For the second time in three years I'll be heading to the Arizona Fall League to peep out some of the future stars in the game. If I'm not mistaken, the AFL is in their 20th season of giving you ball players one last chance to impress scouts and the front office of the teams they play for before shutting things down for the season. If you want to check out the league and see who all is playing in Arizona this year, here's a link to the AFL's homepage.
I'll also be treated to a chance to watch the best of the best this season at the AFL Rising Stars Game (you can see full rosters by clicking on the link). There are five of the top-50 MLB Prospects in the game, with the lead dog being Bryce Harper who I will get to see for the first time (let's hope he plays and doesn't pull a Stephen Strasburg who was pulled from the outing he was supposed to make the last time I was down in Arizona). In addition to Harper I'll also get a chance to eyeball Mike Trout, Wil Myers, Nick Franklin and Matt Dominguez (I've already seen Trout in person as I caught a game of his in Baltimore this summer).
While some of the prospects in the league will never live up to expectations, there's a good chance that some of the players I see play this weekend will be future stars in the big leagues. Twenty-right of the players in the Rising Stars game in 2009 appeared in the big leagues in 2010, while the 2010 Rising Stars game produced 24 players who saw time in the big leagues in 2011.
Don't forget to tune into SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio over the weekend either (Sirius210, XM87). On Friday from 3-5 PM Arizona time, Kyle Elfrink and your truly will be broadcasting the XFL Experts Draft which will be held at the First Pitch Forums in Arizona hosted by Baseball HQ. On Saturday Kyle and I will be broadcasting from the Surprise Stadium, the site of the Rising Stars Game (our broadcast will begin at 4 PM local time). We hope to get a chance to speak to a couple of scouts, maybe a GM or two as well, and possibly even conduct some on the field interviews with some of the young guns themselves. It should be quite a weekend.
I hope you all tune in to listen to the festivities, and don't forget to have a beer on me while listening to the weekend's broadcasts.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
- Calvin Johnson unlikely to play
- Donald Brown hasn't cleared concussion protocol
- V-Mart seeking 4-yr contract in free agency
- Lincecum's MRI clean, available Friday
- Wainwright underwent surgery Friday
- Vereen "questionable" for Sunday
- Jimmy Graham likely to play Sunday
- P. Thomas & K. Robinson ruled out for Sunday
- Marquis Teague has been traded to the 76ers
- Aldridge (groin) will not play Friday night