Major League Baseball is debuting a new aspect of the Arizona Fall League this season. The “Rising Stars Showcase” game is a new opportunity for fans and scouts to see baseball’s top prospects compete against each other. Baseball hopes that the “Rising Stars Showcase” will eventually develop a following among fans similar to the following that has developed for the “Futures Game,” which starts Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game festivities.
The inaugural “Rising Stars Showcase” will take place this Friday, October 27, at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. The game will feature two squads with 25-man rosters, an East squad and a West squad. The East squad includes the Phoenix Desert Dogs, which is the AFL team that all of the A’s prospects play for.
The East squad will be managed by the Desert Dogs’ coaching staff, which is led by Sacramento River Cats’ manager Tony DeFrancesco. DeFrancesco earned the honor of being the manager of the East squad by leading his squad to a first place showing through last Sunday, October 21.
DeFrancesco will have four A’s prospects under his purview. Relievers Marcus McBeth and Mike Mitchell will be joined by catcher Landon Powell and outfielder Travis Buck. McBeth has appeared in five AFL games, and has had four scoreless appearances and one poor outing that inflated his ERA to 5.40. He has struck out seven and walked only one in five innings of work. Mitchell has a 1.93 ERA in five outings, and he has struck out five in 4.2 innings of work. Powell upped his AFL average to .261 with a 3-5 performance on Tuesday. Buck hit his second AFL double on Tuesday and is hitting .250.
Most of the prospects participating in the “Rising Stars Showcase” were chosen through ballots filled out by minor league scouting directors and professional scouts.
“We’re putting as many top prospects as possible on one field at one time,” Fall League Executive Director Steve Cobb said in a prepared statement.
“We’ve had so many first-round picks and minor league all-stars play in the Fall League, we thought this is a natural way to showcase the tremendous talent rising in baseball. For scouts and fans alike, it’s a dream to see top pitchers face top hitters.”
Before the game begins, former A’s bench coach and current Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona will be inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.