The MLB season winding down means one thing:
football the Arizona Fall League! Every year each team sends seven to eight prospects down to Arizona, where they gather together on six teams and face off against one another to gain some extra experience. The league also gives top prospects the chance to prove themselves for a possible big-league call up the neat season.
And oh yeah — the 2018 Arizona Fall League kicks off today!
This year, the Twins sent eight Twins prospects down south: Brent Rooker, Jaylin Davis, Travis Blankenhorn, Hector Lujan, Adam Bray, Devin Smeltzer, Luke Raley, and Griffin Jax. You can read a little about each of those prospects here. All eight will be playing for the Salt River Rafters, who’s also managed by Twins Double-A manager Tommy Watkins. The team also include prospects from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, and Washington Nationals. You can check out the team’s full roster here.
The River Rafters will face the Surprise Saguaros today at 1:35 pm CT in Surprise, Arisona.
Here’s some tidbits and key things Twins fans can look for in the 2018 AFL:
- League games start today, and will run through Saturday, Novemeber 17th, when the AFL Championship Game will be played.
- The Fall Stars Game (a cute pun meaning the AFL All-Stars Game) will be played Saturday, November 3rd.
- The AFL is also holding the Bowman Hitting Challenge this Saturday, October 13th. It’s a look event where players have to hit certain targets around the field. Twins prospect Chris Paul won last year.
- Keep your eye on Brent Rooker. The Twins drafted Rooker with their second pick in the 2017 draft, and he’s been rocketing up the minors. An impressive showing for the 23-year-old first baseman this fall could be huge.
- Initially, Twins prospect Alex Robinson was supposed to go to the AFL, but he suffered an injury, so in his place the Twins sent Adam Bray. Bray is a 25-year-old pitcher from Minnesota the Twins acquired from the Dodgers last offseason.
- MiLB ranked all six of the AFL’s rosters this year, and the Salt River Rafters ranked fifth. So there’s that.
- Seth Stohs of Twins Daily got to talk to Tommy Watkins and the Twins prospects participating this year to get their thoughts on the AFL, which you can read here.