Diamondbacks Announce Arizona Fall League Participants

There are a lot of great reasons to live in Arizona. There is of course the weather. No not the extreme heat of summer temperatures well over 100 degrees but rather the nine months of the year where it is in the 70’s and 80’s with not a cloud in the sky.

There is of course all of the cultural activities including museums, art exhibits, and concerts featuring a vast array of artists and genres to meet everyone’s needs. Arizona also offers great outdoor activities including hiking, biking, camping, and exploring the vast ecology of the Sonoran desert.

But ask any baseball fan why they love Arizona and they will point to the proximity to multiple aspects of the national pastime and the ability to enjoy the game nearly year round.

As home to the Cactus League in Spring Training, Arizona is a perfect destination for baseball fans wanting to get away from the winter weather in other parts of the country and visit sunny Arizona where half the Major League Baseball franchises train each February and March.

Besides the local Arizona Diamondbacks, the Cactus League is also home to the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers.

During the regular season Arizona is home to the Diamondbacks who play 81 games at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. In 2011, Chase Field will also be the location for Major League Baseball’s All-Star game.

With the Diamondbacks struggling this year with no chance of making the play-offs, many people may think baseball will be over once the season ends on October 3rd. That is not the case. Most of the teams who hold Spring Training in the Cactus League will have Instructional League at the various Spring Training facilities with many open to the public for free.

Instructional league allows organizations to work with young players in controlled situations to enhance their skill sets before setting off for off-season programs or winter ball.

Besides instructional league there is also the Arizona Fall League. This is a premier winter league sponsored by Major League Baseball where each franchise sends some of their best minor league prospects to play on six teams.

The players are mostly Double-A and Triple-A players although each club can opt to send two players below the Double-A level. The competition is fierce and many players who are featured in the Arizona Fall League go on to become some of baseball’s biggest stars.

Former alumni for the Arizona Fall League include Derek Jeter, Mike Pizza, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton, Albert Pujols, Roy Halladay, Derreck Lee, and Jimmy Rollins. The Arizona Fall League begins play in October and culminates in a championship game in mid to late November.

For the 2010 season the Arizona Diamondbacks have announced their participants in the Arizona Fall League who will be assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions. They will send right-handed pitchers Joshua Collmenter, Brian Shaw, Daniel Stange, and Bryan Woodall to Scottsdale. Catcher Konrad Schmidt and outfielders Marc Krauss and A.J. Pollock will also be part of the Scorpions roster.

Many of these players represent the next wave of prospects that should be ready for the major leagues in the next year or so. It will give baseball fans an opportunity to see players they will likely be hearing a lot about next spring as teams enter Spring Training.

One name suspiciously absent from the Diamondbacks list is top prospect Jarrod Parker. Parker is recovering from Tommy John surgery and expects to be recovered enough to begin competition again. Parker was hoping to be able to compete in the Arizona Fall League and propel that experience into next spring where he would compete for a roster spot.

The Diamondbacks would like to be more conservative with his recovery and plan to have Parker throw during instructional league where they have more control over the number and types of pitches he will throw. That being said, you can expect to see Parker petition the coaches to get onto an Arizona Fall League roster.

So while the lights go out around the country in many Major League Baseball stadiums on October 4th, in Arizona that just signals the next season of baseball to begin. As for me, I’ll be hanging out at the ballpark on a sunny afternoon taking notes and enjoying the summer-like weather that makes Arizona a perfect place to live for baseball fans.


2 Comments

  1. Why Pollock? He didn’t even play this season and didn’t have a great year last year?????

    • Part of the reasoning behind Pollock is the Diamondbacks desire to see how he will do against advanced competition. Until his injury where he broke the growth plate in his throwing arm while bracing himself in a fall, Pollock had been impressing player personnel who anticipated a big year from the youngster. Given his rehab results the Diamondbacks felt he would benefit from the advanced competition the Arizona Fall League would provide. After the AFL there will be discussions as to whether he should continue in winter ball or more instructional league type of work until Spring Training.

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