Pedro Ramirez – Picture by Rich Biesterfeld
I know it’s a Thursday and not Sunday, but all three of the Cubs’ rookie league teams finished up their season on Tuesday. If you’re judging the teams based on their won-loss record, it’s not going to be a good season. But if you’re judging it by development, there were several performances this year that are worthy of note to make a Rookie League All-Star team for 2022.
Adan Sanchez – A 138 wRC+ along with a batting average of .328 and combined with a .451 OBP made him an incredible hitter in the DSL. You can use your fingers to count the times he went hitless this year. It was one of the most consistent years I have ever seen in a hitter, especially a 17-year-old.
Carlos Altuve – As a catcher, he only saw action every other day. But in his 30 games, he hit .297. Depending on his defense, the now 17-year-old could be heading to Mesa next summer.
Alexis Hernandez – He got off to a horrible start going 0-21. After that he was fine hitting above .300 with a wRC+ in the 130s.
Scarlyn Lebron – The 20 year-old righty had a 2.41 ERA all in relief for DSL Red. He struck out 39 in 33.2 IP and has no doubtedly earned a trip stateside in 2023.
Jefferson Rojas – He had a good June hitting .327. That was followed by an awful June where he barely crossed the Mendoza line at .208. Then in August, he played with his hair on fire hitting .400. For the year, that all averaged out to .303 season with a .391 OBP. Not too shabby!
Gabriel Agrazal – Agrazal threw in 12 games, 11 of which were starts. The 18-year-old’s 2.30 ERA was best among active starters in either the DSL or ACL. In total, he tossed 41 innings and struck out 47. He is our rookie league Starting Pitcher of the Year.
Eligio Paredes – Since July 1, he’s been the best pitcher in the rookie leagues. In July, he posted an ERA of 2.16 and followed that up in August with a 1.38. He just turned 20 and should be stateside in 2023.
Diego Dugarte – He was sort of an all-purpose guy this year as he started and relieved and never stuck to one. For the year, he put up a 2.92 ERA in 37 innings. He is 19 and this was his first year in the pros.
José Escobar – The unheralded 17-year-old SS just plain raked to the tune of a .295 average with an .856 OPS. He also hit 4 HRs and had a wRC+ of 125.
Lizardo Ruiz – He didn’t really see consistent playing time until the last month, but when he did he produced. In 25 games, he hit .306 with a .403 OBP and an OPS of .903.
Pedro Ramirez – The 18-year-old switch hitting infielder is the Rookie League Hitter of the Year with a wRC+ of 153 and a batting average of. 329 an OPS at. 940. In addition, he has plus speed and I hope to see him in Myrtle Beach fairly quickly.
Christian More – The 5-foot-10 lefty outfielder displayed some consistency as his average never seemed to waiver too much. He hit .300 on the year and it never got a lot higher than that and it never got a lot lower than that. He will be 21 for most of the 2023 season and he’s earned himself a ticket to Myrtle Beach next season, if not already.
Tomy Sanchez – The 19-year-old debuted stateside this year and had a 0.98 ERA. At only 5-foot-8, he packed a powerful punch striking out 19 in 18 innings. He is our Rookie League Reliever of the Year.
Elian Almanzar – Drafted in 2019 after his freshman year in junior college, Almanzar really came on strong this year with a 2.12 ERA. In June, that ERA was almost 5 and then it slipped under two in July, and then in August he put up a 0.000 ERA. He might make it to Myrtle Beach at any time.
Moises Ballesteros – He led all rookie league hitters in the Cubs’ system in home runs with 7 before he was shipped off to Myrtle Beach a couple weeks ago. He showed a smooth swing and an excellent approach for barreling up baseballs as well as an improved defensive approach. Had he stayed, I wonder if he could’ve hit somewhere close to 12 or 15 home runs.
Frank Hernandez – The young outfielder got a taste of Myrtle Beach early this summer filling in and that seemed to pay big dividends for him once the Arizona League opened. He hit over .300 and should be a permanent resident of Myrtle Beach in the spring
Kevin Valdez – The 20-year-old right hander signed last fall as an international free agent. At 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, he is what we call a late bloomer. He dominated the DSL so much that he earned a midseason promotion to Arizona. He had a 1.63 ERA in 8 starts in the Dominican and then after a rough first couple of outings, he settled down for an ERA of 3.12. We’ll see how he does and instructs and spring training. He might be good enough to end up at Myrtle Beach next year. We’ll see.
Oliver Roque – The young reliever had an up and down season in Mesa. He was almost unhittable in June and then he was very horrible in July. In total, two months had an ERA that was just above one and then another month where it was almost 6. It’s good that he bounced back as he is a pretty good size kid at 6-foot-3 and will be 21 when next season starts.
When the season resumes next June, I will be doing the Sunday recaps again. I had a lot of fun learning about the prospects every week!