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jorge soler cubsOf 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.

  • Jason P

    Alcantara’s already played a career high in games, and he’s worn down as the season’s gone on. I’d be very surprised if he were included on the roster.

    Here’s my guess for the 6:
    Soler
    Almora
    Rhee
    Vizcaino
    Rafael Lopez
    Olt

    • Jason P

      My bad, Bryant instead of Olt

    • joe bergschneider

      which would make for the greatest Cubs prospect porn ever. what is on this writers mind

      • Alex

        If you didn’t laugh at that there’s something wrong with you…

        • northsiders6

          Parks talks like that also, and I think it’s equally weird coming from Brett.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            ” ___ porn ” has been an Internet expression for five years.

            I try to do a good job of balancing my voice to accommodate folks’ different styles, but sometimes I gotta be a little silly.

            • Blublud

              There nothing wrong ___ porn. Its just an expression that its something to get excited about.

            • Jp3

              I thought it was hilarious. I did a double take reading it though😀

  • Teddy

    What exactly is the AFL and winter league. Just a place for prospect to get more games in? Also what is the skill level in these leagues?

    • Jason P

      Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what both are. The AFL is extremely prospect-laden; the other leagues are as well, but to a lesser degree.

    • MichiganGoat

      Arizona Fall League
      http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/afl/

      Each team send a set amount of prospects if they meet certain criteria, I believe most of the players are the A/AA but most are considered prospects.

      Brett did a write up about the Cubs and who they might be sending and the comments go into more of the rules and eligibity requirements http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/08/24/arizona-fall-league-rosters-expected-soon-jorge-soler-and-albert-almora-expected-to-be-included/

    • Mr. B. Patient

      it the past, the AFL was considered a Double A all star league. Where each team sent their best prospects from AA and AAA. It has been watered down in the last few tears, but for the most part, all lower level players were highly rated prospects, so the skill level stayed fairly high.

      Actually, Wikipedia does a decent job explaining it.

  • Jon

    China doll almora will get hurt in the first game

    • http://Jplgxk AlwaysNextYear

      Absolutely positive thinking by you sir. Fans like you just plain suck

  • Jon

    Bryant still mashing 2-4 for w/ a double ( oh noes we shoulda drafted Jonathan Gray)

    • Andrew

      not saying bryant is worse but take a look at jonathan grays numbers at the same level, they are arguably better than bryants right now, though obviously its apples and oranges. The fact is it will take a while before we know who we should have drafted, and we may never know.

      • http://Jplgxk AlwaysNextYear

        Pitchers with his talent often dominate lower levels.

        • Andrew

          ya but so do hitters with kris bryants talent, so your point is meaningless.

          • Chef Brian

            His point isn’t meaningless. Talented players excel at lower levels. I don’t believe the Cubs would change their pick if they could. Bryant is a Cub and all the boo hooing over Gray is what’s pointless

            • MichiganGoat

              How about this: if they both succeed and bece All Stars a positional player is normally more valuable than a pitcher unless its Kershaw.

              • MichiganGoat

                Become… Hands still shaking from that 8th inning

  • Theo?

    Theo’s plan is complete, the Cubs are the worst team ever with no chance of improvement. Nice legacy of 5 probable 90+ loss seasons in a row, boss.

    • Jon

      Well there is this top 2 farm system in the game, but whatever

      • Theo?

        So in 4 years we might have young players that in the future can help the team win…in 7 years. I don’t really understand all of this excitement for having a good farm system when there’s no team to build around in the first place. Turning this team into a winner is absolutely impossible without at least 5 major-league star caliber players for young players to play with and learn from.

        • Jon

          Prospects are mearly currency. They don’t neccasrily have to produce at the big league level. Should they choose, they have the ammo to trade for Stanton or Price this offseason. I’m specifically referencing your point about no room for immediate improvement

        • Jon

          I also don’t know where you get ‘4’ years, 2 of the best Cubs prospects could be helping the team next year , the rest are 2 years away, at worst

          • Theo?

            Frankly I don’t know what any of you are talking about. I came here to vent my frustration and you guys are repeating talking points. I’ll tell you what I see. A terrible team. With a good farm system that’s far from giving us starters. And even if they were starters we are unprepared for them to mature because we’d basically just have the best AAA team on the field in baseball in 3 years. None of you understand baseball.

            • Jon

              Venting is fine, you just have no idea what you are taking about. The best players aren’t far away at all. Baez could probably hit well at the big league level right now. Being pissed about the current garbage team is fine, but you are just ignorant to a lot of facts

            • DarthHater

              “None of you understand baseball.”

              You’re right. I suggest you go somewhere else where you have a better chance of finding your intellectual peers.

            • demz

              lol.

              this has to be a joke post.

              • Theo?

                The joke is on you, because you’re defending that the team SHOULD suck. This is the bizarro world fan blog where people want to lose. By losers.

                • Brian Peters

                  I think you’re looking for the word “bye,” Theo? If you’re going to insult someone, it might behoove you to learn how to spell.

                • nkniacc13

                  Do we want them to lose no. Do we kind of understand what is going on in this rebuild right now yes. Do we see the light at the end hopefully yes. Next year will be the year that prospects should start getting to Wrigley and should start seeing the plan that this FO has.

        • Brian Peters

          Question, Theo?: When the Cubs have thrown big money at “star” players, how has that worked out? Last I checked, the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Sure, there have been a couple teams that got us close to the Promised Land (1984, 2003), but does being “close” matter? I didn’t think so. I believe the real Theo has made a point to mention that the Cubs will accentuate their home-grown talent with established talent. If you’re not okay with that, oh well. Epstein has two rings to prove his worth. What do you have?

          • Justin

            Great point. “Theo?”… Gotta love when ignorant dumbasses come on here

          • Kyle

            (the Cubs have tried rebuilding through the farm system too, with the same results. The 2003 team wasn’t really the result of throwing money at star players.)

        • CubsFaninMS

          Clown post dude

    • nkniacc13

      you do understand the new CBA right? Its big on signing your own so that means drafting well. So the worse you are the more $ you have for draft spending. Sure you don’t want the cubs to lose and they are a lot closer now to having a farm system that can produce mlb talent either for cubs or in trade but with new cba you have to unless you have an unlimited budget build thru the farm

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I understand the thinking behind referring to Alcantara in a Big Five, but there is a very definite and notable gap before the top four and Alcantara. They are all Top 100 types, but the lowest of the Big Four is a Top 30 candidate, and Alcantara probably slots in below 70 on most lists.

    I would be surprised to see him sent to the AFL. I suspect he’ll take a couple weeks off and head to the Caribbean for one of the Winter Leagues. I also suspect he will play very well there and come into spring training with a lot of (somewhat inflated) optimism around him. Not that that is a bad thing.

    • AK

      Any chance vogelbach is considered top 100 type player? Guy continues to hit but go under the radar

      • MichiganGoat

        I doubt he’s even close the fact that he is basically a DH does not help his stock at all. And he’s in the bottom half if the Cubs top 10 very unlikely he gets near the top 100.

      • Kyle

        There will be a ton of top 100s released during the offseason. I’m sure he’ll pop up on somebody’s, somewhere. But the majority would leave him off.

      • Scotti

        Callis said that he’s undecided on the Cubs fifth guy and listed Vogelbach among the options there (Cubs fifth best). The “basically DH” stuff is hogwash. His arm limits him to 1B but that doesn’t make him DH, it makes him a 1B. The cubs have stated they like how he’s progressing @ 1B this year. He does yoga most mornings and that improves the optics over there (as I’ve said for a long time, he gets the job done but he’s really stiff doing it). Anyone who has ever watched him play any extended period of time remarks about how surprised they are to see how athletic he actually is.

  • Mr. B. Patient

    The Cubs are one of the feeder teams to the Mesa Solar Sox. The others are LAD, Balt, Houston, and Detroit. There are some pretty good prospects available. A lot of outfielders, but not a bunch of shortstops, so Baez could be a possibility. \

    I wonder how they pick the teams. Do all these GM’s go out for a beer and have a ‘fantasy’ type draft? Supposedly, each team can only send three position players.

    Anybody want to make a guess on the position players (limit 3) each team would send?

    • Andrew

      Idk about not a bunch of shortstops, if Houston sends Correa, those are two top ten prospects at shortstop on the same team

      • Mr. B. Patient

        I figured since Correa and the Dodgers’ Seager were still in single A, they wouldn’t be considered, but yes Correa is a top SS prospect.

  • Andrew

    Whats the quality of pitching in the AFL? It seems that gms would want to limit the innings their best young pitchers throw so all youd get would be guys that have had injuries or guys that gms want to look at more for rule 5 purposes. Would Hendricks go to the AFL?

  • JungleDrew

    (All according AZL Phil)

    Minimum 7 players
    4 must be pitchers (1 starter, 3 relievers)
    Anyone on AA or AAA affiliate
    2 Players from Advanced A
    PLUS 2 players from below AA who are not assigned to international winter leagues (e.g. Venezuelan Winter League)
    Extra players can be assigned to Taxi Squad

    So if we figure Soler, Bryant and Almora are part of the AFL, then the Cubs would have 1 more below AA player, and all 4 remaining players would have to be pitchers…

    So the starting pitcher should be Pierce Johnson or CJ Edwards (it can only be one of them, assign the other to the taxi squad maybe).

    That would mean all the relievers have to come from AA or AAA (and it could be any number of pitchers).

    This also doesn’t leave much room for Baez or Alcantara other than as Taxi Squad guys, so maybe they should be assigned to a Winter league together so they can continue working as a middle infield tandem. The longer they have to work together, the more fluid they will become. These guys could become our next Sandberg/Dunston and should get as much time playing together as possible.

  • joe bergschneider

    which would make for the greatest Cubs prospect porn ever……..what is on this writers mind?

    • Chris

      I thought that was a good line… Haha

  • Chris

    Anybody else think Olt needs to not play this fall/winter? He needs to rest up and let his body forget whatever is messing his game up.

    Vitters needs to play somewhere though IMO.

    • spearman

      Agree on both.

  • Jason P

    Didn’t Bryant’s girlfriend tweet out a couple weeks ago that he got the invite to the AFL? Kind of funny that this day in age we’re getting news on twitter from athlete’s girlfriends, but I guess she has to be a fairly reliable source.

    • Chris

      Yeah I was the first guy to write it here too. It’s funny – one of the first things I do is try to figure out our players/prospects girlfriends or wives on twitter and follow them – I’ve gotten way more breaking news from them when compared to the players.

  • Brian Peters

    This doesn’t have anything to do with this thread, but I am currently suffering from brain flatulence. The cause, you might ask, is not remembering the length of contracts for the folks from the June 6th draft. Any help out there?

    • MichiganGoat

      You mean how long they are? How what they signed for? They are all the same length I want to say 6 years before arbitration, rule 5, and other things start to happen.

      • MichiganGoat

        Actually I think the 6 years in control once in the MLB before that it’s four years but the contracts are a year to year basis. It’s more a out team control vs actual contract length expect in rare cases where a player signs a MLB contract after getting drafted (Harper).

        • Brian Peters

          Thank you, Michigan Goat! You answered my question. The amounts were easy to find…I just couldn’t find the duration. Thanks again!

          • MichiganGoat

            Yeah as cubsin stated its a series of one year deals, theoretically a player can play indefinitely on one year deals. But after 4 they become rule 5 eligible (unless added to 40 man roster) so a good rule is that if they aren’t relevant by year 4 they are likely not going to have an MLB career. Once they are called up the option years kick in and the 6 year clock starts.

            • MichiganGoat

              Aren’t likely

    • cubsin

      All 2013 draftees signed one-year minor league contracts. No guaranteed multi-year contracts or major league contracts are allowed under the CBA. They’re under the control of the club they signed with until they are waived, become six-year free agents, drafted in the Rule 5 draft or are sent down after their option years are exhausted.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Mike Olt is 3-3 tonight with a HR. Hopefully the start of a turnaround.

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      4-4 now. Only Olt’s 2nd multi hit game as an ICub.

    • Dustin S

      A nice game. Totally guessing, but it seems a bit like he sees the ball fine some days such as today, and other days it seems like his vision is still giving him trouble. On those off-days, he really misses pretty badly. That was also kind of the medical report when he came over. I suspect we’ll continue to see these on/off days the rest of this season, but my hope is that his vision/concussion issues continue to clear over the off-season and he’ll tear it up in 2014.

  • Jon

    Don’t ask me what “rocks for brains” was thinking trying to turn a gaper to left center into a triple . Just stupid

    • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

      Ah it wasn’t like it was 3-1 Padres in the 8th. I think to err on the side of aggression with a late lead isn’t a horrible thing.

  • Jp3

    Cubs porn heh? Not really into the zoophilia thing myself.

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