Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 11/15/10

The Mesa Solar Sox are eliminated from postseason contention. One Cubs prospect is named an All-Star and is released all in the span of 24-hours. Eight minor leaguers in the organization become free agents while four others re-sign with the club. A few Cubs farmhands are set to play in Australia, while Austin Bibens-Dirkx is still mowing ’em down in Venezuela.

All that and more in today’s Down on the Farm Report!

Minor League News
On Tuesday it was announced that Iowa Cubs outfielder Brad Snyder was a member of the Topps Triple-A All-Star team. A day later, the Cubs decided to waive Snyder, making him a minor league free agent. It is still possible that the organization could sign him to a contract, but he is no longer a part of the 40-man roster. Snyder had a monster season with the I-Cubs (.308 AVG, 25 HR, 106 RBI) before struggling during his September call-up (.185 AVG, 12 games).

Brad was the only member of the I-Cubs to be named to the post season All-Star team. Topps will announce their Double-A All-Stars tomorrow, Class-A on Nov. 23 and Rookie/Short Season on Nov. 30. The Tennessee Smokies should get a few honors.

When free agency started there were 12 minor leaguers in the system eligible for free agency. The team has re-signed four of them, while the other eight are still on the open market. Angel Guzman, Mike Parisi, J.R. Mathes and Jim Adduci have all re-signed with the Cubs. Bryan LaHair, Mitch Atkins, Mario Mercedes, Jeff Gray, Mark Reed, Russ Canzler, Scott McClain and Jason Dubois all remain free agents.

Arizona Fall League
The Mesa Solar Sox had a rough week and find themselves mathematically eliminated from a spot in the AFL Championship. How the Solar Sox play this week will determine whether or not they will finish above the breakeven point. Cubs’ prospects like Josh Vitters and Ryan Flaherty are in need of solid final weeks.

The Scottsdale Scorpions scored early and often to pound the Mesa Solar Sox 8-3 last Monday. Ryan Flaherty saw time at both second base and left field during the contest. At the plate he went 1-for-3 with a walk and a single. David Cales pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless, hitless baseball. He did allow one man to reach via the walk and struck out two. The Solar Sox did all of their scoring in the bottom of the seventh. Click for full box score.

Mesa pleased the home crowd with a come-from-behind 7-5 victory on Tuesday afternoon against Surprise. A walk-off grand slam by Andrew Lambo capped off a six run bottom of the ninth. Flaherty came on as a pinch runner and scored. Click for full box score.

The Phoenix Desert Dogs outlasted the Solar Sox 9-6 on Wednesday. Josh Vitters returned to the diamond and went 2-for-4. He doubled to drive in two in the fifth inning in which the Sox plated four total tallies. Vitters also walked, stole a base and scored a run. Ryan Flaherty went 1-for-5 and scored on Vitters’ double. Jeff Muyco gave up four runs (3 ER) on five hits and three walks in a horrific 3.2 inning start. Chris Carpenter surrendered two runs, a walk and three hits in his 1.1 innings. Kyle Smit also pitched poorly. He gave up three runs on five hits and was pinned with the loss to drop to 3-2. Click for full box score.

The Scottsdale Rafters edged Mesa 6-5 on Thursday afternoon. Ryan Flaherty batted second in the order, but he finished the day hitless in four tries. Ryan did draw a walk, but he struck out twice. DH Josh Vitters went 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored. Click for full box score.

The Solar Sox and Desert Dogs played to a 2-2 tie in a Friday matinee at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. All of the scoring in the game took place in the second inning. Ryan Flaherty went 1-for-3 with a walk. He knocked in one of his team’s runs on a day that runs were hard to come by. David Cales allowed a hit and a walk, but still squeaked out of his inning of work unscathed. Click for full box score.

Mesa’s woes continued as the Peoria Javelinas scored five in the seventh and went on to an 8-7 victory on Saturday. Vitters went 1-for-5 with a walk and a run scored. Flaherty did not start but he did enter the game as a pinch runner. Chris Carpenter worked the fourth inning and surrendered one run on two hits. Kyle Smit tossed a shutout frame. Click for full box score.

AFL East Standings
Scottsdale: 18-10
Mesa: 13-14, 4.5 GB
Phoenix: 9-17, 8 GB

AFL West Standings
Peoria Javelinas: 18-8
Surprise 14-10, 4 GB
Peoria Saguaros: 8-19, 10.5 GB

Mesa Solar Sox Upcoming Games
*All Times CST
Today VS Phoenix 1:35
Tuesday @Surprise 1:35
Wednesday @Scottsdale 7:35
Thursday VS Peoria Saguaros 1:35

Arizona Fall League Championship Game
Unfortunately, there will not be a second chance to see Cubs’ prospects play on television this fall. The MLB Network will carry the AFL Championship on Saturday, but the Solar Sox have been mathematically eliminated from winning the AFL East. The Scottsdale Scorpions will meet the Peoria Javelinas (unless the Javelinas lose out and Surprise wins out) on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on the MLB Network starting at 1:30pm CST. The Scorpions’ roster includes players from the Rockies, Nationals, Orioles, Giants and D’backs. The Javelinas are comprised of prospects from the Indians, Astros, Mariners, Red Sox and Blue Jays.

Caribbean Winter Leagues
Austin Bibens-Dirkx continued to pitch well for Zulia in his outing on Wednesday. He went five scoreless innings to improve his record to 2-2 and drop his ERA to 1.57. Tony Campana supported his fellow Smokie with an RBI single. A couple of other Cubs in the VWL are Marwin Gonzalez and Brandon Guyer, both of whom have stayed hot for Caracas and Aragua respectively. Gonzalez is hitting .360 with two homers and 20 RBIs in 24 games. Guyer has a .348 average in 19 games with a homer and seven batted in.

A couple of Cubs prospects are participating in the Australian Baseball League this winter. Ryan Searle pitched in his first game this week and got the loss despite allowing just two runs in 4.2 innings. LHP Cody Hams has given up four runs in just two games so far.

Marco Carrillo and Oswaldo Martinez are both seeing time on the hill in the Mexican Pacific League. Carrillo hasn’t pitched since getting touched for five runs in two innings on Nov.7. Martinez walked both men he faced on Thursday but rebounded with a shutout inning on Friday. His ERA is 6.59 in 11 games.

Catcher Welington Castillo is still putting along offensively in the Dominican Winter League. He went a combined 2-for-11 in four games last week and is currently hitting just .171 in 11 contests overall.

Down on the Farm Report Notes
Look for the Down on the Farm Report every Monday throughout the offseason! Follow me on twitter at for updates from the Arizona Fall League this week. If you have any questions or comments, email me at [email protected]. Please visit my Chicago Cubs blog at

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax