It’s likely that you have already filled your fall with numerous novelty autumnal activities, since you won’t have to be near a TV to watch the Phillies in the playoffs. But there will still be Phillies playing baseball come October, they’ll just be in the desert somewhere, and most of them probably will not have been actual Phillies yet.
2016 Scottsdale Scorpions: Angels, Giants, Mets, Phillies, Yankees. pic.twitter.com/4FAoMh7Xw9— Arizona Fall League (@MLBazFallLeague) July 30, 2016
Yes, we’re already talking about the Arizona Fall League. Last season, the Phillies were the Glendale Desert Dogs, and they finished 13-15, second place in a three-team division. J.P. Crawford, Andrew Knapp, Edubray Ramos, Dylan Cozens, Nick Pivetta, Yacksel Rios, and Tom Windle to the AFL last season, and look at them now: Crawford’s nearing the tipping point, Knapp hasn’t quit capitalized on his stellar 2015 season, Cozens has join with Rhys Hoskins to bring wanton destruction to the Eastern League, Ramos is in the big league bullpen, and Rios and Windles are undoubtedly finding happiness doing something (They’re both in Reading, with ERAs over 4.50 and probably watching in horror as Cozens and Hoskins refuse to be stopped).
So, let’s review which franchises’ prospects the Phillies younglings will be playing with.
- Angels: This is undoubtedly a connection the Phillies stressed in order to have the chance to get cozy with Anaheim and allow access to Mike Trout.
- Giants, Yankees, Mets: Ew, gross, and double-gross.
Now, let’s rank the AFL team names according to coolness.
- Scorpions: The most vicious, toxin-filled insects you could ever find in the bottom of your boot just a few seconds too late.
- Desert Dogs: Aren’t these just coyotes? Or dingos?
- Javelinas: They sidestepped ‘snarling pigs’ to go with this name. Pathetic.
- Rafters: Tourists.
- Saguaros: Cacti.
- Solar Sox: [At the invention of the AFL]
AFL LEAGUE REP: “Well, it’s a baseball league, we have to have one team with ‘Sox’ in their name. What’s a local thing we have that we could use as a descriptor for ‘Sox?’”
OTHER AFL LEAGUE REP: [Accidentally touches part of conference room table that the sun is hitting] “Ow, god damn it! I hate this place!”
AFL LEAGUE REP: [Snaps fingers] “Bingo.”
We won’t find out until a few months down the road who is headed to Arizona this year, but with a new cast of prospects all over the farm system, it will be baseball worth watching, or at least staying aware of, into the fall. And in Philadelphia right now, that’s about as close to the post season as you’re going to get. For now.