Wes Darvill is headed to the Arizona Fall League.
The Cubs fifth-round pick in 2009 just finished his fifth season in the organization after being drafted out of Brockwood Secondary School in Langley, British Columbia. The 22-year-old has made a slow rise through the minors finally getting out of Boise after 2011 and spending last season at Peoria (116 Games, .224/.285/.306.).
He started 2013 in Kane County playing 15 games for the Cougars at four different positions: 3B-2B-SS-LF. Darvill hit .347/.429/.469 with two triples and six RBI, earning a promotion to Daytona on May 9. A solid second baseman for the D-Cubs, he finished with a .983 fielding percentage including 135 assists and 40 double plays in 55 games. The left-hander batted .253/324/.365 with three homers and 34 RBI. He scored 37 runs and swiped eight base but was caught 10 times. In the playoffs, he hit .250 with 2 RBI in the FSL finals and .333 in the divisional series.
The Cubs also announced Albert Almora will be moved from the taxi squad to the regular Solar Sox roster. This is good news for 2012 first-round pick who missed the first half of 2013 with a broken hamate bone and was out the final month with a bone bruise in his groin. Almora only played in 61 games in the Midwest League but displayed his skills hitting .329/.376/.466 with 24 extra base hits (3 HR) and 23 RBI. He had 10 games with at least three hits and a 13-game hitting streak. Almora is impressive in center field especially reading the ball off the bat and taking good routes. It will be interesting to see how 19-year-old handles AFL pitching as he will be one of the youngest in the league.
The Cubs said last week that Javier Baez and RHP Arodys Vizcaino would not participate in the AFL. According to GM Jed Hoyer, Baez was held out because the slugging shortstop was "emotionally and physically drained". Vizcaino was moved to the Fall Instructional League so the Cubs could keep an eye on his rehab from Tommy John surgery.
The Cubs won't be lacking any prospect star power without Baez, as 2013 first-round pick Kris Bryant and Cuban star Jorge Soler will both play in the AZL. Bryant (.336/.390/.688 in 36 games) tore up the Northwest League and the Florida State League earning player of the week honors in both after signing in July. Soler had his season cut short after learning he had a stress fracture in his left shin, which occurred when he fouled a ball off his leg in spring training. Despite the injury, he hit .281/.343/.467 in 55 games with 8 HR and 35 RBI for Daytona.
The Cubs will send four pitchers to the AFL including right-handers Armando Rivero, Dallas Beeler and Matthew Loosen. Rivero signed out of Cuba in March for $3.1 million and pitched at Kane County, Daytona and Tennessee. He had 12 K in 8.2 IP and a 2.08 ERA in AA. Beeler had his season come to an end in late May tearing a tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand. He was 4-2 with a 3.13 ERA in nine starts. Loosen was named the Cubs pitcher of the month for July after throwing a no-hitter for Daytona, splitting his season between D-Cubs and Tennessee. The Cubs are expected to announce a replacement for VIzcaino but according to the Mesa Solar Sox website, RHP Lendy Castillo is on the roster. Castillo was a 2011 Rule 5 draft pick from the Phillies and pitched in 13 game for Chicago last year before going on the DL with a groin strain. He spent 2013 between Kane County (2-5 6.58 ERA) and Daytona (2-0 3.60).
The Arizona Fall League starts October 8 as the Solar Sox will travel to Glendale. Other affiliates on the Solar Sox include Angels, A's, Senators and Tigers.