Hey y’all! The Arizona Fall League rosters were finally released this week, and they feature a bunch of interesting players. Two of the players I discuss today will be playing in the league this fall. If you have a chance to go to Arizona this fall, please consider doing so. You will see young, upcoming stars playing against one another. The league begins on September 18th and concludes on October 26th. All games begin at 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m and with the close proximity of the parks you can catch two games each day. The weather in Arizona this time of year is still warm but not overbearing and tickets are pretty cheap, especially with the type of talent on the field.
Today, I’m bringing you one slick-fielding shortstop whose bat is starting to play, one outfielder who has 80-grade speed, a right-handed control artist, and a southpaw with some strikeout upside.
Jose Garcia (CIN A+) SS Age: 21 ETA: 2021
The Reds signed the toolsy Cuban shortstop for 5 million dollars in 2017, but he did not play professional ball until last year. In Low- A, Garcia struggled to a .245/.290/.344 with six home runs and thirteen stolen bases. It was not all that surprising to see him struggle. The Midwest League is tough on hitters, especially early due to the weather, and it was Garcia’s first time playing baseball since 2016. Eric and Kiley had him ranked #10 on the Reds’ list before the season.
With some trades, graduations, and his performance, he is now #6 on the Reds’ list and on the cusp of the Top 100 as a 45+ FV, his highest grades coming in speed and throwing. He has a strong arm and displays great footwork and should be able to stick at the position. This year, Garcia hit .282/.345/.441 with eight home runs in the Florida State League, which is known as a pitchers league. He also swiped fourteen bases while only getting caught twice after he stole thirteen bases while getting caught nine times last year, so there’s an improvement there, as well.
Gilberto Jimenez (BOS A-) OF Age: 19 ETA: 2023
One of the Red Sox J2 signings last year, Jimenez has hit the ground running since coming over stateside this year. He naturally hits right-handed but picked up switch-hitting during his time in the DSL in 2017. In the preseason, we had him ranked #15 in the Red Sox’s list. His highest rated tool is his 80-grade speed. He has quick hands and plus bat speed but he is a bit of a slap hitter right now. He is hitting ground balls at a 62.8% clip with a 33.9 pull%.
If he can add some loft to the swing, he should be able to tap into a bit more power. So far in the New York-Penn League, he is hitting.370/.401/.491 with three home runs. He has also stolen fourteen bases while getting caught four times. Jimenez is still very raw but is one of the most exciting prospects in the Red Sox organization. If he is available in your dynasty league, pick him up. There are very few prospects that have this type of game-changing speed.
Nick Neidert (MIA AAA) RHP Age: 22 ETA: 2020
Drafted in the second round of the 2015 draft by the Mariners, Neidert is a changeup and command artist. He made his way to Miami in the Dee Gordon trade during the offseason of 2017. During the 2018 season in Double-A, Neidert had a 3.24 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 154 strikeouts, and a 10.5 SwStk% in 152.2 innings. Eric and Kiley had him ranked 5th in the Marlins preseason list. He is a FV 45+ with one of the minors’ better changeups.
The right-hander sits between 89-91 with the heater and gives me Kyle Hendricks vibes. He would have been knocking on the major league door this season if not due to surgery due to a torn meniscus. He has returned and is pitching well at Triple-A. During the month of August, he has a 2.54 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 29 strikeouts in 28.1 innings. I could see the Marlins sending him to the Arizona Fall League to get him some more innings. While he will not be an ace for your fantasy team, he should help in your ratio categories and contribute a bit with strikeouts.
Trevor Rogers (MIA AA) LHP Age: 21 ETA: 2020
Trevor Rodgers was one of the top prospects in the 2017 draft and was committed to play at Texas Tech University before the Marlins picked up him in the thirteenth overall pick of the 2017 draft. He did not make his professional debut until 2018 when he was assigned to A-ball. He struggled in his first season with a 5.82 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. He stuck out batters 26% of the time but was also pretty hittable with more than a hit an inning. In the preseason, Eric and Kiley had him ranked 16th on the Marlins list.
Rogers has a 40 FV with a 60 FV on the fastball and 55 FV on the changeup. He sits 91-93 and can hit 96, which is pretty good for a left-handed pitcher. He was assigned to Hi-A to begin the year and he dominated the league. In 110.1 innings, he had a 2.53 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. What was most encouraging was seeing the walk rate decrease from 8.3% to 5.3%. He was then promoted to Double-A and has struggled a bit in his four starts at the level. I’m not overly concerned with him struggled at his first taste of Double-A, and would be looking to add him in my dynasty leagues