Arizona Fall League Kicks Off

Dave · October 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The AFL kicks off today, just in time to make up for a couple of days without baseball. If you haven’t heard, the M’s have sent an impressive group of prospects to represent them in Peoria – Dustin Ackley, Phillippe Aumont, Josh Fields, Nick Hill, Anthony Varvaro, Joe Dunigan, and Juan Diaz for now, with Carlos Triunfel replacing Diaz in a few weeks. You can follow the progress of the M’s top prospects down in Arizona starting today, and Geoff Baker is spending the week in Peoria covering the beginning of the AFL season.

The first game starts in about twenty minutes, but for M’s fans, it’s a bit of a disappointment. Joe Dunigan is the only Mariner representative in the starting line-up, and he’s DH’ing to boot. Ackley will probably get into the game a bit later, and you have to think he’ll be starting more often than not.

One word of caution, though – AFL statistics don’t really mean anything. Very few teams send high quality pitching prospects, so when you combine that with the atmosphere they’re playing in, offense is usually through the roof. A hitter can put up huge numbers in the AFL without actually improving at all. Don’t read too much into any of the performances. It’s just something fun to follow.


27 Responses to “Arizona Fall League Kicks Off”

  1. mymrbig on October 13th, 2009 1:11 pm

    I know AFL batting stats tend to be through the roof (between the environment, the lack of elite pitching prospects, and the sample size), but I’m still really anxious to see how Ackley does. Want to hear about how his power looks with a wood bat and what kind of BB/K ratio he has.

  2. marc w on October 13th, 2009 1:45 pm

    And this is waaaaay less important, but for those that really want to track each and every piece of organizational depth, check out the scores of the Venezuelan Winter League too. The season started a few days ago; M’s property generally play for the Lara Cardinales. This year the cupboard’s pretty bare – there’s no Brandon Morrow or RRS. Still, local guy Kyle Parker’s playing, and, uh, how about that Oswaldo Navarro?

  3. marc w on October 13th, 2009 1:47 pm

    Oops, Mike Saunders is apparently going to join the Cardinales, but neither he nor pitcher Ricky Orta have played yet.

  4. littlelinny6 on October 13th, 2009 1:58 pm


  5. joser on October 13th, 2009 2:23 pm

    Even without surgeries Johnson didn’t have much trade value. And Tampa would want way more than Lowe + Johnson for Brignac.

  6. TranquilPsychosis on October 13th, 2009 3:12 pm

    Also, the team seems to be quite high on Johnson. Are we certain they are willing to trade him at this point?

  7. Adam B. on October 13th, 2009 3:33 pm


  8. marc w on October 13th, 2009 3:55 pm

    re: “offense is usually through the roof.”

    The Javelinas first game results in 21 total runs – a 17-4 loss. Dunigan went 0-4. At least none of the M’s pitchers saw the mound in this one.
    Also, wait, Sergio Santos is a pitcher now?

  9. djtizzo on October 13th, 2009 4:54 pm

    Whats going on with Liddi and Gillies then? Are they there too? Both were good enough to make the Futures squad, but I havnt heard anything since! Is the AFL only for MLB ready prospects?

  10. Adam B. on October 13th, 2009 5:58 pm

    The AFL is mostly used for players the controlling organization feel need a bit more playing time in a given year.

    Almost all the prospects the Mariners are sending missed significant time due to injury.

    Liddi and Gillies both had plenty of playing time during the regular minor-league season.

  11. djtizzo on October 13th, 2009 6:03 pm


  12. littlelinny6 on October 13th, 2009 8:41 pm

    [ot, rosterbation, etc]

  13. marinersunbird on October 13th, 2009 9:03 pm

    Was at the game today. Disappointed that the big names didn’t play, but I’ll be in Surprise tomorrow. I did get to sit with Maury Wills and visit for awhile about his tour with the Spokane Indians and his hunting exploits in the Palouse country.
    Senior softball World Championships start Monday here in Phoenix. 33 teams in my 65+ bracket including several from Seattle.

  14. SoulofaCitizen on October 14th, 2009 11:09 am

    I’m confused as to why Tui isn’t on our AFL team. Seems like he needs every opportunity to get in work he missed this year with injuries, and also for the Mariners to evaluate him for 2010. Sure would seem a higher priority than Dunegan

  15. NBarnes on October 14th, 2009 1:26 pm

    Watching Ackley’s game today on Gameday. Ump’s got an… interesting strike zone.

  16. joser on October 14th, 2009 1:47 pm

    I’m confused as to why Tui isn’t on our AFL team

    Because he will get more and better time playing elsewhere, evidently. Per Drayer a while back:

    “Matt Tuiasosopo will play a couple of months of winter ball in Puerto Rico. He told me that he spoke with the manager of the club he will be playing for and it looks like he will be playing primarily at 3rd base. He is hoping there will be an opportunity to “play everywhere.” Tui sees the value of flexibility especially under Wak. The biggest thing though is to get back the at bats he missed while on the DL this seasons. He will be gone November and December.”

    Kirby Arnold says he “hopes to get 200 at-bats there.”

    In case you were wondering about some of the others, Drayer also lists Where Your Favorite Mariner Will Be this off-season.

  17. msb on October 14th, 2009 2:19 pm

    Wonder if MLB will put any broadcasts online this year? Last year they had occasional Hawaiian league games, and I think the AFL playoffs were online…

  18. djtizzo on October 14th, 2009 2:26 pm

    Is there somthing wrong with us? Just when I thought we were getting a pretty good looking crop of prospects together, I read the list of Top 50 2010 MLB prospects only to find not a single SEA player on the chart??? Even Truinfel was on it last year, what happened?

    Did Bavasi really clean us out that bad? Ackly did get an honorable mention and didnt make the list because at the time he had no pro experience, but still……come on!

  19. msb on October 14th, 2009 2:39 pm

    What list were you looking at?

  20. Adam B. on October 14th, 2009 2:55 pm

    Is there somthing wrong with us? Just when I thought we were getting a pretty good looking crop of prospects together, I read the list of Top 50 2010 MLB prospects only to find not a single SEA player on the chart??? Even Truinfel was on it last year, what happened?

    The Mariners system isn’t devoid of talent, it’s just that the bulk of the Mariners quality talent was either injured (That’s why our AFL contributions are such shiny objects), or below the AA level where they’re further away and harder to project long-term.

    Bavasi did indeed do a pretty good job of wiping away the limited talent the Mariners had in the upper minors in a failed bid to save his keaster.
    Quite frankly, I’m just happy he didn’t throw Triunfel in the Bedard package as was originally rumored.

  21. marc w on October 14th, 2009 3:58 pm


    Tui’s already done one tour of duty in the AFL. They typically don’t like to have players repeat. Not sure if it’s a rule de jure or de facto, but there you go.

  22. marc w on October 14th, 2009 4:01 pm

    Interesting… Drayer lists Juan Diaz as being a part of instructs, but it appears he was the starting SS for the Javelinas today instead. Wonder if they had an injury and Diaz is filling in, or if he was a late invite.

  23. Mike Snow on October 14th, 2009 4:15 pm

    I thought Diaz was on the roster for now while they hold Triunfel out. Not that Triunfel’s unable to play necessarily, but the focus there is more on completing his recovery from injury than making up the lost playing time.

  24. Typical Idiot Fan on October 14th, 2009 5:27 pm


    Prospect lists are usually done by the notoriously retarded. Often times they’ll overrate certain players whose skillsets and talents match other players, but rank them completely differently based on nothing. I’m still trying to figure out what the world sees in Austin Jackson to consistenly rank him in the top 25.

    In the public eye, the Mariners haven’t had a great year for their farm system. Some of our higher ranked players are going to lose ground for a variety of reasons. Triunfel, who some list makers don’t even include in the top 100, lost a year due to injury. Greg Halman, who Kev Goldstein uproariously declared was our best prospect, sucked. Phillipe Aumont became a bullpen arm. Michael Pineda got injured. Juan Ramirez ran into High Desert. Etc.

    Still, that doesn’t mean we don’t have talented players in our system. Any 2010 list that doesn’t at least include Dustin Ackley in the top 50 should be immediately dismissed.

  25. djtizzo on October 14th, 2009 8:55 pm

    Understood….how long do we have to wait for Truinfel to make it to the bigs? Ive heard he might come up mid season or so, but Ive also heard hes still 3 yrs from ready! Whats the truth?

  26. SonOfZavaras on October 15th, 2009 3:06 am


    The truth is his bat is likely going to be ahead of his glove if/when he does arrive.

    Wherever he plays.

    I’m guessing it’s going to be third base (where that bazooka arm could be put to good use if he becomes more consistent with throwing mechanics), but he’s not going to remain a shortstop. Not enough range and instincts, although he’s an athlete.

    I have some friends (whose insight I really respect, they spend a ton of time on watching baseball prospects) who’ve seen Triunfel play, and believe that if he comes back 100%, he may hit his way into a September 2010 call-up.

    I consider that extremely best-case scenario, but he has enough talent to make it happen. I can’t dismiss the possibility.

    I think if he continues to progress, July 2011 is more likely.

    He’s going to have to work to become decent defensively wherever he winds up (and I’ve heard speculation he may wind up a left fielder, even).

    The lost year of 2009 complicates things for Triunfel’s timeline…but really, its going to be a matter of how he comes back.

    He’ll start 2010 in AA-West Tennessee in all likelihood.

  27. Grizz on October 15th, 2009 12:24 pm

    As a general response to the questions regarding why certain players are not playing in the AFL, the league has eligibility requirements. Only AAA and AA players are eligible, except teams may send one player below AA and one foreign player (if his country does not have a winter league).

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