The Cardinals announced this week who the players were who will be playing in the Arizona Fall League also known as “Prospect Finishing School”. Names and analysis after the jump.
2B Kolten Wong - The Cardinals are clearly trying to see what they have in Wong for next year at 2nd base. This is a bit surprising considering that he has worn down as the season has gone on. He is clearly a top prospect for the Cardinals and plays a position where the Cardinals have had a gaping hole for many years.
LHP Sam Freeman - Freeman is auditioning here for a spot in the big league bullpen for next year. He’s got the stuff, but he needs to work on control and lowering his walk rate.
RHP Seth Blair - Blair is an intriguing name because he was drafted in the supplemental 1st round in 2010 and looked the part of at least a major league reliever, but had some injuries and has needed a ton more more. He’ll get more work in the AFL.
RHP Boone Whiting - The control righty missed a lot of the season with an injury. He’ll go to the AFL to get his work in going into next year.
C Cody Stanley - Stanley lost time this year due to a 50 game suspension for a banned substance. He’s still got potential and will need to show it in the AFL, where he is going to make up for lost time.
LHP Kevin Siegrist - Lefthanded starters are always in demand and the Cardinals will see what they have with Siegrist against the other top prospects.
OF Colin Walsh - Walsh has put up huge numbers at Quad Cities in a repeat season there this year and it is a big jump from the low-A level to the Arizona Fall League, but Walsh has proved his bat can play. The AFL will show Walsh to be a repeat league flash in the pan or a true prospect going forward. (As T-bird points out in the comments, Walsh is on the “Taxi Squad” so he can only play on Wednesdays and Saturdays.)
OF Mike O’Neill - Andy wrote about Mike O’Neill earlier this year. O’Neill has hit for a high average and gotten on base every where he’s played. He doesn’t have a traditional corner-outfield offensive profile, but there is obviously huge value in getting on base.
* One last note: Keep in mind that the team average was 6 runs a game in the AFL last year as a LEAGUE, the AFL hit .286/.362/.454 last year. Both stats per Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus on Twitter. The environment is terribly friendly to hitters and not so much to pitchers.