Image credit: (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
Baseball America’s weekly Hot Sheet continues for the Arizona Fall League. Josh Norris ranks the 10 hottest prospects from the first stretch of Fall League action. You can follow Josh on Twitter here for daily updates.
1. Jakob Marsee, OF, Padres
Why He’s Here: .571/.630/1.095 (12-for-21), 9 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 4 BB, 2 SO, 4-for-4 SB
The Scoop: Marsee has been a one-man wrecking crew in the early days of the Fall League. The 22-year-old, whom the Padres plucked out of Central Michigan in the sixth round of the 2022 draft, leads the AFL in nearly every offensive category, including batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, hits and total bases. The hot start is an extension of his blistering regular season, when he produced an .841 OPS with more walks (98) than strikeouts (97) in a year split between High-A and Double-A.
2. Ricky Tiedemann, LHP, Blue Jays
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 1.80, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO, 1 HR
The Scoop: Despite taking the loss in his first AFL start of the year, Tiedemann was outstanding. He lasted five innings for the first time since 2022 and threw the more pitches (77) than he had in any regular-season game all year. At his best, Tiedemann was overpowering, flummoxing hitters with a nasty combination of mid-90s gas, a sweeper slider and a tumbling changeup. His seven strikeouts are tied for the most in the league through the first week. If Toronto makes the playoffs next year, Tiedemann has the stuff to be a part of the squad at this time in 2024.
3. Jackson Jobe, RHP, Tigers
Team: Salt River
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: The Tigers’ top pitching prospect lived up to the billing in his first turn in the AFL. Taking the mound on Opening Day, Jobe—who missed a chunk of the year with injuries—carved for four solid innings. He mixed a mid-90s fastball with a nasty, high-spin slider and excellent changeup to whiff four hitters in as many frames. In a league mostly dominated by pitching in the first week, Jobe turned in a sterling start that hinted at his extremely high upside.
4. Tekoah Roby, RHP, Cardinals
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Roby was part of an excellent 2020 draft class put together by the Rangers, who then traded the righthander to the Cardinals in order to acquire Jordan Montgomery. Roby has made a big first impression on evaluators, with some tabbing him as the best pitching prospect in St. Louis’ system. He showed off in his first AFL start, spinning three scoreless frames in an outstanding opening-week pitching duel with Glendale’s Jake Eder (White Sox). His five strikeouts are two off the league lead.
5. Jake Eder, LHP, White Sox
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.00, 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR
The Scoop: Eder was the cost the Marlins paid to acquire lefty masher Jake Burger from the White Sox. The Vanderbilt-bred lefty returned to the mound this season after having Tommy John surgery in 2021. Before the injury, he was was one of the biggest revelations in the minor leagues and was dominating Double-A in his first pro season. He was part of a host of prospects the White Sox acquired to replenish a fallow farm system and could be in line for a big league debut sometime in 2024.
6. Sterlin Thompson, 2B, Rockies
Team: Salt River
Why He’s Here: .500/.609/.778 (9-for-18), 5 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBIs, 5 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop: The Florida alum crushed the competition in the High-A Northwest League in the early portion of the season before an injury shelved him for more than three months. When he returned, he moved to Double-A and hit seven home runs in 32 games. With Salt River, he’s shown a quick, powerful swing and the quicks to leg out a pair of triples.
7. Wes Clarke, 1B, Brewers
Why He’s Here: .375/.474/.875 (6-for-16), 5 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: Clarke, a product of South Carolina, slugged 14 home runs in the regular season between High-A Wisconsin and Double-A Biloxi, including five in just 16 games in the Southern League. He’s quickly shown off that power in the desert, crushing two home runs in the first week. He’s part of a cadre of first base prospects in the AFL who possess titanic juice.
8. Sonny DiChiara, 1B, Angels
Why He’s Here: .389/.421/.722 (7-for-18), 2 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: DiChiara has spent the first week of the AFL playing to type as a big man who can punish baseballs. The Auburn sensation from this year’s draft is one of five players who hit two home runs in the first week of the season. His first of the year showed off his strength. The blast wasn’t hit squarely, but DiChiara still put enough of a charge behind it to sneak it over the wall in right field for an opposite-field blast.
9. Chase DeLauter, OF, Guardians
Why He’s Here: .333/.370/.524 (7-for-21), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: DeLauter’s career has been waylaid twice by injuries—first in his draft year at James Madison and then again to begin this season. When he got on the field, though, he’s shown the world why Cleveland chose him in the first round. The big, strong lefthanded hitter has found the barrel time and time again in the first days of the AFL, and the result was the most RBIs (11) in the league through the first week. From a position player standpoint, he’s one of the best prospects in the entire Fall League.
10. Ryan Bliss, 2B, Mariners
Why He’s Here: .545/.667/.636 (6-for-11), 4 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBIs, 4 BB, 2 SO, 2-for-4 SBs
The Scoop: The 23-year-old Bliss moved from the D-backs to the Mariners at the midsummer trade deadline and produced for both of his organizations. The Auburn alum—one of two Tigers, along with Sonny DiChiara, to make the inaugural AFL Hot Sheet—continued his strong year with a boffo first week in the desert. The infielder played in three games but recorded multiple hits in two contests, including a 4-for-5 effort against Mesa on Oct. 5. He has the look of a contact-oriented player who can hit toward the top or bottom of a lineup.