2022 Drop League statistical standouts

6: 08 AM UTC

There real simply isn’t something devour the Arizona Drop League.

Where else are you able to gape rosters stocked to the brim with high potentialities, giving them the dwelling to test their expertise against high skill? It’s normally repeated that you just shouldn’t place too much stock into AFL statistics, and whereas that’s real given the tiny samples and tired our bodies, the cream tends to rise to the tip.

With the AFL’s 30th season within the books, we dove into the record books to position this year’s performances in historical context.

Reifert strikes out the sector
It is far liable to be advanced to expose a reliever as the most dominant pitcher in AFL history, however Evan Reifert (Rays) can manufacture as upright of a case as someone. Across eight appearances for Mesa, the 23-year-feeble confronted 40 batters and struck out an otherworldly 25, allowing real one hit — a measly single in his final recreation — within the job. His Reliever of the Yr award appears to be like to nearly undersell what he accomplished.

Reifert’s 62.5 percent strikeout price became the command single-season model in AFL history, minimum 40 batters confronted, surpassing Darwinzon Hernandez in 2018 (49 percent) by a huge margin. Tommy Hanson, the writer of arguably the command season by an AFL starting pitcher, “finest” smooth a 46.7 percent strikeout price in 2008. Reifert’s .028 opponents’ batting moderate? Also a Drop League record.

A year ago, Reifert became a calm acquisition in a minor alternate with the Brewers. After quelling concerns over his record alongside with his stellar dash in Arizona, he’s positioned himself to reach the upper Minors early in 2023.

Julien’s prodigious vitality and patience
Quebec’s maintain earned the AFL’s Breakout Player of the Yr award for upright cause. Edouard Julien (Twins No. 14) obtained a fraction of the league’s batting title by hitting a objective .400, furthermore connecting on five dwelling runs, one off the league lead.

Four of these long balls got here within the span of about 24 hours. Julien homered twice in consecutive video games for Glendale on Oct. 22 and 24, a feat that had finest been accomplished within the AFL once since recreation logs turned within the market in 2005 (Braxton Davidson, 2018). While these two video games buoyed Julien’s slugging proportion, his .535 batting moderate on balls in play, third-finest in a single season in league history, is a testament to how adept he became at finding the grass.

Julien now ranks third all-time in yet any other category; his .563 on-frightful proportion this topple trails finest Dustin Ackley (.581, 2010) and Nate Roberts (.565, 2012) on the one-season leaderboard. Julien walked (23) more times than he struck out (22) and finest reinforced his standing as the Minors’ most disciplined batter. (50 players safe 1,000 plate appearances since 2021 — Julien’s .437 OBP is 45 parts sooner than Miguel Vargas in 2d yelp.)

Veen obtained’t reside running
Pitting AFL performances within the counting stat categories — dwelling runs, RBIs, doubles, and so forth. — against every other, all over eras, isn’t precisely the command means to traipse about it. The early seasons of the AFL had around 50 video games on the agenda for every team, whereas no squad played bigger than 30 this year.

So on its face, the 16 bases stolen by Zac Veen (Rockies No. 1, MLB No. 23) for Salt River this year safe been distinguished however simply that, as 9 other players safe matched or exceeded that total in a Drop League season. But on a price foundation, his 0.75 stolen bases per recreation are the most by an AFL participant with at the least 20 video games played, solidly besting Eric Younger Jr. (2008) and Traipse d’Arnaud (2009) with 0.65 swipes per recreation.

Veen’s skill on the basepaths is undeniable after stealing 91 bases over his first two expert seasons. He obtained’t safe any bother unlocking it at the upper ranges if he carries his .444 AFL on-frightful proportion with him.

Thomas and Sheehan double up on double digits
The AFL is unquestionably acknowledged more for its offense than its pitching, as that you just would perchance safe already gleaned from the model of this column as much as now. The closing factor any organization wants is for one of its potentialities to suffer an harm, so innings are meticulously managed and starting pitchers enact no longer obtain to enact what they … started (The closing AFL full recreation became in 1996).

That’s what made Thomas’ night time on Oct. 17 the entire more particular. The 10-strikeout recreation for Salt River became the indispensable within the Drop League since Kyle Zimmer in 2014, and Connor Thomas (Cardinals No. 24) did it in only four innings. These forms of performances are inclined to arrive in groups, alternatively. Sooner than Zimmer, the closing pitchers to reach double digits safe been Hanson (who extremely did it twice) and Phil Hughes in 2008. Sooner than that, Jered Weaver and Brian Murphy, each and every in 2005.

This year, it became Emmet Sheehan (Dodgers No. 22)  who became as much as the job. In Glendale’s third-to-closing recreation, the righty fanned 10 over five scoreless frames, alongside with eight straight at one level. It became undoubtedly acceptable that these two safe been the ones to enact it; Thomas (1.50) and Sheehan (3.54) accomplished first and 2d amongst pitchers to throw at the least 20 innings this year.

Quero dominates within the lend a hand of the dish
Luis Matos obtained the AFL’s Defensive Player of the Yr award for his stellar play in center field, however I’m no longer obvious someone became extra sooner than the competition at their yelp than Jeferson Quero (Brewers No. 7), who impressed at real 20 years feeble for Glendale.

AFL baserunners stole more baggage this year (245) than in any season since 2012, which became at the least in part on legend of Quero couldn’t be within the lend a hand of the plate for every single one of them. When he became, despite the truth that, he became amazing. Quero’s 45.8 percent caught stealing price became tops amongst good backstops, well sooner than 2d yelp finishers Henry Davis and Adam Hackenberg at 26.3 percent. Since 2005, finest Gary Sanchez (61.5%, 2015) has confronted as many attempts as Quero — who became 13-for-24 — and thrown them out at the next price.

Here’s an extra sign: Within the one recreation Quero played in front of the Statcast machine in Salt River, he delivered a throw to 2d frightful at 86.9 mph (despite the truth that the runner did come on what became ruled as a wild pitch). Of the 120 catchers within the Fundamental Leagues this past season, finest 14 threw a ball with as much velocity as that Quero toss. Over over again, very spectacular stuff as one of the youngest players within the Drop League.

Kjerstad covers his bases
Heston Kjerstad (Orioles No. 9) started the Drop League with a bang and real never slowed down. His seven total bases for Scottsdale on Opening Day — a homer, double and single — safe been a model of issues to arrive, as he matched that total on two other times. (The closing participant with a trio of video games with seven total bases in a single AFL season became Pete Alonso in 2018.)

Kjerstad obtained this year’s MVP award for that consistency. His 61 total bases paced the field by 10 and are 2d finest to Nelson Velazquez’s 74 in 2021 all the device in which during the final 10 seasons. The actual fact that Kjerstad became lend a hand on the field this season became distinguished in and of itself, after missing two years with myocarditis. That he stood head and shoulders above the competition became rather more spectacular.

Mervis lives as much as his nickname
When Brennen Davis, Chicago’s No. 2 prospect, became requested about his organization mate after each and every had sizable performances earlier within the Drop League, he became instant to fabricate a correction. “You mispronounced his name — it’s in level of truth Mash Mervis,” Davis acknowledged.

Matt Mervis (Cubs No. 21) hit 36 dwelling runs all during the odd season then joined Mesa and hit six more, tied with Yankees prospect Tyler Hardman for the league lead. As mentioned earlier than, that raw total isn’t traditionally vital — 126 players safe hit six or more homers in an AFL season — however the frequency with which Mervis crushed them is, alongside with his 10.2 AB/HR price rating within the tip 10 all-time, minimum 60 at-bats. Kjerstad, as an illustration, hit one fewer homer than Mervis however averaged virtually 10 more at-bats between them.

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