2013 Arizona Fall League Schedule Released
The 2013 Arizona Fall League (AFL) schedule has been released, and rosters should be announced later this month
There are three AFL games scheduled every day Monday through Saturday (there are no games on Sunday), beginning with AFL Opening Day on Tuesday October 8th and extending up through Thursday November 14th. The AFL Rising Stars Game will take place at Surprise Stadium Saturday night November 2nd (there are no league games scheduled that day), and the AFL Championship game will be played at Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday November 16th.
The Cubs usually assign some of their better prospects to the AFL. Depending on what positions the Cubs are asked to fill on the Mesa squad, I would not be surprised to see some combination of position players like SS Javier Baez (who played in the AFL last year), RF Jorge Soler (if healthy), 2B Arismendy Alcantara (if he doesn't play in the Dominican Winter League), 3B Kris Bryant, Mike Olt (if Bryant isn't assigned to the AFL), or Christian Villanueva (if he doesn't play in the Mexican Pacific League and if Bryant or Olt aren't assigned to the AFL), CF Matt Szczur, Jae-Hoon Ha, or Albert Almora (Szczur played in the AFL last year), 1B Dustin Geiger or Dan Vogelbach, and/or Rafael Lopez (if the Cubs are asked to supply a catcher), and (if they have not exceeded their max proscribed IP) a AA starting pitcher like LHP Eric Jokisch or RHP Matt Loosen, and relievers like LHP Zac Rosscup and Kyler Burke and RHP Trey McNutt, and Tony Zych (McNutt and Zych have pitched in the AFL before).
Alcantara is a lock to get added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster post-2013, but Rosscup, Ha, Loosen, and Burke might have to prove themselves in the AFL first. (Rosscup, Ha, and Loosen are Rule 5 eligible post-2013, and Burke can be a minor league FA if he isn't added to the 40-man roster by the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series).
They have changed a bit over the years, but here are the current AFL eligibility rules:
1. There are six AFL teams, and each AFL team is affilated with five MLB clubs. SD/SEA (Peoria Javelinas), KC/TEX (Surprise Saguaros), LAD/CHW (Glendale Desert Dogs), AZ/COL (Salt River Rafters), CUBS (Mesa Solar Sox), and SF (Scottsdale Scorpiions) are the permanent "host organizations" for the six AFL teams, but the affiliations of the other 20 MLB clubs can vary from year-to-year. Besides the Cubs, the other four MLB organizations affiliated with the Mesa Solar Sox this year will be DET, LAA, OAK, and WAS. (NOTE: The Desert Dogs move from Phoenix Municipal Stadium to Camelback Ranch this season, and the Peoria Javelinas will be playing home games at Surprise Stadium while Peoria Stadium is undergoing renovation).
2. Each MLB organization must assign a minimum of seven players to its AFL affiliate, including a minimum of four pitchers (one pitcher capable of starting plus three relievers) and a minimum of three position players (specific positions needed to be filled by each organization TBD by conference call between the Player Development Directors of the five MLB organizations affiliated with that particular AFL team).
3. An MLB organization can assign additional pitchers and/or players to its AFL team's "Taxi Squad" (players assigned to an AFL team's "Taxi Squad" can be activated on Wednesdays and Saturdays only, but a player can be transferred from the Taxi Squad to the 35-man Active Roster to replace an injured player).
4. A player can be selected to play in the AFL more than once, as long as the player continues to meet eligibility for selection.
5. MLB players (including Rule 5 players) with less than one year (1+000) MLB Service Time accrued (not including time spent on the Disabled List) as of September 1st are eligible.
6. Any player on a AA or AAA roster on August 15th is eligible.
7. Two players on an organization's Advanced Class-A (A+) affilate's roster on August 15th can be assigned to the AFL..
8. Two additional players who were on the roster of a minor league affiliate below AA (A+, A, SS-A, R) on August 15th can be assigned to the AFL.
9. Internatiional players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and/or Australia are eligible only if the player is not on the reserve list of a Winter League club from the player's home country. Otherwise, there is no maximum limit on the number of international players an MLB organization can assign to its AFL team.
10. Players cannot be sent to the AFL to rehab from an injury. (A player rehabbing from an injury is supposed to be assigned to the MLB organization's Instructional League team, not to its AFL affiliate).
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!