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Arizona Fall League Mesa Solar Sox Update: Week 5

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Some positives and negatives as the AFL finishes their penultimate week.

Scott Effross
Scott Effross
Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans

It’s time for our regular Monday update on the Cubs prospects playing in the Arizona Fall League.

The Mesa Solar Sox, the AFL team that the Cubs share with the Angels, Athletics, Indians and Tigers were 2-4 over the past week. They lost their first four games and were shut out in two of them. They bounced back to win their final two games and Cubs prospects Riley Thompson and Jared Young played a big role in one of those two wins.

Mesa’s overall record is 12-13, which puts them three games behind the Salt River Rapids with four games to play. The AFL season ends on Friday with the Championship Game on Saturday. At 11 a.m. Arizona time so that it doesn’t conflict with the World Series. Yes, moving the AFL season up is pretty lousy for the fans.

Here’s an update on the seven Cubs players on the Solar Sox roster.

Hitters:

Miguel Amaya: Amaya caught two games over the past week and went 0 for 8 with two strikeouts. Over the course of the AFL season, the Cubs top catching prospect is hitting .244/.319/.293 over 11 games. Maybe it’s a small-sample size or maybe he’s just tired after a long season.

Zack Short: Short played a lot this week, getting into five games: four at short and one as the DH. He was 4 for 17 with a double and three walks. He also stole two bases.

Short has played 18 games in the AFL and is hitting .215/.346/.308 with one home run and three steals.

Jared Young: Young got off to a horrific start to the AFL season, but he hit his first home run against top Astros prospect Forrest Whitley in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Peoria.

On the week, Young played four games and he went 2 for 13 with the home run. He walked once and was hit by a pitch one time. He scored three times this past week.

On the season, Young is hitting .195/.313/.293 over 12 games. At least he’s walked as many times as he’s struck out with six strikeouts and six walks.

Here’s the home run.

Pitchers:

Scott Effross: Effross had two relief outings this past week and they both went mostly well. In Monday’s 9-5 loss to Glendale, Effross relieved fellow Cub Riley Thompson and gave up an RBI double to the first batter he faced, with the run being charged to Thompson. But then Effross struck out the next batter to end the inning. He stayed in the game to pitch the fifth inning and struck out the side in order.

In his second relief appearance, Effross pitched the ninth inning in a non-save situation against Peoria. He gave up a two-out single, but retired the other three hitters on ground outs.

Effross has pitched eight innings over seven appearances in the AFL. He’s allowed two runs on 12 hits for an ERA of 2.25. He’s impressively struck out eight batters and walked just one.

Jordan Minch: Minch pitched the seventh inning in Friday’s 4-0 loss to Scottsdale. He faced three batters. Two of them flied out to the outfield and one of them popped out in foul territory.

On the season, Minch has also pitched eight innings over seven appearances. The left-hander has also allowed just two runs for a 2.25 ERA. Bun Minch has surrendered just six hits. He’s also struck out 12 while issuing just one walk.

Keegan Thompson: Thompson made two starts this past week. The first one went poorly and the second one went very well. Thompson gave up three runs in the fourth inning in Monday’s loss to Glendale. He gave up three runs on three hits and two walks over 3.2 innings in a no-decision in that game.

But Thompson bounced back to get his first win of the AFL on Saturday. Thompson was terrific, allowing no runs and just one hit over five innings against Peoria. He struck out five and walked no one.

You can read Thompson’s comments on his start on Saturday here. (Yes, that’s the same article I’ve linked to twice earlier in the piece.)

Over the season, Thompson has pitched 21.1 innings over five starts. He’s allowed 13 runs and 18 hits for a 5.48 ERA. Thompson has struck out 22 batters and walked only six.

Erich Uelmen: Uelmen made one appearance this past week, pitching the sixth inning in Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to Peoria. The first batter he faced, Mets prospect Andres GImenez, tripled. But Uelmen got an infield ground out that kept the runner at third for the first out. The next batter hit a grounder to third base and Gimenez was thrown out at the plate trying to score. He finished the inning with no damage when Phillies prospect Alec Bohm lined out to center field.

Uelmen has pitched ten innings over six relief appearances in the AFL. He’s giving up just one run on five hits, leaving him with an ERA of 0.90. Uelmen has struck out nine and walked just one, although he has hit two batters.