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Dump the Arizona Fall League


terrydactyls

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I was thinking about the Arizona Fall League (hereafter referred to as AFL) and how to improve it.  I don't like that only a limited number of Twins' players are allowed to participate.  My conclusion is to dump the AFL and replace it with the FPL (the Fall Prospect League).  The FPL would consist of two divisions (Florida and Arizona) and be based at the spring training facilities of each MLB team..  The players selected for each franchise's 30-player roster would consist of any minor leaguers (including current year draft picks) that the parent team wants to get extra playing time and major leaguers that finished the season on the 60-day IL and want to get some rehab done.  The structure of each team would be in the hands of the parent club.  The adding and deleting of players on the roster would be loosely monitored.  For example, if Alex Kirilloff wanted to test out his surgically repaired wrist for a couple weeks, that would be acceptable.  The season would run from October to mid-December and finish with a three-game championship playoff.  The playoff site would be at the home field of either the Florida champion or the Arizona champion and alternate each year.

That is my proposal.  Now you may rip it to shreds, tell me how stupid it is, and propose something even better. 😀😁😂

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Teams do have Fall Instructional play, usually for the newest and other low-level prospects of note to get some extra one-on-one coaching. They usually play short competitive games amongst themselves for a few weeks (starting soon).

The Arizona Fall League is usually the TOP PROSPECTS from A/AA levels competing. That, alone, is worth is. Players playing are much closer to each other in age, are the best of those levels, and most all do reach the majors, albeit briefly, in their careers. The difference between playing pick-up abseball amongst a group of your own, and being on the field against another team with a desire to win....well, the pitchers are not worrying about throwing inside. Usually the teams have a coach, so players won't mingle and exchange views and stray too far from an organization plan for how they should bat, pitch or field. It was also a way for a more controlled environment for upper level prospects to play. You would rather supervise them in Arizona then have them go off, as "top prospects" and play in the various winter leagues just to keep their game on. And, remember, minor league seasons ended a tad earlier.

As long as MLB is footing the bill for this form of player development, I say go with it. 

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5 hours ago, Rosterman said:

Teams do have Fall Instructional play, usually for the newest and other low-level prospects of note to get some extra one-on-one coaching. They usually play short competitive games amongst themselves for a few weeks (starting soon).

The Arizona Fall League is usually the TOP PROSPECTS from A/AA levels competing. That, alone, is worth is. Players playing are much closer to each other in age, are the best of those levels, and most all do reach the majors, albeit briefly, in their careers. The difference between playing pick-up abseball amongst a group of your own, and being on the field against another team with a desire to win....well, the pitchers are not worrying about throwing inside. Usually the teams have a coach, so players won't mingle and exchange views and stray too far from an organization plan for how they should bat, pitch or field. It was also a way for a more controlled environment for upper level prospects to play. You would rather supervise them in Arizona then have them go off, as "top prospects" and play in the various winter leagues just to keep their game on. And, remember, minor league seasons ended a tad earlier.

As long as MLB is footing the bill for this form of player development, I say go with it. 

I know what the current fall League is.  No need to mansplain.  My point is why send seven "top prospects" to a team where you have no control over their playing, positions, etc. when you can place 30 of them on one team over which your organization has total control of all aspects of their delopment time?

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It was fun going to Arizona to see Buxton, Kepler, Rosario, and May in 2013.  Garver, Rogers and others in 2015.  2021 was less fun though we did see Wallner.  My sense from recent seasons is that our Twins have struggled to even find the requisite 6 to send, and some of those who did go were a little long in the tooth as "prospects" go.  A lot of key prospects are banged up by the end of every season, or otherwise are apparently deemed not good candidates for the AFL, as it is.  Sending 30 to some new variation just means 25 additional career minor leaguers play a little longer that year.

Maybe some of the other 29 teams see it differently.

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9 hours ago, dxpavelka said:

Don't know that I'd trust Kiriloff's surgically repaired anything.  Seems like we'd just be starting the clock ticking on his 250 healthy plate appearances for next year.

Kirilloff was just an example.  Substitute any other name if you want.

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How about if I substitute Larnach?  We had TWO 1st round picks as reasons to jettison Rosario two years ago and neither can stay healthy.  Buxton's got more plate appearances than either of them.  And Celestino. And JEFFERS!!!!!!  Sorry, my point has little to do with the AFL and much to do about our two saviors inability to stay healthy enough to contribute.

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I think the AFL is fine. While the tone in here suggests the AFL is only for elite prospects, I disagree with that. I see mostly either elite prospects who have lost a large portion of the season to injury or prospects who aren't elite, but who may have had a season which wasn't long enough for the front office's to accept the results as proven.

A lot of the time the AFL seems to get prospects who just need more playing time. Conversely, the players who've already had longer seasons than what they're used to (college starters typically don't exceed 80-100 innings) run the risk of wearing out and breaking down with serious injuries if they're overworked so filling an expanded group of rosters might not be ideal.

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Interesting idea.  The AFL is a blast to visit--kind of like spring training as you are close to the action and can access players and listen in on conversations by scouts in the stands.  Teams usually send a mix of prospects, from their elite guys to guys that are earlier in their development stage.  I am not sure if expanding the concept would enhance development or whether it would be better for most players to work on things individually like Varland did in the offseason.  I am not close enough to the details of offseason training to give this a yea or nay.

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The AFL is perhaps the most enjoyable baseball played in Arizona. Spring training has become a marketing joke with prices that exceed regular season games except premium games. The AFL Provides great baseball my grand children love to watch and have seen many of today's stars in their early stages of development. A new leaguewould just be a new money stream for clubs who would attempt to profit instead of providing a place where young prospects can learn from coaches from a variety of other thoughts and teachings. Teams teach their way or the highway and leave no other options. As the case of Cleveland who consistently turns out SP but rarely a hitter or Minnesota who only can produce hitters.

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I like the AFL as a prospect-focused league. 

I like that the Twins primarily stopped playing any Instructional League games. They've all played enough games during the season, except some injured guys, so I like that the time spent there is based in learning and teaching, in fundamentals in a low-stress environment. The minor leaguers have been playing since March. The college draft picks have been playing since February. Even the high school kids taken have been playing since March or so. This is where the plethora of coaches and coordinators can work with players on their individual improvement programs. 

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