Arizona Fall League Update

The Arizona Fall League, perhaps baseball’s greatest semi-professional event/league, got started back up yesterday after missing the 2020 season. Believe it or not, with all that talent that is currently competing in Arizona, Major League Baseball has once again decided to not stream any of the games. I have no idea how Major League Baseball does such a maddening job of making easy things hard. Some of baseball’s brightest up-and-coming stars are playing and there is no way for fans to tune in. “Let the kids play!…As long as no one is watching!” You want to market baseball to the younger generation? You want to keep fans excited about the future of baseball? Streaming the AFL on your own platforms would be a fantastic start. Hell, just put it on MiLB TV. Help them sell a few more subscriptions every year. SOMETHING. Anything would be better than the nothing we’re currently getting.

Alright. Anyway.

Asa Lacy looked fantastic yesterday. 4 K and just 1 BB in 2 IP. 25 pitches, 17 strikes. I am thrilled with that. I didn’t even think he’d be healthy enough to pitch in instructs so I was excited to just see that happening. If Lacy goes out there and dominates the Fall League like he did the High-A Central when he was healthy, we could legitimately see him make his big league debut in 2022. I didn’t think there was a way in hell that would be possible when he spent the better part of the 2021 season on the IL, but he’s back to throwing 97 mph in the strike zone which gives anyone a chance. Lacy’s stuff is absolutely filthy. Some of the best in all of MiLB. If he’s healthy…he’s coming quick.

Hitter update:

  • Jake Means: 1-3, 2B, BB
  • Seuly Matias: 1-4, K
  • Nate Eaton: 1-4, K

Seuly Matias has a monumental fall ahead of him. He’s Rule 5 eligible this offseason and hasn’t really given the front office much reason to protect him to date. He’s had an awful time staying healthy and we all know about the strikeout issues. The power is still insane, borderline 80-grade raw power, and there is certainly room on an MLB roster for Seuly if he can keep his K% under ~35% at the big league level. Whether or not he’s able to do that remains to be seen, but the Royals will need to take a long look at him this fall to determine his standing in the organization as we approach the Rule 5 Draft. I mentioned on the RFR Podcast recently that if Seuly can bop 4-5 HR this fall and keep his K% under 30%, I’ll consider it a massive victory and deserving of strong 40-man roster protection consideration. He’s off to a good start after his first game.

Jake Means and Nate Eaton are both really interesting fringe prospects. Eaton is a pretty excellent defender at 3B with a cannon for an arm and good but not great raw power. He can really run and is a versatile defender so you know the Royals will give him an extended look. In 70 games at High-A in 2021, Eaton hit 20 XBH and stole 23 bases while posting a .344 OBP. He’s already 24 though which puts him in an interesting spot as a prospect, similarly to his teammate, 25-year old Jake Means. Means has a good approach at the plate and pretty fair raw power, posting an ISO of .207 between Low-A and High-A this year. The K% is concerning for a 25-year old in A-ball, but there’s some tools there you could work with as a slow burn prospect. I have a feeling the presence of these two in the fall league is more of a “last chance to put yourself on the radar” opportunity than a “playing for a 40-man roster spot” opportunity. Still, cool to see them both down there competing.

Other Royals prospects in the Fall League include RHP Mitch Ellis, RHP Zach Haake, RHP Stephen Woods Jr., and C Luca Tresh. We’ll update daily on Twitter and periodically on here and the podcast.

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