Every fall, the Arizona Fall League takes places as a short offseason league that allows some (but most certainly not all) of the game’s top prospects to get some extra work in. There are specific rules for how many players from each organization can play and from which levels of the minors, etc. plus there are often some “interesting” inclusions based on roster needs in the AFL.
The Braves have had some really exciting players play in the AFL in recent years including most recently Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley who really showed out down there. While the Braves are not sending some of their biggest names in the system this year, there are still some really interesting ones.
Greyson Jenista, Trey Harris, Justin Dean, Daysbel Hernandez, Connor Johnstone, Brad Roney, Garrison Schwartz, and Brandon White are all expected to reported to Arizona from the Braves to play for Scottsdale starting in the middle of September (a notable and welcome change from previous years so that pitchers don’t have to re-amp back up after the minor league season ends).
The headliners here are Jenista, Harris, and Dean who are all really interesting position player prospects in the Braves’ farm system. Greyson Jenista was the Braves’ high drafted player who actually signed from the 2018 MLB Draft and has tantalizing raw power. He will look to improve on what has been a tough season in 2019 which has seen him post a .662 OPS across two levels of the minors.
As for Trey Harris and Justin Dean, if you are looking for two of the more pleasant surprises from the 2018 season in the minors, those are your guys. Harris started the season at Rome and quickly mashed his way all the way to Double-A Mississippi. While his numbers have leveled off a bit there, he has easily been one of the more productive bats in the Braves’ farm system this year.
Justin Dean has long been overdue for a promotion from Rome and based on his AFL selection, one could expect that he could see an aggressive promotion for 2020. With very decent pop for a leadoff guy and at least plus speed, Dean has posted an .823 OPS in 107 games with nine home runs and 45 stolen bases.
The notable exclusions from the AFL for the Braves are at the top of their prospect list as Cristian Pache, Drew Waters, and Ian Anderson are not participating. Pache’s lack of participation is not surprising as he was an AFL participant last year, but it would have been nice for many fans to see Waters or Anderson in action (one cannot fault them or the Braves for giving these guys a nice full offseason, though).