The Eugene Emeralds are about to open up their season on Thursday, and that means we have a roster. We have a really, really fun roster. If you are #ProspectHipster and you have access to a MiLB.tv account, you will want to put “Watch the Emeralds” very near the top of your to do list. Why? Lots of reasons.
And the biggest is shortstop Aramis Ademan. Ademan is a left-handed hitter who might, depending on who you talk to, might be the best all-around shortstop in the farm system. He might, as ridiculous as it sounds, have a chance to be in the same category of quality as former Cub Gleyber Torres. As is usually the case, his DSL numbers from last season don’t tell us very much. We will just have to wait and see what Ademan, who was a big-time IFA signing when the Cubs blew out their class in 2015-16, can do for ourselves. The fact that he’s skipping the Arizona Rookie League entirely at age 18 sure says a lot. For more on Ademan, here’s a glowing pre-season write up at BA.
But wait, there’s more. Ademan is joined on the infield by slugging Joe Martarano, a product of the 2014 draft. Martarano spent a couple of seasons focused mostly on playing football for Boise State, and as a result he only has 82 career at bats despite being in the system since 2014. I think his Boise State days are over, though, and we may finally get to see what this guy can do when he is focused purely on baseball. His .315/.345/.426 line in limited at bats a year ago was promising.
In the outfield, Kwang-Min Kwon should get plenty of attention. This big left handed hitter will not turn 20 until December and looked good at times in limited work with Mesa a year ago. Like Ademan, we’ll just need to see what he can do when he gets a chance to play regularly.
And then we have the pitchers. I’m interested to get a look at 19 year olds Javier Assad and Alonso Garcia in particular. The Cubs have focused heavily on Mexico in recent years, and both these right handers come from that often underappreciated pool of baseball talent. Bailey Clark was one of the bigger names to be drafted by the Cubs in 2016, and he looked good in his two starts for Eugene last year. He returns, likely to the rotation.
The biggest unknown, though, might be the youngest player on the roster. Prepare to feel old, because Miguel Amaya was born in 1999. The Cubs signed this catcher out of Panama, and his DSL numbers last year were good not great (.245/.344/.317), but the glove is believed to be very advanced. The Cubs are high enough on him that they are having him skip Mesa altogether and go straight to Eugene to start his professional career, and Baseball America thought well enough of him to list him in the Prospect Handbook as the Cubs fourth best catching prospect. For context, Ian Rice wasn’t mentioned at all.
And, honestly, that is just the first few names that jump off the page at me. It should be a fun summer as we finally get our first sustained look at these guys in action. Plus, as draft picks are signed, many of the college position players will also head out to join Eugene.
- Casey Kelly: 5 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 5 BB, 3 K
- Jacob Hannemann: 1 for 3, 2 BB, SB
- Chesny Young: 2 for 5
- Mark Zagunis: 1 for 5, 3B
- Jeimer Candelario: 1 for 5, 2B
- Victor Caratini: 1 for 4, HR, BB
- Bijan Rademacher: 2 for 5, 2B
- Elliot Soto: 1 for 3, 2B, 2 BB
- Preston Morrison: 5 IP, 4 R, 9 H, 2 BB, 1 K
- Charcer Burks: 3 for 4, BB, and an outfield assist at home
- Carlos Penalver: 1 for 4, 2B
- David Bote: 1 for 3, 2 BB
- Jason Vosler: 1 for 2, 2B, 3 BB
- Yasiel Balaguert: 2 for 5
- Cael Brockmeyer: 2 for 5, 3B
- Trey Martin: 1 for 4, 2B
- Adbert Alzolay: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K
- Pedro Araujo: 2 IP, 1 BB, 4 K
- P.J. Higgins: 1 for 3, HR, BB
- Matt Rose: 1 for 3, 2B
- Manuel Rondon: 5 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 4 BB, 2 K
- Jared Cheek: 2 IP, 1 H, 4 K
- Chad Hockin: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Wyatt Short: 3 IP, 2 BB, 2 K
- Pedro Silverio: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K
- Zack Short: 2 for 5, HR, 2 BB, SB. That homer was a thirteenth inning walk off shot.
- Michael Cruz: 1 for 2, 2B, BB
- Luis Ayala: 1 for 5, 2B, BB
- Four Iowa relievers each pitched an inning of scoreless baseball in the Cubs’ win. Andury Acevedo gave up a hit; Dave Berg, Jack Leathersich, and Pierce Johnson didn’t even allow that much offense.
- The Smokies come home trailing Chattanooga by two games for first place. Waiting for them is Chattanooga. The math here is simple: the Smokies need two wins just to pull even with the Lookouts, effectively turning the first half of the season into a three game series. And then they would need to win two of those three final games. Basically, if the Smokies lose twice before the All-Star break, they will not finish in first place. If they go 4 and 1 over this five game series, they will. That series starts tonight.
- The Myrtle Beach Pelicans still have their four game lead over Buies Creek. Their magic number is down to two, and they may well be the hottest team in baseball right now. It isn’t over until it’s over, but the Pelicans are in really, really good shape.
- South Bend is now just a half a game behind Dayton for the second playoff slot in their division. Since they do not play Dayton again in the first half, all the Cubs can do is just win out and hope for a Dayton loss.
- In the meantime, you can watch the highlights of South Bend’s extra innings win, featuring a game ending homer.