Last night, in the Spring Training Miscellany, I mentioned that the Cubs had a prospect cycle on the day. Three of the four hits came from some of the tip-top prospects in the system: Eloy Jimenez contributed the single, Ian Happ contributed the double, and Jeimer Candelario contributed the triple.
The homer, though, came from a guy about whom you might not know very much. Outfielder Charcer Burks played at High-A Myrtle Beach last year, garnering most of his praise for his glove, which won him a minor league Gold Glove award (there’s only one per position for the entire minors). But the 21-year-old 2013 9th rounder acquitted himself well with the bat, too, posting a .247/.356/.407 line, good for a 115 wRC+. Sure, you’d want to see a little more production from a corner outfielder at High-A to call him a top tier prospect, but you pair solid production with elite outfield defense? Well, it’s certainly something worth watching as Burks heads to AA this year.
In any case, as I said, Burks was the guy who popped the homer yesterday that gave the Cubs the win at Sloan:
For what it’s worth, Burks looks a little more muscular there than he did in my memory of him last year. He hadn’t been a big power guy in the past, but his ISO shot up to .160 last year. Still, with only 11 homers (compared to 28 doubles and 5 triples), it was fair to wonder whether he was a guy who was getting a lot of his “power” from his speed, and not necessarily from driving the ball with authority – which becomes a problem when players reach AA/AAA/MLB. This year could go a long way to answering that question.
Meanwhile, Burks also showed off his glove in the game on a nice diving grab in left field:
Good game, young man. That’s one of the next things about Spring Training – a prospect like Burks, who isn’t even in big league camp, can star.