Prospectus Preview: 2012 Trades and Claims, Hunter Cervenka


(Photo by Scott Jontes/Daytona Cubs)

Other Prospectus Previews:

2012 Draft / Stephen Bruno

Close to the Majors / Robert Whitenack

2012 Draft / Pierce Johnson

Down the Pipeline / Jeimer Candelario

Close to the Majors / Nick Struck

2012 International / Jorge Soler

2012 Trades and Claims / Barret Loux

Just three weeks into the 2012 season, the Cubs made a moderately surprising move, shipping the slumping Marlon Byrd to Boston in exchange for pitching prospects. Among the minor leaguers the Cubs acquired was hard-throwing lefty Hunter Cervenka.

The southpaw had been with the Sox since 2008, but control problems had hampered his development. Things changed for Cervenka last season. The 23-year-old cut his BB/9 down from 7.2 in 2011 to 4.7 in 2012. He also struck out two more batters per nine in 2012 than he did the previous year. In other words, it looks like the Cubs might have gotten a bargain.

It remains to be seen where Cervenka will start the 2013 season, but somewhere in Class-A ball seems to make the most sense.

Cervenka is just one of more than 60 players covered in Vine Line’s annual Minor League Prospectus. The issue is on newsstands now, with single issues available by calling 800-618-8377. It’s an exhaustive rundown, perfect for Spring Training and beyond.

LHP | Hunter Cervenka
Ht./Wt.: 6-1/215
B/T: L/L
Born: 1/3/90 in Baytown, Texas
Acquired: 2012 Trade (Boston for Marlon Byrd)
Tools: Velocity, Fastball, Slider
2012 STATS (Low-A): 4.50 ERA, 44.0 IP, 38 H, 22 BB, 52 K (High-A): 3.86 ERA, 18.2 IP, 21 H, 11 BB, 19 K

Acquired from Boston for Marlon Byrd, Cervenka may have the organization’s best pure stuff from the left side. He just hasn’t been able to put it all together consistently, ever since his days as a 27th-round draft pick out of high school. Cervenka shows a 94 mph fastball with a hard slider but falls into ruts where he can’t find the strike zone. He did make strides in 28 innings under Peoria pitching coach Ron Villone, reducing his walks per nine to the lowest of his career (3.2) while striking out a batter per inning.

Other players featured in this section: Infielder Christian Villanueva; and pitchers Arodys Vizcaino, Barret Loux and Hector Rondon.

Plus, tidbits on RHP Kyle Hendricks, RHP Carlos Gutierrez, RHP Marcelo Carreno and RHP Jaye Chapman.


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