AFL Team Preview: Scottsdale Scorpions

There are over 2000 varieties of scorpions living worldwide, with 45 species living in Arizona. The most common, the Bark Scorpion, is also the most lethal. It’s capable of killing a small child or an adult with venom allergies or respiratory problems. While all scorpion species are venomous, only about 25 varieties worldwide are considered dangerous to humans. They range in size from a half inch to over nine inches with the danger level decreasing as the size increases. I’ve lived in Arizona over twenty years and have only seen one; it was the size of my hand and I didn’t hang around long enough to test the venom theory. I wouldn’t recommend you do, either.

The Scorpions have called Scottsdale Stadium home since the league’s inception in 1992, with the exception of 2005 when they played in Surprise while their home park was being remodeled. They have won three league titles and are the defending champions heading into the 2016 season.

Among the more notable names to wear a Scottsdale uniform include Garrett Anderson, Nomar Garciaparra, Shawn Green, Dustin Pedroia, Albert Pujols, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Significant past managers include Terry Francona and Dusty Baker.

The Scorpions also hosted the Michael Jordan experiment in 1994 during the basketball legend’s hiatus from the NBA.

The 2016 version of the Scorpions will be managed by former major league outfielder and current New York Mets first base coach Tom Goodwin. Teams supplying prospects this season include the host Giants, Mets, Yankees, Angels, and Phillies.

Players to Watch 

On paper, the Scorpions appear to have the best array of pitching in the league. Names to watch include Victor Alcantara (Angels), James Kaprielian (Yankees), Brandon Liebrandt (Phillies), Miguel Nunez (Phillies), Chris Stratton (Giants) and Dillon Tate (Yankees).

Position players to keep an eye on are shortstop Gleyber Torres (Yankees), third baseman Gavin Cecchini (Mets) and outfielders Tyler Wade (Yankees) and Aaron Brown (Phillies).

Keep an eye on

Greg Bird, Yankees. The 2014 AFL MVP returns to the league after missing the entire 2016 season after undergoing surgery in February for a torn labrum in his right shoulder. With incumbent Mark Texeira now retired, how Bird performs over the next six weeks could have significant ramifications on not only the Yankees’ off-season but Bird’s 2017 season as well.

As mentioned above, the Scottsdale Scorpions appear to have one of the deeper pitching staffs in the league this year and a nice mix of offense and defense in the everyday lineup, especially in the infield. I predict they will win the East Division and attempt to defend their championship on November 19th at Scottsdale Stadium.

About The Author

A former scouting intern with the Seattle Mariners, Chuck has contributed prospect related coverage for Perfect Game, SBNation, Bleacher Report and MLB.com, among others. Chuck holds Arizona Fall League media credentials and works for the Arizona Rookie League as an official scorer.