2014 Arizona Fall League Schedule Released
The 2014 Arizona Fall League schedule has been released and rosters should be announced later this month.
The Arizona Fall League (AFL) is an MLB developmental league (approximately equivalent to "AA") that operates for six weeks after the conclusion of the MLB regular season. It features a 32-game "regular season" schedule plus an All-Star Game (formerly called the "Rising Stars Game," but now known as the "Fall Stars Game") at the end of the 4th week, and the AFL Championship Game (pitting the winner of the East Division versus the winner of the West Division) at the end of the 6th and final week.
There are three games scheduled every day Monday through Saturday during the AFL regular season (there are no games on Sunday), beginning with Opening Day on the second Tuesday following the conclusion of the MLB regular season (which is October 7th in 2014) and extending up through the Thursday of the 6th week. (No regular season games are scheduled the day of the Fall Stars Game).
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 and pitchers such as:
2013 1st round pick 3B Kris Bryant (who was AFL MVP last year), Cubs 2014 1st round pick C-OF Kyle Schwarber (if the Cubs don't think he would be better served going to the AZ Instructional League instead), SS Addison Russell (who played in the AFL last year while a member of the Oakland A's organization), CF Albert Almora (who alao played in the AFL last year), RF Jorge Soler (if the Cubs want to get him more PT post-2014 and he doesn't play in a Latin winter league), 1B Dan Vogelbach, OF Billy McKinney, OF Jake Hannemann, 3B Christian Villanueva (if he doesn't play in the Mexican Pacific League), 2B Stephen Bruno, SS Marco Hernandez (if he doesn't play in the Dominican Winter League), and/or catcher Rafael Lopez (if the Cubs need to supply a catcher and it's not Kyle Schwarber), one starting pitcher (probably either Eric Jokisch, C. J. Edwards, Pierce Johnson, Ivan Pineyro, or Corey Black, the choice influenced by the health of the pitcher and the number of innings each pitcher has accrued by the conclusion of the 2014 minor league season), and relievers like LHP Hunter Cervenka and/or Andrew McKirahan, and RHP Armando Rivero (who pitched in the AFL last year), Blake Cooper (recently acquired from the D'backs for Brett Jackson), P. J. Francescon, Zach Cates, Michael Jensen, and/or Starling Peralta.
C. J. Edwards is a lock to get added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster post-2014, but Jokisch, Lopez, McKirahan, Pineyro, Hernandez, Cervenka, and Peralta might have to prove themselves in the AFL first. (Jokisch, Lopez, McKirahan, and Hernandez are Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2014, Peralta can be a minor league 6YFA if he isn't added to the 40-man roster by the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series, and Cervenka will be either Rule 5 Draft eligible or a minor league 6YFA depending on whether he signed a 2008 or 2009 contract with the Red Sox on 8-15-2008).
Here are the current AFL eligibility rules & restrictions (NOTE: Some of the eligibiility rules & restrictions have been changed over the past couple of years):
1. There are six AFL teams, and each AFL team is affilated with five MLB clubs. KC (Peoria Javelinas), TEX (Surprise Saguaros), LAD/CHW (Glendale Desert Dogs), AZ/COL (Salt River Rafters), CUBS (Mesa Solar Sox), and SF (Scottsdale Scorpions) are the "host organizations" for the six AFL teams, but the affiliations of the other 22 MLB clubs can vary from year-to-year. Besides the Cubs, the other four MLB organizations affiliated with the Mesa Solar Sox in 2014 will be LAA, OAK, TOR, and WAS. NOTE: The home stadium for the Peoria Javelinas in 2014 will be Surprise Stadium.
2. Each MLB organization must assign a minimum of seven players to its AFL affiliate, including a minimum of four pitchers (preferably 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 a conference call "position draft" 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 a Disabled list) as of September 1st are eligible.
6. Any player on a AA or AAA Active Roster (or Disabled List) on August 15th is eligible.
7. Two players on an organization's Advanced Class-A (A+) affiliate's Active Roster (or Disabled List) on August 15th can be assigned to the AFL.
8. Two additional players who were on the Active Roster (or Disabled List) 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. A player on the Restricted List, Military List, Disqualified List, Ineligible List, or Voluntary Retired List is not eligible to participate in the AFL.
11. A player who was on a minor league or MLB DL at the close of the regular season is eligible to play in the AFL as long as the player has been reinstated, but there can be no special limits or restrictions placed on the player's playing time (other than the automatic restrictions imposed on a player sssigned to an AFL team's "Taxi Squad").
12. A player cannot be assigned to the AFL on a Minor League Injury Rehabilitation Assignment by a club participating in an MLB post-season series (LDS, LCS, and World Series).
13. Players assigned to the AFL do not accrue MLB or minor league service time, each player receives the same salary, and the salaries are paid out of a special fund managed by MLB.
Each MLB organization provides either the manager, pitching coach, hitting coach, or athletic trainer to its affiliated AFL club (assignments rotate every year). The Cubs are due to send a pitching coach to the AFL this season, so Daytona Cubs Pitching Coach Ron Villone has been asigned to the Mesa Solar Sox.
Mama Schwarber wants to have a word with you.
Mrs Fowler would like a word with you.
It seems to be blowing a bit out to right but far less than yesterday and much cooler so shouldn't be too much of an effect.
Only one of our hrs last night was out because of the wind though I think.
Which direction is wind blowing today? With Lackey a groundball pitcher, it might help Cubs if it is blowing in today and a 2-1 game instead of a 10-6 game.
I have convinced myself that Hammel's second half struggles were due to minor injuries and fatigue so with the extra rest he is going to be lights out.
Benji Molina is out of lineup
Yes. Unfortunately, as many of us, I have seen this movie before. Do not care for Hammel, and unlike other managers Joe will pull the plug quickly at least. I hope before things were to get out of hand.
Many of us are like "abused spouses" or whatever - with this Cubs stuff. You get hurt so many times, the trust rapidly erodes.
If the Cubs can get to Lackey early, its gonna be a big key to a W or L.
No idea what will happen. The Cards are the Cards and they have come back from 2-1 holes twice in the last 4 years, so I don't see them in panic mode at all. If anything, I expect the Cubs to be pressing more than the Cards today.
I want the Cubs to win because it would be great for the city, and great for the fans. But more than anything, I want the Cubs to win so I can see this team play for at least one more week this year. Never enjoyed watching a team more than this year.
Just to remember how far we have come: last year's opening day lineup was Bonifacio, Lake, Castro, Rizzo, Olt, Castillo, Schierholz, Barney, and Samardzija. It's been a fun ride this year!
BRADSBEARD: I haven't noticed any new rule or a change in the interpretation of an existing rule happening in Advanced Instructs, I don't know what rules will be tested in the AFL, although almost all recent rule changes and new interpretations of existing rules (the home plate collision rule, replay, time clock between innings, et al) do get their start in the AFL.
AZ Phil: I've heard that the AFL will be testing out a new force out rule that would affect break-up plays (like the Utley play). Have you heard anything about this new rule and any details about it? Are they testing it out at the advanced instructs as well?
Pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but since I will be in NYC next week I want to confirm... If the Cubs were to advance to the NLCS, the winner of LAD/NYM would have home field based on being a division winner (as opposed to Cubs by virtue of better record), correct?
CUBSTER: This "hammy" is on the other leg I heard last night. See you at the ballyard today young man!
Oh what do you know, Cubster? Go back to your day job.
--- Ducks, puts on Cardinals cap, runs.