Results tagged ‘ Alberto Cabrera ’

Cubs agree to terms with 19 players

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Welington Castillo was one of 19 players to agree to a deal with the Cubs Monday afternoon. (Image by Stephen Green)

The Cubs have come to terms with 19 players on their 40-man roster with zero-to-three years of major league service time. The terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

The players who have reached agreements include right-handed pitchers Jake Arrieta, Dallas Beeler, Alberto Cabrera, Justin Grimm, Blake Parker, Neil Ramirez, Hector Rondon and Arodys Vizcaino; left-handed pitchers Zac Rosscup and Chris Rusin; catcher Welington Castillo; infielders Arismendy Alcantara, Mike Olt, Christian Villanueva and Logan Watkins; and outfielders Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, Matt Szczur and Josh Vitters.

From the Pages of Vine Line: 2014 Minor League Prospectus, Close to the Big Leagues

Alcantara

Infielder Arismendy Alcantara could see time at Wrigley Field this year.

(Photo by Rodger Wood)

For many Chicagoans, February means cold weather. At Vine Line, it’s all about the Cubs minor league prospectus. In the February issue, fans can check out frequent contributor Sahadev Sharma’s player breakdowns for more than 45 of the organization’s top prospects, from teenagers like Eloy Jimenez to elite talents like Javier Baez. We’ll post some of the profiles here on the blog in the coming weeks so you can keep track of all the names to know in the Cubs highly ranked system.

Also From the Series
2014 Minor League Prospectus- The Elite

Close to the Big Leagues
“The most important currency in the game right now, from a baseball standpoint, is either massive amounts of payroll flexibility or a real surplus of above-average young players who are major league ready or already making an impact in the big leagues,” said baseball president Theo Epstein at last December’s Winter Meetings.

Epstein admitted the Cubs aren’t where they want to be in either area, but said when it comes to the latter, they’ve taken the appropriate steps to get there soon. The front office has drafted well and made smart trades. As these prospects continue to develop and get closer to the majors, Epstein said, “They’re infinitely more valuable, to us and potentially in a trade, than they are while they’re working away in the farm system.”

Though none of the organization’s upper-tier players will be ready to start next season in the majors, there are several others who could make an appearance at Wrigley Field at some point in 2014. The Cubs may not compete for a division title this summer, but some prized young talent will likely provide a glimpse of just how good this team could be in the near future.

ARISMENDY ALCANTARA
DOB: 10/21/1991
POSITION: 2B
HIGHEST 2013 LEVEL: TENNESSEE
2013 STATS: .271/.352/.451 (133 GAMES)

After spending much of his career at shortstop, Alcantara shifted to second base when Baez was moved up to Tennessee. He is solid with the glove, but his real value comes on offense. The switch-hitting leadoff man is one of the more dynamic players in the organization, with a rare speed-and-power combination to go along with on-base skills and the ability to play in the middle of the field.

A hot start to the season earned him a spot in the Futures Game, but the Dominican tapered off a bit in the second half. With a tremendous amount of ability and strong makeup, Alcantara has what it takes to excel in the majors, but the Cubs brass want to be sure he can perform consistently throughout the season before he gets the call to Wrigley.

DALLAS BEELER
DOB: 6/12/1989
POSITION: RHP
HIGHEST 2013 LEVEL: TENNESSEE
2013 STATS: 54.2 IP, 3.13 ERA, 35 K, 17 BB (9 STARTS)

A finger injury cut short Beeler’s 2013 season, but he looked good when he was on the mound and built on that success in the AFL. With his velocity ticking up to 94 mph and a newly developed cutter—which helped him fend off lefties, previously his bugaboo—Beeler looked like a new man. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats, but rather relies on his defense, inducing ground balls by staying low in the zone with impressive sinking action on his pitches.

Beeler was added to the 40-man roster to keep from losing him in the Rule 5 draft, something that was a legitimate concern after his impressive AFL performance. As a big, physical strike thrower who knows how to pitch, he fits the bill for what the Cubs are looking for in an arm.

BRETT JACKSON
DOB: 8/2/1988
POSITION: CF
HIGHEST 2013 LEVEL: IOWA
2013 STATS: .210/.296/.330 (95 GAMES)

It was just a few years ago that Jackson was supposed to join Starlin Castro on the big league roster and light up the North Side with his immense talents. The Cal-Berkeley product didn’t get his chance until the summer of 2012 and struggled mightily with his strikeout rate. After the season, Jackson worked hard on his swing in an effort to reduce the whiffs, but early on, nothing changed.

“He came into Spring Training, and I think when the results weren’t there right away, he probably started pressing a little bit,” McLeod said. “When he went to Iowa, he got off to a slow start. The strikeouts started piling up again, and then unfortunately he got nicked up and missed quite a bit of time before he came back.”

When he returned to action, the Cubs sent him to Double-A, where his struggles continued. But the organization hasn’t given up on Jackson, who, from a physical standpoint, can do a lot of things not many others can do on a baseball field. Given a fresh start, the team hopes he can put a horrendous 2013 season behind him and somehow reduce his swing-and-miss tendencies. His combination of power, speed and defense could definitely come in handy for a major league club searching for high-end talent in the outfield.

MIKE OLT
DOB: 8/27/1988
POSITION: 3B
HIGHEST 2013 LEVEL: IOWA
2013 STATS: .201/.303/.381 (107 GAMES)

Olt is another third baseman who may end up at Triple-A. Once deemed untouchable in the Texas organization, he found himself battling eye issues last season as his prospect status tumbled. He was ultimately swapped with other players for Matt Garza. The two keys for Olt will be putting his poor season in the rearview mirror and finding whatever it is he needs to take care of his vision problems.

Like Vitters, Olt will be moved around the field to increase his value, playing his normal third base, along with some first base and corner outfield. He strikes out a lot, but when he’s right, the whiffs are mitigated by his plus power and ability to take a walk. He is also an excellent defender at third. The Cubs would love nothing more than for Olt to come into camp healthy and hitting, and stake a claim to the big league third-base job early on.

JOSH VITTERS
DOB: 8/27/1989
POSITION: 3B
HIGHEST 2013 LEVEL: IOWA
2013 STATS: .267/.368/.465 (33 GAMES)

When Vitters plays, he usually hits. Unfortunately, he was waylaid by injuries for much of 2013. Add in the Cubs’ newfound system depth at the hot corner, and suddenly Vitters is a player without a position. Though he’s been in the organization for seven years and already has had a taste of major league action, Vitters is still only 24.

Now that Triple-A first baseman Justin Bour was selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, Vitters will get some time at first base as well as in the outfield at Iowa to increase his versatility and value going forward.

The California native doesn’t take many walks and only flashes average power, but if he can find a spot defensively, he has a chance to be a solid contributor. His ability to hit could help him become a serviceable asset in the majors. Because his hand-eye coordination is good enough that he makes contact with almost everything, pitch selection will be key.

Others to Watch
ALBERTO CABRERA (RHP)
– After being used as a starter in 2013, Cabrera will likely contend for a bullpen spot next spring. He has a big fastball and a wipeout slider, which could make him a very valuable weapon in a late-inning role.

ERIC JOKISCH (LHP) – The Northwestern alum doesn’t light up the radar gun, but he is a big, durable, left-handed starter. Though Jokisch eats a lot of innings and throws strikes with an 87-90 mph fastball and a strong change-up, he needs to tighten up his breaking ball. He doesn’t have plus stuff to wow scouts, but he could be a more physical version of Chris Rusin.

ARMANDO RIVERO (RHP) – A hard thrower from Cuba, Rivero hits the mid-90s and has a diagonal-slanting slider. He looked strong in the minors and though the results weren’t great in the AFL, the experience gave him much-needed innings against a higher level of competition. He could be a factor in the bullpen in the near future.

MATT SZCZUR (OF) – Szczur, a steady performer throughout his minor league career, improved in numerous offensive categories in 2013 and took a step forward defensively. The hard-nosed, athletic outfielder will likely start the season in Triple-A and has a chance to contribute at the big league level as a fourth outfielder in the Reed Johnson mold.

TONY ZYCH (RHP) – Zych has top-notch velocity in the 95-98 mph range, but he sometimes struggles to miss bats. He throws a lot of strikes, but the quality can waver night to night due to an inconsistent delivery that requires some effort and energy. When it’s working, the velocity is elite, and he has a hard, sweeping slider that could be effective in high-leverage situations out of the bullpen.

—Sahadev Sharma

Smokies primed for a competitive run

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The Smokies return slugger Justin Bour. (Photo by Rodger Wood)

Coming off of a 2011 Florida State League title, many believed the Tennessee Smokies were destined to repeat in 2012. But that didn’t happen, as the team hovered around .500 for much of the year, finishing 72-68.

This year’s Smokies might not have the hype of the 2012 squad, but after retaining 17 players and adding a few highly touted prospects, a league title could again be in their sights.

The 2013 offense is fronted by a few key returnees in Justin Bour and Matt Szczur. Bour, a 24-year-old first baseman, was the rock in the middle of the order last season, hitting .283/.360/.455 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 17 homers and a franchise-record 110 driven in. If he’s not moved up, he could near that RBI total again, especially considering Szczur and newcomer Arismendy Alcantara will bat ahead of him in the lineup.

Former fifth-round pick Szczur was all over Single-A hitting before his call-up last season. Though he struggled at Double-A (.210/.285/.357 in 35 games), he performed well in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .264 and drawing 14 walks in 105 at-bats. He also stole nine bases.

The 21-year-old Alcantara was promoted after a stellar 2012 in Daytona, where he hit .302/.339/.447 with 13 doubles and swiped 25 bags. The versatile infielder will likely line up at short, and he’s a tough out at the plate.

Alberto Cabrera is a Tennessee newcomer who will head a rotation that features three returnees. The 24-year-old Cabrera pitched in relief for the first time in his career last season and reached the majors, where he went 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 21.2 innings. Eric Jokisch, Dae-Eun Rhee, Dallas Beeler and call-up Kyle Hendricks round out the starting staff.

Buddy Bailey returns to manage the Smokies, who play Friday night at 7 p.m. CST. Here’s the roster Bailey will have to work with to start season:

PITCHERS
Frank Batista RHP
Dallas Beeler RHP
Alberto Cabrera RHP
Marcus Hatley RHP
Kyle Hendricks RHP
Eric Jokisch LHP
Trey McNutt RHP
A.J. Morris RHP
Kevin Rhoderick RHP
Dae-Eun Rhee RHP
Zach Rosscup LHP
Brian Schlitter RHP
Tony Zych RHP

CATCHERS
Jair Fernandez
Rafael Lopez

INFIELDERS
Arismendy Alcantara
Justin Bour
Anthony Giansanti
Jonathan Mota
Elliot Soto
Tim Torres
Christian Villanueva

OUTFIELDERS
Johermyn Chavez
Jae-Hoon Ha
Rubi Silva
Matt Szczur

Cubs sign 21 pre-arbitration players

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs agreed to terms with all 21 pre-arbitration eligible players currently on the organization’s 40-man roster Monday. Terms were not disclosed.

Right-handed pitchers Michael Bowden, Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis, Trey McNutt, Hector Rondon, Arodys Vizcaino and Robert Whitenack; and lefties Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin and Travis Wood were all signed to new deals.

Catchers Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger; infielders Darwin Barney, Junior Lake, Anthony Rizzo, Christian Villanueva, Josh Vitters and Logan Watkins; and outfielders Brett Jackson, Dave Sappelt and Matt Szczur also earned updated contracts.

Cabrera, Clevenger both in action for Cubs

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Steve Clevenger’s play at the start of 2012 definitely opened some eyes

He was named to the Cubs’ 25-man roster when the club broke camp, beating out the highly touted Welington Castillo for the backup catcher position behind Geovany Soto. Then the rookie started April going 11-for-22 with five doubles before injuries set him back for the rest of the season. Clevenger finished the year hitting .201 in 215 plate appearances.

In the offseason, the Cubs went out and got a former All-Star in Dioner Navarro to back up Castillo in 2013. Though both catcher spots are already accounted for, Cubs manager Dale Sveum has been looking for ways to get Clevenger more at-bats, even if it means putting the catcher at different positions around the infield.

A seventh round pick in 2006, the 26-year-old Clevenger was selected as an infielder and didn’t switch exclusively to catcher until 2009. He spent much of his time at first base, but also played second and occasionally third. While he’ll be in the lineup as a catcher on Monday when the Cubs host Cleveland, don’t be surprised to see him logging some innings at first this spring, with the hopes of being the squad’s backup first baseman, third catcher and left-handed bat off the bench.

Alberto Cabrera will get the start Monday. It will mark his second appearance of the spring. In his first appearance last week, he went 2.2 innings, surrendering two earned runs and striking out three. The organization appears high on the 24-year-old, who will likely try his luck as a starter in Triple-A to begin the season. In 21.2 innings of major league ball in 2012, the Dominican native had a 5.40 ERA, but struck out 27 batters.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 CST, and the game will be webcast at cubs.com. The Indians will be sending Zach McAllister to the hill. Here is the Cubs full batting order:

SS Luis Valbuena
CF Darnell McDonald
RF Scott Hairston
LF Alfonso Soriano
C Steve Clevenger
3B Junior Lake
1B Brad Nelson
DH Jorge Soler
2B Logan Watkins

Winter League Highlights: Top Cubs performers

9/19/20 REDS @ CUBS

Cubs outfielder Dave Sappelt was one of the top performers in the Venezuelan league this winter (Photo by Stephen Green).

Winter league regional play finally came to a conclusion last night as Magallanes fended off Luis Valbuena and his Lara squad to win the Venezuelan title and claim the final spot in the Caribbean Series. The offseason leagues were an opportunity for players to rack up a few more innings of experience while still competing at a high level. Many of the Cubs took advantage of the opportunity, and some excelled in their respective leagues. Below is a list of Cubs representatives who fared well this winter.

Dominican League

Michael Bowden: Pitching for the Aguilas Cibaenas, Bowden posted a 2.76 ERA in 32.2 innings of work. He earned a 3-2 record and struck out 35 batters.

Alberto Cabrera: Playing for the Toros del Este, the Dominican native was used more frequently in the postseason. In 19.2 innings and four starts, Cabrera went 1-1 with a 0.92 ERA, fanning 15 batters and walking just six. He surrendered two earned runs in the playoffs.

Junior Lake: Representing the Estrellas de Oriente, Lake tore apart opposing pitchers, finishing with a line of .312/.382/.474 (AVG/OBP/SLG). The infielder was one of the Cubs’ top performers, hitting five homers, driving in 24 and stealing 11 bases in 154 at-bats.

Nelson Perez: A teammate of Lake’s in the Dominican, Perez was often utilized as a bat off the bench. In 84 at-bats, he compiled a .443 on-base percentage, drawing 29 walks and driving in 21. The Estrellas made the playoffs but were eliminated in the round robin portion.

Mexican League

Esmailin Caridad: The lone Cubs representative who will be participating in the Caribbean Series, Caridad was a solid bullpen arm this winter. In 42.0 innings during the regular season, the righty had a 2.57 ERA, struck out 49 and walked 12.

Jay Jackson: Jackson put up consistent numbers for the Venados de Mazatlan, posting a 3.86 ERA in 49.0 innings of work. The righty went 3-2 and struck out 34 batters over 10 starts.

Venezuelan League

Yoanner Negrin: In 12 starts for the Leones del Caracas, Negrin was tough to beat. Not a huge strikeout guy (38 K in 58.2 innings), the righty still managed a 2.61 ERA and a 4-1 record.

Dave Sappelt: Sappelt was another elite player this winter. In 116 at-bats, the outfielder put up a .336/.378/.526 line, belting five home runs and five doubles. He also stole five bases and drove in 15.

Luis Valbuena: One of the top performers in all the winter leagues, Valbuena powered his Cardenales de Lara side all the way to the Venezuelan championship. The Cardenales were eliminated last night, losing 11-9 in a back-and-forth Game 7 affair. During the regular season, the Cubs infielder hit .306/.414/.497 with 39 RBI in 183 at-bats. He also drew 34 walks. All of those totals were good enough for top 10 in the league. In the postseason, he hit .341 and drove in 21 in 91 at-bats.

Winter League Highlights: Toros fall short despite Cabrera’s efforts

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Alberto Cabrera had a career year in 2012, his first as a full-time reliever. So perhaps it’s only natural the Cubs want to give him another shot at starting.

That’s because the team saw several different pitchers emerge as Cabrera climbed from Tennessee to Iowa to Chicago. In 21 big league innings, he showed a surprisingly lights-out slider. Meanwhile, in the minors, he showed good feel for a change-up that later went unused. This all complements his mid-90s heat. At just 24 and with the team searching for upper-level arms, Cabrera could become a power starter if he truly does have command of all three pitches.

In the Dominican playoffs, the right-hander pitched four scoreless innings on Wednesday, scattering six hits, striking out seven and walking none. But the effort wasn’t enough, as his Toros del Este fell 4-3 and were eliminated from the playoffs.

Cabrera got off to a fast start, retiring the side in order in the first inning behind two strikeouts. He started the second with another strikeout, but then loaded the bases after a pair of singles and a hit batsman. Cabrera worked out of the jam, striking out Fernando Tatis and getting former Cub Henry Blanco to pop out to end the threat.

After surrendering a single to lead off the third, he struck out the side. In his final inning, Cabrera surrendered a bunt single to start off the frame, but started a double play on the next batter. Willy Aybar and Tatis both singled, but Blanco made the third out on a ground ball to the first baseman.

Winter League Highlights: Cabrera continues his excellent winter work

9/19/20 REDS @ CUBS

(Photo by Stephen Green)

There are always players likely to start the season in Triple-A who are seen as replaceable or who are simply holding a spot for a prospect in the wings. Then there’s Alberto Cabrera.

The 24-year-old righty has been a potential piece of the Cubs’ future since they signed him in July 2005. The hard thrower has a fastball that reaches 94 miles per hour with a low 80s slider. Prior to the organization going out and obtaining four big league starting pitchers this offseason, there was talk that Cabrera could compete for one of the rotation spots in 2013. Now, he’ll more than likely get everyday starts in Triple-A Iowa to begin the year.

Last season, the Dominican native threw exclusively out of the bullpen, splitting time in Tennessee, Iowa and Chicago. In the minors last year, he went 4-1 with a 3.11 ERA in 55.0 innings, striking out 74 and walking just 14. Cabrera saw a lot of action in 25 games (21.2 IP) after an August call-up. Despite a 5.40 ERA, the front office fully expects him to return to the major league level in the near future. He could likely fill a bullpen role in 2013, but the Cubs are interested in seeing what the talented righty can do in the starting rotation.

Cabrera opted to play limited winter ball this offseason and finished the Dominican regular season with solid numbers. In 14.1 innings, he recorded a 3.14 ERA and fanned 20 batters for the Toros del Este.

The Toros dropped a playoff matchup against Estrellas on Thursday despite Cabrera’s strong effort. The Cubs prospect surrendered no earned runs and scattered five hits over 5.1 innings, walking two and striking out one.

Other notes around the Caribbean:

Nelson Perez recorded a pair of hits for the Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican league.

Winter League Highlights: Cabrera strong in first winter start

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Despite Alberto Cabrera‘s impressive finish to the 2012 season, the Cubs have said they plan to start him in Triple-A this season to see if they can stretch him out as a starter. The 24-year-old pitcher, who complements a mid-90s fastball with an effective slider, showed a promising arm in his first stint with the Cubs last year, posting a 5.40 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 21.2 innings.

Cabrera turned some heads Sunday in his first winter start in his native Dominican. The 6-foot-4 right-hander logged four hitless innings, racking up 10 strikeouts and six walks, as the Toros del Este beat the Leones del Escogido 8-6 to snap a six-game losing streak. In six appearances this winter, five in relief, Cabrera has posted a 3.14 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 13 walks in 14.1 innings.

Cubs lefty Jeffry Antigua struggled for the Toros in the same game, giving up two earned runs in one-third of an inning. His ERA now stands at 5.24 in 22.1 innings.

Other highlights around the Caribbean:

Cubs infielder Junior Lake continued to crush the ball this winter, powering the Estrellas past the Gigantes 5-3 with a fifth-inning grand slam. Lake is hitting .324/.394/.493 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in the Dominican with five home runs and 23 RBI.

Right-handed reliever Ty’Relle Harris pitched a scoreless inning with one srikeout and no walks for the Gigantes de Carolina in Puerto Rico. In two appearances (2.0 IP), Harris has a 0.00 ERA with three strikeouts and no walks.

Winter League Highlights: Bowden secures second victory

(Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs reliever Michael Bowden told Vine Line in August that he was excited about playing baseball this winter in the Dominican Republic.

“I love the opportunity of getting to go to new places and seeing what it’s like and learning a new culture, so I think it’s a great experience and I’m looking forward to it,” Bowden said. “And I get to play some ball.”

While Bowden will likely be coming out of the bullpen for either the Cubs or Triple-A Iowa in 2013, his Dominican squad—Aguilas Cibaenas—has made the 26-year-old a regular in their rotation. In five starts, the Winfield, Ill., native has posted a 2-2 record with a 3.92 ERA in 20.2 innings. And five of his nine earned runs allowed this winter came in one outing.

Bowden was clicking on Monday, as he went 5.1 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits. The effort was good enough to earn the righty a win in a 6-4 decision.

Other highlights around Caribbean:

Alberto Cabrera came on in relief for Toros del Este of the Dominican league. He pitched four innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and a walk. He struck out three.

Infielder Junior Lake finished the day 2-for-5 with a walk in a 7-5 loss for Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican league.

The leagues in Puerto Rico and Venezuela were off Monday.

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