By Todd Johnson
The Arizona Fall League is Over
On Saturday, seven Cubs prospects finished their tenure in the Arizona Fall League as part of the Mesa Solar Sox. The team won the championship game behind Ian Happ’s electric day. He went 4/4 with 2 home runs, one from each side of the plate.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) November 20, 2016
James Farris closed out the game with a perfect inning of relief.
On the whole, the Fall League proved to be a huge success for relievers James Farris and Stephen Perakslis. Neither allowed an earned run all fall. For Farris, the experience should move him faster to Iowa in the spring.
For Eloy Jimenez, his season in the AFL was a roller coaster but he did flash his potential and the ability to adjust to more advanced pitching. However, he showed he was still susceptible to injury. On the other hand, I think the experience might shorten Eloy’s time at Myrtle Beach in 2017. You have to remember that Eloy was playing against AA and high-A pitchers and he very much held his own, especially in the second half.
Duane Underwood only made two starts and neither went well. After that, he disappeared. Reliever Ryan McNeil struggled early in relief before going scoreless in his last four appearances. When it came to Victor Caratini, his bat started to come around the last two weeks. The emphasis for him this fall was to improve his defense.
As for Ian Happ, the Championship game showcased his potential and why I find his inconsistency frustrating. Then again, here’s what Happ had to say to MLB.com:
“First time in my whole life I’ve done that from both sides. I’m normally hacking when I hit from the left side and then go righty, but that was awesome. […] I was seeing the ball well today and was fortunate enough to get a couple barrels on the ball. They were all falling today.”
He’s always shown a great approach and his AFL OBP of .385 was no different than any other league he’s been in. He also showed some anger just last Sunday when he went 0-4 with 3 Ks, a bat flip, and a helmet toss. That was very unlike him. He is known to keep a pretty even keel. Happ will likely return to Tennessee in 2017.
Earlier in the day, former Cubs farmhand Gleyber Torres was named MVP of the AFL.
40 Man and the Rule V Draft
Late Friday, the Cubs selected the contracts of Duane Underwood, Victor Caratini, Jack Leathersich, and Jake Hannemann and added them to the 40 man roster. The prospects are now protected from the Rule V Draft on December 8.
Cubs Convention Tickets
I did not get one this year. I have gone back and forth all year about going, not going, going, and not going. Now that I cannot go, I want to go. Go figure. I did put in for a press pass late Friday afternoon, so who knows?
Ricardo de la Torre – SS – Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
With a season left in high school, the young 17-year-old shortstop has a lot of tools left to develop. At 6’2” and 175, his body has a lot of projection left. What I like is his size and that he is not a finished projected, far from it actually. He is likely to be a late first rounder or second round pick unless he begins to shoot up the boards in the spring.
I have seen a couple different videos of him hitting. One has him with a leg kick, and the other does not. Regardless, you can definitely see the power in his swing. I think the video below might be the best because you get to see him in a variety of situations.
He’s not the most polished player yet, but you can see the potential. He comes across very athletic and a little stiff in certain activities. He has issues with his feet aligning and planting in the field.I think the Cubs could work out some of those kinks.
I think the key is to evaluate him is seeing glimpses of a power bat and that he’s a fluid athlete who could possibly play more than one position. I think De La Torre is one to keep an eye on. He might be a better pick for round 2 rather than round 1.
The Weekly with Draft Profiles
Next Up Series: Wladimir Galindo
Position Breakdown Series: Catcher