We’re now two weeks into the Arizona Fall League and the Cubs on the Mesa Solar Sox continue to impress.
The Solar Sox played six games over the past week (no games on Sunday) and split them, winning three and losing three. That gives them an overall record on the year of 7-4, which keeps them in first place by one game over the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Nico Hoerner: As far as Cubs hitters go, Hoerner is the jewel of the Arizona Fall League and maybe just the jewel of the entire Cubs farm system. Hoerner played five games over the past week, three at shortstop, one at second base and one as the DH. For the week, Hoerner went 5 for 21 with a walk, but three of those hits were for extra bases—a double, a triple and his first homer of the fall campaign. He had six RBI in those five games.
Thanks to the magic of Twitter, we do have some video of those extra base hits. First, the triple.
#Cubs No. 6 prospect Nico Hoerner this two-run triple for the Mesa Solar Sox. Then on a wild pitch, the 21-year-old SS scored to complete a 4-run first inning.— MLB MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) October 21, 2018
Follow the @MLBazFallLeague action live: https://t.co/NANIgv5N8Y pic.twitter.com/4fUT4Ga9UR
And now the double:
The double is especially impressive since he hit it off of Forrest Whitley, whom MLB Pipeline ranks as the 8th-best prospect in all of baseball.
So far on the campaign, Hoerner’s overall line is .286/.293/.436 in nine games.
D.J. Wilson: The Cubs outfielder played four of the six games this past week and was 3 for 14 with four walks and two steals. Wilson has played in six games total this AFL campaign and is hitting .174/.286/.174 with the two steals.
Jhonny Pereda: One of two Cubs catchers on the Solar Sox roster, Pereda caught two games this past week and went 0 for 6 with a walk. In his first game this week, he went two for two in throwing out runners trying to steal. His second game behind the plate didn’t go so well as the Surprise Saguaros were successful in all five stealing attempts.
Pereda is 1 for 10 with a walk in three games this fall.
P.J. Higgins: Higgins played just once this past week, but he had a heck of a game. Catching fellow Cub Justin Steele, Higgins went 2 for 5 with a three-run home run as the Solar Sox walloped Surprise 18-2 on Thursday.
Higgins has played three games in Arizona and is 2 for 12 with the home run and three walks.
Trent Giambrone: Giambrone is on the taxi squad that limits him to playing one game a week, but he sure made that one game count. Giambrone was 2 for 3 with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning on Friday, the only run that Mesa would score against Surprise that day.
In the two games that Giambrone has played this fall, he’s 7 for 13 with a home run and two walks. Get this guy some more playing time.
Justin Steele: Steele started that 18-2 blowout of Surprise and got his first win of the AFL season. Steele pitched three innings and did not allow a hit or a run. He did walk two and he struck out two.
That was a big improvement over Steele’s first start when he gave up four runs in 1⅔ innings. Steele now has a 7.71 ERA.
Erick Leal: Leal also went three scoreless innings in a start on Friday against Surprise. Leal surrendered two hits but he didn’t walk anyone and he struck out two. In 5⅓ innings over two starts this fall, Leal has yet to allow a run.
Bailey Clark: The only Cubs pitcher who pitched twice this week, Clark pitched two perfect innings of relief last Tuesday and one scoreless inning on Saturday. Clark allowed just one hit in Saturday’s outing and did not walk anyone in either game. Clark struck out two on Tuesday and no one on Saturday.
For the season now, Clark has pitched 4⅔ innings of relief and has yet to allow a run.
Manuel Rondon: Rondon pitched two innings of relief in Wednesday’s loss to the Salt River Rafters. The loss wasn’t Rondon’s fault, however, as he did not allow a run in either inning. Rondon walked the first two batters he faced in the third inning on Wednesday, then he got a double play and a line out to end the threat. He then retired the side in order in the fourth inning, striking out one.
For the fall campaign, Rondon has pitched four innings and hasn’t allowed a run or a hit yet. He has walked three and struck out two.