Starting this week, twenty-three former Northwoods League players will be competing over the next two months in Arizona against the top players in Minor League Baseball. Last season thirty-four former NWL players participated and six of those players played in MLB during the 2019 season.
There are six teams in the Arizona Fall League: the Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Salt River Rafters, Glendale Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas and Surprise Saguaros. These club names were picked by Major League Baseball as reflective of the Southwestern desert traditions in the state.
The teams are broken into two divisions, East and West. Each Major League Baseball team sends six top prospects to the Arizona Fall League, 180 players in all. The games are played in the Spring Training stadiums used by the Mariners, Padres, Cubs, A's, D-backs and Rockies.
How good are the players in the Arizona Fall League? The 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland featured 43 AFL alums. Nearly 60 percent of all AFL players make a Major League roster, with an incredible 321 All-Stars, 19 MVPs, six Cy Young Award Winners, seven World Series MVPs, 99 Silver Sluggers, 88 Gold Gloves, and 30 Rookies of the Year.
Former Madison Mallards Sterling Sharp (2014-15), Vince Arobio (2015), and Simon Rosenblum-Larson (2016-17) will be included in the group of players.
Photo: Northwoods League