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Canadians start strong in Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League annually brings together the top prospects in baseball that are on the cusp of reaching the big leagues.

Scattered among the circuits six clubs this year are four Canadians who have each seen action through the first ten days of the season. Windsor’s Stubby Clapp, the reigning Pacific Coast league Manager of the Year, is managing the Surprise Saguaros.

Junior National Team grad (2011, 2012) Daniel Pinero has played in two games with the Mesa Solar Sox and has collected three hits including a double in eight at bats. The Toronto native spent the 2018 season with High-A Lakeland in the Detroit Tigers’ minor league system.

Teammates with Pinero on the Solar Sox is fellow Torontonian Daniel Procopio, a right-handed reliever in the Los Angles Angels organization. He spent 2018 split between High-A Inland Empire before a midseason promotion to Double-A Mobile in the Southern League. The 23-year-old rebounded from a shaky AFL debut giving up two earned runs over two innings of work to fire two scoreless frames last Tuesday.

Two players from “La belle province” round out the four Canadians in the AFL and both have turned heads with their performances thus far.

Playing third base for Stubby Clapp’s Surprise Saguaros, Laval’s Charles Leblanc went 4-for-5 in his AFL debut and is hitting .381 (8-for-21) with one RBI in five games. The Texas Rangers farmhand spent all of 2018 with High-A Down East in the Carolina League hitting a respectable .274 with ten homers and 72 RBI.

The player who’s turned the most heads out of the four Canadians in the loop is Longueil’s Abraham Toro-Hernandez, a prospect in the Houston Astros’ organization. The third baseman belted a home run in his third AFL game and is hitting .438 (7-for-16) with four RBI in his first five games.