A couple of weeks ago, we did a preview of some prospects who could break out this summer. Most of them were at Eugene and Arizona. Today, the Eugene Emeralds begin their 76 game season. Not surprisingly, Eloy made the roster which was released yesterday. 23 other prospects also made the roster; some you know, some you don’t. We will profile the team’s as of today as 6 spots have yet to be filled.
WHO DID MAKE THE ROSTER
The Initial roster contains 24 names. The team can have 30 at one time. They can only have 25 active for each game with ten of them being pitchers.
Pitchers: Adbert Alzolay, Pedro Araujo, Jordan Brink, Oscar de la Cruz. Andin Diaz, Greyfer Eregua, Jae-Hoon Ha, Corbin Hoffner, Dillon Maples, Jose Paulino, Carson Sands, Alexander Santana, Justin Steele, and Sam Wilson
Pitcher to Watch: Oscar de la Cruz
While Sands and Steele are better known, de la Cruz is not. He spent last year in the Dominican Summer League. The 20 year old right hander went 8-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 14 starts. He struck out 64 in 75 innings.
The bullpen does have some experience. Maples and Hoffner are likely on their last go around at this level, while Brink will be getting his first crack at starting alongside Sands, Steele, and de la Cruz. It should be interesting to see how this staff develops. It will likely change a lot as recent draftees come in and out of the bullpen and some pitchers, like Jose Paulino, get a crack at starting.
C –Justin Marra – comes down after spending most of the season at South Bend
1B – Tyler Alamo – moves from C to 1B
2B – Frandy Delarosa – exciting young IFA from the famed 2013 class – great bat
SS – Ho-Young Son – hearing great things about his all around game
3B – Adonis Paula
LF –Ricardo Marcano
CF – Kevonte Mitchell – Top 20 prospect with great speed
RF – Eloy Jimenez – Stud!
Bench – Varonex Cuevas, Alberto Mineo, and Erick Castillo
Everybody knows he is coming. Still, it is going to be fun to watch how he does in 76 games. The 6’4” 205 pound outfielder reminds many of a miniature Jorge Soler. MLB.com says of his potential:
Like Soler, Jimenez has huge raw power and fits the right-field profile to a tee. He looked raw but not overmatched while making his U.S. debut at age 17. His large, projectable frame is starting to add strength and already generates impressive bat speed and leverage. He shows the makings of plate discipline and pitch recognition, which will increase his chances of fully tapping into his home run potential.
With Sands, Steele, Mitchell, and Jimenez, that’s four of the Cubs top 30 prospects on one roster. It should be an exciting summer in Eugene watching that talent develop! I think after Eloy and Kevonte, the middle infield of Delarosa and Son should be exciting. And when the draftees come, it should be interesting to see how long they stay there. Regardless, it will be a potent young lineup.
WHO DID NOT MAKE THE ROSTER…YET – Four to Watch For
There were a few names expected to be on the Eugene roster who did not make it for a variety of reasons.
P – Austyn Willis – the young 6’6” right handed starter was thought to be on par developmentally with Sands and Steele. Clearly, this is not the case. On the other hand, he is clearly not far behind. Having just turned 19 last Saturday, there is no rush on the big righty. He could be staying behind to work on a pitch or his delivery or have a minor injury. I am not too concerned.
C – Tyler Pearson – he’s in Tennessee right now. The 2014 draftee from is getting some experience in as a backup after the promotion of Kyle Schwarber. He may rejoin the team later.
1B – Joey Martarano – After taking a year off followed by limited playing time, the power hitting first baseman/linebacker should get to see Eugene before too long. If his extended spring stats are any indication, he is close to being ready.
OF – Calvin Graves – He needs to play every day. With Mitchell and Jimenez in front of him, he would rarely see the field. Might be a good thing he stays in Arizona.
WHO COULD STILL MAKE THE ROSTER
The usual “Modus Operandi” for the Cubs, even for Bryant and Schwarber, is to have draftees do an orientation on “The Cubs Way” for a week in Mesa and then get shipped off to the Northwest League. That could change this year. While many of the college position players drafted this year should end up in Euegene, Ian Happ and Donnie Dewees could skip it altogether. Their bats might be advanced enough to start at South Bend.
But, it would not surprise me to see the twosome in Eugene if only for a week. They will likely be added to the roster next week sometime with 3B Matt Rose being a player to keep an eye on along with OF Alex Bautista. Both have excellent plate control with possible power.
With all these young players and draftees coming on and off the roster, the short season team will see its share of roster moves. Playing late at night on the west coast does not provide the affiliate with a lot of press back in Chicago, but this site will do its best to keep up with the team this summer. It has the makings of something special.