Cardinals to be Surprise Saguaros in 2012 AFL

The St. Louis Cardinals will provide prospects and the hitting coach to the Surprise Saguaros in the 2012 Arizona Fall League.

Major League Baseball has announced the structure – team organization as well as managers, coaches and trainers – for the 20th season of the Arizona Fall League (AFL). The annual prospect showcase is scheduled to get underway on Tuesday, October 9 at six MLB spring training sites in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The six-team league features top prospects from all 30 organizations in Major League Baseball, with five organizations staffing each roster. The team groupings change each year. In 2012, the St. Louis Cardinals will be part of the Surprise Saguaros, which will play their home games at Surprise Stadium, the spring training site of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals.

The Cardinals will provide the hitting coach for the 2012 Saguaros, but that individual has yet to be named. The manager will be Jason Wood of Myrtle Beach (A-Advanced, Rangers), with Jim Brower of Kane County (Class-A, Royals) serving as pitching coach. The other two organizations staffing the Saguaros, the Red Sox and Mets, will provide the club's trainers.

The AFL plays three games at either 12:35 p.m. or 6:35 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The league takes Sundays off. The one-game championship between the two division leaders will be held Saturday, November 17 at Scottsdale Stadium.

The league has an all-star game of sorts, as players are selected as much on reputation as current stats. The 2012 Rising Stars Game, the league's seventh, will be played on Saturday, November 3 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Last year's game was televised on MLB Network.

The five clubs work together in player selection to ensure full and balanced rosters are chosen. Players are often sourced from Double-A, though ones from higher or lower levels can also participate. The league's daily schedule will be released in early August followed by rosters later in the month.

Last season, Cardinals prospects competing in the AFL for the Peoria Javelinas included position players Matt Adams, Oscar Taveras and Ryan Jackson plus pitchers Tyler Lyons, Keith Butler, Justin Wright and David Kopp. The Javelinas' pitching coach was Ace Adams, now with Quad Cities.

As always, The Cardinal Nation and will provide full coverage of the 2012 AFL to subscribers, including eyewitness reports, interviews, photo and video.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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