MILWAUKEE – The Cubs prospects you have heard about but may have never seen before will be playing on a bigger stage this summer.
Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara were among the 50 players revealed on Wednesday for the Futures Game, an All-Star showcase at Citi Field in New York. Javier Baez – a final-vote option that will be determined by the fans – could join them on the World team at the July 14 event.
Baez, the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft, has been making headlines since spring training. The 20-year-old shortstop is starting to force the issue at advanced Class-A Daytona, where he’s hitting .271 with 16 homers and 53 RBI through 69 games. Earlier this month, he became only the second player in the 94-year history of the Florida State League to put together a four-homer game.
Soler hasn’t played in a game since June 13 while dealing with a shin injury that happened when he fouled a ball off his leg. He was scheduled to be examined by the team’s medical staff this week in Chicago.
Soler’s hitting .281 with eight homers and 35 RBI through 55 games at Daytona. Cubs manager Dale Sveum carves out about an hour each week to watch video of the organization’s prospects and likes what he’s seen from the $30 million Cuban outfielder.
“The one thing that I think separates him a little bit is his pitch selection,” Sveum said. “He’s not panicky with two strikes (and he) has very good bat speed and leverage in his swing (and) he hasn’t changed that approach too much. You don’t get too caught up in the results as much as that approach every at-bat.”
Sveum projects Alcantara, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound shortstop, as more of a second baseman at the next level. To this point, Alcantara has been an under-the-radar prospect, but the 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic has put himself on the map by batting .280 with 10 homers, 33 RBI, 19 stolen bases and an .822 OPS through 75 games at Double-A Tennessee.
While the Cubs figure to only get one representative at the real All-Star Game, they still feel like their future is looking bright with this group of prospects.