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Pebble Report: Michael Toglia stands atop the Arizona Fall League home run leaderboard

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Week 1 of the Arizona Fall League schedule has concluded with the Salt River Rafters going 3-1.

After four games of Arizona Fall League action, Michael Toglia has left the yard twice. He’s opened the fall league going 5-for-14, and his slugging percentage at .786 is tied with the Mets’ Brett Baty for the Salt River Rafters’ highest mark.

If Toglia stays anywhere near this pace, we could see him in the big leagues far sooner than anticipated. His two home runs in AFL action are tied with Lars Nootbaar (Cardinals) and Ivan Johnson (Reds) for the league lead.

The 2021 Arizona Fall League schedule got started last Wednesday, and a gorgeous week for baseball in Arizona ensued through the first Sunday off day of the season. The Salt River Rafters opened the schedule at home, followed by trips to Surprise Stadium, the Peoria Sports Complex, and a night game back home in Scottsdale to finish out the slate of the first week.

A 3-1 record has put the Rafters atop the AFL East division standings, one game ahead of division ‘rivals’ Mesa and Scottsdale.

The Rafters capped off the week with a 15-7 rout of the Mesa Solar Sox on Saturday, and after the Rafters posted a four-spot in the top of the eighth, the game was called due to a lack of Mesa pitching. (It sounds like the Rafters’ offense is faring pretty well.)

Rockies prospects at the plate

Toglia’s offensive prowess (.357/.471/.786) is cementing him as an AFL leader, and his figures are well above the other Rockies that have stepped to the plate for the Rafters this fall.

  • Ezequiel Tovar: 3-for-13 (.231/.231/.231)
  • Ryan Vilade: 2-for-10 (.200/.200/.200)
  • Willie MacIver: 1-for-2 with a single

*MacIver is an AFL ‘taxi squad’ player, meaning he is not eligible for the full schedule of games.

Rockies prospects on the mound

Colorado’s arms have allowed a single run in 6 23 innings of Fall League work.

  • Matt Dennis is the Rockies’ early innings leader, working three innings in a start this past week. He allowed a solo home run but otherwise worked a perfect three innings.
  • 2021 big-leaguer Jordan Sheffield tossed a scoreless inning on Friday night in Peoria, allowing a two-out walk but otherwise working a quick late inning.
  • Reagan Todd had a similar outing in Surprise on Thursday, working a scoreless inning capped off by a sliding center field catch. He recorded one out in a separate outing, holding his ERA and WHIP to a perfect 0.00 through two appearances and 1 13 innings of work.
  • Jake Bird has a similar line to Todd — two appearances, 1 13 combined innings, no runs — but has worked around some minor traffic with a walk and one hit allowed.

While the Fall League win-loss record is negligible in the eyes of many, it is still a key developmental step to pitch in tight ball games against some of the best minor leaguers out there. It has been a good week for Colorado pitching, as they are quickly climbing the ladder on the Rafters’ depth chart toward some higher-leverage work.

Salt River Rafters notes

  • Brett Baty (NYM) is the Rafters’ leading offensive performer, starting the fall 7-for-14 with a 1.417 OPS. He is MLB Pipeline’s second-ranked Mets prospect.
  • Salt River opens the second week of AFL action with a home game against the Scottsdale Scorpions this afternoon (1:35 p.m. Denver time/12:35 p.m. Arizona), followed by another trip across Arizona Loop 101 to Peoria on Tuesday. They will return home for three consecutive home games at Salt River Fields from Wednesday-Friday.
  • Ken Knutson is the pitching coach for the Rafters and was the head coach at the University of Washington for 20 years. He was the pitching coach at Arizona State for about half a decade as well, and is working alongside Rockies pitchers that are continuing to dominate Fall League action.
  • Temperatures in Phoenix are projected in the mid-80’s through all of this week.