The Rundown: Arizona Fall League Begins Today, C.J. Edwards Set to Start Thursday
It may not generate the level of excitement of Twin Peaks returning to television after 25 years, but I’m pretty darn excited for the Arizona Fall League to get rolling today.
If you’re not familiar with the AFL, it’s basically a collection of some of the league’s best young talent all thrown together and split into six teams. Cubs prospects will be playing for the Mesa Solar Sox, along with players from the A’s, Angels, Blue Jays and Nationals.
The Cubs have eight players going to the AFL:
* RHP Zach Cates
* LHP Gerardo Concepcion
* RHP C.J. Edwards
* OF Jacob Hannemann
* RHP Ivan Pineyro
* OF Bijan Rademacher
* INF Addison Russell
* INF Dan Vogelbach
Edwards, who came over in the Matt Garza trade and is one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects, is scheduled to start on Thursday. He missed a majority of the 2014 regular season because of a shoulder injury, so we’ll be watching closely to see how he performs against top talent in the AFL.
Last year, Cubs players played a big role for the Solar Sox. Dallas Beeler started the AFL championship game (which they ended up losing 2-0), and Kris Bryant won the league MVP playing third base.
Addison Russell also happened to be on the Solar Sox last year as a member of the A’s. He batted .282/.361/.435 with one home run in 21 games as a 19-year-old.
The Nationals avoided a sweep with a 4-1 win over San Francisco. Huge win for Washington, as they beat the Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner made a key error in the seventh inning that led to three runs. In the top of the ninth, Bryce Harper added his second bomb of the playoffs. Still leaning Giants in this series, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Nats take the next two games. Game 4 will be Gio Gonzalez against Ryan Vogelsong.
The 3-1 Cardinals win over the Dodgers was keyed by none other than Gnat Carpenter (OK, I promise not to call him that again because it’s pretty lame). He hit his third homer of the playoffs (another one with a lefty on the mound) and also hit a double. Hard to admit, but the guy has been incredible in this series.
Clayton Kershaw will be starting Game 4 for Los Angeles on short rest. Should be a good one.
* The Cubs have three players in Baseball America’s top 20 prospects for the Florida State League: C/OF Kyle Schwarber (4), OF Albert Almora (11) and OF Billy McKinney (18).
Schwarber and Almora are former first-round picks (2014 and 2012, respectively) and McKinney was part of the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade with Oakland. All three players are promising, but I’m most interested in seeing what Schwarber can do next year after tearing the cover off the ball in his first season of pro ball.
* MLB Trade Rumors profiles right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who will be a free agent. The article mentions that the Cubs (as well as a bunch of other teams) could be interested.
McCarthy had a pretty respectable season after being traded to the Yankees this year: 2.89 ERA (3.22 FIP). He could be a possible Jason Hammel-type signing for the Cubs as a complementary signing to a top pitcher.