The Arizona Fall League has one week done and that means it’s time to check in on the Mesa Solar Sox.
The Solar Sox, in case you missed last week’s introduction, are the Cubs’ affiliate in the Arizona Fall League. The AFL is a place for prospects to get in more work and instruction after the regular minor-league season under the watchful eye of the teams themselves, as opposed to Winter Ball where they could be playing for anyone. The Solar Sox play at the Cubs’ Spring Training home of Sloan Park and other than the Cubs, the team features prospects from the Athletics, Yankees, Rays and Marlins this season.
The Solar Sox played six games this past week and went 3-3. That puts them in a three-way tie for third place, two games behind the Surprise Saguaros.
Here are this past week’s results. The home team is listed last.
Monday, October 3: Solar Sox 4, Scottsdale Scorpions 7
Tuesday, October 4: Scorpions 12, Solar Sox 5
Wednesday, October 5: Solar Sox 19, Salt River Rafters 8
Thursday, October 6: Solar Sox 2, Scorpions 5
Friday, October 7: Solar Sox 6, Rafters 3
Saturday, October 8: Solar Sox 12, Peoria Javelinas 11
As you can see, the Solar Sox went 0-3 against Scottsdale and 3-0 against Salt River and Peoria. They also played five of their first six games on the road.
You probably also noticed something that I mentioned in last week’s introduction. There are traditionally a lot of runs scored in the AFL. More top hitting prospects get assigned to the league than pitchers and the warm, dry air at altitude is conducive to big offensive performances.
Here’s how individual Cubs did over the first week of the season:
Outfielder Brennen Davis
None of the Cubs’ position players on the Solar Sox played in Monday’s opener. I assume that is because except for B.J. Murray Jr., they were all at Wrigley on Sunday afternoon as part of the Cubs’ mini-camp for top prospects.
But in Davis’ second at-bat in the AFL on Tuesday, he connected for his first home run of the fall campaign. He hit his second home run in Saturday’s win over Peoria.
Over the past week, Davis played in four games and went 5 for 17 with two walks and only one strikeouts. Three of those five hits were for extra bases, with two home runs and a double. He also stole a base.
Davis played left field in one game, right field in another and was the DH in the other two games. He may not get a lot of games in center field with Yankees prospect Jasson Dominguez on the team.
At the end of the first week, Davis is hitting .294 with a .400 on-base percentage and a slugging of .706. He’s scored seven runs and driven in four.
First baseman Matt Mervis
Mervis played three games this past week and was the starting first baseman each time. He got off to a slow start, going 1 for 7 with a double in his first two games. But in his first at-bat in Saturday’s game, he hit a two-run home run.
Still, those were the only two hits for Mervis this week. He finished the week going 2 for 12 with a double and the home run. He walked once and struck out twice. Mervis scored two runs and had both of his RBI on that home run. This gives him a triple-slash line of .167/.231/.500.
Here is Mervis’ home run.
Outfielder Owen Caissie
Caissie started in right field in three games this past week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Caissie is also off to a slow start, but he did hit a two-run double on Tuesday and he doubled again on Saturday. Overall, Caissie was 2 for 13 with the two doubles. He struck out in six of his 13 plate appearances and did not walk once. He had the two RBI and he scored one run.
Caissie’s batting average and on-base percentage are an identical .154, while his slugging percentage is .308.
Infielder B.J. Murray Jr.
Murray got into one game, starting at third base Thursday’s loss to Scottsdale. He went 0 for 3 with a strikeout.
Left-handed pitcher Bailey Horn
Horn’s AFL season got off to a bad start when he entered Monday’s opener in the fourth inning with the bases-loaded, two-out and the Solar Sox clinging to 4-3 lead. Horn walked in the tying run.
After that, however, Horn was pretty good. He got out of that inning on Monday and then pitched the fifth, when he gave up two baserunners but no runs. Horn also pitched a perfect inning eighth inning on Wednesday.
So Horn has a 0.00 ERA over 2.1 innings. He’s allowed one hit and two walks while striking out two.
Right-hander Zach Leigh
Leigh also got off to a bad start, as he was knocked around for two runs on three hits and a walk in just two-thirds of an inning in Monday’s opener. But he bounced back against Salt River on Friday and tossed two scoreless innings to end the game and he got the win. Leigh only allowed one baserunner in Friday’s game on a walk and that runner was thrown out trying to steal, so he faced the minimum six hitters.
Over 2.2 innings in two games, Leigh is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA. He’s struck out four and walked two while giving up three hits.
Left-hander Riley Martin
Martin relieved Leigh on Monday, entering the game with the bases-loaded and two-outs in the eighth. Martin got a fly-out to end the threat.
Martin had less success in his second time out on Thursday against Scottsdale when he gave up three runs on three hits and two walks over two innings and took the loss.
For the season, Martin is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA over 2.1 innings. He’s struck out four and walked two while surrendering three hits.
Right-hander Sheldon Reed
Reed only pitched in one game this past week. He entered Wednesday’s game versus the Rafters with the bases-loaded and two out in the seventh inning and got a strikeout to end Salt River’s rally. He then pitched a perfect eighth.
Reed has a 0.00 ERA over 1.1 innings. He hasn’t allowed a baserunner and has struck out one.