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Ten players from annual AFL Fall Stars Game to watch closely in 2020

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — One year ago, Nate Pearson was showing off his triple-digit heat in front of scouts at the annual Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game, but a certain New York Mets prospect was far from intimidated.

With the game airing on MLB Network, Pete Alonso quickly introduced himself to the mainstream baseball world by sending a 103-mph Pearson fastball into orbit, something he would continue to do against major-league arms in 2019, finishing with a new rookie record for home runs with 53.

That type of freshman impact will be tough to match, but there will be names from Saturday’s 14th annual best-on-best game at Salt River Fields showing up on MLB rosters in 2020, as the AFL is generally viewed as the jumping off point for prospects on the verge of their big-league debuts.

Here are 10 names from the East and West Fall Stars rosters to pay close attention to next summer.

10. OF Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners

Age: 18

Highest 2019 level: High-A

MLB Pipeline top 100 ranking: 25

He’s still a teenager and will be for a while, as Rodriguez won’t turn 20 until next December. Teens don’t usually show up in the majors, but when you’re as naturally gifted as Rodriguez you can’t rule it out. There are some Juan Soto vibes here and the Mariners aggressively pushed Rodriguez to High-A in 2019, where he tore the cover off the baseball in his 17 games, authoring a .462/.514/.738 slash line in 72 trips to the plate. The only thing that could delay his arrival in Seattle is the Mariners' rebuild and service time considerations.

9. RHP Jackson Rees, Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 25

Highest 2019 level: High-A

MLB Pipeline top 100 ranking:........