The Arizona Fall League may have kicked off today, but it is not too late to take a look at the two rosters that haven’t yet been broken down here at Grading on the Curve. The Glendale Desert Dogs will play at the beautiful Camelback Ranch, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, and the team will feature those two clubs, along with the team located worst remaining Spring Training home in the Cactus League, the Milwaukee Brewers. The Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers will round out the clubs that make up the roster for the Desert Dogs.
The Desert Dogs actually have a pretty good pitching staff that has some big league experience. The least surprising member of the roster is Wei-Chung Wang, the 22 year old lefty the Brewers acquired via a technicality in the Rule-5 draft from the Pittsburgh Pirates this past off-season. Wang pitched 17.1 innings in the big leagues this year, typically in games that were no longer in doubt, as he had to be a member of the active roster to remain with the club. His ERA was 10.90, after making the jump from complex league ball to the big leagues. He found himself on several “rehab” assignments through the year, where I saw both his appearances in the Arizona League, and he looked solid. The AFL will be a great spot for him to face upper minors batters without getting shelled in the bigs, which he clearly was not ready for.
Scott Snodgress also got some big league action this season, just 2.1 innings, where he gave up four earned runs. He was a college reliever, but most his pro action has been as a starter. The 6’6” lefty has a fringy fastball, has a very good cutter to go with a change and curve. His future is probably as a number four-or-five starter, but could be one of the better pitchers for Glendale.
His White Sox brethren, and yet another pitcher for this club with a bit of big league experience, Chris Bassitt is also on the club. Bassitt started five games in the big leagues this season and posted an ERA under four. He only logged a little over 70 innings this season, so the AFL will be all about building his innings limit as he looks to battle for a spot on the big league roster at the start of next season.
Robbie Ray was one of the biggest names the Tigers received when they dealt Doug Fister away to the Washington Nationals. Ray made it to the big leagues this season, but struggled. He has an excellent fastball from the left side to go with a slurvy breaking ball and an above average change. Left-handed hitters will not look forward to facing the Desert Dogs.
Matt Magill made six starts for the Dodgers in 2013, but spent all of 2014 in Triple-A. I was a coach in the opposite dugout when Magill was in high school, and he was probably the fourth best pitcher in the eight team league, but he has become the best of the bunch, at least on the mound. Magill was limited to just 84.2 innings this year, so he is just looking to put in some extra competitive innings.
The Dodgers also send a couple quality infielders to Glendale in Darnell Sweeney and Corey Seager. Sweeney spent the whole season in Double-A where he put together a .288/.387/.463 triple slash line and showed some decent power potential for a middle infielder. Meanwhile, there is no minor league position player in the Dodgers organization with more hype than Seager, and rightfully so. He hit .349 over two levels while posting an OPS of 1.004 in 2014. He is currently listed as a shortstop, but there is question as to whether or not he can stick there, but he certainly has the arm to move to third base.
There might not be a bigger name than Seager on the Glendale roster, but there also might not be a player more fun to watch on the team than Tim Anderson. Anderson can fly around the bases, despite stealing just 10 bags this season after stealing 24 last season. He instead focused on the bat, where he improved his average to .301 and flashed some power. He is certainly a guy that can stick up the middle and be a potential plus defender.
Steven Moya earned a big league call-up after launching 35 home runs in Double-A this season. The 23-year old has some holes in his swing, but with a power bat and a power arm, he looks like a prototypical right fielder, which is where he will be playing for the Desert Dogs.