While the Cubs were busy beating the Dodgers in the NLCS and earning the National League Pennant, the rest of the system remained hard at work. The Dominican Winter League opened with Stephen Fife pitching a gem. Bryant Flete remained hot for Zulia in the Venezuela, and Christian Villanueva put on quite a show in Mexico.
Meanwhile in Arizona, pitchers Ryan McNeil and James Farris continued to impress. But the big story was the return to action of Kyle Schwarber.
All the details are inside this week’s addition of Down on the Farm Report.
Arizona Fall League
Mesa evened their record at 3-3 in grand fashion last Monday as the Solar Sox destroyed Scottsdale 11-2. Eloy Jimenez lined up in right field and clean-up and was 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.
The offense provided for the Solar Sox on Tuesday as they doubled up Scottsdale 6-3. Duane Underwood Jr. started and gave up a home run to former teammate Gleyber Torres as he allowed two earned runs and struck out two in 3.1 innings. Victor Caratini caught Underwood and was 1-for-4 with a double.
It was a pitcher’s duel on Wednesday as Mesa came out on the short end of a 2-1 loss to Peoria. Ryan McNeil came into the game in the sixth and worked around a walk and a hit in two scoreless innings. James Farris had a strikeout in a scoreless eighth inning. Both Eloy Jimenez and Victor Caratini went 0-for-4 in the loss.
After the first two innings on Thursday, the Solar Sox offense went into hibernation as they lost 3-2 to Glendale. Victor Caratini started at catcher and was 0-for-3 in the loss.
On Friday, it was back to .500 for Mesa as they beat Scottsdale 4-3. Ian Happ and Eloy Jimenez were the only Cubs representatives, each going 0-for-4.
A close game was blown open in the eighth inning as the Solar Sox bowed to Salt River 7-2. The game marked the AFL debut of Kyle Schwarber, who was added to the taxi squad. Schwarber went 0-for-3 with a walk while Victor Caratini started at first base and was 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Dominican Winter League
Cibaenas could not overcome a five-run first inning last Sunday as they lost to Cibao 8-3. Pedro Araujo pitched the eighth and had a strikeout in a perfect inning.
Estrellas de Oriente
Oriente was able to hold off Escogido on Saturday was they doubled the Lions up 6-3. Stephen Fife started and struck out six in five innings, allowing an earned run on three hits.
Mexican Pacific League
Yaquis de Obregon
After scuffling all week, Obregon got back into the win column on Friday with an 11-8 victory over Navojoa. Christian Villanueva remains the team’s designated hitter and went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
The Yaquis stepped on the gas in the middle innings on Saturday and blew past Hermosillo 8-4. Christian Villanueva remained at DH and was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
On Sunday, it was a one man wrecking crew that led the Tribe to a 5-4 come from behind victory over Hermosillo. Christian Villanueva was virtually unstoppable as he was 4-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI including the game-winner in the ninth, and two runs scored.
Venezuelan Winter League
Aguilas de Zulia
Zulia remained the hottest team in the league on Monday as they shut out Lara 6-0. Bryant Flete lined up in left field and went 1-for-4 in the victory.
The Aguilas continued to flex their muscles on Wednesday in a 9-2 pasting of Aragua. Bryant Flete stayed in left field and had a big night, going 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
On Friday, the Eagles persisted in their march through the VWL as they edged out Caracas 4-3. Bryant Flete continued to play left field and was 1-for-4 in the win.
Cardenales de Lara
A ninth inning rally was not enough for Lara on Friday, as they lost 3-2 to Magallanes. Yapson Gomez recorded an out as he pitched to one batter in the sixth inning.
Caribes de Anzoategui
Anzoategui tried to remain with the leaders on Thursday as they beat Magallanes 11-3. Mark Malave saw his first action of the winter, recording a strikeout in pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
The Caribes were in control almost from the onset on Sunday as they beat Aragua 9-2. Mark Malave worked around a walk and a hit for a scoreless ninth inning.
Navegantes del Magallanes
Magallanes tried to keep pace in the VWL on Tuesday with a 5-3 victory over Anzoategui. Gerardo Concepcion entered with two outs in the fourth inning and had two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings for the win.
The Navegantes fell back on Thursday as they lost to Anzoategui 11-3. Greyfer Eregua took the mound in the fifth inning and allowed an earned run.
On Saturday, the Navigators remained inconsistent as they fell to Margarita 6-4. Greyfer Eregua was summoned in the fifth inning and had three strikeouts in two perfect innings.
A sputtering offense could not muster enough runs for Magallanes on Sunday as they lost to Caracas 4-3. Gerardo Concepcion relieved with one out in the fifth and allowed an earned run while striking out two in 1.1 innings.
Tigres de Aragua
It was a trying night for Aragua on Wednesday as they fell hard to Zulia 9-2. Armando Rivero came on in the eighth and pitched a scoreless inning in the loss.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned C/OF Kyle Schwarber to the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League.