MESA, Ariz. — With the actual World Series in the rear-view, the Arizona Fall League took center stage on Sunday. The league’s annual Fall Stars Game had a tweaked format this season, pitting prospects from the American League against their counterparts from the National League, mimicking the big league All-Star Game and the Futures Game.
The NL won the game, 9-3, but the real stories revolved around the prospects featured throughout. Cubs prospect Matt Mervis—who leads the AFL with six home runs—went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run in a game played at Sloan Park, the spring training home of his parent club.
Mervis wasn’t the only prospect who starred on Sunday. Jackson Merrill (Padres) was the lone player to collect multiple hits, while Mervis, Jordan Walker (Cardinals) and Andy Pages (Dodgers) drove in two runs apiece.
Here are Baseball America’s picks for the game’s standouts in a variety of categories.
Best Fastball: Christian Chamberlain, LHP, Royals — While there were a handful of candidates for this category, Chamberlain impressed in his inning by striking out the side against the top of the National League lineup. Chamberlain threw seven fastballs and generated three whiffs, including a swinging strike three to punch out the Rockies’ Zac Veen to start the inning. He got Jackson Merrill to bite on the first pitch of the at-bat, a 93 mph four-seamer. The pitch sat 93-94 mph and was difficult for hitters to get on plane with due to its above-average movement and velocity, which was amplified by Chamberlain’s low release point. When Chamberlain is working in the zone there are few pitchers tougher to barrel in the AFL.
Best Breaking Ball: Bailey Horn, LHP, Cubs — This was a two-man battle between Horn and the Astros’ Matt Ruppenthal. Horn’s slider was up to 85 mph with heavy sweep and slight ride. It averages 2,500-2,600 rpms of raw spin in the mid 80s and grades out as an elite 139 per Stuff+ models. Horn worked a scoreless ninth, finishing with a strikeout of Athletics prospect Lawrence Butler.
Best Changeup: Justin Martinez, RHP, D-Backs — The winner of the best changeup was clear after Martinez came on for the third inning for the National League. After sitting 97-99 mph with his two-seamer, Martinez snapped off eight changeups, generating four whiffs. Martinez started the inning with a strikeout of the Rays’ Ronny Simon. He opened the at-bat with a 96 mph fastball for strike one, then followed it with consecutive…