2016’s installment of the Arizona Fall League concluded this past weekend, and six players in the Phillies organization competed alongside minor leaguers in the farm systems of the Mets, Angels, Yankees, and Giants against five other clubs. The Scottsdale Scorpions, as the team was named, finished 6th out of 6 in the 32 game season. However, as Phillies fans, let’s put some of the last-place finish blame on those no-good Mets, and take a closer look at how the Phillies throughout the team played:
Victor Arano, RHP, 21
Arano spent the 2016 season between High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. He was acquired by the organization in 2014 from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mexico native finished fall league play with 9 strikeouts and a 2.79 ERA in 9 2/3 innings.
He will most likely begin next season in Clearwater barring an unforeseen circumstance; the young righty pitched to a 2.16 ERA in 16 2/3 Double-A innings.
Miguel Nunez, RHP, 23
Nunez was a teammate of Arano throughout the year at both Clearwater and Reading, as is the case with many of the fall leaguers. A 6’6″ righty, Nunez signed with the Phillies in 2010 as an International Free Agent. He finished his first fall league with a 3.60 ERA and 7 strikeouts in 10 innings pitched.
Nunez pitched 46 1/3 innings for the Fightin Phils of Reading in 2016 and will begin next season in their bullpen.
Scott Kingery, 2B, 22
Kingery was the only top-30 prospect for the Phillies that played on the Scorpions. However ,after a promising year in which the 2015 draft pick was promoted to Double-A, he did not find much success in the fall. He batted .234 with a .294 slugging percentage in 77 at-bats. Despite his struggles Kingery managed to steal 5 bases without being caught. His speed has been one of his best qualities since being drafted, so it is also a positive to be take out of his negatives.
Kingery appears on the fast track to the big leagues, but he will begin 2017 in Double-A, along with Nunez.
Mitch Walding, 3B, 23
Walding was added to the fall league roster after a strong season at High-A. Although he struggled at Reading after his late season call-up, he picked up right where he left off in Clearwater upon arrival in Arizona. Walding batted .286 with a .400 on-base percentage in 63 fall at-bats, also smashing 7 extra-base hits. He was 6th on the team in batting average and 3rd in total bases.
He is 23 years old, so the team may feel the need to keep him at Reading to start 2017. However, he could stay at Clearwater for some more High-A at-bats to begin the year.
Aaron Brown, OF, 23
Aaron Brown was not supposed to be in the Arizona Fall League. After Andrew Pullin sustained an injury, Brown was selected to fill his spot. He struggled to say the least, batting .184 (2nd lowest on the team) with an on-base percentage of only .235. He did hit three home runs, tied for most on the team, but that did not completely make up for his poor play.
Brown was promoted from GCL Rookie Ball all the way to Reading througout 2016, so his landing spot for the beginning of next year is almost not worth a guess. I would put him in Clearwater.
Tim Tebow, OF, 29
No, Tebow is not in the Phillies organization, but I thought that it would be worth including him. Tebow batted .194 in the fall league, slugging .242 and striking out 20 times in 62 at-bats. I guess .194 is not bad for a guy who has not played organized baseball, but it won’t buy him a spot in New York with the Mets. Nonetheless, Tebow is an entertaining storyline, and the continuance of his revitalized baseball career will be fun to keep up with.
I have no idea where he will play at the start of next season. I’ll guess rookie ball.
Photo by redlegsfan21 (via Wikimedia Commons)