The Detroit Tigers sent eight players to Arizona to compete for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. Here’s how they did.
The AFL is designed to give high-profile prospects additional competition at the tail end of the season, and gives fans and scouts a chance to see them against similar competition for an additional month or so.
The AFL finished up over the weekend, and now we can recap how Detroit’s four pitchers and four hitters fared down in the desert.
Woodrow was a surprise performer, leading the Solar Sox in average and stolen bases. He slashed a blistering .371/.420/.387 with six RBI and 12 stolen bases while starting in right field. Woodrow was coming off a very nice season at Double-A Erie, where he slashed .313/.369/.395 with 19 steals. He has very little power to speak of, but his nice season and strong showing in the AFL could creep him onto some prospect lists heading into 2019.
Pinero played in 11 games this fall, primarily at shortstop. He hit just .216 but had a .348 OBP thanks to seven walks drawn. Pinero was primarily a third baseman for High-A Lakeland last year, boasting strong walk totals but limited power and speed. He’ll need to show more pop if he wants to advance to the higher levels.
Rogers had a disappointing season with the stick in 2018, and that unfortunately carried with him into the AFL. After slashing just .219/.305/.412 last year, albeit with 17 home runs, Rogers only managed a .167/.231/.271 with just three walks compared to 11 strikeouts. He only played in 13 games so it’s hard to glean too much from this, but his prospect stock is certainly not as high as it was when he was originally acquired last summer. His defense remains elite, but until that bat shows up he is a backup C at best.
Perhaps Detroit’s best hitting prospect, Cameron excelled in the AFL. He slashed a very nice .342/.435/.468, hitting one home run and swiping nine bases in 20 games played. Cameron will likely start next season at Double-A Erie, but has a chance to reach the bigs near the end of the year. He is a big part of this team’s future.
Detroit sent three relievers and one starter to the AFL to help stay sharp during the start of the offseason.
Soto lead Mesa in starts (7) and innings pitched (29) this fall. He went 1-0 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP, striking out 25 while walking 14. Soto had walk issues last year, so while his numbers were solid it is concerning to see the walk issues remain. He’ll need to work on his command if he wants to avoid becoming a reliever in the big leagues.
Jimenez was lights out this fall, pitching to a 1.32 ERA in 13.2 innings with a 12:2 K:BB ratio and a 0.73 WHIP. The 23-year-old was Lakeland’s closer this season, and he has continued to pitch well. He is still a ways away, but his high strikeout totals and strong command make him a candidate to pitch out of Detroit’s bullpen in the near future.
Schreiber made nine appearances in the AFL, pitching a total of nine innings. He also had a not-so-great 7.00 ERA, with nine strikeouts and three walks. Schreiber has posted two straight excellent seasons in the minors, and while he wasn’t his sharpest this fall he still figures to be a bullpen piece down the line.
The only AFL participant who has played for the Detroit Tigers, Baez was limited to just 11 innings. While his 14/5 K/BB ratio was solid, his 9.00 ERA and 2.09 WHIP certainly were not. Still, Baez has a chance to compete for a bullpen role out of camp next season, and should be up for good in the big leagues soon.
The AFL is a nice way to see a glimpse of Detroit’s future studs at work after the season is over. While the results were mixed, these eight still all have a good chance to contribute to the Detroit Tigers down the line as the team continues to rebuild.