As the eyes of the baseball world are (mostly) locked in to the American & National League championship series, the first week of the Arizona Fall League is in the books.
At the plate, three Padres prospects hit a combined 12-for-41 (.293) in limited action, & their four pitchers combined for a 3.18 ERA (4 ER in 11.1 innings) for the Peoria Javelinas.
Let’s take a look at the individual performances with one week of play completed:
Reed, who is ranked No. 13 on MLB Pipeline’s list of top 30 Padres prospects, is off to a 4-for-13 start in the AFL; highlighted by a 3-for-5 performance in his first game. Reed has walked once and struck out three times.
The University of Florida alum splashed onto the scene in Single-A Lake Elsinore earlier this year, batting .324 with 12 home runs and 33 stolen bases in the season’s first half. He was rewarded with a trip to the MLB Futures Game in Washington, D.C., where he impressed everyone with his play and personality.
When you’re usually on the same team…but not today. #FuturesGame #PadresOnDeck pic.twitter.com/wvINsPwkyQ
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 15, 2018
Following the Futures Game, Reed was promoted to Double-A San Antonio. He struggled there, hitting only .179 with 63 strikeouts in 43 games. A successful stint in the AFL would do the 23-year-old well heading into the offseason.
I’ve been impressed today with the left field play and throwing arm of #Padres Buddy Reed. Very solid defensive outfielder with good speed. Hit at the top of the Peoria order and can do some damage from that spot.
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) October 10, 2018
Ranked No. 23 in the Padres’ minor league system, Potts is off to a 4-for-18 start with a double and four RBI for the Javelinas.
Only 19 years of age, Potts hit 17 home runs with a .847 OPS in 106 games for Single-A Lake Elsinore before a late-season promotion to Double-A San Antonio. He struggled with the Missions, but given his age and the uptick in competition, that was to be expected.
The #Padres future is bright, and Hudson Potts could be an integral part at the hot corner in San Diego. Toolshed examines. https://t.co/v6vlKPlkiH pic.twitter.com/myrZAJHD6M
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) October 13, 2018
Allen accumulated three starts in the first week, going 4-for-10 with two walks and two strikeouts.
The 24-year-old catcher hit .290 with 22 home runs this season for Double-A San Antonio in the pitcher-friendly Texas League. His defense is still a question, but the bat is expected to play at the highest level.
Allen is Rule V draft eligible after this season, so he must be added to the 40-man roster by late November. If not, the Padres will risk losing him with no compensation. As far as a spot on a potential 2019 big-league roster that currently has Austin Hedges & Francisco Mejía at the catching position, that is still up for debate.
San Antonio Missions and San Diego Padres catching prospect Austin Allen participating in the Texas League home run derby. He hit three. #MRTsports #MiLB #Padres pic.twitter.com/jHjISatbMq
— Christopher Hadorn (@chris_MRTsports) June 26, 2018
The 6’8″, 221-pound reliever has thrown two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.
He appeared in 48 games with Lake Elsinore this season, registering a fairly pedestrian 4.39 ERA. What was not pedestrian, however, was his strikeout rate. Thanks in large part to a lively fastball that sits in the upper-90s, Valdez struck out 76 hitters in 53.1 innings.
After a string of 97 MPH heaters, Dauris Valdez’ 96 MPH fastball (the slowest pitch of the inning) gets him out of the 7th w/the 2-1 lead intact. pic.twitter.com/vAAdnFHN1y
— madfriars (@madfriars) July 6, 2018
Radke was one of the more impressive relievers in the Padres system in 2018. Across four minor league levels, the southpaw held the opposition to a .196 BAA, accumulating a gaudy 1.94 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 78.2 innings. The former 25th round pick’s season earned him some national recognition, as he is up for MiLB’s ‘Top Relief Pitcher’ award.
Feeling so blessed and humbled by this season and the opportunity to be placed on the ballot for the milb reliever of the year awards. Thank you to all the fans teammates and coaches for their support this year. https://t.co/X4wDhpEs9x pic.twitter.com/cEzKeOpQud
— Travis radke (@TravisRadke) October 10, 2018
Naturally, Radke has continued to pitch well in the AFL. In the first week, he allowed one earned run in 4.1 innings (two games) with seven strikeouts. Not normally a guy who walks a lot of batters, Radke has walked six in the early going.
Due to injury, Rodriguez’s first appearance this season did not come until July 18. He only threw 12 1/3 innings during the minor league season, so the Arizona Fall League will give him a chance to get some more work in. He has appeared in two games thus far, allowing two runs in two innings of work.
Like Austin Allen, Rodriguez will be Rule V draft eligible this offseason.
The former Rule V selection has started one game, allowing three hits and a run in three innings pitched.
Diaz is a name that is most familiar to fans of the big league club, as he has seen action in San Diego in both 2017 and 2018. He is likely a reliever in the long-term, and his plus stuff will make him a candidate to break with the club out of spring training in 2019.