Phillies prospect Sixto Sanchez, 7 others headed to Arizona Fall League

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 19: General view during the national anthem before the game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies during the MLB Little League Classica BB&T Ballpark on August 19, 2018 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 19: General view during the national anthem before the game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies during the MLB Little League Classica BB&T Ballpark on August 19, 2018 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /
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Phillies top prospect Sixto Sanchez headlines a group of eight prospects that will play in the Arizona Fall League this year.

The Phillies and every other team in MLB announced which prospects will head to the Arizona Fall League this year Wednesday afternoon. Their top prospect, Sixto Sanchez headlines a group of eight prospects who will represent the club on the Scottsdale Scorpions.

The eight players headed to Arizona are Sanchez, pitchers Luke Leftwich, Seth McGarry, and Tyler Viza, shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa, first baseman Darick Hall, third baseman Luke Williams, and outfielder Austin Listi.

The Arizona Fall League is often used to give players who missed time during the season some extra playing time against high-level competition. It is also a place to evaluate if certain prospects are ready to make the jump to the upper levels of the minors.

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Sanchez missed significant time during the season. He was held out of the first few weeks of the season as a precaution before joining High-A Clearwater. Sanchez made just eight starts before being shut down due to elbow soreness. He is currently working his way back from the injury, throwing live batting practice rehabbing in Florida.

When Sanchez was on the mound, he looked great.

He had a 2.51 ERA, 2.67 fielding-independent pitching, 4.09 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and 1.07 WHIP. Pitching in the AFL will give the organization the opportunity to see if he is ready to make the jump to Double-A Reading next year, which he should be.

Gamboa is the other top 30 prospect from the team headed to the AFL per MLB.com’s rankings. In 111 games at High-A Clearwater this year, he has a .217/.308/.283 line with two home runs, 49 runs scored, and 36 runs batted in. His performance has tailed off in the second half with a .165 average and .466 OPS. Like with Sanchez, the team is hoping he shows enough in the AFL to warrant a promotion despite his poor numbers in Clearwater.

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Hall started off the year in Clearwater, hitting 11 home runs and posting a .904 OPS in Clearwater, a notably pitching-friendly league. He was promoted to Reading and surprisingly saw his numbers dip. In 76 games in Reading, he hit 14 home runs, drove in 50 runs, and had a .225/.298/.418 line. If he can perform well in Arizona, he may wind up in Lehigh Valley next year.

Williams is having an okay season in Clearwater with nine home runs and a .253/.326/.367 line in 106 games. He has a 101 wRC+, which means he right around league-average offensively. He was a third-round pick in 2015 after Cornelius Randolph and Scott Kingery, so the team certainly is invested in his future.

Listi split this season between Clearwater and Reading and did well for both teams. He had a .344/.453/.560 line in 58 games with Clearwater before his promotion. After, he has posted a .293/.376/.468 line in 61 games for Reading. Altogether, he has 18 home runs, 84 runs batted in, and 62 runs scored. He could wind up being a standout in the AFL despite not being a top prospect coming in.

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Leftwich and McGarry both pitched out of Reading’s bullpen this season, posting 3.75 and 4.31 ERAs, respectively. Viza bounced between the bullpen and rotation, making 10 starts and eight relief appearances in Reading with a 2.94 ERA. He was promoted to Lehigh Valley and has made five appearances, but had a 5.40 ERA and 15.4% walk rate.