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.
For the San Diego Padres that player is Chase Headley. The third baseman is hitting .255 with 12 hits in 47 at bats over 11 games in the AFL. He has one homer and seven RBI's, hitting .333 with runners in scoring position.
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 be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 18 at Scottsdale Stadium.