With the Chicago Cubs in rebuilding mode and their activity at the trade deadline, we should see some prospect movement as players like Josh Vitters and possibly Brett Jackson get closer to the majors. You should notice the great depth at the middle infield positions. It will be interesting to see how they line-up behind top stud SS Javier Baez. Let’s begin!
AAA Iowa Cubs
Josh Vitters, 3B – Age 22 – Still only gonna be 23 years old in August, Vitters has moved through the Cubs system at a steady pace. His approach at the plate has improved this season and he’s showing more of the production that got fans excited when this hit Low-A Peoria in 2009. This season, he’s hitting .303 with 31 doubles and 15 homeruns, with 27 walks and 71 strikeouts in 383 at bats. He’s also slugging over .500 for the first time since Peoria too. Look for the Cubbies to call him up soon.
Brett Jackson, OF – Age 23 – Without the presence of Javier Baez, Jackson would be the Cubs best power/speed prospect. Jackson has scored an ISOP of nearly or over .200 at every minor league level, while reaching double digits in steals at each stop. Probably won’t hit for a high average in the bigs. His inability to cut down on the whiffs (147 k’s in 347 at bats) is the main reason he’s not cruising centerfield in Wrigley right now.
Adrian Cardenas, 2B – Age 24 – A first round selection by the Phillies in 2006, Cardenas came to the Chicago organization through trade earlier this season. Even though he’s shown solid skills at the plate and the ability to get on base, he has taken a slower route. Combined with his hitting .333 and walking 31 times but striking out only 21 in 198 at bats and the Cubs current rebuilding ways, Cardenas looks to be ready for an extended call-up.
AA Tennessee Smokies
Junior Lake, SS – Age 22 - Lake missed the first month+ of the season and could easily have fallen behind, but he’s picked up in 2012 where he left off in 2011. In 283 AB he’s hitting .293 with 16 doubles, 2 triples and 7 HR. He’s stolen 14 bags but has been caught 9 times. He’s blocked at the big club by Starlin Castro so he could move to 2B in time or even possibly push Castro to 2B if his bat continues to develop.
Logan Watkins, 2B – Age 22 – Watkins gets on base at a .371 clip and has swiped nearly 20 bases each minor league season. Average power production has eluded him so far, but he’s a player who could be a top of the order bat soon. His .219 batting average against lefties needs to improve though or he’ll be relegated to platoon player hell.
Michael Burgess, OF – Age 23 – Another first rounder drafted by another team (Washington) who has found a home with the Cubs. Burgess made it to Double A Eastern League with the Nationals , but, upon his arrival, Cubs management demoted him to the FSL where he dropped his 31% K rate to an acceptable 22%. This season he’s back up in Double A and hitting a.262/.353/.437/.791 line. So the power is down, but now, he’s cut the K’s to 15.6% while keeping his walks at his usual 11% range.
Nelson Perez, OF – Age 24 – Recently promoted to the Smokies, Perez is still adjusting to the Double A with limited success. In the FSL, he hit a cool .288/.396/.509/.906 line, but struck out way too much. Old for the level, Perez will need to pick it up.
Matthew Szczur, OF – Age 23 – Szczur is only 4 at bats into his promotion to the Smokies. His promising Daytona numbers show that he’s clearly the best athlete in the Chicago system. There, he hit .295, walking 47 times, compared to only 50 strikeouts, and swiping 38 bases in 295 at bats. Only 2 homeruns, so clearly, there needs to be some development in the power department.
Advanced A Daytona Cubs
Arismendy Alcantara, SS – Age 20 – Young for Daytona, Alcantara is making the best of things, hitting .302 with 7 triples, 7 homeruns, and 24 stolen bases (only caught 4 times). He’ll need to show better plate discipline as he advances, but this might be another top of the order bat in the making.
Ronald Torreyes, 2B – Age 20 – Here’s another speedy youngster in Advanced A. Torreyes got our attention last season with a terrific performance in the Midwest League in the Cincinnati Reds organization. His current .252/.314/.362 line won’t excite anyone but his is a kid who’s been rushed. His 22/23 BB/K is promising.
Timothy Sanders, SS – Age 22 – A 32nd round selection in 2012 out of a Marietta College, Sanders did nothing but crush Arizona League pitching to the tune of .493/.532/.690/1.222 with 3 homeruns and 5 stolen bases in 71 at bats. So here he is 6 games into his promotion, hitting .190. We’ll be keeping tabs on him.
John Andreoli, OF – Age 22 – Andreoli came to the Cubs from the 17th round of the 2011 draft. He started in the AZL, with a brief showing in the MWL, but then started the 2012 season in FSL. Creating a lot of excitement with his feet, he has stolen 37 bases so far and sports a very nice 55/69 BB/K, hitting .275.
Single A Peoria Chiefs
Chadd Krist, C – Age 22 – A 9th round selection in 2012, Krist has been nothing but red hot since becoming a pro out of UC Berkley. In 42 at bats, he has 16 hits, 6 doubles, 1 homerun, and .381/.449/.595/1.044 line.
Javier Baez, SS – Age 19 – Clearly the top prospect in the Cubs organization, Baez possesses massive power potential as shown by his 11 homeruns and his .616 slugging mark. He’s also hitting .341 with 19 stolen bases in 185 at bats against competition a couple years older. His lone downside is his low 3.9% walk rate. Something the Cubs would live with if he can keep up his current onslaught against pro pitchers. Some say a move to 3B might be in his future.
Dustin Geiger, 3B – Age 20 – Geiger might not be the highest ranked 3B in the organization but he is earning some notice in the MWL. In 165 at bats, he’s hit 10 homeruns and carries a .202 ISOP. Some increased plate discipline may do wonders for him.
Short Season A Level Boise Hawks
Jeimer Candelario, 3B – Age 18 – Against mostly older competition, Candelario has hit .281 with 5 doubles, and 5 homeruns in 153 at bats. Most of his numbers are down from his DSL efforts which is to be expected. We are seeing a period of adjustment for this youngster. With any success, he’ll be in Peoria to start 2013.
Gioskar Amaya, SS – Age 19 – Add Amaya to the stable of middle infield talent that Chicago has been collecting. Gioskar is hitting .322/.388/.534/.922. At his young age with the position depth, he should get plenty of development time.
Dan Vogelbach, 1B – Age 19 – Selected in the 3rd round in 2011 for his power bat, Vogelbach hasn’t disappointed. The 6’0” 250lbs first baseman hit .324 with 7 homers in 102 at bats in his first extended taste of pro ball in the AZL. He is currently 4 games into his Boise promotion hitting .500 with 3 doubles and zero homeruns.
Rookie Ball AZL Cubs
Jorge Soler, OF – Age 20 – Soler was a big get as an international signee this season. Hitting .292 with 2 homeruns and 2 stolen bases in 24 at bats.
Jacob Rogers, 3B – Age 22 – A massive (6’5” 195lbs) 40th round pick in 2012 out of St. Petersburg JC, Rogers has been showing off against younger competition, hitting .375 with 8 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 homeruns in 56 at bats.
Rookie Ball DSL1 Cubs
Roney Acala, 3B – Age 18 – Hitting .346 with 11 doubles and 5 homeruns in 156 at bats. Impressive, too, is his 11 walks to only 19 strikeouts..
Roberto Caro, OF – Age 18 – Has stolen 7 bases (caught 6 times) in 65 at bats. Also has 12/13 BB/K, hitting .308.
Jenner Emeterio, SS – Age 19 – Hitting .318 earning 16 walks and striking out 20 times in 88 at bats.
Rookie Ball DSL2 Cubs
Jhonny Pena, C – Age 20 – Hitting .333/.524/.486/1.01 with 26 walks against 16 strikeouts.
Kevin Encarnacion, OF – Age – 20 – Hitting .313/.454/.508/.962. 12 out of his 40 hits have been for extra bases. 29 walks against 17 strikeouts.
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