Over the years, the Arizona Fall League has become a pretty integral part of the baseball landscape.
It gives fans, front-office personnel, scouts and media something to pay attention to when the World Series ends.
And it gives select minor leaguers – some prospects and some players hoping to gain the label of prospect – another venue in which to showcase their talents.
The Orioles have seven minor leaguers suiting up for the Peoria Javelinas this year, including 2015 first-round-pick DJ Stewart and two of their most intriguing relief prospects in Tanner Scott and Jimmy Yacabonis. Another hard-throwing reliever, Jesus Liranzo, was there, but he was removed with an injury and replaced by Parker Bridwell, who made his major-league debut in 2016.
In this week’s Minor League Podcast, Adam Pohl chats with Yacabonis, a 24-year-old right-hander whom the Orioles selected with their 13th round pick in 2013 out of St. Joseph’s University.
Yacabonis had an outstanding season at Double-A in 2016, posting a 2.03 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings after his promotion to Bowie.
Pohl, the Baysox play-by-play announcer, talks with Yacabonis about what really clicked for him this past season and what it’s like to pitch for Peoria and play with heralded prospects from a variety major league teams.
Yacabonis, who likely will be added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster this winter, has allowed seven walks, 12 hits and 10 earned runs (9.00 ERA) while striking out 11 batters in 10 innings for Peoria. Although he’s struggled some, he said it’s been a tremendous experience to pitch against so many quality hitters (no, he hasn’t faced Tim Tebow, though he’s watched the former Heisman Trophy winner play).
In the second part of the podcast, Pohl speaks with BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Dean Jones Jr., about all of the Orioles’ farmhands in the AFL.
Two in particular, catcher Austin Wynns and reliever Stefan Crichton, have had strong showings. And Stewart continues to hold his own as he attempts to live up to expectations.
Technically, baseball is over for the year. There are some games, however, that are still being played – and are being watched carefully. Give this a listen to learn more about the Orioles, Yacabonis and the prestigious Arizona Fall League.