As we discussed previously with sadness, Miguel Amaya was not on the officially-announced Mesa Solar Sox roster for the Arizona Fall League. The catching prospect was expected to catch for the first time since his Tommy John surgery last year, but a recent ankle injury was apparently serious enough to see him a late removal from the roster. It’s now TBD if and when he’ll play some kind of offseason ball. It sucks.
The other thing that was TBD at the time was whether the Cubs would replace Amaya on the AFL roster, or if maybe they would wait to see if he became able to play shortly after the season started (October 3).
Well, as spotted by a number of folks, including Spriggs down in the comments, the Mesa Solar Sox roster page has now been updated to remove Amaya (he was previously still on the page, even though we knew he was not in the officially-announced roster). But we knew that was coming. What Spriggs and others noticed that is more important for today: outfield prospect Owen Caissie and infield prospect B.J. Murray now show up on the roster!
One of the two may be a Taxi Squad guy (available to play only on certain days), which is typically how you get to eight prospects in the league, rather than just seven. In any case, now we know that after their High-A playoff run ends, Caissie and Murray will join Brennen Davis, Matt Mervis, Bailey Horn, Zac Leigh, Riley Martin, and Sheldon Reid in the AFL.
Speaking of that playoff run …
- Actually, can we do the bad playoff news first? The Tennessee Smokies dropped the opener of their divisional series to the Rocket City Trash Pandas, 9-5. Riley Thompson had a particularly rough outing, allowing seven of those runs in his 4.1 innings, and the late comeback efforts weren’t enough.
- (The Smokies went 2-14 with runners in scoring position in the game, so you know that a whole bunch of them are big-league ready.)
- It was in a losing effort, but Cole Roederer JUST KEEPS HOMERING (and yes, that’s *the* Ben Joyce off of whom Roederer hit it):
- Yonathan Perlaza added to his huge season with another three-hit night, including a walk, two stolen bases, and a homer of his own:
- For as much as he rocked it this year at Double-A, I suspect the Cubs will risk leaving Perlaza, 23, off the 40-man roster, betting that no big league team is going to be willing to roster a corner outfielder (with so-so defense, from what I’ve heard) to leap him straight up from Double-A. If a team plucks him, hey, good for him – go run with your shot. But I think the Cubs will instead try to sign him to a new minor league deal – yes, he is otherwise a minor league free agent. So the only way the Cubs could GUARANTEE that they keep him is by placing him on the 40-man. Since I suspect that won’t happen, they have to try to re-sign him on a minor league deal before he hits the market.
- Meanwhile, the South Bend Cubs kept their season alive with a 4-3 win in Game Two of the Midwest League Championship Series, which means tonight’s game is FOR ALL THE MARBLES. The game starts at 6pm CT, with Porter Hodge getting the start.
- The Cubs had entered the bottom of the 9th up two runs thanks to a Pete Crow-Armstrong insurance dinger in the top of the frame, which wound up being critical because of the run that scored in the bottom of the inning:
- Brennen Davis doubled, walked, and had a sac fly last night as part of an Iowa Cubs 12-run barrage (Alexander Canario homered three times). Davis’s numbers in the 16 games since his return to Triple-A following his back procedure are good overall, if kinda funky: .217/.403/.370/119 wRC+, 16.1% BB, 29.0% K, .152 ISO, .321 BABIP. It’s not surprising that the power would be absent for him right now, as he himself said that his recovery got him to a place where he was physically safe and able to play again, but not necessarily as strong and physically built up as he would’ve been back in Spring Training.
- Speaking of all that, more on what Davis was dealing with:
- You would never say with confidence that a guy dealing with a back injury, surgery, and having to miss so much time is a context-neutral “good” thing for him, but I do think it’s possible that it could wind up helping him down the road in ways yet unknown. Consider Davis’s attitude heading into the AFL and the offseason, knowing he can put in the work to get himself where he wants to be physically for next Spring Training (Des Moines Register):
That’ll potentially set up a big 2023 season for Davis, who once again could be on the verge of making his now long awaited MLB debut.
“That’s going to be huge going into next season and coming in strong and healthy and with a new mindset and a fresh set of goals that are basically rollover goals with some additives to it,” Davis said. “So, I think that’s where my head’s at.”
Davis doesn’t want to blame his early season struggles on the back problems. But they likely were a contributing factor.
That’s why next season could be a huge year for a healthy Davis.
And this season has offered plenty of perspective for the budding big-leaguer.
“You really take a step back and realize how blessed you are to have this game in your life and how awesome it is to be able to play baseball for a living,” he said. “That’s something you should never take for granted.”
- Davis’s outfield teammate at Iowa saw his numbers take a big leap last night: