Trying to do an affiliate sneak peek of who’s going to be on the Cubs Arizona Complex League team is a little bit hard. You can try and predict a few guys based on who did well in the Dominican last year and probably have earned a trip stateside. But the hardest thing to figure out is development. For 18, 19, and 20-year-old kids, a lot can happen in an off-season physically and with their game. That adage also holds true for players who were in Mesa last year and did not exactly do as well as hoped. Basically, anybody that played in the Dominican and Arizona last year could possibly be on the team.
With those things in mind, let’s take a look at a few position guys who should be in Mesa this summer and some of them may break out in a big way either in Arizona or possibly Myrtle Beach in the second half.
The one prospect on everybody’s mind is going to be Adan Sanchez who the Cubs signed almost a year ago in international free agency. The young Panamanian catcher was outstanding last year in the Dominican as he hit for average and he was consistent about it. That’s really what impressed me most as he did not have a lot of days where he went 0-for-3 or 0-for-4. In fact, he got a hit in the 28 out of 45 games. It was easier just to go and count the games he didn’t get a hit than it was the games he did. Sanchez also drove in 28 runs engines 45 games.
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Another top sign from last year’s international free agent class was Jefferson Rojas. When he signed, he was a shortstop. He spent all of last summer playing second base where had an up-and-down season after a good start. In June, he cooled off in July before making some proper adjustments and tearing it up in August to hit .303 for the season.
One of Sanchez’s teammates this summer should be fellow catcher Carlos Altuve who hit .297 last summer in 25 games and he should be fun to see.
Shortstop Alexis Hernandez is going to be one of my favorite players to watch. Hernandez’s career began in the worst possible way with a slump that saw him go 0-for-19. He rebounded well to hit over .280 the rest of the season after that poor start. I’m excited to see him stick at shortstop.
Infielder Jose Escobar is another name to finish the year strong hitting .295. He led the entire Cubs Dominicans squads in RBI with 33 and he also cranked out four home, runs while playing mostly third base. He is going to be one to watch, especially when it comes to power.
Outfielder Oferman Hernandez will be in his third year in the Cubs organization and will still just be 18 when spring training arrives. He’s one of my favorite follows on Instagram as he is a nonstop workout machine and he is finally starting to put on some weight. Hopefully, that translates into something in Mesa this summer.
There will undoubtedly be some holdovers from last year’s squad in Arizona. One thing, the Cubs have been struggling with the past two years has been developing some prospects for the outfield from international free agents. The infield pipeline seems to be fine along with catching, but the Cubs are going to need some guys who can play in the grass and hopefully we will see a break out or two this summer in Mesa. One guy who could possibly do it would be Raino Coran who was in Arizona last summer. He’s a big kid who has not quite figured some things out yet.
When the pitching preview eventually comes around, that’s going to be both fun and crazy at the same time. Unfortunately, that preview is not going to happen until after spring training is complete and extended spring training begins. At that point, we will have a little better idea of who is going to be in Mesa this summer just based on the extended spring training roster.
I’d argue Freilyn Silverio was the best overall prospect on either DSL roster last summer. Was still 16 and up to 92 when signed, BA noted him in their season preview of the DSL last year, went on post a 30% K rate, 36+% Swstrk%, 20% K-BB% over 30 IP (131 BF). This time next September he’ll be one of the better regarded SP prospects in the org
OTOH I’m rooting for Silverio to join a very young MB rotation
My reading comp sucks. Also maybe I should sleep. Anyway…I submit another position player: Nazier Mule! High performing amateur, 17 on draft day, 101 max EVs…Might secretly be a power hitting 3B or COF or something
Hadn’t heard much on Adan Sanchez, that frame and swing looks like that of a guy with tremendous upside. Appreciate you doing the work on this.