Arenado, Wheeler, Paulsen headed to Arizona Fall League

August 30, 2011 | 2:58 pm | 5  

The Colorado Rockies are sending third baseman Nolan Arenado, center fielder Tim Wheeler and first baseman Ben Paulsen to the Arizona Fall League. The Rockies haven’t finalized which four pitchers they will send to play for the Salt River Rafters.

The Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, who share the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., will staff the Rafters along with the Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. Triple-A Colorado Springs manager Stu Cole will manage the Rafters. Top prospects coming off seasons at the high Class A and Double-A levels typically comprise the fall league rosters.

Wheeler will be the Rockies priority player, a designation granted each team at one position to assure maximum playing time for one of its prospects. Wheeler, 23, is finishing a breakout season at Double-A Tulsa where he is hitting .292/.370/.551 with 33 home runs and 86 RBI. Texas League managers chose Wheeler as the Best Power Prospect in the annual best tools survey complied by Baseball America.

Arenado, 20, has developed both offensively and defensively this season at high Class A Modesto. He’s hitting .297/.350/.475 with 17 home runs and a minor-league leading 113 RBI. Additionally, Arenado has nearly as many walks (46) as strikeouts (49). California League managers selected Arenado as the Best Defensive Third Baseman in league in the Baseball America survey.

Paulsen, who turns 24 in late October, is hitting .244/.300/.415 with 18 homers and 73 RBI for Tulsa. He was named the Texas League’s Best Defensive First Baseman in the Baseball America survey.

Chad Bettis, who is 12-5, 3.44 at Modesto with 43 walks and 175 strikeouts will not be going to the fall league after a quantum leap in innings this year. He has logged 164 2/3 innings after pitching a combined 67 innings last year at short-season Class A Tri-City and low Class A Asheville to launch his professional career.

Play in the fall league begins Oct. 4 and ends Nov. 17 with the championship game set for Nov. 19. The Rising Stars game, which is fall league’s all-star game, is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Last year, the Rockies sent relievers Rex Brothers, Bruce Billings and Adam Jorgenson and starting pitcher Greg Reynolds to the fall league along with catcher Jordan Pacheco, outfielder Charlie Blackmon and shortstop Tommy Field.

Originally, the Rockies planned to send shortstop Hector Gomez to the fall league and designated him their priority player. Gomez was injured and unable to go to fall league. Field replaced him and inherited that priority player designation. Field moved up from Modesto to Tulsa this year and shifted to second base because Gomez returned to Tulsa.


  • Cisco Kid | August 30, 2011 | 4:14 pm

    I would think Pomeranz would be a candidate to go the AFL so he can make up some innings lost to the surgery.

  • AG | August 30, 2011 | 5:22 pm

    Great now we are sending players to the Arena Football League this front office is so lost maybe Tebow can play a little third base this September… J/K

  • Ryan (the other one) | August 30, 2011 | 5:40 pm

    Tim Tebow would be excellent “gamer” and his “clubhouse presence” and “leadership” might make a positive impact – at least on gate receipts. But as a lefty thrower, he wouldn’t work at third. I bet Jim Tracy would love to put him in a platoon with Iannetta behind the plate, though. With Alfonso’s average falling into the .240s, he’s gotta be loooking for fresh excuses to get Chris out of the lineup.

  • Jeem | August 30, 2011 | 9:15 pm

    Can somebody please explain to me what these 3% nos are always being cited? I know one is BA + one is slugging but what is the 3rd?

  • Chad | August 31, 2011 | 12:56 am

    Jeem, it’s Batting Average/On-Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage.