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Kopech calls 2018 'an unforgettable season'

Right-hander will miss '19 after undergoing Tommy John surgery
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Ask Michael Kopech about his 2018 season, which featured his Major League debut, and the No. 2 White Sox prospect and No. 19 prospect overall, per MLB Pipeline, brings up the phrase "rollercoaster of emotions."

The 22-year-old right-hander, who will be sidelined for the 2019 campaign following Tommy John surgery in September, provided an honest look into that up-and-down ride.

CHICAGO -- Ask Michael Kopech about his 2018 season, which featured his Major League debut, and the No. 2 White Sox prospect and No. 19 prospect overall, per MLB Pipeline, brings up the phrase "rollercoaster of emotions."

The 22-year-old right-hander, who will be sidelined for the 2019 campaign following Tommy John surgery in September, provided an honest look into that up-and-down ride.

"I went from having the yips for a month and a half to getting my big league call to blowing out my elbow and not getting to pitch again," Kopech told MLB.com by phone from Matt Davidson's charity event in Yucaipa, Calif. "It was kind of a crash and rebuild and then crash again. But it was definitely an unforgettable season."

Kopech's ulnar collateral ligament tear was diagnosed after his fourth start for the White Sox when he allowed seven runs on nine hits, including four home runs, over 3 1/3 innings against the Tigers. It was a stark contrast to the one run allowed over Kopech's first three starts (two of which were shortened by rain), which saw him strike out nine with just one walk and no homers allowed.

Video: Kopech, Hahn discuss Kopech's UCL injury

A noticeably stunned White Sox general manager Rick Hahn made the announcement about Kopech's injury two days after that game against Detroit. Kopech is now two months removed from surgery and no longer wearing the brace he had for the first month during his rehab in Culver City, Calif.

Having the injury set in and getting into the nuts and bolts of the work -- Kopech has mobility and his arm feels good enough to throw although he understands he's not ready -- doesn't necessarily make a positive Kopech feel any better.

"Honestly, it makes you feel worse and worse as the days go on," Kopech said. "It's going to be a mental struggle for me. I know that. I'm ready for it. I'm just going to do what I can to get better mentally in the time being.

"It's depressing. There's no way around it. As someone who deals with anxiety and depression, it's a situation where I have to be aware of myself. I have to know what's going on and I have to be willing to say, 'OK, I'm not going to play next year. Let's get better this year meanwhile and get ready for 2020.' It has to be something where I come to realistic thoughts with myself. I'm in the process of doing that but it is going to be difficult."

Video: CWS@CLE: Injury update on Kopech's Tommy John surgery

Daily meditation helps Kopech, who said he's become a "little guru about meditation," and he's making sure his mind is as clear as it can be all the time. That concept returns us to the yips plaguing Kopech during his stint with Triple-A Charlotte.

From April 9-July 5, Kopech walked 56 batters over 82 1/3 innings. But the problem manifested itself in more than finding the strike zone.

"I was having trouble figuring out how to throw a baseball," Kopech said. "I felt like I had never done it before, and I was having to figure some things out. It depended on the first pitch of the game for me. If the first pitch of the game for me was a strike, then most likely the next pitch was going to be a strike and most likely I would be able to get through that start.

"If the first pitch was a ball, then it was going to escalate. There was a point where I walked eight or nine in 2 1/3 innings or something like that (eight walks in three innings on June 14) and I just had no idea where the ball was going. It was my own mental struggles.

"That didn't have anything to do with my arm or mechanics or anything like that. I was seeking for answers the wrong way. It's really hard to put into words how I felt physically. I mean, I couldn't feel my legs. My arm felt like it wasn't attached to my body. It was a really tough time for me physically, but more so mentally than anything."

Video: MIN@CWS: Kopech K's 4 in MLB debut

When Kopech eventually figured out important mental cues, he felt better than ever and posted a 59-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his final seven Triple-A starts. It's a learning experience he can use when he returns in 2020.

"Mentally, I felt like a completely different guy and that's what earned me my callup," Kopech said. "It was absolutely something I needed to have happen before I got to the big leagues. I know that sounds silly to say I needed to get the yips. That experience made me grow as a pitcher so I'm glad it happened."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Michael Kopech

White Sox ACE program puts 20 more in college

Club hosts annual signing day at Guaranteed Rate Field
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- The locale for the annual White Sox Amateur City Elite collegiate-signing-day ceremony moved from the Guaranteed Rate Field Conference and Learning Center to the Stadium Club on Wednesday night.

But the spirit of this great initiative begun by the White Sox in 2007 certainly stayed the same. The 20 ACE players who signed their letters of intent brought the total to more than 190 who headed to higher-education institutions with the help of ACE. Twenty-four ACE alumni have been drafted by Major League teams.

CHICAGO -- The locale for the annual White Sox Amateur City Elite collegiate-signing-day ceremony moved from the Guaranteed Rate Field Conference and Learning Center to the Stadium Club on Wednesday night.

But the spirit of this great initiative begun by the White Sox in 2007 certainly stayed the same. The 20 ACE players who signed their letters of intent brought the total to more than 190 who headed to higher-education institutions with the help of ACE. Twenty-four ACE alumni have been drafted by Major League teams.

"I see it changing every year because you see these younger kids who aspire to be these kids who are here tonight," said White Sox vice president of community relations Christine O'Reilly-Riordan, who is also one of ACE's co-founders. "We are seeing the kids see some of the schools where the kids are signing letters of intent, and it's really creating the sense of aspiration we haven't seen in the past. That's pretty amazing."

Tweet from @whitesox: #ACESigningDay: ���College: 🔜Congratulations to the 20 ACE players who signed their college letters of intent tonight! pic.twitter.com/ALP5qzLy02

"It means family, it means brotherhood," said Justice Page, a 16-year-old from Chicago's South Side who signed to play at Clark Atlanta University. "They stayed there for me. They offer a lot of services and programs and things that can help you physically and mentally."

Page, who skipped a grade at Lindblom Math & Science Academy, mentioned ACT prep courses offered through ACE along with the elite baseball competition provided to nine teams ranging from 12-and-under to 17-and-under. The 17U team won the 2018 Senior Baseball Championship in the RBI World Series, and members of that team received their rings and the trophy at the close of Wednesday's ceremony.

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson met with the honorees and answered some questions about what these players can expect from their baseball future. A program such as ACE, where top colleges and MLB scouts get a chance to view potentially undiscovered talent, wasn't available to Anderson when he was working his way toward the Majors as a young player in Alabama.

"They are going to try to put you in college, and that's the ultimate goal -- to go to college and further your education. That's really important, and the White Sox care a lot," Anderson said. "I just hope and pray they take advantage of the opportunity and hopefully they will be up here playing against me or with me."

Tweet from @whitesox: Prior to tonight���s #ACESigningDay, @TimAnderson7 spoke with the 20 young men who are about to sign their college letters of intent. We are so proud! pic.twitter.com/OMZXMGDAWS

"We had our first signing day in 2011," said O'Reilly-Riordan. "It's hard to believe we've been doing it every year and the success of the kids. We are in this bigger space because we needed it. There are so many kids, really excelling."

An educational consultant works with the older ACE kids, and the White Sox are bringing on another to work with the younger kids, stressing academics as much as athletics. Character development is an important part of the ACE experience.

That trait was on display Wednesday, when the 20 players introduced themselves and announced their present high school and collegiate destination. There were plenty of thanks handed out to ACE coaches, high school coaches and family members.

When it came to talking about what ACE meant to them, a signing-day tradition, words such as "brotherhood" and "family" were frequently used. It's all a byproduct of this unique baseball experience, featuring individuals who want to be forensic scientists, accountants and, of course, Major League players.

"As you can see, the classes are growing. These guys are excited, and I'm excited for them," Anderson said. "A lot of credit goes to the White Sox for what they are doing, and I couldn't be happier to be a part of it."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Tim Anderson

Pipeline Inbox: Where will Robert start in '19?

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

The Arizona Fall League championship game between the Peoria Javelinas and Salt River Rafters will feature plenty of notable prospects. Set for Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local time) and broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com, the contest will include the two leading candidates for the league's Joe Black MVP Award -- Peoria second baseman Keston Hiura (Brewers) and Salt River first baseman Tyler Nevin (Rockies).

Hiura is one of four MLB Pipeline Top 100 Prospects in the game, along with Javelinas outfielder Cristian Pache (Braves) and a pair of Rafters, shortstop Carter Kieboom (Nationals) and right-hander Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks). Hiura and Kieboom are two of seven former first-round picks who will compete for the championship, along with first baseman Braxton Davidson (Braves), outfielder Trent Grisham (Brewers), third baseman Hudson Potts (Padres) and first baseman Evan White (Mariners) on Peoria, plus first baseman Pavin Smith (Diamondbacks) on Salt River.

The Arizona Fall League championship game between the Peoria Javelinas and Salt River Rafters will feature plenty of notable prospects. Set for Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local time) and broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com, the contest will include the two leading candidates for the league's Joe Black MVP Award -- Peoria second baseman Keston Hiura (Brewers) and Salt River first baseman Tyler Nevin (Rockies).

Hiura is one of four MLB Pipeline Top 100 Prospects in the game, along with Javelinas outfielder Cristian Pache (Braves) and a pair of Rafters, shortstop Carter Kieboom (Nationals) and right-hander Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks). Hiura and Kieboom are two of seven former first-round picks who will compete for the championship, along with first baseman Braxton Davidson (Braves), outfielder Trent Grisham (Brewers), third baseman Hudson Potts (Padres) and first baseman Evan White (Mariners) on Peoria, plus first baseman Pavin Smith (Diamondbacks) on Salt River.

Tweet from @ThureHall: If the Robert we have seen in AFL plays the same way in ST, what���s level do you see him starting at and will this speed up his path to the majors?

White Sox outfielder Luis Robert has been one of the most impressive position players in the Fall League, shaking off an early-season hamstring injury to stand out with his bat, power and well above-average speed. After signing him for $26 million in May 2017, Chicago thought he could move quickly, but he has played only 78 games in his first two Minor League seasons while dealing with knee, ankle and thumb maladies. Even if he continues to tear it up in Spring Training, it would be prudent to give him a little more time in Class A Advanced, but he should reach Double-A by season's end and could join the White Sox at some point in 2020.

Tweet from @mddl_eezturn: If you���re Alex Anthopoulos, are you more willing to deal Pache or Waters? Or are they both off-limits with OF being a position of need going forward?

I like Drew Waters' all-around potential, but if I were running the Braves, I would hate to trade Pache. I've spent close to three weeks in the Arizona Fall League and Pache has the most complete package of tools I've seen here. He's the best defensive outfielder in the Minors, has well above-average speed and a strong arm and should develop into a solid hitter with 20-homer potential.

That said, I wouldn't declare any player untouchable, especially if my team is ready to win like Atlanta is. Let's say the Marlins were willing to trade J.T. Realmuto for one of the Braves' endless supply of talented young pitchers, third baseman Austin Riley and Pache. I'd rather substitute Waters, but if Miami insisted on Pache, I'd still make the deal.

Tweet from @CardinalWay1: Is @Cardinals prospect Nolan Gorman going to be on the fast track to the big leagues? He has a big entrance to pro ball.

Gorman was the best power prospect in the 2018 Draft and shouldn't have lasted 19 picks, but the Cardinals smartly pounced when he did. He led all draftees with 17 homers in his first pro season while batting .291/.380/.570 between rookie league and low Class A.

Gorman struck out 76 times in 274 plate appearances and his OPS dropped to .706 in low Class A, so he still has adjustments to make as he faces more advanced pitching. I suspect he'll spend most, or all, of 2019 back in the Midwest League, but I could see him arriving in St. Louis by the end of '21.

Tweet from @jzenk42: What do you expect from Wander Javier in his return next year? Alex Kirilloff missed the entire 2017 and destroyed baseballs this year. Hopefully, Javier has the same type of dominance, granted they're two completely different players... #MnTwins

Fellow Twins prospect Kirilloff led the Minors in doubles (44), extra-base hits (71) and total bases (296) this year after losing 2017 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, so that's a high bar to clear. Javier, a shortstop who signed for $4 million out of the Dominican Republic, missed all of this season after labrum surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in May.

While he may not match Kirilloff's monster 2018 season, Javier also has a high offensive ceiling and should rebound well. He's a pure hitter with plenty of raw power, and he posted an .855 OPS in the rookie league as a 17-year-old in 2017, so he should acquit himself well in low Class A next year.

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

Thompson secures AFL win with scoreless ninth

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Thursday:

• Gameday: Mesa 11, Surprise 10 | Peoria 2, Scottsdale 1 | Glendale 4, Salt River 2

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Thursday:

• Gameday: Mesa 11, Surprise 10 | Peoria 2, Scottsdale 1 | Glendale 4, Salt River 2

AL East

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Blue Jays No. 22 prospect Santiago Espinal was 1-for-4 with a two-run single. Shawn Morimando started and lasted three innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits with a strikeout and a walk.

Orioles (Glendale)
Martin Cervenka went 2-for-4 and scored a run, and Jay Flaa pitched one clean inning, only allowing a walk.

Rays (Peoria)
Rays No. 7 prospect Ronaldo Hernandez hit a walk-off single to give Peoria a 2-1, come-from-behind victory. Matt Krook pitched three shutout innings in relief, striking out five while scattering two hits. No. 9 prospect Lucius Fox was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Red Sox (Mesa)
Third baseman Bobby Dalbec, the Red Sox's No. 6 prospect, crushed a two-run homer, his third this fall season, going 1-for-5.

Yankees (Glendale)
Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. Steven Sensley provided the game-winning hit for Glendale with his two-run triple in the bottom of the eighth. 

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Connor Marabell collect an RBI triple in the top of the first inning, scored a run and finished 1-for-4. Indians No. 6 prospect Yu Chang went 1-for-4. On the mound, Rob Kamisky threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief before Dalbert Siri threw two-thirds of an inning to get the win.

Royals (Surprise)
Royals No. 2 prospect Khalil Lee went 1-for-5, and Nick Heath went 2-for-5, each scoring a pair of runs.

Tigers (Mesa)
Tigers No. 8 prospect Daz Cameron had multiple hits for the fourth time in his last five games, going 3-for-5, including a double and an RBI single. Jake Rogers (No. 12) hit a walk-off single to give Mesa the 11-10 victory. Daniel Pinero was 0-for-3 with a pair of walks and two runs, and No. 14 prospect Gregory Soto made the start, allowing two runs on two hits as he struck out six in four innings.

Twins (Salt River)
Griffin Jax started for the Rafters and gave up two runs over four innings. Hector Lujan pitched an 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, and Adam Bray threw one scoreless frame.

White Sox (Glendale)
White Sox No. 9 prospect Luis Alexander Basabe scored a run and finished 1-for-5 for the Desert Dogs. Zach Thompson secured the win with his scoreless ninth-inning relief.

AL West

A's (Mesa)
A's No. 30 prospect Skye Bolt had a perfect day at the plate, hitting two doubles and walking three times as he plated two runs and scored three. Sam Sheehan pitched a perfect seventh, and Calvin Coker was charged with five unearned runs in the eighth.

Angels (Mesa)
David Mackinnon hit a two-run double as part of a 2-for-5 day, and Brett Hanewich allowed an unearned run on two hits in his inning of relief. Ryan Clark earned his first win of the fall despite allowing two runs in the ninth.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Astros No. 2 prospect Forrest Whitley was stellar in his five-inning start, allowing only one hit while striking out nine. Drew Ferguson went 2-for-4 with a double, while Erasmo Pinales took his second loss of the fall after allowing two runs in 1 1/3 innings. More >>

Mariners (Peoria)
David McKay earned his second win of the fall after striking out two in a scoreless ninth inning. Chris Mariscal was 1-for-3 with a walk, and Joe DeCarlo and No. 20 prospect Ian Miller were a combined 0-for-4.

Rangers (Surprise)
Charles Leblanc was 2-for-5 and hit a game-tying two-run single in the ninth, but Joe Barlow took the loss after allowing the walk-off single in the bottom of the frame. Joe Kuzia also didn't fare well, allowing five runs in two-thirds of an inning.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)
Braves No. 6 prospect Cristian Pache was 1-for-3 with a walk and his third stolen base, and also recorded an outfield assist when he doubled a runner off of first base in the first inning. No. 23 prospect Izzy Wilson was 0-for-1 after entering as a pinch-hitter. Braxton Davidson was 0-for-3 with a walk and scored a run.

Marlins (Salt River)
It was a quiet day for Miami prospects as Marlins No. 12 prospect Brian Miller went 1-for-4, and Chad Smith took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning.

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Austin Listi was 3-for-4 with an RBI double to extend his hitting streak to four games. Darick Hall was 0-for-3 with a walk, and Luke Williams was 0-for-4.

Nationals (Salt River)
Nationals No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom went 0-for-3 with a walk. Ben Braymer worked a scoreless inning of relief, striking out one and allowing one hit. Daniel Johnson (No. 7) finished the day 0-for-4

Mets (Scottsdale)
Top Mets prospect Andrew Gimenez and No. 11 prospect Desmond Lindsay combined to go 0-for-6.

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
After entering the game as a defensive sub, Weston Wilson walked and tied the game with an RBI single as part of Peoria's game-winning rally in the ninth inning. That helped starter Bubba Derby, who allowed one run in five strong frames but was on track for the loss. Brerwers No. 1 prospect Keston Hiura and No. 19 prospect Trent Grisham both went 0-for-3.

Cardinals (Surprise)
Cardinals No. 27 prospect Conner Greene helped steady the ship after the Surprise pitching staff coughed up 10 early runs, as he got four groundouts and a strikeout as part of two perfect innings out of the bullpen. Lane Thomas started Surprise's late rally with a two-run single in the eighth, while Andy Young doubled, walked and scored two runs. Jeremy Martinez was 1-for-4 with a run.

Cubs (Mesa)
Cubs No. 6 prospect Nico Hoerner led Mesa hitters with three RBIs, as he doubled twice and hit a two-run single to hit safely in his fourth consecutive game. DJ Wilson (No. 16) added a double and a run, and Trent Giambrone (No. 29) walked twice. Manuel Rondon pitched a perfect fifth inning. More >>

Pirates (Surprise)
Pirates No. 16 prospect Will Craig mashed his sixth homer of the fall, a three-run shot, to cap a five-run rally in the eighth. Bryan Reynolds (No. 8) was 0-for-3 with a walk, and Cole Tucker (No. 5) didn't hit after entering as a pinch-runner in the ninth. Geoff Hartlieb walked two in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Mark Kolozsvary hit his second double of the fall and was 1-for-4, while No. 23 propsect Alfredo Rodriguez was 1-for-3.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
The D-backs' No. 3 prospect, Jazz Chisholm, reached base three times, tallying two hits and a walk, and scored a run from the leadoff spot in the Rafters' lineup. D-back's No. 5 prospect Daulton Varsho finished 0-for-2, then was substiutted out. Pavin Smith (No. 4) finished the day 0-for-3 with a walk, and Drew Ellis went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts

Giants (Scottsdale)
Chase Johnson tossed his eighth consecutive scoreless appearance, allowing one hit in two innings, while striking out four. Giants No. 28 prospect CJ Hinojosa was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Padres (Peoria)
Padres No. 23 prospect Hudson Potts was 0-for-2.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Dodgers No. 20 prospect Errol Robinson and Cody Thomas each had 1-for-4 performances. Jared Walker finished 1-for-3 with a walk.

Rockies (Salt River)
Josh Fuentes launched a two-run home run, his only hit of the night (1-for-4), to put the Rafters ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning. Rockies No. 9 prospect Sam Hilliard went 0-for-4.

Davidson, MLB friends make students' day

White Sox player hosts Best Buddies event at Yucaipa High School
MLB.com

YUCAIPA, Calif. -- Chicago is 2,000 miles away, but Yucaipa, a city located about 90 minutes east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County, has a number of budding White Sox fans.

It's because one of the White Sox is one of their own. Matt Davidson, who was a first-round Draft pick out of Yucaipa High School in 2009, maintains a frequent presence at his alma mater, and on Tuesday, he, his wife Julianne and five of his Major Leaguer friends participated in a Best Buddies lunch at the school.

YUCAIPA, Calif. -- Chicago is 2,000 miles away, but Yucaipa, a city located about 90 minutes east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County, has a number of budding White Sox fans.

It's because one of the White Sox is one of their own. Matt Davidson, who was a first-round Draft pick out of Yucaipa High School in 2009, maintains a frequent presence at his alma mater, and on Tuesday, he, his wife Julianne and five of his Major Leaguer friends participated in a Best Buddies lunch at the school.

"I think that we're just very fortunate [as professional athletes]. We live very fortunate lifestyles," Davidson said. "To give back to people who aren't as fortunate, I think, is huge and puts a lot of things in perspective of what really is important in life.

"What we do is very stressful and takes a lot of hard work. Over time, it can also make you a little selfish, only thinking about yourself. So I think doing things like this can really broaden your view and just kind of get back down to earth and just give back. [Looking at] all these kids' faces, they're jumping up and down, and we're literally just taking a couple of hours out of our day."

Current and former White Sox players Michael Kopech, Dylan Covey, Rob Brantly and Danny Farquhar and the Rays' Daniel Robertson joined Davidson in Yucaipa. Their day started with a visit to a special-education class, where they engaged in a Q&A with the students. They then took to the field for a baseball game in which each student received two at-bats, and the day wrapped with a lunch provided by Davidson. The students each received a T-shirt and a gift bag.

 

"It's so kind of him," said Hope Gutierrez, a special-education teacher who runs the Best Buddies program at Yucaipa. "It's hard for me to put it into words because he keeps returning year after year. He's so gracious, he's so giving."

Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization that aims to combat the "social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities." At Yucaipa, the program, which Davidson participated in during high school, pairs students with disabilities with non-disabled students for a variety of activities throughout the year, such as field trips and an annual talent show fundraiser.

For many of the students, Tuesday was a date circled on the calendar.

"Our kids look forward to it all year," said Yucaipa principal Shad Kirkland. "Last year's experience just kind of energized them. The gear that Matt and his friends brought, we saw them wearing it all year long. It's so impactful to our students."

This is the third year Davidson, who's coming off his second full season with the White Sox, has hosted the event, but he's been visiting the school and volunteering in the area for much longer.

Even as a student, Gutierrez said Davidson always made time for Best Buddies, and nearly a decade later, the 27-year-old is still taking an active role in the program.

"People would say to me, 'Mrs. G, you need to let him go because he's got to practice, he's going to be a professional ballplayer,'" Gutierrez said. "I said, 'He knows where his priorities are -- people before ball,' and he always was that way. I appreciate that, and he's still doing that, but because of the ball, he's able to give back to his people."

All of the players Davidson brought with him Tuesday are from or currently live in Southern California -- both Robertson and Brantly played against Davidson and Yucaipa in high school -- and each shared Davidson's desire to give back to the community in which they live. Robertson even hosts his own fan fest charity event benefiting his family's foundation, which aims to help those in need of financial aid when a family member is unable to work due to cancer treatment, in nearby Upland, his hometown.

"When I heard about Matt's [event], I just reached out and told him I want to be a part of it," Robertson said. "This is the platform we're on. This is what I personally like to do just to give back a little bit and spend some time with kids who want to go out and play and have fun."

"It's just a fortunate thing when you've got a group of guys that remember where they came from," Brantly said.

Covey recalled meeting a big leaguer at an early age in school in Pasadena. He doesn't remember who it was, but it didn't matter. He remembers how much it mattered to him at the time. He hoped to have that same kind of impact for the kids at Yucaipa.

"It was such a cool experience. I looked up to him because when I was a little kid, I wanted to play in the big leagues," Covey said. "I may not remember the guy's name, but it had an impact on me."

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Chicago White Sox, Rob Brantly, Dylan Covey, Matt Davidson, Danny Farquhar, Michael Kopech, Daniel Robertson

Robert among Fall League standouts

MLB.com

The final week of the Arizona Fall League provides an early opportunity to reflect on some of its top players and performances. The MLB Pipeline crew has been present for more games this year than ever before, with our team alternating stints covering up to two games per day throughout the six-week season. While my two-week tour of AFL recently came to an end, many of the players that I saw while in Arizona left an indelible impression.

Here are thoughts on some of them, both hitters and pitchers, who stood out the most. And for those wondering about the omission of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., MLB Pipeline's No. 1 prospect and clearly the best player in the Fall League, and Forrest Whitley, MLB Pipeline's top-ranked pitching prospect, please understand that this article is designed to take a deeper dive, looking at impressive AFL performances by prospects who don't carry the hype and widespread fanfare such as the aforementioned names.

The final week of the Arizona Fall League provides an early opportunity to reflect on some of its top players and performances. The MLB Pipeline crew has been present for more games this year than ever before, with our team alternating stints covering up to two games per day throughout the six-week season. While my two-week tour of AFL recently came to an end, many of the players that I saw while in Arizona left an indelible impression.

Here are thoughts on some of them, both hitters and pitchers, who stood out the most. And for those wondering about the omission of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., MLB Pipeline's No. 1 prospect and clearly the best player in the Fall League, and Forrest Whitley, MLB Pipeline's top-ranked pitching prospect, please understand that this article is designed to take a deeper dive, looking at impressive AFL performances by prospects who don't carry the hype and widespread fanfare such as the aforementioned names.

Daz Cameron, OF, Tigers' No. 8
Cameron was raw and viewed as a developmental project when the Astros selected him in 2015. Flash forward three years and the 21-year-old outfielder's game has really rounded into form in the AFL after a regular season in which he reached three levels, including Triple-A. Though the approach leaves something to be desired, Cameron has cleaned up his swing while also advancing his spin recognition to the point where he now consistently puts together good at-bats, consistently finds the barrel and is able to tap into his above-average raw power.

Tweet from @GoldenSombrero: After falling behind 0-2, #Tigers Daz Cameron worked the count full, fouled off a bunch of pitches and then unloaded on this 2-R HR @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/FeihHB4qVO

Jon Duplantier, RHP, D-backs' No. 1 (No. 80 overall
Duplantier turned in one of the Fall League's better starts on Nov. 6, when he racked up nine strikeouts and recorded over 32 percent of his 51 strikes via swings and misses. The right-hander held his velocity throughout the start, topping out at 97 mph while sitting consistently at 94-95, and used the fastball to effectively set up his secondary pitches. What impressed me in this particular outing, however, was his feel for creating separation between his low-80s curveball, a more vertical-breaking pitch, and his power slider at 85-88 mph. 

Tweet from @GoldenSombrero: #Dbacks Jon Duplantier allowed a two-out 2B (to Taylor Trammell) but struck out the side (all swinging) in the first inning. Here���s his K of Peter Alonso on an 87 mph slider @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/CmoOSsJPJP

Nico Hoerner, SS, Cubs' No. 6
The Cubs' 2018 first-rounder's inexperience has been a non-factor in the AFL, where he's hit .321 and looked like a player straight out of Double-A, and one possibly even on the cusp of the Majors. That's not to say that Hoerner will springboard up the ladder in such fashion in 2019 -- but he certainly could. At the plate, he has a knack for barreling the ball to all fields, can handle velocity and adjust to secondaries, and he has more juice in his bat than you'd expect. His arm stroke is a little stiff at shortstop, but it plays up because he creatively finds ways to achieve a good slot, has sound footwork and consistently follows his throws with his body. He's a very, very solid ballplayer. 

Tweet from @GoldenSombrero: More loud contact by #Cubs Nico Hoerner. Dude barrels everything. pic.twitter.com/BUV21SyKxV

Connor Jones, RHP, Cardinals' No. 30
Jones seems poised to jump on the fast track to the Majors as a reliever in 2019 just as Jordan Hicks did after his eye-opening AFL turn last year. Jones, like Hicks, had worked mostly as a starter before the AFL, where he's shown dominant stuff in short bursts with an upper-90s heater and plus breaking ball. It's a dynamic pairing that could have him logging key innings out of the Cardinals' bullpen next season.

Justin Lawrence, RHP, Rockies' No. 17
Lawrence blew the save in the Fall Stars Game, but anyone watching in person or at home saw a guy with premium big league-caliber stuff and movement. Working from a low three-quarters slot, Lawrence dials up a 96-99 mph two-seamer with late, darting arm-side life that nets him both whiffs and ground balls. He pairs his heater with a hard, late-breaking slider at 82-84, and together they give the right-hander a two-pitch mix that will be a clean fit in a big league bullpen, likely sometime in '19.

Tyler Nevin, 3B/1B, Rockies' No. 11
In my first look at Nevin he enjoyed his first career two-triple game, with exit velocities of 105.8 and 101.2 mph, as part of a 3-for-4 game. What's more, he hit both triples to the opposite field. I didn't get a look at Nevin again until Nov. 3, when he was just 1-for-4 but also produced 100-plus-mph exit velocities in all four trips to the plate, including three at 104-plus. Right now, at age 21, Nevin still is more hit over power. However, it's easy to envision the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder tapping into his plus raw power during games moving forward, which also would help to offset any concerns about his long-term defensive home.

Video: MSS@SRR: Nevin puts glove on display in Fall League

Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays' No. 4 (No. 90 overall)
After leaving his 2018 debut after just 1 2/3 innings with a fractured right ulna that he suffered on a comeback line drive, Pearson was understandably rusty early in the AFL, showing little feel for repeating the arm action on his triple-digit fastball, and even less so with his secondary offerings. He turned the corner in the Fall Stars Game, when he absurdly (and legitimately) topped out at 104 mph while striking out the side, and he was brilliant in his subsequent start, tossing four perfect frames while mixing an elite heater with a plus slider and above-average curveball. Between the two outings, he showed the highest ceiling of any pitcher I saw this fall. 

Video: EAST@WEST: Pearson flashes 101 mph+ with regularity

Luis Robert, OF, White Sox No. 4 (No. 44 overall)
Robert still has a ways to go in terms of his approach, plate discipline and pitch recognition, but his pure tools and overall ceiling are both tantalizing. His bat speed is among the best in the Fall League, which speaks to his high average there despite a pull-heavy approach that has him hunting fastballs and consistently well out in front of most pitches, and he showed at least above-average wheels on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, that he's started getting to his raw power during games -- like he did on Nov. 8, when he hit a ball that still hasn't landed (see below) -- is a significant development for Robert, who failed to jump the yard in 50 regular-season games but possesses enormous strength and explosiveness in his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame.

Tweet from @GoldenSombrero: #WhiteSox Luis Robert with an absolutely mammoth home run. Good lord. Nobody on the field moved. Make sure your volume is turned up. @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/OuukA6mfEV

Cole Tucker, SS, Pirates' No. 5
Few players made a greater impression on me than Tucker, and not just because he hung around on the field after every day game, signing autographs and chatting with fans until there was no one left. He's a good dude. He's a quick-footed, plus defender at shortstop with a plus, versatile arm and great feel for crashing on balls in front of him. It's not like Tucker picks up scratch hits at the plate, either. He hits the ball hard -- he hit a triple with a 109.1 mph exit velo in one of my looks -- and does so across the entire field, especially from the left side of the plate. He's less advanced as a righty, but still puts together strong at-bats and makes solid contact. Altogether, it's the profile of an above-average regular at shortstop. 

Tweet from @GoldenSombrero: Another knock for Cole Tucker #Pirates @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/gz77RLC4aR

Daulton Varsho, C, D-backs' No. 5
Varsho takes impressively loud batting practice. He compensates for being undersized with a combination of strength and athleticism (including above-average speed) that fuels his profile as a dual-threat backstop. That he's spent most of the AFL leading off for Salt River is a testament to his advanced eye and patient approach -- qualities that also portend a potential 55-hit/55-power future.

Tweet from @GoldenSombrero: #Dbacks Daulton Varsho BP pic.twitter.com/y0CcU9elpq

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

Abreu to work with Cuban hitting instructor

Slugger has trained with his former coach occasionally through career in MLB
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu doesn't plan to make any alterations to his workout regimen this offseason. But hitting-wise, Abreu will be making some changes, as he plans to work with Marcos Hernandez, his hitting instructor in Cuba from when he was 18 and during three seasons with Serie Nacional in Cuba.

"We have been working on and off since 2016 here in the U.S., but nothing formal," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo, during a conference call to discuss winning his second career Silver Slugger Award. "He's a guy that knows a lot about my hitting, my offense. He's going to be a big help. You want to be around people who care about you and people that can help you to improve. He's one of those guys.

CHICAGO -- White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu doesn't plan to make any alterations to his workout regimen this offseason. But hitting-wise, Abreu will be making some changes, as he plans to work with Marcos Hernandez, his hitting instructor in Cuba from when he was 18 and during three seasons with Serie Nacional in Cuba.

"We have been working on and off since 2016 here in the U.S., but nothing formal," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo, during a conference call to discuss winning his second career Silver Slugger Award. "He's a guy that knows a lot about my hitting, my offense. He's going to be a big help. You want to be around people who care about you and people that can help you to improve. He's one of those guys.

"It's going to be very good for me. I have a lot of confidence in him. There's a trust there that works very well. That's the best way for me to approach next season, because I want to start the season very good, not like last season when I started slow. I want to start the season as well as I can, and I want to get to Spring Training in very good condition."

Hernandez helped Abreu last season coming out of his first All-Star Game start, when the proud veteran had watched his average drop from .319 on May 26 to .250 on July 22. Abreu enjoys working with White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson and assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks, but Hernandez has greater history with Abreu.

"Our main focus is going to be to try to stay more in the strike zone, try to be more accurate directly to the ball," Abreu said. "That was an area I struggled with and it was very tough for me to get to that point.

"Sometimes in life, you are going to meet people that know you better than yourself. He's one of those guys for me, especially with offense."

Abreu hit .265 with 22 home runs, 78 RBIs and a .798 OPS in 2018, which all were career lows. He also missed all but six games in September because of emergency surgery correcting testicular torsion and an infection in his right thigh. Due to these trying times, Abreu admitted to crying upon hearing the Silver Slugger news, because it was not expected.

"People know how hard I worked day in and day out," Abreu said. "I think this was a reward for all the work and effort, even though I didn't have my best season this year. It's rewarding."

The 2019 campaign is the sixth and final season on Abreu's current contract with the White Sox. But the 31-year-old wants to stay with the organization for a long time and be part of the rebuild's winning side.

"But that's not in my hands right now," Abreu said. "In case next season is my last, I would like to thank the White Sox organization and all the people who have been around me. Especially the owner [Jerry Reinsdorf], he's been an outstanding person to me.

"I try not to think about that because I truly believe I am going to be part of this organization for a very long time. But we'll see. I know this is a business, and that is the way you have to approach it."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu

Robert named Fall League Hitter of the Week

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After battling injuries in his first two pro seasons, Luis Robert came to the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost at-bats. Then the White Sox center fielder strained a hamstring running to first base in his fourth game for the Glendale Desert Dogs, costing him nine more days.

Since returning, Robert has been one of the Fall League's hottest hitters. He has batted .354/.404/.521 since his return, including a .400/.429/.600 stretch from Nov. 5-10 to claim the AFL's Player of the Week award.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After battling injuries in his first two pro seasons, Luis Robert came to the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost at-bats. Then the White Sox center fielder strained a hamstring running to first base in his fourth game for the Glendale Desert Dogs, costing him nine more days.

Since returning, Robert has been one of the Fall League's hottest hitters. He has batted .354/.404/.521 since his return, including a .400/.429/.600 stretch from Nov. 5-10 to claim the AFL's Player of the Week award.

"I feel very proud to win Player of the Week," Robert said through an interpreter, Yankees outfielder Estevan Florial. "I've been working hard through the week and through the season."

D-backs' Duplantier named AFL Pitcher of the Week

Robert is batting .338/.386/.462 overall with two homers and three steals in 16 games. He's tied for the league lead with 18 runs and hit safely in his first 14 games, the longest streak in the Fall League this year, before going 0-for-4 in each of his last two contests.

AFL batting leaders

That's the type of production the White Sox were hoping for when they signed the Cuban defector for $26 million in May 2017. Not only is that the second-largest bonus ever for an amateur, trailing only the $31 million the Red Sox lavished on Yoan Moncada, but Chicago also paid another $26 million as a penalty for exceeding its international spending allotment.

Robert played in just 28 games in his 2017 pro debut because of minor knee and ankle ailments, then damaged ligaments in his left thumb on a slide during Spring Training, sidelining him for three months. He aggravated his thumb injury shortly after returning and played in just 50 games during the regular season, batting .269/.333/.360 with 15 steals.

Ranked No. 44 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, Robert has the tools to become a 20-20 player and man any of the three outfield spots. His primary goal for the AFL was to refine his right-handed swing, in particular trying to keep his bat in the hitting zone for a longer period of time.

"I had been working on it before and I've been working on it here too," Robert said. "I think I'm getting better at it. I've been working mostly on that here. This league is going to help me a lot because I didn't play a lot this season."

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

Farquhar to undergo final scan in recovery

Former White Sox reliever suffered brain hemorrhage in April
MLB.com

YUCAIPA, Calif. -- Danny Farquhar's incredible recovery is nearly complete. The former White Sox pitcher, who sustained a brain hemorrhage in April, will undergo his final CT scan on Thursday to ensure his skull has healed properly from his craniotomy. He expects to be fully cleared.

Farquhar, a free agent, is going through his normal offseason throwing program at home in Temecula, Calif., with the expectation of pitching in the Majors in 2019. He's been cleared for baseball activities since his final angiogram on June 5 and said his skull healing was the only thing that held him back from returning to pitch for the White Sox toward the end of last season.

YUCAIPA, Calif. -- Danny Farquhar's incredible recovery is nearly complete. The former White Sox pitcher, who sustained a brain hemorrhage in April, will undergo his final CT scan on Thursday to ensure his skull has healed properly from his craniotomy. He expects to be fully cleared.

Farquhar, a free agent, is going through his normal offseason throwing program at home in Temecula, Calif., with the expectation of pitching in the Majors in 2019. He's been cleared for baseball activities since his final angiogram on June 5 and said his skull healing was the only thing that held him back from returning to pitch for the White Sox toward the end of last season.

Video: Farquhar's rehab progress after brain hemorrhage

"I felt like I could have faced big league batters and been just fine," Farquhar said Tuesday at Yucaipa High School, where he joined several of his former White Sox teammates at a community event hosted by Matt Davidson. "I actually had some pretty positive doctors that believed in me. ... They saw my drive the whole way. They thought for sure I'd be back on the field, and now I just have to wait for 2019 for that to happen."

The White Sox removed Farquhar from their 40-man roster last month, and Farquhar elected to become a Minor League free agent. He declined to discuss his free agency, but didn't rule out a return to Chicago.

"I didn't cut ties with [the White Sox]," Farquhar said. "There's always a chance I could sign back, so we'll see what the future holds."

Farquhar's brain hemorrhage was caused by a ruptured aneurysm and required surgery. He collapsed in the White Sox dugout after facing four batters in a game against the Astros on April 20 and spent more than two weeks at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Video: HOU@CWS: Farquhar faints in dugout, taken to hospital

"That was definitely one of the scariest things I've ever seen in my life," Davidson said. "Just being there in the dugout and watching him go unconscious, that whole time is really unexplainable. It was just such a weird and tough thing; we didn't really want to go play baseball.

"It just put everything in perspective. He was a totally healthy dude, and he was just out pitching and then it just happened. And for him to come back and make that full recovery is a miracle in and of itself. I'm just really proud to say I'm a teammate of his."

Farquhar visited the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field three times after he was discharged from the hospital on May 7, throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before a game against the Brewers on June 1.

Video: Danny Farquhar returns to the ballpark

"Watching his recovery process is nothing short of incredible," said former White Sox catcher Rob Brantly, who also trains in Temecula and plans to catch Farquhar's bullpen sessions as the season gets closer. "He's looking great, he's looking ready to play, so we'll just see how this free agency shapes up and see what happens."

Farquhar said his offseason routine hasn't changed as a result of April's health scare. His plan moving forward is simple:

"Training, work hard, open up eyes and get a big league job," he said.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Danny Farquhar

Cooper calls Mauer best lefty hitter he's seen

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- When the White Sox dropped a 5-4 decision to the Twins at Target Field during the 2018 season finale, Don Cooper wasn't sure whether Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer had played the final game of his illustrious career.

The White Sox pitching coach had a feeling Mauer was retiring after 15 years and three batting titles, with Mauer making a brief but surprise appearance behind the plate in the ninth and receiving a handful of standing ovations from the appreciative crowd recognizing their hometown sensation. So just to be sure, Cooper sent a message to Mauer during the game through White Sox first-base coach Daryl Boston.

CHICAGO -- When the White Sox dropped a 5-4 decision to the Twins at Target Field during the 2018 season finale, Don Cooper wasn't sure whether Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer had played the final game of his illustrious career.

The White Sox pitching coach had a feeling Mauer was retiring after 15 years and three batting titles, with Mauer making a brief but surprise appearance behind the plate in the ninth and receiving a handful of standing ovations from the appreciative crowd recognizing their hometown sensation. So just to be sure, Cooper sent a message to Mauer during the game through White Sox first-base coach Daryl Boston.

"What I said when I sent the message was 'Tell him he's the best left-handed hitter I've seen in my time here,' " said Cooper during a recent interview. "Over the years, since 2002 basically (when Cooper became pitching coach), I've seen a lot of players and I've seen a lot of players' whole careers. I've seen their first and their last moments.

"Maybe it's because we play Minnesota 18 games. You see these guys in our division a lot, and he got my full attention when he was at the plate. This guy is a tremendous hitter. He always wanted to hit for average and doubles. Home runs didn't seem to interest him.

"Made him a very, very tough out, along with he could lay wood on a bullet. There's no fastball he couldn't catch up to," Cooper said. "He did it in a very sound mechanical way, staying inside the ball so much."

Mauer, 35, held his official retirement press conference Monday. He was a six-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger and three-time Gold Glove winner at catcher. Mauer captured 2009 American League Most Valuable Player honors and finished with a .306 career average and .388 on-base percentage.

Video: Mauer details how he wants to be remembered

Against the White Sox, Mauer hit .298 with an .822 OPS, 18 home runs, 53 doubles, 109 walks and 105 RBIs over 911 plate appearances and 212 games.

"He became a pain in the ass," Cooper said. "Seeing him 18 times [per season], the guy could flat out hit."

Frank Thomas rates as the best right-handed hitter Cooper ever watched, while a player such as Miguel Cabrera holds a place in Cooper's best hitter team photo. But Mauer exacted some serious career-wide damage against the White Sox, a point Cooper wanted to acknowledge and a gesture Mauer appreciated according to his postgame comments back on Sept. 30.

"I had heard that he said that and I'm glad because I meant it," said Cooper of Mauer's gratitude. "That day I was watching him, I was thinking, 'I've seen this guy's first game and last game in the big leagues.' I became grateful to be able to see people's entire careers.

"There are others, and we talked about Miguel and guys now that are starting to climb being great players and great hitters, a guy like [Francisco Lindor] and [Jose Ramirez]. Those guys are very good young talents, guys coming up. As I say that, I laugh to myself, I hope I can see the end of their career."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Joe Mauer

Banks tosses five strong innings in Fall League

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Wednesday:

• Gameday: Salt River 4, Glendale 3 | Mesa 10, Surprise 6 | Scottsdale 10, Peoria 3

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Wednesday:

• Gameday: Salt River 4, Glendale 3 | Mesa 10, Surprise 6 | Scottsdale 10, Peoria 3

AL East

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Blue Jays No. 9 prospect Cavan Biggio went 2-for-4 with a double, a single, an RBI and two strikeouts.

Orioles (Glendale)
Orioles No. 12 prospect Ryan McKenna went 1-for-3 with a single, two RBIs, a walk and a run scored. Steve Wilkerson went 0-for-3 with a walk. Tyler Erwin allowed an unearned run on one hit in one inning of relief.

Rays (Peoria)
Brandon Lawson struggled in his start, giving up four runs on six hits, and lasted only one inning. Phoenix Sanders didn't fare much better, as he gave up two runs in two innings. Dalton Moats gave up one run in one inning.

Red Sox (Mesa)
Red Sox No. 10 prospect Josh Ockimey went 0-for-5 with an RBI and two strikeouts. Bobby Dalbec (No. 6) went 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI, a run scored and two walks.

Yankees (Glendale)
Steven Sensley was the only Yankees prospect with a hit in a 1-for-3 afternoon. Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial went 0-for-3, but he walked, stole a base and scored a run. Thairo Estrada (No. 16) went 0-for-4. Matt Wivinis struck out the only batter he faced to get Glendale out of a jam in the eighth.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Catcher Li-Jen Chu went 1-for-4.

Royals (Surprise)
Meibrys Viloria went 2-for-4 with a single, a triple, a walk and two runs scored. Nick Heath was 1-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Royals No. 2 prospect Khalil Lee went 1-for-5 with an RBI.

Tigers (Mesa)
Daniel Woodrow went 2-for-4 with two singles, two walks and a run scored. Jake Rogers went 2-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored.

Twins (Salt River)
Twins No. 18 prospect Travis Blankenhorn raised his Fall League average to .224 with three hits while also walking and scoring a run. Jaylin Davis went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to four games.

White Sox (Glendale)
Tanner Banks rebounded from a shaky outing in his last start with five strong innings, allowing one run on six hits with one strikeout. White Sox No. 4 prospect Luis Robert went 1-for-4 and stole both second and third base after his second-inning single. No. 9 prospect Luis Alexander Basabe and No. 28 prospect Laz Rivera were a combined 0-for-8.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: Another look at Robert's 106.7 mph single and two stolen bases. The #WhiteSox OF prospect registered a 28.5 ft/sec sprint speed on the first, 29.5 on the second. Also reached 31.0 ft/sec on a groundout. pic.twitter.com/yKvxqMPlFU

AL West

A's (Mesa)
A's No. 30 prospect Skye Bolt went 1-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.

Angels (Mesa)
Angels No. 4 prospect Jahmai Jones went 2-for-6 with a home run, an RBI and two runs scored. Roberto Baldoquin went 1-for-3 with a homer, two RBIs, two walks and two runs scored.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Astros No. 21 prospect Abraham Toro continued his recent hot stretch with a 2-for-5 performance. Toro doubled, drew a walk and scored a trio of runs. Ronnie Dawson also picked up a pair of hits, finishing 2-for-5 with two RBIs. J.B. Bukauskas (No. 8) had a rough start, giving up three runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings. Trent Thornton (No. 24) fared much better, striking out four and yielding only one hit over 2 1/3 innings.

Mariners (Peoria)
Mariners No. 20 prospect Ian Miller went 1-for-2 and Joe DeCarlo went 0-for-3.

Rangers (Surprise)
Charles Leblanc went 1-for-4 with a single and a walk.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)
Ray-Patrick Didder and Izzy Wilson each went 1-for-4. Braxton Davidson finished 0-for-4.

Marlins (Salt River)
Marlins No. 12 prospect Brian Miller had two hits in his second consecutive game, including a two-run single in the eighth inning. The knock scored No. 2 prospect Monte Harrison, who entered as a pinch-runner and stole third. No. 27 prospect Bryson Brigman was 0-for-5. More »

Video: Miller on his big game vs. Glendale in Fall League

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Phillies No. 11 prospect Arquimedes Gamboa and Austin Listi combined to go 3-for-10. Gamboa was 1-for-5, while Listi collected two hits in his five trips to the plate.

Nationals (Salt River)
Nationals No. 15 prospect Tres Barrera had two hits for the first time since Oct. 25, while Jake Noll went 1-for-3 while playing both third base and left field. Jordan Mills earned his first win of the AFL season after he struck out two in a scoreless eighth.

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso broke out of his 5-for-42 slump with a massive night. He hit a three-run homer in the first inning and kept hitting, finishing 4-for-5 with six RBIs, the most by any player in a Fall League game this season. Joe Zanghi and Matt Blackham combined to throw three scoreless innings in relief. Zanghi gave up one hit over two innings, while Blackham struck out one in his lone inning. More »

Video: Peter Alonso discusses his big game against Peoria

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Brewers No. 1 prospect Keston Hiura hit his fifth homer of the AFL season, which brings him into a tie for third place. He later doubled to finish 2-for-4. Trent Grisham (No. 19) hit his first Fall League homer and finished 1-for-4. Miguel Sanchez gave up three runs on six hits in three innings. Jon Olczak finished the game with a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: Keston Hiura continues to rake in the @MLBazFallLeague. The #Brewers No. 1 prospect hit his fifth home run, which is tied for third in the AFL. Gameday: https://t.co/tTRyx6FBJa pic.twitter.com/qQugNgwjBY

Cardinals (Surprise)
Tommy Edman went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Andy Young started at designated hitter and went 0-for-5 with an RBI. Evan Kruczynski started for the Saguaros and took the loss, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

Cubs (Mesa)
Cubs No. 5 prospect Trent Giambrone went 1-for-5 with a single in the first inning. D.J. Wilson (No. 16) went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, a run scored and two stolen bases.

Pirates (Surprise)
Pirates No. 5 prospect Cole Tucker went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and a run scored. Bryan Reynolds (No. 8) went 1-for-4 with a single, a walk and a run scored.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Reds No. 2 prospect Taylor Trammell boosted his average to .298 with a three-hit performance. Trammell tripled, drew a walk and scored a trio of runs. Shed Long (No. 8) finished 1-for-4 with an RBI and Mark Kolozsvary went 1-for-2.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
D-backs No. 9 prospect Drew Ellis hit his fourth double of the fall before he was lifted for a pinch-runner in the eighth. Daulton Varsho (No. 5) was intentionally walked as a pinch-hitter following the double and swiped second as part of a double steal. No. 4 prospect Pavin Smith went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored, while catcher Dominic Miroglio (No. 30) went 0-for-3. Kevin Ginkel allowed a run, but picked up his first save of the fall, while Tyler Mark pitched an inning and allowed an unearned run.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Nolan Long struck out a pair in a scoreless sixth, while Dodgers No. 26 prospect Jordan Sheffield took his first loss of the fall after giving up two runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Giants (Scottsdale)
Giants No. 28 prospect C.J. Hinojosa went 1-for-4.

Padres (Peoria)
Padres No. 25 prospect Austin Allen went 2-for-4 and scored a run. Buddy Reed (No. 13) went 0-for-2 and Hudson Potts (No. 23) went 0-for-4.

Rockies (Salt River)
Rockies No. 10 prospect Ryan Castellani struck out seven, tying his most in AFL play, as he pitched five innings and held Glendale to one run on two hits. No. 11 prospect Tyler Nevin hit a game-tying, pinch-hit RBI single, and Mitch Horacek struck out the side in the sixth.

Jimenez among early '19 ROY candidates

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

The 2018 season's top rookies were announced on Monday, and both Rookies of the Year were mentioned in last year's ROY radar story.

Predicting who will win Rookie of the Year honors a year in advance is tough. Evidence comes from last year's group of 10 candidates. None of the five American League names received a vote (though Gleyber Torres, who finished third in the AL, was on the "others to watch" list). The National League choices were a bit more spot on, with Walker Buehler finishing third and Jack Flaherty landing in fifth place this year.

The 2018 season's top rookies were announced on Monday, and both Rookies of the Year were mentioned in last year's ROY radar story.

Predicting who will win Rookie of the Year honors a year in advance is tough. Evidence comes from last year's group of 10 candidates. None of the five American League names received a vote (though Gleyber Torres, who finished third in the AL, was on the "others to watch" list). The National League choices were a bit more spot on, with Walker Buehler finishing third and Jack Flaherty landing in fifth place this year.

That's not serving as a deterrent to trying again. All candidates on the lists below are on MLB Pipeline's current Top 100 list.

American League

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays' No. 1 prospect
The No. 1 prospect in baseball has to be considered the front-runner for ROY honors next year, doesn't he? Guerrero flirted with a .400 batting average for much of the season and reached Triple-A at age 19, finishing the year with an OPS over 1.000 across four levels. He then capped things off with a very productive Arizona Fall League campaign.

Josh James, RHP, Astros' No. 4 prospect
James took as big a step forward in 2018 as any pitching prospect in baseball, with improved conditioning among the factors that allowed him to pitch his way from Double-A to the big leagues. He struck out 13.5 per nine across two Minor League levels, then pitched well enough in Houston to earn a spot on the postseason roster. A full-time spot in the rotation could be his for the taking.

Danny Jansen, C, Blue Jays' No. 3 prospect
A solid all-around backstop, Jansen was able to shake off past injuries to homer in the Futures Game and make his big league debut in 2018. Russell Martin is still under contract for a year, but Jansen should get most of the time behind the plate in '19.

Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox No. 1 prospect
If Guerrero Jr. is the front-runner, then Jimenez isn't that far behind. Splitting the year between Double- and Triple-A, the 21-year-old outfielder hit a combined .337 with a .961 OPS. There's no question he'd be an upgrade in one of the outfield corners in Chicago next season.

Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros' No. 1 prospect
Tucker's brief stints in the big leagues in 2018 should not be used to extrapolate any kind of projection. He'll be just 22 for all of 2019 and flat-out raked as one of the youngest players in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League last season. It might be crowded in that Houston outfield, but Tucker and his back-to-back 20-homers/20-steals seasons have the chance to provide a greater everyday impact.

Others to watch: Yordan Alvarez, OF/1B, Astros; Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays; Griffin Canning, RHP, Angels; Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox; Michael Chavis, 3B, Red Sox; Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP, Yankees; Sean Murphy, C, A's; Jesus Luzardo, LHP, A's; Justus Sheffield, LHP, Yankees; Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros

Video: Mayo on potential 2019 NL Rookie of Year candidates

National League

Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets' No. 2 prospect
Mets fans wanted him up in 2018. After Alonso tied for the Minor League lead in home runs (36) and ran away with the RBI title (119), there's no question his power right-handed bat is ready for Citi Field. Hitting five more balls out in the AFL certainly doesn't hurt, and the Mets have said they're open to having him start the year in the big leagues.

Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers' No. 1 prospect
Yes, Hiura only has one-plus year of pro ball under his belt, but his bat is so advanced, it's hard to see him needing much more time to be ready. His AFL season (.333/.387/.548 and a league-leading 30 RBIs in 20 games) should be a good springboard for him, providing space has been made in Milwaukee.

Victor Robles, OF, Nationals' No. 1 prospect
Robles was on this list a year ago, but injuries slowed him and Juan Soto passed him by up to Washington. Even though he played just 52 games in the Minors, he did make an impact in the big leagues last year and his tools will definitely play in the Nats' outfield, where he should get the chance to play alongside Soto all year.

Brendan Rodgers, INF, Rockies' No. 1 prospect
The two-time Futures Game participant had a solid season in Double-A to earn a bump to Triple-A before his 22nd birthday. Rodgers' bat speed, power and ability to play three infield positions should help him break into the Rockies' lineup -- and there's no telling what kind of numbers he could put up in Coors Field.

Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves' No. 4 prospect
There are a number of young Braves pitchers who could figure into ROY talk in 2019. Toussaint gets the nod because of his pure swing-and-miss stuff, the impression he made during his big league callup and the fact the Braves trusted him enough to put him on the postseason roster.

Others to watch: Kolby Allard, LHP, Braves; Logan Allen, LHP, Padres; Luiz Gohara, LHP, Braves; Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates; Dakota Hudson, RHP, Cardinals; Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates; Francisco Mejia, C/OF, Padres; Austin Riley, 3B, Braves; Keibert Ruiz, C, Dodgers; Nick Senzel, INF, Reds; Mike Soroka, RHP, Braves; Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres; Luis Urias, 2B, Padres; Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers; Taylor Widener, RHP, D-backs; Bryse Wilson, RHP, Braves; Kyle Wright, RHP, Braves

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.