A minor transaction today, as the Cubs added one more non-roster player to their big league Spring Training. Outfielder Charcer Burks, 23 next month, has been added as a non-roster invitee after hitting .270/.370/.395 (125 wRC+) in the AA Southern League last year, and participating in the Arizona Fall League.
Burks was eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this past December, but the Cubs elected not to protect him on the 40-man roster. He was not ultimately selected. Burks had a nice Spring Training last year, showing off a little pop and his excellent outfield defense, so it’s unsurprising he was ultimately added as a non-roster invitee. The timing is not *that* unusual, since you do sometimes see these internal changes of mind before the official reporting date comes around, but hopefully we don’t find out in a few days that Burks was added because of an injury elsewhere.
Burks figures to play at AAA this year, and projects to have a potential future in the big leagues as a reserve outfielder down the road, given his plate discipline, base running ability, and defensive prowess. All the best to get him working with the big leaguers and the big league coaches.
Burks ranked as the Cubs’ 13th best prospect at the mid-season re-rank in the BN Top 40 last year. With some additions to the system and some guys taking steps forward, it’s possible he’ll slip a bit from there in the next ranking, but he’s a legitimate prospect, albeit with modest upside.
Other Cubs non-roster invitees in the outfield are Peter Bourjos, Jacob Hannemann, and Bijan Rademacher, and the rostered outfielders are Albert Almora Jr., Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Mark Zagunis.