Each August, Major League Baseball clubs hold a position draft to determine the players who will go to Arizona. Most are Double-A and Triple-A Minor League players. Each club can opt to send two players below Double-A. Foreign players are allowed, as long as the player is not on his native country's primary protected player list. The league is designed for these prospects to refine their skills and perform in game settings in front of major and minor league baseball scouts and team executives, who are in attendance at almost every game. Play begins shortly after the end of MLB's regular season in early October and ends in mid-November with a championship game between the winners of the East and West divisions.
The Arizona Fall League teams are each affiliated with five separate Major League teams; each affiliated Major League team provides seven players who team up to fill the 35-man roster of each team. Additionally, teams may elect to send Taxi Squad players who are only eligible on Wednesdays and Saturdays. MLB teams also provide managers, coaches, and trainers.
The Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award was created in 2004, in memory of Dernell Stenson, an outfielder for the Scottsdale Scorpions (Cincinnati Reds), who was killed in a carjacking on November 5, 2003. The award is voted on by the managers and coaches of the six Arizona Fall League teams.
Twenty-three former Arizona Fall League players have been recognized for their achievements in Major League Baseball since the creation of the Hall of Fame in 2001. To be considered by the selection committee, a player must be recognized by Major League Baseball as an MVP, Rookie of the Year, All-Star, Gold Glove, or Silver Slugger.