The Arizona Fall League is the only place you can see live baseball being played by professional athletes in America during November, although the season starts in October when playoff baseball is still being played. The Arizona Diamondbacks host the Arizona Fall League every year including allowing some games to be played at Chase Field. There are only six teams in the Fall League, so the 30 MLB teams split up to combine six teams. This year, the Diamondbacks are partnered up with the Rockies, Tigers, Cardinals, and Blue Jays for the Salt River Rafters who play their home games at Salt River Fields. The Arizona Diamondbacks have a few big-name prospects and some players with MLB experience on their portion of the roster.
Arizona Fall League has several top Arizona Diamondbacks prospects
The following players have been selected onto the Salt River Rafters roster to represent the Diamondbacks: Cooper Hummel (C), Deyvison De Los Santos (INF), Jordan Lawlar (SS), Kyle Backhus (P), J.B. Bukauskas (P), Jackson Goddard (P), and Chad Patrick (P). If you want to attend a game to see some minor league or MLB Diamondbacks play baseball for cheap, check out the Rafters' Schedule here.
Cooper Hummel might be the most intriguing name for the Diamondbacks since he has played at the MLB level for most of the 2022 season. Not often do non-prospects play in the Fall League. I am presuming it's because the Diamondbacks want to get the 27-year-old more work catching. He hadn't caught prior to this season in a while, but he does appear to be Arizona's preferred backup to Carson Kelly.
This will allow Cooper to get plenty of reps behind the plate in a non-pressure environment so that the switch-hitter is ready to go for the 2023 season and spring training. Hummel has only been minus-two in defensive runs saved behind the plate which is fairly good for a player who hadn't caught in a year or more. This will allow Cooper more batting practice as well since he has hit only .176/.280/.296 with 22 walks to 59 strikeouts and 11 extra-base hits with 14 RBI and 4 stolen bases. I'm a huge believer in Cooper Hummel and his talent. I can't wait to see him excel as a catcher!
The BIG name on the Rafters for the Diamondbacks is, of course, Jordan Lawlar. Lawler has climbed up to Double-A in his first full professional season. This signals that Lawlar could be ready for the MLB come September 2023 or likely the beginning of the 2024 season. It's a huge sign that the Diamondbacks believe Lawlar is close to the MLB by having him play in the Arizona Fall League.
Jordan's a top prospect in the MLB and has proven why in 2022. Climbing from Rookie Level Arizona to Amarillo, a four-system climb has resulted in him being selected to the Futures Games representing Arizona. He has hit .308/.404/.517 with 18 doubles, seven triples, 16 home runs, 61 RBI, 39 stolen bases, 56 walks, and 112 strikeouts this year.
Although he has hit the proverbial wall at Double-A where he's playing against competitors that on average 5.2 years older than him. Remember, he's only 19. In 18 games, Lawlar has hit only .228/.370/.380 with four home runs, 10 RBI, two stolen bases, and nine walks to 25 strikeouts. He will adjust to Double-A. I can't wait to see him in the Fall League.
The other top prospect includes Deyvison De Los Santos who has climbed three levels from Low-A to Double-A and played with Lawlar for most of the season. The 6'1 third baseman/first baseman is only 19 and has put up an impressive power display this season. Over 124 games this year, Santos has hit .306/.347/.502 with 29 doubles, two triples, 22 home runs, 104 RBI, five stolen bases, 33 walks, and 145 strikeouts.
De Los Santos will be fun to watch to see his great power in person. Although, it will be interesting to see if he can cut down his strikeout rate and be a bit more patient at the plate. Like Jordan Lawlar, he has struggled at the Double-A level which makes sense since he's only 19. In seven hits there, he does have two doubles and a home run. I would be surprised to see Deyvison before 2024.
J.B. Bukauskas hurt his Teres Majors muscle during spring training which cost him a shot at playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2022. He missed many months and when he got healthy, he was sent to Triple-A Reno. His playing in the Fall League likely has to do with reps. The team wants to get him more innings so he can play next season in the MLB and to make up for his lost development time. He's been great in Reno though as the 25-year-old has a 2.87 ERA over 16 games, 15.2 innings with 17 hits, five runs, four walks, and 11 strikeouts. Keep it up J.B.! We believe in you.
Kyle Backhus has been impressing a lot of people this year as a left-handed reliever. The 24-year-old lefty has climbed to Double-A after starting the year at High-A. Over 40 games, he has a 3.27 ERA, six saves, 18 games finished, 52.1 innings, and has given up 45 hits, 19 runs, 26 walks, and 78 strikeouts. Backhus has proven to have great strikeout ability but will need to reign in the control to avoid the walks. 26 in only 52.1 innings is far too much, but don't be shocked if you see Backhus on more prospects lists soon or in the MLB next year.
Jackson Goddard is a right-handed reliever that is trying to make up for two full years of development due to Covid and injury. He's only pitched in 21 games this season, the majority with High-A Hillsboro Hops, and has displayed a good arm. Although the control does leave some to be desired. Goddard has a 3.91 ERA over 23 innings with three games finished. He has given up 26 hits, 10 earned runs, 16 walks, and 27 strikeouts. The 25-year-old is still a few years away, but is on the right track now that he's healthy.
Chad Patrick is a right-handed starter that might be destined for the bullpen after being selected in the fourth round of the 2021 Draft. Patrick has climbed three levels this year, rising from Rookie Level to High-A as a 23-year-old. He has started 10 of the 13 games he's pitched in. Patrick's 5-2 with a 3.30 ERA, 46.1 innings, and has given up 41 hits, 17 earned runs, 17 walks, and 54 strikeouts. He's going to have to learn better control, but the strikeouts are encouraging. The Diamondbacks believe in his arm by sending him to the AFL.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a strong group of talented prospects and an MLB player representing them in the Arizona Fall League. There's plenty of baseball to come in the desert. Plus, it gives you a chance to see some of the future stars of the MLB and the Diamondbacks before they reach the big leagues.