Nothing too thrilling in the Cubs’ roster moves tonight, but they’re all good by me. A few more Cubs prospects are now protected from next month’s Rule 5 Draft.
As expected, top five pitching prospects Adbert Alzolay and Oscar De La Cruz got the add to the 40-man roster. And also as expected, the Cubs added at least one more prospect – in this case, it’s utility man David Bote.
Alzolay, 22, broke out this year between High-A and AA, and although he doesn’t project to reach the big leagues in 2018, it’s not outside the range of possibility if a need develops, and his big steps forward in 2017 hold up. He might start the year back at AA, with a quick move up to AAA when ready.
De La Cruz, 22, is one of the few pitching prospects in the system with a true front-of-the-rotation profile … if he actually stays healthy and develops into the pitcher he could be. But he’s managed just over 250 innings so far in his entire minor league career, missing parts of seasons with a myriad of injuries, mostly arm-related. He was scratched from this year’s Arizona Fall League with an unspecified issue. It hasn’t been pretty, which is a shame, because if you see the guy pitch once healthy, you can dream on that size, that fastball, that command, and that movement.
Bote, 24, really broke out with the power in his bat the last two years, and crushed it in the Arizona Fall League. He can play a variety of positions, and if the power is for real, he’s got a pretty clear big league future at least as a bench guy. That would have made him very attractive in the Rule 5 Draft, so I’m glad the Cubs opted to protect him today.
Among the notable prospects who are now eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft:
- RHP Pedro Araujo
- OF Charcer Burks
- RHP Trevor Clifton
- RHP Justin Hancock
- RHP Zach Hedges
- RHP Brad Markey
- RHP Erling Moreno
- INF Carlos Penalver
- OF Bijan Rademacher
- RHP Jake Stinnett
- 3B Jason Vosler
- RHP Ryan Williams
- UTL Chesny Young
On the balance, the Cubs have decided there are some fringe guys they could afford to lose OR they don’t think there’s a real risk of selection. You worry a bit about losing the upside of Clifton and/or Stinnett, but it’s not clear they could hang in a big league bullpen right now for a full season. Hopefully – for the Cubs – they aren’t selected.
In addition, the Cubs announced that outfielder Jacob Hannemann cleared waivers and has been outrighted to AAA Iowa. As long as he isn’t taken in the Rule 5 Draft, the Cubs will have him on a minor league deal for next season.
The Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 36 after the moves.