The Arizona Fall League has just finished their third week and that means they’re getting ready for the “Fall Stars Game” and Cubs right-handed pitcher Bailey Clark has been named to the East Fall Stars squad. Also, if you didn’t see the article yesterday, you need to vote for Nico Hoerner for the final spot on the East squad. Voting ends at 2 p.m. CT tomorrow.
The Fall Stars Game will be televised this Saturday at 7 p.m. CT on the MLB Network. So it’s your chance to see at least one potential future Cubs player on TV right now.
It was a rough week for the Mesa Solar Sox, who played six games over the past week and lost five of them. The first five games they played were all one-run games and they went 1-4 in those one-run contests. This means that Mesa’s record has dropped to 8-9 and they’ve gone from first place to last place since last Tuesday. They are still only two games out of first, so they’re not out of it.
Nico Hoerner: Hoerner made four starts this past week, all of them at shortstop. He went 8 for 16, all singles. He also walked once. He was caught stealing in his only attempt.
On the season, Hoerner has made 13 starts and is hitting .345/.373/.455 with one double, one triple and one home run. He has struck out 15 times in 55 at-bats which doesn’t really sound like Hoerner, but it is a small sample size and he is facing pitching that is much more advanced than he’s ever faced before.
D.J. Wilson: Wilson is really struggling in the AFL. He only got two starts this past week and he went 0 for 9 with a walk and five strikeouts. He did steal one base.
On the season, Wilson is hitting .125/.237/.125 in eight games. He is 3 for 3 in stealing bases.
Jhonny Pereda: Pereda made two starts behind the plate. He had a good week, going 3 for 8 with a double and a walk. He threw out two of the five baserunners that tried to steal second base on him.
Pereda has played five games this AFL campaign and he’s 4 for 18 with a double and two walks. That gives him a line of .222/.300/.278.
P.J, Higgins: Higgins also made two starts behind the plate this past week. (There are three catchers and six games a week, so you can see this makes sense.) Higgins was 0 for 4 on Wednesday and 1 for 3 with a walk yesterday.
On the season, Higgins is 3 for 24 with a home run and five walks.
Trent Giambrone: Giambrone got to play three games since our last update — two last week and yesterday. (As far as I know, he’s still on the taxi squad that limits him to two games a week.) On Tuesday, Giambrone went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Ouch. But after that, he was golden. Against Glendale on Friday, Giambrone went 3 for 6 with a two-run home run, his second of the campaign. Yesterday against Salt River, Giambrone got on base four times as he went 2 for 2 with two walks.
So far, Giambrone has played just six games and he’s 12 for 25 with a double and two home runs. Those two home runs tie him with Oakland’s Skye Bolt for the team lead and Bolt has 15 more at-bats than Giambrone. His triple-slash line for the season is .480/.552/.760.
Giambrone played second base last Friday. He was the DH in the other two contests.
Giambrone talked about the home run and playing in the AFL here. He also had some nice things to say about Hoerner.
Justin Steele: Steele started Wednesday’s game against Peoria, the only game the Solar Sox won this past week, although Steele got a no-decision. Steele threw four innings and gave up just one run on four hits. He struck out four and walked just one.
Steele has made three starts in the AFL and is 1-0 with a 5.19 ERA. He got hammered in his first start but has allowed just one run total over seven innings in his last two starts.
Erick Leal: I’m not sure why Leal wasn’t named to the Fall Stars team. I can only guess that it’s because he’s scheduled to start the day before. Leal started Thursday’s game at Peoria and he pitched four scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out three.
Leal has also made three starts this fall and he’s yet to allow a run over 9⅓ innings.
Bailey Clark: Clark made two relief appearances over the past week and he saved one game and he blew one save. On Wednesday, he came on in the ninth inning with a one-run lead and retired the first two batters on pop ups before walking the next two. But he retired the final hitter of the game on a grounder to first for Mesa’s only win of the week.
On Saturday, Clark entered the game with runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth inning. He gave up a two-run single to the first batter he faced. Then, after balking that runner over to second base, Clark gave up another RBI single. He finally got out of the inning with a strikeout and then stayed on to pitch the sixth inning. Clark gave up a one-out walk in the sixth, but a quick 4-6-3 double play ended that inning with no damage done.
For the season, Clark has made five relief appearances. He’s pitched seven innings total and has allowed just one run charged to him, giving him an ERA of 1.29.
Manuel Rondon: Rondon made two starts this past week. One was good and one was bad. Last Tuesday against Scottsdale, Rondon pitched the first two innings and allowed no runs and just one hit in a no-decision. He struck out two and walked no one in that game.
Rondon then started last night’s game at Salt River and didn’t make it out of the first inning. He was hammered for five runs on three hits and two walks in just two-thirds of an inning. One of the hits was a three-run home run by the Nationals’ Jake Noll.
Up until last night, Rondon had not allowed a run in six innings this fall.
For the AFL campaign, Rondon now has an ERA of 6.75, up from zero before yesterday’s game.