By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA- The Arizona Fall League is often referred to as a final proving ground for some of baseball’s top prospects before entering the big leagues.
Prospects from big league organizations are scattered among the league’s six teams with league play lasting six weeks that includes a hitting challenge, Fall Stars Game and a championships contest.
Two young Canadians are off to hot starts with the Peoria Javelinas in San Diego Padres prospect Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) and Toronto Blue Jays farmhand Andrew Case (Saint John, N.B.).
Naylor, 20, coming off a season split between High-A Lake Elsinore and double-A San Antonio in the Padres’ system belted home runs in his third and fourth AFL games and has hit safely in all but one of his nine games played thus far. The first baseman is tied for second in the league with 10 RBI that included a four-RBI effort on October 23. The former first-round pick (Miami, 2015) was recently featured among some of the top hitters in the loop participating in the Bowman Hitting Challenge over the weekend.
Case, 24, saw time with High-A Dunedin, double-A New Hampshire and triple-A Buffalo in the Blue Jays system in 2017 and put up a respectable 2.86 ERA and 12 saves over 66 innings pitched. The Blue Jays rewarded the undrafted free agent signee (2013) with a trip to the AFL where he’s yet to allow a run over five innings of work. Case got his feet wet in the AFL with a scoreless inning of work on October 10 before returning for a pair of two-inning relief appearances where he ‘s allowed just two hits and struck out two batters. Case has yet to walk a batter.
Toronto native and University of British Columbia product Conor Lillis-White was the third Canadian in the AFL this season and appeared in one game on the mound on October 10. The Los Angeles Angels prospect is no longer listed on the roster of the Scottsdale Scorpions.
The AFL runs its regular season thru November 16 with the championship contest slated for November 18.
For more info on the league, click here.