HARPER AND THE AFL SEASON WIND DOWN TO A CLOSE
Phoenix, AZ - Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and many other top MLB prospects finished out their Arizona Fall League season with their respective clubs this week in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area. The Salt River Rafters defeated the Surprise Saguaros by the score of 9-3 on Saturday for the AFL championship in Scottsdale.
Harper (WSH), a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions, finished with a .333 average, 6 hrs, and 26 rbi in 25 games, landing him in the top 10 in batting. He played a pretty solid left field for a team that featured Trout (LAA), Joe Panik (SF), and Brandon Crawford (SF). Trout did not fare as well as his teammate as he compiled only a .245 average, 1hr, and 5rbi in the same amount of games.
Other notables in the league were Cincinnati Reds’ reliever Aroldis Chapman and over 30 MLB first-round draft picks between 2006-2011. Gerrit Cole (PIT) who was the number one overall in 2011 went 2-0, 3.00 era, in 5 games started for the Mesa Solar Sox. He also participated in the AFL’s “Rising Stars’ game.
The AFL has a rich history that dates back to 1992 and MLB star alumni are in the hundreds. Roy Halladay, Chris Carpenter, Prince Fielder, Evan Longoria, Albert Pujols, and David Wright are just a few of them. In 2009 Harper’s future teammate Stephen Strasburg pitched for the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
There are only six teams in the league (Peoria Javelinas), each has five MLB team affiliations. All teams have their own home ballpark, which are used as MLB spring training sites in February and March. The price of a ticket for a game is about $7 and you can usually just walk up at game time and purchase one. The exception is when a pitcher of Strasburg’s caliber is scheduled to start, then it is wise to purchase in advance or arrive at the park early. Most games are scheduled for 12:35pm but often times there may also be a 6:35pm start somewhere else in the league; making it easy for someone to grab a doubleheader because of the close proximity.
The season typically runs only from early October through mid-November and temperatures are comfortably around the mid-70’s. So if you are still craving baseball after the World Series champions are crowned and you’re not looking to break the bank while sitting in the first row behind the dugout, this may be the place for you.