The month long Arizona Fall League has come and gone for individuals from the Phillies organization assigned to play on the Mesa Solar Sox. The six-team league’s regular season wrapped up on Thursday, with just two teams advancing to a winner-takes-all championship game on Saturday afternoon.
Each roster in the AFL features 7 players from 5 different organizations. Mesa served as the Autumn home to Phillies prospects Justin De Fratus, Matt Rizzotti, Tyson Brummett, Jacob Diekman, Tim Kennelly, Josh Zeid, BJ Rosenberg and Chris Kissock. John Mayberry Jr. was also assigned to spend some time with the Solar Sox, but he injured his calf in his debut on October 12th and spent the subsequent weeks at the Phils’ spring training home in Clearwater to receive treatment. With Mayberry and Zeid both departing from the team early, the Phillies avoided exceeding the 7 man roster limit.
De Fratus, a 23-year-old righty hurler, continued to show why I predicted that he would be a big mover up the Phillies’ reliever rankings next season. In 7 games for the Solar Sox, De Fratus did not allow a run, earned a save, held opponents to a .125 batting average and struck out 11 batters in 7 innings. De Fratus, an 11th round draft choice in 2007, posted a 3-0 record, with 21 saves and a 1.94 ERA while striking out 71 against 16 walks in 65 innings combined, at High-A Cleawater and Double A Reading during the 2010 regular season.
Matt Rizzotti, who I wrote about on Thursday, wrapped up an impressive calendar year by ending his AFL season with a .333 avg. and a .500 on-base percentage in 19 games played. At three levels of the Phillies minor league system during the 2010 regular season, Rizzotti posted a .343 batting average while smashing 17 homers and driving in 76 runs in 125 games.
Josh Zeid was one of two Phillies representatives chosen to play in the AFL Rising Stars Game (De Fratus was the other) earlier this month. Zeid, 23, wrapped up his AFL season shortly after the AFL’s version of the all-star game. In 4 starts for Mesa, the right-handed Zeid, posted a 3-0 record with a 3.86 ERA. His strike out to walk ratio (12:1) was also quite impressive.
Rosenberg, a 25-year-old right-hander who struggled with injuries all year, had a rough stretch throughout his AFL stint. En route to a 0-1 record and an 8.53 ERA, batters hit .333 against Rosenberg in 10 games. His disappointing season is a full turn around from the 7-3 record, 1.18 ERA and 22 saves he rocked in 2009 with Lakewood and Reading.
Brummett, another righty pitcher, went 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA in 10 AFL games, 3 starts. In 19 innings, he struck out 13 and walked 2. Brummett, 26, was a 7th round draft pick in 2007.
Catcher Tim Kennelly looked sharp in AFL action after attempting some field duties during the season with High-A Clearwater. In 15 games with Mesa, Kennelly posted a .293 avg. with 4 doubles and 4 RBI. Kennelly, 24, batted .274 and slugged 5 homers while driving in 69 runs in 115 games for the Clearwater Threshers in 2010.
Righty Chris Kissock, who joined the Mesa roster after participating in the Pan-Am qualifiers with Team Canada, went 1-0 with a save and a 2.38 ERA in 10 outings (1 start). Combined at two levels with Clearwater and Reading this season, the 25-year-old Kissock had a 7-3 record with a 2.68 ERA in 47 relief outings.
Diekman, a 23-year-old lefty hurler, struggled after reporting late to the AFL. Diekman allowed 12 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in 5 outings with the Solar Sox. Combined in 45 games between Class A Lakewood and High-A Level Clearwater, Diekman held opponents to a .187 batting average en route to a 2-2 record and a 2.91 ERA.
De Fratus and Rizzotti will be eligible for the MLB Rule 5 draft unless each is added to the Phillies’ 40-man roster by Saturday. MLB rules state that a player who was drafted, aged 19 or older, who has spent 4 years with a minor league contract and is not on his organization’s 40-man roster is eligible to be selected by another Major League club in the annual December treasure hunt. For those drafted under age 19, the length of time moves to 5 years. Expect the Phillies to protect both De Fratus and Rizzotti.
The Arizona Fall League’s championship game will feature the Scottsdale Scorpions playing host to the Peoria Javelinas and will be televised live on MLB Network this Saturday at 3pm.
Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league contributor. You can read more from Jay by checking out his site, PhoulBallz.com.