The Peoria Javelinas roster is not filled with big names this season, but there are still exciting players to watch.
MESA, Ariz. — The 27th Arizona Fall League season kicked off on October 9, and players are already making waves against the best competition the minor leagues has to offer.
For the last quarter century, the Fall League has brought baseball’s future stars together to showcase their skills and serve as the last big stepping stone before the big leagues.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero and baseball’s top prospect, will get the most attention, and rightfully so. But the Toronto Blue Jays prospect is not the only big name taking the field at six different spring training ballparks across Arizona in October and November.
The Javelinas captured the championship last season with a 19-12 record behind Joe Black Most Valuable Player Award winner Ronald Acuna, the pitching of Max Fried and the hitting of Eric Filia and Alex Jackson. All of those big names are not on this year’s roster, but the Javelinas entered Saturday with a 6-3 record, the best in the AFL, the highest team batting average (.294), most runs (63) hits (95), and RBI (61).The Peoria Javelinas are one of the most intriguing teams in the Arizona Fall League in 2018. @joejacquezaz takes a look at the best bats the lineup here.Click To Tweet
Early on, the Javelinas looked primed to make it back to the Championship game and repeat as league champions. Here are four players to watch this fall.
Keston Hiura – Milwaukee Brewers
Last week’s AFL Player of the Week hit .391 with a double, triple, home run and 10 runs batted in. He reached base in all five games he played and had a four-hit game and his fourth multi-hit game.
Through the first two weeks, not many hitters have been better than Hiura. He leads the Fall League with 19 RBI and is second in home runs with three.
The former NCAA batting leader in 2017 at California Irvine is the No. 30 prospect according to MLB Pipeline and the No. 2 second baseman in the minors, behind only Luis Urias of the San Diego Padres.
Evan White – Seattle Mariners
White, drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft by the Mariners, is also among the league leaders in offense, helping pace the best team offense in the league.
White enters Saturday’s action tied for third in RBI with 11. The Mariners’ second-ranked prospect is starting to drive the ball more in the Fall League after lowering his hands. After hitting a modest .279 during the majority of the season, White hit .379 with 5 home runs and 11 doubles from August until the end of the season.
The 22-year-old, who played at Class-A Modesto, has carried that success on through this season.
Lucius Fox – Tampa Bay Rays
Fox is tied for the league lead in multi-hit games with six. So it is safe to say that he is scorching the ball this fall.
The Rays No. 9 overall prospect had four straight multi-hit games with his last coming on Oct. 19. He also compiled an eight game hitting streak from October 9-20 and blasted a three-run home run on October 11 against Mesa. He was traded from the San Francisco Giants to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016.
Fox’s average dropped from .282 at Class-A to .221 at Double-A, but he has a solid line drive contact approach with speed to profile as a leadoff hitter.
Buddy Reed – San Diego Padres
Reed has also racked up the multi-hit games this fall for the Javelinas.
He tallied his fourth multi-hit game on Oct. 25 with one double and collected his third three-hit game on Oct. 23 with a double. Reed participated in the 2018 Futures Game and is hitting over .300 in the AFL.
Reed, a switch hitter and the Padres’ No. 13 overall prospect, made an adjustment to his stance and swing path in the Australian Baseball League after a rough first professional season.