The season never really ends in the world of prospects, and the next stage of the 2014 cycle kicks off today with the opening of the Arizona Fall League season. From a Yankee perspective, things have changed some since they announced the initial batch of participants. Here's a quicker refresher on who's going and why. Position Players: Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, Greg Bird, Dante Bichette Jr., Kyle Higashioka
Bichette is in for the injured Eric Jagielo, who will miss the season due to his facial HBP and resulting surgery. Bichette re-established his prospect value some this season with a .271/.352/.410 season at High-A Tampa, but he's 4 years into his pro career now and just had his first good year since 2011. There's nothing he can do to really help or hurt his standing here. Same goes for Judge, Austin, and Bird, although it would be great to see all of them continue their hot-hitting finishes to the regular season. Higashioka is coming back from shoulder surgery, so he's just playing for the reps.
Not much to get excited about here. Haynes replaces Branden Pinder, who is a legitimate relief prospect. Not sure why he got scratched, but Haynes is basically org depth as a 23-year-old who's never pitched above High-A ball. Cotham is rehabbing from an injury and Smith is trying to establish himself as a real relief prospect. The AZFL is a tough league for pitchers to do either in, so I wouldn't expect much from anybody in this group.
We'll be doing regular recaps of how each player is doing in the league throughout the fall, probably once a week. Keep that on your radar if you're a prospect hugger.