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.