The MiLB playoffs are just about underway, which means the Arizona Fall League is right around the corner.
Starting on September 18, eight Seattle Mariners will represent the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. They’ll have the highest number of players on a Javelinas team that includes prospects from the Red Sox, Pirates, Padres, and Astros’ systems.
The Arizona Fall League pits some of the best prospects in baseball against one another, as six teams comprised of players from five organizations each do battle over the course of a six-week season that includes championship and All-Star games. Some Mariners prospects, such as Art Warren and Evan White, have had great success there in recent years.
Headlining the list of Mariners representatives are Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic, the organization’s two top positional prospects. Both started the season out in Class-A West Virginia and have greatly exceeded expectations, with Kelenic reaching—and succeeding in—Double-A Arkansas and Rodriguez not far behind him with his destruction of the California League.
Joining them in Peoria’s lineup will be third baseman Joe Rizzo and utility infielder José Caballero. Rizzo has had a great year at the plate for Modesto this year but has failed to develop more consistent power. Thankfully, he has seemingly found a home in the field, greatly making improvements to his defensive game at third base.
Caballero, acquired at the deadline from the Diamondbacks for Mike Leake, has struggled since joining the Mariners’ organization but poses a ton of speed and has a knack for getting on base. He’s a name that could turn some heads, especially with more time away from an injury that kept him out for the majority of the summer.
The biggest name on that list is Delaplane, who ranked as the 25th-best Mariners prospect on our organizational re-rank. This does, however, confirm that Delaplane won’t get a shot at the MLB level this year, despite dominating Double-A to the tune of a 13.63 K/9 and 0.51 ERA in 35 innings of work.
Fletcher was acquired in a deadline deal with the Nationals and has only allowed one home run in 103.1 career innings. He’s likely to make his MLB debut at some point next year, so this is a good opportunity for Mariners to get familiar with him.
Kerr is probably the most exciting relief prospect the Mariners have in their system. He has tapped into his triple-digit potential since converting to the bullpen, but has flown fairly under-the-radar for most of the season. That all could quickly change with a strong showing in the AFL.
Finally, Murfee may be the most unfamiliar name to some fans. The 25-year-old has put together a really solid year in the California League, posting 131 strikeouts to just 31 walks in 97 innings of work. Like Kerr, he’s a guy that could put more people on notice if shows out.
It’s gonna be tough to perform at a high level, however, as the Arizona Fall League is absolutely stacked this year. From Jo Adell to Joey Bart and countless other top prospects, this may be the most competitive and talented AFL roster we’ve seen. Should be really fun, especially with the Mariners well-represented with elite talent of their own.