Colorado Rockies Outlook: Looking at the November Scoreboard?
Minor leagues are often more about player development than winning and losing, but the scorecards are always displayed, the rankings are always calculated and people take it really seriously in hopes of climbing the ranks.
The Arizona Fall League is no exception. We have another kind of baseball leaderboard to look at in November; trade in your standard minor league ranking for a six-team, two-division table.
Colorado has had some exciting minor league action this season with Low-A Fresno and High-A Spokane qualifying for their respective league championships. Morale is better in winning teams; that’s good for most of the people involved, and especially in the revolving doors of minor league rosters where new players can help make an instant impact.
Here’s where the Arizona Fall League stands through Week 4, with 12 days remaining in the regular season:
2021 Arizona Fall League – Eastern Division Standings
2021 Arizona Fall League – West Division Standings
The Arizona Fall League gives out championship rings to the league winner every year, so we have something on the line. The fate is not too strong for the Salt River Rafters, however. They are 2-8 in their last 10 games, their points differential (-11) is one of two negative numbers in the six-team league, and their seven wins are currently the fewest in the league. AFL.
Most of the Fall League schedule this year has been dominated by the Surprise Saguaros, although “rival” Glendale Desert Dogs has gained ground over the past week. Meanwhile, the Mesa Solar Sox are the only team in the Eastern Division with a winning record and are a clear favorite for the division’s place in the championship game on November 20. The respective winner of each division will play in a one-game championship on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
Salt River has the lowest batting average, base percentage and hitting percentage in the Arizona Fall League, but a better 4.90 ERA. (not a typo – see below) helped them stay afloat in the AFL rankings.
(The collective ERA in the big leagues this year was 4.26; the Fall League has been extremely hitter-friendly in 2021.)
The Rocky Mountain Minor League’s performance in AFL Week 4 was a direct reflection of those numbers: Colorado pitchers posted a combined ERA of 1.93 last week, while hitters posted an average of .240.
AFL Week 4: Rockies Pitching
- Jake Bird: 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 3 K
- Matt Dennis: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K
- Reagan Todd: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Combined: 9 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 11 K
AFL Week 4: Striking Rockies
- Michael Toglia: 5 for 19, .263 / .300 / .368
- Ezequiel Tovar: 2 for 14, .143 / .294 / .357
- Ryan Vilade: 2 for 16, .125 / .222 / .125
- Willie MacIver: 3-for-8, .375 / .444 / .375 (* taxi squad player)
Our Pebble Report recap for this week is similar to what we got last week: pitchers still dominate, while hitters are doing a little less favorably.
This trend seems to go completely against the AFL standard this year, which is interesting as so many rosters display so many leads. An average of 12.6 points is scored in every game, but the Rockies pitchers haven’t been as responsible as that number might suggest.
Rockies Pitchers – Arizona Fall League 2021
For now, the Rafters can at least hang their hat on a pitch that keeps them going in some ball games. Salt River has 10 more games to go to cover four field games in the standings, while the Rockies arms will look to anchor the staff as they have done all year.
Arizona Fall League – Important Dates
- Fall All-Star Game: Saturday, November 13, 5:00 p.m. MST at Salt River Fields
- AFL Championship Game: Saturday, November 20, 5:00 p.m. MST at Salt River Fields
* Both games will be televised on the MLB network