Results tagged ‘ Robert Whitenack ’

Prospectus Preview: Close to the Bigs, Robert Whitenack

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(Photo by Rodger Wood)

Other Prospectus Previews:

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


Though much of the Cubs team is already set heading into Spring Training, a solid showing in Mesa might just give some players a chance to squeeze onto the Opening Day roster.

Robert Whitenack, who was was selected in the 2009 draft by the Cubs, will get his second consecutive invitation to major league training camp in 2013. With an already crowded rotation, it’s likely the 6-foot-5 right-hander will get some seasoning in Double-A Tennessee to start the year. However, Whitenack was one of 12 Cubs prospects in attendance for last month’s Rookie Development Program, a series of practices and seminars designed to help players who should be ready for the bigs in the near future.

Whitenack 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 are available by calling 800-618-8377. It’s an exhaustive rundown, perfect for Spring Training and beyond.

P | Robert Whitenack
Ht./Wt.: 6-5/185
B/T: R/R
Born: 11/20/88 in North Massapequa, N.Y.
Acquired: 2009 Draft (8)
Tools: Fastball, Curveball
2012 STATS (High-A): 5.96 ERA, 51.1 IP, 70 H, 27 BB, 31 K

Command and control are often the last things to come back after Tommy John surgery, and Whitenack’s feel just wasn’t there in 2012. His 2011 campaign—in which he had a 1.93 ERA and reached Double-A—won over many Cubs talent evaluators. The front office is hoping he steps up and surprises this year. Before the injury, Whitenack had a power sinker with a big hammer curve and a good change-up. He’s been added to the 40-man roster, so if he can regain his command, he could eat up innings at the back of the big league rotation.


Other players featured in this section: Infielders Junior Lake, Logan Watkins and Josh Vitters; outfielders Brett Jackson and Matt Szczur; and pitchers Alberto Cabrera, Trey McNutt, Brooks Raley, Nick Struck and Tony Zych.

Plus, tidbits on LHP Frank Del Valle, IF Justin Bour, OF Jae-Hoon Ha, LHP Austin Kirk, LHP Chris Rusin, RHP Marcus Hatley, RHP Dallas Beeler and RHP Matt Loosen.

Top rookies learn to play the Cubs Way

WATKINS L 2012

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

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