Today’s game marks the close of the Arizona Fall League for Chicago Cubs prospects. Their team, the Mesa Solar Sox, will finish no worse than .500, but they won’t make Saturday’s championship game.
Although this year’s contingent perhaps didn’t have quite the same cachet as last year’s group (remember how Kris Bryant obliterated the league?), and the luster wore down a bit when Addison Russell went home early, some of the performances turned in were rather exceptional.
C.J. Edwards was great again yesterday, allowing just one walk and one hit in three scoreless innings (2 Ks). He finishes out the AFL with a 1.80 ERA over 15 innings. He struck out 13, walked 8, and allowed 8 hits. Obviously the walks don’t look great, but, hey, the young man was just getting in a little extra work after an injury-shortened season. And, more importantly, those who saw him in action say he was looking pretty darn good.
Bijan Rademacher also came up big yesterday (2-4 with a homer) as he has all AFL season long, despite being on the taxi squad. For the season, he’s hit .359/.400/.538 with 4 SB, 4 BB, and just 3 K. After a quietly great year at High-A Daytona last year, he could be a really interesting guy to watch at AA Tennessee next year.
Remember that week when Jacob Hannemann looked like he was going to struggle in the AFL? Well, that lasted, um, a week. His line is up to .304/.355/.446, which makes for the 6th best OPS on his team. There’s an obligatory comment about the lesser caliber of pitching in the AFL, and the heightened offensive environment, but it’s still nice to see from the Cubs’ $1 million third round pick in 2013, who had a mixed full season debut in 2014. Remember: Hannemann missed two years of baseball while on a Mormon mission, and split time between football and baseball as a freshman at BYU in 2013. This is a process for him, and it’s a bet by the Cubs on his obvious athletic gifts. He could struggle in 2015, or he could completely break out.
Dan Vogelbach never really showed the power in Arizona this year, but his plate approach was just about as good as it gets. Vogelbach sported a .402 OBP, and took 16 walks against just 11 strikeouts. Only two batters, with far more plate appearances, took more walks than Vogelbach this year.
Ivan Pineyro pitched well after missing much of 2014 with a forearm injury. He posted a 2.31 ERA over 11.2 innings, striking out 13 and walking just 4.