The Arizona Fall League is officially underway as the best prospects in baseball do battle in the desert.
Eight of those prospects belong to the Seattle Mariners, who make up roughly 26% of the Peoria Javelinas’ 30-man roster, which includes prospects from the Red Sox, Pirates, Astros, and Padres as well. The most notable name the M’s sent to the AFL, of course, is top prospect Jarred Kelenic. However, the 20-year-old did not play in last night’s opener against the Salt River Rafters after having his wisdom teeth removed, and is not expected to play for at least five more days.
Kelenic isn’t the only premier name representing the Mariners, though. Julio Rodriguez, who absolutely destroyed the California League in his short stint with High-A Modesto, hit cleanup for the Javelinas last night, going 0-for-3 with a pair of RBIs on a sacrifice fly and a walk with a run scored. Rodriguez also manned center field for the night, something he’s very much capable of doing, though it may not be his path in the Majors.
Minus Kelenic, Joe Rizzo, and Raymond Kerr, five Mariners prospects saw action in Peoria’s eventual 10-6 win. Under-the-radar pitching prospect Penn Murfee got the start for the Javelinas, allowing five runs (just one earned) on six hits in two innings pitched, punching out two and walking one. Aaron Fletcher, a dominant left-handed reliever the Mariners acquired in the Roenis Elías deal with Washington back in July, served up two scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts of his very own.
On the offensive side of things, Jose Caballero got on base twice with a twin set of singles and later stole a base. Caballero is a particularly interesting piece, coming over from Arizona in the Mike Leake deal whilst rehabbing an injury that kept him out for the majority of the summer. After dominating in April and May, Caballero labored a bit in his 23 games with the High-A Modesto, though a strong finish to the minor league season and a good start to the AFL hopefully indicates he’s hitting his stride again.
Lastly, Sam Delaplane—perhaps the best bullpen arm in the Mariners’ system right now—closed the door on Salt River with a two-inning, six-out save that saw him strike out a pair of Rafters hitters while allowing just one hit.
It’s the first win of what should be many for a really good Peoria roster, though this year’s Arizona Fall League is particularly rich in talent. It’s going to be a really competitive and fun league to keep an eye on, even though most of it won’t be broadcasted. However, you can stay in the loop by following MLB.com’s live tracker for each and every game, exactly how you would a regular MLB game on the At-Bat app or through the MLB website.
Each day, we’ll have you covered on everything this impressive group of Mariners prospects do over the next few weeks. Tonight, Peoria will square off with the Glendale Desert Dogs at 6:30 PM PT.