After clinching the AFL East Division with a 19-11-1 record, Mesa had an opportunity to claim the Arizona Fall League title on Saturday. Cubs prospect Dallas Beeler pitched well as the Sox’s starter, but Mesa couldn’t get the bats going—Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler included—in a 2-0 loss to Surprise. Despite the championship loss, Bryant was named the AFL’s MVP after hitting .364/.457/.727 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with a league-high six homers in 77 at-bats. He also led the league in total bases (56), OPS (1.184) and slugging.
Beeler was handed the loss, after giving up one earned run on two hits and a walk over five innings. He also struck out five. Bryant finished 0-for-4 at the plate while Soler was 0-for-3 . Here are the final stats for the Cubs prospects in the AFL.
Albert Almora, OF – .307/.342/.480, 75 AB, 1 HR, 6 2B, 2 3B, 12 RBI, 8 R
Kris Bryant, 3B – .364/.457/.727, 77 AB, 6 HR, 8 2B, 1 3B, 17 RBI, 22 R
Wes Darvill, UT – .171/.237/.286, 35 AB, 1 HR, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 4 R
Jorge Soler, RF – .271/.311/.376, 85 AB, 1 HR, 6 2B, 14 RBI, 11 R
Dallas Beeler – 4-1, 2.49 ERA, 21.2 IP, 9 K, 5 BB, 1.34 WHIP
Lendy Castillo – 0-0, 1.74 ERA, 10.1 IP, 7 K, 12 BB, 2.03 WHIP
Matt Loosen – 2-1, 3.29 ERA, 13.2 IP, 14 K, 6 BB, 1.54 WHIP
Armando Rivero – 0-1, 4.91 ERA, 11.0 IP, 9 K, 5 BB, 1.73 WHIP
The Solar Sox wrapped up their division Thursday with a 9-3 win over Glendale. Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler both had solid days at the plate. Mesa will take on Surprise Saturday in the AFL Championship Game. Edwin Maysonet had a pair of hits for his Puerto Rican side and Marcus Hatley racked up another save in Mexico. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action.
Arizona Fall League
Kris Bryant, 3B – Bryant walked in his first at-bat and reached base on a single in his third at-bat. He would later score on a Tyler Collins (Tigers) homer. Bryant walked again in the seventh and finished the game 1-for-3 with two walks.
Jorge Soler, RF – Soler singled in his first at-bat and reached on a fielding error in his second plate appearance. He then reached on a single past the shortstop in the top of the fifth. Collins would drive him in also on the home run as Soler finished the afternoon 2-for-5.
Marcus Hatley, RHP – Hatley racked up his fifth save of the winter, despite giving up a home run in a Culiacan win.
Edwin Maysonet, SS – Maysonet had a pair of singles for Santurce, finishing 2-for-4 in a win.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota recorded an RBI double and scored a run for Ponce.
Mesa inched one game closer to wrapping up the division title with a 3-2 win Wednesday. Cubs prospect Matt Loosen started and picked up the win for the Solar Sox, and top prospects Albert Almora and Jorge Soler both recorded hits. Elsewhere, Junior Lake had a three-hit game in the Dominican. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action.
Arizona Fall League
Albert Almora, CF – Almora led off the fourth inning with a single, but was thrown out stealing second. He went 1-for-4.
Wes Darvill, LF – Darvill went 0-for-3 at the plate Wednesday.
Matt Loosen, RHSP – It wasn’t the most efficient two innings, as Loosen gave up two hits and walked three. But he didn’t allow a runner to score and struck out one batter to earn his second win of the season (2-1). Loosen’s ERA is currently at 3.29.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero entered in the sixth and gave up no hits and one walk in a scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 4.91.
Jorge Soler, DH – Soler drew a walk in his second at-bat and added a double, finishing 1-for-3 on the afternoon.
Junior Lake, CF – Lake had a big day, going 3-for-5 with a solo home run and a pair of singles as Oriente picked up a 3-2 win.
Edwin Maysonet, SS – Maysonet was hitless in five at-bats, while batting second for Santurce Wednesday.
Jonathan Mota, 3B/1B – Mota went 0-for-3, but drew a pair of walks for Ponce.
Hector Rondon, RHP – Rondon gave up two earned runs on three hits in the ninth inning, but still recorded the win for Caracas.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Cubs reliever Justin Grimm was solid in limited action after coming over from Texas in July’s Matt Garza deal. In nine innings with the North Siders, the 25-year-old right-hander finished with a 2.00 ERA. Vine Line caught up with the newcomer to discuss his transition to Chicago, the differences between starting and relieving, and his newfound opportunity to get in on the action offensively. For all this information and more, check out the November issue of Vine Line.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS When I first came here back in April when [the Rangers] visited, the ivy wasn’t on the wall yet, and I was like, “Wow, this place looks kind of gloomy, you know?” But when I got here [as a Cub], I think my first day was a gameday, and the ivy was on the wall, and we had a good crowd. It was awesome.
FAN SUPPORT I knew the [Cubs] were one of the top franchises. I heard the fans were awesome, win or lose, which is always good. You like to see fans do that, because I don’t know if it was that way in Texas.
TRADE TALK One of the things I found hard is I came [to the Cubs] just trying to impress new people. And when you’re trying to impress other people, you don’t do what you’re capable of doing at first. Then you finally get settled in, but it takes a little bit.
STARTING OVER I think the [transition to the] bullpen is going well, honestly. It’s different—more mentally. Obviously, there’s a physical component you have to get used to, but I feel like that’s the easier part. It’s more the mental transition of going from starter to bullpen, being locked in for six, seven, eight, nine innings every fifth day and knowing when you need to be ready, to coming to the ballfield ready to go every day.
DIFFERENT STROKES I feel like I throw more fastballs out of the bullpen, attacking them with fastballs and trying to get early swings and early outs. When you’re starting, you’re trying to do that too, but you have a little bit of a different game plan. The starter is setting up the plan so when the bullpen comes in, they’ll be ready to go and be successful.
AL VS. NL The only difference I’ve seen is that you may have first and second with one out early in the game, and then the pitcher comes up. They lay down a bunt or they’re swinging or whatever it is, but it’s a free out. Well, I don’t want to say a free out, because I’ve seen a lot of these pitchers hit. But [in the AL], you have a DH. You have a pretty powerful hitter in that spot instead of a pitcher. I’m not saying pitchers can’t hit, but it’s a little different when you’ve got a hitter practicing every day compared to a pitcher.
SWING COACH I think [my swing] is all right. It needs some work for sure. I haven’t really swung since high school. I came into my first Triple-A at-bat and hit a single to right field. I had no clue what I was doing. But I think if I stay short with my swing, I’ve got a chance.
CAREER COUNSELOR My high school coach—he’s the one who came to me and said, “I think one day you’ll have a chance to play professional baseball.” After I got hurt my junior year, we spent one day together, and we just talked. He was like, “You know, you can come out of this even better.” From there on, I just took it and started working really hard and developed a strong work ethic.
The Cubs’ big three were all in the Solar Sox lineup Tuesday, and all three recorded a hit in an 8-1 Mesa win. In Puerto Rico, Edwin Maysonet had a three-hit day, and Marcus Hatley picked up a win for his club in Mexico. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action.
Arizona Fall League
Albert Almora, CF – Almora stepped up with the the bases loaded in the second and singled to left to score Tyler Collins (Tigers) from third. That was his only hit of the day. He finished 1-for-4.
Kris Bryant, 3B – Bryant singled in the fifth for his only hit of the game, going 1-for-4.
Lendy Castillo, RHP – Castillo gave up an unearned run in the eighth inning and had some control issues. He walked three and struck out one. His ERA stands at 1.74.
Jorge Soler, RF – With a runner on second in the bottom of the first, Soler drove in the game’s first run on a single to center. He also drew a walk in the third to finish 1-for-3.
Junior Lake, CF – Lake had a pair of singles, going 2-for-4 with an RBI in an Oriente loss. He also stole his fourth base of the winter.
Marcus Hatley, RHP – Hatley entered the game with one out in the top of the ninth and got both batters out before his team scored in the bottom half of the inning, giving Culiacan a 1-0 victory and Hatley his first win of the season (1-1).
Edwin Maysonet, SS – Maysonet went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored for Santurce.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota had an RBI double and recorded a walk in a 1-for-3 showing Tuesday.
Cubs prospect Dallas Beeler dominated on the mound for the Solar Sox while fellow farmhands Albert Almora and Kris Bryant did the same at the plate Monday afternoon. Also, Edwin Maysonet and Jonathan Mota each manned the shortstop position and fared well at the plate for their respective Puerto Rican squads. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action.
Arizona Fall League
Albert Almora, RF – Relegated to ninth in the batting order after some shaky plate appearances over the week, Almora got back on track Monday with a single in his first at-bat in the second inning. In the top of the fourth with nobody on and two out, the outfielder drove a double to left. In his third at-bat, he scored Devon Travis (Tigers) from third on a sharp single to center to finish 3-for-4.
Dallas Beeler, RHSP – Beeler pitched his finest game of the fall, going five scoreless innings, giving up five hits and walking none. He struck out Japhet Amador (Astros) and Stefen Romero (Mariners) and induced three double-plays. Beeler is now 4-1 with a 2.49 ERA.
Kris Bryant, 3B – Bryant got off to a fast start, ripping a double to center in his first at-bat. He advanced to third on a ground-out, and scored on a Tyler Collins (Tigers) sacrifice fly to record the first run of the game. The 2013 first-round pick drew a walk in his next appearance and had a two-out double in the seventh. He walked again in the ninth, finishing the afternoon 2-for-3 and reaching base four times.
Frank Batista, RHP – Batista pitched a scoreless ninth inning, striking out two in Cibaenas’ 8-1 win Monday.
Edwin Maysonet, SS – Batting ninth, Maysonet had a pair of singles to finish 2-for-4, despite a Santurce loss.
Jonathan Mota, SS – Mota went 2-for-5 for the Leones, driving in a run in a 7-3 victory.
The Solar Sox picked up a pair of wins this weekend, and many of the Cubs prospects got into the act. Junior Lake had a solid weekend in the Dominican, and Edwin Maysonet picked up a few hits in Puerto Rico. Here are some highlights from this weekend’s action.
Arizona Fall League
Albert Almora, LF/RF – Almora led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to left on Friday. He was driven in two batters later from second on a Brian Goodwin (Nationals) single. He finished 1-for-4.
Kris Bryant, 3B – Bryant drew two walks and went 0-for-3 on Friday. On Saturday he had an eighth-inning single and went 1-for-5 on the afternoon.
Lendy Castillo, RHP – Castillo pitched a scoreless ninth inning Friday, giving up one hit. His ERA is now at 1.93.
Wes Darvill, PH/2B – Darvill entered the game as a pinch-hitter on Saturday, grounding out in his only at-bat.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero pitched on Saturday, giving up no runs on one hit and striking out Travis Shaw (Red Sox).
Jorge Soler, RF – On Friday, Soler singled in his first at-bat and scored four batters later when Devon Travis drove him in from third (Tigers). He went 1-for-5. He singled in his first-at-bat again on Saturday, and C.J. Cron (Angels) drove him in with a homer. The Cuba native finished the day 1-for-5.
Arismendy Alcantara, PH/2B – Alcantara was hitless in three at-bats for Licey on Friday and 0-for-2 on Saturday.
Julio Borbon, CF – Borbon drew a walk in his only at-bat on Saturday for the Tigres. He was 0-for-3 on Sunday.
Marcos Mateo, RHP – The reliever pitched two innings, giving up no runs on two hits, two walks and striking out three for Oriente on Friday. He blew the save on Sunday, but earned his third win of the winter (3-0 record), giving up one earned run on one hit, walking one and striking out one.
Junior Lake, LF – Lake had a single and two walks, finishing 1-for-5 on Friday for Oriente. He added another hit on Saturday, going 1-for-4, and went 1-for-3 on Sunday with a walk and two runs scored.
Marcus Hatley, RHP – Hatley pitched a scoreless ninth inning, giving up a walk and no hits Sunday.
Edwin Maysonet, 3B – Maysonet had a single and scored a run Friday for Santurce and went 1-for-4 on Saturday with a walk and a run scored.
Jonathan Mota, 3B - Mota struggled this weekend, going hitless in three at-bats Friday and two appearances Sunday for Ponce.
Rubi Silva, LF – Silva had a pair of hits and drove in a run for Ponce on Friday and added a double on Saturday.
Frank Del Valle, LHSP – Starting for Margarita Friday, Del Valle gave up two earned runs on one hit and four walks in 3.1 innings to earn a no-decision.
Yoanner Negrin, RHSP – Negrin went five innings, giving up five earned runs and taking the loss for Caracas Sunday. He struck out four.
Lioger Padron, RHP – Padron picked up his first loss of the season Friday for the Leones, giving up a run in the 14th on two hits.
Hector Rondon, RHP – Rondon recorded a hold, pitching a scoreless inning for Caracas Friday.
Mesa scored four runs in the eighth to tie the game, but a lack of offense cost the Solar Sox in a 5-4, 11-inning loss to Glendale Thursday. Albert Almora recorded two of the club’s five hits, and Matt Loosen pitched well despite earning the loss. Elsewhere, Junior Lake tore it up at the plate in the Dominican, and Eduardo Figueroa picked up a win in Venezuelan league play. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action.
Arizona Fall League
Albert Almora, CF – Almora recorded his first hit of the game in the eighth inning, when he ripped a single to right, scoring Max Muncy (Athletics) from third. He scored two batters later on a Devon Travis (Tigers) single to tie the game at four. He singled again in the 10th on a line drive to right.
Matt Loosen, RHP – Loosen got the side out in order in the bottom of the 10th, including a Jared Mitchell (White Sox) strikeout. He gave up a leadoff double in the 11th, and after fanning Marcus Semien (White Sox), Travis Mattair (Reds) singled down the right-field line, scoring Colin Moran (Marlins) from second to end the game. His final line read: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 0 BB.
Mesa will host Surprise Friday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 CST. Sammy Solis (Nationals) will pitch for the Solar Sox, while Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles) will take the mound for the Saguaros.
Junior Lake, LF – Lake had a huge day, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a double in an 8-4 Estrellas loss.
Eduardo Figueroa, RHSP – Starting for the Tiburones, Figueroa earned the win going five scoreless innings, fanning seven and walking one while giving up six hits. He is 2-1 on the season.
Lioger Padron, RHP – Padron pitched one inning, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk as Caracas lost 13-1.
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Cubs and Rick Renteria came to terms on a three-year deal with club options for 2017 and 2018 Thursday, making the 51-year-old California native the 53rd manager in the franchise’s history.
Renteria comes to the organization with 30 years of pro baseball experience, most recently serving as the Padres’ bench coach from 2011-13 and first base coach from 2008-10. He also spent eight seasons as a minor league manager with San Diego as well as the Marlins and played professionally for 13 seasons. His most recent managing experience comes from his time in charge of Team Mexico during the 2013 World Baseball Classic, where his team went 1-2.
After retiring from playing, Renteria managed the Marlins’ Single-A affiliate Brevard County in 1998. The following season he was named the Midwest League Manager of the Year after leading Florida’s Kane County club to a league-best 78-59 record. He spent two more seasons with the Marlins organization before joining the Padres in 2003 as a coach with Single-A Lake Elsinore, where he later managed from 2004-06. He was promoted to manage the Triple-A Portland team in 2007 before earning a job on the major league staff as a first base coach in 2008.
Though Renteria does not have big league managerial experience, he does have a strong background in player development.
Originally selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of the 1980 draft, Renteria was a career .237 hitter with 20 doubles, four home runs and 41 RBI in 184 major league contests. He primarily played second base and third base in the majors but also saw some time at shortstop and left field.
Former manager Dale Sveum was fired on Sept. 30.
Mesa couldn’t get back on track, falling 6-4 to Glendale on Wednesday, but Kris Bryant and a few Cubs relievers made solid contributions. Elsewhere, Frank Batista and Marcos Mateo both pitched well in the Dominican. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s fall/winter league action.
Arizona Fall League
Kris Bryant, 3B – Bryant led off the second inning with a single to center. He scored three batters later on a Steven Souza Jr. (Nationals) double. Bryant reached base again in the third with a walk and in the eighth with a two-out single to right. He finished 2-for-3 on the day.
Lendy Castill0, RHP – Castillo pitched a scoreless fifth inning, walking one and striking out Pratt Maynard (Dodgers) to end the frame.
Wes Darvill, LF – Darvill finished 0-for-4 Wednesday.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero relieved fellow farmhand Castillo and pitched a scoreless sixth inning, giving up one hit, walking one and striking out Marcus Semien (White Sox).
Mesa travels to Glendale Thursday to take on the Desert Dogs. Michael Roth (Angels) will throw for Mesa while Jamie Walczak (Reds) takes mound for Glendale. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 CST.
Frank Batista, RHP – Batista gave up two hits over two innings, striking out one and allowing no runs in an 8-2 Aguilas loss.
Marcos Mateo, RHP – The Estrellas closer racked up his fourth save of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth inning and striking out one in the 5-3 win.
Junior Lake, LF – Lake went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly for the Estrellas.
Hector Rondon, RHP – Rondon pitched 0.1 innings, giving up two hits, walking one and allowing two runs, though neither was earned in a 4-1 Leones loss.