Catching Up on The AFL
By Tamar Chalker
October 27, 2023
While the New York Yankees’ season ended far earlier than we all wished, the MLB playoffs aren’t the only baseball games still being played. The Arizona Fall League kicked off on October 2nd and has passed the halfway mark. A handful of Yankee hopefuls are getting some extra work this month with the Mesa Solar Sox.
Mesa is not off to a good start, sitting at the bottom of the six-team league with a 7-13 record. The Yankees sent eight players to the Arizona Fall League. On the mound, Norberto Henriquez, Baron Stuart, Matt Sauer, Kevin Stevens, and Trystan Vrieling are representing the Yankees, joined by infielders Benjamin Cowles and Caleb Durbin, along with outfielder Nelson Medina.
On the mound, Matt Sauer has had the most success. He has made 6 relief appearances and has a save and a loss. His 2.35 ERA and .111 average against are solid, despite the small sample size. Sauer had a pretty solid year in Double-A so it is good to see him building on that success.
Caleb Durbin is a middle infielder who split time between High-A and AA this year. He put together a strong .291/.361/.440 slash line in Somerset, adding 21 stolen bases. In just 14 games with Mesa this fall, however, he has already swiped nine bags and has a pair of homers.
Benjamin Cowles is a shortstop who spent 106 games in High-A with Hudson Valley, along with making three appearances with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In 13 appearances for Mesa, Cowles is hitting .333/.453/.548 and has nine RBIs on two homers.
Durbin, Cowles, and Cubs’ prospect James Triantos have provided the bulk of the Solar Sox’s offense this year, with the rest of the lineup putting up fairly paltry numbers. Mesa’s 2023 season may not be bringing a whole lot of success, but it is good to see a handful of Yankees’ farm players continuing to improve.