Bijan Rademacher hit .350 in the Arizona Fall League this season. (Photo by Aldrin Capulong)
The 2014 Arizona Fall League officially wrapped up on Friday with Salt River claiming the league title over Peoria. Though the list of Cubs playing for the Solar Sox this offseason lacked the firepower and name recognition of the 2013 participants, a few lesser-known commodities earned some positive press with solid performances.
Not much is typically expected out of an AFL taxi squad player, as they generally get into games only twice a week. But Bijan Rademacher delivered the highlight stat line for any Cubs prospect in Arizona.
The outfielder hit .350/.404/.525 (AVG/OBP/SLG) and totaled a .929 OPS. Though he didn’t record enough plate appearances to win the batting title, his average was second best among players with at least 40 at-bats. He added a home run, two doubles and a triple while stealing four bases and playing solid defense.
Rademacher, the No. 20 prospect in the Cubs organization according to MLB.com, was a 13th-round pick in 2012 out of Orange Coast College in California. The outfielder spent the entire 2014 season at High-A Daytona, where he hit .281/.363/.448 with 10 homers and 22 doubles. He could be expected to start at Double-A next season.
Jacob Hannemann, who played his first full professional season in 2014, also fared well in Arizona. The athletic center fielder got into 17 games and hit .279/.328/.410. Though he didn’t add a ton of pop, the 2013 third-round pick got better acclimated to the level of talent he’ll eventually be competing against on a regular basis.
Slugger Dan Vogelbach failed to go yard in any of his 21 AFL games, but he managed to show some patience at the plate. His 17 bases on balls tied for second in the league. The 2011 second-round pick received a free pass in more than 19 percent of his plate appearances, significantly better than his 2014 regular season total of 11.8 percent.
Getting C.J. Edwards a few more trips to the mound against elite competition was important for the Cubs after the right-hander missed the first half of the regular season with shoulder issues. In six starts, the club’s top pitching prospect looked like his old self, posting a 1.80 ERA and allowing three runs in 15 innings. He also struck out 13 batters. If there’s one concern over Edwards’ body of work, it’s likely his eight walks in that span. But his 1.07 WHIP also shows that even with the free passes, opposing hitters have a tough time reaching base against him.
The other impressive pitching effort came from Ivan Pineyro. The 23-year-old missed the early portion of the regular season with forearm issues and struggled upon his return to Double-A. But those struggles went away in the AFL, as Pineyro concluded the showcase with a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings. In seven appearances, the right-hander surrendered only three runs, all in one game on Oct. 22. Even more impressive were his 16 strikeouts versus only four walks. The pitcher, acquired for Scott Hairston in 2013, could open the 2015 season at Double- or Triple-A.
It’s a good sign for the Cubs organization when some of their lesser-known farmhands excel against such tough competition. This group might have lacked the name recognition of last year’s class, but plenty of prospects ended the AFL slate on a high note.
The Arizona Fall League’s regular season came to a close Thursday with Mesa and Glendale wrapping up action in a 4-4, 11-inning tie. Plenty of Cubs farmhands got into the game with mixed results. Here are some notes from yesterday’s AFL action:
- 3B Danny Lockhart singled in the third inning and scored four batters later on a Jon Berti (Blue Jays) homer. He also led off the 11th with a single to finish the afternoon 2-for-5.
- RHP Ivan Pineyro earned his third hold of the fall, going two innings of hitless relief. He struck out three and walked none.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach recorded an RBI double in the fifth inning. He finished 1-for-5 with a walk.
- PH-DH Bijan Rademacher finished 0-for-1 with a walk in the 10th inning.
- RF Jacob Hannemann went 0-f0r-5.
A trio of Cubs pitching prospects saw action, and a position player continued his stellar fall Wednesday in Mesa’s 6-5, 11-inning loss to Peoria. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Arizona Fall League game:
- RHP C.J. Edwards got the start and went three scoreless innings, giving up one hit and one walk while striking out two batters. He finished the AFL season with a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings.
- RF Bijan Rademacher connected on a two-run homer in the fifth. He also recorded an RBI groundout in the first, a third-inning walk and a game-tying RBI single in the ninth. He went 2-for-4 in the game and improved his line to .359/.400/.538 (AVG/OBP/SLG).
- RHP Zach Cates recorded his third hold of the fall league, giving up no runs on two hits over an inning.
- LHP Gerardo Concepcion surrendered two earned runs on three hits and two walks after taking over for Edwards in the fourth inning.
Mesa will play its final game of the season Thursday, when the Solar Sox host Glendale. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 local time.
It was once again limited action for Cubs prospects as Mesa was downed by Glendale 5-2 Monday afternoon, with only one local farmhand in the lineup. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Arizona Fall League action:
- DH Jacob Hannemann reached base in his first three at-bats, singling in the fourth, doubling in the sixth and singling again to lead off the eighth. The sixth inning hit was his fourth double of the fall. He finished 3-for-4 on the day.
Mesa hosts Surprise Tuesday afternoon, with first pitch set for 2:35 local time. Lineups have not been made available but fans can check at mlb.com as the game nears.
Mesa was on the losing end of an 11-4 decision to Surprise Saturday, with only a few Cubs prospects getting into the action. Here are some notes from Saturday’s Arizona Fall League game:
- RF Bijan Rademacher singled in the sixth inning and scored two batters later for Mesa’s first run of the game. He finished 1-for-3 with a first-inning walk and a stolen base. Defensively, he recorded two outfield assists.
- PR-SS Danny Lockhart entered the game as a pinch-runner in the sixth and scored a run later that inning. He finished 0-for-1 with a stolen base.
Mesa heads to Glendale Monday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
Mesa captured an extra-innings win Thursday over Salt River. Jacob Hannemann was the only Cub to get into the game. Here are some notes from Thursday’s Arizona Fall League action:
- RF Jacob Hannemann recorded a single in the ninth inning, finishing the day 1-for-3 with a walk.
Mesa is also in action Friday, with Hannemann, Dan Vogelbach and Danny Lockhart in the lineup. Ivan Pineyro got the start and went three scoreless, giving up two hits and fanning three. Gerardo Concepcion took over in relief and has also pitched three scoreless, surrendering just one hit. To follow the game live, click the mlb.com link.
Mesa poured it on late with an 11-2 victory over Glendale Wendesday. The Solar Sox scored nine runs after the fifth inning. The Cubs’ top pitching prospect fared well on the bump and Mesa got some contributions out of the Cubs’ offensive farmhands. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Arizona Fall League action:
- RHP C.J. Edwards got the start, giving up one earned run in two innings while striking out four.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach had a pair of singles and drew a walk, finishing 2-for-4 on the day.
- LF Bijan Rademacher recorded a base hit and a walk, along with two sac flies.
- DH Danny Lockhart, making his second AFL appearance of the season, drove in a run on a sixth inning walk and scored later that inning. He was 0-for-3 on the day.
Mesa heads to Salt River Thursday, where they will see 2013 first-overall pick, right-hander Mark Appel. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 local time. The game will also be broadcast on MLB Network.
Mesa scored three runs in the first inning, and that proved to be enough in a 3-1 win over Salt River Tuesday. Both offensively and on the mound, Cubs prospects played a big role in the victory. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s Arizona Fall League action:
- RHP Armando Rivero gave up one earned run on one hit and a walk over five innings to pick up the win. He struck out four and improved to 2-4 on the season.
- DH Dan Vogelbach drove in all three Solar Sox runs on a bases-loaded single to center, scoring Tony Renda (Nationals), Cal Towey (Angels) and Daniel Robertson (Rangers). He added a fifth-inning double, going 2-for-4 on the day.
- RHP Ivan Pineyro pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two against one hit.
Mesa is in action Wednesday afternoon, hosting Glendale. C.J. Edwards will make the start for the Solar Sox.
Jacob Hannemann had another nice day at the plate, but a pair of Cubs struggled on the bump in a 7-5 loss to Scottsdale Thursday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Arizona Fall League action:
- LF Jacob Hannemann had a pair of doubles, finishing 2-for-4. He drove in two with two outs in the fourth inning, scoring Tony Renda (Nationals) and Spencer Kieboom (Nationals). His second double came in the ninth, scoring Renda again. He also recorded an outfield assist.
- RHP Armando Rivero got roughed up in 0.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits and two walks and picking up the loss.
- RHP Zach Cates gave up four runs on four hits and a walk in one inning of relief.
Mesa takes on Glendale on the road Friday, with first pitch scheduled at 12:35.
Mesa scored all their runs in one inning in a 7-5 victory over Scottsdale Wednesday. Here are some Cubs notes from yesterday’s Arizona Fall League action:
- 1B Dan Vogelbach finished 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He drew his walk in the second inning and swiped second base, his first stolen base of the fall. The slugger drove in Cal Towey (Angels) on a sac fly in the sixth.
- RF Bijan Rademacher finished 0-for-4, but recorded a big outfield assist in the eighth inning.
Cubs right-hander Armando Rivero is scheduled to start for Mesa Thursday, as the Solar Sox host Scottsdale. First pitch is at 12:35 local time.