Arizona Fall League 2018: Pair of Yankee bats headline Glendale Desert Dogs

Estevan Florial and Thairo Estrada are back for another season in the Arizona Fall League.

MESA, Ariz. — The 27th Arizona Fall League season kicked off on October 9, and certain players from each team have made waves, standing out 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 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 Glendale Desert Dogs finished last season 16-14, two games back of the division champion and eventual AFL champion Peoria Javelinas. Here are four Desert Dogs to watch for this fall.

Headlined by two top @Yankees prospects, the Glendale Desert Dogs boast a few must-watch players for the 2018 Arizona Fall League.Click To Tweet

Estevan Florial – New York Yankees

Whether it is the Arizona Fall League, the minors, the majors or spring training, players wearing the pinstripes will grab the headlines.

Recent Arizona Fall League seasons saw Aaron Judge and Greg Bird tear up the game’s future pitching stars, and two more headliners are back to crush baseballs and represent the Yankees.

Florial is one of the two prospects. After a slow start to the Fall League season, the Yankees No. 2 prospect and No. 45 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline tallied his second multi-hit effort on Oct. 25 with four RBI. The 2017 Futures Game participant hit .283 in 2018 and his raw power, speed, and arm strength.

Thairo Estrada – New York Yankees

Estrada, like his fellow Yankee Florial, came out of the gates cold but has heated up since. Estrada recorded his first multi-hit effort on Oct. 25 with three RBI against Mesa on Oct. 27, in which he hit a single and a double and scored a run.

The Yankees’ No. 16 prospect was named to the 2017 All-AFL team as a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions and was a member of the Rising Stars team. Estrada needed the Fall League to get at-bats in after hitting .192 in only 18 games played between Class-A Advanced and Double-A in 2018.

Yu Chang – Cleveland Indians

Chang is probably one of the most advanced bats in the Fall League that some people outside of the Indians organization and their fans might not know about.

The 23-year-old shortstop and third baseman is the Indians’ No. 6 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and the rankings project him to debut in the major leagues as soon as this year. After a decorated amateur career in Taiwan, Chang has become one of the best power hitting shortstops in the minors.

Chang hit a career high 24 home runs and did so to all fields. He will strikeout, but his ability to hit with power everywhere and consistently collect extra base knocks will make him valuable at a position that traditionally does not produce as much power.

He spent the 2018 season at Triple-A and hit 13 home runs with 62 RBI.

Luis Robert – Chicago White Sox

The White Sox paid the second-highest bonus ever to an international player to land a five-tool superstar in Robert.

The 21-year-old hit .401 in Cuba’s top league as a 19-year-old, and he has the potential to be a superstar at the major league level. Chicago has compiled one of the best farm systems in baseball and Robert is ranked as the organization’s fourth-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

Robert has above average power and blazing fast speed. He will swing and miss but has already shown a willingness to draw walks. He hit a combined .269 with a .333 on base percentage, no home runs and 17 RBI across three levels of the White Sox system, reaching as high as Class-A Advanced Winston-Salem. Although Robert did not a home run in 2018, his power potential is certainly there.

Robert has had a successful Fall League, sporting a .316 average, .366 on base percentage, and five home runs going into Thursday’s action.

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