The big news on Sunday in spring training was that third baseman Christian Villanueva broke his leg during a drill. Villanueva had hoped to make the team coming out of spring training this year as a backup infielder. The odds of him doing so were very slim.
On the other hand, there’s not much for him left to prove in the minors. If he could have had a good camp, he may have been able to get a big league job with the Cubs or with another organization. At only 24 years old, Villanueva will have surgery tomorrow morning to repair the fracture.
I am pretty sad about the injury as Villanueva had a great 2015 at Tennessee and Iowa (18 HRs and 88 RBIs) and followed it up with a great winter season in Mexico. He hit .322 with 9 HRs and drove in 38 in 64 games. Even more impressive was his .434 OBP.
As a result of the injury, Villanueva was placed on the 60 day DL and he is expected to mix several months – no real time table was given.
As for the effect on the Cubs system, Jeimer Candelario could report to AAA Iowa this April instead of AA Tennessee. It also opens up room in Tennessee for Chesny Young to play every day. I don’t think any other prospects in the organization will be moving up a level other than Candelario.
It’s hard to believe that March is here. Later this week, spring training games will be taking place. While I’ll be stuck in Illinois teaching history and coaching Scholastic Bowl for two more weeks, Clark will be in Arizona with some reports on the big league camp. He’ll have some pictures, and hopefully some video, on what is happening out in Mesa.
Later in the month, I will also have posts about my minor league predictions for the first half, some breakout prospects for 2016, and a minor-league preseason All-Star team. Clark and I will both have our predictions right before the season starts about what the Cubs will do in the month of April. This should be an exciting month as we move towards the season openers for both the major and minor leagues. Hopefully, there will be no more major injuries.