John Andreoli, OF
Age: 23 (6/9/1990)
2013 Team: Daytona Cubs, Florida State League (A+), Tennessee Smokies, Southern League (AA)
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—# 23
How acquired:—Drafted in the 17th round in 2011, #519 overall
Prior to Cubs
His grandfather was a baseball and basketball coach at MIT and Holy Cross, his dad played for the New England Patriots, so it should be no surprise the Massachusetts native chose a path of professional sports. A three-sport star at St. John High School in Shrewsbury, MA, Andreoli was a two-time all-state player and earned a baseball scholarship to the Univ. of Connecticut.
He hit .367 in 34 games his freshman year and spent the summer playing in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He earned the starting nod as a sophomore batting .362 with 24 stolen bases. Andreoli played in the Cape Cod league during the summer of 2010 hitting .271 in 30 gams with two teams. He started 66 games his junior season and was a second-team all-Big East selection and named to the Clemson Regional NCAA All-Tournament team. He ended the year batting .317 with 31 RBI and 22 stolen bases.
Didn't see much action (10 games) after signing with the Cubs, making his pro debut on Aug. 8 in the Arizona Rookie League for Mesa and three days later was in the Midwest League, playing eight games for the Peoria Chiefs (.111 3-27).
He started 2012 at HIgh A Daytona and excelled in his first full pro season earning Florida State League mid-season all-star honors and was named to the Cubs Organizational All-Star team by MiLB. He hit .289/.402/.376 in 121 games and led the league in walks (75) and stolen bases (55). He patrolled all three outfield positions and had 13 assists, including 11 from left field.
Despite his success in the FSL in 2012, Andreoli returned to Daytona and picked up right where he left off. Before a mid-season promotion to AA Tennessee, Andreoli earned mid-season all-star honors and hit .318/.394/.405 with 23 SB and 43 runs in 68 games. He played all three outfield positions and had four assists and three errors (.976).
Andreoli continued to post quality at-bats in the Southern League and ended 2013 leading all Cub full-season minor leaguers in average .305. He also led the organization with 40 stolen bases. In 59 games with the Smokies, Andreoli hit .289/.358/.398 with 17 stolen bases in 19 attempts, helping lead Tennessee to the SL playoffs.
He's likely back at Tennessee but should crack AAA by the end of the season. A quick, short compact swing that rarely chases pitches out of the zone, Andreoli may be the most overlooked prospects in the organization. You also can't overlook his ability to get on base (career .385 OBP) or his 95 stolen bases the past two seasons. He may never possess the power you would like from a corner outfielder but there's no reason to think he couldn't contribute as an extra outfielder at the big league level. The Cubs will need to make a decision on Andreoli as he is eligible for the 2014 Rule 5 Draft and will have be placed on the 40-man roster or the Cubs could risk losing him.
Roney Alcala, IF/OF/C
Age: 19 (2/15/1994)
2013 Teams: Venezuelan Cubs, Venezuelan Summer League (R); Dominican Cubs, Dominican Summer League (R)
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated
How acquired:—Signed as free agent on July 2, 2011
Made his professional debut in 2012, playing 59 games in the DSL at first, third and the outfield. He even pitched a scoreless inning. The Venezuelan hit .303/341/.442 and led the team in hits (70), doubles (13), homers (5), and RBI (43).
Alcala established himself as one of the better hitters in the Venezuelan Summer League, leading the VSL with a .353 average and added a league-high 21 doubles. In 63 games, the 19-year-old hit .353/.386/.544 with nine homers and 49 RBI. While Alcala can hit, he's still looking for a position as he played 39 games at third (7 errors, .947 fielding percentage), five at first and catcher, two at second, and six in the outfield. After the VSL season, Alcala was promoted to the Dominican Summer League, playing in the final 12 games (.191/.204/.191). He caught four games for the Dominican Cubs and nabbed four of eight base runners.
Alcala's bat could earn him a trip to Mesa for spring training and a position change to catching may be in the future for the corner infielder. With only five teams in the VSL, you can't put too much stock in his numbers but you also can't overlook leading the league in average and doubles.
Luis Acosta, SS/OF
Age: 18 (11/28/1994)
2013 Team: Dominican Cubs, Rookie League
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated
How acquired:—Signed as free agent July 2, 2011
The Cubs signed Acosta as one of their top international prospects in 2011 giving the 16-year-old Dominican a $1.1 million bonus. Acosta struggled in his first pro season, hitting .197/.293/.300 in 61 games in the Dominican Summer League. He did show some power with three homers and 10 doubles, and also swiped 10 bases. The 17-year-old did walked 25 times but had a strikeout rate of 38.4%. He played 52 games at short, committing 23 errors for a .889 fielding percentage.
Acosta came stateside in February for spring training and also participated in extended spring training before heading back for the DSL season. After missing the first month of the season, Acosta's struggles at the plate continued batting .122/.255/.187 in 28 games with his K rate increasing to 43.4%. He only played 14 games in the field, all in left, as he spent most of his time in the lineup at DH.
I would be surprised if Acosta made a trip stateside this spring and may need to prove himself in the DSL one more year. Also need to remember Acosta posses power and good speed, and at only 18, can still be a factor in the organization if he corrects his swing-and-miss problem.
Adbert Alzolay, P
Age 18 (3/1/1995)
2013 Team: Venezuelan Cubs, Rookie League
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated
How acquired:—Signed as a free agent on Nov. 28, 2012
His professional debut on May 15 was no reflection on what the rest of the season would bring as the right-hander walked three, gave up three hits and allowed two unearned run in two innings. Over his next 65.2 innings, he would only issue seven free passes and set 60 hitters down on strikes. The Venezuelan made 12 starts for the V-Cubs, finishing the year going 5-3 with a 1.07 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP, both tops in the league. He averaged 8.2 K/9 and only 1.3 BB/9. In close to 200 plate appearances, right-handers hit .177/.210/.258 with 6 BB and 54 K.
While you can't put a lot of stock in VSL stats, its still a good sign that the right-hander led the league in ERA and WHIP in his first pro season. With only one pro season under his belt, he's likely to get another year of seasoning in the DSL/VSL but could get a spring invite to Mesa and may make enough of an impression to stick around for the summer. Erik Leal and Carlos Rodriguez were two young arms that pitched last year in the Arizona Rookie league after only one season in the DSL.
Rest of the Cubs' A's
Gilberto Abreu, RHP—The 20-year-old completed his fourth season in the DSL going 2-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 28.1 innings with 20 K but 19 BB.
Delbis Arcila, 1B—The left-handed hitting first baseman recorded a slash line of .321/.394/.533 in his fourth pro season and the 20-year-old slugged a career-high 10 homers in 64 games in the VSL.
Daniel Adrian, RHP—The 23-year-old didn't pitch in 2013, spending the entire season on the disabled list. Made his debut in 2011 in the DSL and split 2012 between DSL and Mesa.
Justin Amlung, RHP—A 12th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Louisville, Amlung appeared in 32 games for Kane County, making one start. The right-hander tossed 72 innings, with 60 K, 29 BB, and a BAA of .258.
Jeffry Antigua, LHP—Signed as a free agent for the 2014 season, Antigua, 23, has spent the past seven seasons in the Cubs organization and served as the Cubs mercenary relief pitcher in 2013 appearing in games for Kane County, Daytona, Tennessee and Iowa.
Pedro Araujo, RHP—The 6-foot-3, 20-year-old put up good numbers in his third DSL season going 6-0 with a 1.05 ERA in eight games. He threw 25.2 innings with 31 strikeouts and three walks.
Jose Arias, RHP—The 22-year-old started the year at Kane County but after two starts went on the disabled list with inflammation of his right elbow. He got back on the mound in Mesa in July and returned to Kaen County for the final week of the season after a stop in Boise.
Luis Ayala, OF—The 18-year-old has yet to play a game in the Cubs organization as he was assigned to the Venezuelan League after signing in July.