The Solar Sox got off to a fast start behind Cubs prospect Willson Contreras and defeated Surprise 5-3 Thursday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Arizona Fall League action:
- C Willson Contreras (.308) ripped a two-run homer to left-center field to put Mesa on the board in the first inning. He also singled to left in the sixth and scored on an Eric Aguilera (Angels) groundout. Contreras was 2-for-4.
- 2B Elliot Soto (.243) singled to right in the bottom of the first for his only hit of the game. He was driven in on the Contreras homer. The infielder finished 1-for-4.
- RF Mark Zagunis (.227) reached base on a walk but was 0-for-3 on the day.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.378) had his hot bat cooled. He went 0-for-4 on the day.
Mesa heads to Scottsdale Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time. Cubs lefty Rob Zastryzny is the scheduled starter.
Mesa claimed its third win of the season, 11-10, over Surprise Wednesday. All Cubs prospects in action contributed. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s AFL matchup:
- CF Mark Zagunis (.263) stepped up in the ninth inning with the game tied at 8 and lined a three-run homer over the left-field fence to score the go-ahead runs. He also recorded an RBI single in a three-run sixth inning, finishing 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBI.
- RHP Corey Black (6.75) pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win. He entered the game with two outs in the seventh, allowing just one base runner on a walk.
- DH Jeimer Candelario (.424) ripped a two-run double to left to get Mesa some big runs in the eighth inning. The third baseman also opened up the fourth with a single to right, going 2-for-5 on the day.
- SS Elliot Soto (.242) singled twice in his first two at-bats. Soto was also hit by a pitch in the eighth inning and eventually scored. He went 2-for-5.
- C Cael Brockmeyer (.143) singled in the ninth inning and was eventually driven in on the Zagunis homer. He added an RBI groundout in the eighth and a pair of walks to finish 1-for-3.
Mesa was unable to carry momentum from Monday’s comeback win into Tuesday, as the Solar Sox fell 9-5 to Glendale. Here is how Cubs prospects fared during yesterday’s game:
- SS Elliot Soto (.214) singled on a line drive to center in the fourth, scoring a pair of runs to temporarily put the Solar Sox ahead. He also drew a walk in the third inning to finish 1-for-3.
- DH Willson Contreras (.286) drew a fourth-inning walk and scored three batters later on a Stephen McGee (Angels) sacrifice fly. He was 0-for-4 on the day.
- RHP David Garner (0.00) pitched a scoreless ninth inning for Mesa, striking out one and walking one in the hitless frame.
Mesa heads to Surprise Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
Some late-game heroics boosted Mesa to a 10-9 win over Glendale Monday. Four Cubs prospects recorded hits in a six-run ninth inning that led the Solar Sox to victory. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action:
- C Willson Contreras (.323) doubled in the eighth inning and singled in the ninth, going 2-for-4 on the game. He also recorded a sac fly in the third inning and scored both times he reached base.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.429) added a ninth-inning, two-run double that scored the then-game-tying and go-ahead runs. He finished 1-for-5.
- RF Mark Zagunis (.200) led off the ninth inning with a double to center. He was driven in two batters later. Zagunis drew a two-out walk in the first inning, going 1-for-4.
- SS Elliot Soto (.200) recorded an RBI single in the ninth inning for his lone hit of the game. He also reached on an error in the first. He scored runs on both occasions in his 1-for-4 effort.
- RHP Pierce Johnson (6.55) gave up two earned runs in 4.0 innings, striking out one in the no-decision.
Cubs pitchers were solid for the Solar Sox on Saturday, but Mesa dropped a 5-4 game to Salt River to fall to 1-9 on the season. Here are some Cubs notes from this weekend’s action:
- LHP Rob Zastryzny (4.91) struck out seven batters in 5.0 innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits and walking none in the no-decision. He exited the game with a 4-2 lead.
- RHP Corey Black (9.00) struck out two in an inning of work, giving up two hits and an unearned run, to earn his first hold of the season.
- RHP David Garner (0.00) also picked up a hold, pitching a scoreless eighth inning and striking out one.
- C Willson Contreras (.296) drove in the first run in a three-run third inning when he ripped a double to left field, scoring Chad Hinshaw (Angels). The next batter, Renato Nunez (Athletics), drove him in with a single up the middle. Contreras was 1-for-4 with a walk.
- 2B Elliot Soto (.190) had a one-out single to center in the third inning, finishing the afternoon 1-for-4.
Mesa heads to Glendale Monday, with Cubs pitcher Pierce Johnson scheduled to make the start.
Four members of the Cubs’ system got into Mesa’s 5-3 loss to Peoria on Thursday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s AFL action:
- SS Elliot Soto recorded a pair of singles and finished 2-for-3 on the day.
- RHP Corey Black pitched a scoreless eighth inning, surrendering one hit.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario and C Willson Contreras, two of the league’s hottest hitters, were kept in check as they both wrapped up the day 0-for-4.
Though Mesa pitching was off in a 20-6 loss to Surprise Sunday, Cubs prospects put on an offensive display, including one extraordinary effort. Here are some notes from Cubs players in action yesterday in the Arizona Fall League:
- 3B Jeimer Candelario had a game for the ages, ripping a solo shot in the third and another in the ninth. He also recorded three doubles, including run-scoring at-bats in the first and seventh innings. He finished the day 5-for-5 with 14 total bases and four RBI.
- 1B Willson Contreras recorded a single to lead off the second and an eighth-inning blast. The Cubs Minor League Player of the Year completed the day 2-for-4 with a walk.
- 2B Elliot Soto went 0-for-4 with an RBI groundout.
- RHP Corey Black struggled in an inning of work, surrendering four earned runs in relief.
The Chicago Cubs today named catcher Willson Contreras and right-handed pitcher Ryan Williams the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.
Contreras and Williams will be honored during an on-field ceremony prior to the Cubs 7:05 p.m. CT game next Monday, Sept. 28, against the Kansas City Royals at Wrigley Field.
Contreras, 23, led the Southern League with a .333 batting average (151-for-454) to go along with 71 runs, 34 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 75 RBI for Tennessee this season, his first time at the Double-A level. He ranked second in the league in doubles, RBI and on-base percentage (.413) while his .478 slugging percentage ranked third and his 217 total bases were fifth.
The right-handed hitter became the first Tennessee player to win the league batting title since Joe Gate in 1978. Contreras hit .371 (33-for-89) against left-handed pitching and posted a .323 mark (118-for-365) against right-handers. He enjoyed a season-high 14-game hitting streak from July 28-August 10, in which he batted .519 (28-for-54) and earned Player of the Week honors for July 27-August 2.
Behind the plate, Contreras recorded a .987 fielding percentage (8 E/600 TC) and threw out 27-of-97 (27.8 percent) baserunners attempting to steal. He also played eight games at third base.
Signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in December 2009, Contreras has hit .275 (465-for-1,692) with 81 doubles, 19 triples, 30 homers and 239 RBI in 462 career minor league games.
Williams, 23, combined to go 14-3 with a 2.16 ERA (34 ER/141.2 IP) in 26 games (24 starts) between Single-A South Bend and Tennessee. He walked just 18, struck out 98 and surrendered just two home runs in 537 batters faced. His 14 victories and 2.16 ERA both led the Cubs minor league system, while his 98 strikeouts ranked fifth.
Named the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of May, Williams started the year with South Bend and was 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA (7 ER/53.2 IP) in nine games (eight starts) for the Cubs before he was promoted to Double-A on June 3. He proceeded to go 10-2 with a 2.76 ERA (27 ER/88.0 IP) in 17 games (16 starts) with the Smokies, leading the team in victories, and earning Southern League Pitcher of the Week honors for August 10-16 (2-0, 0.75 ERA).
Williams was selected by the Cubs in the 10th round of the 2014 draft out of East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. He is 16-4 with a save and a 2.03 ERA (38 ER/168.1 IP) in 37 career minor league outings, including 24 starts. He has struck out 127 batters, walked just 21 and allowed only four home runs.
Myrtle Beach won its first Mills Cup championship since 2000, defeating Wilmington in walk-off fashion in Game 3, 3-2. The Pelicans swept the best-of-five series.
- RHP Duane Underwood fanned seven batters in 6.0 innings, giving up one earned run in the no-decision.
- C Victor Caratini went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. He batted .474 (9-for-19) with seven RBI in six postseason games, including three consecutive multi-hit games in the championship series. Caratini was named Mills Cup Championship Series MVP.
- CF Pin-Chieh Chen finished 3-for-5 with a walk-off RBI single in the ninth inning.
- LF Mark Zagunis went 1-for-4 with a single and a game-winning run scored in the ninth inning.
- RHP David Garner tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, striking out four batters and walking two.
Myrtle Beach claimed Game 2 of the best-of-five Mills Cup Championship Series, blanking Wilmington on the road, 2-0. The Pelicans play for the Carolina League title on Wednesday at home.
- DH Victor Caratini (.438) went 2-for-3 with two doubles (3), drew a walk and drove in both of the Pelicans’ runs (6). It marked his second game-winning RBI of the playoffs.
- CF Pin-Chieh Chen (.333) finished 2-for-4 and scored twice.
- RF Jorge Soler went 1-for-4 in his third rehab game.
- RHP Tyler Skulina earned the win, tossing 5.0 scoreless frames and surrendering just one hit.
- RHP David Berg earned his second save with a perfect ninth inning.