The Arizona Fall League announced their rosters today, and seven Atlanta Braves prospects will be members of the Surprise Saguaros, including 2011 first round draft pick, pitcher Sean Gilmartin. Three other pitchers will join Gilmartin, relievers Billy Bullock and J.J. Hoover, and starter Erik Cordier.
Top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt highlights the Braves positional prospects in the league, which also includes second baseman Phil Gosselin and center fielder Todd Cunningham. All three of these players are currently teammates at high-A Lynchburg. Bullock is in double-A Mississippi, Hoover and Cordier are in triple-A, while Gilmartin is just starting out his professional career at low-A Rome.
Hoover's inclusion on the AFL roster lessens the likelihood that he will receive a late season call-up to the Majors by the Braves, though his numbers in relief at Gwinnett are outstanding: in 10.2 innings, just 3 hits, 4 walks, 0 runs, and a whopping 22 strikeouts.
For Bullock and Cordier this raises their stock, as both have struggled through parts of this season. Cordier sports an ERA over 5.00, while Bullock has an ERA of 4.53 (though he does have just a .193 opponents batting average). Both pitchers will need to work on controlling their free passes.
Cunningham will be making up for lost time due to injuries this season, while Gosselin will try to fine-tune his overall game. He stands out as a surprising choice for a winter league, but it reinforces the confidence the organization must have in him.
Bethancourt got the mid-season call from Rome to Lynchburg, but his plate discipline at both stops was atrocious. There is still plenty of time for him to develop, as he turns 20 this Friday.
Looks like a good group going to 'Zona. I'm sure there will be a few more players who will probably end up in various winter leagues in Latin America.