Arizona Fall League Home Run Derby 2022
The Arizona Fall League is primarily known as a finishing school for the top prospects of MLB’s 30 organizations. To a lesser extent, it is known as a place where baseballs go to get knocked out.
The desert climate and top-down stacked lineups with elite hitters combine for a high-flying, high-scoring atmosphere. What better place to see prospects swing for the fences than the AFL Home Run Derby, which is scheduled for tonight at 9.35pm ET / 6.35pm MST at Mesa’s Sloan Park.
Eight players representing eight major league systems and each of the six AFL teams are set to take part in the three-round bash-fest.
And here is the inaugural field of Arizona Fall League Home Run Derby competitors.
Deyvison De Los Santos (ARI Prospect No. 6), salt river rafters: At 19, De Los Santos went through three levels (Single-A, High-A, Double-A) during the regular season, amassing 22 home runs in 126 games along the way. That long ball count was the highest of any miner’s teen. The corner infielder has brought his 65-degree power to the wasteland, but he’s yet to fully show against the Fall League’s advanced competition. Will he play in the derby? Without a doubt.
Edouard Julien (MIN No. 14), Glendale Desert Dogs: If Julien’s 2022 regular season in the minor leagues looks like a breakout campaign, what he’s done in the AFL so far proves he’s the real deal. The 23-year-old second baseman has played two multihomed games for Glendale and was the most recent AFL hitter of the week.
Heston Kjerstad (BAL no. 9), Scottsdale Scorpions: Kjerstad has been a source of intrigue since the Orioles selected him with the second overall pick of the 2020 draft, and curiosity was only built when his professional debut was delayed until the middle of this year due of a health problem involving a viral inflammation of his heart. . In the AFL, he was a beacon of power and vitality, entering week four of the fall campaign with five home runs – tied for the league lead – and leading the home run in several offensive categories, including slugging (.627), OPS (1,010) and total bases (47).
Matt Mervis (CHC No. 21), Mesa Solar Sox: “Mash” Mervis’ power barrage throughout the 2022 regular season was one of the most exciting stories for Chicago’s organization this year, and indeed any minor league. Mervis recently spoke to the MLB Pipeline Podcast to go from being a free agent to clubbing 36 home runs — tied for third among minors this year — on three levels. He also entered AFL Week 4 tied with Kjerstad for the fall jack lead, with five.
Andy Pages (MLB #66/LAD #5), Glendale Desert Dogs: Pages has been one of the Dodgers’ organization’s most dangerous power threats since signing in 2018, and this year he’s crushed 26 taters in 132 Double-A games. He bludgeoned his first two AFL homers in a four-hit performance on Oct. 11 at Salt River, putting the homer on notice.
Robert Perez Jr.SEA No. 21), Peoria Javelinas: After setting a career-high 27 home runs in 127 games between Single-A Modesto and High-A Everett during the Minor League season, Perez scored 14 points and ran three times in his first 16. AFL matches. On Friday, he reached three times in three outings at the plate as hit a long ball who left his bat at 111 mph and landed 434 feet. But that wasn’t even his most notable fireworks display of the fall. On Oct. 14, Statcast measured a Perez home run at 448 feet – 12 feet longer than the next longest AFL home run Statcast has measured this year.
Jhailyn Ortiz (PSI No. 17), Saguaro surprised: Listed at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Ortiz has hit 72 homers since making his full-season level debut in 2018 and hit eight in each of his two previous short-season stints. The outfielder is 55 and hit a group of three homers in five surprise games from Oct. 18-25.
Stephane Scott (not ranked among the BOS Top 30), Scottsdale Scorpions: Vanderbilt’s 2019 10th-round pick was limited to 96 games during the regular season, but in that span he hit 10 homers and 19 doubles. Scott’s productivity in the AFL suggests he is more than making up for his missed shots. He finished week three of the six-week season with four home runs and 31 total goals in 12 games.
The rules are as follows:
In Round 1, each player will have 2:30 to crush as many dingers as possible. All competitors advance to Round 2, taking their Round 1 Jack total with them for a 1:30 swat session. The two players with the most accumulated home runs over the first two rounds meet in the final, which also lasts 1h30. Each round, each competitor is given a timeout of 30 seconds. In case of a tie between more than two players after the first two rounds, an additional round of one minute will be played, without time out.
In all rounds, the clock begins to tick with the release of the first pitch. Home runs will count as long as the pitch they were hit on has been cleared before the timer reaches zero.