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Arizona Fall League Update: Week 5

Tyler Hardman’s huge week highlights the Baby Bombers in the desert.

Mesa Solar Sox v. Glendale Desert Dogs Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images

With the Arizona Fall League approaching its 2022 conclusion, it’s time for a penultimate weekly check in on the Yankees prospects playing in the desert. This week, the lead news is third base prospect Tyler Hardman.

Hardman had himself a monster week, and it started on Tuesday. He notched three hits, including a solo home run, and scored three runs. The dinger was his third of the fall season to that point.

That was merely the appetizer for Hardman, however. Friday, he went yard two more times, bringing his home run total to five. By the time the week came to a close, Hardman had put himself atop the Mesa team leaderboard in runs scored, hits, extra base hits, slugging percentage, and on-base-plus-slugging percentage. A heck of a week for Hardman, who finished the 2022 regular season at Double-A Somerset.

Fellow infielder T.J. Rumfield had a bit of a rough week at the plate, but even with that, he Arizona Fall League season has been a smashing success. Through five weeks, he still features an OPS above 1.000, with nine walks to his 10 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the most heralded Yankee prospect in the desert is the one who has struggled the most at the dish. Jasson Domínguez has had a fall to forget, which is a bit of a surprise considering how strongly he finished the season after his promotion to Somerset. In 62 at-bats, Domínguez has mustered only nine hits, three doubles being his only extra-base knocks. Meanwhile, he was struck out 16 times, compared to his eight walks.

On the mound, Leam Mendez gave up his first run in a while this week. Nonetheless, with four earned runs allowed in 12.1 innings, he is getting the job done. Mendez has relied on putting the ball in play and trusting his defense behind him, with only four strikeouts during the fall campaign.

Yorlin Calderon had his best week of the season for Mesa. On Thursday, he relieved Mendez in the seventh inning, after the latter blew a lead in the sixth. Calderon proceeded to throw three shutout innings, highlighted by five strikeouts. That’s now 15 Ks in 11.1 IP for Calderon, who has hopefully hit his stride at the right time.

Nelson L. Alvarez, who has struggled this fall, had another rough outing this week, although Mesa’s defense didn’t do him any favors. In an inning of work on Friday, Alvarez surrendered three runs, though only one was earned thanks to errors behind him in the field.

Yesterday, the AFL held its “Fall Star Game,” and all three Yankee position players got into the game. Hardman had a quiet day, going 0-for-3, but Rumfield managed to get a knock in one of his three at-bats. Domínguez meanwhile, had the best day at the plate of the three. Batting right-handed, he rapped an RBI double in the top of the second inning, giving the American League a short-lived 2-1 lead. The National League went on to win 9-3, but it was nice to see The Martian have himself a nice game.

The Arizona Fall League is headed into its final week, so the Yankee prospects playing in the desert are about to get their final reps. Hopefully they can make the most of them.