Delvin Zinn

Friday Six Pack – Dillon Maples Leads the Hot List

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By Todd Johnson

The topic for every six pack changes throughout the week. When I woke up this morning I didn’t think that I was going to do a six pack. Since it’s the 11th August, I thought I’d take a look at ten-day splits to see how prospects are doing in preparation for our monthly All-Star team. As a result, the topic for today’s six pack is who’s hot and who’s not.

1. Dillon Maples – In 11.2 innings at Iowa, it looks as though he started to figure things out at this level, too. His K/9 rate is astronomical (15.43) and he’s only walked one batter. I am starting to get the inkling that he might make it to Chicago before the end of the month. Adding a guy in the bullpen who throws 98 to 100 with a wipeout slider is not going to hurt anything.

2. Mark Zagunis – In addition to hitting over .300 the past 6 weeks, he is still a walking machine. I feel pretty good about his chances of being in Chicago in September. But beyond that, he’s not going to be anything other than a fourth/fifth outfielder with who is in front of him. I really hope he gets an extended shot sometime in the next year whether it’s with the Cubs or another team.

3. The South Bend Outfield – Kevonte Mitchell, DJ Wilson, Luis Ayala, and Chris Pieters – Every single one of them is hitting above .321 this month and they are killing it in all phases of the game. Last night, Mitchell hit a grand slam while DJ Wilson tracked ball after ball down in centerfield. The other night, Kevonte threw out a guy at the plate. It has been nice to see them perform so well and it’s almost as if they are trying to one up each other.

4. Four Hitters in Rookie League – First, Luis Vasquez has peaked my interest since the Cubs signed him this summer. The fact that he is hitting .300+ as a 17-year-old tall and rangy shortstop helps as well. The same is true of Delvin Zinn’s athleticism and he seems to be back on track this month hitting over .300. International free-agent Jonathan Sierra seems to have found a groove (still no power) while Jose Gutierrez seems to have done the same hitting over .450 this month. I could also add in pitchers Rollie Lacy, Brendan King, Jeffrey Passantino, and reliever Mitch Stophel for another four.

5. Zack Short – The 23-year-old shortstop has transversed three levels in the past year since he was signed by the Cubs. He seems to be getting better at every level. In the past ten games, he has been on a tear hitting over .400 with 3 home runs. Combined, between Myrtle Beach.and South Bend, the leadoff hitter has 12 dingers this year with an OBP of .391 and this morning was named as having the best strike zone control in the Midwest League by Baseball America.

6. Who is not hot? The Eugene Defense
Once Aramis Ademan was promoted to South Bend, this team has been in a tailspin defensively. It’s a struggle for pitchers Alex Lange, Jose Albertos, and Brendon Little to get through an inning. In the past week, routine grounders have been misplayed, balls to first have been airmailed, and assignments and coverages have been blown. Instead of a pitcher getting out of an inning, those mistakes lead to two or three runs being scored, sometimes more.

Honorable Mentions – Yasiel Balaguert, Taylor Davis, James Norwood, Craig Brooks, Tyler Alamo, Bryan Hudson, Tyler Peyton, Brian Glowicki, Chris Singleton, Marcus Mastrobuoni, Cam Balego, Fernando Kelli, Emilio Ferrebus, and Erich Uelmen.

The Friday Six Pack: Zinn is a Hit in Mesa While Sands’ Rehab Is Going Well

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By Todd Johnson

The Mesa Cubs now have two weeks under their belt. A few things are starting to emerge and the extremely young team is trying to adapt, Many of them are new to the United States. Currently, the club has a record of 5-6. At times, they struggle with hitting and, at other times, they struggle with pitching. Today’s six pack will examine a few things happening out in the Arizona Rookie League.

1. Yonathan Perlaza – Most days, the 18-year-old switch hitter seems to be hitting well. There are other days where is bat does not show up. Signed as part of the 2015 international free agent class, this is his first year playing in the States and it will continue to be an adjustment for him. He’s mainly been playing second, but I expect him to get his time at third. Currently, he is hitting .268 with on base percentage of .348.

2. Carson Sands – At South Bend last year, he was one of their best pitchers in the rotation in the first half. Then things fell apart in the second half. Part of that could’ve been due to elbow splints that he had removed over the winter. As a result, his full season has been delayed. However, in three inning rehab starts at Mesa, he has been excellent. He’s struck out 5 but he has handed out 8 walks – this is, basically, his spring training. Right now, it’s more about the process and strengthening the arm. I hope that he can return to a full season team by the end of July.

3. Delvin Zinn – This is my guy. I love his athleticism! Although, I am not entirely sold on him sticking at short or even second. I think he could play the outfield and do an excellent job. His bat, meanwhile, has been outstanding and consistent. If not for an injury in spring training, he would’ve started the season at Eugene. He should be there shortly as he is hitting .281 with an on-base percentage of .324.

4. Marco Mastrobuoni – This is his second go around in the Arizona Rookie League and his bat has been doing marvelous things. Not only is he heading for high average (.333) but he is also hitting for power. As of today, he has 3 HRs and 8 RBI in 9 games as a catcher and DH.

5. Cam Balego – I have been really surprised by the 31st round pick out of Mercyhurst. He’s played mostly second and third and is showing the ability to handle the stick as he is hitting .333, At that pace, I don’t know how much longer he’s going to be in Mesa. Then again there’s not really a place for him to move in Eugene.

6. Jed Carter -. Relievers in rookie league don’t get much pub. It’s not a glorified position at that level, but Carter is making it his. The 2016 draft pick seems to have found his groove in his first full season is a Cub. To date he’s pitched 5 innings, He has not allowed in earned run, and he has struck out 6 while only walking 2. I hope he gets to go to Eugene very soon.

Bonus One
7. Jonathan Sierra – Like Perlaza, this 18-year-old has been up and down. Batting cleanup most every day, he has shown the ability for timely hits but then not get one for three days. He is batting .250 with 5 RBIs and an OBP of .302. The tall lefty has yet to hit a homer.

The starting pitching has been pretty volatile. Jose Albertos is now in Eugene and more draft picks should be getting some action in over the weekend. One always has to keep their eyes on the Arizona roster as it is in flux daily. Between players making rehab appearances, draft picks coming and going, and later in the year, players from the Dominican coming north, it is always a test to report on. DJ Wilson of South Bend has played in 3 rehab games and is 4/8 with 3 HRs.

Only three draft picks saw action so far in Mesa. Two have moved on to Eugene. I will be back with a post on all where the draft picks are at and how they are doing early next week.

Mesa Cubs Preview – The Young, Younger, and Youngest Cubs

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By Todd Johnson

The Cubs’ rookie league team in Mesa begins play today. It’s roster is a mix of young players, most of whom are 18 or 19 years old and are in need game experience. This year’s team has a decidedly Latin flavor. That will change once the draft picks have been signed and passed their physicals.  

Last year, the Mesa Cubs made the playoffs in the Arizona Rookie League before falling to the Mariners in the opening series. The strength of this year’s team should be their pitching. There are a few draft picks, but most of the starting staff are standouts from last year’s DSL teams.

Here is the opening day roster. In rookie league, each team can have 35 players on the roster with only 25 activated for each game.

Pitchers: Jose Albertos, Faustino Carrera, Jed Carter, Alfredo Colorado, Fauris Guerrero, Luis Hernandez, Chi-Feng Lee, Jose Leidenz, Jose MacDonna, Brailyn Marquez, Carlos Ocampo, Pablo Ochoa, Eugenio Palma, Yunior Perez, Eury Ramos, Stephen Ridings, Nathan Sweeney

Catchers: Carlos Diaz, Richard Nunez, and Kevin Zamudio

Infield: Fidel Mejia, Rafael Mejia, Yonathan Perlaza, and Delvin Zinn

Outfield: Yovanny Cuevas, Jose Gutierrez, Ruben Reyes, and Jonathan Sierra

Here are some names that will probably be the key players over the next two months.

Card made from a picture by Bill Mitchell/MiLB

Jose Albertos – The 18-year-old top prospect stayed behind to work on the grip on his curve. Once he has that down, he will be off to bigger and better things.   

Faustino Carrera – He put up very good numbers in the Dominican last year. He had a 1.06 ERA in 13 starts for the summer. He is not that big but has good control of his pitches. He likely will be a reliever.

Brailyn Marquez – I think this kid could be a breakout pitcher in the next couple of years. In EXST this spring, he struggled in 11.1 IP. He has excellent size and I look forward to watching him develop. He had a 1.48 ERA in 12 starts last summer in the DSL.

Stephen Ridings – The 2016 8th round pick is a wildcard at 6’8”. He can throw in the upper 90s but has trouble repeating his delivery and, as a result, trouble controlling his pitches. He did not pitch last year after being drafted.  

Nathan Sweeney – I did not think he would sign last year after being drafted out of high school, but he said college was not for him. So, he is now a Cub and I wonder if he’s going to be a starter or a reliever. He’s just 19, so they have some time.   

Kevin Zamudio – He should do well in his second go around in Mesa. He hit .237 last year and he plays a little at first, a little catcher, and a little DH. He is only 19 and is part of the Cubs new Mexican free agency foray from 2015.

Image may contain: one or more peopleDelvin Zinn – He might be my favorite pick from last year’s draft. He is an exceptional athlete who I think is going to be a breakout player before too long. He had some trouble with injuries this spring and that’s why he is in Mesa rather than in Eugene. He might not be in Mesa very long.   

Jonathan Sierra – Everytime I mention him, I talk about how he is physically a Darryl Strawberry clone. At just 18, he will be in the outfield every day this summer garnering game experience. He showed some improvement this spring after hitting .264 last summer in the DSL.

Yovanny Cuevas – He was one of the delights of EXST. This spring, he improved dramatically and earned a trip stateside for the year.   

Draft Picks Who Should Be in Mesa All Season  

Nelson Velazquez – I hope the Cubs can sign this kid is he seems to be a physical specimen and could be a five tool player within a couple of years. I think the Cubs may have gotten a steal in the fifth round.   

Luis Vazquez – If the Cubs can get this toolsy SS signed, he would be stationed here. It will be interesting to see how he does in such an atmosphere. He looks long and lean for a SS with the potential for power as he fills out.

Cubs Have More Prospects to Breakout in the Second Half

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By Todd Johnson

As I have said before, it is hard for a prospect to break out anymore. There is press coverage almost everywhere in addition to photographers and people who can take video. With Mesa and Eugene ready to begin play, here are some names of prospects who I think will grab a few headlines in the second half and propel themselves up several prospect lists.

I did not include top prospects Miguel Amaya and Aramis Ademan on this list. Technically, they should break out, but most people already know about them. For me, it’s just a matter of seeing them do it this summer on him MiLB.TV.

Photo by Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard

Joe Martarano – At 6’3” and close to 240 pounds, Joe is quite the presence in the batters box. I saw him for the first time on opening night at Eugene. The thing I took away from his performance was that he does have a really good eye at plate. He might be a little “roller-coastery” this summer as he gets used to playing every day after not playing for two years.

Delvin Zinn – He is beginning this year in Mesa after missing most of spring training. He’s a great athlete and it looks like he’s gonna play second base. With college draft picks coming, I think he’ll be at Mesa most of the summer.

Bailey Clark – I love this kid. While technically a bearded monster, he also has a 95 to 98 mph fastball. He is starting out at Eugene and should eventually spend most of his time this summer playing at South Bend.

Brailyn Marquez – At 6’6” and only 18 years of age, I look forward to seeing what this young left handed pitcher can do. Last year in the DSL he put up an ERA of 1.48. He struck out 48 in 54 IP in the DSL, I doubt he does that in Mesa. I am intrigued to see how he does stateside.

Faustino Carrera – He’s a bit small, so I don’t think he’s destined to be a starter, but for right now he is. He put up a 1.06 ERA in the DSL last year and, like Marquez, I wonder if he if he can do that in Mesa with the same success.

Jonathan Sierra – He looks like Darryl Strawberry, but does not have Darryl’s skills yet. Then again, Sierra is only 18. He hit .264 in the DSL last year with a .384 OBP. That shows me he has a good eye at the plate. He did not have the greatest spring training, but I am interested to see how he hits in Mesa and whether his power stroke begins to develop. Hopefully, he begins to breakout this year. If not, it could take him 2-3 years to do so.

Gustavo Polanco -Last year, he lead the Mesa Cubs in hitting at .322. He is already off to great start at Eugene. Although he started off as a catcher, the 20-year-old moved to first base and is also a designated hitter. At 6′ and 190 pounds, he is pretty much maxed out physically, but he has a great eye for the ball.

Under the Radar
Image may contain: one or more peopleI am sure there will be other players who do breakout. More than likely, most will be players the Cubs recently drafted. I wrote the following at BP Wrigleyville about two top hitters I think might fit the breakout bill.

3B Austin Filiere (eighth round pick) and OF Chris Carrier (ninth round) both have a lot of potential for power. Carrier comes from Memphis while Filiere comes from MIT—neither of which are powerhouse college programs. Carrier is a sculpted physical specimen at 6’2” and 225 pounds, while Filiere’s experience in the wooden bat Cape Cod League might give him an advantage as they begin their pro careers, most likely in Eugene.

2B Jared Young and OF Brandon Hughes are two other college names who could do the same as Filiere and Carrier.

When it comes to pitchers, the Cubs did pick some relievers. Most notable are Casey Ryan from Hawaii, Sean Barry from San Diego, and Brian Glowicki from Minnesota. The starting pitchers the Cubs draft pitch short stints (40-50 pitches) as they already have thrown a full season.

A Saturday Six Pack – Things to Look Forward to in June

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By Todd Johnson

The six pack moved to Saturday this week to make room for some end of the month stuff. Now that May is done, it is time to look forward to June. The first half of the minor league season ends in two weeks while the major league season just begins to crank into gear.

Here are 6 things I am going to look forward to in June.

1. Starting Pitching
When I think of the troubles of the Cubs first third of the season, starting pitching stands out to me. Yes, it’s true, the hitting needs to improve, but when you’re giving up 5-6 runs a game, that is hard to overcome. I think handling this issue has to be done in a very deft manner. I say that because you have to balance winning this season and winning beyond this season. I am OK with Lester, Arrieta, and Hendricks. I am not a fan of John Lackey. While Eddie Butler has caught my eye, he is more an answer to the second question than the first. Where does that leave the Cubs? Do they need to go out and get two starters for this season? Do they need to get just one for this season and the postseason? Or, do they just think about acquiring long term starters who they hope will work out for just this year? Hopefully, we will have the answer in less than four weeks.

2. Trades
I have never been one to be big on speculating trades. While I am sure one is coming for a pitcher, I am pretty sure that the Cubs are going to be rely on their own prospects to fill position player roles. But here’s the thing – if Theo and Jed see a player they think can help them win the championship, they are going to go out and get that player regardless of whether he is a pitcher or a position player. Keep that in the back of your mind.

3. Trey Martin/Dylan Cease
I really like Trey Martin. I think he is an underrated prospect, maybe the most underrated in the Cubs system. He is an outstanding defender who covers as much ground as anyone in all of baseball in the outfield. As a hitter, while his growth has been slow, he has improved at every level. He got off to a sizzling start at Tennessee in April before a hamstring injury sidelined him after 8 games. He should be back this week and be a key cog in helping Tennessee get to the first half title. I hope to see Dylan Cease very soon, too. It’s been about 10 days since his ankle injury and I am ready for him to come back and anchor the staff at South Bend as they try to capture a spot in the postseason.

4. Eugene and Mesa
While the Dominican Summer League begins today, Eugene and Mesa are less than two weeks away. I love the late-night action that Eugene provides as usually they’re the only game going past 9 o’clock central. I am also looking forward to watching the Mexican connection of Jose Albertos, Javier Assad, and Jesus Camargo pitching for the Emeralds. In addition, I am excited about seeing Joe Martarano debut as a full-time Cub. And, throw in one of my favorite prospects, Delvin Zinn, who should be ready to go after an injury in extended spring training. Then there’s Miguel Amaya and Aramis Ademan, two 2015 international free agents, who will be making their stateside debuts. It should be an exciting beginning as Eugene tries to capture back-to-back championships.

5. The Draft
There are nine days to go. On Monday I’ll have a post about some risers and fallers. There will be six more names for you to know. I will have wall-to-wall coverage for you each day of the draft. After the draft is complete, I will, with the help of @WesSaver, have when each draftee signs.

6. Cubs Still in Play for IFA Despite Penalties
Ben Badler of Baseball America published an article this week that talked about how the Cubs are in on another top young player from Mexico, pitcher Florencio Serrano. The Cubs can only spend $300,000 max for a signing bonus this year. But because a portion of a bonus for a Mexican player goes to the team, the Cubs can technically spend a little bit more than their limit. A few weeks ago the Cubs were also said to be in the running Luis Verdugo, a young Mexican shortstop.

Check back tomorrow morning for “The Weekly.” I’ll have a recap of  2/3 of the Cubs/Cards series, some news on the DSL, and our players of the week!

The Annual Eugene Emeralds Preview of a Preview

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By Todd Johnson

2016 could not have gone any better for the Eugene Emeralds. Manager Jesus Feliciano led the club to their first Northwest League title in over 30 years. In addition, the Emeralds broadcasted their home games on MiLB.TV which allowed for Cubs fans all over the country to watch.

The Emeralds were led by a devastating starting pitching rotation anchored by Dylan Cease, Manny Rondon, Bailey Clark, Pedro Silverio, and Bryan Hudson. They used team speed and timely hitting along with good defense en route to an amazing 54-22 record.

When it comes to the 2017 Emeralds, today’s preview is actually a preview of a possible preview in June. Once spring training camp breaks the first week of April, extended spring training begins. Over the course of those next 10 weeks, the roster for the Emeralds will begin to take shape. This year, it should be a mixture of players from last year’s Mesa team, last year’s Dominican summer league teams, and position players and relievers from the 2017 MLB draft. The roster is usually pretty fluid because of pitching limits for draft picks who already played a full season of college or high school baseball.

Who Can Emeralds’ Fans Expect to See in 2017?

The two names that come to the forefront the most at are pitcher Jose Albertos and shortstop Isaac Paredes. Both are 18 years old and were signed out of Mexico as international free agents.

Card made from a picture by Bill Mitchell/MiLB

Albertos only pitched for innings in 2016 but throws mid to upper 90s heat and commands his fastball at will. He was shut down for most of the season after straining his forearm in his only start in Rookie League for Mesa. However, the buzz and hype on Albertos is quite large and quite real. He entered most Cubs prospect lists as a top 10 prospect.

As for Isaac Paredes, the young shortstop is well-built and a hitting machine. He hit over .300 in rookie ball at 17-years-old and he got a little glimpse filling in at South Bend for a couple weeks at the end of 2016. He should be in Eugene to start the year where he will play shortstop and maybe see a little third-base.

Both Paredes and Albertos should advance quickly this year. They may only be in Eugene for the first half.


Depending on who the Cubs draft, I think we’re going to see a decidedly Latin feel to the Emeralds starting rotation. Javier Assad was the ace of the Mesa staff last year. He comes with a low 90s fastball and is still working on his secondaries. 2016 draftee Matt Swarmer looks to have added some weight this spring and is an interesting pitcher who is very, very raw when it comes to professional skills but seems to be picking up things at a very fast rate.

Two pitchers who also missed all, or most, of 2016 include Jesus Camargo and 2016 draftee Stephen Ridings. In 2015, Camargo was the top starter for the Mesa team and last year Ridings missed all season after being drafted. Camargo has good control while Ridings throws in the mid-90s and has some issues he needs to work out when it comes to where the ball goes. 

Position players

Card is made from a picture by John Arguello

In addition to Paredes, Second baseman Delvin Zinn is one of the best athletes in the Cubs’ system.  The Cubs originally drafted Zinn in 2015 but he chose to go to Mississippi State. He never did play for the Bulldogs instead going to junior college. The Cubs redrafted Zinn last year and he saw a little time in Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League. In just a short tenure at Mesa, his skills improved dramatically. This showed how open he was to coaching. I expect him to be one of the most exciting players to watch for the Emeralds this summer as he has great speed and the 19-year-old should improve hitting over the course of the 74-game season

Catcher Michael Cruz brings some left-handed power to a position the Cubs normally don’t draft high. The 2016 draftee spent most of his time last year working on his defensive skills in Mesa. I think this year we will see his bat play more in short season ball. As a result, he may not be in Eugene long.

Another key hitter will be catcher Gustavo Polanco. The converted first baseman has a definite hit tool as he led Mesa in hitting in 2016. He has a short compact swing that has yet to translate into home runs. Outfielder Luis Ayala should provide a calming effect at the top of the order as a pure hitter and a player who can get on base and set the table for the lineup.

More than likely the Cubs will take prep bats with their first two picks in the 2017 draft. As a result, expect only college players to show up and to begin to play immediately in Eugene after being drafted. In fact, I expect the Cubs to have a lot of draft picks in the bullpen.

Depending on how they do in extended spring training, Emeralds’ fans might be getting some of the top 2015 international free agents. Shortstop Aramis Ademan and catcher Miguel Amaya are defensively ready to play short season ball. Extended spring will test whether their bats are. 18-year old pitchers Brailyn Marquez and Faustino Carrera are two other left-handed pitchers who could crack the rotation at Eugene with a solid spring.

There’s a lot to like here on the Eugene roster, but they will need some time to develop. Right now, the pitching may be a little bit of ahead of the hitting, but there will be a lot of 18 to 20-year-old kids who will be learning the art of professional baseball. 

The actual Eugene roster will be listed somewhere between the 15th and 17th of June. This will be just in time for the season to begin.

Sleeper Prospect

I really like Marquez to be the breakout pitcher of the year. At 6’6”, Marquez seemed to have a natural feel for pitching last year in the Dominican Summer League. As for hitters, I think Delvin Zinn hits the mark for his natural athletic ability that will help him transition at the plate and in the field.

First to Be Promoted – Paredes/Cruz/Albertos

Position Breakdown Series Part 4 – Where Have All the Shortstops Gone?

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By Todd Johnson

Mission Control 3

It used to seem as if the Cubs had all the shortstop prospects a few years ago. Those days are gone. Once Gleyber Torres was traded, the shortstop position in the Cubs’ system lost its luster. It’s not as if the Cubs don’t have players playing shortstop, they do.  It’s just that the high-end talent is at the lowest part of the system.

There’s no point bemoaning the fact that this position is getting pretty thin when it comes to prospects heading towards the majors. But, with Addison Russell and Javy Baez basically putting a brick wall in front of the position for the next five years, the Cubs can really take their time and develop shortstops. And, like the other positions in the infield, the Cubs are pretty well set in Chicago for a while.

5. Andruw Monasterio last year had a Jekyll and Hyde season. His first month at Eugene he hit over .350 and was promoted to South Bend. Over the last month of the year, he hit under .200. At Eugene, he was Mr. Excitement; at South Bend, he was Mr. Mistake. Ideally, he should stay in South Bend. That way, he can work on fixing his approach at the plate, his footwork in the field, and his over aggressiveness to the game. I think at some point the game has to slow down for him because right now he’s making small mistakes that turn into big ones. He’s far from washed up. He’s an excellent athlete who hustles but makes poor choices in game action. This could be from laying off pitches to throwing to the wrong base. I think a lot of it is just game experience.

zinn-85-2016-fall4. Delvin Zinn – I don’t know if he will stick at shortstop, but for today, we are going to put him there. He might actually move over to second base. Zinn has the unique distinction of being drafted in back to back years by the Cubs. He did not sign in 2015. He originally was to attend Mississippi State, and did for a semester, before transferring to a junior college. The Cubs selected him again in 2016 and he fortunately signed. He did get off to a late start and struggled a bit at rookie ball at Mesa. However, he showed that he could make adjustments. His last couple weeks were pretty good and, at fall instructs, he was one of the most improved players in the fall. He is a great athlete who needs to refine some aspects of his game. He should be in Eugene in 2017. I expect to see him play multiple positions, maybe even including a shot in center field.

3. Zack Short – Right now, he is the most advanced shortstop in the system. He can field and he has an excellent arm. He may have only hit .240 something last year, but he also had a .400 on-base percentage and has the potential for some power. Hopefully, over this winter, he’s added a few pounds of muscle, but I really enjoyed watching him play every day at Eugene. He gets to a lot of balls and he makes excellent plays. He doesn’t try to do too much but he does do a lot. He should begin 2017 at South Bend. The fans there are going to love his attitude, his makeup, and his personality.


2. Isaac Paredes – I almost put Isaac number one. At just 17 last fall, I got to see him play a little bit at South Bend. He didn’t look 17, he looked like a veteran. He has a great hit tool with what he showed in Mesa last summer and for a few games in South Bend. I think in 2017 he will be at Eugene and then work his way back to South Bend. I think he just filled in there at the end of the year because Eugene didn’t want to take anything away from their championship run. He’s got a big body and he’s not sure how to use it yet. For hitting. I think it will be fun to watch him this summer at Eugene and if he does really well there, he could be in South Bend very quickly.

ademan-69-11. Aramis Ademan is also 17. The youngster made his debut in the Dominican Summer League and displayed a good approach at the plate. His batting average wasn’t the greatest but he showed that he can make good solid contact with the potential for some power later. But Ademan’s greatest strength is his defense. He has soft hands, quick feet, and a very nice arm. He should be in Mesa to begin the 2017 season.

I think you can best describe this lot of shortstops as extremely young. Zack Short is the old man at 21 while you have two 19-year-olds and two 17-year-olds. They are going to take some time to grow and mature.

There are other shortstops in the system like Carlos Penalver and Bryant Flete , who have done the job defensively but lack certain offensive skills; Although, Flete did hit .285 in a 34 games stint at Myrtle Beach last August. Andrew Ely is another shortstop playing out of position who also did well in 2016 at South Bend and Myrtle Beach.

What is now the weakest position in the system will be interesting to watch how they advance develop over the next year. In two or three years, this could be the strongest position.

*The Ademan and Zinn cards were made from pics by John Arguello

* Zack Short photo courtesy of the Eugene Emeralds