Arizona Fall League
The Arizona Fall League is an off-season league owned and operated by Major League Baseball (MLB) which operates during the autumn in Arizona, United States, at six different baseball complexes. The Arizona Fall League attracts many of the top prospects in Minor League Baseball (MiLB).
Arizona Fall League logo
|No. of teams||6|
|Salt River Rafters (2019)|
|Most titles||Peoria Javelinas (7)|
|Official website||Official website|
Each August, MLB clubs hold a position draft to determine the players who will go to Arizona. Most are Double-A and Triple-A Minor League players. Each club can opt to send two players below Double-A. Foreign players are allowed, as long as the player is not on his native country's primary protected player list. The league is designed for these prospects to refine their skills and perform in game settings in front of major and minor league baseball scouts and team executives, who are in attendance at almost every game. Play begins shortly after the end of MLB's regular season in early October and ends in mid-November with a championship game between the winners of the East and West divisions. Beginning in 2019, the AFL season will run from mid-September to the end of October to allow players to avoid downtime after the conclusion of the MiLB campaign and pitchers more continuous rest in preparation for the following year's playing schedule. Additionally on September 5, 2019, both MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) approved a rule change that allowed players on the 40-man roster to report to the AFL in October.
The Arizona Fall League teams are each affiliated with five separate Major League teams; each affiliated Major League team provides seven players who team up to fill the 35-man roster of each team. Additionally, teams may elect to send Taxi Squad players who are only eligible on Wednesdays and Saturdays. MLB teams also provide managers, coaches, and trainers.
A number of famous ballplayers have had stints in the Arizona Fall League. In 1994, the league got worldwide attention as Michael Jordan's second professional baseball league, when he played for the Scottsdale Scorpions. Likewise, Tim Tebow played for the Scorpions during his transition to professional baseball. Other notable ballplayers who have played in the Arizona Fall League include Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Piazza, Albert Pujols, Jimmy Rollins, Bryce Harper, David Wright, Mitch Haniger, Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and Mookie Betts.
Most Valuable Player award
The Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award was created in 2004, in memory of Dernell Stenson, an outfielder for the Scottsdale Scorpions (Cincinnati Reds), who was killed in a carjacking on November 5, 2003. The award is voted on by the managers and coaches of the six Arizona Fall League teams.
Hall of Fame
The Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame was created in 2001. The AFL has had over 1,200 players who came through the league reach Major League Baseball. Additionally, 18 former AFL Managers/players have gone on to manage a Major League club after managing in the league. To be considered by the selection committee, a player must be recognized at Major League Baseball level as a Rookie of the Year, a Most Valuable Player, an All-Star, or a Gold Glove or Silver Slugger Award winner.
- "About: History". Arizona Fall League official website. MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- "MLB Moves Up Arizona Fall League Schedule for 2019," BallparkDigest.com, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019
- Kubatko, Roch. "Orioles recall Austin Hays," Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), Saturday, September 7, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019
- "Tim Tebow makes Arizona Fall League debut, crashes into wall". Retrieved November 19, 2016.
- "Desme Wins AFL MVP Award". CBS Sports. November 23, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2010. See Grant Desme, the 2009 recipient.
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- Baker, Geoff (November 23, 2010). "Can Dustin Ackley buck the Arizona Fall League MVP curse? The bar has been set pretty low". The Seattle Times Company. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
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- William Boor (October 26, 2019). "Gleyber, Acuña, Hiura ... now Royce Lewis". MLB.com. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
- Dernell Stenson Stats. Baseball Almanac website. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
- "Stenson Award". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
- "Mariners prospect Patrick Kivlehan wins AFL's Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award". Retrieved November 19, 2016.
- "Yadiel Rivera wins Fall League Stenson Award". Retrieved November 19, 2016.
- Kramer, Daniel (November 19, 2016). "Nola wins Fall League's Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award". MLB.com. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
- "Pirates' Cole Tucker wins AFL Stenson award". MLB.com. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
- Jesse Sanchez (October 26, 2019). "Reds' Stephenson earns AFL's Stenson Award". MLB.com. Retrieved October 27, 2019.