Autumn in Arizona, Redux
AFL guest piece by moethedog


moethedog accidentally put his AFL article under the "ALL" domain, as Dr. D also accidentally does, about twice a week.  We moved it to the baseball subdomain here, so the "byline" unfortunately appears as jemanji. Keith wrote it.


Farmhand Eric Filia is still leading the Arizona Fall League in hitting.  His .410-.500-.641 line means he is leading in OBP and OPS, as well.

So I got to thinking:  What does it mean to win the batting title in the AFL?  Well, as it turns out, it is decently meaningful.

The AFL batting champion in '16 was Gleyber Torres.  He's now ranked as the #3 prospect, in all of baseball, by Baseball America.  He just hit .309 in AAA and will be up by June of '18.  Oh, Cody Bellinger hit .314-.424-.557 in the AFL in '16.

In '15, the champion was Adam Engel.  He made it to the bigs with the White Sox this season, hitting .166 in an extended trial. Oh, Gary Sanchez hit .295-.357-.625 that fall.

In '14, it was Jesse Winkler.  Winkler made it to the Reds roster this season, hitting .298-.375-.539 in 137 PA's.  That '14 fall, Mallex Smith hit .305-.339-.408

In '13, it was CJ Cron who was the AFL batting champion.  He was up in '14.  CJ has a carrer line of .262-.307-.449.   BTW, Kris Bryant hit .364-.457-.727 that fall.

In '12, the champion batter was Nate Roberts. Roberts had been a .310-.440 guy prior to that, down in the low minors.  He played in just one game in '13 (injury, I suppose) and was out of the game by '15.

In '11, Jedd Gyorko was the AFL batting title holder.  He has a career .245-.305-.479 line and was up full-time by by '13. That fall Bryce Harper hit .333-.400-.634.

And in '11 the champion was Dustin Ackley.  He was up full-time by '12.  Brandon Belt (perhaps a Filia template) hit .372-.427-.616 that autumn.

Of the past 7 batting AFL batting champions, all but 1 were up to the bigs within 2 seasons.  That  one player, Nate Roberts, evidently suffered a career ending injury. 

Prior to '10, you had guys like Eric Young Jr. and Yunel Escobar who won the batting title.

None of this guarantees that Filia can hit MLB throwers (and I will admit that at age 25 he is older than the other guys) but it does indicate that winning the title in the desert likely shows MLB ability with the bat. 

Reminder: There is quite a bit of AFL season to be played.  Filia could slump.

All the same:  Eric Filia:  Don't forget the name.




It seems like out of every 10 pieces on the AFL nationally, either 8 or 9 of them will tell us some version of "it doesn't mean anything."  LOL.  But like you say, you go back and check the historical leaderboards and you reco'nize a lotta names.

Course the AFL consists of young players whose names are likely to be remembered anyway...

My first reaction here is that Filia obviously doesn't sweat the Golden Boy competition he sees a lot of.  In the NCAA he was an on-base machine, with an 80:50 EYE for UCLA, and this last year he was even more impressive with a 65:45 EYE in high A.

A bit older, as you note, but that's 'cause he's a college player.  What's he supposed to do but rip up college, go to high A, and tear that up too.  

Thanks for the catch amigo :- )


Thanks for the catch amigo....and getting this posted in the right place.

And I know that there is some concern about Filia's lack of power, 9 HR's in two A-ball seasons:    But I would point out, that another guy with an incredible eye didn't hit a lot of HR's 4 seasons of AA/AAA ball.  He didn't get his MLB shot until he was 27.  He then hit 14 HR's in his first 840 PA's. From there it was 18 then 20+.  Edgar, of course.

Eric Filia is some sort of a different kind of Triple Threat:  Hit it hard, walk or hit it hard.

He's fun to follow. 


I don't know much about him.

Edgar, of course, came up younger than Filia and then was blocked in AAA by the worst starting third baseman of the eighties (yes, really) because Mariners.


He's a bat-first outfielder, mostly RF. Not known for his glove. I've heard some suggest a move to 1B.


He's played mostly RF and a smattering of 1B.  He was listed as a 3B on the Peoria AFL roster, but I don't believe he's actually spent time there.

He's a guy I would like to see fast-tracked through AA and to Tacoma very quickly next year. 

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