Results tagged ‘ Christian Villanueva ’

Cubs add 4 players to 40-man roster

The Cubs’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year Logan Watkins was added to the club’s 40-man roster. (Photo by Rodger Wood)

The Cubs added right-handed pitchers Trey McNutt and Robert Whitenack and infielders Christian Villanueva and Logan Watkins to the 40-man roster Tuesday, the last day to protect prospects from next month’s Rule 5 draft. The Cubs also designated Brian LaHair for assignment and optioned righty Carlos Gutierrez to Triple-A Iowa.

McNutt, who is currently ranked eighth on the Cubs’ Prospect Watch list, went 9-8 with a 4.26 ERA in 34 appearances (17 starts) with Double-A Tennessee. In four minor league seasons, the 23-year-old has a 27-16 record with a 3.45 ERA. After being selected in the 32nd round of the 2009 draft, McNutt started the Single-A Midwest League All-Star Game in 2010, was a midseason Double-A Southern League All-Star in 2011 and was a 2011 Arizona Fall League rising star. He has recently thrived after a move to the bullpen.

Villanueva, a slick-fielding third baseman, came over from the Rangers in the midseason deal for Ryan Dempster. The organization’s No. 7 prospect hit .279 with 24 doubles, 14 homers, 68 RBI and 14 stolen last season between Single-A Daytona and Texas’ Single-A affiliate, Myrtle Beach. The 2011 mid- and postseason All-Star in the South Atlantic League was signed by the Rangers in 2008 as a nondrafted free agent from Guadalajara, Mexico.

Watkins, the Cubs’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, batted .281 with 93 runs, 20 doubles, 11 triples, nine home runs and 52 RBI for Double-A Tennessee. He led the Southern League in runs scored, was second in triples and walks (76), and was fourth in on-base percentage (383). The 23-year-old possesses a career average of .285 with a .372 on-base percentage and was selected in the 21st round of the 2008 draft.

Whitenack joined Single-A Daytona in May after missing part of 2011 with Tommy John surgery. He went 1-6 with a 5.96 ERA in 15 starts. The organization’s No. 13 prospect was drafted in the eighth round of the 2009 draft, and has a career 19-18 record in the minors.

LaHair, who was designated for assignment, was a 2012 National League All-Star, batting .259 with 16 home runs and 40 RBI in 130 games for the Cubs. LaHair and the Cubs are reportedly working on a deal with a Japanese team. Gutierrez was claimed off waivers by the Cubs from the Twins on Oct. 24.

The Cubs’ current 40-man roster:

Pitchers
Scott Baker
Jeff Beliveau*
Michael Bowden
Alberto Cabrera
Shawn Camp
Lendy Castillo
Jaye Chapman
Casey Coleman
Gerardo Concepcion*
Rafael Dolis
Matt Garza
Carlos Marmol
Trey McNutt
Zach Putnam
Brooks Raley*
Chris Rusin*
James Russell*
Jeff Samardzija
Arodys Vizcaino
Robert Whitenack
Travis Wood*
* – LHP

Catchers
Welington Castillo
Steve Clevenger
Dioner Navarro

Infielders
Darwin Barney
Starlin Castro
Junior Lake
Anthony Rizzo
Ian Stewart
Luis Valbuena
Christian Villanueva
Josh Vitters
Logan Watkins

Outfielders
Tony Campana
David DeJesus
Brett Jackson
Dave Sappelt
Jorge Soler
Alfonso Soriano
Matt Szczur

Farm Report Wrap-Up: Daytona featured key prospects on left side

Outfielder Matt Szczur stole 38 bases for Daytona in 2012. (Photo by Rodger Wood)

Today we continue our tour around the Cubs farm system, taking a level-by-level look at performances the organization hopes to build on in 2013. The high Class-A Daytona Cubs are next in the spotlight.

They may have dropped from Florida State League champions to last place, but the Daytona Cubs featured several intriguing position prospects worth keeping an eye on. And it’s the continued development of that talent that’s going to be vital for the Chicago Cubs in the coming years.

Chief among them is Javier Baez, who spent the last month of the season in Daytona Beach. He’s become the organization’s quickest climber since being drafted out of high school in 2011. Since his mid-August signing last summer, Baez has played in four different leagues—at the Rookie and three Class-A levels. (He spent the season’s first two months in extended Spring Training before resuming his rapid ascent.) Though Baez batted just .188 in 86 plate appearances for Daytona, he ended the year with two home runs in the finale to bring his season total to 16 (12 with Peoria) in 80 games. That evidence of his plus bat speed, as well as his overall athleticism and competitiveness, puts him as baseball’s 23rd-best prospect and fourth-best shortstop in Jonathan Mayo’s end-of-season rankings at MLB.com.

To Baez’s right, third baseman Christian Villanueva was an important midseason addition via the Ryan Dempster deal with Texas. He’s considered to have very natural actions at third base, along with a strong arm and good hands. On the offensive side, he has plus bat speed and good pop, though he’s still refining his approach. Considering that third base is wide-open at the major league level, Villanueva could be one to watch.

Both Baez and Villanueva will be getting extra at-bats this fall—Baez in the Arizona Fall League and Villanueva in the Mexican Winter League (for Obregon). And both have considerable upside in how high they can climb.

Final Records:

First Half / 30-38, fifth place, 12.5 GB

Second Half / 29-36, sixth place, 7.5 GB

Storylines: Hope you had your stopwatches ready—new Manager Mark Johnson loved to send his runners around the bases. The Cubs’ 201 steals was 34 better than the No. 2 team in the league. Daytona also led the league in triples. Outfielder John Andreoli stole 55 bases in 75 tries to pace the team. Outfielder and top prospect Matt Szczur, promoted to Tennessee in July, had 38 steals in 50 attempts, while shortstop Arismendy Alcantara was 25-for-29. (more…)

Deadline dealing

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s first non-waiver trade deadline as members of the Cubs passed at 3 p.m. CST Tuesday with a flurry of activity. The front office made three trades in the last 24 hours, and they waited until the last minute to complete a deal sending away the team’s biggest trade chip, Ryan Dempster. Here’s a recap of the Cubs’ moves and a summary of what they received in the deals.

Cubs send left-handed starter Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson to the Braves for right-handed pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman

What they got:

Arodys Vizcaino: Baseball America rated the right-hander the Braves’ No. 2 preseason prospect and the 40th best prospect in all of baseball. Vizcaino, who has a live arm with a fastball that touches the high 90s, was the centerpiece of the Braves 2009 deal that sent Javier Vazquez to the Yankees. He’ll miss all of 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery, but should be ready to go by early next season.

2011 stats: 5-5, 3.06 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 97 IP at three minor league levels;
1-1, 4.67 ERA, 17 K, 17.1 IP for Braves

Jaye Chapman: The 25-year-old has climbed his way through the minor league ranks since he was drafted in 2006. In two seasons at Triple-A Gwinnett, the reliever has struck out more than one-fourth of the batters he’s faced, and he’s only allowed three home runs in 2012.

2012 stats: 3-6, 3.52 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, 53.2 IP at Triple-A Gwinnett

Cubs send catcher Geovany Soto to the Rangers for right-hander Jake Brigham

What they got:

Jake Brigham: A sixth-round pick in the 2006 draft, Brigham went 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 21 starts for Double-A Frisco this season. Baseball America rated him the seventh-best righty reliever in the Texas farm system. Last season, he went 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 21 appearances.

2012 stats: 5-5, 4.28 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, 124.0 IP at Double-A Frisco

Cubs send right-handed pitcher Ryan Dempster to the Rangers for right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks and infielder Christian Villanueva

What they got:

Christian Villanueva: Baseball America rated Villanueva the Rangers’ eighth-best prospect prior to the season. The publication called him “an easy plus defender with soft hands and easy actions.” The 22-year-old stole 32 bases last season in Low-A and finished with a .278 batting average.

2012 stats: .285/.356/.421, 10 home runs, 59 RBI, 9 SB, 425 PA at Single-A Myrtle Beach

Kyle Hendricks: The 2011 eighth-round draft pick had a 5-8 record with 2.82 ERA in 20 starts for Single-A Myrtle Beach this season, earning him a spot on the Carolina League All-Star team. He spent last season at both Low-A Spokane and Double-A Frisco.

2012 stats: 5-8, 2.82 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 15 BB, 130.2 IP at Single-A Myrtle Beach

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