Once again, the Salt River Rafters will have a Tulsa feel.
When the Arizona Fall League released its rosters for the upcoming 2013 season, five Tulsa Drillers (Cristhian Adames, Dustin Garneau, Dan Houston, Tyler Matzek and Kyle Parker) were selected to play in the prestigious league which has been considered a stepping stone for some of baseball's most talented young prospects since its founding in 1992.
The five Drillers, along with prospects from the Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays, and Colorado Rockies organizations will comprise the Salt River Rafters of the AFL East. Salt River will play roughly 30 games this fall against five other teams … the Mesa Solar Sox and Scottsdale Scorpions of the East Division, and the Glendale Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas and Surprise Saguaros of the West. The season begins on Tuesday, October 8.
In addition to his superior defensive skills, Adames handled the bat well this season, twice recording hitting streaks of 10 games or more. The 22-year-old Dominican Republic native batted .267 on the season with 19 doubles and 36 RBI. Adames is listed as the #16 prospect in the Rockies organization by MLB.com.
Garneau displayed solid power this season, belting 13 home runs and driving in 47 runs while with the Drillers.
Houston filled a hybrid role for Tulsa's pitching staff this season, appearing as both a starter and a reliever prior to being called up to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Matzek, a Rockies 2009 first-round pick, turned in a solid 2013 campaign with the Drillers, finishing 8-9 with a 3.76 ERA. From May 30 to July 29, the left-hander posted an outstanding 1.46 ERA over a 10-start span during which he had a 6-1 record. Matzek is listed as Colorado's #14 overall prospect.
Parker, a former quarterback of the Clemson Tigers, hit 23 home runs this year to become one of the first Rockies prospects to smack 20 or more homers in each of his first three professional seasons. The outfielder accumulated 74 RBI and a solid .288 average. He is rated as the #9 prospect in the Rockies' farm system.
Additionally, Tulsa pitching coach Darryl Scott will serve in the same capacity for the Rafters and former Tulsa outfielder Tim Wheeler, who hit 33 homers in 2011 to set the Drillers' single-season record, will also play for Salt River this season.