We learned yesterday that Byron Buxton, baseball’s top overall prospect according to MLB.com, will play in the Arizona Fall League. Yesterday Minor League Baseball announced that 21 more of baseball’s top-100 prospects will join him.
Among them: Addison Russell of the Cubs, Corey Seager of the Dodgers, Josh Bell of the Pirates, Raul Mondesi of the Royals, Mark Appel of the Astros and Jesse Winker of the Reds. A list of other top prospects in the Fall League can be seen here.
The Arizona Fall League is one of baseball’s annual hidden gems. A far greater density of top prospects than you’ll see anywhere in gorgeous Arizona October and November weather with none of the crowds you usually see in spring training. I’m told it’s one of the best experiences for a baseball fan. I have yet to make it — and circumstances are likely to prevent me from doing so this year — but one of these years I’m gonna fire up the virtual bloggy RV and spend a week or two out there for it.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.