Notes on the Arizona Fall League “Fall Stars” Game


Greetings minor league fans. Last night the Arizona Fall League held their “Fall Stars” Game featuring some of the best and brightest young players in minor league baseball. It was also a great opportunity to watch some of these players because broadcast the game from Surprise, Arizona and we could actually see them in action.

While I watched the game, I took some notes on what I saw out of the players and decided to put it up here so you all can see what I had to say. Big shoutout to Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) who was tweeting from the game and had some more accurate/consistent radar readings in addition to his own observations (which were frequently in line with what I could tell from watching the TV feed). There was also some great commentary on the broadcast from Jonathan Mayo of

The last thing I think that it’s important to note is that it’s impossible to get an accurate impression of a player from a game like this. Some players had the game of their lives and others only had a limited opportunity to participate. You have to keep in mind that you need to watch players, especially minor league players, over a period of time for multiple games to really be able to get a complete view of what their abilities are. When I was traveling to minor league parks this summer, I saw at least three games from each team I was watching and I tried to get back for a repeat view at a different time over the summer. I found that being able to see players play multiple games, or for pitchers, pitch more than a couple of innings really helped give me a greater perspective.

Now, on to the notes:

Nov 2, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Minnesota Twins pitcher Alex Meyer against the East during the Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Meyer (Twins) has a pretty high-effort delivery but has some great stuff.

James Ramsey (Cardinals) had a perfect bunt and showed great speed but he has a lot of movement in his hands on his swing.

— Very poor route to the ball on a fly ball by Delino DeShields (Astros).

Austin Hedges‘s (Padres) pop-time (time from receiving the ball to the time it leaves his hand) is among the fastest I’ve seen. I saw Red Sox prospect Christian Vazquez a couple of times this year and he made scouts’ jaws drop. Hedges may be faster.

— Cards prospect Stephen Piscotty looks like he has a great combination of power and easy speed. Long lean body with great strides.

Kris Bryant (Cubs) has an absolute cannon at third base but definitely needs some more work defensively.

Aaron Sanchez (Toronto) has such an easy arm motion and gets 94-97 mph heat effortlessly. He also has two excellent off-speed pitches (curve and change) but needs better command. If/When he can put it all together, he’s going to be scary.

— The ball jumps of Tyler Naquin‘s (Indians) bat and he has tremendous speed. He’s incredible long and lean but makes me want to feed him a sandwich.

Kyle Crick (Giants) needs to work on command and repeating his delivery better.

Byron Buxton (Twins) has been impressive in waiting out the pitchers for a good pitch to hit. He also showed that he can take the ball up and away in the zone back up the middle of the diamond.

— 2B Taylor Lindsey (Angels) made a nice flip to start an almost double play.

— LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles) has low-90s heat and was having trouble throwing his big curve for strikes.

Nov 2, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers first baseman Brett Nicholas against the East during the Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

— Beautiful swing from Texas’s Brett Nicholas to hit one out of the park. Great bat-speed. And he did it again off Jeurys Familia. Very impressive.

Cam Bedrosian (Angels) wasn’t impressive. Throwing in high-80s (according to the TV feed), not great location, curve isn’t breaking as much as it needs to.

Jorge Soler (Cubs) hits the ball hard, but his swing looks a little slow. I thought he cheated to get around on a pitch in his first at bat.

Ken Giles (Phillies) looks good. High-90s, hitting 100 (according to Bernie Pleskoff), sharp breaking slider, overhand delivery, leaving the breaking ball up though.

Marcus Stroman (Blue Jays) has great stuff (including an excellent changeup) but was struggling to command it. I thought he was overthrowing a bit. He might have been a little too pumped for the game.

Keyvius Sampson (Padres) has an easy motion. The radar gun wasn’t accurate but he looks like he’s got very easy delivery, throwing in the low-90s.

Mike Montgomery (Rays) has trouble repeating his delivery. He left the ball up and got hit hard. Was effective when he buried his curveball (struck out Garin Cecchini with it).

— SS Alen Hanson (Pirates) had kind of a brain fart, holding on to the ball too long, allowing an infield single.

Stefen Romero (Mariners) hit two home runs to the opposite field. Tremendous power there.

Mason Williams (Yankees) has a nice quick stroke. Quick to the ball, solid contact.

Yorman Rodriguez (Reds) has a great arm but airmailed one above a leaping catcher. He also booted a fly ball that would have ended the game.

Marcus Semien (White Sox) has wheels. Should have beaten out a little nubber back to the pitcher (I thought the umpire got the call wrong).

— Jeurys Familia (Mets) was getting hitters to beat the ball into the ground (except for Nicholas, who blasted one out of the park). Getting fairly weak contact – 3 outs, 3 ground balls. Bernie Pleskoff had him at 96-97 mph.

Eddie Rosario (Twins) was swinging at some pitches well out of the strike zone.

Devon Travis (Tigers) had an excellent opposite field triple. Great power, quiet hands.

Yimi Garcia (Dodgers) works quickly and is around the plate. Nice slider, too but ball was up in the zone a few times.

— Garin Cecchini (Red Sox) has a nice compact swing – hit a home run to right-center field.

David Goforth (Brewers) big bodied pitcher, throws hard (97 mph).