The Arizona Fall League regular season has come to an end, and the Blue Jays contingent of prospects showed they belonged with the upper-echelon talent that usually fills out AFL rosters. Seven Blue Jays prospects suited up for Salt River, and they helped the Rafters surge down the stretch with a seven-game winning streak. Despite that run, the Rafters missed out on the opportunity to play for the AFL Championship by a half-game. Here's a final look at how the Blue Jays prospects - including five former Fisher Cats - fared in the six-week circuit.
INF Andy Burns - .312 average, 5 doubles, 13 RBI, 16 runs scored, 6 steals
Burns was one of the hottest hitters in the league down the stretch, hitting in 12 of the final 14 games he played. He earned one of the league's Player of the Week honors and is one of six players nominated for the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award. In addition to his normal spot at the hot corner, the third baseman played first base and left field.
OF Kenny Wilson - .258, 16 RS, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 12 stolen bases
Wilson missed a good chunk of 2013 with the Fisher Cats due to a leg injury, so the Fall League was an opportunity for him to make up for some missed at-bats. He did just that, ranking third in the league in AB's and fourth in total games played. He had a power surge near the end of the AFL season, but his legs were working the entire time as he led the circuit with 12 stolen bases in just 23 games.
C Derrick Chung - .390, 2 2B, 2 RBI
A player who could make his way to New Hampshire in 2014, Chung was the team's best-hitting catcher, hitting better than 200 points higher than his co-starter, Dustin Garneau (Colorado Rockies). Chung hit .287 while playing in 71 games for Dunedin in 2013, so he could be one of the Fisher Cats' men behind the plate in 2014.
RHP Marcus Stroman - 1-2, 3.09 ERA, 11.2 innings pitched, 8 hits allowed, 4 earned runs, 13 K's, 3 BB
Like Chung, the Fisher Cats starter was making up for lost innings from April and early May in the 2013 regular season. Pitching only in relief in Arizona, he was strongest over the second half of the season. After giving up three runs in his fifth of what would be nine total outings, he did not give up anything over the final four games and 6 innings. He had one of the more impressive relief outings of anyone in the league on Nov. 7 when he struck out five over two perfect innings, needing just 25 pitches to complete his work that night.
RHP Drew Hutchison - 2-1, 3.32 ERA, 6 GS, 21.2 IP, 18 H, 8 ER, 20 K, 6 BB
Recovering from Tommy John Surgery, the Blue Jays sent Hutchison to Arizona for the first time in his brief pro career. The extra work was worth it as he was one of the stingiest pitchers when it came to allowing runners on base. He average about one strikeout per inning while giving up less than a hit per frame. He was named Pitcher of the Week during the same time period Burns was named Player of the Week earlier this month. He will be in Spring Training with the Blue Jays looking to grab a spot in what could be a wide-open competition among Blue Jays starters.
John Stilson - 0-0, 23.14 ERA, 3 G, 2.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 K, 2 BB
Coming off a season that started on the DL and ended in Triple-A, Stilson's stint in the AFL was the shortest, lasting a mere three games. He wasn't able to work out some early bugs in the system which led to his eye-popping ERA. He could be back in Triple-A next April - he went 6-2 with 4 saves and a strikeout per innings with Buffalo in 2013 - but with his repertoire he could fight for a bullpen spot with the big club.
Aaron Sanchez - 2-1, 1.16 ERA, 6 GS, 23.1 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 21 K, 11 BB, .151 average against
Perhaps no pitcher had a better time in the AFL than Sanchez, a future Fisher Cat as early as next spring. The big righty, one of the top 30 prospects in Minor League Baseball, was every bit as good as advertised for Salt River. He was fifth in earned run average and only two pitchers proved tougher to hit as he limited the opposition to a .151 batting average. Over 23.1 innings, he had nearly a strikeout per frame but gave up just 11 - 11! - total hits. He earned the win on the season's final day, allowing the only earned run he surrendered in his last four starts. He is definitely a name to watch for in 2014 in New Hampshire.
You can check out all the statistics for the Blue Jays minor leagues and the rest of the Arizona Fall League here. Next week we'll continue to bring you updates from international fall and winter leagues.