For those of you who don’t know, the Arizona Fall League is a show case of the of the most promising prospects from each Major League Baseball team. Each team is allowed to send seven of their best and brightest prospects to play in the AFL which is composed of six teams: the Mesa Solar Sox, the Glendale Desert Dogs, the Surprise Saguaros, the Scottsdale Scorpions, the Salt River Rafters, and the Peoria Javelinas. Divided into Eastern (Mesa, Salt River and Scottsdale) and Western (Surprise, Glendale and Peoria) Divisions, the six teams, each made up of five MLB teams working collectively, play 40 games during the months of October and November culminating with the AFL Championship Game. Today the league-leading Eastern Division Mesa Solar Sox (19-11) take on the Western Division Surprise Saguaros (18-12) for the AFL Title!
The Mesa Solar Sox are an alliance of prospects from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Oakland Athletics, the Chicago Cubs, the Washington Nationals and the Detroit Tigers while the Surprise Saguaros are composed of a combination of prospects from the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cleveland Indians, the Baltimore Orioles, the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox.
Mesa was led by two of the league’s best hitters, Cubs 3B Kris Bryant and Angels 1B C.J. Cron. Bryant hit .364 with six homeruns, Cron .413 with five homers. The Surprise offense was led by Red Sox 1B Travis Shaw (.361, five HRs) and Orioles OF Henry Urrutia (.377, three HRs). Both clubs ranked in the top three in the league in average, slugging and on-base. Addison Russell SS, Oakland’s number one prospect will be leading off for Mesa today against Surprise’s Eduardo Rodriguez of the Orioles and starting for Mesa will be Dallas Beeler, of the Cubs. Interestingly Beeler was not elected to the AFL Fall Stars Game, which is essentially the league’s all star game yet was chosen to start today’s Championship Game. Rodriguez however was on the Western Division’s Fall Stars Game roster.
The game is going to be a battle today between Mesa’s league leading pitching, who allowed the fewest runs during regular league play and Surprise’s hot bats who were the league’s highest scoring offense! Watch out for a low scoring game with the team who gets the clutch hits most likely taking the title!