2010 Arizona Fall League Preview

The minor league season may be wrapping up for the Pirates Prospects, but that doesn’t mean the prospects are done for the year. Up next is winter ball, with the most notable league being the Arizona Fall League.  The Arizona Fall League runs each year starting in early October, with this year’s competition starting on October 12th.

The league is comprised of six teams: the Grand Canyon Rafters, the Mesa Solar Sox, the Peoria Javelinas, the Peoria Saguaros, the Phoenix Desert Dogs, and the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Each Major League team is required to provide six players to the Arizona Fall League, under the following requirements:

-All AAA and AA players are eligible, as long as the players are on at least a AA level roster no later than August 1st.
-One player below the AA level is allowed per Major League Team
-One foreign player is allowed, as long as the player does not reside in a country that participates in winter ball
-No players with more than one year of credited Major League service time, as of August 31st, are eligible. The exception is a player who was picked in the most recently concluded Rule 5 draft.
-Players on Minor League disabled lists must be activated at least 45 days before the conclusion of their respective seasons.

Last year the Pirates sent Jose Tabata, Donald Veal, Tony Watson, Brian Friday, Daniel Moskos, and Chase d’Arnaud, with d’Arnaud serving as the exception from below the AA level.  This year the Pirates will send the following players to the Mesa Solar Sox:

Jordy Mercer
Tony Sanchez
Josh Harrison
Andrew Lambo

Sanchez is the exception from below the AA level.  He’s also a special exception in that he doesn’t qualify for the rule of being active 45 days before the conclusion of the 2010 season.  Sanchez has been on the disabled list since June, and might not return for the final week of the season.  The Pirates requested an exception from MLB to send him, and apparently the exception was made.

Harrison is having a good year at the plate in Altoona, and could definitely use the extra experience, especially on the defensive side of the ball.  After seeing Harrison a lot over the last two years, my best comparison of him would be a potential David Eckstein type player, due to the size.  Pirates fans may be more familiar with a Freddy Sanchez type player, aka, a player who makes great contact, doesn’t draw many walks, and doesn’t strike out much.  Harrison has improved on the walk rate this year.

Mercer is putting up respectable numbers in AA this year, with good doubles power, although he’s not fully living up to the offensive-minded shortstop that he was said to be when he was drafted.  Lambo was acquired at the trade deadline for Octavio Dotel.  The former Dodgers top prospect fell out of favor in the Los Angeles farm system, but has been excellent this year with Altoona in less than a month of action.

There are still three pitching spots that have yet to be announced.




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Erik Johnson

I’ve been trying to figure out who could be added as the 3 pitching additions, but I’m not coming up with a lot.

Lincoln, if he’s not on the minor league DL, would be an obvious choice. I doubt they will send any of the big 4 in Altoona, considering that all have pitched a lot of innings already and still have the AA playoffs to go. Maybe they would send Moskos again. The other 2 that make some sense are Mike Colla and Mike Dubee.

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