Need to clarify that Willson Contreras is actually a six-year minor leaguer and eligible for free agency. The Cubs will have five days after the World Series to add him to the 40-man roster. They may DFA Taylor Teagarden and just replace him with Contreras.
Johnson, the Cubs supplemental first-round pick in 2012, didn’t start his season until June in AA, missing the first two months with a leg injury. He made 16 starts for Smokies, compiling a 6-2 record with a stingy 2.08 ERA. In 95 innings he fanned 72 but issued 32 free passes for a 1.14 WHIP. Johnson will likely be added to the Cubs 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings. The AFL is a good place for Johnson to get some of those innings back and also see how he fares against top competition. He may get his shot at the big league rotation in 2016 but may need some seasoning in AAA before heading to Wrigley.
Black started the year in the rotation in Tennessee but ended it in the bullpen. The 24-year-old right-hander made nine starts, posting a 2-2 record with a 3.09 ERA in 46.2 innings. Adjusting to the bullpen was an issue for Black with a 7.09 ERA in 39.1 innings, 28 relief appearances. He fanned 48 but had a WHIP of 1.81 and a BAA of .281. Black recorded over 100 strikeouts for the third straight season. Possessing some of the best stuff in the organization, Black needs to show better command this fall and that should earn him a spot of the 40-man roster to avoid being selected in the Rule 5 draft.
Zastryzny took a line drive off his foot in the season opener and after a brief stint on the DL, pitched in two more games before it was determined he had a broken bone in the foot. The Cubs second-round pick in 2013 didn’t return to Tennessee until late June and ended the year at 2-5 with a 5.98 ERA in 64.2 IP. The AFL will be good experience for Zastryzny, who’s still trying to live up to the second-round selection. He needs to start to turn his career around as the Cubs have several pitching prospects moving up the ranks.
David Garner was the Cubs 7th round pick in 2013 out of Michigan State and the right-hander didn’t make much noise his first two seasons but that all changed in 2015. After going 2-0 with a 5.33 ERA in 16 games for South Bend, Garner was promoted to Myrtle Beach and excelled out of the pen for the Pelicans. Commanding a fastball in the mid-90s, Garner appeared in 16 games, going 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA. He recorded a pair of saves and fanned 36 in 30.1 innings with a 0.89 WHIP. The AFL will be a good test for Garner and his fastball.
Venezuelan Winter League
Caracas beat Lara 8-7 in the only game on the VWL schedule. Yoanner Negrin took the loss, allowing eight runs on eight hits and three walks over 4.1 innings. Former Cub Loiger Padron earned his first hold, recording the final out of the 7th for Caracas. Rubi Silva, released by the Cubs during the summer, went 2-for-5 with a double and a RBI.
Dominican Winter League
The Dominican League gets underway on Thursday, Oct. 15 and rosters have not been finalized.
Mexican Pacific Winter League
Only one game on the schedule as Jalisco beat Hermosilio 5-2. No Cubs prospects saw action.