The Arizona Fall League will host their annual Fall Stars Game on Saturday night. This isn’t quite an “All-Star” game as much as it is a showcase for some of the top prospects in the league. The Cincinnati Reds will be represented by only one player, Tyler Stephenson.

The catcher may or may not be the top prospect from the organization in the league depending on exactly how some of the offseason rankings play out (my updated rankings will be out at the very end of the month). But he is most certainly the guy that has performed the best among the eight Cincinnati prospects that they’ve sent out to Arizona.

As I type this on Tuesday evening, Tyler Stephenson is second in the Arizona Fall League with a .414 average. He’s also tied for the league lead with six doubles. Overall the catcher is hitting .414/.485/.621 with as many walks, three, as strikeouts. To say it’s been a strong stay in Arizona so far would be an understatement.

On the other side of the ball, pitcher Dauri Moreta feels like a guy who could be argued would have made an “All-Star” team, if this were one. He’s allowed one run over 7.0 innings for Glendale so far. Over his six games he’s walked just two batters and he has racked up eight strikeouts. It’s been a strong rebound year for the right-handed reliever. In 2018 he posted a 6.79 ERA between Billings and Dayton – repeating his time at both levels. This year he dominated in the Florida State League with Daytona, posting a 2.35 ERA in 57.1 innings with nine walks and 64 strikeouts on the year.

How and where to watch the game

If you want to watch the game on Saturday you can absolutely do that. At 8PM ET the game will be viewable on MLB.com and Topps.com. Unlike past years, the game will not be on MLB Network. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it would go up against playoff baseball. With the league starting earlier than normal this year, this hasn’t been an issue in the past with the game being played in November. But this season the league began much earlier and moved the Fall Stars Game up.

15 Responses

  1. Oldtimer

    Q&A:

    Clipped from http://www.reds.com website.

    Will Nick Lodolo get a look with the big league club in Spring Training next year?
    — @DKBThinks, on Twitter

    I believe the Reds’ 2019 first-round selection will be a non-roster invite to camp. Lodolo, who turns 22 on Feb. 5, has already impressed the organization over his first eight professional starts as he posted a 2.45 ERA combined with Billings and Dayton. There appears to be a belief that the left-hander wouldn’t need much time in the Minor Leagues because his stuff and mental makeup are good enough to move up quickly.

    Comparables:

    Gary Nolan in 1966 pitched 1 year in MiLB. Reds in 1967. Don Gullett in 1969 pitched 1 year in MiLB. Reds in 1970. Jim O’Toole in 1958 pitched 1 year in MiLB. Reds in 1959.

    Not identical circumstances with Lodolo but why? Perhaps Reds by mid year or late in season.

    • MK

      None of the 60’s and 70’s pitchers you mentioned had already been paid over $5 million when brought to Reds so there was not as much to lose financially as there would be with Lodolo. We saw what happened to the Nationals when they managed the innings of Strasburg at the MLB level and shut him down for the playoffs. Nolan and Gullett are certainly not the poster boys for long careers.

      • Oldtimer

        As I said, not identical circumstances. In terms of P ability, many similarities. Lodolo zipped up the ladder in 2019. Why not 2020?

        He was drafted about the same age as O’Toole was signed in 1958.

        Nolan pitched 10 years as a Red. Gullett pitched 7 years as a Red then left as free agent. O’Toole pitched 8 years as a Red then was traded.

        7-8-10 years. Not likely that Lodolo pitches longer than that. Possible. Not likely.

      • Oldtimer

        I looked up a couple modern P. Stephen Strasburg pitched for Nat at age 21. Gerrit Cole pitched for Pirates at age 22. There are modern examples.

        Lodolo was drafted at age 21. He would be 22 if he pitched for Reds in 2020.

      • DaveCT

        It’s a very different time than when Nolan and Gullett were in the minors, let alone even ten years ago, when Doug was but a precocious young man!

        I hope Lodolo comes up when he’s truly ready. I’m of the belief it’s much better to face adversity, such as the league catching up and adjusting to you, for the first time as a pro in the minors than the majors. Practice doesn’t make perfect but it does make better.

      • Oldtimer

        Please read what I wrote. Not identical circumstances.

        Both pitched one summer of Class A. O’Toole pitched one year of AA.

        Strasburg and Cole pitched MLB when they were 21 and 22 respectively.

      • DaveCT

        Oldtimer, I understand your point. Mine was an add-on. I guess what I’m thinking is baseball has been radically changed in the last decade or so, Moneyball style. And it’s hard to simply imagine when those guys came up, let alone even Stausberg. I think when this era is written about and documented (Doug, it’s gotta be you!) the time roughly equivalent to Bryan Price’s five years will be a huge transition point — from the push to get Cueto, Lagos, Bailey and Leake as 7 inning guys, to the current 5 innings and we’ll take it. It’s been a dramatic evolution, no matter what one may think about it. By the way, keep the old time references coming as they help keep the crustiness of we old guys in tact.

    • DanD

      @Oldtimer,

      Do not forget Mike Leake. But I think this time instead of starting the season like Leake did Lodolo will be brought up mid year to get an extra year of service.

      • Oldtimer

        Straight from draft to Reds SP rotation. But a fair comparison. Lodolo may well wind up a Red later in 2020 season.

    • Dollar Bill

      Mike Leake pitched zero years in the minors before being called up

      • Doug Gray

        He pitched in the Arizona Fall League 6 months before he pitched in the Major Leagues.

  2. MK

    I notice that two other Reds prospects have played in AzFL games, outfielder Rafael Franco and RHP Jefferson Lopez playing for Mexicali from Mexico.

  3. pw

    Any idea why India left last night’s AFL game in the third inning? Garcia with 3 errors in the game, but also with 3 RBI’s.

  4. Oldtimer

    Clipped from http://www.reds.com website:

    … This game is often billed as the AFL’s Futures Game, and for good reason. There are six players in this year’s Fall Stars Game who participated in Sirius XM Futures Game in July 2019: Adell, Amaya, Bart, Bohm, Lewis and Jarren Duran of the Red Sox. Jones could be the seventh. And one doesn’t have to look far into the game’s past to see how good it is at predicting Major League success.

    In last year’s contest, Mets first base prospect Pete Alonso homered. All the National League Rookie of the Year candidate did was win the MLB Home Run Derby as a first-time All-Star and set a rookie record for homers (53). Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays, Keston Hiura of the Brewers and the D-backs’ Jon Duplantier are among the others from the 2018 game to have springboarded from the AFL to the big leagues in 2019 and have graduated off of prospects lists.

    The last three NL Rookies of the Year all played in the game: Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. along with the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager. The 2018 starting lineups for the Major League All-Star Game featured Fall Stars alumni like Angels two-time MVP Mike Trout and Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez in the AL and Brewers reigning MVP Christian Yelich, not to mention Bellinger and Seager, in the NL …

    Good company for Tyler Stephenson!