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Cubs, White Sox prospects look for strong finish in fall league

A wise scout once said that it was unfair to evaluate Arizona Fall League players until the final three weeks of the season.

But now with the AFL slated to end Nov. 17, there’s something for four Cubs and White Sox players to prove.

For infielder Nico Hoerner and left-hander Justin Steele of the Cubs and outfielder Luis Robert and pitcher Zack Burdi of the White Sox, this is a chance to make up for lost time due to injuries.

Hoerner, who played in only 14 games last summer because of a left arm injury, is batting .373 with eight RBIs and a .400 on-base percentage in 12 games for the Mesa Solar Sox. Hoerner, the Cubs’ first pick in the 2018 amateur draft, went 4-for-5 Friday.

Steele, who pitched in only 11 games last summer after returning from Tommy John surgery, is 1-0 with a 5.19 ERA in 8 2/3 innings. Steele ’would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December if he’s not added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster on Nov. 20. Steele, who received a $1 million bonus after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, had a 2.92 ERA in 20 starts at Class-A Myrtle Beach prior to his injury in 2017.

Robert is finding his rhythm after being limited to only 50 games during the regular season due to a ligament injury in his left thumb and a hamstring injury that sidelined him for nine days earlier this month.

Robert is 4-for-13 with a double in his last three games for the Glendale Desert Dogs since returning from his hamstring injury and is batting .300 (9-for-30). Robert was selected to play Saturday night for the West squad in the Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. Cubs pitcher Bailey Clark was named to the East roster.

Burdi, who pitched in only seven games in the Arizona League after recovering from Tommy John surgery, has struck out five in 4 2/3 innings covering five games. Prior to his injury, Burdi’s fastball was clocked around 100 mph.

Twitter @MDGonzales

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