This year’s Solar Sox team will house prospects from the Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, and Detroit Tigers farm systems and will be managed by Class-A Peoria manager Ryne Sandberg. The Solar Sox play all home games at Mesa’s HoHoKam Park, the Cubs’ big league spring training home.
The Cubs will be represented in the Fall League this year by three pitchers and three position players. They are: pitchers Justin Berg, Rocky Roquet and Donald Veal, outfielder Tyler Colvin, and infielders Darwin Barney and Nate Spears.
Of this year’s Cubs crop, Veal and Colvin are considered the closest thing to elite’s, and both players are putting the finishing touches on up-and-down seasons at Class AA Tennessee.
Through 133 games, Colvin is batting .255 with 14 home runs, 25 doubles and 79 RBIs. He is currently enjoying his best month of the season, batting .330 (35-for-106) in August – a month in which he has 14 multi-hit games and 14 extra-base hits.
Chicago’s first-round draft pick in 2006, Colvin entered the season ranked as the top prospect in the Cubs’ system by InsideTheIvy.com.
Joining Colvin in the Fall League will be three of his Double-A teammates, including Veal. The left-hander is 5-9 with a 4.20 ERA through 28 starts at Tennessee, having struck out 118 batters (second most in the Cubs’ system) through 140-plus innings.
Veal was a second-round Cubs draft pick in 2005.
Also from Double-A, Spears is scheduled to make his first Fall League appearance in three years within the Cubs’ system. The left-handed hitting second baseman is batting .299 through 115 games and has seven home runs and 22 doubles. The Cubs acquired Spears from Baltimore in the Corey Patterson trade in January, 2006.
For his part, Roquet will be making his second Fall League appearance after participating in the post-season venue a year ago. The right-hander has spent much of this season at Tennessee, posting a 3.64 ERA through 47 innings. He has struck out 52 batters and walked 25 for a .235 average against.
Roquet was signed as a non-drafted free agent from Cal-Poly in 2006.
From Class AAA Iowa, right-hander Justin Berg will also be making his second stop in the Fall League after a stint there in 2007. Berg began this season at Tennessee but was promoted to Iowa in late April following five starts. A starter through most of his professional career, he has gone into the bullpen during the second half at Iowa. Combined, Berg is 4-5 with a 5.61 ERA through 86 2/3 innings at Triple-A.
The Cubs acquired Berg from the Yankees in 2005 for OF Matt Lawton.
By rule, a club is allowed to have only one prospect on an Arizona Fall League roster that was below the Double-A level when the season ended, and for the Cubs that player is Barney, a fourth-round draft pick from Oregon State in 2007. Through 119 games at Class-A Daytona, Barney is batting .251 with 20 doubles and 48 RBI.
According to Major League Baseball, over 1,500 AFL alumni have gone on to play in the big leagues. The Fall League is scheduled to begin play Oct. 7.