In three weeks the Arizona Fall League will get underway. The first games are set to begin on October rd. This season the Cincinnati Reds team will be the Glendale Desert Dogs, sharing a team with the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Minnesota Twins. On Friday afternoon the rosters were released and the Cincinnati Reds will be sending seven players in total. Shortstops Matt McLain and Noelvi Marte will be joined by outfielder Rece Hinds among the position players. Cincinnati’s sending four right-handed pitchers to Arizona as well. Sam Benschoter will be joined by Jake Gozzo, Christian Roa, and Vin Timpanelli

Teams use the Arizona Fall League for a lot of different reasons. Some players go there as a bit of a “finishing school” to try and get them prepared for the next step up to the big leagues. Some guys wind up there to get additional playing time that they missed out on in the past season due to injuries. Teams also will use the league as a chance to get one final look at players who may be Rule 5 eligible.

Rece Hinds

2022 Teams: High-A Dayton Dragons, Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts

2022 Midseason Prospect Rank: 12th

The 2022 season started out about as badly as one could imagine for Rece Hinds as he hit .138 in April while striking out in half of his plate appearances. He made some adjustments and things turned around as he hit .284/.351/.470 while walking more and cutting his strikeouts down over the next seven weeks. But in late June he broke the hamate bone in his wrist and missed the next two months before returning to the field. When the Dayton season came to an end last week the Reds promoted him up to Double-A to join Chattanooga where he’s picked up three extra-base hits in the three games he’s played with the Lookouts this week. Career stats available here.

Matt McLain

2022 Team: Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts

2022 Midseason Prospect Rank: 6th

The season is still happening for infielder Matt McLain. As I type this he’s played in 100 games this season for Chattanooga where he’s hitting .233/.355/.449 with 20 doubles, 5 triples, 16 home runs, and 25 steals in 28 attempts. During the summer he missed a month, from late June through late July, with a wrist injury. Since returning he’s hit .225/.358/.416 with 26 walks and 42 strikeouts in 41 games played. Career stats available here.

Noelvi Marte

2022 Teams: High-A Everett Aquasox (Seattle), High-A Dayton Dragons

2022 Midseason Prospect Rank: 3rd

Acquired from Seattle at the trade deadline, Noelvi Marte spent his entire season at the High-A level but with two different teams. Between his two stops he played in 115 games and hit .279/.371/.458 with 23 doubles, 19 home runs, and 23 stolen bases. He’s currently in Germany playing with Team Spain in a World Baseball Classic qualifier. Career stats available here.

Sam Benschoter

2022 Teams: Single-A Daytona, High-A Dayton, Double-A Chattanooga

2022 Midseason Prospect Rank: Not Ranked

When the season began for Sam Benschoter he was in Daytona with the Tortugas. He pitched well for the most part from the start of the season until June 1st, but he suffered an injury in the early part of the month and would miss nearly two months before returning to the Tortugas in late July. After making four starts in his return and posting a 2.81 ERA with 31 strikeouts in those 16.0 innings he was sent to join the High-A Dayton Dragons for the final three weeks of their season. He didn’t skip much of a beat as he struck out 23 batters in 16.2 innings for them to round out their campaign. Benschoter was then sent to join Double-A Chattanooga, but he has not yet appeared in a game for them (he last pitched in Dayton on September 9th). In his two stops (not accounting for his rehab games in Arizona) he has 103 strikeouts with 23 walks in 68.1 innings pitched to go along with a 4.08 ERA. Career stats available here.

Jake Gozzo

2022 Team: High -A Dayton Dragons

2022 Midseason Prospect Rank: Not Ranked

The 25-year-old reliever spent his entire season in Dayton, but he wasn’t used like you would expect a typical reliever. For much of the season he would pitch once a week, throwing more than an inning and up to three innings in some cases. On the season he posted a 3.95 ERA in 41.0 innings with 24 walks and 36 strikeouts. Down the stretch of the season, from July 15th through the end of the year he pitched in nine games and allowed three runs in 12.1 innings with 14 strikeouts while holding hitters to a .077 average. Career stats available here.

Christian Roa

2022 Teams: High-A Dayton Dragons, Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts

2022 Midseason Prospect Rank: 23rd

Christian Roa missed the first six weeks of the 2022 season, but he’s stayed healthy and on the mound since then. Much of his season has come with Dayton. He got out to a big of a slower start, posting an ERA of 5.63 in his first eight starts. Since taking the mound on July 7th he’s made 12 starts and thrown 59.0 innings with a 2.44 ERA, allowing just 32 hits, 2 home runs, and he’s struck out 60 batters. He’s been inconsistent throughout the season with regards to throwing strikes from one outing to the next and has 55 walks on the season in his 91.0 innings. Roa’s made three starts for Chattanooga here at the end of the year and has given up just two earned runs in 17.0 innings. Career stats available here.

Vin Timpanelli

2022 Teams: High-A Dayton Dragons, Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts

2022 Midseason Prospect Rank: Not Ranked

The 2022 season started out in a tough way for Vin Timpanelli. Assigned to the Chattanooga Lookouts he pitched in 10 games in the first seven weeks and allowed an earned run in eight of them and posted a 7.63 ERA with 20 walks and 21 strikeouts in 15.1 innings. He was sent to Dayton at the end of May. Over the next two months he was a bit up-and-down with his performance, but starting in late July he figured things out and allowed runs in just two of his 10 appearances while striking out 28 batters with eight walks in 13.1 innings. When the Dragons season ended last week the Reds promoted Timpanelli back to Chattanooga, but he has yet to appear in a game for them since his return. Career stats available here.

Daryle Ward – Hitting Coach

The Reds will also be represented by Daryle Ward, who will serve as the Glendale hitting coach. Ward is currently the hitting coach with the High-A Dayton Dragons. He’s been with Dayton for four seasons and has also spent time as the hitting coach for the complex team in Arizona as well as the hitting coach for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts.

Rules in the league

The AFL will have a pitch clock in use, though they did not specify how much time would be on it. Shifting will be prohibited to the same extent that the new rules in MLB will have next season with two infielders on each side of second base and both feet must be in front of the outfield grass. The bases will be the 18-inch bags that have been utilized in the minors and will also be in the big leagues next season. The AFL will also have a ball/strike challenge system where a hitter, pitcher, or catcher may challenge a call on a thrown pitch that will then be determined by the ball tracking system in place at the park. Each team gets three challenges, and if they correctly challenge a pitch they do not lose that challenge.

9 Responses

  1. MK

    Have to wonder if the growing popularity of the fall league has gotten to the point where there is pressure on teams from above to send certain high profile prospects? Dollars always seem to come into play.

    • BK

      The league averaged about 1,000 per game in attendance. Few games are televised. With the league running mostly parallel to the MLB playoffs, I don’t see MLB doing much to promote the league and distract from its most profitable games. Just my two cents.

  2. DaveCT

    Jeez, Jake Gozzo? Seems like a guy known far more to scouts than any of us, and probably a Rule V guy they want to assess.

    6’5″ 221. There’s gotta be some who see Gozzo as a serious bullpen candidate. I like Roa and Benschoter getting some looks.

    Marte, McLain and Hinds seem spot on for me. Trying to maximize their progress this year.

    • Doug Gray

      Only Noelvi Marte from this group is Rule 5 eligible this year (which he won’t be because they will protect him).

  3. BK

    This seems like one of the best groups of prospects the Reds have sent to the AFL, especially among the position players.

  4. todd

    Living in NW Phoenix I go to 10-15 games a year. It is rare to see a game with more than 200 people, let alone 1,000. They have doubled the ticket costs over the last few years (still affordable thought at $10). I am most curious to see how the ball/strike challenge system works. If MLB wants (and needs) to speed up games – this appears to really break the flow. Just move to 100% automation and not use a clunky challenge approach…