It’s time to check in with a few Chicago Cubs prospects who have had notable performances of late – both on the good side, and the bad side. [As is frequently the case with swell prospect pieces, Sean Caray from SOI co-wrote this post.]
Brett Jackson (23, AAA) – The Cubs’ top positional prospect, Jackson did have something of a lull before being promoted to AAA Iowa, but he’s turned it on now in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. In his last 10 games, Jackson has a 1.152 OPS. Of his 17 hits in Iowa, 9 of them have gone for extra bases. He even stroked a homer on his 23rd birthday earlier this week (which he also did on his 22nd birthday – make sure that kid is in Chicago come August 2, 2012).
Zeke DeVoss (21, Low A) – 2011 third round pick Zeke DeVoss has come out swinging (not to mention running) in his pro career. He’s managed a decent .813 OPS, and an eye popping 10 stolen bases in only 60 plate appearances. He’s seemingly having some difficulty finding a place in the field though – he’s got 6 errors already, playing mostly at second base.
Dong-Yub Kim (21, AZL) – Kim is one of a slew of Korean prospects with which the Cubs have infused their farm system (you will start to see the fruits of this infusion more and more over the next few years). The outfielder was at extended spring training to start the year, and then headed to the Arizona Summer League (“Rookie Ball”), where he stumbled out of the gate. He’s recovered to the tune of a .913 OPS in his last ten games, though. So that’s cool. Reports tell of a statuesque defensive presence.
Wilengton Cruz (20, Low A) – The Dominican fireballer was brought up from the Dominican Summer League straight to short-season A ball to see what he could do against Stateside competition, and he’s shown no signs of slowing down. He currently sports a 2.57 ERA to go along with 43 strikeouts in 42 innings pitched.
Chris Carpenter (25, AAA) – Unfortunately, after a somewhat successful cup of coffee at the big league level, Carpenter has struggled since being sent back to the minors. In 7 appearances since being demoted, he has given up 6 earned runs has walked almost as many batters as he’s struck out. Some first-hand reports suggest he’s been working almost exclusively on his off-speed stuff, which could explain the ineffectiveness. He’s likely to be back up with the Cubs in September, but the clock is ticking: Carpenter turns 26 in December.
DJ LeMahieu (23, AAA) – LeMahieu had a miserable July, where he produced a meager .695 OPS. The infielder has yet to reach base in August. Who would have thought that sitting on the bench in Chicago instead of continuing a hot streak in AA wouldn’t have turned him into a superstar?
Junior Lake (21, AA) – Lake enjoyed an .834 OPS while playing at High A Daytona, but, since being promoted to AA Tennessee earlier this year, he’s at just .568. The kid has miles of talent, and, as a 21-year-old shortstop in AA who’s already had offensive success at the lower levels, there’s reason to believe he can pull out of the slump.
Hayden Simpson (22, AZL) – This should almost be a new category: kicking a dead horse. Simpson – the Cubs’ first round pick in 2010, who didn’t pitch last year after suffering a particularly acute case of mono – was demoted to the Arizona Summer League in July and has been roughed up for 11 earned runs in 11.2 innings pitched. Reports are that he’s still throwing his fastball in the low to mid 80s. It may be best to look away when you see Simpson’s name in the near future. I guarantee Jim Hendry and Tim Wilken are.
On the Move:
Jin-Young Kim (19, AZL) – Bonus baby Kim was demoted from short season A ball to the Arizona Summer League. Kim has actually produced worse numbers than Simpson, although he’s only 19. As the link indicates, the Cubs invested a good deal of money in the young pitcher, so he’ll hopefully figure things out.
Oliver Zapata (18, Low A) – In a corresponding (and more joyful) move, outfielder Oliver Zapata was promoted from Arizona to Low A Boise. He’s been on a tear, with an .884 OPS while in Arizona. And, again, the kid is just 18 years old.