Fall League Wrap-up

The Arizona Fall League came to a close a week ago Saturday and for the Cubs' contingent of prospects it was a month's worth of hard work, re-tuning, fine-tuning and more.

Of the seven Cubs prospects assigned to this year's Fall League, Eric Patterson was the best hitting position player of the group. The second baseman batted .345 in 28 games and finished tied atop the league with 39 hits. He stole a league-high 15 bases in 17 attempts and finished with a .408 on-base percentage.

"Eric Patterson really separated himself from the rest of the bunch," Mesa Solar Sox manager and Cubs coach Pat Listach said of the 23-year-old.

Defensively, Patterson committed six errors for a .944 fielding percentage. At Double-A this past season, his 14 errors were tied for second most in the Southern League among all second basemen.

"That's the thing he needs to work on the most and he knows that," Listach said.

Fellow position prospects Scott Moore and Jake Fox were also present in the Fall League. Moore, a third baseman by default who is likely to see more playing time in the outfield next season, batted only .250 but drew a team-high 15 walks and posted an on-base percentage of .347.

"He was disappointed [with his average]," Listach said of Moore. "He thought he could have hit better and he didn't. There were some plays he should have made that he didn't. He just needs to continue to play and work on those things. He's going to be a good player."

Fox, meanwhile, also batted .250 but in 40 fewer at-bats. The 24-year-old catching prospect split time behind the plate with Dodgers prospect A.J. Ellis in Arizona and the two worked with each other extensively over the course of the Fall League season.

"A.J. is a little older than Jake and probably a little more solid defensively, but Jake has the offense to probably change the game with one swing of the bat. A.J. doesn't have that," Listach said of the differences between the two catchers.

From a pitching standpoint, the Cubs lost right-hander Adam Harben to a sore elbow just two weeks into the league. The 23-year-old right-hander was acquired from the Twins in the trade that sent Phil Nevin to Minnesota in late August. In his first Double-A season with the New Britain Rock Cats, Harben was 4-9 with a 3.96 ERA in 122 2/3 innings.

He entered 2006 with a career strikeout to walk ratio of over 2-to-1, but walked 67 batters and threw 15 wild pitches while notching 74 strikeouts in the Eastern League this past season.

"We were looking for his command to come back," Listach admitted. "We had just gotten him and it was my first time meeting him. I guess he had lost control over the course of this season, so that's what he was working on."

Left-hander Clay Rapada racked up 17 strikeouts to only three walks in 14 2/3 innings in Fall League play. He posted a 3.07 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .218 average against.

"Rapada worked on sharpening up his breaking ball," Listach said. "He has a couple of different angles he can throw it from."

Right-hander Lincoln Holdzkom got off to a solid start in the Fall League, but struggled during the final stretch of November play and closed with an ERA above seven points.

"Holdzkom was doing the same thing as Rapada," Listach noted. "His breaking ball was a little short, but he's got an explosive fastball."

Left-hander Carmen Pignatiello also spent time on the shelf, plagued by a cut on his non-throwing right hand. He appeared in only a handful of games as a result of that and while most pitchers typically work on secondary pitches in the Fall League, Pignatiello was the exception to the rule. He was in Arizona to get better command of his fastball.

"I've been really focused on throwing more strikes with that (fastball) instead of showing my breaking ball so early in the count," Pignatiello said recently.

Final Fall League Statistics

Adam Harben0-16.437.010   4   72.00
Lincoln Holdzkom2-07.0820.120   13211.62
Carmen Pignatiello0-00.8710.1  4   4150.77
Clay Rapada1-13.0714.2 12  3171.02
Jake Fox.2501764816  118.294.375
Scott Moore.250281042226  313.347.452
Eric Patterson.345281132739  113.408.460

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