The Arizona Fall League has concluded, putting a final wrap on the 2023 season. The Surprise Saguaros took home the hardware – not that that means anything to most readers. Jakob Marsee managed to sneak by Offensive Player of the Year James Triantos for the top OPS and MVP honors. Liam Hicks took home the batting title. Twin sluggers Kala’i Rosario and Aaron Sabato shared the home run title. Ricky Tiedemann won the AFL Pitcher of the Year award over Davis Daniel. Additional awards can be viewed here.
Listed stats are from the AFL.
Five Big Hype Prospects
Kyle Manzardo, 23, 1B, CLE
101 PA, 6 HR, .272/.340/.565
Manzardo finished the campaign on a strong note. He reached base three times in the championship game and homered twice in the semi-final while leading a nine-run comeback. The 2023 season represented a small step back in Manzardo’s prospect status. Due to an extreme fly ball approach, he struggled to reach base on balls in play. While no slouch in the power department, his exit velocities hovered around league average. His peripherals show evidence of a post-trade adjustment, although I do not know the specifics of that adjustment. We might be looking at a small sample quirk.
Ricky Tiedemann, 21, SP, TOR
18 IP, 12 H, 8 BB, 23 K, 2.50 ERA
After missing a large chunk of the 2023 season, Tiedemann was on hand in Arizona for just four starts. He made the most of them, showing enough to take home a closely-contested award. Tiedemann spent most of his active time at Double-A where he made 11 starts totaling just 32 innings. He missed bats with ease but struggled at times with command – an issue which followed him to the Fall League. He features a repertoire of three plus offerings including a mid-90s fastball, a sweeper, and a changeup.
Jackson Jobe, 21, P, DET
15.2 IP, 14 H, 5 BB, 19 K, 2.87 ERA
The next-highest profile pitching prospect in fall ball, Jobe nearly matched Tiedemann over his four-start run. Jobe works with a deep repertoire of at least five average or better offerings. He’s credited with a head for pitching including a professional-level feel for incorporating analytic analysis into his development. After tasting one start at Double-A this season, he’s on track for a Major League promotion sometime in 2024.
Victor Scott, 22, OF, STL
96 PA, 3 HR, 18 SB, .286/.388/.417
A speedy left-handed hitter, Scott turned heads in the AFL via an advanced feel for contact. He was one of only a handful of hitters who recorded more walks than strikeouts. Thought he has posted above average batting lines throughout his brief minor league tenure, scouts complain of a low-impact swing that might prove exploitable against upper-level pitching. Scott’s path to the Majors likely looks something like Johan Rojas – a defense-first profile with the speed and contact chops necessary to post an empty batting average.
Chase DeLauter, 22, OF, CLE
101 PA, 5 HR, 5 SB, .299/.385/.529
DeLauter is my pick for most intriguing player to participate in the AFL. His swing is an acquired taste – at first visually disturbing, but then it grows on you. Like Scott, DeLauter recorded more walks than strikeouts, a feat that fits right in with the Guardians hitting ethos. He also led the league in RBI. He will have an opportunity to approach the Majors next season, but he needs to prove he can get to power outcomes more consistently in order to get the call.
Oliver Dunn, PHI (26): A non-prospect coming off a strong Double-A campaign, Dunn likely played his way onto a 40-man roster this fall. He’s Rule 5 eligible so the Phillies will have to roster him or prepare to watch him be drafted. Dunn posted a 1.071 OPS – fourth-best in the league to go with 12 extra-base hits and 12 steals in 88 plate appearances.
Caleb Durbin, NYY (23): An Altuve-scale second baseman, Durbin led the AFL with 21 steals in 23 attempts. He also posted a 1.044 OPS, good for sixth-best in the league. He even delivered a trio of home runs to go with nine doubles and a triple in 99 plate appearances. He recorded twice as many walks as strikeouts. Durbin was arguably the most dynamic offensive performer in the AFL.
Damiano Palmegiani, TOR (23): Palmegiani was already ticketed for a role with the 2024 Blue Jays. With six home runs and 21 RBI in 92 plate appearances, he was one of the top-performing power hitters in the league. Pending offseason activity, he’s primed to compete for an Opening Day assignment.
Did I miss a detail or nuance? DM me on Twitter @BaseballATeam to suggest corrections.