The Arizona Fall League is underway and several Cubs are off to a good start.
I have a love-hate relationship with the AFL. I love the fact that top prospects from different teams get a chance to play together. I love the chance that they get more reps in. I think it can help them get to the majors faster.
On the other hand, I hate the fact that unless you're a scout sitting in the stands, there's no real good way of covering it. There's no media coverage and while I can give you the stats and the results, I have to say that those numbers don't mean much at all. Pretty much every team these days limits the innings their pitchers throw, so unless a top pitching prospect missed a good chunk of the regular season, they're not pitching in the AFL. So you have a lot of second and third-tier pitching prospects throwing to top hitters in the hot, dry air of Arizona. To say it's a hitter's paradise is an understatement.
Having said all that, here are how the Cubs prospects are doing. The team they play for, the Mesa Solar Sox, are undefeated at 2-0-1. (Yes, there are ties in the AFL.)
Albert Almora: Almora has gotten off to a strong start in the AFL. In his first game, he almost hit for the cycle, going 4 for 5 with a double and a home run. In his second game, he got the triple he was missing in the first game and went 2 for 5. He had three RBI in both games for a total of 6 RBI and five runs scored. Those are the only two games Almora has played in so far.
Kris Bryant: Bryant has also played two games and also has a home run already. His home run came in his second game (which was the same game Almora hit his home run) with two men on. He was 2 for 3 with a walk in that game. In his first game, Bryan went 3 for 6 with a double and three RBI. So that gives him a .556 batting average with 5 RBI.
Wes Darvill: Darvill filled in for Javier Baez when he pulled out of the AFL. He's gotten one pinch-hitting appearance and hit a two-run home run in the same game Almora and Bryant homered.
Jorge Soler: Soler isn't off to quite as good a start as the other two big names, but he did hit a double in both of the two games he played in. He was 1 for 6 in his first game and 1 for 5 in his second.
Lendy Castillo: Al's favorite player has thrown one inning of relief and he allowed three runs on three hits. In his defense, he didn't have and defense as all three runs were unearned. He struck out one and didn't walk a batter.
Matt Loosen: Loosen has also had one relief appearance and he allowed two runs on two hits and a walk over his two innings of work. Once again, both runs were unearned as defense takes a vacation in Arizona this fall.
Armando Rivero: Rivero has two relief appearances, going one inning in both of them. He struck out the side after the first batter of the inning reached on an error in his first game. In his second, he gave up a leadoff double but erased that runner on a lineout double play to end the inning, facing only three batters.
Dallas Beeler: Beeler is on the Solar Sox but he has yet to pitch.