The Arizona Fall League’s inaugural “Rising Stars Showcase” game featuring elite prospects from every organization in Major League Baseball will be played at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, October 27 at Surprise Stadium, the spring home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers in Surprise, Arizona.
Catcher Curtis Thigpen and shortstop Ryan Klosterman have been selected to participate on the East Squad.
Thigpen is batting .265 with one home run and five RBI in nine games in the Fall League. Klosterman has played in seven games and is batting .333 with three runs batted in.
The game, pitting the Fall League’s East Division (Mesa Solar Sox, Phoenix Desert Dogs, Scottsdale Scorpions) versus the West Division (Grand Canyon Rafters, Peoria Javelinas, Peoria Saguaros), is the vision of Fall League Executive Director Steve Cobb. It is intended to serve much the same purpose as Major League Baseball’s annual “Futures Game” that now leads off All-Star Game festivities each July.
“We’re putting as many top prospects as possible on one field at one time,” Cobb states. “We’ve had so many first-round picks and minor league all-stars play in the Fall League, we thought this is a natural way to showcase the tremendous talent rising in baseball. For scouts and fans alike, it’s a dream to see top pitchers face top hitters.”
Friday’s game is scheduled on a World Series travel day to fill a void for baseball fans. Scouting and minor league directors of every organization had the opportunity to complete a ballot to select the players for Friday’s game. Most roster selections were based on their input. Each major-league organization is represented by at least one player.
The coaching staffs of the Desert Dogs — manager Tony DeFrancesco (Athletics), pitching coach Tom Signore (Blue Jays), coaches Jamie Dismuke (Reds) and Steve Livesey (Devil Rays) — and the Saguaros — manager Randy Ready (Padres), pitching coach Rick Tomlin (Nationals), coaches James Rowson (Yankees) and Derek Lilliquist (Cardinals) — earned the right to skipper Friday’s contest by virtue of having their teams in first place in the east and west divisions, respectively, through the play of last Saturday, October 21.
Friday’s starting pitchers will be Rafter Luke Hochevar (Royals) and Solar Sox Michael Pelfrey (Mets).
Following the “Rising Stars Showcase,” the six-team Arizona Fall League resumes play on Saturday, October 28 and continues with three games per day, six days per week (Monday-Saturday) through the weekend before Thanksgiving when the championship game will