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The 2021 Arizona Fall League marked the end of its penultimate week with the Fall Stars Game on Saturday, and it’s unfortunate that Caleb Freeman was the only White Sox prospect selected, given that it’s the first time most people can see high-quality video treatment of prospects at Double-A and below, and the archived game is free to watch.
Freeman himself is worth watching, and you can do so around the 1:21:25 mark. He only faced two batters, getting a popout and a strikeout, but what’s interesting is that he didn’t quite meet the billing, for better or for worse. His fastball only topped out at 93.5, and he couldn’t find the spin on his slider, leaving it up and over the plate.
Yet that combo still allowed him to win an eight-pitch battle with Rays prospect Curtis Mead, getting a popout to the right side.
His strikeout of Oakland prospect Logan Davidson was more impressive. Freeman needed just three pitches, starting with a fouled-off fastball before getting a pair of swinging strikes on a curveball I didn’t know he liked that much.
Freeman should have a little more power than that if those readings are true, but maybe that’s the effect of his longest-ever season. His previous high in appearances was 35, split evenly between Texas Tech and the low minors in 2019. His outing in the Fall Stars Game was his 49th of 2021.
Céspedes continues to gain experience in the Hawk Harrelson definition of the term, in the sense of something you get it when you didn’t want it. His OPS has sagged below .500, and hunting for highlights points you to a single up the middle, and that’s about it. With the AFL season wrapping up on Saturday, he only has a few games left to change some minds, at least during this particular look.
|Total||56||5||13||13||HR, 3B, 2B||4/7||2/0||.232/.283/.339|
It’s also been a quiet week for Rodriguez, but his struggles won’t generate the same strength of reactions. Unlike Céspedes, he has age (20), experience (a new longest-ever season for him) and bat-to-ball abilities on his side.
Sánchez continues to get on base at a ridiculous clip, so much so that it’s possible that he could have more walks than Céspedes or Rodriguez has hits, while also matching or beating them in hits. He’d have similar age concerns as Céspedes since they’re both 24, but his dominance in limited playing time does put Céspedes’ issues in starker relief.