Everything you need to know for Opening Day in the Arizona Fall League

October 2nd, 2023

October is here, and while that means postseason baseball in the bigs, it also signals the start of the 31st Arizona Fall League season.

Over the next six weeks, prospects from all 30 organizations will have the chance to build off their Minor League campaigns.

Last year, the AFL featured 10 of baseball's Top 100 prospects who went on to make their debuts in 2023, a group including the Cardinals' Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn, the D-backs' Jordan Lawlar, the Reds' Noelvi Marte and Matt McLain and the Yankees’ Jasson Domínguez. This season's rosters feature a unique blend of top-tier talent, with 10 Top 100 prospects and a host of other prospects heading to Arizona.

White Sox shortstop Colson Montgomery (No. 17) headlines Glendale’s lineup, Rays shortstop Carson Williams (No. 19) and Mariners catcher Harry Ford (No. 39) will play for Peoria and Blue Jays LHP Ricky Tiedemann (No. 31) will be on the bump for Surprise. Including the Top 100 prospects, there will be a total of 86 ranked prospects across the six different teams.

Each MLB team has sent at least six players to compete in the fall campaign, which runs from Oct. 2 through Nov. 11 at six Cactus League ballparks. The teams and their big league organizations are as follows: Glendale Desert Dogs (Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox, Twins, White Sox), Mesa Solar Sox (Astros, Athletics, Cubs, Orioles, Yankees), Peoria Javelinas (Guardians, Mariners, Marlins, Padres, Rays), Salt River Rafters (Braves, D-backs, Pirates, Rockies, Tigers), Scottsdale Scorpions (Angels, Cardinals, Giants, Phillies, Nationals) and Surprise Saguaros (Blue Jays, Brewers, Rangers, Reds, Royals).

This year, dozens of AFL games will be streamed for free on MLB.com and the Fall Stars Game (Nov. 5) and AFL Championship game (Nov. 11) will be broadcast on MLB Network.

In addition, the AFL Home Run Derby will return on Nov. 4 at Sloan Park in Mesa and be streamed. There will also be a tripleheader at Goodyear Ballpark (Spring Training home of the Guardians and Reds) on Oct. 14 and a doubleheader at Hohokam Stadium (Spring Training home of the A's) on Oct. 28.

For complete coverage of the AFL, visit the official league site at www.mlb.com/afl.

Top 100 prospects in the Fall League:
17. Colson Montgomery, SS, White Sox (Glendale)
19. Carson Williams, SS, Rays (Peoria)
31. Ricky Tiedemann, LHP, Blue Jays (Surprise)
39. Harry Ford, C, Mariners (Peoria)
54. Jackson Jobe, RHP, Tigers (Salt River)
58. Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Guardians (Peoria)
67. Jace Jung, 2B, Tigers (Salt River)
71. Kevin Alcántara, OF, Cubs (Mesa)
85. Chase DeLauter, OF, Guardians (Peoria)
89. Kevin Parada, C, Mets (Glendale)

Much like last year, the AFL players will be playing under a set of newly introduced rules. The list includes a modified pitch timer, new guidelines pertaining to basepaths and in continuation of this season in the Minors, an automated ball-strike challenge system.

Below is a summary of new playing rules that will be used during the Arizona Fall League:

  • PITCH TIMER: The clock will be set to 15 seconds between pitches with the bases empty and 18 seconds with runners on base. This is to find the optimal timing for the clock. So far MLB has experimented with 14/18, 15/19 and 17/17 in the Minor Leagues this season. The current clock in MLB is 15/20.
  • RUNNER’S LANE: The 45-foot runner’s lane will now focus on the runner having both feet in the dirt path as they run from home to first instead of focusing on the foul line. This is to allow right-handed hitters to run directly to first base.
  • BLOCKING BASES: Fielders will be required to give runners a lane to the base at every base, not just home plate. If a runner's lane is impeded, he will be called safe. This is to reduce injuries as well as make it easier for runners to stay on the base after sliding in.
  • WORKING OUT OF THE STRETCH: To reduce balks, pitchers are required to work from the stretch with runners on base rather than declaring if they are working out of the stretch or the windup.
  • RUNNING THROUGH SECOND BASE: On force plays runners will no longer be able to run through the base at second. This is in an effort to reduce confusion during reviews.

Opening Day probable starters:
Glendale (Zach Penrod, Red Sox) at Salt River (Jackson Jobe, Tigers), 9:30 p.m. ET
Peoria (Braden Nett, Padres) at Scottsdale (Jack Choate, Giants), 9:30 p.m. ET
Mesa (Royber Salinas, Athletics) at Surprise (Zak Kent, Rangers), 9:30 p.m. ET

Important Dates:
Oct. 2: Opening Day
Oct. 14: Goodyear Ballpark tripleheader starting at 3:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 28: Hohokam Stadium doubleheader starting at 6:30 p.m. ET
Nov. 4: Home Run Derby, Sloan Park, 9:30 p.m. ET
Nov. 5: Fall Stars Game, Sloan Park, 8 p.m. ET
Nov. 11: Championship Game, Scottsdale Stadium, 8 p.m. ET