Arizona Fall League

Cubs Assign Seven to Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League (AFL) preliminary rosters have been announced, and the Cubs have assigned seven players to the Mesa Solar Sox (MSS). Present minor league assignment is in parenthesis: 

Zach Cates, RHRP (AA Tennessee)
Gerardo Concepcion, LHRP (A+ Daytona) 
C. J. Edwards, RHSP (AA Tennessee) 
Jake Hannemann, OF (A+ Daytona) - see NOTE
Ivan Pineyro, RHSP (AA Tennessee) 
Addison Russell, SS (AA Tennessee) 
Dan Vogelbach, 1B (A+ Daytona) 
NOTE: Hannemann is assigned to the MSS "Taxi Squad," so he is eligible to play in AFL games on Wednesday and Saturday only. 

In addition, Daytona pitching coach Ron Villone has been assigned to Mesa as the Solar Sox pitching coach. (The Cubs were required to supply the MSS pitching coach this year). 

Cates, Concepcion, Edwards, and Pineyro are Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2014, and so the Cubs may be using the AFL to get a better look at Cates, Concepcion, and Pineyro (especially Pineyro) before deciding whether to add any of them to their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) post-2014. (C. J. Edwards is considered the Cubs #1 pitching prospect, so he is a "lock" to make the Cubs 40-man roster in November no matter how he performs in the AFL).

Russell played for the Mesa Solar Sox while a member of the Oakland A's last year, so this will be his second trip to the AFL, but in a different uniform. He will be sharing shortstop with A's SS prospect Daniel Robertson, who was Russell's rival in the Oakland system prior to Russell being traded to the Cubs in the Samardzija/Hammel trade. Russell missed considerable time this season as the result of a hamstring injury suffered prior to being acquired by the Cubs, so playing in the AFL will give the young shortstop some additional reps before he (presumably) gets moved up to AAA in 2015.

Both Edwards (shoulder) and Pineyro (forearm strain) were on the Tennessee Smokies Disabled List for lengthy periods of time this season, so pitching in the AFL will help them to make up for some of their "lost innings." 

Remember, the AFL rosters announced this week are preliminary rosters only and are incomplete.

In the case of the Mesa Solar Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays have not named any of their four pitchers yet, and because Dwight Smith Jr has been assigned to the MSS "Taxi Squad," the Blue Jays still need to assign another position player as well. The Oakland A's have yet to name their fourth pitcher, and because Jake Hannemann was assigned to the MSS "Taxi Squad," the Cubs need to assign one more position player to the Solar Sox roster. 

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:

Cubs Announce 2013 Arizona Fall League Guests of Honor

And the winners are...

SS Javier Baez, RF Jorge Soler, 3B Kris Bryant, RHP Matt Loosen, RHP Dallas Beeler, RHP Armando Rivera, RHP Arodyz Vizcaino and OF Albert Almora will be a member of the taxi squad.

Arizona Phil is going to have all kinds of fun.

You can peruse past AFL rosters over at Wiklifield.

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:

Cubs Minor Leaguers in a Hazy Shade of Winter Ball

The Arizona Fall League Championship Game will be played tomorrow at Scottsdale Stadium, with the Salt River Rafters (East Division Champs) facing the West Division Champion Peoria Javelinas.

Unfortunately, the Cubs players who went to the AFL were assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox, the worst team in the league.

Almora, Soler, and Baez Shine under Arizona Sun

Albert Almora and Jorge Soler smacked back-to-back RBI doubles in the 3rd, Bijan Rademacher and Lance Rymel collected two hits and two RBI a piece, and Marco Hernandez belted a solo home run, leading the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the Rockies in Arizona Instructional League action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale.

Then this afternoon, Cubs #1 prospect Javier Baez blasted a three-run home run (on a 3-0 pitch) over the LF wall and to the base of the fence adjacent to the scoreboard in the bottom of the 5th, propelling the Mesa Solar Sox to an 8-3 win over the Phoenix Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League (AFL) action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

Javier Baez Tries 3rd base at HoHoKam Park

The Mesa Solar Sox played their AFL home opener this afternoon at HoHoKam Park, but the Salt River Rafters drubbed the home team 11-3 thanks in no small part to four home runs.

Four Cubs saw action for the Solar Sox in today’s game:


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