2019 Arizona Fall League Schedule Announced

The has been announced.

Rosters will probably be announced later this month. 


ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE (AFL)

The Arizona Fall League (AFL) is an MLB developmental league (approximately equivalent to "AA") that operates in the Phoenix metropolitan area for six weeks after the MLB-affiliated minor leagues have concluded their seasons. It was founded in 1992 (it was the "brain-child" of long-time MLB executive Roland Hemond) and has operated continuously for 27 seasons. Games are played in MLB Spring Training stadiums.

The AFL schedule will change in 2019, beginning and ending three weeks earlier than in years past. This will allow less down-time between the end of the minor league season and the start of the AFL for minor leaguers assigned to AFL teams. It also means that minor league players who are eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 free-agent (second-contract FA or 6YFA) on the 5th day after the conclusion of the World Series can play in the AFL without first signing a minor league successor contract for the next season.  
NOTE: Because the AFL season formerly ended two or three weeks after the conclusion of the World Series, a player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league FA was not eligible to play in the AFL unless and until he signed a minor league successor contract for the next season. 

2019 AFL Opening Day will be on the third Wednesday in September (9/17) and the AFL regular season will conclude on the Friday of the sixth week (10/25). The AFL Championship Game (pitting the winner of the East Division against the winner of the West Division) will be played on the Saturday at the end of the sixth week (10/26 in 2019).  

The AFL schedule will continue to feature a 30-game "regular season" (each AFL team will play five or six games per week), and an All-Star Game (formerly called the "Rising Stars Game," but now known as the "Fall Stars Game") played on the Saturday at the end of the fourth week (10/12). For the first time AFL games will be played on Sundays, and five teams from the Mexican Pacific League (Culiacan, Hermosillo, Los Mochis, Mexicali, and Obregon) will play games against AFL teams over a ten-day period starting on 9/24. 

The Cubs (as well as the other 29 MLB clubs) usually assign some of their better prospects to the Arizona Fall League, and sometimes minor leaguers who are eligible for selection in the MLB Rule 5 Draft might be sent to the AFL to give them a chance to play their way onto the MLB 40-man roster. Depending on what positions they are asked to fill on the Mesa squad, I would not be surprised to see the Cubs assign some combination of position players and pitchers such as catcher Miguel Amaya, 2B Chase Strumpf, SS Nico Hoerner, SS Aramis Ademan, SS Zack Short, C-INF P. J. Higgins, 1B-OF Jared Young, INF Andy Weber, OF Brennen Davis, OF Nelson Velazquez, and/or OF Cole Roederer, starting pitchers Brendon Little, Brailyn Marquez, Erich Uelmen, Jack Patterson, and/or Ryan Jensen (SP assigned to the AFL are usually pitchers who didn't throw a whole lot of innings in the minor league regular season either because of injury, rehab, or because they spent part of the season working out of the bullpen), and relief pitchers Oscar de la Cruz, Craig Brooks, Wyatt Short, Jordan Minch, Tommy Nance, Ryan Lawlor, Chad Hockin, and/or Danny Hultzen. .    

Here are the current AFL eligibility rules & restrictions. 
NOTE: Some of the original eligibility rules & restrictions have been changed (relaxed) over the past few years...

1. There are six AFL teams, and each AFL team is affiliated with five MLB clubs. SEA & SD (Peoria Javelinas), KC & 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 twenty MLB clubs can vary from year-to-year. (The Scottsdale Scorpions will be playing home games in the stadium at Salt River Fields while Scottsdale Stadium is under renovation). 
NOTE: CLE, DET, LAA, and OAK will be the other four MLB organizations affiliated with the Mesa Solar Sox in 2019. (BOS, DET, LAA, and OAK were the other four MLB organizations affiliated with the Mesa Solar Sox in 2018, DET, HOU, OAK, and WAS were the other four MLB organizations affiliated with the Solar Sox in 2017, and BAL, CLE, MIA, and OAK were the other four MLB organizations affiliated with the MSS in 2016).

2. Each MLB organization must assign a minimum of seven players under its control to its AFL affiliate, including a minimum of four pitchers (preferably at least one pitcher capable of starting) 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). 
NOTE: RHRP Bailey Clark, INF-OF Trent Giambrone, C-INF P. J. Higgins, SS Nico Hoerner, C Jhonny Pereda, LHSP Justin Steele, RHSP Erick Leal, LHRP Manuel Rondon, and OF D. J. Wilson were the Cubs players assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox in 2018, RHSP Adbert Alzolay, RHRP Pedro Araujo, INF David Bote, OF Charcer Burks, RHSP Alec Mills, C-1B Ian Rice, RHRP Jake Stinnett, and 3B-1B Jason Vosler were the Cubs players assigned to the Solar Sox in 2017 (RHSP Oscar de la Cruz was removed from the Solar Sox roster on 9/18 due to injury and was replaced Alzolay), and C-1B Victor Caratini, RHRP James Farris, 2B-OF Ian Happ, LF Eloy Jimenez, RHRP Ryan McNeil, RHRP Steve Perakslis, and RHSP Duane Underwood Jr were the Cubs players assigned to the MSS in 2016.

3. An MLB organization can assign additional position-players to its AFL team's "Taxi Squad." Players assigned to an AFL team's "Taxi Squad" can play in no more than two games per week (it used to be Wednesday and Saturday games only, but now it's just no more than two games per week regardless of the day), but a player can be transferred from the Taxi Squad to the 35-man Active Roster to replace an injured or inactive player. 
NOTE: INF-OF Trent Giambrone and C Jhonny Pereda were assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox Taxi Squad in 2018, C-1B Ian Rice was assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox Taxi Squad in 2017 and he replaced David Bote on the MSS Active Roster with about two weeks left in the AFL season after Bote left the team to attend to a personal matter, and while the Cubs initially did not assign any players to the Solar Sox Taxi Squad in 2016, OF-DH Kyle Schwarber was briefly assigned to the MSS Taxi Squad 10/22-10/25 while preparing to play in the World Series. 

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 players selected in a preceding Rule 5 Draft) with less than one year (1+000) MLB Service Time accrued (not including time spent on an Injured List) as of September 1st are eligible.

6. Any player on the Active List, Injured List, or Temporariliy Inactive List of an MLB minor league affiliate (regardless of classification) on August 15th can be assigned to the AFL.

7. A player who was on a minor league or MLB Injured List 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 assigned to an AFL team's "Taxi Squad").

8. A player cannot be assigned to the AFL on an Article XIX-C Minor League Injury Rehabilitation Assignment by a club participating in an MLB post-season series (LDS, LCS, and World Series).
NOTE: OF-DH Kyle Schwarber was added to the 2016 Mesa Solar Sox Taxi Squad on 10/22 only after being reinstated from the Cubs MLB 60-day DL (so therefore it was NOT considered a "rehab assignment"), and he played in two AFL games before re-joining the Cubs for the World Series on 10/25.  

9. International 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. 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.

12. Only players who are under control of an MLB organization are eligible to play in the AFL. A free-agent (unsigned player) is not eligible to play in the AFL.

Each MLB organization provides either the manager, a pitching coach, or a hitting coach to its affiliated AFL club (assignments rotate every year). The Cubs provided the hitting coach to their affiliated AFL club in 2018.
 

Comments

Probably the single most significant effect of the change in the 2019 AFL schedule (starts three weeks earlier and ends three weeks earlier than in the past) is that players who are eligible to be Rule 55 minor league second-contract or six-year free-agents five days after the conclusion of the World Series can now play in the AFL without having to first sign a minor league successor contract for the next season, since the AFL season will end a week prior to the conclusion of the World Series. (The AFL season used to end the week prior to Thanksgiving, which was a couple of weeks after the conclusion of the World Series). 

i'm not much of a fan of the AFL season start move, but it makes sense and i find it hard to argue against.  the time between the end of the minor league season for most players and the start of AFL was too long for too many guys to stay game ready.

thanks for the preview/review and primer for the season.

i hope we get more live TV coverage this year.  It gets a little better every year, but I'm ready for wall-to-wall coverage.

i would love to live in a world where we got AFL + various winter leagues for fall/winter coverage.  i don't even need an english language feed for winter league, just gimmie some action and crowd noise.  some of the winter league stuff is great.  if you're a fan of bat flipping and pitchers celebrating inning ending Ks with extreme celebrations, winter league ball is for you...plus, you get to see a bunch of "oh damn! i remember him!" guys.

The Cubs have acquired Nick Castellanos in exchange for Paul Richan and Alex Lange.

Edwards to the Padres for Brad Wieck

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  • crunch 13 hours 41 min ago (view)

    at least...

     

  • Charlie 14 hours 35 min ago (view)

    Lester pitched 35 innings today.

     

  • crunch 17 hours 15 min ago (view)

    2019...cubs fan...being thankful heyward and chatwood are around...wtf...

     

  • Eric S 18 hours 1 min ago (view)

    Like having a 5-1 lead going into the ninth?

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 18 hours 57 min ago (view)

    With our vaunted late inning tandem of Tyler Chatwood and Rowan Wick!

    Who would have thought?

     

  • Jackstraw 18 hours 58 min ago (view)

    Cubs 1-10 with RISP in the series.  Left lots of ducks on the pond.  Could take some of the pressure off the pen.

     

  • Jackstraw 18 hours 59 min ago (view)

    You could hit your thumb with a hammer.  Or take a big bite of wayyyy too hot pizza.  Just sayin.

     

  • Eric S 19 hours 3 min ago (view)

    I’m a little surprised and confused that Bote wasn’t in the infield in the ninth? Wth - need that one out boot to complete my day

     

  • crunch 19 hours 4 min ago (view)

    cubs win!  about time.

     

  • Eric S 19 hours 13 min ago (view)

    Cubs have to scratch mightily to get two runs against the mighty second half buccos

     

  • crunch 19 hours 44 min ago (view)

    K, diving catch by happ for an out, HBP to load the bases, ground out

    phew.

    PIT has loaded the bases 3 times in this game.

     

  • crunch 19 hours 53 min ago (view)

    ...and we're doing more 0 out, men on base stuff...

    2 on, 0 outs...up to 103 pitches and lester's day is done.

    bullpen time.  oh. boy.  neat.

    chatwood in.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 6 min ago (view)

    bryant has not forgotten how to hit homers.

    sweeeeeeeet.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 9 min ago (view)

    2 on, 0 out, and also gets out of that.

    btw, bryant has forgotten how to play 3rd base the past 2 innings...da hell...

     

  • crunch 20 hours 23 min ago (view)

    no one scores!  hell yeah.  phew.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 29 min ago (view)

    walking the pitcher to load the bases with 0 outs.

    this cubbery is thicker than the humidity.