The Arizona Fall League is a great way for scouts to get a first-hand look at some of baseball’s top prospects as they battle against one another. Observing a prospects mechanics, defensive skills, speed, radar gun readings, pitch movement and general feel for the game is essential in projecting future performance. However, one thing the AFL does not do is give us a usable set of statistical data.
There are many reasons to not take AFL stats too seriously. The league resides in Arizona, which is an environment favorable to hitters. Also, not many teams send their top pitching prospects. While there are indeed some top arms, the majority of the rosters are filled with fringy types. This also favors the hitters. Then we have the issue of small sample size. AFL MVP, Dustin Ackley, hit .424/.581/.758 with four home runs. However, he only had 66 at-bats in 20 games. While seeing Ackley perform at such a high level can’t be a bad thing, it also can’t be viewed as a representation of his true skill set. Eric Hosmer, who may be a better overall prospect than Ackley, only hit .203/.284/.291 with no home runs in 79 at-bats.
Marc Rzepczynski led the AFL with 31 innings pitched.
The best way to go about assessing AFL action is to read up on what scouts and prospect guru’s took from seeing the players play. Things like the movement and consistency
of Jeremy Jeffress’s fastball or if Dustin Ackley has made enough progression defensively at second base.
As for the numbers…they’re about as useful as spring training stats.