It was a week for openings, as the Arizona Fall League, as well as the Mexican Pacific League and the Venezuelan Winter League all started play. There is more to come as the Dominican Winter League began on Friday, while the Puerto Rican League opens in the beginning of November. So welcome back to baseball in warmer climes.
Note: Coverage of the winter leagues will be by calendar week, Sunday through Saturday
Arizona Fall League
Mesa Solar Sox
It was a baseball rarity in the AFL opener on Tuesday as Mesa tied Glendale 8-8 in ten innings. Jorge Soler went 1-for-6 with a double and an RBI, while Kris Bryant drove in two and was 3-for-6 with a double. Matt Loosen was the second pitcher to see action for the Solar Sox and he allowed two unearned runs while striking out a batter in two innings. Lendy Castillo was also used in relief and was hung with three unearned runs in his inning of work with a strikeout. Armando Rivero was impressive in his debut, striking out the side in the eighth.
The Cubs’ prospects flexed their muscles on Wednesday as Mesa beat Glendale 13-3. Albert Almora got his first start and hit leadoff. Almora sent the first pitch he saw into the stands as he was 4-for-5 with a double and three RBI along with his home run. Jorge Soler continues to scrape off the rust as he went 1-for-5 and drove in three runs with a double. Kris Bryant also contributed to a four run first inning by bashing his first home run. Bryant drove in two runs and went 2-for-3 with three RBI. Bryant was replaced by Wes Darvill, who joined in the fun by smacking a two-run home run in his only at bat.
It was a relatively quiet day for Cubs’ prospects on Thursday as Mesa defeated Salt River 8-1. Only Albert Almora, playing right field, saw any action. Almora went 2-for-5 with a triple and three RBI. Almora’s three-basehit came in the ninth with the bases loaded and broke the game open for the Solar Sox.
Mesa remained the only unbeaten team on Friday as they beat Surprise 7-3. Dallas Beeler got the start and struck out two in three innings while allowing an earned run. Beeler was awarded the victory for his efforts. Beeler also picked-off two base runners. Lendy Castillo also gave up an earned run as he worked around a hit and two walks in an inning pitched. Designated hitter Kris Bryant remained red hot and went 2-for-5 with his second home run and two RBI. Wes Darvill started at third and was 1-for-3 with two walks and a RBI. Right fielder Jorge Soler was 1-for-5 in the game.
Mexican Pacific League
Tomateros de Culiacan
Iowa Cubs reliever Marcus Hatley picked up his first save of the winter as he struck out two in a perfect inning as the Tomato Pickers defeated Mazatlan 3-1 in their league opener on Saturday.
Venezuelan Winter League
Leones de Caracas
Iowa pitcher Yoanner Negrin had a stellar opening night for the Lions on Thursday as Caracas beat Margarita 8-1. Negrin went five scoreless innings and gave up only two hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
Boise pitcher Loiger Padron saw some action on Saturday as the Pride lost to Aragua 9-8. Padron struck out two in two innings of relief and allowed an earned run.
Tiburones de La Guaira
Tennessee pitcher Eduardo Figueroa was able to pick up a win in relief as the Sharks defeated Anzoategui on Friday. Figueroa pitched 1.1 innings for the Hammerheads and allowed an earned run on two hits and a walk.
Aguilas del Zulia
Tennessee reliever Yeiper Castillo had four strikeouts and no earned runs in a 2.1 inning effort as the Eagles lost 4-3 to Aragua on Friday.
News and Notes
Play has continued in the Fall Instructional League, as IF Ben Carhart received his first start at catcher on Friday. Top international signee IF Gleyber Torres has yet to record a hit, while C Tyler Alamo hit his first professional home run. Two 2013 draft picks, third round selection OF Jacob Hannemann and 19th round pick C Will Remillard, have returned from an injury. Among some of the better pitching performers have been Jose Arias, Daury Torrez, Jose Rosario, Duane Underwood, and Michael Wagner.