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Arizona Fall League Preview – Salt River Rafters

The Arizona Fall League is in full spin with some of the best prospects in the minor leagues putting on a show to cap off the 2023 season. In this article, I will be highlighting the top prospects to watch for the Salt River Rafters. This team is made up of top prospects from the Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Detroit Tigers. Let’s dive into some of the top names to watch!

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Salt River Rafters


Pitchers To Watch

Wilmer Flores, RHP DET

(21 GS, 89 IP, 90 K, 4.65 ERA)

It has been a long season for Wilmer Flores with disappointing starts and struggles to start the season but a resurgence towards the end that might have him back on track. Wilmer Flores had 18 starts in Double-A where he had a 9.15 K/9 and managed to finish the season with a 3.57 BB/9. Flores was better than the 3.90 ERA he finished the season with in Double-A as the 3.35 FIP would indicate. The assignment to the Arizona Fall League appears to be a way for Flores to finish the season on a high note and go into the 2024 season with the intention of pitching for the Tigers in short order.

Hitters To Watch

Jace Jung, 2B DET

(128 GP, .265/.376/.502, 28 HR, 82 RBI, 5 SB)

In his first full season in the Tigers organization, Jace Jung was impressive. The 22-year-old second baseman ascended two levels in 2023 ultimately finishing the season in Double-A. In 47 games played Jung slashed .284/.373/.563 with 14 home runs, 28 runs scored, and 39 RBIs with an 11% walk rate to go with a 26.8% strikeout rate. Jung finished on a high note and it seems the Tigers are looking to see what Jace Jung can do in the Arizona Fall League. If Jung is able to have a strong performance it’s not out of the realm of possibility he could break camp in Triple-A Toledo or better yet Detroit.


Ivan Melendez, 3B ARI

(96 GP, .272/.345/.578, 30 HR, 76 RBI, 4 SB)

One of my favorite draft picks in the 2022 MLB draft Ivan Melendez made a name for himself at the University of Texas crushing 30 home runs in his final season. It did not take him long to do that again! This season Melendez ascended two levels hitting a combined 30 home runs and 76 RBIs. There is no doubt about it where there is big power with Melendez there are big strikeouts. In High-A Melendez had a 33.6% strikeout rate and a 35.3% strikeout rate once he was promoted to Double-A. There is no doubt in my mind the Diamondbacks are hoping he will start to cut the strikeouts down as he makes his final push for Phoenix next season, This trip to the Arizona Fall League might be an attempt to right that ship before 2024.


Sterlin Thompson, 3B COL

(94 GP, .293/.376/.487, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 17 SB)

Since being drafted 31st overall in the 2022 MLB Draft Sterlin Thompson has done nothing but hit in the Rockies organization. This season Thompson ascended two levels to finish the season in Double-A Hartford. In 34 games played in Double-A Thompson slashed .238/.333/.429 with seven home runs, 17 RBIs, and three stolen bases while walking 10.4% and only striking out 22.2% of the time. The Rockies sent the 22-year-old to the Arizona Fall League to finish the season on a high note and so far he is doing exactly that hitting .354 with nine RBIs so far. Thompson looks to be a prospect who could be a quick riser next season as the Rockies are getting closer to bringing up the next wave.

Jase Bowen, OF PIT

(118 GP, .255/.327/.467, 23 HR, 95 RBI, 26 SB)

This season was big for 22-year-old Jase Bowen as was solid in High-A Greensboro. In 110 games played for the Grasshoppers Bowen slugged 23 home runs and swiped 24 stolen bases. Bowen displayed excellent plate discipline walking 7.1% while lowering his strikeout rate to 24.5% in Greensboro. Personally, I watched a ton of Jase Bowen this year and last season and feel that he has been a “sneaky” target in deep league formats. Currently, Bowen is tearing up the Arizona Fall League hitting .359 with three home runs and 15 RBIs so far. Keep him on your radar over the off-season as he should start the 2024 season in Double-A Altoona.


Benny Montgomery, OF COL

(109 GP, .251/.336/.370, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 18 SB)

The future of the Colorado Rockies is starting to take shape and Benny Montgomery is a major gear in the machine. The 21-year-old outfield prospect was solid in 2023 playing the entire season in High-A. In 497 plate appearances, Montgomery managed a 10.5% walk rate while striking out 27.2% of the time. It seems Montgomery is starting to fill into his 6’4” frame with his highest home run output so far in his young career long term I project Montgomery as a 25-home run bat with 30-plus stolen base potential. So far in the Fall League, Montgomery has impressed, hitting .373 with one home run and nine RBIs. Expect Benny Montgomery to start the season as a 21-year-old in Double-A Hartford.

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