As you probably saw yesterday, the non-taxi squad players for the Arizona Fall League have been announced. There are four Cubs on the list:
- Nico Hoerner, SS/2B
The Cubs’ first round draft pick and third best prospect, Hoerner’s inclusion is a vote of confidence in how advanced the Cubs believe Hoerner is as a hitter. He also lost quite a few weeks of the season, so this also a way to get him some extra at bats. I suspect his bat will hold up just fine in Arizona. The thing to watch will probably be his power. He showed more than some analysts were expecting in his short time with the Cubs this summer (he was said to be a launch-angle-adjuster as he moved through college); hopefully that trend continues.
- Trent Giambrone, SS/2B
The Cubs might provide the double play combo for the Solar Sox on some days. Giambrone has had a very good year for Tennessee (wRC+ 121, 17 HR, 26 SB) and looks like he could be the next Cubs’ utility infield prospect to reach the majors. Right now Giambrone isn’t talked about much outside of Cubs’ only prospect watchers, but a good stint in Arizona could change that. It could also improve his trade valuation, just in case the Cubs were thinking in terms of making any deals this winter.
- D.J. Wilson, CF
Once again, Wilson couldn’t stay on the field this season. Altogether he missed about two months this year, so for Wilson this trip to Arizona is all about just getting at bats. He is a fast, gifted defender with a chance to have at least average power at the plate, but developing his offensive game requires repetition. It would be a very good thing if he could stay healthy for the entire Fall League season.
- P.J. Higgins, C
Higgins posted a 126 wRC+ in Myrtle Beach, but only a 54 in his final 37 games with Tennessee. The Cubs will be hoping he can rebound from that while in Arizona. As one of only two catchers on the roster, he should get plenty of chances. Higgins is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this year, so if he has a very good stint in Arizona the Cubs may have to decide whether or not to gamble on leaving him exposed.
This is a pretty good list. There aren’t any pitchers on it, but given that most of the Cubs better pitching prospects either put in full seasons or are currently injured, I’m not too surprised by that. One or two may show up on the taxi squad, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Cubs just don’t send their pitchers to Arizona this fall. Some will instead work in instructional ball, and others could show up in a winter league.
- Jen-Ho Tseng: 6 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 1 K
- Casey Coleman: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Jason Vosler: 1 for 4, 2B
- Jacob Hannemann: 1 for 4, 3B
- Matt Swarmer: 6 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K
- Jake Stinnett: 2 IP, 1 H, 3 K
- Zack Short: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
- Eddy Martinez: 1 for 4, 2B
- Cory Abbott: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 K
- Bailey Clark: 2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 2 K
- Jhonny Pereda: 1 for 3, BB
- Jared Young: 1 for 4, 3B
- Yeiler Peguero: 1 for 4, 2B
- Drew Smyly: 1 IP, 3 K
- Javier Assad: 5 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 3 H, 2 K
- Rafael Narea: 2 for 3
- Chris Singleton: 1 for 3, 3B
- Eury Ramos: 1.2 IP, 6 R, 7 H, 1 BB
- Ethan Roberts: 2 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- Stephen Ridings: 1.2 IP, 2 K
- Nelson Velazquez: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
- Grant Fennell: 2 for 3, BB
- Jonathan Sierra: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
- Brennon Kaleiwahea: 1 for 4, HR
- Peyton Remy: 5 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 8 K
- Brady Miller: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 5 K
- Alonso Garcia: 1 IP, 1 BB, 3 K
- Yonathan Perlaza: 2 for 3, BB, 2 SB
- Josue Huma: 2 for 4
- Kris Bryant struck out in both his at bats, the first time looking, the second time swinging.
- The fact that Drew Smyly struck out the side in his rehab appearance for South Bend is a good sign, but not one we should read too much into. After all, we’re talking about a guy with 552 major league strikeouts on his resume. If he is healthy, he should be able to dominate Low A. Of course, if he is healthy, he might just be able to help out the Cubs in September.
- Brennon Kaleiwahea’s first homer of the season was a grand slam. It put Eugene back in the game for short time, and was also the last time Eugene scored.
- The AZL Cubs opened the scoring with a Yonathan Perlaza straight steal of home.
- It is the end of an era in Myrtle Beach. After ten years of making fans happy, Deuce the ball dog is retiring. This is probably a bigger deal to the Pelicans fan base than you think. Take a look at the Pelicans’ twitter feed and the page after page after page of fans responding to his retirement.
Since 2008, Deuce has greeted fans in the Pro Shop, run the umpires fresh baseballs, and circled the bases after each Bird's win. Tonight, after 10 years, we celebrate the best known dog in Myrtle Beach and wish this very good boy a happy retirement.
Thank you, Deuce. pic.twitter.com/fiBKxvr3yR
— Myrtle Beach Pelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) August 30, 2018