Hooray! A new minor league roster is out!
Today, the Boise Hawks – the Chicago Cubs’ Low-A short season affiliate – released its opening day roster, subject, of course, to some changes in the coming weeks as newly-drafted players sign. The Northwest League kicks off on Friday, and there will be tons of prospects in action (you can check out the full roster, with additional info, here at Hawks on the Radio):
Zak Blair (2B)
Danny Canela (1B)
Varonex Cuevas (SS)
Jesse Hodges (3B)
Guiseppe Papaccio (SS)
Tim Saunders (2B)
Among the names that should be jumping out at you (besides the badassedly-named Varonex Cuevas): Josh Conway and Ryan McNeil! Yes, finally, the high-upside pitchers taken in the 3rd and 4th Rounds for the Cubs in the 2012 draft will make their way to Boise. Each is coming back from elbow surgery, and each was flashing a ton of promise before going down. For Conway, you’ll recall, it was his second successive elbow surgery, so the process might be a touch slower for him. McNeil, as I recall, was really wowing folks in rookie ball just after the draft in 2012.
A few pitchers from the 2013 draft will also be heading to Boise, including over slot signing Trevor Clifton, who has crazy good stuff. We’ll see if he can actually harness it. Trey Masek and Scott Frazier were well-regarded college pitchers taken in the early rounds.
There’s also Erick Leal, who tore up rookie ball after coming to the Cubs in the Tony Campana trade. We’ll see if it was stuff, or mere polish.
In the outfield, prospect hounds will recognize Jeffrey Baez’s name. Although it seems like he’s been around forever, Baez is just 20, and only barely played at Boise last year. He’s been working his way up since signing as a teenager back in 2010, and, when you look at his numbers, you can see the promise underlying them.
Behind the plate, how about Mark Malave? A big-time bonus baby in 2011, Malave is just 19, but he handled himself well in rookie ball last year, and now he gets to play at Boise. The glove is expected to be behind the bat right now, but I dig that he’s being challenged. Of course, he might end up being bumped back down to Arizona for a time if and when both Kyle Schwarber and Mark Zagunis show up at Boise.