Pete Crow-Armstrong and Owen Caissie – Picture by Todd Johnson
There are several reasons for sending a player to the Arizona Fall League.
1. To make up for lost time. This is usually the most common and it can apply to both hitters and pitchers.
2. A step up – The Cubs might want to see how their youngest up-and-coming prospects do against advanced competition.
3. Get a jumpstart for the next year – This is quite common as the Cubs often use the AFL to give a player a preview of what kind of talent they might be facing. It can be a wake up call, or it can be a giant boost of confidence.
4. 40-man spot – I know a lot of people/writers who use this reason as an excuse to send a player sent to the AFL. To be quite frank, you should know what type of player you have and if you have to use the AFL to determine whether or not to put a player on the 40-man, then you are the one with the issues and not the player. Anyway…
5. A Tweak – Sometimes a player is sent to the AFL to work on developing a new pitch or a change in their delivery or their batting stance. It happens all the time
6. Change of position – Sometimes outfielders go and learn how to play first base or to become a catcher or they get some time in at third or somebody moves to the outfield. And sometimes, a starting pitcher goes to be a bullpen guy. Changing roles is quite common.
7. New Acquisition – You just got a certain player in a certain trade and you want a deeper dive.
So, with all of these reasons in mind, here is a list of Cubs Prospects who could end up going. For me, 1,2 and 3 are usually my favorite reasons to send a player to Mesa. Here are some possible picks to send this fall.
1. Brennen Davis – He’s missed a lot of time. He should be on top of everybody’s list to go and get some work in.
2. Miguel Amaya – He just come back after missing a year. Right now, he’s just playing DH. I would not be surprised to see him play first base before we see him behind the plate.
3. Michael McAvene – It would advance his development after missing all of 2021. Another few guys in a similar similar situation are Zac Leigh or Hunter Bigge and I could even see Eduarniel Nunez.
4. One of Luke Little, Riley Thompson, or Kohl Franklin – All three have had very short leashes this year after missing all of 2021. I’d like to see them go and get some work in and continue to strengthen their arms. It doesn’t have to be all three of them, one of them would work.
5. Cole Roederer began playing in May and then went to Double-A and played really well in June and made the monthly All-Star team. An injury in July caused a little downturn in performance and then it put him on the injured list in the middle of the month. I would like to see him go. Who knows, maybe playing with his BFF Brennen Davis will help to energize each other.
6. PCA and/or Owen Caissie – I can see them going and getting a leg up. Would it be cool to see both of them go and get a little preview of double-A for next year? That would be fun! The two of them talk baseball non-stop in the dugout and in the field. It’s fun to watch and to listen to, but I have been sworn to secrecy as to their topics.
7. Ben Hecht – He didn’t appear in Mesa until July and then he moved up to Tennessee at the end of the month. This would be a perfect way for him to get some more work to be ready to start at Iowa in the bullpen next spring.
8. Pablo Aliendo – The Cubs always like to send a catcher out just so that they can work with other pitchers besides their own and get a feel for what other pitchers do. I think it’s a good experience for them behind the plate.
9. Ben Brown – The Cubs just got him and he’ll only have 6 weeks in at Double-A. Send him out there to get 15-20 innings of work against some more elite players.
10. Cam Sanders – This is a very tricky one. He just switched to the pen. He will have two months to basically audition for the bullpen in Chicago. If he’s good at Iowa, he will be in Chicago in no time and thus would eliminate a need to go to Arizona. Right now, he’s come out of the pen once and it went really well.
Unfortunately, the Cubs can’t send everybody but these are the guys that I’m thinking of. The sure shots for me would be Davis, Amaya, Hecht, PCA, Brown, Aliendo, and Roederer.
After Davis, Amaya, Roederer, and PCA, I’m not too particular about who they send. They’ll have the reasons as I’ve listed above. But it would be cool to see some of the Cubs younger players go and have at it. The only thing about sending a player like Caissie who has played all year is that you worry about burn out a little bit because they’re going to be playing till the middle of November. Then again, he’s only 20. If PCA is there, he’ll be fine.
Put who you would send in the comments below.