA or a Veterans Committee.

With Rivera being the only first-ballot lock, the guess here is that a little more room on the ballot, coupled with the urgency of Martinez's final-year push, convinces a final few voters to check off the Seattle slugger's name.

Video: Martinez looking ahead to 2019 Hall of Fame vote

Fred McGriff
McGriff's Cooperstown case, which includes a 134 adjusted OPS+ and 493 home runs, might be better than you think. But the Crime Dog would need a miraculous jump after his name appeared on only 23.2 percent of ballots last year.

NOTABLE RETURNEES

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens
More voters are beginning to look past performance-enhancing drug allegations and choosing to view Bonds and Clemens as indispensable legends of the game. But there's still a large block of voters that will never vote for this pair, and they still have about 20 percent more ground to make up in next four years.

Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling
Their career lines are similar, but Mussina has jumped ahead, arguably due to Schilling's off-field transgressions. After languishing below 25 percent as recently as 2015, Mussina's 63.5-percent total last year has him on the doorstep with five years to go.

Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa
Ramirez's multiple suspensions for PEDs has left him with a long uphill climb to election. Sosa debuted alongside Bonds on the ballot with 609 home runs, but his relatively low average and on-base percentage -- plus PED suspicions -- have kept him from getting sufficient support.

Larry Walker
As mentioned, the Coors factor has held back Walker -- though he was a better road hitter than you might remember. He'll likely run out of time on the BBWAA ballot, but could be viewed more favorably by a Veterans Committee down the road.

Omar Vizquel
Vizquel made a solid start at 37 percent in his ballot debut last winter. He compares well to defense-first Hall of Fame shortstops Luis Aparicio and Ozzie Smith, but his career 82 OPS+ will keep many voters away.

Video: MLB Network debates if Vizquel will make Hall of Fame

Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen
These two defined their positions defensively and brought plenty of power in their primes. Their candidacies stayed alive in Year 1, but each player needs momentum in the voting.

Jeff Kent, Gary Sheffield and Billy Wagner
All three of these players have their mainstay voters, but have had trouble building momentum. Their best-case scenarios are to get somewhere within 20 percent before their 10th year on the ballot and hope for a massive final-year push.

FIRST-TIMERS WHO COULD GET A SECOND CHANCE

Lance Berkman
Berkman's career line has some gaudy numbers, including a 144 OPS+ that ranks among the top 30 in history. But longevity will be an issue -- Berkman logged only eight seasons in which he played in at least 140 games.

Roy Oswalt
The former Astros ace posted two 20-win seasons and placed within the top five in Cy Young Award voting five times. But Oswalt's 163 wins and 2,245 1/3 innings will have trouble convincing even new-school voters to write down his name.

Video: Duquette looks back at Oswalt's 13-year career

LIKELY ONE AND DONE (less than 5 percent of vote)

Rick Ankiel (13 wins and 51 appearances as a pitcher, 462 hits as an outfielder)
Jason Bay (2004 NL Rookie of the Year, 121 OPS+)
Freddy Garcia (156 wins, 2001 AL ERA title)
Jon Garland (136 wins, 2005 World Series champion)
Travis Hafner (213 HR, tied MLB record with six grand slams in 2006)
Ted Lilly (130 wins, 1,681 SO)
Derek Lowe (176 wins and 86 saves)
Darren Oliver (766 appearances)
Juan Pierre (2,217 hits, 614 SB)
Placido Polanco (.297 BA, 2006 ALCS MVP)
Miguel Tejada (816 XBH, 2002 AL MVP)
Vernon Wells (270 HR, 2003 AL hit crown)
Kevin Youkilis (.382 OBP, 123 OPS+)
Michael Young (.300 BA, 2,375 hits)

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Prospect Reed amazed by AFL walk-off HR

The World Series may have ended in October, but there was still some MLB-affiliated baseball to be played in the 2018 season. That's thanks to the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League, where the best youngsters came together to show off their skills for a final few weeks before heading home for the winter. 

The season reached its peak on Saturday afternoon as the Peoria Javelinas defeated the Salt River Rafters, 3-2, in the AFL Championship game. The Javelinas came back to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth when the Brewers' No. 1 prospect and AFL MVP Keston Hiura hit a single up the middle to send it to extras. 

3 prospects from '18 Draft starting strong

San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

As long as a player puts on a professional uniform, the dream of reaching the Major Leagues can come true.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

As long as a player puts on a professional uniform, the dream of reaching the Major Leagues can come true.

Just ask Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza. He was the Dodgers' 62nd-round pick in the 1988 draft.

There are no longer more than 60 rounds to the annual MLB Draft. But there are still lower-round picks.

Three position players -- infielders Lee Solomon and Sean Guilbe and outfielder Jawuan Harris -- taken by the Padres outside the first five rounds of the 2018 Draft put themselves on the radar this summer with strong starts in Arizona.

The trio of right-handed hitters now rank among the top 90 prospects in the Padres' system. A deeper look at the three:

- Harris was the Padres' seventh-round pick (201st overall) out of Rutgers University in New Jersey. Harris, 22, was a two-sport star at Rutgers -- a center fielder in baseball and a safety in football after being recruited as a wide receiver.

A 5-foot-9, 195-pound native of Pembroke Pines, Fla., Harris spent his first professional summer in the Arizona Rookie League.

Although he hit only .225 (36-for-160), Harris drew 29 walks and finished with a .360 on-base percentage over 49 games. He also stole 14 bases and had seven doubles, four triples and three homers for a .375 slugging percentage and .735 OPS. He scored 23 runs with 20 RBIs.

- Guilbe was the Padres' 12th-round pick out of Muhlenberg High School in Reading, Pa. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound second baseman played 40 games in Arizona after signing.

Like Harris, Guilbe had some interesting splits in his first professional summer. He finished with a .218 batting average (29-for-133) and struck out 62 times, but he also drew 40 walks for a .409 on-base percentage and had 10 doubles, a triple and five homers for a .421 slugging percentage resulting in a .830 OPS.

Guilbe scored 19 runs and drove in 15 runs with six steals.

- Solomon, the Padres' 25th-round draft pick out of Lipscomb University in Tennessee, had the most successful all-around summer of the trio. The 5-foot-10, 202-pound second baseman spent the summer with the Padres-1 in Arizona while the younger Guilbe played the same position for the Padres-2.

Solomon hit .298 (45-for-151) in 41 games with eight doubles, two triples and seven home runs with 27 runs scored and 30 RBIs. He also drew 15 walks with six steals. Solomon had a .365 slugging percentage and a .517 slugging percentage for a .882 OPS.

San Diego Padres

Next year's top free agents -- 1 for each team

Sale, Arenado among marquee players who could hit the market
MLB.com @williamfleitch

Free-agent season is just getting started, and one of the challenges of assessing free agents sometimes can be separating what they did in the last year of their most recent contract and what they can expect to do in the future. There's not a ton of evidence that players are healthier or better in their contract year than they are the rest of their career, but teams can't help but bid sometimes on what they saw most recently.

So, today, we look at the most prominent pending free agent for next year, the guys who will be playing for their next contract in 2019. These are the names we'll be talking about a year from now come Hot Stove time … though the sort of offers they'll get will depend on what happens next season.

Free-agent season is just getting started, and one of the challenges of assessing free agents sometimes can be separating what they did in the last year of their most recent contract and what they can expect to do in the future. There's not a ton of evidence that players are healthier or better in their contract year than they are the rest of their career, but teams can't help but bid sometimes on what they saw most recently.

So, today, we look at the most prominent pending free agent for next year, the guys who will be playing for their next contract in 2019. These are the names we'll be talking about a year from now come Hot Stove time … though the sort of offers they'll get will depend on what happens next season.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Justin Smoak
The Blue Jays actually have several big free agents coming up -- Russell Martin, Kendrys Morales, Yangervis Solarte -- but Smoak is coming off the best season of any of them.

Orioles: Mark Trumbo
That hefty contract he signed before the 2017 hasn't paid off well for the Orioles, and the market has definitely contracted for players like Trumbo since.

Rays: None
Think the Rays are meticulous planners? They have no impending free agents on their team at all. Even Tommy Pham, who is 30 and playing on a minimum contract, has three years of team control.

Red Sox: Chris Sale
The final year of that team-friendly deal he signed in 2013 is finally upon us, and he could be the most coveted a free agent a year from now. Xander Bogaerts is also poised to hit the market, and J.D. Martinez has an opt-out in his deal, so the Red Sox could look a lot different in 2020.

Video: WS2018 Gm5: Sale strikes out the side to clinch WS

Yankees: Didi Gregorius
This is a player who could make himself a lot of money with a terrific 2019, but he just underwent Tommy John surgery and could miss a decent chunk of the year.

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Jason Kipnis
The Indians have three "expensive" players with club options -- Kipnis, Edwin Encarnacion and Corey Kluber -- and Kipnis seems like the one they're least likely to pick up.

Royals: Alex Gordon
It is extremely unlikely that the club will pick up his $23 million mutual option.

Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
He could be a sleeper option for someone next offseason … and an obvious Trade Deadline candidate.

Twins: Kyle Gibson
He was sneakily the Twins' best pitcher this year. If he can do that again, he could be another Kyle Lohse.

White Sox: Jose Abreu
Both Abreu and Avisail Garcia seem like obvious Trade Deadline candidates this year. It's a little surprising neither has been traded already.

Video: Abreu expresses emotions after Silver Slugger win

AL WEST

Angels: None
Here's another team with no pending free agents. Unfortunately for the Angels, it's for very different reasons than the Rays. Mike Trout has just two years left, friends.

Astros: Gerrit Cole
Here's another pitcher who has made himself quite a bit more money in the last calendar year.

Video: ALCS Gm 2: Cole escapes a bases-loaded jam

Athletics: Khris Davis
Davis will be one of the most fascinating free-agent cases next season. If the A's are excellent again, that'll help.

Mariners: Felix Hernandez
There might be no pitcher in baseball whom the sport will be cheering for to have a great final (?) season in Seattle.

Rangers: Drew Smyly
He'll be on his way out the door before most Rangers fans had a chance to even say hello.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Arodys Vizcaino
He might quietly be the best closer on the market next season.

Marlins: Martin Prado
That extension he signed after the 2016 season feels like it happened in a different lifetime.

Mets: Todd Frazier
Whatever you think of the Mets, they don't have many long-term contracts laying around the roster anymore.

Nationals: Anthony Rendon
It's possible the biggest contract next season might end up going to Rendon.

Video: WSH@COL: Rendon drives an RBI triple to center field

Phillies: Tommy Hunter
The Phillies are clearly ready to spend this offseason, and they should be.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Jhoulys Chacin
He ended up being their best pitcher last season. Do that again, and he might be one of the top starters on the market.

Cardinals: Marcell Ozuna
If he has the year in 2019 that the Cardinals had wanted him to have in 2018 he might end up the big-ticket item next winter.

Cubs: Cole Hamels
The arbitration hearings are starting to pile up for all those young Cubs stars.

Video: Cubs pick up Hamels' option, deal Smyly to Texas

Pirates: Francisco Cervelli
One of the most underrated catchers in the game. Corey Dickerson's deal will be up too.

Reds: Scooter Gennett
Has any player raised his profile more in the last two seasons than Gennett?

NL WEST

D-backs: Paul Goldschmidt
There are some trade rumors swirling around Goldschmidt, so it's possible he isn't with Arizona next winter when he hits the market.

Dodgers: Yasiel Puig
In case you were wondering whether next year's Hot Stove will lack for hot takes … it will not.

Giants: Pablo Sandoval
That deal he signed with the Red Sox finally expires next year, presuming the Giants don't pick up the club option.

Padres: Craig Stammen
Stammen is destined to be the reliever your team signs whom you're not excited about but is the only reliever you trust in September.

Rockies: Nolan Arenado
Surely they're going to get an extension done at some point … right? Otherwise he's all we'll be talking about next winter.

Video: Nolan Arenado honored to be MVP finalist

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Jose Abreu, Nolan Arenado, Nicholas Castellanos, Francisco Cervelli, Jhoulys Chacin, Gerrit Cole, Khris Davis, Todd Frazier, Scooter Gennett, Kyle Gibson, Paul Goldschmidt, Alex Gordon, Didi Gregorius, Cole Hamels, Felix Hernandez, Tommy Hunter, Jason Kipnis, Marcell Ozuna, Martin Prado, Yasiel Puig, Anthony Rendon, Chris Sale, Pablo Sandoval, Justin Smoak, Drew Smyly, Craig Stammen, Mark Trumbo, Arodys Vizcaino

Diaz strikes out five in AFL championship

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Braxton Davidson delivered one of the most dramatic home runs in Arizona Fall League history, propelling the Peoria Javelinas to their second consecutive championship Saturday afternoon.

The Braves first baseman hammered a 2-1 pitch up in the strike zone from Salt River Rafters left-hander Taylor Guilbeau (Nationals) to give Peoria a 3-2 victory in the bottom of the 10th inning. Davidson's blast cleared the picnic area above the right-field bullpen at Scottsdale Stadium, making the Javelinas the only team to successfully defend their AFL title besides the 2004-08 Phoenix Desert Dogs. He apparently injured himself as he celebrated while rounding the bases and was taken to a nearby hospital to check on a possible fracture in his left foot.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Braxton Davidson delivered one of the most dramatic home runs in Arizona Fall League history, propelling the Peoria Javelinas to their second consecutive championship Saturday afternoon.

The Braves first baseman hammered a 2-1 pitch up in the strike zone from Salt River Rafters left-hander Taylor Guilbeau (Nationals) to give Peoria a 3-2 victory in the bottom of the 10th inning. Davidson's blast cleared the picnic area above the right-field bullpen at Scottsdale Stadium, making the Javelinas the only team to successfully defend their AFL title besides the 2004-08 Phoenix Desert Dogs. He apparently injured himself as he celebrated while rounding the bases and was taken to a nearby hospital to check on a possible fracture in his left foot.

:: Complete coveraege of the 2018 AFL championship game ::

A first-round pick in 2014, Davidson struggled mightily during the regular season in High Class A. He homered 20 times but also batted just .171 and struck out 213 times (second in the Minors) with a whiff rate of 44 percent. His feast-or-famine results continued in Arizona, where he tied for the regular-season home run lead with six but also ranked second with 31 strikeouts while batting .227.

The only other walkoff in AFL championship game history also came from a Braves first-base prospect. Mike Hessman hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run rally in the ninth in 2001, providing the Desert Dogs with their first title. Hessman retired in 2015 with a Minor League-record 433 homers, and also went deep 14 times in 109 big league games over five seasons.

While Davidson was the biggest hero for the Javelinas, he wasn't the only standout in the Fall League finale. Here are seven more:

Miguel Diaz, RHP, Peoria (Padres): Diaz didn't produce the cleanest line as the Javelina's starter, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings. But he did strike out five, pitched at 94-98 mph with his fastball and also recorded strikeouts with his slider and changeup. While he doesn't look like he has the command to stick in a rotation, he could make for an interesting bullpen weapon.

Video: SRR@PEJ: Diaz fans 5 in Fall League Championship

Lucius Fox, SS, Peoria (Rays): Fox is still a work in progress but shows the potential to become a top-of-the-order catalyst. He drew two walks and used his well above-average speed to steal a base, then laced a pitch from nasty sidearming right-hander Justin Lawrence (Rockies) into the left-center gap for an opposite-field double during the game-tying two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth.

Monte Harrison, OF, Salt River (Marlins): After topping the Minors with 215 strikeouts during the regular season, Harrison toned down his approach throughout the fall. He fell behind 1-2 in the count during his first at-bat against Diaz but didn't panic or try to do too much, grounding a single up the middle to drive in the game's first run. He went hitless in his next three plate appearances but saw 17 pitches while doing so.

Video: SRR@PEJ: Harrison opens scoring with single to center

Keston Hiura, 2B, Peoria (Brewers): The league MVP and one of the best pure hitting prospects in the game, Hiura managed only a walk in his first four trips to the plate. Then he displayed his measured approach in the ninth, grounding a single up the middle against Lawrence to score Fox and tie the game 2-2.

Video: SRR@PEJ: Miller, Hiura key rally to tie the game

Carter Kieboom, 2B, Salt River (Nationals): Another of baseball's best hitting prospects, Kieboom had a hand in both of Salt River's runs, scoring after getting hit by a pitch in the second and singling to set up a run in the fourth. Normally a shortstop, he displayed a strong arm while turning two double plays at second.

Jesus Tinoco, RHP, Salt River (Rockies): Tinoco had the most effective fastball among the game's 11 relievers. He relied almost solely on his heat, working from 94-98 mph with good life and retiring six of the seven batters he faced. He needed just 19 pitches to breeze through two innings and fanned Hudson Potts (Padres) on a 97-mph fastball.

Video: SRR@PEJ: Yamamoto K's 6 over 4 scoreless innings

Jordan Yamamoto, RHP, Salt River (Marlins): Yamamoto blanked Peoria for five innings on Monday and again for four innings in the championship game. As usual, his best pitch was his curveball, and he also spotted his fastball (which sat around 90 mph) and mixed in some effective sliders and changeups. He walked five, including three in a row in the third, but allowed just two hits and struck out six (four on curves).

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

30 ROY candidates for 2019 -- 1 for each team

MLB.com

On Monday, Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. were named Rookie of the Year in the American and National Leagues, respectively. But they were far from the only first-year players to make an impact in the big leagues in 2018.

It would be difficult to find a team in the history of the modern game who went through an entire season without needing to use its farm system. Sometimes, jobs are given to rookies on Opening Day, as was the case with Ohtani and the Angels. Other times, a player has to wait to be called up to make an impact, just like Acuna did with the Braves.

On Monday, Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. were named Rookie of the Year in the American and National Leagues, respectively. But they were far from the only first-year players to make an impact in the big leagues in 2018.

It would be difficult to find a team in the history of the modern game who went through an entire season without needing to use its farm system. Sometimes, jobs are given to rookies on Opening Day, as was the case with Ohtani and the Angels. Other times, a player has to wait to be called up to make an impact, just like Acuna did with the Braves.

In 2018, both prospects entered the season as Rookie of the Year contenders, if not front-runners, in each league. But sometimes Rookies of the Year come on unexpectedly. With that in mind, here is a potential ROY candidate from each organization.

AL East

Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B
There's a strong case to made that Guerrero, MLB Pipeline's No. 1 overall prospect, should have reached the Majors last season, even with the Blue Jays' struggles. But he didn't and ultimately finished with an absurd .381/.437/.636 line and 20 home runs while reaching Triple-A at age 19. His bat is 100 percent ready for the highest level, and once there, Guerrero is a candidate to run away with top rookie honors in the AL, regardless of when he arrives.

Video: EAST@WEST: Guerrero Jr. doubles, advances on error

Orioles: Yusniel Diaz, OF
The Orioles' key acquisition in the deadline deal that sent Manny Machado to Hollywood, Diaz is yet to tap into his above-average raw power but has a good idea of what he's doing at the plate, as evidenced by his .285/.392/.449 slash line and 11-homer last season in Double-A. Some other internal options may get first crack in either right or left field as the Orioles rebuild, but Diaz should become an everyday guy for them before long.

Rays: Brandon Lowe, 2B
Lowe struggled initially upon reaching the Majors, going 0-for-19 following his debut on Aug. 5. After that, however, he slashed .273/.357/.527 with six homers in 37 games to finish the year with a career-high 28 home runs between Double-A, Triple-A and MLB. He also finished with 129 at-bats, leaving him two ABs short of exhausting his rookie eligibility. Like so many young Rays players, Lowe has the defensive versatility that could make him a near regular for Tampa Bay in 2019.

Red Sox: Michael Chavis, 3B
The defending World Series champions have a depleted farm system and few opportunities at the big league level. One of the better power-hitting prospects in the upper Minors, Chavis could contribute if Rafael Devers struggles again or the need for a right-handed-hitting first baseman arises.

Yankees: Justus Sheffield, LHP
The Yankees' greatest need is starting pitching, and Sheffield should crack the Opening Day rotation. His fastball, slider and changeup all can be three plus pitches, so it won't be a shock if he's New York's second-best starter after Luis Severino.

Video: Mayo gives some 2019 AL Rookie of the Year contenders

AL Central

Indians: Yu Chang, SS
Though he continues to face an uphill battle towards carving out a spot in Cleveland's infield, Chang, a member of the Tribe's 40-man roster, saw increased reps at third base during the regular season and regular time there in the Arizona Fall League, suggesting the hot corner could be his path of least resistance. He has the hitting ability and raw power to profile there, as well as the defensive versatility to handle a utility role.

Royals: Nicky Lopez, SS/2B
Lopez is blocked at the moment by Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi, but he's also sound in all phases of the game and has nothing left to prove in Triple-A. He should open the season in nothing less than a utility role and should claim at least semi-regular at-bats.

Tigers: Christin Stewart, OF
He's hit at least 25 homers in each of his three full seasons of pro ball and hit a pair of homers in 60 big league at-bats this past September. Stewart has improved his overall approach, drawing a lot more walks, while still hitting balls out of the park, something that should continue with a full-time gig in Detroit next season.

Twins: Stephen Gonsalves, RHP
The left-hander didn't fare well during his first taste of the big leagues in 2018, but he had a fantastic year, mostly in Triple-A, finishing second in the system in ERA and fifth in strikeouts, while keeping hitters to a combined .184 BAA. Gonsalves' upside might be limited, but he's ready to be a mid-rotation starter.

White Sox: Eloy Jimenez, OF
If anyone can challenge Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero for the title of best offensive prospect in baseball, it's Jimenez. Ready last summer but kept in the Minors for service-time considerations, he'll be the foundation the White Sox build their lineup around.

Watch: Jimenez crushes 12th homer for Charlotte

AL West

Athletics: Jesus Luzardo, LHP
Luzardo nearly reached the Majors in 2018 in what was his first full pro campaign as well as his first fully healthy, unimpeded season since his Tommy John surgery in mid-2016. Altogether, the left-hander (in his age-20 season) compiled a 2.88 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 129 strikeouts and 30 walks in 109 1/3 innings while ascending from Class A Advanced to Triple-A. The A's will be without many of the starting pitchers that were lost due to injuries last season, so expect Luzardo to receive an earnest look during spring training.

Angels: Griffin Canning, RHP
The UCLA product projected as an advanced college arm and lived up to that advanced billing, racing all the way to Triple-A in his first full season. His four-pitch mix with excellent command allowed him to miss bats all the way up the ladder and is why he is just about ready to hit the Angels' rotation.

Astros: Kyle Tucker, OF
The No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, Tucker has recorded back-to-back 20-20 seasons in the upper Minors. His Triple-A line (.332/.400/.590) is much more representative of his upside than the numbers from his big league debut (.141/.236/.203).

Watch: Tucker crushes game-tying homer

Mariners: Wyatt Mills, RHP
Viewed by scouts as a potential fast-riser when the Mariners took him in the third round of the 2017 Draft, Mills, 23, was just that in his first full season as he reached Double-A and followed it with an impressive turn in the Arizona Fall League. With right-handed delivery and profile that resembles Steve Cisheck's as well as comparable stuff, Mills has all the ingredients needed to become an impactful bullpen piece in 2019.

Rangers: Yohander Mendez, LHP
Mendez's prospect luster has dimmed a bit over the last two years, yet that won't prevent him from fitting in the middle of the Rangers' rotation. He still has a quality changeup but needs to refine his command and breaking ball.

NL East

Braves: Touki Tousssaint, RHP
The Braves have scores of young pitchers who could contend for Rookie of the Year honors next season. Toussaint gets the nod because of the pure stuff that helped him lead the system in ERA and strikeouts and because of how well his big league debut went, earning him a spot on the postseason roster.

Video: Mayo on potential 2019 NL Rookie of Year candidates

Marlins: Victor Mesa, OF
While there currently are quite a few unknowns with Mesa, whom Miami signed for $5.5 million on Oct. 22, the consensus is that the 22-year-old outfielder shouldn't require all too much seasoning in the Minor Leagues after his success in Cuba's Serie Nacional. His plus defense in center field gives him a high floor in the big leagues, and any offensive contributions that surpass expectations could make him a ROY candidate.

Phillies: Ranger Suarez, LHP
Suarez made four uneven appearances with Philadelphia in 2018, reaching the big leagues before he turned 23, and he's the kind of smart left-hander who will learn and make adjustments. He's moved very quickly since starting the 2017 season in A ball and should fit nicely into the back end of the young Phillies rotation.

Nationals: Victor Robles, OF
Robles has taken second chair to teenage superstar Juan Soto in the Nationals' long-term outfield outlook with good reason. Yet, the future remains incredibly bright for the now 21-year-old center fielder, who hit .288/.348/.525 with three homers and three steals over 21 games with the Nats after a right elbow injury cost him much of the Minor League season. That Robles is the club's projected Opening Day center fielder at the moment makes him a preseason ROY favorite in the NL.

Watch: Robles triples on four-hit night

Mets: Peter Alonso, 1B
New Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has said he isn't opposed to having Alonso start the year in New York, and for good reason. All the first baseman did in 2018 is tie for the Minor League lead in homers, while leading it outright in RBIs. More power was on display in the AFL, and he has nothing left to prove in the Minors.

NL Central

Brewers: Keston Hiura, 2B
The best hitter from the 2017 Draft class raked his way up to Double-A in his first full season, ultimately hitting .293/.357/.464 with 52 extra-base hits including 13 homers, and has been equally impressive in the Arizona Fall League, seemingly leaving him on the cusp of entering the Majors in'19. His knack for squaring up the baseball with authority to all fields is a truly special trait -- one that could make him a key Brewers run producer for a long time.

Cardinals: Dakota Hudson, RHP
Aside from some command issues (18 BB in 27 1/3 IP), Hudson was effective in relief for the big league club in 2018. It's a crowded rotation in St. Louis, so a relief gig might be his best full-time entry for the time being where his extreme ground-ball rate (2.03 GO/AO in his Minor League career) would play well.

Cubs: Duane Underwood, RHP
Underwood still needs some polish but was more aggressive and consistent in 2018 than he had been in years past. With a 92-97 mph fastball and a curveball that shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch, he could contribute in the bullpen and possibly the rotation.

Pirates: Mitch Keller, RHP
The Pirates often are cautious with their young pitching prospects, but look for Keller to push them hard in 2019. After struggling upon first reaching Triple-A at age 22, the right-hander then had a 2.86 ERA in August. Room will have to be made in Pittsburgh's rotation, but Keller will be ready to jump through it once the door is opened.

Watch: Keller records 10th K

Reds: Nick Senzel, INF
A finger injury, not to mention a bout with vertigo, greatly shortened his 2018 season, and that likely kept the No. 2 pick in the 2016 Draft from getting called up this past season. He's played several positions and was working on the outfield at instructs this fall to make sure there's a spot for his advanced bat in the big league lineup in 2019.

NL West

D-backs: Taylor Widener, RHP
Widener has made a very successful transition from reliever to starter and has put his 2015 elbow surgery in his rear-view mirror with two successful, and healthy, seasons in 2017 and 2018. This last year was his first with the D-backs and he led the system in ERA and strikeouts, while holding Southern League hitters to a .197 batting average against.

Dodgers: Alex Verdugo, OF
One of the best pure hitters in the Minors, Verdugo also offers developing power, a strong arm and the ability to play anywhere in the outfield. The only thing holding him back from being a slam-dunk Rookie of the Year candidate is a clear opening in the crowded Dodgers lineup.

Giants: Chris Shaw, OF
The best power hitter in the Giants system, Shaw made his first big league home run a tape-measure shot: 468 feet off a Seunghwan Oh slider. As of now, he looks like the frontrunner to start in left field for San Francisco.

Padres: Luis Urias, 2B/SS
Urias reached the Majors late in August and showed that he can do a little bit of everything before a groin injury prematurely ended his season after just 12 games. Assuming he's on the Padres' Opening Day roster, the 21-year-old could have an early advantage in the ROY based his ability to hit near the top of an order and make everyday contributions on both sides of the ball.

Rockies: Brendan Rodgers, SS
With DJ LeMahieu set to depart as a free agent, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 Draft is ready to replace him at second base. He has more offensive potential than most middle infielders and the versatility to play anywhere in the infield that he's needed.

Watch: Rodger hammers a solo blast

Tatis hits homer in first Winter League at-bat

The Padres' No. 1 prospect hadn't played since thumb surgery in July