Thanks to a Cubs’ blogger from which the information below is taken. Maybe we’ll get to see Ian Happ after all, perhaps on the Taxi squad (see #3 below).
The Arizona Fall League (AFL) is an MLB developmental league (approximately equivalent to “AA”) that operates for six weeks after the conclusion of the MLB regular season. It features a 31-game “regular season” schedule plus the “Bowman Hitting Challenge” (first Saturday of the season), an All-Star Game (formerly called the “Rising Stars Game,” but now known as the “Fall Stars Game”) at the end of the fourth week, and the AFL Championship Game (pitting the winner of the East Division against the winner of the West Division) on a Saturday at the end of the 6th and final week.
There are no games played on Sundays, on the day of the Bowman Hitting Challenge, or on the day of the Fall Stars Game, but otherwise there are three games scheduled every day Monday through Saturday during the AFL regular season, beginning with Opening Day on the second Tuesday following the conclusion of the MLB regular season (which is October 13th in 2015) and extending up through the Thursday of the 6th week (which is November 19th in 2015). Clubs usually assign some of their better prospects to the AFL, but sometimes select a player about whom they’re unsure in terms of placement for the coming year or an invitation to spring training.
Here are the current AFL eligibility rules & restrictions:
1. There are six AFL teams, and each AFL team is affilated with five MLB clubs. SEA & SD (Peoria Javelinas), KC & TEX (Surprise Saguaros), LAD & CHW (Glendale Desert Dogs), AZ & COL (Salt River Rafters), CUBS (Mesa Solar Sox), and SF (Scottsdale Scorpions) are the “host organizations” for the six AFL teams, but the affiliations of the other twenty MLB clubs can vary from year-to-year.
2. Each MLB organization must assign a minimum of seven players to its AFL affiliate, including a minimum of four pitchers (preferably one pitcher capable of starting plus three relievers) and a minimum of three position players (specific positions needed to be filled by each organization are determined by a conference call “position draft” between the Player Development Directors of the five MLB organizations affiliated with that particular AFL team).
3. An MLB organization can assign additional pitchers and/or players to its AFL team’s “Taxi Squad” (players assigned to an AFL team’s “Taxi Squad” can be activated on Wednesdays and Saturdays only, but a player can be transferred from the Taxi Squad to the 35-man Active Roster to replace an injured player).
4. A player can be selected to play in the AFL more than once, as long as the player continues to meet eligibility for selection.
5. MLB players (including Rule 5 players) with less than one year (1+000) MLB Service Time accrued (not including time spent on a Disabled list) as of September 1st are eligible.
6. Any player on a AA or AAA Active Roster or Disabled List on August 15th is eligible.
7. Two players on an organization’s Advanced Class-A (A+) affiliate’s Active Roster (or Disabled List) on August 15th can be assigned to the AFL.
8. Two additional players who were on the Active Roster or Disabled List of a minor league affiliate below AA (A+, A, SS-A, R) on August 15th can be assigned to the AFL.
9. Internatiional players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and/or Australia are eligible only if the player is not on the reserve list of a Winter League club from the player’s home country. Otherwise, there is no maximum limit on the number of international players an MLB organization can assign to its AFL team.
10. A player on the Restricted List, Military List, Disqualified List, Ineligible List, or Voluntary Retired List is not eligible to participate in the AFL.
11. A player who was on a minor league or MLB DL at the close of the regular season is eligible to play in the AFL as long as the player has been reinstated, but there can be no special limits or restrictions placed on the player’s playing time (other than the automatic restrictions imposed on a player assigned to an AFL team’s “Taxi Squad”).
12. A player cannot be assigned to the AFL on a Minor League Injury Rehabilitation Assignment by a club participating in an MLB post-season series (LDS, LCS, and World Series).
13. Players assigned to the AFL do not accrue MLB or minor league service time, each player receives the same salary, and the salaries are paid out of a special fund managed by MLB.
Each MLB organization provides either the manager, pitching coach, hitting coach, or an athletic trainer to its affiliated AFL club (assignments rotate every year).