Arizona Fall League opens Tuesday


The Astros are done for the year (thank goodness) but some future Astros are getting ready to lace ’em up in the Arizona Fall League. The Salt River Rafters open their season Tuesday in Peoria against the Javelinas. The Rafters are comprised of players from the Astros, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Rockies, and Tigers organizations.

The Astros will send seven players to play in Arizona, eight if Jason Castro is deemed ready to play. Pitchers Chris Hicks, Dallas Keuchel, Jason Stoffel, and Josh Zeid will represent the Astros for Salt River. In addition, Kody Hinze (1B) as well as outfielders Jay Austin and Jacob Goebbert will get the chance to show their skills in Arizona. Hinze and Keuchel are the closest to  being Major League ready. Maybe we will see them next September. Stoffel and Zeid are recent acquisitions the Astros would like to get a longer look at.

Jason Castro is the player to keep an eye on. He is not yet on the Rafters official roster but says he plans on playing. Recovering from knee surgery, Castro has continued to progress in his rehab while playing in the Florida instructional league. Brad Mills and the Astros are taking a cautious approach with the catcher who plays a big role in Houston’s plans for 2012. The Rafters only have one catcher on the roster, so I expect to see Castro added soon. The AFL runs through November 17 and the championship game will be played November 19 in Scottsdale. Stay tuned for updates on Castro and the other Astros prospects.