Another season of the Arizona Fall League came to a conclusion today as the Peoria Javelinas defeated the Salt River Rafters in the AFL Championship. The league is often comprised of prize prospects trying to get some extra work in, and former prospects still trying to find their stroke. For the Athletics, they were represented by 7 players (8 technically if you count Yordy Cabrera before he was traded) on the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Infielder Grant Green, catcher Max Stassi, and pitcher James Simmons were the most notable Athletics minor leaguers to play in the desert this fall. Pitchers Shawn Haviland, Brett Hunter, and Gary Daley made appearances down there as well. Miles Head played in 1 game before injuring his wrist and ending his AFL season.
Green hit .273/.364/.424 in 66 at bats, he also went deep twice. Max Stassi hit .271/.314/.396 with a homerun 48 at bats. Green is on the cusp of making it to Oakland, and while his numbers here weren’t eye popping, they did nothing to indicate he can’t make the jump to the MLB level. Stassi, was thought to be the eventual successor to Kurt Suzuki in Oakland, but injuries and a lack of production has derailed that plan. His prognosis at this point is probably as something of a backup catcher unless he quickly turns things around.
James Simmons is a familiar name to many A’s fans, he was one of the organization’s top prospects at one point, but injuries have relegated his ceiling to the bullpen. He pitched very effectively in 11.1 innings during the AFL with a 1.59 ERA and a WHIP of 0.44, he allowed just 2 hits and 3 walks with 8 strikeouts. Shawn Haviland didn’t fare quite as well, posting a 5.19 ERA in 8.2 innings of work. Neither did Gary Daley, who posted a 6.75 ERA in 12 innings. Brett Hunter had a 4.66 ERA in his 9.2 innings on the mound.
Grant Green and James Simmons seem like good bets to find themselves in Oakland in 2013. Simmons could be a redemption story very similar to that of Sean Doolittle in 2012. Surely he’d start out in low leverage situations much like Doolittle did, but if he were to pitch as effectively as the flame throwing lefty then the A’s will be in business. Green figures to force his way onto the 25 man roster if he continues to demonstrate his readiness for the show.