The Arizona Fall League’s six individual teams took a night off Saturday as the league hosted its annual Rising Stars Game. The contest takes the 25 best players from the East and West divisions and creates an all-star game showcasing the AFL’s top talent. This year, top picks in the 2011 draft Gerrit Cole and Danny Hultzen started the game for the East and West. Cole and the East got hammered early as the game was one-sided from the start. Wil Myers and Nick Franklin were the offensive leaders of the West, who cruised to an 11-2 victory.
It was a tale of two starts for Cole and Hultzen. The Mariners top pick threw two hitless frames, allowing only one walk while striking out three. Cole, on the other hand, couldn’t make it out of the first inning. The Pirates top prospect surrendered five runs on four hits in only 2/3 of an inning.
The West used another big inning in the 3rd to break things open early. Four runs came around to score that frame, making it 10-1 after three.
The East’s Rising Stars made it 10-2, but their bats fell silent over the game’s final four innings. Four West pitchers combined to log four perfect innings of relief to end the game. Kansas City’s right-hander Jeremy Jeffress led the way, striking out the side in the 6th.
Three players combined to do much of the damage for the West. Mariners’ shortstop Nick Franklin went 4-5 with two doubles a home run and four RBI’s. His three extra base hits were an AFL Rising Stars Game record.
For more on the Minor Leagues, be sure to check out Seedlings to Stars.