The Arizona Fall League concluded on Saturday night, so let’s look back on how various Dodgers prospects did in the desert.
Ben Casparius, drafted in the fifth round in 2021 out of UConn, took home AFL pitcher of the week honors for the period of October 30 to November 5. In his one outing that week, he struck out six in three scoreless innings.
The right-hander led the Glendale Desert Dogs with 20 strikeouts in his 14⅔ innings.
“The AFL has been one of the best and most important experiences throughout my professional journey to this point,” Casparius said in a press release upon winning the pitcher of the week. “Being able to compete with the best of the best this late into the year has been a blessing. My biggest goal during this period was to work more on my arsenal and how it works best in specific situations.
“The competition level here has taken my mindset on the mound and my preparation to the next level. Last week’s outing was sharp and the ability for me to locate my fastball in correct spots and counts sets up success for me throughout outings.”
The offensive-friendly nature of the Arizona Fall League showed itself in Casaparius’ next outing, in which he allowed five runs, including three home runs while recording only two outs on November 7. Even with that outing of three scoreless innings, Casparius had a 10.43 ERA in the AFL.
Why it's hard to glean a ton from Arizona Fall League stats.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) November 10, 2023
There were three players who posted a 1.000 OPS or better in the full-season minors in 2023.
There were seven players who posted a 1.000 OPS or better in the AFL in 2023.
With that caveat in mind, here are the stats for the Dodgers this year in the Arizona Fall League, including Yeiner Fernandez playing both middle infield spots with more walks than strikeouts, and Ronan Kopp striking out nearly half of his batters and also walked almost one out of every five.
Dodgers AFL stats
- 2B/SS Yeiner Fernandez: .289/.413/.526, 4 2B, HR, 3B, 17.4% BB rate, 10.9% K rate
- OF Damon Keith: .254/.329/.507, 4 HR, 4 2B, 3B, 10.1% BB rate, 31.6% K rate
- RHP Ben Casparius: 10.43 ERA, 14⅔ IP, 29% K rate, 13% BB rate, 5 HR
- RHP Kendall Williams: 5.30 ERA, 18⅔ IP, 22.2% K rate, 7.4% BB rate, 4 HR
- RHP Ryan Sublette: 1.93 ERA, 9⅓ IP, 26.2% K rate, 19% BB rate, 1 HR
- RHP Jake Pilarski: 1.00 ERA, 9 IP, 22.5% K rate, 10% BB rate, 1 HR
- LHP Ronan Kopp: 1.13 ERA, 8 IP, 46.9% K rate, 18.8% BB rate, 1 HR
Among the hundreds of minor leaguers who became free agents this week, Matt Eddy at Baseball America picked out a handful of position players he deemed notable. Included were a pair of Dodgers.
First baseman and sometimes corner outfielder Imanol Vargas hit .251/.357.,463 with 22 home runs, 29 doubles, a 114 wRC+, 174 strikeouts and 76 walks as a 25-year-old for Double-A.
“Vargas’ raw power is apparently in his 114 mph max exit velocity and extreme damage on contact,” Eddy wrote. “The issue has been making enough contact to take full advantage. Vargas doesn’t chase much out of the zone but can be beat in the zone with good stuff.”
Also noted by Eddy was outfielder Yusniel Díaz, who returned to the Dodgers as a non-roster invitee and heated up down the stretch. Díaz hit .278/.374/.484 with 16 home runs and a 125 wRC+ for Tulsa, and won Texas League player of the month in August.
Díaz turned 27 in October.