Cubs Prospects look to impress in Arizona Fall League
|Thursday, September 26, 2019, 11:38 AM- -|
With the minor league season officially over, most players have hung up their cleats for the season as they get ready to take on next year. However, baseball is not done quite yet as the Arizona Fall League has ramped up and is now in full swing. With the Chicago Cubs one of five franchises to represent the Mesa Solar Sox, seven of the team’s top prospects look to perfect their game as they get set for the fall season. Here is who can anticipate seeing in Mesa.
By now, we all know the story of Nico Hoerner upon his callup to the bigs. As the story goes, Hoerner was sitting on his couch in California prepping for Fall League play. Now that he is on the North Side for the remainder of the season, I find it very hard to believe he still intends to play for Mesa in Oct, but it could still be possible for him since that was where he expected to be at that point. Despite no Hoerner, the Cubs will be well represented as seven of their prospects look to perfect their game for at least another couple of weeks.
One name that immediately jumps out at you is the No. 2 prospect in the organization Catcher Miguel Amaya. The 91st ranked overall prospect by MLB.com has represented the Cubs in the last two Futures games and knows that the six weeks fall league season could be huge in terms of his future development both at the plate and behind the dish.
The 2015 International signee was inked for 1.25 Million dollars and has impressed everyone with his defensive abilities behind the dish. However, for the 20-year-old his offensive production saw a dig for Myrtle Beach in 2019 as he slashed .235 with 11 homers and 57 RBI’s over 90 games. Despite that, the entire organization knows he can become a complete hitter evident by his .251 second-half which puts him right around his .253 career average thus far.
Another name to watch is the No. 9 prospect in the organization SS Zack Short. With injuries limiting to just 63 this season, Short made the most of it as he advanced to AAA Iowa where he managed to hit .211. At 24 years old, Short is one of the older prospects in Arizona as his bat has yet to come full circle. What stands out the most in Shorts game is his defensive ability as many people feel he is the best all-around infielder in the system who can play 2B, SS, and 3b. That may come in handy down the road when the Cubs need to start figuring out future contracts.
The final position player to appear for Mesa is 3B Jared Young. Fresh off a career-high 123 games for AA Tennessee, the 24-year-old Young had a great year at the plate leading the team in home runs and RBI’s. Even with an average of .235, Young connected for five homers to go with his team-leading 57 RBI’s. Compare that to his two levels of A ball in which his numbers were .300 with 16 homers, and you may say he had a down year. That is certainly not the case as the jump from A ball to AA is considered the toughest jump in the system.
Pitchers: Perhaps the more prominent names to watch for the Solar Sox will be on the pitching side of things as the Cubs are still looking to develop some home-grown arms. 24th ranked Erich Uelmen is the highest-ranked prospect on this list as he certainly had a breakout year this season. After reaching AA for the first time this season, Uelmen didn’t fare too well as he struggled to go 0-3 with a 7.76 ERA. Compare that to his Myrtle Beach numbers where he was 5-3 with a 3.05 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 62 innings, and there is plenty of potential in that arm.
The main reason why Uelmen is Mesa is to build up arm strength and face more live hitters as he only made 17 starts this season. With six of those coming at the AA level, now is the chance for him to prove he deserves a spot in the Tennessee rotation in 2020.
Keegan Thompson fresh off his South Bend title a few weeks ago, will look to continue his amazing run with Mesa in the Fall. Thompson, has had the rare chance to be a part of two straight championship seasons, earning one with Eugene in 2018 before taking home No. 2 with South Bend earlier this month.
Taken in the third round back in 2017, Thompson is looking to build up some innings for Mesa as he spent a large chunk of the season on the injured list for South Bend. Thompson reached AA just once this season where he made one start striking out eight hitters over five no-hit innings before hitting the IL. He went on to finish his first full professional season with South Bend where he went 9-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 25 total starts.
A name not many people may be familiar with is 25 – year old Scott Effross. The started turned reliever this season is also looking to make up some innings as he too missed six weeks due to injury. Stationed at Tennessee this season, Effross appeared in 17 games while posting a 5.88 ERA. Although that is not a number you want to see next to ERA, that was largely due to a couple of rough outings before hitting the injured list. He also had a stretch where he allowed one run or less in six of seven games before getting hurt.
The final player to appear in Mesa for the Cubs, is also the oldest player on the roster in Jordan Minch. After struggling the first half of the year, Minch fared much better in the second half but still posted a 4.58 ERA in 45 games. Drafted way back in 2014, Minch spent most of the season in AA where he struck out 52 men in 55 2/3 innings. He managed to get the call to Iowa in September making one scoreless appearance for the Cubs.