The Arizona Fall League concluded its 2016 run on Saturday with a 6-1 championship win by the Mesa Solar Sox over the Surprise Saguaros. The Solar Sox featured prospects from the Cubs, Indians, Marlins, Athletics, and Blue Jays’ farm systems, while the Saguaros displayed top talent from the Red Sox, Royals, Twins, Pirates, and Rangers’ rosters.
Leading the charge in the Solar Sox’ championship win was Cubs’ top prospect Ian Happ, who fueled the team’s offensive drive with a base hit, double, and two home runs in four at-bats. Happ was ranked No. 1 within the Cubs’ farm system in 2016 and made the jump to Double-A Tennessee in mid-June after slashing .296/.410/.475 through 293 PA with High-A Myrtle Beach.
Happ’s efforts at the plate were boosted by a knockout performance from Athletics’ right-hander Dylan Covey. Covey carried a perfect game through four innings and finished his last start of the year with a hit, a run, a walk, and three strikeouts over five innings. He was backed by four scoreless innings and another six strikeouts from fellow A’s right-hander Frankie Montas and Cubs’ righty James Farris in the Solar Sox’ win.
While Happ and Covey were the clear standouts of the afternoon, league MVP honors went to 19-year-old shortstop Gleyber Torres before the championship game kicked off. Ranked No. 2 in the Yankees’ system, Torres turned heads in the AFL, leading all batters with a .403 average, .513 on-base percentage and 1.15 OPS. He became the youngest AFL player to receive the Edge Pro Batting Title Award and his smooth transition to second base helped solidify an MVP run over two months with the Scottsdale Scorpions.