We’re heading down the home stretch in the Arizona Fall League and the Mesa Solar Sox seem to have finally kicked into gear with their best week of the campaign. The Solar Sox only played five games this past week, but they won the first four of them before dropping one to Peoria on Saturday. The Solar Sox are still in last place after a 4-1 week, but it’s a last-place tie with Glendale now. And since three of the six teams make the playoffs, there’s still a slim hope alive as they are 2½ games back of third place with seven games to play in the regular fall season.
As a reminder, the Mesa Solar Sox are the Cubs affiliate in the Arizona Fall League, which is a place for minor leaguers to get in extra games after the regular season is over. The Solar Sox play their home games at the Cubs’ Spring Training home, Sloan Park. The other four teams that send prospects to the Solar Sox this year are the Astros, Athletics, Orioles and Yankees. The teams that send players to the Solar Sox rotate, although the Cubs and the A’s, who also train in Mesa, are always a part of the Solar Sox.
Here are the five games the Solar Sox played over the past week. The home team is listed second.
Monday, October 23: Salt River Rafters 8, Solar Sox 10.
Tuesday, October 24: Scottsdale Scorpions 2, Solar Sox 5.
Wednesday, October 25: OFF
Thursday, October 26: Solar Sox 3, Glendale Desert Dogs 2.
Friday, October 27: Solar Sox 8, Desert Dogs 2.
Saturday, October 28: Peoria Javelinas 8, Solar Sox 6.
Saturday’s contest was played as part of a doubleheader with Salt River and Glendale at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, the Spring Training home of the A’s. It was a seven-inning affair. There seems to be an effort starting this year to get some AFL games played in the Cactus League stadiums that don’t formally host a team. Spread the wealth, I guess.
Here’s how the individual Cubs on the Solar Sox did this past week.
Like last week, Alcántara got off to a great start early in the week and then cooled off later on. Between Monday and Tuesday, Alcántara went 5 for 9 with a home run. He played two more games this past week—Thursday and Saturday, and went 1 for 8 between those two games.
Is it because he played the first two games in center field and he played in right the next two? Probably not, but it’s a way to inform you where he played.
Over 16 games in the AFL, Alcántara is hitting .231 (15 for 65) with three doubles and four home runs. He leads the Solar Sox with 16 home runs and he has nine runs scored with two steals. Alcántara’s OBP is .320 and he’s slugging .462.
Here are all three of Alcántara’s hits on Tuesday [VIDEO], including the home run. If you’re wondering what El Jaguar’s “Jaguar Claw” celebration looks like after he hits a home run, there’s a good view of it here. (He’s either about to do it or has just finished doing in in the photo above.)
Triantos had another big week in the AFL as he makes a bid for the Most Valuable Player award. He played in all five games this week and he went 7 for 16 with his third home run and his unbelievable fifth triple. Tiantos has hit five triples in just 18 games in the AFL. He has 10 career triples over 221 career minor league games.
Triantos also stole his seventh base of the fall on Monday, a game he didn’t start. He came in the game in the sixth inning, replacing starting shortstop Benjamin Cowles. (I’ve got to assume there’s was a potential injury there after a play at second base, but Cowles did play later in the week.) Triantos had an infield single and a sac fly in that game.
Triantos played second base twice, third base once and he DH’d one time in addition to those three innings at shortstop. One down note on Triantos’ AFL season is that he’s committed six errors in those 18 games.
On the fall season, Triantos is now hitting .433 (29 for 67), which is second in the league. His OBP of .513 is third in the league and his slugging percentage of .761 leads the league. Triantos has scored 15 runs and he’s driven in 16 runs. He’s a lock to be selected to the “Fall Stars” Game, which will be played this coming Sunday.
Trice, the replacement for the injured Christian Franklin, got his first AFL hit in the only game he played on Saturday. It was a double his first time up in the second inning. He also reached on a fielding error and scored on a wild pitch later in that game. He was 1 for 3.
Over four games, Trice is 1 for 12 with the double and a walk.
After a rough first three weeks for Hull, he turned in a strong pitching performance in Friday’s 8-2 win over Glendale. Hull started and held the Desert Dogs to no runs on five hits over four innings. He struck out three and walked no one.
Hull has now pitched four times in the AFL and is 0-1 with an 8.59 ERA. Over 14⅔ innings, Hull has walked six and struck out nine.
Kachmar pitched the seventh inning of Mesa’s 5-2 win over Scottsdale on Tuesday and unfortunately, was responsible for both Scorpions runs. Kachmar allowed two runs on one hit and two walks in one inning. He did not have a strikeout.
For the fall season, Kachmar has pitched four times and has allowed six runs, five earned, over eight innings for an ERA of 5.63. He’s struck out six and walked four.
Laskey also pitched in Tuesday’s win, throwing a scoreless fourth inning. Laskey gave up a one out triple and a two-out walk, but he struck out the other three batters he faced. So the inning went strikeout, triple, strikeout, walk, strikeout.
For the season, Laskey has thrown seven innings in seven games and has allowed just one run for an ERA of 1.29. He’s struck out 11 and walked just two.
Romero continued his strong AFL season on Friday, relieving Hull to start the fifth inning and facing the minimum. After a pop out, Romero gave up a one-out single. But after he struck out the third batter, he picked the runner off first base to end the frame.
Overall, Romero has allowed just one run and two hits over 8⅓ innings in the AFL. That translates to a 1.08 ERA. He’s struck out six and walked six.
Santana got the win in Thursday’s game with three innings of relief, allowing just one run on two hits. But really, it was one run on a home run by Twins 2020 first-round pick Aaron Sabato. Santana struck out one and walked no one over those three innings, although he did hit one batter.
For the season, Santana is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA over 12 innings. That’s one start and three relief appearances. Santana has struck out six and walked four.