Baseball may be over in Philadelphia for another year now that the Phillies have been booted from the playoffs, but there are still games going on in Arizona — no, not the World Series, as if we needed the reminder of that.
The Arizona Fall League (AFL) is in full swing down in the desert, and a handful of Philadelphia Phillies prospects are plying their trade in the final hurrah of the minor league season. Organizations like to use the month-long league as a finishing school for top prospect talent and to get extra work for some players who need to build up playing time.
Nine players and two coaches from the Phillies organization make up part of the Scottsdale Scorpions roster, along with players from the Washington Nationals, the St. Louis Cardinals, the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Angels. The Phillies contingent has helped the Scorpions climb to the top of the six-team league with a 12-8 record.
With a couple of weeks remaining until the AFL wraps up with the championship game, let's check in on a few top-performing Phillies prospects.
Matt Kroon, 3B
Matt Kroon was named one of the AFL's top performers on Wednesday after going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a walk. He drove in two and scored four in the Scorpions' 13-4 romp over the Javelinas.
In 15 games (49 at-bats), the 26-year-old is slashing .286/.390/.388. His .778 OPS won't knock your socks off, but it's the fourth-best mark on the Scorpions. He doesn't have loads of power in his bat, but he knows how to hit — he has one home run and two doubles — and has driven in 12 and scored 10 times.
Surprisingly, he has only five stolen bases so far. You would have expected that number to be a bit higher after he swiped 26 this season.
Across three levels, with most of his action coming with the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils, Kroon slashed .326/.399/.526 with 11 home runs, 58 RBI and 26 stolen bases in 97 games.
The most encouraging thing about his regular season was his final stop in Triple-A with the IronPigs. Kroon had no problems adjusting to the new level with a .381 batting average and a 1.165 OPS in 15 games in Lehigh Valley. He was exceptionally productive, with seven doubles, two triples and three homers to drive in 13 and score 12.