If you’re in the southwestern US (or visiting between now and mid-November) you may be able to catch some future Red Sox All-Stars playing in the Arizona Fall League, which got underway October 7.
The AFL consists of six teams: the Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Salt River Rafters, Glendale Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas and the Surprise Saguaros. Each of the 30 major league teams gets to send six top prospects to join one of those teams. This year’s Red Sox prospects will be playing for the Surprise Saguaros. They include pitchers Keith Couch, Aaron Kurcz, Robby Scott, Madison Younginer, infielder Deven Marrero, and outfielder Rusney Castillo (though he’ll only play AFL ball through October before heading to Puerto Rico for winter ball there).
In addition to the Red Sox, the Rangers, Reds, Padres, and Mariners have also contributed prospects to the Saguaros. The Saguaros manager is former big league infielder/outfielder Delino DeShields. The hitting coach is Jody Davis, who caught for the Cubs and Braves.
In Tuesday’s home opener the Saguaros fell to the Peoria Javelinas, 5-4.
In an article spotlighting Red Sox top prospect Marrero, AFL Director Steve Cobb notes that “approximately 60 percent of our players will reach the Major Leagues,” calling the exhibition games “an exciting array of top Draft choices and Minor League All-Stars who have excelled in the early stages of their professional careers.”
AFL games are played in spring training facilities in and around the Scottsdale, Arizona area. Tickets are cheap and general admission. There are afternoon and evening games and the weather is almost always pretty nice.
The games run everyday except Sundays between now and November 13.
Two AFL games will be televised on the MLB Network: the “Rising Stars Game,” the league’s version of the All-Star Game, on Saturday, November 1 at 8:00 PM ET, and the AFL Championship Game on November 15 at 3 PM ET.
For more information, see the MLB website for the AFL.
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