The Arizona Fall League is a five-week league that takes place every October. It doesn't work like regular minor-league baseball, however. Organizations don't have affiliate teams. Instead, they send a specific group of seven players. These players are then paired with the groups sent by several other teams to form one of the AFL's six teams. Anyone within an organization is eligible, though these spots are usually reserved for players with significant upside. Often, you may see players who missed time during the regular season.
For the 2023 season, the Cardinals selected RP Edwin Nunez, RP Andre Granillo, SP Cooper Hjerpe, SP Tekoah Roby, OF Victor Scott II, C Jimmy Crooks III, and SS Jeremy Rivas. This is a really interesting crop of players with some big names. Perhaps no other prospect in the organization raised his stock in 2023 as much as Victor Scott II did. He stole 93 bases for Springfield and Memphis during the regular season and flashed elite defense in CF. Roby and Hjerpe are two of the team's most exciting pitching prospects. Roby was acquired in a midseason trade while Hjerpe was selected in the first round of the 2022 MLB Amateur draft. Both have shown immense promise and could fit in at the front of the Cardinals' rotation within a few years. However, both missed time in 2023 with injuries, prompting the Cardinals to assign them to the fall league.
The Arizona Fall League is full of prospects to watch. Sometimes, it can jumpstart a failing career. Just last year, Connor Thomas enjoyed an incredible run, although he failed to capitalize on that momentum by posting a disastrous 5.53 ERA with Memphis this season. That's exactly what Jeremy Rivas is looking to do. Though he's still just 20, he's in his third season with the organization and has struggled with each assignment. Other times, the fall league can highlight a player coming off a strong season. Edwin Nunez enjoyed a fantastic season between Peoria and Palm Beach. A good fall league run could portend a more aggressive assignment in 2023, perhaps starting with Springfield.
Today, we'll break down each player's performance and discuss how they've impacted the organization's plans for 2024. The performances will be broken into three tiers: the good, the bad, and the ugly!