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.
Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”
Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.