As of today, the Salt River Rafters are 6-5 and one game ahead in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) East. What is important to note about the AFL is that there are only six teams. These six teams comprise all of the prospects Major League teams send to the AFL. All of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ prospects are on the Rafters, which makes it easy to track how they are doing.
Those players are:
Daniel Gibson (P)
Yoan Lopez (P)
Adam Miller (P)
Myles Smith (P)
Oscar Hernandez (C)
Jack Reinheimer (IF)
Gabriel Guerrero (OF)
Daniel Palka (OF)
Lopez is leading the team with 10.1 IP, but he has an ERA of 6.10 and WHIP of 2.13. He has six walks with nine strikeouts. Miller has made four relief appearance with four innings pitched, five strikeouts, and one walk. Gibson has pitched two innings in two relief appearances, giving up one unearned run, two walks, and three strikeouts.
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The Diamondbacks pitcher making the most noise though is Myles Smith. In just two appearances, he has pitched two innings with a WHIP of 3.00, an ERA of 27.00 (six earned runs), and three walks. Interestingly, he has struck out five hitters out of the six outs he has recorded. It’s not the best kind of noise to make, but it is noise nonetheless.
Palka and Reinheimer have both played in eight games, with Palka sporting a .344/.417.438 line and Reinheimer a .276/.400/.310 line. Palka has one home run and Reinheimer one double. Hernandez has played in seven games, with a .174/.269/.217 line. He has a double. Guerrero has only played in three games with a line of .333/.333/.583 and one home run in his 12 at-bats.
To put these performances in perspective, arguably the top pitching performance in the AFL is held by Kansas City Royals prospect Brooks Pounders who has started three games, thrown 12 IP, with a 0.00 ERA, 0.42 WHIP, zero walks, and 14 strikeouts. The top hitter has been New York Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez with eight games played, a line of .457/.459/.943 for an OPS of 1.402, with five home runs, two doubles, 15 RBI, one walk, and three strikeouts.
It’s important to remember that in the AFL, the goal is playing time, not necessarily cumulative stats. If you were to attend a game, you would probably get lost with the massive number of substitutions, but you would also get to see quite a few prospects you otherwise would never get to see. In many cases, players find it difficult to get into a groove, especially those coming off the bench more often. This is a league for seasoning and instruction.
Although the Diamondbacks prospects aren’t all the rage so far in the AFL, most of them are contributing to their team and not embarrassing themselves. They sent some rather good prospects to the AFL, so let’s see how they fare the rest of the way.