Of the Cubs’ Big Five prospects (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, and Arismendy Alcantara (if you just wanted to count the first four as the Big Four, I’d understand – but it’s close)), only Soler and Almora have had disappointing seasons. And even then, the only reason the duo’s seasons have been disappointing is because they dealt with injuries that greatly reduced their number of games played. When they did place, each of Soler and Almora were solid.
It makes sense, then, that each of Soler and Almora is expected to be included on the Mesa Solar Sox (don’t you dare make a Soler pun), the Arizona Fall League team to which the Cubs contribute prospects. That comes from Carrie Muskat and Mark Gonzales, who also say the AFL rosters will be coming soon. Soler (stress fracture in tibia) made it in just 55 games this year (and only a handful over the preceding two years). Almora (various injuries) made it in just 61. We’ve discussed their likely offseason future for a little while now, and I’d been tentatively expecting both to be in the prospect-heavy AFL.
The Cubs will be able to send six prospects (plus another pitcher or two for the taxi squad, I believe – the roster rules have clearly changed in the last year, and even the AFL’s official page appears to be off), so there should be another four in addition to Soler and Almora, assuming they are, in fact, included. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bryant (very advanced, limited games post-college) and Baez (full season, but played only a short while in the AFL last year) included, which would make for the greatest Cubs prospect porn ever. Alcantara is a possibility, too, but he could also play in the Dominican Winter League.
I’d expect the Cubs to round out their AFL inclusions with guys on the Rule 5 bubble, particularly pitchers. That seems to be the way these things go, historically speaking.