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Cubs prospects dominate in 18-run AFL performance

October 18, 2018

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A quartet of Cubs prospects shined for the Mesa Solar Sox in an 18-2 rout over the Surprise Saguaros in Arizona Fall League action Thursday.Cubs' No. 8 prospect Justin Steele set the tone early with three no-hit innings for the Solar Sox.• GamedayThursday was Steele's second start

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A quartet of Cubs prospects shined for the Mesa Solar Sox in an 18-2 rout over the Surprise Saguaros in Arizona Fall League action Thursday.
Cubs' No. 8 prospect Justin Steele set the tone early with three no-hit innings for the Solar Sox.
Gameday
Thursday was Steele's second start of the Fall League season. After giving up four earned runs n just 1 2/3 innings against Peoria last Thursday, Steele settled in with his scoreless performance.
"I was probably a little too amped up for my first start in the Fall League," Steele said. "Nerves were a little calmer today and I had my stuff so I felt good."
Steele was a fifth-round pick in 2014 out of George County High School in Mississippi. After struggling in his first two full professional seasons, Steele was finding his groove with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach before tearing his UCL in 2017.
Coming off Tommy John surgery, Steele returned to the mound in early July. He got 11 starts across three levels in the Cubs' organization, and it feels like the Fall League innings are crucial.
"Whatever I do here is probably gonna have a direct impact on what I do next year as far as innings and where I start at and all that." Steele said. "I worked really hard all offseason rehabbing from Tommy John, so I'm very glad to be here."
His battery mate was P.J. Higgins, who had a breakout performance offensively. A 12th-rounder in 2015, Higgins finished the day 2-for-5 with a three-run homer and two runs scored.
Higgins and Steele, who are roommates, have known each other for years and have rose through the ranks together. As both continue to progress, they know the chemistry can be big going forward.
"We've got a good a relationship. I've known him since South Bend." Higgins said. "We work well together and it's always enjoyable."
Higgins had been held hitless until Thursday, but credits film for helping him bust out of the skid.
D.J. Wilson, a fourth-round pick and the Cubs' No. 16 prospect, led off for the Solar Sox and proved to be a table setter for his team. Wilson finished 1-for-3 with three walks and four runs.
The Cubs' No. 6 prospect, shortstop Nico Hoerner, drove in the first two runs on a single.

Andre Simms is a senior journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.