The annual Arizona Fall League kicks-off today as every team from major league baseball sends top prospects and reclamation prospects to the desert in hopes of further honing their skills after, in most cases, a year in the minor leagues.
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Seven Detroit Tigers’ prospects will be in the league this fall, playing for the Glendale Desert Dogs. That team represents one-sixth of the league, is affiliated with the Tigers, Baltimore Orioles (salt to the wound), Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Milwaukee Brewers and will field a team of players from each of those organizations.
Glendale is managed by 1984 hero Lance Parrish. The Big Wheel served as manager for the Tigers’ AA team in Erie this past season, compiling a 71-71 record.
The player contingent from the Tigers’ organization includes:
- P-Joe Mantiply (6-3, 2.52 ERA in A-AA)
- P-Chad Smith (5-3, 3.45 ERA in AA-AAA, 0-0, 5.40 ERA, 1.543 WHIP in Detroit)
- P-Zac Reininger (4-4, 2.54 ERA, 1.041 WHIP in A)
- P-Robbie Ray (7-6, 4.22 ERA, 1.495 WHIP in AAA, 1-4, 8.16 ERA, 1.884 WHIP in Detroit)
- 2B-Domingo Leyba (.323, 21 XBH, 24 RBI, .783 OPS in A)
- CF-Daniel Fields (.224, 24 XBH, 35 RBI, .643 OPS in AA-AAA)
- RF-Steven Moya (.276, 71 XBH, 105 RBI, .861 OPS in AA)
There are several notable stories here.
Of course, all eyes will be on Steven Moya, who claimed MVP awards for the AA All-Star Game, the All-Stars Futures Game, and was the league MVP this past season. He will be taking his first step to winning the right field spot in Detroit for 2015 should Torii Hunter retire or move on. It would be a big jump from Double-A, but Moya will have the Arizona Fall League and Spring Training to make his case.
Daniel Fields is playing in Arizona after a terrible year. Despite at least a platoon job open in centerfield in Detroit for next year, Fields has a long way to go to start living up to expectations and nabbing that spot.
Robbie Ray’s future will always be tied to that of Doug Fister‘s. He pitched well in Detroit when getting spot starts in May, but fell apart in subsequent stays with the big league club. Sadly, he had a rather mundane year in Toledo.
Devon Travis was slated to be a part of fall ball in hopes of transitioning the infielder over to center field, however he has recently had core muscle surgery. He should be ready for Spring Training.
Glendale is taking on Mesa as this article is being written. The Arizona Fall League runs through the middle of November.