Image credit: (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
With just about two weeks in the books for the 2023 Arizona Fall League, some players are emerging as early standout performers. Today, we’ll depart from the typical BAPR to call out five consistent standouts over the first two weeks of AFL play.
Jakob Marsee, OF, Padres: San Diego’s sixth-round pick out of Central Michigan in 2022, Marsee hit .274/.413/.428 with a 17.1% strikeout rate and a 17.3% walk rate in High-A this season to put himself on the map. Now, he’s using the AFL as his final canvas in a masterpiece breakout season. Marsee is hitting .516/.590/.903 over seven Fall League games and leads the circuit with 16 hits. His 28 total bases is also tops in the AFL. The outfielder has shown advanced bat-to-ball, on-base ability and a swing that gets the most out of his below-average raw power. He’s experiencing a true breakout in the AFL.
Jakob Marsee led the way in our first ranking of the 10 hottest prospects in Arizona.
Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Guardians: Manzardo came back to earth this season after breaking out in 2022. He struggled at times in Triple-A and was traded to the Guardians at the deadline. But Manzardo has surged so far in Arizona, connecting for three home runs and showing higher top-end exit velocities than in his past. Manzardo is currently tied for the home run lead in the AFL with five other players.
Liam Hicks, C, Rangers: While Hicks isn’t a name that drew a lot of attention coming into Arizona Fall League play, he has been one of the best contact hitters in the league over the first two weeks. Hicks has 14 hits over 26 at-bats and has an equal number of walks and strikeouts. Hicks made history Tuesday as the first AFL player to collect six hits in a game in over a decade. He followed that up with a three-hit night on Thursday, pushing his consecutive hits streak to nine at-bats before he walked in the seventh. Hicks has an advanced hit tool. Now, it’s a matter of whether he has enough impact and defensive skills to drive the profile.
Chase DeLauter, OF, Guardians: Injuries robbed DeLauter of a considerable amount of his first professional season. The 2022 first-round pick debuted this summer and was one of the best players in the Midwest League in the second half. Sent to Arizona to make up for missed reps, DeLauter wasted no time establishing himself as one of the better hitters in the league. He’s tied for the league lead in RBIs (12) and has shown speed, power and an advanced hit tool.
Ricky Tiedemann, LHP, Blue Jays: Tiedemann is establishing himself early this fall in the hopes of proving health is no longer an obstacle after an injury-plagued regular season. Over two AFL starts, Tiedemann has gone five or more innings and 70 or more pitches for the first time since July 2022. He has been effective in addition to being healthy, striking out 13 batters in 10 innings. Armed with a mid-to-high-90s fastball from a low lefthanded slot and two plus or better secondaries, Tiedemann has the chance to develop into a top-of-the-rotation type arm.