The Arizona Fall League had its Championship Game today and the Mesa Solar Sox cut down the Surprise Saguaros, 6-1, thanks in part to Cubs prospect Ian Happ going 4 for 4 with two home runs and a double.
The Solar Sox got off to an early lead when Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson hit a three-run home run in the first inning, scoring Happ and the Indians Greg Allen. Meanwhile, Athletics pitcher Dylan Covey kept the Saguaros in check, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning.
Happ had one home run from each side of the plate and both of them went to right field. The first one was a two-run home run in the third inning. Batting left-handed, he golfed a low pitch over the right-center field wall to make the score 5-0. (You can watch the home run at that link, as well as a leaping catch he made in left field.)
Happ’s other home run was a solo home run in the seventh inning and you can watch it here:
Happ doubled in the fifth inning down the left field line, batting right-handed.
Eloy Jimenez didn’t fare so well in the Championship game, going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
The only other Cubs prospect to play in this game was pitcher James Farris, who pitched a perfect ninth inning in a non-save situation. Farris struck out the final batter of the game.
This wraps up the Arizona Fall League and the only debate is whether this is the Cubs organization’s 4th title of 2016 or it’s 3rd and one-fifths.
Happ finished the AFL season hitting just .236, but he had a .375 OBP thanks to 15 walks and a .403 slugging percentage. In 19 games, Happ had four doubles, a triple and two home runs. The Championship game doesn’t count in the final statistics, but it certainly counts in terms of evaluating how well he did in the AFL. He had as many home runs in the final game as he did the whole rest of the season.
Jimenez finished the AFL on a poor note, as he missed a week with an apparent minor leg injury and then when he returned, he was limited to DH duty. Jimenez hit .255/.323/.491 with four doubles and three home runs in 15 games.
The only other Cubs position player in the AFL (other than Kyle Schwarber’s brief appearance) was catcher Victor Caratini. Caratini played in 19 games and hit .226/.338/.274 with three doubles. His highlight of the AFL was catching a combined no-hitter.
Farris was terrific in the AFL as he didn’t allow a single run in his ten innings of work and then he threw another scoreless inning today. Farris struck out 12 (plus one today) and walked just two. He also played a huge role in the Cubs World Series title as he was the guy who was tasked with pitching to Kyle Schwarber as Schwarber got ready to face live pitching again.
Stephen Perakslis did not pitch in the Championship game, but he also pitched 6.1 scoreless innings in six appearances. Perakslis allowed three hits, struck out six and walked one.
The other Cubs pitchers in the AFL did not fare as well, and none of them pitched in the Championship game. Reliever Ryan McNeil threw 11 innings and struck out 13 batters. That was the good news. The bad news was that he allowed ten runs on nine hits, two home runs and five walks for an 8.18 ERA.
Duane Underwood Jr. made two starts in the AFL and allowed six runs on eight hits, including two home runs, in just six innings. Underwood struck out five and walked two.