All The Top 100 Prospects On Arizona Fall League Rosters
Every year, the Arizona Fall League rosters represent a star-studded group of the top talent in the minor leagues. This year is no different. Thirteen members of Baseball America’s Top 100 dot the AFL’s six squads, including five players who rank among the top 10 overall. Here is a rundown of each of those players.
4. Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Tigers
In his debut season, Torkelson was extremely impressive. The Arizona State alum rocketed from High-A West Michigan to Triple-A Toledo by season’s end, with a stop at the Futures Game mixed in for good measure. He closed his regular year with a flourish, swatting his 30th home run on the season’s final day. Torkelson didn’t quite hit as well in Triple-A as he did at his other two stops, but evaluators still see a player with the potential to hit for average and power and help form a formidable middle of the lineup in Detroit in the coming years.
5. Riley Greene, OF, Tigers
Greene’s draft year saw him reach Low-A, which is not the norm for a player drafted out of high school. In 2021, he continued performing well beyond expectations. He started the year at Double-A and bashed his way to the precipice of the big leagues by season’s end. Between both upper levels, Greene hit .301/.387/.534 with 57 extra-base hits and 16 stolen bases. He accomplished all that as a player who didn’t turn 21 years old until Sept. 28. He looks every bit of a future offensive pillar for the rebuilding Tigers.
6. CJ Abrams, SS, Padres
Abrams was one of three 20-year-olds set to illuminate their stars even further in 2021, then a grisly knee injury dimmed the mood. Before he got hurt, however, Abrams was living up to the billing. The uber-speedy shortstop hit .296/.363/.420 after an aggressive assignment to Double-A San Antonio, where he opened as the youngest player in the Double-A Central. The AFL will be about getting more at-bats under Abrams’ belt and seeing how much (if at all) the injury has affected his running ability, but the process should be a treat for fans at the six league ballparks.
8. Gabriel Moreno, C, Blue Jays
Over the first two months of the season there was perhaps no prospect hotter than Moreno, who entered the year as intriguing but nowhere near the conversation of the game’s best prospects. With two tantalizing months, the Blue Jays backstop has vaulted himself all the way to the No. 8 prospect on BA’s Top 100. With Double-A New Hampshire, Moreno showed the tools required to be an offensive force at the plate and a shutdown defender behind it. A broken thumb in June cut short his season, and he didn’t return until the final week of the season with Triple-A Buffalo. He could use a strong AFL to verify the credentials he earned with a hot start to the 2021 season.
9. Marco Luciano, SS, Giants
By year’s end, the High-A West was Shortstop Central. Late-season promotions gifted the league with Ezequiel Tovar (Rockies), Noelvi Marte (Mariners), Orelvis Martinez (Blue Jays) and Luciano, who arguably has the highest upside of the group. The gifted Luciano generates elite power thanks to a pair of lightning-quick hands and big-time bat speed. His home run in the last game of the year helped boost his Eugene club to a championship. There's a question about whether he’ll remain at shortstop in the long term and he still has plate discipline to refine, but Luciano could send his prospect stock through the roof with a strong six weeks in the desert.
15. Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox
Casas’ year was interrupted for the right reasons. He took time away from affiliated ball to play for the United States Olympics team, which took the silver medal in Tokyo. When he was stateside, Casas showed the kind of power and patience one would expect from a player whose offensive output has long been praised as befitting a spot in the middle of a big league order. The 21-year-old spent the entirety of his season at the upper levels, where he made plenty of contact, showed a keen eye for the strike zone and did damage when he connected.
40. Nolan Gorman, 2B/3B, Cardinals
Gorman’s year started with a little bit of a pickle when the Cardinals acquired Nolan Arenado from the Rockies. Arenado is an all-world defender at third base, meaning Gorman would likely have to learn a new position to eventually get his bat into the St. Louis lineup. Between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, the 21-year-old Gorman played 77 games at second base. Expect him to get even more exposure to the keystone in the Fall League.
49. Bobby Miller, RHP, Dodgers
Miller was the Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2020 after a strong if short showing at Louisville before the pandemic shut down the world. That small sample has translated swimmingly into pro ball. The righthander carved his way to Double-A in his first turn as a Dodger (well, as a Loon and a Driller) and whiffed 70 hitters in 56.1 innings with a combination of a mid-90s fastball and a dastardly slider at the front of a full four-pitch complement. The Dodgers’ farm system has been a factory of talented players in recent years, and Miller could be among the next up on the assembly line.
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52. Brett Baty, 3B, Mets
Very quickly, Baty went from being old for his draft class to young for his minor league level. He was nearly two years younger than league average at High-A, then was nearly three years younger than league average after a promotion to Double-A. All the while, Baty showed tantalizing raw power (some scouts went as high as 70 on the 20-to-80 scale) and improved defense at third base thanks to a transformed, more muscular body. Baty got time in left field at both stops this season, but is listed as an infielder on the initial roster for his Salt River club.
64. Nick Gonzales, 2B, Pirates
In his first season as a pro, Gonzales raked, which was exactly what evaluators expected him to do after a strong draft year at New Mexico State. His year was interrupted by a broken pinkie suffered on a slide into third base, but after returning on June 26 he hit .304/.388/.568 with 16 apiece of doubles and home runs. He’s the classic pure hitter with a swing geared to spray hard line drives all over the yard. His power was amplified somewhat by friendly home confines in Greensboro, but he showed enough in-game juice to hit one of his 18 longballs high off the videoboard which hangs over the opposite-field alleyway. The Pirates’ system has been boosted greatly over the past couple of seasons, and Gonzales could push himself even further toward the front with a strong AFL turn.
68. Shea Langeliers, C, Braves
This could be a coming-out party for Langeliers, who checks in as the Braves’ No. 3 prospect behind Cristian Pache and Michael Harris II. Langeliers put together a season whose full impact was muted by the pitching-friendly home ballpark at Double-A Mississippi. During 46 home games, Langeliers hit a paltry .214/.294/.421. In 46 road games, however, his slash line jumped to .300/.378/.571. All the while, and including his time at Triple-A, Langeliers played stellar defense. He allowed just four passed balls in 706.1 innings behind the plate and threw out 42% of runners trying to steal.
84. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres
Simply put, Gore needs to prove himself. His past two seasons have muted the expectations for a pitcher who was once one of the game’s finest prospects. Control and command issues have hampered him since then, culminating in a reset back at the Padres’ spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz. He walked 24 hitters in 34 innings outside of the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League, including 12 in 20 frames at Triple-A and 12 more in 14 innings combined between High-A Fort Wayne and Double-A San Antonio. Gore needs to find the strike zone more often and with higher quality if he is to regain the form that made him look like a future top-end starter.
91. Korey Lee, C, Astros
Lee was one of the more surprising picks in the 2019 draft, but he’s proved the doubters wrong with a strong first full season as a professional. As expected, he mashed at High-A Asheville, one of the most hitter-friendly locales in the minors. He performed well at Double-A after a quick promotion, then earned a cameo at Triple-A Sugar Land for the season’s final stretch. His receiving has improved, too, thanks to the one-knee stance, and he’s shown plus-plus arm strength as well.