Fall League honors 23 on Top Prospects Team

Circuit managers and coaches tab best players from 2017 season

Seattle's Eric Filia captured the AFL batting title and Top Prospect Team designated hitter honors. (Jennifer Stewart/MLB Photos)

By Tyler Maun / MiLB.com | December 11, 2017 11:18 PM

The Arizona Fall League season wrapped up nearly a month ago, but accolades are still rolling in for the circuit's best.

The showcase league's top players were honored Monday with the announcement of the official 2017 Top Prospects Team, voted on by AFL managers and coaches. The group is comprised of 23 players representing 16 Major League organizations.

Catchers
Will Smith (Glendale/Dodgers No. 8 prospect): Smith batted .371/.452/.565 in 18 games (and joined the Minor League Baseball podcast from the AFL to talk about his experience).

Alex Jackson (Peoria/Braves No. 15 prospect): Jackson belted five homers and put up an .826 OPS to finish his first year in the Atlanta system.

First basemen
Billy McKinney (Scottsdale/Yankees No. 22 prospect): An outfielder throughout his career, McKinney added first base to his repertoire in the fall and drove in 20 runs over 19 games, second-best in the AFL.

Josh Naylor (Peoria, Padres No. 10 prospect): In his first full year with San Diego, Naylor ascended to Double-A and continued his production with a .304/.337/.494 line for the Javelinas.

Second basemen
David Bote (Mesa/Cubs): Though Bote cooled as the season wore on, the 24-year-old belted four homers and drove home 14 in 19 games.

Steve Wilkerson (Salt River/Orioles): Wilkerson led the circuit with five triples, registered the fourth-best on-base percentage at .396 and finished fifth in the league with a .317 average.

Third basemen
Austin Riley (Peoria/Braves No. 9 prospect): Riley's six home runs were second-most among Fall Leaguers and his 12 extra-base hits tied for the circuit lead.

Sheldon Neuse (Mesa/A's No. 14 prospect): Neuse doubled seven times and matched Riley's league-high 12 extra-base knocks while finishing with a .570 slugging percentage, third-highest in the AFL.

Shortstops
Nicky Lopez (Surprise/Royals No. 11 prospect): Lopez put together a breakout autumn with a .383/.433/.568 slash line and dazzled in the field.

Thairo Estrada (Scottsdale/Yankees No. 16 prospect): Estrada did heavy damage against right-handed pitching even as a right-handed bat, hitting .391/.426/.500 against his same side.

Outfielders
Ronald Acuna (Peoria/Braves No. 1 prospect): This one was a no-brainer. The AFL's 2017 MVP did it all for the Javelinas, batting .325/.414/.639. He led the league in several categories including seven homers in 23 games.

Victor Robles (Mesa/Nationals No. 1 prospect): After a delayed start due to his spot on Washington's playoff roster, Robles made his time count, winning Fall Stars Game MVP honors.

Braxton Lee (Salt River/Marlins): Lee finished fourth in the loop with eight stolen bases and batted .347 in 20 games played.

Estevan Florial (Scottsdale/Yankees No. 3 prospect): After going hitless for four straight contests, Florial capped his stay with five hits in his final two games to finish at .286/.383/.414.

Yanio Perez (Surprise/Rangers No. 11 prospect): Perez finished seventh among qualified hitters with a .301 average.

Steven Duggar (Scottsdale/Giants No. 7 prospect): Duggar heated up on his way to the Fall League finish line, batting .325 with three homers in his last 10 games.

Designated hitters
Eric Filia (Peoria/Mariners No. 21 prospect): The 2017 batting champion led the AFL in average (.408), hits (31) and on-base percentage (.483) and finished second in slugging (.605).

Francisco Mejia (Glendale/Indians No. 1 prospect): While learning third base, the natural catcher's bat didn't quiet down. Mejia raked at a .365/.397/.476 rate in 15 games.

Starting pitchers
Justus Sheffield (Scottsdale/Yankees No. 4 prospect): Coming off a season in which he was dogged by injuries, Sheffield fanned 22 over 20 1/3 fall innings,

Max Fried (Peoria/Braves No. 8 prospect): The lefty allowed just one earned run over his first four starts and finished with 32 K's and just eight walks in 26 innings.

Mitch Keller (Glendale/Pirates No. 2 prospect): Keller also cruised early with a 4-0 record and a 1.52 ERA, the fifth-best mark among qualifying pitchers, in six starts.

Relief pitchers
Andres Munoz (Peoria/Padres): Munoz pitched in nine games and allowed just one run on four hits over his 8 2/3 innings, fanning 11 against only two walks.

J.D. Hammer (Glendale/Phillies No. 30 prospect): Hammer impressed in his debut with Philadelphia after being acquired at the Trade Deadline and continued that momentum by tying for the best ERA on the circuit at 0.66 in 13 2/3 innings.

Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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