See also: AFL Top 20 Prospects chat
Early on in the Arizona Fall League's 16th season, scouts and
front-office personnel considered the state of the circuit's pitching
to have taken a step backward from 2006.
|AFL TOP 20 PROSPECTS|
|1. Cameron Maybin, of, Peoria Saguaros (Tigers)|
|2. Evan Longoria, 3b, Scottsdale (Devil Rays)|
|3. Travis Snider, of, Scottsdale (Blue Jays)|
|4. Matt LaPorta, of, Mesa (Brewers)|
|5. Adam Miller, rhp, Surprise (Indians)|
|6. Andrew McCutchen, of, Phoenix (Pirates)|
|7. Reid Brignac, ss, Scottsdale (Devil Rays)|
|8. Jordan Schafer, of, Peoria Javelinas (Braves)|
|9. Dexter Fowler, of, Peoria Javelinas (Rockies)|
|10. Taylor Teagarden, c, Surprise (Rangers)|
|11. Matt Antonelli, 2b, Peoria Saguaros (Padres)|
|12. Anthony Swarzak, rhp, Phoenix (Twins)|
|13. Jeff Clement, c, Peoria Javelinas (Mariners)|
|14. Jake Arrieta, rhp, Phoenix (Orioles)|
|15. Eugenio Velez, 2b/of, Scottsdale (Giants)|
|16. Joe Savery, lhp, Peoria Saguaros (Phillies)|
|17. Max Scherzer, rhp, Scottsdale (Diamondbacks)|
|18. Sean Gallagher, rhp, Surprise (Cubs)|
|19. John Mayberry, of, Surprise (Rangers)|
|20. David Huff, lhp, Surprise (Indians)|
That wasn't exactly how things ended up however.
Last year, the league boasted such names as Royals righthander Luke
Hochevar, Mets righthanders Philip Humber and Mike Pelfrey, as well as
Devil Rays righthander Jeff Niemann. But none of those arms pitched
enough innings to qualify, though Matt Albers (Astros), Kevin Slowey
(Twins), Troy Patton (Astros) and Jonathan Meloan (Dodgers) made the
This year, the pitching was at least equally as deep, and arguably boasted higher-quality arms overall.
But the bats continue to rule this league where the infields play
extremely fast and balls fly out of every ballpark. That said, team
averages were down in 2007, hinting that the pitching had improved over
In 2006, the lowest team batting average was .264. This year, three
clubs—the Peoria Saguaros, Mesa and Phoenix—all finished below that
"It's the same every year," one front-office executive from an American
League club said. "You hear how the talent level is down or this and
that and it's the same every year. It's the same thing with the draft.
The reality is these are the guys—these are the next crop of big
leaguers. And there are some pretty good ones out here regardless of
what you want to say about the talent level. The talent level is fine."
While Team USA and Team China each played six games against AFL clubs
as a warm-up for the World Cup in Taiwan, none of those players, with
the exception of Devil Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, are eligible
for this list. Longoria played 12 games for Scottsdale before joining
the U.S. national team.