The Chicago Cubs have selected their six representatives for the prospect-heavy Arizona Fall League, which begins October 4th, and will feature two of the top prospects in the game, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.

The Cubs’ representatives will be pitchers Andrew Cashner, Trey McNutt and Chris Carpenter, outfielder Brett Jackson, and infielders DJ LeMahieu and Junior Lake. Reliever Jeff Beliveau will be on the “taxi squad,” which means he can fill in on certain days when a team can’t quite fill a team. The Cubs play on the Mesa Solar Sox team.

I don’t want to read too much into the selections, but there are a few takeaways:

1.) Organizations tend to send six of their top, just-on-the-verge-of-being-big-league-ready prospects to the AFL.

2.) But only if the kid needs to play more baseball, which many top prospects do not.

3.) The league is frequently used to give guys who missed time due to injury (Carpenter, McNutt, Cashner) a chance to get in some high quality innings in preparation for the next season.

4.) Specifically, the Cubs have said they want to see Cashner stretch back out in the AFL, in the hopes that he can start next year.

5.) The inclusion of Brett Jackson suggests he won’t be called up in September. Although not impossible, it’s hard to see the Cubs shuffling him up to Chicago for a month (of relative inaction, given Mike Quade’s predilections) after a full minor league season (though he did miss a few weeks with a pinky injury), and then sending him down to Arizona for a month of highly-competitive ball. That’s a heck of a long season for your top prospect.

  • Matt Murton

    Hopefully Vitters is coming up! Seems kind of weird that they wouldn’t send him… Shows a lot of what they think about him

    • Brett

      That was my first reaction, too, MM (the weird part, not the coming up part – I don’t think he’ll be called up). But it’s possible they’ll send him to play Winter ball elsewhere. I think he already did the AFL once.

  • Spencer

    what kind of season is Lake having?

    • Brett

      Good not great. He’s only 21 and already in AA, and playing decent shortstop. His bat fell way off, though, mid-season when he was promoted from High A to AA. Next year will be very interesting for him – could emerge as a top five prospect, could peeter out. There are people who follow this stuff more closely than I who are huge fans of his, for what it’s worth.

    • JulioZuleta

      For what it’s worth, he seems to be somewhat typical of the “toolsy” but impatient prospect. That being said, I really do like him alot. His line this year in 110 games (49 in Daytona and 61 in Tennessee) looks like this
      .281 76 20 5 12 51 17 103 36 6 .318 .437 .755

      I try to go to see Peoria play in Kane County when their visiting, so I saw him a few times in ’09, I didn’t this this kind of power/speed was going to develop so quickly. He is one of the many Cubs that strikes out too much/walks to little, but if he can improve those numbers a little bit next year, he could shine at AA, and at only 22 years old. He tends to get a little flashy on defense and make some careless errors.

      • JulioZuleta


        • JulioZuleta

          by the way, he’s 6’3″ 215. Not one of these little 5’10” Theriot’s or Barney’s

          • Spencer

            is he likely to stay at SS? Or might they try him out elsewhere in the infield? seems like he might be a trade piece for the future since Castro isn’t going anywhere. if that’s the case, kinda weird that they are sending him to AFL.

  • JulioZuleta

    So far, the thought has been that he can stick at SS, however, like I said, he is only 21 and is already at 6’3″ 215. If he puts on 15 or so pounds over the next 2-3 years, I think he’ll out grow the position. With the legitimate 3B prospects we have (LeMahieu, Flaherty, resurgence of Vitters, Baez, Calendario), I think he may end up as a trade piece, or, my hope is that he becomes a 2B. Decent power numbers and great speed at age 21, but might never have the kind of power to be a real 3B (neither will LeMaieu or Flaherty for that matter, who should be relegated to second/stay in the minors forever). But could be a very solid 2B, which we have not had in quite some time (don’t get me started on Mark DeRosa).

  • JulioZuleta

    From Bruce Levine post game blog last night…
    “… The Cubs will send seven players to the Arizona Fall League, including Andrew Cashner, Chris Carpenter, Trey McNutt and Brett Jackson.”

    Seven, as opposed to 6 that was reported before, hopefully Vitters after all.

    • JulioZuleta

      Nevermind, counting Belliveau

  • Brandon Howes

    From my seat in the stands in AA… are my thoughts….Belliveau is a very good prospect. Phenominal poise, and icewater in the veins. A “little” lefty…but was a difference maker for TN this season. Looks like the real deal if he can quit looking at himself in the mirror (haha). Junior Lake looks brilliant at time (on defense) and has a very strong arm. He was completely lost at the plate while in TN. The put him in almost every position in the lineup to try and get him some pitches to hit. But, if the pitch had a wrinkle in it, he would miss it. I am looking forward to seeing him again in AA next season and hoping for significant growth. He is cocky (which is not bad), but he had no right to be based on his performance. Vitters looked lethargic most of the season, and quite frankly, I expected more (although he did step up after Brett Jackson was promoted). McNutt was a pretty good 5 inning pitcher. He struggled to show anything speacial after the 5th inning. I have my doubts about seeing him as anything more than a #4 or 5 starter (if he’s lucky).