Chicago Cubs Prospects: Checking in on the minor leagues
- 3B Kris Bryant: The Chicago Cubs first round draft pick in 2013 has not disappointed so far in 2014. The power hitting third baseman has gotten off to a hot start at AA Tennessee hitting four home runs with an OBP(On-Base%) of .435. Bryant has had his share of strikeouts but his good discipline and ability to draw walks overshadows that. Since Bryant has played three years of college ball, the Cubs might not be afraid to move him quicker through the minor leagues. If Bryant continues to have success in Tennessee over the next month, a promotion to Iowa will be in the near future. Hard to imagine a scenario where Bryant is not the Cubs Opening Day third baseman next year.
- P Arodys Vizcaino: After missing two full seasons from Tommy John surgery, it appears that Vizcaino has regained his form and velocity. Vizcaino struggled with his command in spring so they sent him to High-A Daytona. In seven relief appearances, the 23-year-old righty has posted an ERA of just 1.29, while striking out eight. Reports have that Vizcaino’s velocity is back up to mid and upper 90’s. That’s good news for the Cubs who desperately need help in their bullpen.
- P Ivan Pinyero: It’s looking like the Cubs may have gotten a steal in a trade last year that sent Scott Hairston to the Atlanta Braves for Pinyero. Although he’s not regarded as a top prospect, Pinyero’s stock is rising after a phenomenal start in AA Tennessee. In four starts, Pinyero has posted 1.74 ERA and a WHIP on 1.16. Outstanding numbers for a pitcher who the Cubs got for a reserve player.
Notable mention: Pitchers Corey Black and C.J. Edwards have been great for Tennessee as well. However, Edwards is currently in Chicago to get an MRI on his shoulder. UPDATE: Results have shown no structural damage, just inflammation that will require him to rest for a few weeks. Unfortunate for him to miss some time but a big sigh of relief that there is not structural damage.
- SS Javier Baez: The top rated prospect has gotten off to a slow start in AAA Iowa. Baez struggled in the first two weeks before being placed on the 7-day disabled listed with a sprained ankle. He returned to action last weekend and still has yet to find his swing. In 43 at-bats, Baez has just had seven hits while striking out 18 times. Although it sounds concerning, Baez is known for slow starts when he begins at a new level. Once May rolls around, expect to see his numbers rise across the board.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach: The power hitting first baseman for the Cubs has started the season for High-A Daytona. Vogelbach is known for his power but also has a great plate approach that allows him to hit for a high average. However, we have yet to see that out of Vogelbach so far this season. In 19 games, Vogelbach has batted just .209 with only two home runs. But it appears he may be breaking out of his slump after going 4-4 with a home run on Thursday night.
- 3B Christina Villanueva: One of the prospects with a chance of making the big leagues this season, Villanueva has delayed his possible call-up. He has posted just a.194 average with one home run. It was the same story last year for Villanueva but he broke out in May and ended up with a very good season. Since the Cubs are log-jammed at third base, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cubs send Villanueva in a trade this year. He could be a nice piece addition piece to help the Cubs get more pitching.
Others to mention: Jeimer Candelario and Jacob Hannemann.