The Arizona Fall League started on October 11th and games wrapped up on Thursday. Altogether, the Yankees sent nine players to participate in the AFL. I checked in on how the Yankees hitters and pitchers were doing in early November, but here’s a final update on how the Yankees players fared in the AFL, and some of the main takeaways.
Gleyber Torres is good
First things first, Gleyber Torres was absolutely dominant over the past five weeks. He ended the AFL with 25 hits through 62 at-bats, including four doubles, a triple, and three home runs. Torres drew 14 walks, only struck out 8 times, and finished the AFL season batting .403/.513/.645. His .403 batting average ended up being the best in the league, and Torres was even named to the AFL All-Star Game. Torres was also named the AFL MVP, and took home the batting title. It may be best to temper our expectations, but it is difficult not to be excited about Torres.
James Kaprielian and Greg Bird are healthy
Greg Bird missed the entire 2016 season while rehabbing his shoulder after undergoing surgery last February to repair a labrum tear. Injuries always suck, but this one forced Bird to miss out on the opportunity to spend the season backing up Mark Teixeira at first base. With the way Tex struggled, it's possible that Bird could have taken over the role altogether. Instead, Bird now has to prove himself and he'll be forced to compete with Tyler Austin for the starting job during spring training. There is no point in worrying about Bird's AFL stats, especially since these were his first games since the injury and he had to shake off the rust. The Yankees put together an AFL video of Bird that you can find here.
James Kaprielian is another Yankee who missed the majority of the season with an injury. He was shut down early in the season with an elbow injury and didn't pitch again until the AFL started. His AFL numbers are nowhere near as impressive as his early 2016 stats, but again, the main takeaway is that his arm appears to be healthy. He was sent to the AFL to get some innings in, and that goal was accomplished.
Dillon Tate is a mystery
After not pitching well in the minors this season, the Rangers traded Tate to the Yankees in the Carlos Beltran deal. He earned an invitation to the AFL and his velocity appeared to be up during his first outing. Tate pitched well enough to get a spot on the All-Star Game roster with Torres, then was mysteriously removed from the Scorpions' roster altogether without ever pitching in that game. At the time we were worried that he had suffered an injury of some kind, but it appears that he was simply on an innings limit. The Yankees' AFL video on Tate can be found here.
While it is interesting to see how the Yankees players did during the AFL, it is also important to take these stats with a grain of salt. How these players performed over the course of five weeks doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot (especially for the guys who didn't do particularly well), but here's hoping that Torres stays that good forever.