Rosters for the 2015 Arizona Fall League were announced Tuesday and Mesa Solar Sox’s first roster consists of eight Cubs’ prospects.
Mesa’s roster is constructed with players from the Cubs, Angels, Marlins, A’s and Rays. Mark Johnson, Myrtle Beach’s manager and Carolina League skipper of the year, will call the shots for the Solar Sox in the dugout this fall.
Opening Day of the 2015 Arizona Fall League is Oct. 13. The AFL Championship game is Nov. 21.
RHP Corey Black
Corey Black was in big league camp last spring on a non-roster invite. And many thought in Spring Training, Black would be called up at some point to the majors this year and pitch out of Joe Maddon’s bullpen. Black has really struggled making the transition from starter to reliever.
Corey Black is 3-5 in 34 games for Double-A Tennessee, nine starts, with a 4.83 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Black has given up 65 hits with 46 walks and 98 strikeouts in 82 innings. Black has also hit six batters.
The Cubs have a decision to make with Corey Black. He has a big arm and electric stuff. But struggles with his command. Black is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft and will have to be added to the 40-man roster to protect him. Black could really use a good showing in the AFL.
RHP David Garner
The Cubs selected David Garner in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. The 22-year old (Sept. 21) has put together a good season with Low-A South Bend and High-A Myrtle Beach. Combined, Garner is 4-1 in 29 games, all in relief, with a 3.42 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Garner has allowed 43 hits with 17 walks and 62 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.
David Garner has pitched rather well since his promotion to High-A Myrtle Beach. In 13 appearances, Garner is 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. Garner has given up 16 hits with seven walks and 31 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings.
RHP Pierce Johnson
Pierce Johnson has had a very good, but short, season with Double-A Tennessee. Johnson was slowed at the beginning of the year with injuries for the second straight spring and his inclusion has to do more with making up time he missed this year than anything else.
Johnson is 6-2 in 15 starts with Double-A Tennessee. Johnson has allowed 23 runs, 21 earned, on 68 hits with 31 walks and 69 strikeouts in 88 innings (2.15 ERA, 1.13 WHIP).
Pierce Johnson is Rule 5 Draft eligible and will be added to the 40-man roster prior to the deadline. Johnson could be a factor in the big leagues next season if he can stay healthy. Getting innings on his arm and continuing his development in the Arizona Fall League is the right call.
LHP Rob Zastryzny
The Cubs selected LHP Rob Zastryzny in the second round of the 2013 draft. And the lefty has really struggled this year while dealing with injuries. Zastryzny is 2-5 in 14 starts with a 6.23 ERA and 1.73 WHIP. In 60 2/3 innings, Zastryzny has allowed 47 runs, 42 earned, on 77 hits with 28 walks and 48 strikeouts.
Rob Zastryzny could use a positive end to what has been a rough season for him.
C/1B Cael Brockmeyer
Cael Brockmeyer has spent time at each of the top four levels in the Cubs’ system this year. In 107 games between Low-A South Bend, High-A Myrtle Beach, Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Brockmeyer has hit .257/.342/.396 with 23 doubles, a triple and nine home runs for a .738 OPS. And he’s caught 59 games and played 30 games at first base.
C Willson Contreras
Willson Contreras has had a breakout season. Contreras could be the best defensive catcher in the system and he’s put it together at the plate this year. Jason McLeod is extremely high on Contreras. He should be in big league camp in the spring on a non-roster invite and extending his season is the correct decision by the front office.
Offensively, Willson Contreras is among the Southern League leaders in just about every category. Contreras has hit .326/.408/.475 with 32 doubles, four triples and eight home runs with a .833 OPS. Contreras has 55 walks and 61 strikeouts in 497 plate appearances.
3B Jeimer Candelario
Jeimer Candelario has bounced back from a rough 2014 season with an excellent year that started at High-A Myrtle Beach and will end with Double-A Tennessee.
After posting a .270/.318/.415 slash line in 82 games with the Pelicans, Jeimer Candelario has pounded the baseball in 40 games for Double-A Tennessee. Candelario has hit .295/.369/.468 with 10 doubles, a triple and four home runs for a .837 OPS.
The 21-year old, switch-hitting third baseman has hit a combined .278/.334/.431 with 35 doubles, four triples and nine home runs for a .765 OPS in 122 games between High and Double-A.
Jeimer Candelario is Rule 5 eligible and will be added to the 40-man roster.
OF Mark Zagunis
Having Mark Zagunis play in the Arizona Fall League is rather surprising with the way he slowed down in July. Zagunis had a good August after hitting the wall in his first full year of pro ball.
In 109 games for High-A Myrtle Beach this season, Zagunis has batted .273/.405/.420 with 24 doubles, five triples and eight home runs for a .825 OPS.
Mark Zagunis is among the Carolina League leaders in on-base percentage, walks, runs scored, OPS and slugging. Zagunis was the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for June.
Follow Chicago Cubs Online on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors