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Arizona Fall League Preview – Surprise Saguaros

The final team we will be breaking down on the Arizona Fall League team breakdowns is going to be the Surprise Saguaros. This team is stocked with prospects from the Reds, Royals, Brewers, Rangers, and Blue Jays. This is a prime opportunity for these players to impress their clubs and potentially let dynasty managers see some of the prospects the organizations might be high on for the upcoming year. For now, let’s dive into some of the prospects to watch with the Surprise Saguaros.

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Arizona Fall League: Surprise Saguaros


Pitching Prospects To Watch

Mitch Bratt, LHP TEX

(16 GS, 61 IP, 73 K, 3.54 ERA)

The Texas Rangers just keep cranking out prospects that skyrocket up rankings and Mitch Bratt could be the next one to do so. Bratt spent the entire 2023 season in High-A Hickory where he started 16 games and had a 10.77 K/9 to go with a 2.51 BB/9. The most effective pitch for Bratt was his slider though what impressed me the most was his command and control over the season. Bratt’s fastball is not overwhelming but he was able to locate it well and work the change-up effectively. Mitch Bratt had all of his appearances in Hickory as a starter but so far this fall he has been used out of the bullpen with shaky results so far.

I’ll be curious to see what the Rangers want to do with Bratt long term, at only 20 years old and coming off a successful year as a starter I can’t imagine the Rangers would relegate him to the bullpen long term.

Beck Way, RHP KCR

(28 GP, 17 GS, 79.2 IP, 80 K, 6.67 ERA)

The 2023 season was rough for Beck Way, The Yankees’s fourth-round draft pick in 2020 completed his first full season in the Kansas City Royals organization and the results were not great. Way pitched the entire season in Double-A where he appeared in 28 games (17 of which were starts) with a 9.04 K/9 and an abysmal 7.12 walks per nine. Across Way’s 79.2 innings pitched he managed a .253 AVG against a 1.77 WHIP. Standing at 6’4” Beck has a starter’s build and two plus pitches in his fastball and a sweeping slider that racks up strikeouts but the change-up and lack of control have potentially relegated him to a reliever role long term. If the Royals can build his confidence in the bullpen during the AFL Way could be on a fast track to a debut by the end of 2024.

Hitting Prospects To Watch

Gavin Cross, OF KCR

(96 GP, .203/.298/.378, 12 HR, 58 RBI, 23 SB)

Taken ninth overall by the Kansas City Royals in the 2022 MLB draft out of Virginia Tech Gavin Cross didn’t have the season I’m sure he and the Royals expected. In 94 games played in High-A Quad Cities Cross slashed just .206/.300/.383 with 12 home runs, 58 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases in 26 attempts. Cross maintained a solid 10.3% walk percentage while the strikeout rate rose to 27.8% a far cry from the early returns after being drafted at Low-A. The Royals promoted Cross to Double-A to finish the season and he only played two games so this stint in the AFL looks to be an opportunity for the top pick to get his confidence back on track. I still project Cross as a solid .270 hitter with 25-30 home run power long-term but for now, dynasty owners need to be in a holding pattern.

Abimelec Ortiz, 1B/OF TEX

(109 GP, .294/.371/.619, 33 HR, 101 RBI, 1 SB)

One of my favorite prospects to watch this season has been Abimelec Ortiz. The 21-year-old first baseman ascended two levels in 2023 starting the season with the Down East Wood Ducks. Ortiz slashed .307/.392/.604 with seven home runs in 29 games warranting a promotion to High-A Hickory. Once with the Crawdads Ortiz went off slashing .290/.363/.624 with 26 home runs, and 81 RBIs across 80 games played with a 9.9% walk rate and a 27% strikeout rate. This assignment to the AFL indicates to me that Abimelec could be on a fast track to the majors in 2024 and his performance so far is encouraging. In eight games to this point played in the AFL Ortiz is hitting .318/.486/.500 with one home run and seven RBIs. Keep Ortiz on your radar as the offseason grinds on for he will cement himself in the top 100 lists in no time.


Eric Brown Jr, SS MIL

(72 GP, .255/.358/.354, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 39 SB)

Coming out of Coastal Carolina Eric Brown Jr reminded me of a former alumni Greg Jones taken back in 2019 by the Rays, a bat-to-ball infielder with plus defence and double-plus speed. The Brewers selected Eric Brown 27th overall in 2022 and the results were encouraging with his first full season of pro ball. The majority of Brown’s games played were at High-A where he slashed .265/.362/.347 with four home runs, 48 runs scored, and swiped 37 bases in 42 attempts. The advanced plate approach and eye at the plate were on full display as the 22-year-old shortstop had an 11.1% walk rate to go with a 16.7% strikeout rate across 287 plate appearances in High-A. This assignment to the Arizona Fall League appears to be a way for Brown to finish the season on a high note and prepare to start the 2024 season back in Double-A.

Wes Clarke, 1B/C MIL

(118 GP, .241/.392/.497, 26 HR, 80 RBI, 6 SB)

One of the “under the radar” prospect performers this season for me was Wes Clarke. The now 24-year-old catcher turned first base prospect had a big power season repeating Double-A crushing 26 home runs in 118 games played. Clarke has always had a solid eye at the plate since being drafted in 2021 but this season he maintained an excellent 17.7% walk rate. This patience at the plate contributed to a high .392 OBP on the season but might be considered to be “passive” due to the 29.2% strikeout rate. So far in the Arizona Fall League Clarke is slashing .314/.462/.628 with four home runs, 16 RBIs, and 13 walks to 19 strikeouts in 14 games played. This could be an encouraging sign for Clarke heading into the 2024 season and for dynasty managers to target in deeper dynasty formats.

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  1. Jose Hernandez says

    Yeah, I have CF Churio, C Quero and RHP Misiorowski already and want to land Black to play at 1B. Thanks again.

  2. Jose Hernandez says

    Do you think that both Clarke C/1B and Black 3B/1B have a shot at making the Brewers opening day roster?

    1. Richard Haake says

      I think there is a possibility that Black breaks camp with the Brewers out of spring training. With Clarke it might be an in season call up unless he blows it out of the water in ST. Regardless the Brewers have some interesting prospects coming up the pipeline and will soon take over for Vets leaving for free agency following the 2024 season.

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