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jason mcleod cubsThe Chicago Cubs continue the process of turning over their minor league system, opening up spots for the sea of pitchers they took in the 2012 Draft by releasing a handful of pitchers who might not otherwise have had spots, according to Baseball America.

The two most prominent pitchers released by the Cubs were young righties Austin Urban and Arturo Maltos-Garcia. If those names ring a bell, they probably should: Maltos-Garcia was the Cubs’ 30th round pick in the 2011 Draft, and Urban was the 41st round selection. Each received an overslot bonus (recall, 2011 was the Oprah Draft – “you get an overslot bonus, and YOU get an overslot bonus, and YOU GET AN OVERSLOT BONUS”), and each was a talented pitcher who’d slipped in the draft due to injury concerns. The Cubs even went so far as to pay for Maltos-Garcia’s Tommy John surgery and rehab (plus a nice bonus) as an incentive to get him to sign.

The point of signing so many talented arms in the draft, though, is that some will work out, and others will not. The more you accumulate, the better chance you have of actually getting a couple of them to the Majors some day down the road. Maltos-Garcia threw a handful of innings at Boise late last year, and Urban did not pitch at all for the Cubs in 2012.

I confirmed with Urban that he had, in fact, been released, as opposed to the “release” being some kind of procedural maneuver. Urban, who’d recently started throwing healthily in minor league camp, told me the release was a surprise, and that he expected to sign on with another organization.

Also released were pitchers Hung Wen-Chen, Tony York, and Kyle Shepard. Chen was a long-time Cubs farmhand, but didn’t pitch for the organization in 2012.  Shepard, a lefty, was an undrafted free agent whom the Cubs signed back in June. York, a right-handed reliever, was also an undrafted free agent signed last year.

  • college_of_coaches

    We can only wish the best for these young athletes as they try to build their careers with other organizations. Whenever I read of these sorts of cuts, I’m always reminded of an episode of the old show WKRP in Cincinnati that had Sparky Anderson as a guest-star. During the end of the episode (which was, of course, scripted and fictitious), Anderson revealed that one of the difficulties of his job was telling young guys that they were cut and their careers were over. I know it sounds corny, but it was the only moment of the episode in which Anderson’s performance as an actor seemed genuine.

  • King Jeff

    I was a little surprised not to see more turnover among these types of players last year. It does make sense that the FO would want more time to evaluate who they have and get suitable (hopefully) upgrades for them.
    I’m a little bit bummed about Urban, another strike for that draft class. (they are starting to pile up)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      They are? I don’t see it unless you’re already giving up on Gretzky, Dunston, Martin, and a few others. Seems a bit premature to me.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Keep in mind on the strikes from a given draft – if you sign 20 guys with high hopes, you’re going to have a huge number of disappointments.

    • scotti

      Any draft that includes a Baez and a Vogelbach can take all the strikes you can throw at it. Especially given that there wasn’t universal respect for either cat for where they were drafted–there was risk involved and that risk is panning out.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    The only one on this list surprises me much at all is Urban, and even in the case of Urban the potential upside came with a very high level of risk.

    I think Urban and Maltos-Garcia have a good chance to catch on elsewhere, but odds are good neither makes the majors.

    No doubt this will spawn another wave of Ben K controversy, but it really looks like fairly normal procedural non-move. There are only so many roster spots, after all, and the Cubs are deep in non-elite level right handed pitching.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    Which makes me think they’ll sign Manea in this year’s draft.

  • Marc N

    Urban seemed interesting when healthy, almost like a HS/lite version of the good version of Hayden SImpson scouting reports. Something went wrong, that sucks.

  • mak

    AZ Phil, as recently as last week, stated that Urban was looking good. A bit surprising to give up on him now, but you have to consider that the AZ rookie league team, Boise and Daytona were going to be full with the young pitching we’ve taken in the last 2 years.

  • fromthemitten

    I look forward to seeing them pitching to Jose Canseco in the independent leagues

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