Cubs Prospects Off to a Good Start in the AFL

The Arizona Fall League season is only two days old and the Cubs’ prospects have made a good first impression.

Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant have suited up for both of the Mesa Solar Sox’s first two games. After going 1-for-6 with a double, a RBI and two strikeouts on Tuesday, Soler went 1-for-5 with a double, three RBI, two runs scored and a strikeout on Wednesday. Soler is 2-for-11 with two doubles and four RBI in his first game action since June. Soler was in right field on Tuesday and served as the team’s DH on Wednesday.

Kris Bryant went 3-for-6 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored on Tuesday and followed his AFL debut with a strong 2-for-3 performance on Wednesday that included a home run, three RBI and a walk. Bryant has played third base in both games, and is 5-for-9 with a home run, a double, a walk and five RBI. Bryant committed a fielding error on Wednesday when he reportedly lifted his head too soon on a grounder.

Albert Almora did not play on Tuesday but announced his presence with authority on Wednesday. Almora went deep in his first at bat hitting leadoff for the Solar Sox and finished the game 4-for-5 with a home run, a double, three RBI and three runs scored. Almora reportedly played a solid game in centerfield and continues to impress scouts defensively.

Wes Darvill (1-for-1 with a home run and two RBI) made the most of his only at bat on Wednesday. Taking over at third for Kris Bryant, Darvill cranked a 420 foot home run, a two-run shot in the eighth inning.

The Solar Sox scored 13 runs on Wednesday, 11 of those were driven in by Bryant, Almora, Soler and Darvill.

On the pitching front, three of the four Cubs’ pitchers on the Solar Sox roster made an appearance on Tuesday. Matt Loosen gave up two unearned runs on two hits in two innings with a walk and a strikeout while Lendy Castillo was also a victim of poor defense. Castillo surrendered three unearned runs on three hits in his inning of work.

Armando Rivero was lights out on Tuesday. Rivero struck out the side in order on 15 pitches, 12 for strikes.

Bowman Hitting Challenge

The Arizona Fall League’s inaugural Bowman Hitting Challenge will take place on Oct. 12 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. The inaugural event is being billed as a home-run derby environment.

Seven of the top prospects in the game will take part in the challenge, including the Cubs’ Albert Almora.

Hitters taking part in the event will receive two minutes to hit against live pitching and be rewarded for points between 100-500. Hitters can also earn points by hitting a wide array of targets on the field and their final swing will come off a tee and be worth double points.

Power and Speed

Baseball America released their list of the top 10 power-speed prospects on Wednesday and two of the Cubs’ top prospects made the cut.

Javier Baez put together a 20-20 season. Baez hit 37 home runs and swiped 20 bases while being caught four times. Baez led the minors with 75 extra basehits.

Arismendy Alcantara fell five home runs short of 20 longballs and the switch hitter stole 31 bases while being caught six times. Alcantara has been successful swiping bases at a 85 percent clip the past two seasons.

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Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    I have to think it will be very hard for the Cubs to leave Bryant off the mlb team if he performs in ST. Maybe that allows Olt to get back to form at AAA, either increasing his trade value, or allowing him to come up mid-year at 3B and shifting Bryant into the OF.

    • triple

      Bryant definitely appears to be the kind of player who can make a quick impact. If he makes the team out of ST, it will be because he’s blown away everybody in the FO and on the coaching staff. I think it may be fairly realistic for him to be playing in Chicago by August.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I think the Cubs will be patient with Bryant and Baez for three reasons:
      1. They have no hope of winning in 2014.
      2. They want to thoroughly prepare him for a solid career in MLB.
      3. To save money and keep him as far from FA as possible.

      Having said that, I am very happy that Team Theo drafted Bryant.

      • Tony_Hall

        I think they will call him up when he has completed his development plan. Now they might wait a few weeks if it happens in an early May, as it makes no sense to not wait a few weeks if it keeps them from being a Super 2.

        He is going to hit, I think everyone agrees on that, where he plays on the field could be a work in progress between the OF and 3B.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Reverse #3 and #1.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I put my list down in no particular order.
          I agree with your priorities.

  • Ripsnorter1

    ESPN says Renteria will meet with Cubs now.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Cards won vs. Pirates. Let’s see…the last three years the Pirates started to make a
    move up. Twice they died in August, and this year finally made the playoffs. But they
    were eliminated. Cubs’ fans should note how hard it is to make the jump WITHOUT BATS.

    Cards were #1 in NL in runs, #3 in MLB.
    Pirates were #9 in NL in runs, #20 in MLB,

    The Pirates cannot hit LHP. The Pirates were 28th in MLB vs LHP, just in front
    of the Cubs and White Sox. (As measured by runs scored).

    Vs. RHP, the Pirates were 15th. Cubs were 20th.

    In slugging, vs. LHP, Pirates were #10 (Cubs 13th).
    Vs. RHP, Pirates were 17th, Cubs 18th.

    Contrast the Cards:
    Runs vs LHP: 12th
    Slug vs LHP: 25th

    Runs vs RHP: #2
    SLug vs RHP” #7

    The Cards have a strong offense, but you can see it’s weakness now…..

  • Ripsnorter1

    Even with Puig and Henry Rodriguez….LAD are not great runs producers.
    #17 in MLB, #7 in NL.

    Pitching:
    Cards #5 in ERA
    LAD #2 in ERA.
    Atlanta was #1 in ERA, and they are gone.

    BAA:
    1. Reds. Gone. .236
    2. Pirates. .238
    3. Dodgers. .243
    4. Atlanta. Gone. .244
    5. Cubs. Never got there. .244
    6. Cards. .249

  • Ripsnorter1

    I think runs allowed is the best way to judge team’s chances of winning, because it takes into
    account team defense. WHIP is a poor way to judge a team’s pitching, because it
    doesn’t take into account the slugging, or percentage of H vs BB. Even ERA is better
    than WHIP. WATCH THIS:

    Runs Allowed:…………….ERA…………………..WHIP
    1. Atl…548………………….3.18……………………#1 Reds 1.17
    2. Pit…577………………….3.26 (#3)……………..#2 Atl 1.20
    3. LAD..582………………..3.25 (#2)……………..#3 Nats 1.23
    4. Red..589………………..3.38…………………….#4 LAD 1.23
    5. Card…596………………3.42…………………….#5 Pit 1.23
    #6 Cards 1.24

    • Tony_Hall

      There is no one stat that puts everything together and gives you a perfect list.

      WAR is pretty close though!

      • 07GreyDigger

        NO. WAR IS EVVVVVIIILLLLLLLL!

      • cubtex

        WAR….What is it good for???? Absolutely Nothing! Say it again GreyDigger!!!! Haaaaaaah

        • 07GreyDigger

          Boo.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Speaking of WAR for the haters, I found some interesting. This is total team WAR.

        Top 5
        Red Sox
        Tigers
        Rangers
        Rays
        Royals

        Bottom 5
        Marlins
        Astros
        White Sox
        Cubs
        Padres

        In the Top 5 you have 3 playoff teams and the bottom 5 you have 4 of the worst records in the league.

        Check out the list if you are so inclined.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=Team

        • cubtex

          thank you for helping my cause. of course the bottom teams will be bad no matter what stat you use. that goes without saying….but to say the Royals,Rays and Rangers are 3 of the top 5 teams in baseball??? again…..thank you for posting this.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Proving your point huh?
            Here’s the eight team’s rankings in WAR who made the playoffs.

            Red Sox: 1st
            Tigers: 2nd
            Rays: 4th
            Dodgers: 6th
            A’s: 7th
            Pirates: 8th
            Cardinals: 11th
            Braves: 17th

            6 of the 8 playoff teams are in the top ten for WAR. Yes, there are some anomolies in the Braves and Cardinals. But you know what? Remember the Bell Curve? In stats, there’s always an anomoly. It just happens.

          • cubtex

            Let it go digger.

            I’ll just say that if you are ok with a formula that says the Cards are only the 11th best team in baseball and the Braves are in the bottom half(17th) good for you.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I am OK with that. You should be too. :)

          • Tony_Hall

            Once again, that is not what this says.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yup, WAR doesn’t figure out. And note the Cards aren’t on the list.

            Let’s talk Rangers. Their record is a mirage. They went 17-2 vs Houston
            Astros. That inflated their win total–they played a AAA or maybe even an Class
            A team 19 times.

          • 07GreyDigger

            WAR really isn’t about records, it’s more about your player’s value against a replacement player. Runs are converted to “wins.” So wins and losses aren’t even considered.

            It’s kind of putting a value “wins” wise on how important a player is to your team. Take Mike Trout. He was a 9.2 WAR rating this season. Angels won 78 games. Without him would they have won the same amount?

            That’s how wins and losses tie in I think and that’s why a talented guy like Trout is only worth 9 WAR. While one of the best players in the game, he isn’t capable of carrying the team on his back.

            Make better sense?

          • Tony_Hall

            All any team can do is play the next team on the schedule.

          • Tony_Hall

            I really don’t see what you think is helping your cause. WAR is not perfect. It, just like all stats won’t put the teams in a power rankings. There are teams in the 6th, 7th, spots as well and all 5 teams at the top had above average seasons. It is not like it showed the Cubs in the Top 10 or something.

            This did not say that the Royals, Rays, and Rangers are 3 of the top 5 teams in baseball. You just don’t get WAR, you don’t really have to prove it to all of us every time it comes up in discussion.

    • cubtex

      Cmon RIP. You know those old school stats like that aren’t any good :)

  • Tony_Hall

    At least one MLB.com writer things the Cubs made the best pick in the 2013 draft, he says he would go 1st today.

    http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article/chc/hindsight-says-cubs-kris-bryant-should-have-been-no-1-draft-pick?ymd=20131007&content_id=62642278&vkey=news_chc

    • Ripsnorter1

      I agree.

  • cubtex

    So Girardi signed a 4 year 16 mil deal. Cubs supposedly offered more. I guess it is not all about the Benjamins.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Like I said, he paid $14 million not to have to come to the Cubs.
      5 years @ $6 million per in Chicago.

      • cubtex

        Not if Girardi has 7 kids :)))) That’s a lot of school switching.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Let his wife home school them, and it won’t matter where they live!

          LOL

          • Tony_Hall

            7 kids homes schooled….do you home school with 7 kids

          • Ripsnorter1

            No. My wife does.

            LOL

            It’s easy. Really. It’s not that hard.
            Right now, five homeschooled; two in college. My son in college is studying
            electrical engineering. Making straight A’s thus far.

          • Tony_Hall

            Hats off to you. I have lots of respect for good parenting.

    • triple

      Please show me the facts about where the Cubs offered Girardi a contract. It’s funny how you guys are posting about this situation as if it’s common knowledge, like highschool girls spreading rumors. Where are the facts posted that Theo and Jed talked with Girardi and offered him a contract while he was still under contract with the Yankees? It’s all just speculation. I feel like you and Rip always post as if it is a fact, when it is not.

      • cubtex

        wow! calling me a high school girl? nice!!!
        Wasn’t it common knowledge that the Cubs would go higher than 4 mil per year? This is not an insult to the Cubs FO or anyone else. I said that it isn’t all about the money with Girardi and he has proven that is the case. Would the Cubs have gone higher than 4 at 16? I believe so. Would the Nats have? The point is that he wasn’t chasing the “Benjamins”

        and I did say “supposedly”

        • Tony_Hall

          I’ve never even gone there…..

          It was common knowledge that reporters were saying that the Cubs were willing to not be outbid. They never got their chance, but obviously made it known, unofficially of course, that they were interested.

    • Tony_Hall

      It wasn’t about money, it was about what is best for his family. They are happy in NY and kids are in school, so he is going to let them stay in their school. Nothing wrong with that at all.

      • cubtex

        Exactly! That was my point! It was never about the money.

  • Tony_Hall

    Take a look at the new spring training faciltiy in Mesa. Almost done.

    http://boysofspring.com/sneak-peek-cubs-spring-training-digs-mesa/

    Take a look and tell me again how cheap Tom Ricketts is being!

    • Eugene Debs

      Mesa’s cost to design and construct the Stadium and related facilities is $84 million, with an additional cost to design and construct public infrastructure not to exceed $15 million. I’m not sure how much the Cubs paid for, but the fine citizens of Mesa sure chipped in. The facility will be city-owned.

      • Tony_Hall

        I can’t find anything that shows how much the Cubs are investing in the area. Any costs over the $99M go to the Cubs and the Cubs are responsible for developing the immediate area. Mesa sure gets the financial impact to their community that the Cubs have for all of the area business’s. Too bad Wrigleyville politicians and business’s don’t get it.

        http://www.azfamily.com/news/Chicago-Cubs-new-Mesa-spring-training-facility-taking-shape-197917841.html

        • Eugene Debs

          No doubt, Mesa wanted them and was willing to foot the bill. It’s a great facility. I have no problem with how the Cubs handled it, but I’m just not sure it’s a sign of a willingness to spend money. Either way, it’s a major upgrade.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree its’ not a great way, but they do have money invested in Mesa, they have invested around Wrigley and in Wrigley and they have invested in the Dominican. Many owners (like all of our past ones) would have done nothing more in these areas and just put band-aides on the issues. Ricketts is building this the right way in facilities and in the baseball operations.

  • Eugene Debs

    Girardi made the right move. Stinks for us, but come on.