AMARILLO, Texas – After a cancelled 2020 Arizona Fall League “AFL” MLB’s premier fall ball league returns for the 2021 season. The AFL is composed of six teams and will take place over five and a half weeks starting on October 13, 2021. The league is broken into two divisions;
AMARILLO, Texas – After a cancelled 2020 Arizona Fall League “AFL” MLB’s premier fall ball league returns for the 2021 season. The AFL is composed of six teams and will take place over five and a half weeks starting on October 13, 2021. The league is broken into two divisions; East: Mesa Solar Sox, Salt River Rafters, Scottsdale Scorpions West: Glendale Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas, Surprise Saguaros.
Each MLB club will send seven prospects to fill out the league rosters. Five members of the 2021 Amarillo Sod Poodles will represent the D-backs on the initial roster for the Salt River Rafters and include INF Buddy Kennedy, OF Dominic Canzone, RHP Mitchell Stumpo, RHP Keegan Curtis, and RHP Shumpei Yoshikawa. The other two D-backs prospects are RHP Slade Cecconi (D-backs’ No. 7 rated prospect) and catcher Cooper Hummel.
Kennedy – The infielder began his 2021 season with High-A Hillsboro before being promoted to Double-A Amarillo on June 21. The Millville, NJ native hit a home run in his Amarillo debut against Corpus Christi on June 22. He finished the year hitting .290 across the two levels in 96 games and ranked second among all D-backs’ minor leaguers with 22 home runs. Kennedy also ranked eighth in the organization with 60 RBI, seventh with 101 hits, fifth in walks with 50, and was tied for fourth with 182 total bases. His 17 home runs since arriving in Amarillo were tied for the most in the system during that span.
Canzone – The outfielder also began his 2021 campaign with Hillsboro before being transferred to Amarillo on July 27. The left-handed hitter played in 35 games for Amarillo and hit .354 (46-for-130) with eight doubles, a triple, seven home runs, and 27 RBI. The former Ohio State Buckeye hit a two-run go-ahead home run in the eighth inning of a comeback 8-7 win over Corpus Christi on August 15. He also had the No. 3 play on SportsCenter with a diving catch in left field on August 10.
Stumpo – The right-handed pitcher was transferred from Hillsboro to Amarillo on June 21 and was one of the best bullpen arms for the Soddies during his time in Amarillo. He made 18 appearances, going 1-0 with a 2.59 ERA over 24.1 IP. After allowing two runs in his Double-A debut, the right-hander fired off nine straight scoreless appearances from June 30– August 6. Stumpo was promoted to Triple-A Reno on September 7 and went 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA over six appearances with the Aces.
Curtis – The right-hander and D-backs’ No. 28 rated prospect was acquired on July 1 as part of the trade that sent OF Tim Locastro from Arizona to the New York Yankees. Curtis was assigned to Amarillo and appeared in just four games for the Soddies. He went 1-1 without allowing an earned run and converted on one save opportunity. Curtis was transferred to Triple-A Reno on July 15.
Yoshikawa – The right-hander began the 2021 season on the injured list before making his season debut on July 9 with the ACL D-backs. He was then transferred to Amarillo and made just one appearance on the road in Midland on July 18. He made two other stops during the 2021 season, one game with Triple-A Reno and another six games with Hillsboro. In all, Yoshikawa went 0-1 with a 8.72 ERA over nine appearances (six starts) in the minors this year.
Each team will play a 30-game regular season with a Fall Stars Game in the middle and the AFL Championship Game to finish off what has been called the “finishing school” for some of baseball's top prospects. The Salt River team will feature prospects from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, and Detroit Tigers. The Fall Stars Game will take place November 13 with the Championship Game scheduled for November 20. Both will be televised live beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET on MLB Network and streaming on MLB.com and the MLB App.
More info about the Arizona Fall League can be found at www.mlb.com/arizona-fall-league