The 2019 Arizona Fall League rosters were announced Wednesday afternoon and the Cubs will be sending six prospects to Mesa, including their top to. For those not familiar, the AFL is a developmental league to which organizations can send up to seven of their players at the conclusion of each season. The rosters are typically occupied by top prospects and the skill level is typically somewhere between Double-A and Triple-A.
Nico Hoerner and Miguel Amaya, the consensus top prospects in the Cubs system, are the two names that stick out from the Cubs’ selections. Hoerner will be making his second appearance in the league while Amaya will be making his AFL debut.
This appears to be step one of a tryout for Hoerner, who will get a shot to open the 2020 season in Chicago. He has put up good numbers this year in Double-A and will be an option atop the order while playing defensively at second base and/or in the outfield. After missing time with a fractured wrist and scuffling for a while upon returning, Hoerner has bounced back big-time in August and has slashed .281/.343/.406, good for a 119 wRC+.
Amaya, on the other hand, will be added to the 40-man roster this offseason as he is Rule 5 Draft eligible. He has discovered his power stroke in a Carolina League that typically saps power and has shown that he can be more than just a defense-first prospect. His slash line in Myrtle Beach this season reads .240/.359/.411, good for a 127 wRC+, and he is walking nearly as much as he is striking out. He has been particularly hot in the second half of the season, impressive for a catcher.
Both were among the predictions made by our Todd Johnson earlier in the month, but there are more than just the two big names making their way to Arizona. Jared Young, Keegan Thompson, Erich Uelmen, and Jordan Minch will also be on the Mesa Solar Sox roster.
Young, a first baseman at Double-A Tennessee will look to discover his power stroke as he tries to make his way up the organizational ladder. Uelmen and Thompson will be making up for time lost to injuries during the regular season with injuries. Both are looking to push through to the top of prospect lists as members of the starting rotation in Iowa next season.
Minch is a lefty who put up a 4.77 ERA over 43 relief appearances for Double-A and he’s a little long in the tooth at 25 years old. The Cubs may be looking to use this extra time for him to work on a specific skill as they try to determine the next step in his future with the organization.
AFL play begins on September 18, so check back for more information at the conclusion of the MiLB season.