Bernie on the Scene: My All-AFL Team

Bernie on the Scene: My All-AFL Team

This article is part of our Bernie on the Scene series.

Another Arizona Fall League season is now in the books.

Today, I offer my All-Arizona Fall League 2021 team.

I am confident that unless a serious injury hampers their progress, each of the players noted below will have Major League Baseball career.

I am also confident we can look to add these players to our fantasy rosters at some point in the near future.

Catcher

STARTING CATCHER

Gabriel Moreno: Toronto Blue Jays, 5-11, 160 pounds, bats right

Line-drive bat. Quick hands and very good plate discipline. Improving defensive catcher

BACKUP CATCHER

Logan O'Hoppe: Philadelphia Phillies, 6-2, 185 pounds, bats right

Solid hitting catcher. Big and strong. Plays good defense with a strong, accurate arm.

ONE TO WATCH

Austin Wells: New York Yankees. 6-2, 220 pounds, bats left

Sweet left-handed swing that will play well in Yankee Stadium. Improving as a defensive catcher.

First Base

STARTING FIRST BASEMAN

Juan Yepez, St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1, 200 pounds, bats right

Lots of home run power potential in a strong, compact frame. A real sleeper with impactful bat.

BACKUP FIRST BASEMAN

Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox, 6-4, 252 pounds, bats left

Big and strong, I think we'll see him in the big leagues this coming season. Power still to come.

ONE TO WATCH

Michael Toglia, Colorado Rockies, 6-5, 226 pounds, Bats both

Could be a force in Coors Field. Not as polished as one might like but has promise.

Note: Detroit Tigers' Spencer Torkelson injured his ankle early on. He left the league, but

Another Arizona Fall League season is now in the books.

Today, I offer my All-Arizona Fall League 2021 team.

I am confident that unless a serious injury hampers their progress, each of the players noted below will have Major League Baseball career.

I am also confident we can look to add these players to our fantasy rosters at some point in the near future.

Catcher

STARTING CATCHER

Gabriel Moreno: Toronto Blue Jays, 5-11, 160 pounds, bats right

Line-drive bat. Quick hands and very good plate discipline. Improving defensive catcher

BACKUP CATCHER

Logan O'Hoppe: Philadelphia Phillies, 6-2, 185 pounds, bats right

Solid hitting catcher. Big and strong. Plays good defense with a strong, accurate arm.

ONE TO WATCH

Austin Wells: New York Yankees. 6-2, 220 pounds, bats left

Sweet left-handed swing that will play well in Yankee Stadium. Improving as a defensive catcher.

First Base

STARTING FIRST BASEMAN

Juan Yepez, St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1, 200 pounds, bats right

Lots of home run power potential in a strong, compact frame. A real sleeper with impactful bat.

BACKUP FIRST BASEMAN

Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox, 6-4, 252 pounds, bats left

Big and strong, I think we'll see him in the big leagues this coming season. Power still to come.

ONE TO WATCH

Michael Toglia, Colorado Rockies, 6-5, 226 pounds, Bats both

Could be a force in Coors Field. Not as polished as one might like but has promise.

Note: Detroit Tigers' Spencer Torkelson injured his ankle early on. He left the league, but he was having a tremendous fall. He would likely have been my top first baseman.

Second Base

STARTING SECOND BASEMAN

Nick Gonzales, Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-10, 195 pounds, bats right

Scrappy player with a solid bat and surprising pop. Decent enough defender. Has some speed.

BACKUP SECOND BASEMAN

Jose Tena, Cleveland Guardians, 5-10, 160 pounds, bats left

Surprising pop from slight frame. Good speed and solid defense. Likely adds strength to frame.

ONE TO WATCH

Yolbert Sanchez, Chicago White Sox, 5-11, 276 pounds, bats right

Good contact hitter with some pop in his bat. Promising upside with very good plate discipline.

Shortstop

STARTING SHORTSTOP

Bryson Stott, Philadelphia Phillies, 6-3, 200 pounds, bats left

Very solid contact hitter with both power and speed. Not great defensive range, but enough.

BACKUP SHORTSTOP

Brendan Donovan, St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1, 195 pounds, bats left

Very impressive play on both sides of the ball. Plays more at 2B, but we saw him at SS in AFL.

ONE TO WATCH

Jacob Amaya, Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-0, 180 pounds, bats right

Nice combination of power and solid hit tool. Not a finished product, but intriguing upside.

Third Base

STARTING THIRD BASEMAN

Brett Baty, New York Mets, 6-3, 210 pounds, bats left

Good athlete with a very sweet swinging left-handed bat. Capable hitter.

BACKUP THIRD BASEMAN

Nathan Eaton, Kansas City Royals, 5-11, 185 pounds, bats right

Sleeper. Hit very well, and with power. Also plays the outfield. Came on strong.

ONE TO WATCH

Ezequiel Duran, Texas Rangers, 5-11, 185 pounds, bats right

Powerful hitter with more to come. Makes good contact and can hit the gaps.

Outfield

STARTING LEFT FIELDER

JJ Bleday, Miami Marlins, 6-3, 205 pounds, bats, left

Terrific hitter for average and power. Impact player. Sweet swing. All the tools. 

BACKUP LEFT FIELDER

Elijah Dunham, New York Yankees, 6-0, 213 pounds, bats left

Excellent hitter for power and average. Very fast and will steal bases. Exciting.

ONE TO WATCH

Ryan Vilade, Colorado Rockies, 5-2, 226 pounds, bats right

Had playing time this past year with Rockies. Has a chance to get 2022 big league playing time.

STARTING CENTER FIELDER

Lars Nootbaar, St. Louis Cardinals, 6-3, 210 pounds, bat left

Very polished hitter with great swing. Quick hands and wrists. Terrific upside.

BACKUP CENTER FIELDER

James Outman, Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-3, 215 pounds, bats left

Good power potential from the left side. Can play solid defense and hit for average. Promising.

ONE TO WATCH

Mike Siani, Cincinnati Reds, 6-1, 188 pounds, bats left

Speedy base stealing threat with good instincts. Makes good contact. Projects as leadoff hitter.

STARTING RIGHT FIELDER

Nelson Velazquez, Chicago Cubs-6-0, 190 pounds, bats right

Very powerful. Compact frame, but excellent bat to ball skills. Outstanding hit tool. Dynamic.

BACKUP RIGHT FIELDER

Kameron Misner, Miami Marlins, 6-4, 218 pounds, bats left

Strong and powerful with a solid hit tool. Capable of busting a game wide open.

ONE TO WATCH

Joey Wiemer, Milwaukee Brewers, 6-5, 215 pounds, bats right

Didn't have a great fall campaign, but I've seen enough bat speed and contact to project.

Designated Hitter

STARTING DH

Drew Lugbauer, Atlanta Braves-6-3, 220 pounds, bats left

This guy can really, really rake. He won't stick behind the plate I don't think. Hits too well.

BACKUP DH

Seuly Matias, Kansas City Royals, 6-3, 225 pounds, bats right

Incredible power from a strong, strong frame. Lots of swing and miss, but power is real.

ONE TO WATCH

Matt Wallner, Minnesota Twins, 6-5, 220 pounds, bats left

I see tremendous upside in this guy who sits under the radar at this point.

Most Valuable Player

1st choice: JJ Bleday, Miami Marlins

2nd choice: Lars Nootbaar, St. Louis Cardinals

3rd choice: Nelson Velazquez, Chicago Cubs

Heading Home

I have a hunch that MLB will want to introduce all of the new rules and tweaks to the game that we saw in the Arizona Fall League to the major league level.

It is doubtful the Players Association will approve all of them.

Here are the new rules that I think have added a great deal toward speeding up the game and adding more action:

1. The pitch clock.

At some point, this will happen in the big leagues. It will be a matter of how many seconds are on the clock. Even if it ends up at 30 as opposed to 17, it will help move the game along.

2. Two pitcher disengagements from the rubber.

This works. If a pitcher can only throw over to first base twice, it gives the runner a chance for a bigger lead and results in more stolen bases. It worked in the Fall League. If the pitcher doesn't pick off the runner on the third try, it is a balk.

3. Larger bases

Changing the size of the base from 15 inches to 18 inches gives both the runner and fielder more room to hit the base. I like it.

4. Automated home plate umpire balls and strikes calls

This has mixed reviews. The scouts and club personnel I spoke with don't like it. They don't think it is a true representation of the strike zone. It may get lots of push back from team personnel.

5. Changes in infield shifts

In the AFL, there were no shifts. It is possible a compromise could be implemented where the players' feet must be on the infield dirt could. Another possibility includes limiting two players on both sides of second base and all feet on the infield dirt.

Thanks for following me on Twitter under @BerniePleskoff.

And thanks for reading my work at Forbes.

I will return to doing player profiles next week. If there is a player you wish me to profile, please let me know in the comment section below.

We have much for which to be thankful. I personally have so much to be thankful for. So much. But among that list, I am thankful and grateful for the support of my readers like you. Thank you.

I wish each of you a very healthy, happy, peaceful, restful and thankful Thanksgiving.

Have a great week.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bernie Pleskoff
Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
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