Results tagged ‘ Mesa Solar Sox ’
Mesa is still unbeaten, after taking down Scottsdale 7-4 Tuesday. Albert Almora continued his successful fall season, while Jorge Soler and Armando Rivero got into the action as well. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s game.
Albert Almora, CF – After a few days of rest, Almora led off for the Solar Sox. The 2012 first-round pick drew a walk to start the bottom of the third and scored two batters later on a C.J. Cron (Angels) homer. The team batted around in the third. With men on second and third and two outs, Almora hit a ground-rule double to left-center field, scoring David Freitas (Athletics) and Dixon Machado (Tigers). Then in the bottom of the fifth with nobody on base, he recorded another double to right to finish the game 2-for-4 with a walk.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero entered the game in the eighth inning and gave up a bloop double and a single to the first two batters he faced. Jarrett Parker (Giants) followed with a sacrifice fly. That was all the damage Scottsdale could do, however. RIvero’s final line read: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER.
Jorge Soler, DH – Soler singled in the bottom of the fourth and finished the day 1-for-5.
Mesa heads out to Peoria Wednesday, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:35 CST. Tommy Collier (Tigers) will take the mound for the Solar Sox while right-hander Matt Heidenreich (Astros) goes for the Javelinas. Kris Bryant will be batting fourth and playing third, and Wes Darvill will bat ninth and play second base for Mesa.
Top prospect Kris Bryant got off to a fast start in the AFL. (Photo by Stephen Green)
The Mesa Solar Sox—a team comprised of prospects from the Cubs, Angles, A’s, Nationals and Tigers—opened up the Arizona Fall League season with an 11-inning, 8-8 tie Tuesday afternoon against Glendale. Trailing 7-3 in the top of the eighth inning, the Solar Sox rallied for five runs, behind RBI doubles from Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler. The Desert Dogs would get a run back in the bottom of the ninth to force extras. Here’s what the Cubs prospects did yesterday afternoon:
- 3B Kris Bryant went 3-for-6 with two RBI and two runs scored. With Angels prospects C.J. Cron on second and Taylor Lindsey on first with nobody out in the second inning, Bryant ripped a single up the middle, scoring Cron. Bryant drove in Cron again with an eighth-inning double, cutting the deficit to three.
- RF Jorge Soler finished 1-for-6 with an RBI. The Solar Sox regained the lead in the eighth thanks to a Soler double to left field that scored Oakland catcher David Freitas from second.
- RHP Matt Loosen entered the game in the third and went two innings, surrendering two unearned runs, striking out one and walking one. He was credited with a blown save.
- RHP Lendy Castillo surrendered three unearned runs in the sixth inning, striking out one.
- RHP Armando Rivero pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out the side, including the game’s top prospect, Twins outfielder Byron Buxton. Rivero was credited for a hold.
The Sox will host Glendale this afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 CST. Cubs prospect Albert Almora will lead off and play center field, Soler will DH and bat fourth, and Bryant will play third base and bat fifth.
Kris Bryant, the Cubs top pick in the 2013 draft, will take part in the Arizona Fall League. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Though the minor league season coincides with the MLB schedule, it’s an after-season minor league showcase that generally gets scouting departments and prospect followers especially excited.
Since 1992, the Arizona Fall League has taken top prospects from each organization and pitted them against one another in a one-month season. Generally, the seven prospects selected from each team have just finished Triple-A or Double-A and are widely thought of as knocking on the major league door.
This season, the Cubs’ prospects will be representing the Mesa Solar Sox, along with prospects from the Angels, Athletics, Nationals and Tigers. While each of those teams have their own respective stars, many of the most exciting names on the Solar Sox roster are members of the Cubs organization. Five of the Cubs’ top six prospects (according to MLB.com) are headed to Mesa, and four of those rank in the top 40 in all of baseball.
Below is a breakdown of the eight prospects (Albert Almora will serve as a member of the taxi squad, playing solely on Wednesdays and Saturdays), as well as how they’ve fared in 2013.
Albert Almora, OF – The 2012 first-round pick has been solid when healthy for Class-A Kane County this year, accumulating a .329/.376/.466 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 249 at-bats. The Cubs’ No. 2 prospect (No. 23 in MLB) will only play occasionally, as he’s dealing with groin issues.
Javier Baez, SS – The 2013 season has been a breakout one for the already highly regarded Baez. The Cubs’ top prospect (No. 9 in MLB) has successfully made the jump from High-A to Double-A, totaling 35 homers, 33 doubles, 20 stolen bases and 105 driven in between the two levels.
Dallas Beeler, RHP – Beeler got off to a fast start for Double-A Tennessee, going 4-2 with a 3.13 ERA by mid-May. But a tendon tear in his middle finger landed the 6-foot-5 prospect on the DL. The AFL will give him a chance to log more innings before 2013 winds down.
Kris Bryant, 3B – The organization’s No. 4 prospect (No. 37 in MLB) had a rough first week, but has impressed ever since. The No. 2 pick in this year’s draft has totaled a .349/.395/.670 line with seven homers and 27 RBI in 109 at-bats while splitting time between rookie ball, Short-Season Boise and High-A Daytona.
Matt Loosen, RHP – Loosen struggled in Double-A at the outset of the season and was sent down. But a strong two-month stint in High-A, where he tossed a no-hitter, brought the 24-year-old back to the Smokies. This year, the right-hander is 7-5 with a 4.34 ERA and has struck out 8.6 batters per nine.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero signed a $3.1 million bonus with the Cubs in March 2013 after coming over from Cuba. In 27.2 innings, the reliever has entered 18 games and posted a 4.23 ERA for Kane County, Daytona and Tennessee. He has also struck out 14 batters per nine innings in his first season in the U.S.
Jorge Soler, OF – Soler is another elite prospect who has dealt with a handful of injuries in 2013. Though a stress fracture in his shin shut down the No. 3 prospect in the organization (No. 27 in MLB), he finished a half season in Daytona with a .281/.343/.467 line, eight home runs and 35 RBI.
Arodys Vizcaino, RHP – Tommy John surgery in March 2012 has kept the former elite prospect from pitching since 2011 in Atlanta. Vizcaino, the centerpiece of the 2012 Paul Maholm deal, will hopefully get some work in Arizona, as many project him to be with the major league club in 2014.
Though the Arizona Fall League is mostly about improving on an individual basis and competing against some of baseball’s elite, young talent, it’s also nice to win a few games. Unfortunately for Cubs prospects on the Mesa Solar Sox’s roster, wins came few and far between during the AFL season.
Mesa dropped its season finale 8-3 to Phoenix Thursday afternoon, giving the Solar Sox a league-worst 10-20 record.
Matt Szczur went 0-for-4 in the leadoff spot, with an RBI groundout in the third inning. Logan Watkins finished 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Nick Struck pitched the fourth and fifth innings, surrendering only one hit, a solo home run, and striking out a batter.
Despite missing the last two weeks of the season, Javier Baez finished in a tie for third in home runs (4) and finished sixth in RBI (16). Szczur finished tied for fourth with nine stolen bases, just one less than base-stealing phenom Billy Hamilton (Reds). He also drew 14 walks, good for a tie for seventh in the league. And despite playing in just nine games, Watkins’ on-base percentage was .375, thanks in part to his eight walks.
On the rubber, Tony Zych fared the best of any Cubs pitcher. His 3.86 ERA in 14.0 innings would have been even lower had he not surrendered two earned runs in his final outing. While he struck out only four batters during the season, he walked only two.
Kevin Rhoderick was also solid in the hitter-friendly league. He posted a 4.82 ERA in 9.1 innings and managed to strike out 14 batters—sixth on the team—despite pitching fewer innings than all but two Mesa pitchers.
How the Solar Sox fared during the Arizona Fall League:
Mesa just couldn’t get the bats going as the Solar Sox fell to Scottsdale 8-2 Wednesday. Scottsdale held the Sox scoreless until the ninth inning.
Trailing 8-0 in the ninth, Rubi Silva led off the inning with a single to right and advanced to third on a Jiovanni Mier (Astros) double to left. Fellow Cubs prospect Logan Watkins scored Silva on a ground out to second. Silva finished the game 1-for-3, while Watkins was 1-for-4 with a single in the seventh.
For the first time this fall, Cubs pitcher Tony Zych surrendered more than one run in an outing. The righty gave up a single to the first batter batter of the fifth inning, Slade Heathcott (Yankees), who advanced to third on a pair of pitches that got by catcher Gorman Erickson (Dodgers). Ronny Rodriguez (Indians) singled and scored Heathcott. After a David Adams (Yankees) walk and a Chris Dominguez (Giants) single, the bases were loaded. Zych got Adalberto Santos (Pirates) to ground into a double play, but a run still crossed the plate. Zych then got Ricky Oropesa (Giants) to ground out to end the inning.
Mesa’s fall league season wraps up Thursday when the team faces Phoenix, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
How the Cubs have fared:
The Surprise bats were just too much for Mesa in a 10-8 loss Tuesday afternoon. While no Cubs pitchers threw, the Solar Sox’s lineup included a trio of contributing Cubs farmhands.
In the fourth inning, Rubi Silva singled to center and scored from third three batters later on Rafael Ynoa’s two-run single. Ynoa, who represents the Dodgers, advanced to third on an error. Cubs center fielder Matt Szczur drove him home on a single past the pitcher. He would score later in the inning on a wild pitch.
In the fifth, Silva drove in George Springer (Astros) on an RBI single to right. The outfielder finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Szczur went 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Logan Watkins was 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
Mesa heads to Scottsdale Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 local time.
How the Cubs have fared:
Mesa had its four-game winning streak snapped Monday afternoon as the Solar Sox fell 8-4 to Salt River at home.
Logan Watkins reached on a walk and scored from first on a three-run double by Nick Castellanos (Tigers). Watkins was 0-for-2 on the day with three walks, boosting his on-base percentage to .444 in the six games he’s played in the AFL. He did commit an error at second.
Nick Struck pitched in the top of the sixth and surrendered two runs, one earned, on a hit and a walk. He struck out one. In the bottom of the sixth, he was ejected from the game.
Tony Zych pitched the ninth, giving up a leadoff double to Anthony Rendon (Nationals). Rendon moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Carlos Sanchez (White Sox) sacrifice fly for the only run of the inning.
Mesa hosts Surprise on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
How the Cubs have fared:
Mesa’s winning ways continued into the weekend as the Solar Sox downed Salt River 7-5 on Friday and outslugged Peoria 11-8 on Saturday. In both games, Logan Watkins’ bat played a pivotal role.
On Friday, Watkins doubled in the top of the second and scored a batter later on a Brian Ward (Orioles) single. He also reached base on a single in the fifth to go 2-for-5 on the day.
Rubi Silva finished 0-for-4 with a run scored.
No Cubs pitchers threw on Friday.
In Saturday’s matchup, Watkins’ bat really got going. He singled in the third inning and then hit his first homer of the fall on a solo shot to right field in the fifth. In the seventh, he singled again, scoring Jonathan Schoop (Orioles) from third. Three batters later, Watkins scored from third on a George Springer (Astros) single. He finished the day 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Matt Szczur also contributed in Saturday’s victory, going 2-for-5 with a single, a double and a run scored.
Dae-Eun Rhee got the start and went two innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and two walks. He struck out two.
The Cubs host Salt River on Monday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
How the Cubs have fared:
The Solar Sox let a three-run lead over Phoenix slide into a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth, but Mesa got a run back in the bottom of the frame and held on for a 4-3 victory Thursday afternoon. Outside of Tony Zych, however, it wasn’t the most exciting day for Cubs farmhands.
Zych kept his solid fall going with two scoreless innings of relief. The righty surrendered just a pair of hits and walked none.
Matt Szczur went 0-for-1 with a pair of walks. Logan Watkins was 0-for-4 but reached on a fielder’s choice and crossed the plate as the eventual game-winning run. Rubi Silva pinch-ran for Aaron Westlake (Tigers) but was forced out on a fielder’s choice.
Cubs minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck got roughed up in his 1 1/3 innings on the hill. He retired the side in order in the seventh but ran into trouble in the eighth. The leadoff hitter singled and the next batter drew a walk. After a flyout to right, Grant Green (Athletics) homered to center to tie the game.
Mesa heads to Salt River Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
How the Cubs have fared:
Thanks to the offensive exploits of Cubs prospect Matt Szczur, Mesa managed to hold off Scottsdale 4-3 Wednesday afternoon.
Szczur led off the game with a single to center. He promptly swiped second for his eighth stolen base of the season. Fellow farmhand Rubi Silva moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt. The next batter, Nick Castellanos (Tigers), grounded out and scored Szczur. The outfielder’s second at-bat resulted in a bases-loaded walk, which scored L.J. Hoes (Orioles). In his next at-bat, he drove a triple to center, scoring Rafael Ynoa (Dodgers) in what would prove to be the winning run. He finished the day 2-for-3 with two RBI, a run scored and a walk.
Silva finished 1-for-3 with an RBI single in the second inning,
No Cubs pitcher threw for the Solar Sox Wednesday.
Mesa hosts Phoenix Thursday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
How the Cubs have fared: