Results tagged ‘ Logan Watkins ’

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: Q&A with IF Logan Watkins

Watkins

(Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs 2012 Minor League Player of the Year Logan Watkins got his first taste of the big leagues this season after a late-August call-up from Triple-A Iowa. Vine Line caught up with the infielder to talk about his 2012 accomplishments, making his major league debut, what it’s like to spell a Gold Glover and much more. For more information on the Cubs, check out the October issue of Vine Line.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR  That was awesome. Jed [Hoyer], Theo [Epstein] and all those guys, they inherited a lot of us. Just knowing they recognized me as someone they wanted to have stick around and that they like the way I play meant a lot to me confidence-wise.

DAY BY DAY  I had no expectations for this year. I’m just going to keep doing what I was doing. Triple-A is a lot different than Double-A. You get a lot more older, seasoned veteran guys you play with, so I was adjusting to that. Getting called up, that’s obviously what you work for. I started with the Cubs, and I want to make it with the Cubs.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU  [The offseason Rookie Development Program] just helped me get used to Chicago, so I knew what I was walking into when I got called up. I knew a lot of the staff, a lot of these clubhouse guys, and I knew a lot of the people. It helped make the transition process a lot easier.

BIG LEAGUE WELCOME  In rookie ball, I played with [Junior] Lake and [Starlin] Castro, so I knew [those guys]. Being in big league camp was probably the biggest help, because I knew everybody here. It’s kind of different when you walk onto the team, and you don’t know anybody. But when you feel like you know everybody, it’s a lot more comfortable, and everyone was really welcoming.

GAME ONE  It was crazy. It was a Sunday day game too, so it was a pretty good crowd. They just threw me into the fire right away. [They said], “The first day here, you’re starting.” Yeah, it was crazy. It’s something I’ll never forget.

HIT PARADE  [My first hit] was a good at-bat. It was a full count, and it was a tough spot in the game. There were guys on base, and we needed to keep the rally going. I got a—it wasn’t a line drive or anything—but it was a hit, and I’ll take it.

IN A PINCH  A lot of the guys who pinch-hit nowadays in the major leagues are veteran guys that have been around and know the kind of pitcher they’re going to step in on, so they’re ready right away. I’ve stepped in on some really good pitching that I’ve never seen before, and it’s hard to be aggressive in those situations. It’s something I’ve been learning to do.

GOLDEN ADVICE  I watch Darwin [Barney] a lot, because I’ve known him for a few years now and really like watching him play. But [the veterans] are always just telling me, “Don’t worry about anything. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Have good at-bats and stay level. Don’t live and die with one at-bat when you’re pinch-hitting, because it will drive you crazy if you do.”

MY MENTOR  Me and Darwin are obviously good friends. There’s a reason a lot of people are wearing Darwin Barney shirts around here, because he means a lot to this city. I’m just sitting back and watching him mostly and asking him questions when I need to know something. There’s a lot to learn from a guy like him.

1000 Words: Watkins records hit in debut

Watkins

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Replacing the injured Luis Valbuena, who went on the DL with a strained oblique, the Cubs’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year Logan Watkins made his major league debut Sunday afternoon against the Dodgers. The 23-year-old got the start at second base and recorded his first big league hit in the bottom of the sixth off Los Angeles’ Stephen Fife. The left-handed hitter took a fastball to left field for a single and finished 1-for-4 on the day as the Cubs fell 1-0.

Cubs minor league recap: 4/8/13

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Brett Jackson recorded a team-high two RBI for Iowa Monday. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Kane County Cougars picked up their first win of the season Monday, while the Iowa Cubs surrendered their fifth-straight loss. Here are the highlights from Monday’s games:

IOWA CUBS (0-5)
Iowa suffered its fifth-straight loss to open the season, surrendering six first-inning runs in a 13-5 setback at Round Rock.

  • 2B Logan Watkins (.368) went 2-for-4 with a double, a homer, two runs scored and a RBI.
  • CF Brett Jackson (.238) was 2-for-4 with a double and a team-high two RBI (2).
  • SS Donnie Murphy (.300) was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
  • RF Brian Bogusevic (.389) reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and an outfield assist.
  • RHP Blake Parker (6.75) walked one and fanned two in 1.1 scoreless innings of relief.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES (2-3)
Tennessee lost its second game in a row, dropping a 2-1 pitchers’ duel at Pensacola.

  • CF Matt Szczur (.409) reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a stolen base.
  • SS Arismendy Alcantara (.261) added two hits, going 2-for-4.
  • LF Rubi Silva (.154) went 1-for-4 with a stolen base.
  • LHP Zach Rosscup (0.00) allowed one hit while fanning three in 1.0 scoreless inning of relief.
  • RHP Trey McNutt (0.00) fanned one in a perfect eighth inning.

DAYTONA CUBS (3-1)
Daytona had the day off. The D-Cubs return to action Tuesday, hosting Clearwater.

KANE COUNTY COUGARS (1-4)
Kane County squandered a 5-1 eighth-inning lead, but plated a run in the bottom of the 10th to defeat visiting Clinton 6-5 in walk-off fashion, snapping a season-opening, four-game skid.

  • 2B Gioskar Amaya (.238) went 3-for-5 with a triple, a run scored and a stolen base.
  • C Chadd Krist (.625) was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored.
  • RF Bijan Rademacher (.214) added three hits, going 3-for-5 with a team-high three RBI and an outfield assist.
  • 1B Rock Shoulders (2-for-5, R) and LF Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-5, R) both had multi-hit performances.

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.

Watkins, Maysonet both scheduled to start

JACKSON-B-090212-SG-07(Photo by Stephen Green)

People are drawn to Spring Training for a variety of reasons. It gives fans a chance to see top players get back into action, young prospects face off against major league competition, and veteran fringe players try to win another opportunity at a major league roster spot.

Friday afternoon’s lineup will include all of these common spring scenarios. Many of the regulars, including David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano will be in the lineup as the club takes on Arizona at HoHoKam. But the scorecard will also include names like Brett Jackson, Logan Watkins and Edwin Maysonet.

Anyone who’s been following the Cubs over the last few years should be aware of Jackson. A former first round pick in 2009, the versatile outfielder has a lot of parts to his game that are major-league ready. But in seasons past, Jackson has had a difficult time making contact, striking out 59 times in 142 plate appearances after an August call-up in 2012. But Jackson entered camp with a more compact and simple swing that has paid dividends early this spring. Even though it’s well known he’ll start the year at Triple-A, an impressive first few months in Iowa could could earn the toolsy prospect a call-up to the North Side.

“I worked really hard this offseason,” Jackson said. “To make a muscle memory-type adjustment is a pain in the [butt]. To see results is good. I’m going to keep pounding on that to keep reinforcing that it is second nature.”

Watkins came into Mesa as the organization’s reigning minor league player of the year, after hitting .283/.383/.422 with 11 homers and 28 stolen bases at Double-A last season. The 20-year-old has the ability to play a range of positions—in fact, he’s played every defensive spot but catcher and first base over the last two seasons—but he’s probably best suited to second base, where he’s admitted he feels most comfortable. After the season, Watkins participated in the Arizona Fall League, stepping in for Javier Baez after the top prospect injured his thumb. Though Watkins competed in just nine games, he recorded seven hits and drew eight walks.

Maysonet was an October waiver pickup this past offseason. The 31-year-old has spent his 10-year career bouncing back and forth between the big leagues and the minors. Last season, he was mostly in Milwaukee’s system, where he hit .208 at Triple-A. But like Watkins, Maysonet has the ability to man an array of positions, including third base, where he’ll be playing Friday.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 CST, and the game will be webcast at cubs.com. The Diamondbacks will be sending Trevor Cahill to the hill. New D-Backs acquisition Tony Campana is not in the starting lineup. Here is the Cubs full batting order:

CF David DeJesus
SS Luis Valbuena
1B Anthony Rizzo
DH Alfonso Soriano
RF Nate Schierholtz
C Welington Castillo
LF Brett Jackson
2B Logan Watkins
3B Edwin Maysonet

Now Playing: Top prospects on the rise in Mesa

Every season at the outset of Spring Training, organizations invite their top prospects to big league camp. The benefits are twofold: the prospects gain valuable experience watching how major leaguers prepare for the season, and coaches and staff get an opportunity to watch future contributors firsthand.

Top prospect Javier Baez, minor league player of the year Logan Watkins, minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck, Brett Jackson, Cuban import Jorge Soler and many others have spent the first few weeks of camp with the Cubs’ major league club. This week, Vine Line talked to some of the talented young players who are trying to make a name for themselves in Mesa.

Here are the other videos from out Spring Training series:

Mesa Cubscast: Kicking Back with the Cubs, Part 2

Mesa Cubscast: The Cubs Core

Mesa Cubscast: Kicking Back with the Cubs, Part 1

Mesa Cubscast: The New Guys

Mesa Cubscast: The Coaching Staff

Top rookies learn to play the Cubs Way

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Infielder Logan Watkins participated in this week’s Cubs Rookie Development Program.

(Photo by Rodger Wood)

Since Theo Epstein was named Cubs President of Baseball Operations in November 2011, the organization has been stressing the Cubs Way. After getting a full season to view their minor league talent, upper management decided to give a select group of prospects a small crash course on what Cubs baseball is all about.

Starting last Friday, 12 prospects the organization feels are knocking on the major league door have been in Chicago for the club’s first annual Rookie Development Program. The prospects have spent their time going to seminars, practicing at Northwestern University and getting better acclimated to the ways of major league baseball.

“The whole thought behind it really is to get some players in the minor leagues … expose them to the market, get them in a smaller group and talk about what to expect when they get here, how to be professionals, how to handle the media, how to deal with the fans,” said Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod.

The minor leaguers, including notables Javier Baez, Matt Szczur and Trey McNutt, have received instruction from former pitcher Kerry Wood, Bears linebacker Nick Roach and current pitching coach Chris Bosio. Former Cub Mark Prior was scheduled to fly in and speak to the group Thursday, though he is unable to make this weekend’s Cubs Convention.

Today’s low-key practice saw the pitchers throw a little long toss before getting on a mound, while the position players took fielding practice and eventually got some rounds in the batting cages.

The organization’s player and pitcher of the year, Logan Watkins and Nick Struck, were both in attendance. Others joining them were Dallas Beeler, Jae-Hoon Ha, Marcus Hatley, Barret Loux, Zach Rosscup, Robert Whitenack and Tony Zych. All players at the program are scheduled to be at this weekend’s Cubs Convention.

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

Mesa’s fall league ends in a loss

Though the Arizona Fall League is mostly about improving on an individual basis and competing against some of baseball’s elite, young talent, it’s also nice to win a few games. Unfortunately for Cubs prospects on the Mesa Solar Sox’s roster, wins came few and far between during the AFL season.

Mesa dropped its season finale 8-3 to Phoenix Thursday afternoon, giving the Solar Sox a league-worst 10-20 record.

Matt Szczur went 0-for-4 in the leadoff spot, with an RBI groundout in the third inning. Logan Watkins finished 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Nick Struck pitched the fourth and fifth innings, surrendering only one hit, a solo home run, and striking out a batter.

Despite missing the last two weeks of the season, Javier Baez finished in a tie for third in home runs (4) and finished sixth in RBI (16). Szczur finished tied for fourth with nine stolen bases, just one less than base-stealing phenom Billy Hamilton (Reds). He also drew 14 walks, good for a tie for seventh in the league. And despite playing in just nine games, Watkins’ on-base percentage was .375, thanks in part to his eight walks.

On the rubber, Tony Zych fared the best of any Cubs pitcher. His 3.86 ERA in 14.0 innings would have been even lower had he not surrendered two earned runs in his final outing. While he struck out only four batters during the season, he walked only two.

Kevin Rhoderick was also solid in the hitter-friendly league. He posted a 4.82 ERA in 9.1 innings and managed to strike out 14 batters—sixth on the team—despite pitching fewer innings than all but two Mesa pitchers.

How the Solar Sox fared during the Arizona Fall League:

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