Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 11/22/10

The Mesa Solar end their season on a lengthy winless streak. Josh Vitters and Ryan Flaherty have slow final weeks, while Jake Muyco ends the fall with a bloated earned run average. In the mean time, several Cubs farmhands in the Caribbean continue to shine. One Cubs prospect is named a Double-A All-Star, several guys are added to the 40-man roster and spring training invites are handed out.

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

Minor League News
Last week, Topps announced its 2010 Double-A All-Star team. Tennessee Smokies outfielder Brandon Guyer was the only Cub farmhand named to the team. Guyer hit .344 this season and led the Southern League with a .588 slugging percentage. The Topps Class-A All-Star team will be announced tomorrow.

As Neil reported on the site last week, the Cubs have made some additions to their 40-man roster. Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Kyle Smit and Alberto Cabrera have all been added. These players are now protected from the Rule V Draft. The roster currently stands at 39. Friday was the deadline to protect players from the draft, which will take place at the Winter Meetings next month (Dec. 6-9). Marquez Smith, Blake Lalli, Angel Guzman, Matt Camp, Kyler Burke, Jim Adduci, Hung-Wen Chen, Marco Carrillo, Blake Parker and Austin Bibens-Dirkx are among the players left unprotected from the Rule V Draft.

The Cubs made a slew of minor league moves this week. They resigned Bryan LaHair and Bobby Scales, inked Scott Rice and granted Mark Johnson free agency. Scales, Rice and LaHair have all received non-roster invites to Spring Training. Angel Guzman, Jim Adduci and Scott Moore will also be in big league camp.

Arizona Fall League
The Mesa Solar Sox, managed by Peoria skipper Casey Kopitzke, not only missed out on the championship game, but they ended the season with a thud. The Solar Sox finished the year winless in their last eight games (0-6-2). The Scottsdale Scorpions won the AFL East and went on to top the Javelinas in the championship game.

The Sox started their final week with a 5-5 draw against the Phoenix Desert Dogs at HoHoKam Park. The two clubs have proved that they are evenly matched by tying twice in a four-day span, the first coming in Phoenix by a score of 2-2. The Solar Sox rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie Monday’s game at five. Ryan Flaherty laid down a sacrifice bunt to contribute to the rally. Flaherty went 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored on the day. Josh Vitters also pitched in with a double and a run. David Cales did a nice job working out of the fourth inning. He retired both men he faced, leaving his inherited runner stranded aboard. Click for full box score.

Surprise pounded Mesa on Tuesday by a final of 7-2. The Solar Sox scored both their runs in the top of the seventh, just before the game was called after only six and a half innings. Ryan Flaherty came on as a pinch runner and scampered around to score. Josh Vitters went 1-for-4 for the second straight day. Jake Muyco was hammered in his start, allowing six earned runs in just two innings. He was touched for five hits and issued a pair of walks. Click for full box score.

The Scorpions blanked the Solar Sox 6-0 in Scottsdale on Wednesday. Josh Vitters hit cleanup and played the hot corner, but he went hitless in four tries and struck out twice. Ryan Flaherty also failed to reach base and fanned twice. Chris Carpenter finished his solid fall with a perfect inning that included a pair of Ks. Click for full box score.

The Solar Sox dropped the final game of the season 3-1 at the hands of the Peoria Saguaros on Thursday. Josh Vitters went 1-for-3 and recorded his fifth steal of the AFL. Ryan Flaherty was 0-for-3 on the season’s final day. Kyle Smit retired the side in order in the fifth inning. Click for full box score.

Final AFL East Standings
Scottsdale 20-12, — GB
Mesa 13-17, 6 GB
Phoenix 11-17, 7 GB

Final AFL West Standings
Peoria Javelinas 20-10, — GB
Surprise 17-12, 2.5 GB
Peoria Saguaros 9-22, 11.5 GB

Final Stats for Cubs Prospects in AFL
Ryan Flaherty: 27 games, .268 AVG, .362 OBP, 0 HR, 5 RBIs
Josh Vitters: 20 games, .253 AVG, .308 OBP, 2 HR, 13 RBIs
Brett Jackson: 4 games, 3-for-12, 5 RBIs
Jake Muyco: 0-3, 10.48 ERA, 7 games, 7 starts, 22.1 IP
Chris Carpenter: 0-1, 5.52 ERA, 10 games, 0 starts, 14.2 IP
Kyle Smit: 3-2, 4.05 ERA, 10 games, 0 starts, 13.1 IP
David Cales: 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 9 games, 0 starts, 10 IP

Cubs in Winter Ball
Austin Bibens-Dirkx took the hill on Tuesday night and cruised through five innings, putting together his fifth straight solid outing. Bibens-Dirkx has not twirled any gems, but he has been consistent in every start for Zulia so far this winter. Austin allowed only one run on two hits last Tuesday night.

Marco Carrillo got his sixth Mexican Pacific League start of the year on Saturday and gave Obregon five shutout innings. He allowed only three hits but did struggle with his control, walking four. Carrillo is 2-2 with a 5.47 ERA this winter.

Ryan Searle is off to a rough start in the Australian Baseball League. He has been hit with the loss in both of his outings so far, allowing a total of six runs in ten innings. Searle spent most of the regular season at Class-A Peoria, where he went 7-8 with a 4.38 ERA in 22 games.

Marquez Smith (.264 AVG, 4 HR, 14 RBIs), Brandon Guyer (.348 AVG, 19 games) and Marwin Gonzalez (.337 AVG, 2 HR, 32 RBIs) have all put up monster numbers in Venezuela this winter. Catcher Robinson Chirinos has a .348 average through seven games with Magallanes. He singled and drove in a run on Saturday to extend his current hitting streak to six games.

With the Arizona Fall League over, I’ll have more in-depth coverage of the Caribbean Leagues starting next week!

Down on the Farm Report Notes
Look for the Down on the Farm Report every Monday throughout the off-season! Follow me on twitter at twitter.com/cubsfarmupdates for updates from the Arizona Fall League this week. If you have any questions or comments, email me at cubsblogmailbag@aol.com. Please visit my Chicago Cubs blog at www.everythingcubs.blogspot.com

Quote of the Day

"People miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it." - William Feather
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