Arizona Fall League Preview: Surprise Saguaros

The Surprise Saguaros will feature one team that calls Surprise home during the spring in the Texas Rangers, along with the two Peoria based teams, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, and the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox. The Saguaros will also feature a manager that was both a former big leaguer and has a son of the same name that is a well known prospect in Delino DeShields.


A less than stellar pitching staff will plague the squad in Surprise as well in the Arizona Fall League this year. One player that will be a must watch is the 19th overall pick from this past June’s draft, Nick Howard. Howard was drafted out of the University of Virginia by the Reds where there was some debate over whether he would be able to be a starter or reliever. In 11 games in the Midwest League, Howard did get five starts, but only threw 33.2 innings total.

Lisalverto Bonilla made three appearances in the big leagues this season with the Rangers, but will still head to the AFL. He did not have a great season, a 4.10 ERA in the PCL and gave up five earned runs in 9.2 big league innings. Bonilla will be the lone pitcher on the Saguaros staff with big league experience this season.

Position Players

The Saguaros offense will be fantastic this fall. After missing the entire season due to a shoulder injury, Jurickson Profar will get some playing time in the AFL as he begins the path to be ready to go come opening day of 2015.

The Red Sox send a potential future utility infielder in Deven Marrero, and a resurging prospect in Sean Coyle to Surprise. Coyle struggled in 2013 but hit .295 in the Eastern League this year and hit 16 home runs to go with a 23 doubles. Marrero hit well in the Eastern League, but struggled after getting the promotion to Triple-A.

D.J. Peterson, the Mariners top infield prospect, shined in his first full season in pro ball. He hit .297 and launched 31 home runs and 31 doubles between High-A and Double-A. To go with the power bat, he also possesses a power arm that will certainly allow him to stick at third base.

The Padres send a big leaguer to the AFL in Jace Peterson, but it will be Trea Turner that will get the majority of the attention. Turner stole 23 bags in his 69 games and hit an impressive .323 over two levels after being selected 13th overall in June. He is a true 80 runner which will be his carrying tool, but his early success with the bat has Padres fans excited.

The Padres will also have a featured outfielder in the AFL with Hunter Renfroe. Renfroe has a very strong arm that should allow him to stick in right field, and has some solid power as well. He hit 21 home runs this season but struck out more than once a game.

Nick Williams does not have a single tool grades out as plus, but he also doesn’t have a single tool that is a weakness. He can play center field well enough, but is probably better suited to play left in the long term.

Jesse Winker only managed 74 games due to injury this season, so the number two Reds prospect will try to make up for the lost at bats in the AFL. Winkler is a pure left fielder but can really hit, batting .317 before his promotion to the Southern League where he struggled to hit much over .200.