Fall Stars Game filled to brim with talent

Rosters for annual AFL event include 14 prospects from Top 100 rankings

Fall Stars Game filled to brim with talent

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Make way for the next generation.

Several of the best prospects in baseball will collide tonight in the ninth annual Fall Stars Game, the yearly All-Star Game for the Arizona Fall League. This year's active rosters feature 13 players on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list.

The game, which starts at 5 p.m. MST/8 p.m. ET, will be broadcast on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com.

No. 1 overall prospect Byron Buxton was among those selected for the event, but an injury to his left middle finger while diving for a ball Monday will end his AFL stint earlier than expected. The five-tool outfielder was slowed by a concussion and injuries to both of his wrists in 2014, a combination of ailments that limited him to 30 games in the regular season. 

Despite the loss of Buxton, two fellow members from MLBPipeline.com's Top 10 prospect rankings were among those selected, and there will be seven players from the Top 50.

The Fall Stars Game will be played at Salt River Fields this year, ending Surprise Stadium's eight-year run hosting the showcase. Eight of the Top 100 were named to the East roster for the game, including No. 9 overall prospect Archie Bradley. The East team will also have Pirates first baseman Josh Bell (No. 29), Cubs pitcher C.J. Edwards (No. 53), Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo (No. 60), A's shortstop Daniel Robertson (No. 85), Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey (No. 88) and A's first baseman Matt Olson (No. 98).

"That's what you want," said Bradley of the talent pool. "You always want to play the best and beat the best. That's what you're going to get in the big leagues, so I think this is a pretty good tuneup. It's a big test for a lot of guys to be able to face power arms and power bats."

The West team will be led by Cleveland's Francisco Lindor, rated by MLBPipeline.com as the No. 4 prospect in baseball. Lindor's star-studded collection of teammates will include Corey Seager (No. 13), Jesse Winker (No. 40), D.J. Peterson (No. 49) and Hunter Dozier (No. 86).

Lindor, the eighth overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, has been playing for the Peoria Javelinas this fall, and he said he's excited to face off against the rest of the league's best.

"It's definitely a big honor. I'm happy to be here and I'm excited to be in that game," said Lindor of the Fall Stars Game. "The competition is great. There's a great bunch of players out here, and we all like to compete. I just can't wait to go out there and play with the best out here and just have fun."

The Fall Stars Game has traditionally been packed with several players who have gone on to play in the Major Leagues shortly thereafter. The 2013 edition of the game featured 23 players who went on to make the Majors the next season, and between 2009-11, 70 future big leaguers played in the Fall Stars Game.

Bradley, picked one spot ahead of Lindor in the 2011 Draft, would love to be a part of that group.

"Being in that class of guys is pretty humbling," he said. "That game has been able to springboard a lot of guys' careers and helped them get to the big leagues, so it's obviously encouraging. Especially with what I've been going through: I've started to throw the ball better the last couple outings, so if I can just continue to build on that and go into Spring Training, this will do nothing but benefit me."

Lindor, just 20 years old, reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014, and he said the level of talent in the Arizona Fall League is similar to the field of players at the highest level of the Minors. They're just lacking consistency, he said, but each of them is hungry to progress to the higher levels.

"I didn't come here to waste my time. I came here to work and I came here to get better," said Lindor of getting to play in the Arizona Fall League. "It's very exciting. I'm one step closer to one of my dreams. And that's not only to play in the Major Leagues, but to be there for a long time."

Managers Andy Haines (Marlins) of the East Division-leading Salt River Rafters and Lance Parrish (Tigers) of the West Division-leading Glendale Desert Dogs and their respective coaching staffs earned the right to manage Saturday's Fall Stars Game by having their clubs in first place through the end of play last Saturday.


Christian Bergman, Rockies
Archie Bradley, D-backs
C.J. Edwards, Cubs
Trevor Gott, Angels
Brian Ellington, Marlins
Nefi Ogando, Phillies
Steven Okert, Giants
Roberto Osuna, Blue Jays
Tyson Perez, Astros
Jake Reed, Twins
Adrian Sampson, Pirates

Elias Diaz, Pirates
Peter O'Brien, D-backs

Josh Bell, Pirates
Brandon Drury, D-backs
Kaleb Cowart, Angels
Matt Olson, A's
Tony Renda, Nationals
Matt Reynolds, Mets
Daniel Robertson, A's

Byron Buxton, Twins (will not play due to injury)
Aaron Judge, Yankees
Brandon Nimmo, Mets
Dalton Pompey, Blue Jays
Roman Quinn, Phillies


Chris Bassitt, White Sox
Parker Bridwell, Orioles
Tayron Guerrero, Padres
Nick Howard, Reds
Cody Kendall, Rangers
Nick Maronde, Indians
Francellis Montas, White Sox
Robby Scott, Red Sox
Burch Smith, Padres
Samuel Tuivailala, Cardinals
Tyler Wagner, Brewers

Justin O'Conner, Rays
Mike Ohlman, Orioles

Daniel Castro, Braves
Hunter Dozier, Royals
Patrick Leonard, Rays
Francisco Lindor, Indians
D.J. Peterson, Mariners
Jace Peterson, Padres
Corey Seager, Dodgers

Rusney Castillo, Red Sox
Steven Moya, Tigers
Hunter Renfroe, Padres
Tyrone Taylor, Brewers
Jesse Winker, Reds

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.