Minor League Recap: Full Season Rosters Announced

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The Cubs and their affiliates have announced full season minor league rosters.  The new Single A affiliates, South Bend (MWL) and Myrtle Beach (Carolina League) replace the Kane County Cougars and the Daytona Cubs (now, Tortugas).  Generally speaking, there are solid prospects worth keeping an eye on at every level.  The rosters speak to the quality and depth of the Cubs’ system, and illustrate why the organization is so highly thought of.

South Bend Cubs

Pitchers:

Francisco Carrillo
Trevor Clifton
James Farris
Zach Hedges
Tyler Ihrig
Erick Leal
Ryan McNeil
Jordan Minch
James Norwood
Jeremy Null
Jasvir Rakkar
Jake Stinnett
Tommy Thorpe
Ryan Williams

Catchers:

Gioskar Amaya
Cael Brockmeyer
Justin Marra

Infielders:

David Bote
Jesse Hedges
Gleyber Torres
Jason Vosler
Chesny Young

Outfielders:

Jeffrey Baez
Yasiel Balaguert
Kevin Brown
Charcer Burks
Rashad Crawford
Trey Martin

The South Bend Cubs are headlined by Jake Stinnett and Gleyber Torres.  Stinnett was the 2nd round pick in last year’s amateur draft out of Maryland.  He will turn 23 in late April, so his time in low A may be short, but since he only threw 11 innings as a professional last year after he was drafted, starting in South Bend makes a lot of sense.  On the position side, Gleyber Torres is the headliner.  He is just barely 18, but was really good in his time in Arizona and Boise last summer.  He is very young, but to this point has been very good.  Being assigned to a full season club is a reward for the positive results to this point.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Pitchers:

Paul Blackburn
Matt Brazis
Gerardo Concepcion
Josh Conway
Michael Heesch
Johnathan Martinez
Juan Paniagua
Starling Peralta
James Pugliese
Tayler Scott
Tyler Skulina
Daury Torrez
Jen-Ho Tseng
Duane Underwood

Catchers:

Victor Caratini
Ben Carhart
Alberto Mineo

Infielders:

Jeimer Candelario
Wes Darvill
Andrew Ely
Daniel Lockhart
Carlos Penalver
Jacob Rogers

Outfielders:

Shawon Dunston, Jr.
Jacob Hannemann
Billy McKinney
Mark Zagunis

Last year’s Midwest League Champion, Kane County Cougars, make up a large portion of the inaugural Cubs’ version of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, headlined by what was a dominant pitching staff in low A.  Jeimer Candelario will once again open the season in high A after struggling with the Daytona Cubs last year and being sent back to Kane County.  It is somewhat surprising that Billy McKinney does not get to move to AA Tennessee to open the season, but his exclusion is likely based more on limited roster space than production, because after he was acquired from Oakland, he hit .301/.390/.432 with an excellent 11.9% BB rate.  It is safe to say, if he repeats that kind of production in the Carolina League, he is not going to be there terribly long before making the trip to Tennessee.

Tennessee Smokies

Pitchers:

Jeffry Antigua
Frank Batista
Corey Black
Zach Cates
Hunter Cervenka
Fernando Cruz
C.J. Edwards
P.J. Francescon
Michael Jensen
Felix Pena
Stephen Perakslis
Ivan Pineyro
Andres Santiago
Rob Zastryzny

Catchers:

Erick Castillo
Wilson Contrerras
Kyle Schwarber

Infielders:

Stephen Bruno
Ryan Dent
Dustin Geiger
Elliot Soto
Christian Villanueva
Dan Vogelbach

Outfielders:

Albert Almora
Pin-Chieh Chen
Anthony Giansanti
Bijan Rademacher

After missing a significant portion of 2014 with shoulder issues, C.J. Edwards heads back to the Smokies to open 2015.  At some point this season, he should find himself pitching at AAA Iowa, though, assuming he stays healthy and is able to replicate the 2.44 ERA and 2.92 FIP he posted in a short 48 inning sample last season.  Likewise to be short for AA is Christian Villanueva, who is the most likely candidate to get moved up to AAA when the Cubs call up Bryant.  The two biggest prospects on the position side are Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora.  Schwarber is entering his first full professional season and will do so behind the plate.  He is continuing to grow as a catcher, and his development back there is worth watching.  Should he continue to improve as a catcher, his prospect value will soar.  If not, he is likely going to be restricted to left field, where his bat will certainly play just fine.  Almora will be 21 as the season opens, keeping him on the young side for the Southern League.  While the numbers weren’t impressive last year in AA (.234/.250/.355), he had a very good spring and is continuing to work on his approach at the plate.  If he continues to make strides in his plate discipline, his ability to make contact and his excellent center field defense will cause a nice rebound in his prospect stock.  In spite of the low numbers, he still struck out only 16% of the time in AA.  When he swings, he usually makes contact.  His continuing goal will be to make solid contact with balls he can drive.

Iowa Cubs

Pitchers:

Drake Britton
Blake Cooper
Gonzalez German
Eric Jokisch
Barret Loux
Yoanner Negrin
Joseph Ortiz
Blake Parker
Carlos Pimentel
Armando Rivero
Donn Roach
Zac Rosscup
Brian Schlitter

Catchers:

Rafael Lopez
Taylor Davis

Infielders:

Javier Baez
Mike Baxter
Kris Bryant
Jonathan Mota
Addison Russell
Chris Valaika

Outfielders:

John Andreoli
Adron Chambers
Junior Lake
Rubi Silva

The story with the Iowa Cubs is the stacked infield and how long they will stick around Iowa.  Kris Bryant may be added to the 40 man roster and brought up within the first 2-3 weeks of the season.  His prolific spring numbers, while a small sample, showed that he is not over-matched by big league pitching.  Even though Arizona is a hitter’s paradise and pitchers are not necessarily sharp in spring, Bryant was impressive and fun to watch, all the same.  There are valid concerns about his third base defense (which may drive him to left field) and his contact rate (28.6% K rate at AAA in 2014) which may lengthen his stay in Iowa, but it would be a shock if he was not in Chicago by the middle of May, at the latest.  Javy Baez is also back at Iowa after his initial taste of the majors last year.  He spent the winter and the spring working on his approach at the plate and his mechanics, which are still a work in progress.  He will be back in Chicago at some point this summer, but he may spend a couple of months in Iowa, similarly to Anthony Rizzo‘s stay when he came to the organization in 2012.  Addison Russell is pretty much major league ready.  It will be interesting to see when he is called up this season, and where he plays.  It would not be a surprise to see Russell get some starts at second and third base to help him adjust when he is called up, as it seems unlikely that the Cubs move Starlin Castro in the middle of a season.  At least at the outset, this may be the most highly regarded prospect infield in the minor leagues, with three players who have all been at or very near the top of prospect lists over the last two years.

 

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About Andy

Sometimes I write stuff about the Cubs. Sometimes it's even good. But don't get your hopes up. Basically, my writing is like the pre-2016 Chicago Cubs.

2 Replies to “Minor League Recap: Full Season Rosters Announced”

  1. Extremely well thought out and written. Having been in the Cougars booth the last few years, (pitch f/x) I’d love a road trip to Myrtle Beach (know half+players) but might just settle for Iowa.

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