Arizona Fall League showcases top MLB prospects


James Mackey

Salt River Field at Talking Stick is one of six Spring Training venues that plays host to the Arizona Fall League

James Mackey, Preston Grace, and Jared Heath

This season marks the 30th year that the Arizona Fall League (AFL) play host to top prospects across all 30 Major League franchises.

Fall League offers a chance for clubs to see their prospects in action, as well as providing an opportunity for players to make a name for themselves and perhaps secure a roster spot in the “Bigs”.

Notable AFL alumni include three-time AL MVP, Mike Trout (2011), two-sport athlete, Michael Jordan (1994), the most recent player to crest 700 home runs, Albert Pujols (2007), and the record holder for most homers in a season, Aaron Judge (2014).

As part of our ongoing coverage of the AFL, Northeast Valley News breaks down one player to watch from each of the six teams.


Robert Hassell III is currently the Washington Nationals No. 1 prospect.

The 21-year-old was a part of one of the biggest trades in the history of baseball. Hassell was the key prospect piece that the San Diego Padres traded to Washington in exchange for sluggers Juan Soto and Josh Bell.

Before the trade happened, he was the Padres No. 1 prospect, and for good reason. He had a .299 batting average with 91 hits, 19 doubles, 10 home runs, and 20 stolen bases throughout the season in High-A.  He quickly established himself as the best hitter in the Padres’ farm system.

After the blockbuster trade happened, he was immediately called up to the Nationals’ AA affiliate, the Harrisburg Senators. His hitting ability started to deteriorate late in the season, as he had only a .222 AVG, and struck out 35 times in 27 games.

Hassell’s natural awareness marked him as different from other young players in the league.

Padres senior farm director Ryley Westman said in another Baseball America article that “it’s always impressive to hear what comes out of his mouth and how he’s preparing and what his focus is.”


Jordan Lawlar, 20, playing for AA affiliate, Amarillo Sodpoodles was drafted No. 6 overall in the 2021 MLB Draft. He has risen to the No. 3 overall prospect in the Diamondbacks farm system since then.

Lawlar has been flying through their minor league system. In 81 games combined, he slashed a .328 AVG, with 118 hits, 16 home runs, and 37 stolen bases across three affiliates.

He started the season in Low-A playing for the Visalia Rawhide.  After just 44 games with the Rawhide, he was promoted to High-A affiliate, the Hillsboro Hops. 

Lawlar struggled in his first couple of games with the Hops but acclimated quickly. He played only 30 games with Hillsboro before earning his second promotion of the season.

After arriving to the Sod Poodles, he was only able to play 20 games before the Minor League season came to an end.

Lawlar’s want to grow and adapt to the game as it goes was matched with that of close friend, and teammate Corbin Carroll.

“We talk a lot about baseball IQ, and we always say that’s not something that you innately have… It’s something that’s learned, and it comes from aptitude and a desire to learn and grow. Those guys [Carroll and Lawlar] have that in spades,” Josh Barfield, Diamondbacks farm director said to in an article tagged to Lawlar’s profile on


Davis, an Arizona native, was drafted by the Cubs in round no. 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft. After winning Futures Game All-Star in 2021 as a member of the Tennessee Smokies of the AA’s South division, he started 2022 with the Iowa Cubs in AAA.

Davis was placed on the minor league injured list on May 12 for back issues, which ultimately caused  him to have to undergo surgery. 

As part of his rehab, he saw time in the Arizona Complex League affiliate of the Cubs. He was moved to play for the High-A affiliate, the South Bend Cubs on August 22. While in South Bend, he played only five games, dug into the batter’s box 23 times, marking three hits, and a .130 AVG.

Davis’ time in the Fall League won’t be for naught.

“More ABs can help him get his timing back, and he can continue to close some holes in his swing,” said Jonathan Mayo of He is “looking to make up for lost time” due to injury.


After being a non-roster invitee to Spring Training with the Seattle Mariners, Marte was sent to play for High-A affiliate, the Everett Aqua Sox.

Marte was moved to Cincinnati’s minor league system as part of a crucial trade that helped propelled the Mariners into the playoffs. He played the remainder of the 2022 season with the Dayton Dragons in High-A.

Throughout the minor league season, he posted a combined .279 AVG, with 125 hits, 19 of which were home runs in 115 games all season.

In the previous year, he had started with the A affiliate for the Mariners, the Modesto Nuts, before being promoted to Everett. While playing for the Nuts, he posted 413 ABs with 112 hits, 17 home runs, and a .279 AVG.
Marte’s ability to handle and overcome a slump and adversity earned him high praise from the director of player development for the Mariners, Andy McKay.

“You have to learn how to get out of (a slump)…over the course of a long season, it’s gonna happen to you multiple times. And obviously he showed his ability to rebound from that,” McKay said in a Baseball America article. 


Drafted No. 1 in the 2021 MLB Draft, Henry Davis is seen as one of the next best catchers in baseball.

He spent the 2022 season bouncing around the Pirates minor league system playing games at rookie level, A, High-A, and AA while struggling with a left wrist injury.

In 31 games played and 116 ABs, for AA team Altoona Curve in 2022, Davis put up 24 hits, a .207 AVG, and four home runs. 

Henry Davis holds a similar story of his time in the Fall League says Mayo.

“Getting the chance to get more upper-level at-bats will be great, but more than anything, giving him reps behind the plate…catching upper-level pitching could really help his receiving,” Mayo said of Davis.


Nick Yorke was drafted by the Red Sox No. 17 overall in the 2020 draft.

The 20-year-old middle infielder is the No. 4 prospect in the Red Sox system and has had an impressive two seasons playing for High-A Greenville Drive. 

In 2022, Yorke hit a bit of a slump compared to his 2021 season, putting up a .231 AVG, 78 hits, 11 home runs, and eight stolen bases,  in  337 ABs.

Yorke is the only player on our list not currently in the MLB Pipeline Top 100, but he has seen time at No. 96 as a late season add in 2021, and No. 55 on the list at the start of 2022.

“A fully healthy Yorke could come in and swing the bat very well in Arizona… So a solid Yorke showing might not put him on the Top 100, but it would be a sign that he’s back to being the guy we saw in 2021,” Mayo said.


Rocker was originally drafted No. 10 in the 2021 MLB Draft by the New York Mets, but “post-draft medical concerns caused New York to back out,” according to an article posted to Sporting News.

After Rocker and the Mets verbally agreed to a $6 million signing bonus contract, Met’s officials, turned out to be concerned enough over Rocker’s medical issues to ultimately decide against officially signing him, according to Anthony DiComo of

Rocker played in five games with the Tri-City Valley Cats in the Frontier League.

During his time with the Valley Cats, he recorded one win, with a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings pitched.
According to a Dallas Morning News article, Rocker is expected to start the second game of the season, on Oct. 4 vs the Javelinas.