The “Rising Stars” are now “Fall Stars” but word usage aside, they remain the brightest stars and the most promising prospects that spent the past season in the minor leagues and are playing this fall in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.
The Fall Stars Game, formerly known as the Rising Stars Game, will be played Saturday, Nov. 2 at Surprise (Ariz.) Stadium, the Cactus League spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. The game, which features 48 of the top prospects in Minor League Baseball, will be broadcast live on the MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com with a starting time of 5 p.m. (MST).
As has been the case for the past several years, the eighth edition of this Arizona Fall League all-star game will have a decided Perfect Game flavor. Twenty-eight of the 48 players participated in Perfect Game events while they were in high school -- 13 performed at the Perfect Game National Showcase, 12 at the Perfect Game All-American Classic and 20 played in the PG WWBA World Championship.
Fall Stars right-hander Marcus Stroman, the No. 22 overall pick by the Toronto Blue Jays out of Duke University in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, is one of five pitchers with a PG background on the 10-man East Division pitching staff. Stroman, who was at the 2008 Perfect Game National Showcase, told PG in the spring of 2012 just how important his involvement was in terms of advancing his career.
“Coming from a place like Long Island, New York, there isn’t much exposure to college baseball. Being able to go to those events was very beneficial,” he said. “I kind of got seen first at the Sunshine Northeast (Showcase) and then I got invited to the National Showcase. That definitely put me on the national level, I’d say, because not many scouts can watch baseball players from New York and other cold weather places. It definitely helped.”
Another East Division right-hander is Cam Bedrosian, a 2009 PG All-American who the Minnesota Twins selected with the 29th pick of the first round in the 2010 MLB amateur draft right out of a Georgia high school. Bedrosian, the son former National League Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian, not only played in the PG All-American Classic but also in seven PG WWBA National Championships and PG BCS Finals from 2007-09.
“It’s a lot of fun when you get to go with your buddies and travel around the country and play in those tournaments; I really enjoyed it,” Bedrosian told PG this spring while a member of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Kernels, the Twins affiliate in the low Class A Midwest League. “I think that’s what helped me become a good ballplayer, playing in those tournaments and me getting better.”
Kris Bryant, a Fall Stars Game East Division first baseman and the No. 2 overall pick by the Chicago Cubs in June’s 2013 amateur draft after a record-setting season at the University of San Diego, also spoke with PG this spring about his experiences during high school. Bryant performed at the 2009 PG National Showcase and 2009 PG All-American Classic, and was also with the Ohio Warhawks at the 2008 and ’09 PG WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla.
“It was obviously something different but it was something that I needed to do in order to be where I’m at today,” Bryant said. “I really feel like (Perfect Game) gets the best competition that (it) can get and it’s great for the sport of baseball. I’m happy I was able to attend those events because it really got me on the map and it really got me looked at.”
What follows is a brief rundown of the prospects with Perfect Game ties that will be on the field for the Fall Stars Game Saturday in Surprise:
2013 FALL STARS GAME PERFECT GAME ALUMNI
(Name, position, MLB organization, notable PG events attended)
Jake Barrett, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: 2008 PG WWBA World Championship
Cam Bedrosian, RHP, Los Angeles Angels: 2009 PG All-American Classic, 2007-09 PG WWBA National Championships/PG BCS Finals
Tyler Matzek, LHP, Colorado Rockies: 2008 PG National Showcase, 2008 PG All-American Classic, 2008 PG WWBA World Championship
Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays: 2009 PG National Showcase, 2009 PG All-American Classic, 2009 PG WWBA World Championship
Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays: 2008 PG National Showcase, 2007-08 PG WWBA World Championship
Peter O’Brien, C, New York Yankees: 2008 PG World Showcase, 2008 PG BCS Finals
Andrew Susac, C, San Francisco Giants: 2008 PG National Showcase, 2008 PG All-American Classic, 2008 PG WWBA World Championship
Kris Bryant, INF, Chicago Cubs: 2009 PG National Showcase, 2009 PG All-American Classic, 2008-09 PG WWBA World Championship
Taylor Lindsey, INF, Los Angeles Angels: 2009 PG WWBA World Championship
Kyle Parker, INF, Colorado Rockies: 2007 PG WWBA World Championship
Addison Russell, INF, Oakland Athletics: 2011 PG National Showcase, 2011 PG All-American Classic, 2009 PG WWBA World Championship, 2009-2011 PG WWBA National Championships/PG BCS Finals
Devon Travis, INF, Detroit Tigers: 2006-07-08 PG WWBA World Championship
Albert Almora, INF/OF, Chicago Cubs: 2011 PG National Showcase, 2011 PG All-American Classic, 2008-09-10 PG WWBA World Championship, 2006-11 PG WWBA National Championships/PG BCS Finals
Brian Goodwin, OF, Washington Nationals: 2008 PG All-American Classic, 2007-08 PG WWBA World Championship
Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals: 2007 PG WWBA 18u National Championship
Mason Williams, OF, New York Yankees: 2009 PG National Showcase, 2008-09 PG WWBA World Championship
Tim Berry, LHP, Baltimore Orioles: 2007 Sunshine West Showcase
Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins: 2007 PG National Showcase, 2007 PG All-American Classic, 2006 PG WWBA World Championship
Keyvius Sampson, RHP, San Diego Padres: 2008 PG National Showcase, 2008 PG All-American Classic, 2008-09 PG WWBA World Championship
Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres: 2010 PG National Showcase, 2010 PG All-American Classic
Mookie Betts, INF, Boston Red Sox: 2011 PG WWBA National Championship/PG BCS Finals
Garin Cecchini, INF, Boston Red Sox: 2009 PG National Showcase, 2007-08-09 PG WWBA World Championship
Colin Moran, INF, Los Angeles Dodgers: 2009 PG WWBA World Championship
Eddie Rosario, INF, Minnesota Twins: 2008-09 PG WWBA World Championship
Corey Seager, INF, Los Angeles Dodgers: 2011 PG National Showcase, 2011 PG All-American Classic, 2010-11 PG WWBA World Championship
Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins: 2009-10-11 PG WWBA National Championships
Delino DeShields, OF, Houston Astros: 2007-08-09 PG WWBA National Championships/PG BCS Finals
Tyler Naquin, OF, Cleveland Indians: 2008 PG WWBA World Championship