The Arizona Fall League announced their rosters on Thursday afternoon. The Pittsburgh Pirates will be sending eight players to the league this year. The group includes Cole Tucker, Will Craig, Arden Pabst, Bryan Reynolds, Dario Agrazal, Geoff Hartlieb, Matt Eckelman and Blake Weiman.
I could just link my article from August 7th when I put out my AFL guesses because six of these players were on the list, but I’ll go into further detail. Tucker, Craig and Reynolds are the big names here, but it’s overall a very interesting group.
Tucker struggled for much of the first half of the season and he needs to be added to the 40-man roster this winter. If he’s going to make the step up to Indianapolis, some extra time will do him well. Craig has had a big season for power, but that came with a drop in his average and OBP. There is no rush right now with him because he won’t be Rule 5 eligible this winter, but just like with Tucker, it doesn’t hurt to get him extra at-bats against elite upper level pitching. Reynolds needs no explanation really. He missed two months with a broken hamate, so he’s making up for lost time.
I had Arden Pabst in that article because he has made huge strides on offense this year, but he’s been splitting time behind the plate, so he could use extra at-bats. His defense is above average, so he really doesn’t need the extra work there, but it won’t hurt.
On the pitching side, you have Agrazal who missed two months with a shoulder strain after missing time last year as well. He should get innings as a starter in the AFL as well. The three relievers are among the best relief prospects in the system and none of them have been overworked this year. Everyone on this list is currently with Altoona as they head to the playoffs next week.
Those players will play on the Surprise Saguaros this season and the league opens up on October 9th. Altoona pitching coach Bryan Hickerson will represent the Pirates on the pitching staff.
I’ll mention that the announced players don’t always end up as the players who attend. In most years they will be the same players who go, but last year Cole Tucker was injured in the playoffs for Altoona and couldn’t play fall ball, while the year before both Austin Meadows and Dovydas Neverauskas were announced, but didn’t attend. In those instances, they were replaced by other players chosen by the Pirates.
As usual, we will have game recaps for all 30 games and the Fall-Stars game on November 3rd. The championship game will be played on November 17th.