2016 Arizona Fall League Schedule Released

The 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 31-game "regular season" schedule plus the "Bowman Hitting Challenge" on the Saturday prior to Opening Day (formerly held on the Saturday after the first week of games), an All-Star Game (formerly called the "Rising Stars Game," but now known as the "Fall Stars Game") on the Saturday at the end of the fourth week, and the AFL;Championship Game (pitting the winner of the East Division against the winner of the West Division) on the Saturday at the end of the 6th and final week.

There are no games played on Sundays or on the day of the Fall Stars Game, but otherwise there are three games scheduled every day Monday through Saturday during the AFL regular season, beginning with Opening Day on the second Tuesday following the conclusion of the MLB regular season (which is October 11th in 2016) and extending up through the Thursday of the 6th week (which is November 17th in 2016).

The Cubs (as well as the other 29 MLB clubs) usually assign some of their better prospects to the AFL. 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 Victor Caratini, first-baseman Yasiel Balaguert, second basemen Ian Happ and/or Chesny Young, third-baseman Jason Vosler, outfielders Jake Hannemann, Bijan Radenmacher, Eddy Julio Martinez, and/or Eloy Jimenez, starting pitchers Duane Underwood Jr and/or Jen-Ho Tseng (the choice of starting pitcher is influenced by the health of the pitcher and how many innings the pitcher has thrown in the 2016 minor league regular season), and relief pitchers Pierce Johnson, David Berg, James Farris, Juan Carlos Paniagua, Ryan McNeil, Jordan Minch, and/or Dillon Maples. 

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. 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. Besides the Cubs, the other four MLB organizations affiliated with the Mesa Solar Sox in 2016 will be BAL, CLE, MIA, and OAK (LAA, MIA, OAK, and TB. were the other four MLB organizations affiliated with the Mesa Solar Sox in 2015). 

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). NOTE: RHRP Corey Black, C Cael Brockmeyer (Taxi Squad), 3B Jeimer Candelario, C Willson Contreras, RHRP David Garner, RHSP Pierce Johnson, OF Mark Zagunis, and LHSP Rob Zastryzny were the Cubs players assigned to the Msea Solar Sox in 2015. 

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 assigned 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 an athletic trainer to its affiliated AFL club (assignments rotate every year). 


per Joe Maddon (on his WSCR radio show)...Grimm back to Iowa as Hammel is re-instated from bereavement list. Discussed LaStella too and he said that there is a disagreement about reporting to Iowa but he expects TLS will need some time there to get his timing back (assuming he comes back, which is not a quote, but it's what I sort of heard). Not sure I'm reading clearly between the lines on this one but for a useful 25th roster person it seems not very warm and fuzzy. Neil at CCO often posts transcripts of various Cub radio interviews. I'm hoping he does this for today's Tuesday noon radio-fest.

Strange that the Cubs would reinstate Hammel today when they could have waited until tomorrow to do it, since he isn't scheduled to start until tomorrow (players can remain on the Bereavement List for up to seven days, and since Hammel was placed on the list last Wednesday, the Cubs could have waited one more day to reinstate him). And if they had waited the extra day, Grimm would have been an extra arm in the pen tonight. You never know when you might need one.

I was just at Whole Foods for lunch and saw Jason Hammel and his young daughter doing some grocery shopping. I know it's cliche, but it does sort of humanize the guys when you see them in non-baseball situations.

was he buying cotton candy grapes or not? let's get to the real issues...

My son went over to take a look -- and he was actually buying potato chips.

I wish my doctor would put me on a potato chip diet:-(

Fake some cramps.

I hope TLS resolves his personal issues ASAP and comes back. Solid player off the bench.

The AFL is often used as an audition for the MLB 40-man roster for minor leaguers eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, especially the ones who are "on the bubble."

Here is my updated projection for Cubs Rule 5 Draft-eligible minor leaguers and post-2016 minor league free-agents in the hunt for a spot on the 40 post-2016:

Victor Caratini, C
Duane Underwood Jr, RHSP

Jose Paulino, LHSP (would get four minor league options if added to the 40 post-2016) 
Felix Pena, RHP (otherwise minor league 6YFA)
Armando Rivero, RHRP
Rob Zastryzny, LHSP

Jake Hannemann, OF
Ryan McNeil, RHRP
Bijan Rademacher, OF
Jose Rosario, RHRP (otherwise minor league 6YFA)

Also, veteran minor leaguers with MLB experience like C Tim Federowicz, IF-OF Logan Watkins, LHRP Jack Leathersich, and LHRP Brian Matusz could get added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster in September, and 3B Christian Villanueva (who is ready for a minor league rehab assignment) could get reinstated from the 60-day DL on 9/1 after a twenty-day minor league rehab assignment. (Also, Almora, Grimm, Kawasaki, and Patton will likely be recalled from AAA Iowa on 9/1 or after the conclusion of the Iowa Cubs season), 

Players likely to get dropped from the 40 to make room for players added in September:
R. J. Alvarez, RHRP
Dallas Beeler, RHSP (transfer to 60-day DL)
Aaron Brooks, RHSP (transfer to 60-day DL)
Gerardo Concepcion, LHRP (can elect free-agency if outrighted)

Likely to get dropped from MLB 40-man roster post-World Series:
Dallas Beeler, RHSP
Aaron Brooks, RHSP
Zac Rosscup, LHRP (would be minor league 6YFA post-2016 if outrighted)
Giovanni Soto, LHRP (would be minor league 6YFA post-2016 if outrighted)

NOTE: If waivers can be secured, Alvarez, Beeler, and Brooks would NOT be eligible to be minor league 6YFA post-2016 if outrighted, and would remain under club control (as minor leaguers) in 2017.

Trevor Cahill, RHRP
Chris Coghlan, OF
Aroldis Chapman, LHRP
Dexter Fowler, OF (2017 mutual option)
Jason Hammel, RHSP (2017 club option)
Munenori Kawasaki, INF (NPB vested player)
David Ross, C
Joe Smith, RHRP
Travis Wood, LHRP

La Stella has been placed on the Temporarily Inactive list. Here is a Cub Reporter description of it: http://www.thecubreporter.com/book/export/htm... Such a weird situation. Jesse Rogers has said several times that the team has told him he is dealing with something more important than baseball and that was part of getting demoted. Madden said today though he has talked to him and he is trying to decide what he wants to do but wouldn't say anything more than that.

"Cardinals GM John Mozeliak acknowledged Tuesday that Michael Wacha (shoulder) is experiencing a recurrence of the scapular issue that sidelined him in 2014. Mozeliak said he's unsure whether the 25-year-old right-hander will be able to return this season and also admitted that Wacha's role as a 200-inning-per-year starter might have to be revisited this winter."

About the TLS situation: I doubt it's because he was upset about being demoted because there was a strong chance that he would be called up if someone lands on the DL and was guaranteed to be called up on 9/1. Also, I consider him to be a lock on the 25 man roster in the postseason because he is an excellent PH and can hit high velocity. I really hope his situation is nothing like Baez's last season (he missed about 2 months due to the death of his sister, right?). Hopefully TLS gets back soon because without him, our IF depth is weak (Candelario, Kawasaki, Baez somewhat). I want Soler to be a regular in the NLDS (take him out for defense late in the game), you can't forget that series against the Cards last season.

The reports today on LaStella said there was no family issue or medical reason for his absence. It's just on him. Jesse Rogers said something that LaStella was contemplating retirement before the season but came back to be with Cubs (I believe this was on the radio but mentioned by others on twitter that heard it...maybe he'll write something up on it today).

Here's Rogers' interview and story about TLS. http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/17259970/t...

I can't recall a similar situation with the Cubs or any club for that matter.

Quiet got it!

That face-plant by Choi on the LF bullpen mound ... as Rizzo's pop up fell into fair territory ... wow. Glad to see Choi not injured on the play - but it was funny as hell.

Crunch's dream come true: reports that Cubs are signing Josh Collmenter

my favorite crapballer! sweet. seriously, though...hard to get too excited. his "fastball" is down to the low 80s rather regularly this season after it dipped into the mid-80s last year. deception can only take someone so far. the control issues are killing his game, too.

cubs win #70...and their 8th in a row.

More on #ohtheresLaStella - The Cubs could not have expected a scenario like this, but still, I don't really understand the Coghlan re-acquisition. I'd much rather have La Stella than Coghlan. That said, La Stella wanting to "retire" at 27, with that hit skill, is pretty strange. He may not be the best hitter in the world or anything, but hitting a major league baseball is one of the hardest things to do in all of sports. And he wants to quit the game? Whether he stays or goes, though, I'll always appreciate the snot blowing at the plate. Good stuff. Leave it to Joe Maddon to make a reference to Kurt Vonnegut while discussing the La Stella situation. If you haven't seen the clip, google it. Classic Maddon there.

From the ESPN article: "He [La Stella] repeatedly stressed that his decision to go home wasn't a response to being sent down. He said he simply doesn't want to be anywhere else but Chicago." Can someone please explain why this is not 100% bull shit.

his agent seems to be working overtime trying to create a narrative of some sorts along with la stella. the explanation(s) are clear as mud. it's all very weird taken literally as stated.

Cubs assigned to Mesa Solar Sox (AFL): Victor Caratini, C James Farris, RHRP Ian Happ, 2B-OF Eloy Jimenez, OF Ryan McNeil, RHRP Steve Perakslis, RHRP Duane Underwood Jr, RHSP Brian Lawrence, Pitching Coach Jimenez, Happ, Caratini and Underwood are among the Cubs Top 10 Prospects, and playing in the AFL should help speed their development. Caratini, Underwood, McNeil, and Perakslis are Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2016. While Caratini and Underwood are virtual locks to get added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster post-2016, McNeil and Perakslis will be trying to get Rule 5 Draft attention from other organizations. (McNeil does have an outside chance to make the Cubs 40-man roster, but it's a long-shot). Underwood spent a lot of the season on the DL with right forearm/elbow issues and he needs to throw more innings, and being a starter in the AFL should get him around another 30 IP before the close of the season. Caratini is (right now) approximately where Willson Contreras was this time last year, and now Caratini will get a chance to play in the AFL, just like Contreras did post-2015. Ex-Cubs #1 prospect SS Gleyber Torres (sent to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade) will be playing for the Scottsdale Saguaros.

Why didn't they wait until tomorrow to call up TLS? Don't they have to wait 10 days to bring Patton back up now?

CHITOWNMVP01: It is indeed odd that the Cubs did not just wait one more day to recall LaStella.

As far as Spencer Patton is concerned...

A player who is optioned to the minors generally must remain on Optional Assignment for at least ten days. (A player optioned to the minors during Spring Training generally must remain on Optional Assignment for the first ten days of the MLB regular season). The only exceptions are if the player is recalled as the "26th man" for a day where a doubleheader was scheduled at least 48 hours in advance (or for the second game of the doubleheader only if the doubleheader was scheduled less than 48 hours in advance), or is recalled to replace a player on the 25-man roster who is placed on an MLB inactive list (Disabled List, Bereavement List, Paternity List, Restricted List, et al), or if the season (including post-season playoffs) of the minor league team to which the player is assigned is over, or if the player is traded.

So since the last Iowa Cubs game is next Monday (the I-Cubs did not qualify for the PCL playoffs), Patton can be recalled on Tuesday (9/6) rather than having to wait the full ten days.

Maybe it's to get him some game action. He's only pitched for the Cubs once in the last 10 days. I don't really care much about him going down since he's sucked when up here. I really want Rivero to be called up.

It's also possible that the Cubs have no intention of recalling Spencer Patton. Perhaps Maddon has seen enough of him, and Patton will eventually be one of the players cut to make room for others who will be added to the 40 in September.

Recent comments

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  • tim815 5 hours 6 min ago (view)

    The rush to 70 players.


  • Arizona Phil 5 hours 23 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have released OF Luis Berrelleza, INF Rochest Cruz, LHP Misael Garcia, OF Orlando Guzman, C-1B Brayan Mancilla, RHP Yander Montero, OF Carlos Pacheco, and OF John Rodriguez. 


  • crunch 8 hours 7 min ago (view)

    it screws up stats.  i know you play for wins/losses, but real money is on the line for players and makes agent/player homework selling their client a bit harder.

    it also makes historical comparisons difficult.

    the amount of time i've seen a fresh inning starting out...bunt guy to 3rd for an out, IBB, IBB is too high.  what would amount to a leadoff single following that can easily turn into 2 runs (1 earned) with guys on the corner...which usually leads to another IBB.


  • Charlie 9 hours 12 min ago (view)

    Jay Jaffe has a timely argument against the runner on second rule over at fangraphs: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-runner-on-second-i...

    I still don't know why we don't just have ties. Obviously, the Cubs could have dodged most of these situations by simply hitting a little bit during the regulation innings.


  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 57 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed free-agent RHSP Adrian Sampson to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa, and RHP Michael McAvene, LHP Jack Patterson, and OF Donnie Dewees have been placed on the 60-day IL to open up slots for Sampson, Trayce Thompson, and Kyle Ryan on the Cubs minor league 180-man Domestic Reserve List. 


  • crunch 12 hours 22 min ago (view)

    well that sucked.

    2-game sweep, 2 games under .500


  • crunch 12 hours 48 min ago (view)

    stumbled onto this today...clip from a 2019 ESPN broadcast game with boog, chipper jones, and david ross in the booth...


    boog used to call games for ATL, btw...


  • tim815 15 hours 17 min ago (view)

    Someone on social media was floating Yoelqui Cespedes to the Cubs in a Bryant trade.

    I was clueless if it was permitted. It is.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have traded for outfielder Trayce Thompson, who was with the Diamondbacks at Triple-A, but is formerly of the big league White Sox, Dodgers, and A’s. The Diamondbacks are getting cash in the deal, which is a reflection of the reality that Thompson, 30, is a depth outfielder at this point in his career. Thompson is the younger brother of NBA star Klay Thompson. https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2021/05/11/cub...


  • crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    i'd like to point out ross feels more comfortable with j.pederson and k.bryant in CF over j.heyward.

    watching heyward not just look human in the OF, but having a bit of a hard time is rough.  he's just not getting to stuff like he used to.


  • crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    bryant out of the game for no apparent reason...that...doesn't seem good...

    he's "under the weather" according the clubhouse.  that's better than screwed up oblique or similar, at least.


  • crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    this shane bieber guy kinda sucks.  1 run in, bases loaded 0 outs.

    i hope 4-5 innings of alzolay and the 5 pen guys after him hold it down.

    ...hey wow, bases loaded 0 out turns into 0 runs...very cubs.


  • George Altman 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Baseball wants more offense, fans want more action -- limit pitching staffs to 12, ideally transition to 11 over a 3 year period. 

    Teams are asking RPs to throw only 45 pitches a week. Think about that.

    SPs who throw 175 IP/Yr will be museum pieces in 5 years.

    It's not shifts. Oh....and electronic Strike zones as soon as possible. 


  • crunch 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    given that the starters are on pace to pitch around 150 innings this year they might need the zillion relievers.

    i'm under the impression that d.ross got a new Fitbit exercise tracker prior to the season and likes to have excuses to walk to the mound for higher step counts.  i'm going with this theory until proved otherwise.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    I get that 40 man rosters are complicated, but now we have 10 GD relievers and 3 bench guys, one of whom is an obviously injured Javy.

    I can't wait until they reinstate the 13 pitchers maximum rule.


  • crunch 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    baez (again) a late scratch because back ouchies.