Sun Devil Baseball Well-Represented in Arizona Fall League
PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball has announced the rosters for the Arizona Fall League - the premier offseason league featuring the elite up and coming talent in professional baseball - and Sun Devil Baseball will be well-represented in its own backyard with 2020 No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson and three other alumni headlining the selections.
Torkelson (MLB's No. 4 overall prospect/Tigers' No. 1) will join the Salt River Rafters alongside 2018 Sun Devil draftee Reagan Todd (Rockies). The will be joined there by former Sun Devil pitching coach Ken Knutson, who will serve in the same role. The Scottsdale Scorpions will feature the 2019 No. 10 overall pick Hunter Bishop (Giants' No. 6 prospect) and 2020 fourth-round pick R.J. Dabovich (Giants).
Torkelson took the MiLB by storm with his electric power this season, launching 30 home runs over 121 games across High-A (5 homers in 31 games), Double-A (14 homers in 50 games) and Triple-A (11 homers in 40 games). He finished his first professional season with a slash line of .267/.383/.552 with 91 RBIs, 29 doubles, two triples and 77 walks.
Torkelson became just the 16th Tiger farm player in history to record 30 homers and the first to do so in his first professional season.
R.J. Dabovich was electric in his first professional season, appearing in 31 games across High- and Double-A. The rookie struck out 62 in just 32.1 innings pitched, finishing with a 2.78 ERA and 10 saves. Opponents bat just .133 against him while Dabovich recorded a 0.87 WHIP in the process, walking just 13 to his 62 Ks.
Reagan Todd spent the majority of his season with the Hartford Yard Goats (39 games) before a late season call up to the Rockies' Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes (10 games). Todd finished with a 4.32 ERA over 51.2 innings, working primarily in mid-to-late relief. He struck out 69 to 23 walks, recording six saves and a 5-2 record.
Bishop struggled through injuries for much of the 2021 campaign, appearing in just 16 games.
The 90-game AFL regular season is set to open on Wednesday, October 13th. The League's annual Fall Stars Game will be played on Saturday, November 13th while the AFL Championship Game is scheduled for Saturday, November 20th, both of which will air LIVE beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. MT on MLB Network as well as streaming on MLB.com and in the MLB App. The league returns for its 29th season of operation to help accelerate the development of players, managers, coaches and umpires after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AFL is comprised of six teams – the Glendale Desert Dogs, Mesa Solar Sox, Peoria Javelinas, Salt River Rafters, Scottsdale Scorpions and Surprise Saguaros – broken up into the East (Mesa, Salt River, Scottsdale) and West (Glendale, Peoria, Surprise) divisions. The six clubs will each play a 30-game schedule at Spring Training ballparks, including Camelback Ranch in Glendale (Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox), Sloan Park Mesa (Chicago Cubs), Peoria Sports Complex (Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres), Salt River Stadium at Talking Stick (Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies), Scottsdale Stadium (San Francisco Giants) and Surprise Stadium (Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals).
Sun Devil head coach Willie Bloomquist (2000) and Director of Scouting and Player Development Travis Buck (2006) both competed in the Arizona Fall League following their Sun Devil careers.
Nearly 60 percent of all AFL players make a Major League roster, with the league boasting 321 All-Stars, 21 MVPs, six Cy Young Award winners, eight World Series MVPs, 103 Silver Sluggers, 96 Gold Gloves and 32 Rookies of the Year.
Each Major League team will send seven top prospects to fill the rosters of the six teams. The AFL teams and their MLB affiliates will be as follows for the 2021 season: Glendale (Angels, Astros, Cardinals, Dodgers, White Sox), Mesa (Athletics, Blue Jays, Cubs, Marlins, Orioles), Peoria (Braves, Mariners, Padres, Phillies, Pirates), Salt River (Brewers, Diamondbacks, Mets, Rockies, Tigers), Scottsdale (Giants, Indians, Rays, Red Sox, Twins) and Surprise (Nationals, Reds, Rangers, Royals, Yankees).