Arizona Fall League Update – Sanchez Starts Season Finale


Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez against the West during the Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Today marks the final day of the regular season for the Arizona Fall League. We’ve been keeping tabs on Toronto Blue Jays prospects playing in the event and with a win today (along with a Mesa Solar Sox loss) the Salt River Rafters will clinch a spot in Sunday’s AFL Championship. Surprise Saguaros have already clinched the West division to punch their ticket for the title game.

Aaron Sanchez (1-1, 0.98 ERA) takes the mound for the Rafters and will face-off against Kyle Crick (0-1, 3.55 ERA) today at approximately 12:35 MST.

Outfielder Kenny Wilson is expected to be the Rafters’ lead off hitter and Andy Burns will most likely bat second and handle first base duties.

Wilson, 23, is batting .266/.337/.404 and leads Salt River with 12 stolen bases. Burns, also 23, started off slowly but turned it around to become one of the AFL’s most consistent hitters and is batting .329/.420/.425 and has more walks (12) than strikeouts (11).

I’m not sure if the lineup card that I’m looking at is correct or not but if I were the Rafters’ coaches I would be starting Derrick Chung at catcher in today’s game. He’s only had 45 plate appearances but is leading the club with a .390 batting average. All but two of his hits are singles so he doesn’t bring much power to the plate but an OBP of nearly 45% has been very helpful for Salt River. He also plays good defense behind the plate and has an ability to throw out base runners.

Marcus Stroman could also see playing time out of the bullpen today. Stroman was on The Fan 590 today with Jeff Blair and hearing his interview reminded me that sadly the AFL is coming to a close. Make sure you listen to the interview as Stroman talks about working on his pitches and that he was told the Blue Jays plan for him is a starting pitcher.

Good luck to the Rafters today and many thanks to all the Blue Jays fans that have been following the Arizona Fall League with us here at Jays Journal.