The Texas Rangers have announced the six players they have picked to represent them in the Arizona Fall League (AFL).
Catcher Pat Cantwell, outfielder Nick Williams, RHP Lisalverto Bonilla, RHP Cody Kendall, RHP Josh McElwee, and RHP Sam Wolff will play for the Surprise Saguaros. Games begin Tuesday October 7 through November 15 with a Championship Game held at Scottsdale Stadium.
Owned and operated by Major League Baseball, the AFL was formed in 1992. All 30 ML clubs must participate by sending 6 professional players who have less than one year of major-league service time and minor-league All-Stars.
The Arizona Fall League consists of 6 teams that are assembled with 5 different Major League teams. The overall goal of the AFL is provide a place that the top prospects can hone their skills and be seen by both major and minor league scouts and team executives. However, the AFL isn’t just for players, as Steve Cobb, AFL executive vice president puts it
"There’s a two-pronged mission to the AFL. One is for the players to accelerate, and hopefully jump a classification. The other is for the managers and umpires to develop. For those who aspire to be Major League managers, this is a place to gain additional experience. The AFL provides employment opportunity to enhance managers’ and coaches’ skills.”"
Being picked to represent the Texas Rangers isn’t something a player takes lightly. There is a reason the Texas Rangers, or any team, picks a player. They are, in essence, letting the player know that they believe in him.
An invitation to play, in effect, is notice from your employer that they expect big things from you. (Tom Haudricourt, Baseball America)
With that statement in mind I took a look at each of the players the Rangers have selected. Even though I was familiar with a few names, I did not know the quality of the player. So whether you are or are not in the same boat as me, here are the stats for our Arizona Fall League players.
*All stats provided are from baseball-reference.com*
Catcher, Pat Cantwell: Cantwell, in his age 24 season, has played all season with the Frisco RoughRiders (AA). In 73 games he has 38 runs, 67 hits with 13 doubles and one homer, and 31 RBI with a slash line of .255/.349/.316. Behind the plate Patrick Cantwell has a 32% caught stealing rate, 57 assists with only 5 errors and 454 putouts in 516 defensive chances.
OF, Nick Williams: The 20-year old is a Galveston, Texas native drafted by the Rangers in the 2nd round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Williams began the 2014 season in the Arizona League (Rookie) but was quickly promoted after three games to Myrtle Beach (A+). During his stint with the Pelicans, Williams had 61 runs, 110 hits with 28 doubles, 4 triples, 13 home runs, and 68 RBI. He had 5 stolen bases and a batting line of .292/.343/.491 before being promoted to to Frisco RoughRiders (AA). Although Nick Williams has only played 8 games in Frisco, he has hit 9 homers with a slash line of .281/.303/.375.
RHP, Lisalverto Bonilla: Playing in his age 24 season with Round Rock Express (AAA), the righty holds a record of 3-1 with a 4.14 ERA. Bonilla has pitched in 37 games with 4 game starts and 15 games finished. His pitch line for the season is 63.0 IP, 63 H, 31 R/29 ER, 7 HR, 21 BB, 1 IBB, 77 SO.
RHP, Cody Kendall: Drafted by Texas in the 8th round of the 2012 MLB Draft, the 24-year old started the season with Hickory (A) where he held a record of 7-2, 1.02 ERA in 29 games, including 7 saves and 24 games finished. Kendall’s final pitch line for Hickory is 44.1 IP, 35 H, 7R/5 ER, 1 HR, 15 BB, 42 SO, before being promoted to Myrtle Beach (A+). Cody Kendall currently has a 0-0, 2.35 ERA with the Pelicans. His pitch line at Myrtle Beach is 6 G, 3 GF, 7.2 IP, 7 H, 3R/2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO.
RHP, Josh McElwee: The 25-year old was drafted by Texas in the 20th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. McElwee started this season with Hickory as well. In the time he spent with the Crawdads he earned 6 saves, a 2-0 record with a 4.25 ERA. Josh McElwee’s final pitch line with Hickory is 36.0 IP, 35 H, 19 R/17 ER, 4 HR, 14 BB, 57 SO, before being promoted to Myrtle Beach (A+). He pitched in 11 games with 3 game finished and boasted a 2-0 record with an 0.42 ERA before once again being promoted. Currently at Frisco (AA), McElwee’s pitch line is 3 G, 3 GF, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 2 SO with a record of 0-0 and an 0.00 ERA.
RHP, Sam Wolff: Texas drafted this right-handed pitcher in the 6th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. The 23-year old has played the entire 2014 season with Myrtle Beach (A+) where he holds a record of 8-5 with a 3.46 ERA. Wolff’s pitch line in 22 game starts with the Pelicans is 114.1 IP, 101 H, 46R/44ER, 9 HR, 34 BB, 77 SO, 3 HBP.
The 2014 Arizona Fall League Rosters:
Glendale Desert Dogs: Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers
Peoria Javelinas: Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays
Scottsdale Scorpions: New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants
Mesa Solar Sox: Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals
Salt River Rafters: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins
Surprise Saguaros: Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers
You can catch all the action on MLB Network. I know I’m looking forward to seeing who the Texas Rangers expect to see great things from in the upcoming seasons!