The Astros have announced this year’s participants in the Arizona Fall League. Houston will be sending a total of eight players (4 pitchers & 4 position players) to compete for the Peoria Javelinas. The Peoria squad will be comprised of players from the Astros, Padres, Mariners, Royals, and Phillies organizations.
Pitchers Jonas Dufek, Matt Heidenreich, Andrew Robinson, and Alex Sogard will get a chance to showcase their skills in the desert come October.
The four hurlers will be teamed up with infielders Japhet Amador, Nolan Fontana, Jonathan Meyer and outfielder Delino DeShields Jr.
That’s right. Outfielder Delino DeShields. Much like Jimmy Paredes, the Astros are having trouble deciding which position the 21-year old speedster should play. Jeff Luhnow believes that DeShields will benefit from his versatility and it looks like he will be back in the outfield when AFL play begins.
Here’s a quick look at the rest of the Astros’ AFL contingent.
Jonas Dufek - Drafted by Houston in the ninth round in 2011 as a Senior out of Creighton University, the big right-hander has never been considered a top prospect. Dufek was promoted to AA Corpus Christi earlier in the year and has been quite successful there. But, at 25 years of age, he is a little long in the tooth for that level.
Matt Heidenreich – The 22-year old righty has had a tough season at AA. Injuries have slowed his progress and the Astros want to get another look at him before deciding whether or not to expose him to the Rule 5 Draft.
Andrew Robinson - Another 25-year old righty who is currently pitching out of the Corpus Christi bullpen, the Astros will also need to make a decision on whether or not to add Robinson to the 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 deadline.
Alex Sogard - Sogard, a 26-year old lefty, started the year at AAA Oklahoma City. After allowing 30 hits and 19 walks in only 23 innings, he was demoted to Corpus. Things haven’t gone much better for him on the coast.
Japhet Amador - The 6′ 4″, 315 pound first-baseman was recently plucked out of the Mexican Leagues by Jeff Luhnow and company. The 26-year old posted video game-like numbers south of the border this season and has been playing at AAA Oklahoma City for about a week now.
Nolan Fontana - Mr. OBP is approaching 100 walks at High-A Lancaster this season. It will be interesting to see how the 22-year old shortstop performs against a higher level of competition.
Jonathan Meyer - The Hooks third-baseman will be on Peoria’s Taxi Squad, meaning he will only be available for Wednesday and Saturday games. Meyer, 22, will also be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if the Astros decide not to add him to their 40-man roster.