- Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Chicago Cubs will send eight players to participate in the Arizona Fall league this year, including three former No. 1 draft picks as well as Jorge Soler.
Shortstop Javier Baez (2011), centerfielder Albert Almora (2012) and third baseman Kris Bryant (2013) will join Soler and four pitchers to play for the Mesa Solar Sox in October. The pitchers are current Double-A prospects Dallas Beeler, Matt Loosen, Armando Rivero and the injured Arodys Vizcaino.
Almora has been designated a taxi-squad member and is only available to play on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Baez is ranked as the Cubs' top prospect and is finishing a huge season at Single-A and Double-A with a combined 35 home runs. Almora has battled injuries but is hitting .329 at Single-A Kane County, and Bryant has started his professional career on fire after being drafted in June. He's batting .368 with three home runs in 10 games for High-A ball in Daytona after hitting .354 for Boise in his pro debut.
Soler, who signed a nine-year, $30 million contract in 2012, has also battled injuries, but showed promise before being shut down this season with a stress fracture in his left leg. He was hitting .281 with eight home runs for Daytona.
The Arizona Fall League consists of six teams made up of prospects from all major league squads. They will play in five Cactus League stadiums, six days a week starting on Oct. 8. It will mark the first time the Cubs' top four prospects (Baez, Almora, Soler, Vizcaino, according to Baseball America) as well as Bryant (not rated yet) could be on the field at the same time on the same team.