Today marks the start of the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League, which will feature a number of Chicago Cubs prospects who are hoping to secure a 40-man roster spot for the Winter, an invitation to Spring Training in 2013, a higher level to start the year in 2013, or just a few more at bats.

The Mesa Solar Sox, the team on whom Cubs players will play, start games today, and play through November 15.

As previously announced, the team includes pitchers Dae-Eun Rhee, Nick Struck, Tony Zych, and Kevin Rhoderick, as well as OF/2B Rubi Silva, OF Matt Szczur … and some shortstop named Javier Baez, who happens to be one of the youngest players in the AFL. The league affords those players one last opportunity to shine, and improve their stock for the next year before a well-earned rest in December.

Vine Line broke down Mesa’s roster, which features 38 prospects (including guys like Nick Castellanos, Yasiel Puig, George Springer, Jarred Cosart, and Chris Reed, among others).

You’ll note that Zach Rosscup’s name no longer appears on the roster. Unfortunately continued shoulder troubles apparently scrapped his involvement in the league, and now it’s highly unlikely he’ll be added to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft (but it’s also harder to see him being selected).

  • JulioZuleta

    Not thrilled with the guys they selected. Would have liked to see Lake, or even Vitters over guys like Rhee and Struck.

    • Luke

      Lake was in there last year, and Vitters for the past two years. At this point I’m not sure either would benefit much from playing in Arizona over some of the other winter leagues.

      • JulioZuleta

        Yeah, I guess I’m just not all that excited for Struck/Rhoderick/Rhee. I feel like those spots could have been better used. But I guess it’s inefficient to use spots on guys like McNutt, etc. who don’t need to be 40 man’d quite yet. At least the guys we send here will start getting much more exciting pretty soon, but for now, sheeshh.

        • Eric

          Mcnutt was there last year too. We cant just send them all offensive players and zero pitching.

      • Spriggs

        Vitters has actually been there in each of the last 3 years.

    • AB

      I believe McNutt is eligible for the Rule V draft.

  • Bill

    Nicely done.

  • MightyBear

    I’m glad Struck is in Mesa. I hope he does well and can leap frog AAA and crack the rotation next year. The Cubs desperately need some young pitchers to come up and be successful at the major league level.

    • willis

      I think it’s going to be quite awhile before we see any of that. Unfortunately. The talent just isn’t there. Saying that, I’m with you on being glad that Struck is going to play in the fall league. He had a pretty damn good year, just don’t know how he projects down the line. Maybe a #5? It’ll be interesting to follow him the next month for sure. I’m a fan just don’t know if he has the goods to be effective at the major league level. We’ll see.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Oh to be in Mesa right now. I’m already sick of winter and scraping ice off my windshield every morning.

  • emrac

    is there anyway. To watch these games.

  • North Side Irish

    Not sure if this was reported elsewhere, but Baseball America released their Top 20 prospects for the Florida State League yesterday and it had zero players from Daytona. JJ Cooper did a chat about the list and had a few not very encouraging things to say about the Cubs prospects:

    – Baez and Villenueva didn’t have enough time in the FSL to make the list.

    – “I didn’t have one manager or scout from another club bring up any Daytona pitcher. That doesn’t mean none of them will make the Top 30 for the Cubs, but none came close to making the FSL Top 20.”

    – Alcantara would probably have been ranked 21 or 22, but there are questions about his defense. Cooper did hear that his bat was “probably the best of all the many intriguing shortstops in the FSL this year”.

    – Don’t give up on Torreyes, but that he’s probably more of a role player.

    – Szczur has great tools and would’ve been in the 25-30 range. But he also quotes a scout who said “at some point, we’ve got to stop giving him a pass for being young in baseball experience”.

    – Hayden Simpson was nowhere near making the list. (shocking)

    • Brett

      The list was in the Bullets this morning, but the chat bit is new here. Gracias.

  • ramy16

    Brett,Luke do you think Jair Jurgens is availble?.. I know the Braves were trying to shop him this year

    • Brett

      He’s a near lock to be non-tendered. He’s a reclamation project at this point.

      • BluBlud

        The guy has an ERA of 2.96 as recent as 2011. If he is Non-Tendered, the Cubs better be at least kicking the tires.

      • Luke

        But he’s a reclamation project I’d love to see the Cubs take on (at the right price, of course).

        • Brett

          Minor league deal (with, like, a $3 million big league split)? Yup. Very much would like to see that, and I think that’s the kind of thing he might have to settle for.

  • Fastball

    I am wondering how Whitenack ended his season in Daytona and what his off season is supposed to look like. If he gets fully recovered from TJ surgery he could move up quickly as he was before surgery. At 23 I doubt the Cubs would put him through all the levels if he gets his control back. I liked the kid a lot before his injury. He could be a out of nowhere kind of pitcher who gets back on track and shows up in Chicago soon if healthy.

  • Fastball

    I would send the Braves Jr. Lake for Jair Jurgens. That might not be enough but his value came down quite a bit. Maybe we have to throw in another kid from the minors as well.

    • Brett

      Jurrjens is a near lock to be non-tendered. He’s a reclamation project at this point, and would not require anything to acquire in trade if the Braves actually tender him a contract.

  • Fastball


    Any plans on an article for pitchers that had high upside like Jurgens who had off years. He is the type we could possibly leverage a minor league player or two and add to our pitching staff as a starter or bull pen. He is the type of kid I see Theo putting some deals together for this off season.

  • BluBlud

    Luke, Why is it that Castellanos is rated a higher prospect then Baez. Personally, I think Baez is an all around better Castellanos. With the exception of Average, he does everything better. I don’t see castellanos stealing bases either. Plus, they are basicly the same age.(Castellanos 9 months older).

    • Drew7

      Shown more plate-discipline, and absolutely raked at a level Baez only has 86 PA’s. Basically, he’s shown more at a higher level. It’s close, but I wouldn’t disagree with it.

      One thing to point out though – In the prospect world, they are not “basically the same age”. One the things that makes them close is Baez being 9 months younger. In terms of teenage players, that is a long time.

  • jimmieboy

    I am ignorant of the abbreviations that are used throughout the posts. Would you mind posting a listing and definitions of those used in order for me to understand what you all are talking about? Thank you.

    • MaxM1908

      Probably easier if you ask about specific abbreviations. People will respond with an explanation.

  • TWC

    Wow. Two odd/random spam comments (“Bill” and “jimmieboy”). Neato.

    Though jimmieboy gives me a bit of a Shelby vibe…

  • jim

    Hope baez gets time at third

  • terencem

    Baez was #1 on Law’s “10 guys I am most excited to scout in AFL” list today.

  • Jeremy

    Baez just homered in his first AB off of Tyler Chatwood! Kid is gonna be a beast.

  • chirogerg

    Baez just went Yahtz!

  • Stevie B

    Being realistic, the earliest….EARLIEST we could see Baez will be 2014, and it does look like he is going to be one of the main building blocks for this organization. So (gulp) I must say I’m okay with another shit season next year and a high draft pick the next.

    • Myles

      You mean Baez ISN’T starting at 3B for the Cubs Opening Day 2013?

      Fire Theo bring back Andy McPhail

      • Stevie B

        Maybe im speaking out of place….remember, Javier Baez does WHATEVER THE F HE WANTS!!!!!!