Rising Stars: Following Up on the Breakout Prospect Predictions

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cruz 73 2015Back on June 3, I predicted some prospects who I thought might be breakout prospects in the Cubs’ minor system. Most of the names in that article were going to be assigned to either short season Eugene or Rookie League in Arizona. I didn’t do too badly on coming up with some breakout names, but as the case is every year, there are always prospects that are always unpredictable. No one saw Chesny Young as capable of hitting right off the bat last year nor did anyone predict that Kevonte Mitchell would excel.

From the Eugene Emeralds, Oscar De La Cruz, Austyn Willis, Ho-Young Son, and Frandy Delarosa were mentioned as names that could breakout. Willis did not make it to Eugene. Instead, he was assigned to Arizona. At Arizona, Dylan Cease, Erling Moreno, Carlos Sepulveda, and Wladimir Galindo were names mentioned in the article as possible breakouts.

In Eugene, De La Cruz and Delarosa, are in fact, having excellent seasons so far. Delarosa is hitting .310 with 6 SBs and he leads the team in RBIs with 14 while hitting 7 doubles. De La Cruz has a 1.64 ERA and in his last start struck out nine in six innings. Son is scuffling at the plate hitting .214.

cease 86In Arizona, Dylan Cease has been dazzling. He has made three short starts and four total appearances with a 1.04 ERA. Moreno made 2 appearances in the first week and has not been seen on the mound since. Sepulveda is currently hitting .226 and struggles at the plate. Galindo, on the other hand, has been ripping the cover off the ball. While he does not have a home run yet, he has an OPS of 960 thanks to 6 doubles and 2 triples. He is hitting .373 and he’s only 18. Willis has 3 starts and has pitched well in one and struggled (not poorly) in the other two and currently has an ERA of 4.76.

So far, it seems we are batting a little over .500 on selecting our breakout prospects. It is still early in the season. There are seven weeks of baseball left for them which is a lot of time to figure some things out.

In the meantime, the big names we mentioned in the article are doing well. Sands, Steele, and Jimenez are all having good seasons although Jimenez has been sidelined with a hamstring issue for the past week. Out of the top prospects, Steele has been the most dazzling so far. His tight curveball has helped him to 3-0 record with a 1.23 ERA and 27 Ks in 22 innings. Sands has been pretty good, too. He has a 3.15 ERA to go along with an excellent 1.00 WHIP. “The Summer of Eloy” was looking good before the injury as he was hitting .302 with 2 HRs and 9 RBIs.

Who are the Surprises We Did Not Foresee?
Usually most breakout prospects occur at the lower levels of the system as players come in. Most high school and juco draftees enter the system in rookie league while college draftees enter at short season or low A. Prior to the article, Ryan Williams, Jeremy Null, and Gleyber Torres broke onto the scene in a big way. Williams then skipped high A and was promoted to Tennessee where he has been amazing there as well. Null is at Myrtle Beach while Torres is still at South Bend mainly because he is still only 18. This season is seeing excellent years from Yasiel Balaguert, Kevin Encarnacion, Charcer Burks, and Rashad Crawford. Zach Hedges has been a pleasant surprise, especially since June 1.

But this summer, there are several names who have shot onto the scene at Eugene and Arizona. Keep in mind, they have only been playing for a month and their seasons are not quite half over.

Breakouts at Eugene
alamo 78 2015Tyler Alamo’s bat has been a huge eye opener. The C/1B is hitting .327 (which leads the Emeralds) and he is third in runs with 11 despite not playing every day. He has some defensive issues but that is what this level is for. It is nice to see things begin to work out for the 2013 draftee.

On a roster with over 20 pitchers, it is hard to get noticed. Greyfer Eregua has been doing that in long relief. He has been piggybacking starts for college starters Ryan Kellog and Kyle Twomey who are limited to two innings after already pitching a full season. Eregua’s 2.04 ERA is buoyed by the fact that he struck out 24 in 17+ innings. Kellogg and Twomey might be names you hear more about next year at South Bend in their first full year in the organization without pitching limits. Both have been excellent in their two inning starts this summer. Look for Preston Morrison and Scott Effross to join them as starters very soon.

Breakouts at Arizona

joe 85 2015
Boise State linebacker Joe Martarano is getting better every week. The more he plays, the more it looks like the Cubs got a steal in the 2014 draft. Currently he is hitting .315 and leads the team in RBIs with 12.

Robert Garcia is announcing his arrival this year. The switch hitting outfielder is hitting .340 at the top of the order with an OBP of .400. He has two SBs and is second on the team in runs.

Alex Bautista, a recent draftee is off to great start, too. He is up to .280 and is fourth on the team in runs after arriving a week after the season started.

Pitcher Tanner Griggs has been outstanding in a relief role and has yet to allow a run in 6 and 1/3 innings.

Converted pitcher Mark Malave might be the most unlikely pitcher convert but he has been outstanding as well showing a fastball in the low 90s. Malave is pretty good sized at 6’3” and pitching might be his thing.

Another surprise breakout also blew my predictions of any players from the Dominican Summer League team coming over this year. Pedro Silverio has been excellent in his short tenure in Arizona. In his two starts, he has pitched a total of nine innings and has a 2.00 ERA as a starter. He is drawing rave reviews for his poise on the mound. He turned 21 two weeks ago and is 6’2” and throws in the upper 80s and low 90s.

andruw 78One prospect who his drawing raves for his skill set (not so much for his stats) is SS Andruw Monasterio. The 18 year old Venezuelan is hitting .268 with 3 SBs. However, he is showing off what he can in other ways. John Arguello raves about him:

I just liked his skills and athleticism from the moment I saw him, the way he flows through the ball at SS, his good speed, and the surprising pop in his bat.  There is some quickness and surprising strength in those wrists and there is every chance for him to mature and get stronger.

Just beginning to see
Some other prospects are just beginning to arrive. This year’s 4th round pick, Darryl Wilson, arrived with a splash this week by getting a pinch hit two run double. He then flashed his speed the next night in the field and on the base paths. He is 2 for 5 so far.

The other high profile high school pick, Bryan Hudson, has been around for two weeks and can be seen playing bat boy, shagging flies, and doing other assorted things. It is not known when the big lefty will see the mound.

It is still early in the year for Arizona and Eugene and some prospects, mainly drafted ones, are just getting to Arizona. It should be interesting to see what they do the rest of the summer and if anyone of them just explodes and has an outstanding season!

Next weekend we will have an update on how this year’s draft picks are doing. Some draftees have a month in, like Ian Happ, and others just saw their first action like Wilson. There are still a few picks unsigned that might sign. It appears Jake Kezler is heading back to Indiana. John Cresto has not signed and it looks like PJ Higgins will sign very soon. The deadline is Friday the 17th.

*Editor’s Note
The pictures for the cards of Cease, Martarano, and Monasterio were taken by John Arguello and his wife. They can be found here.


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