Dallas Beeler, P
Age: 24 (6/12/1989)
2013 Team: Tennessee Smokies, Southern League (AA)
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking —# 31
How acquired: —Drafted in the 41st round in 2010, overall #1,240
Prior to Cubs
Beeler was an all-state pitcher and outfielder for Jenks High School, OK, going 4-1 with a 1.09 ERA and a .385 average with 4 HR and 17 stolen bases. He was also a wide receiver on the two-time state championship football team. After graduating in 2008, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 37th round but decided not to turn pro and attended Seminole State College.
He went 4-4 on the mound with a 2.35 ERA and hit .300 as the Trojans captured the regional and district championships, finishing 10th at the NJCAA World Series. He then headed to Oral Roberts University and appeared in 12 games, going 2-0 with a 5.18 ERA with 19 K in 24.1 innings. His college career came to an end after suffering an arm injury, requiring Tommy John surgery.
Beeler began his pro career on the disabled list and was expected to miss the entire season after Tommy John surgery but made his pro debut July 23 in the Arizona Rookie League for Mesa working a 1-2-3 frame with two strikeouts. He pitched 16.1 innings before getting promoted to Boise for one game. He finished his first pro season 0-3 with a 2.95 ERA with 18 K in 18.1 IP.
Beeler dominated the MWL sporting a 1.66 ERA in 11 starts with 36 K and 6 BB in 43.1 innings to start 2011. After a June promotion to AA Tennessee, Beeler made nine starts (1-5 4.53 ERA, 51.2 IP, 68 H, 7BB, 33K), went on the DL, and finished 2011 with three games back in Peoria. Beeler threw a career-high 136 innings in the Southern League in 2012 making 27 starts for the Smokies. He went 6-7 with a 4.24 ERA with a BAA of .305 and a 1.57 WHIP.
For the third straight season he called Tennessee home and was off to a solid start in his first nine games (4-2, 3.13 ERA, 54.2 IP, 43H, 17 B, 35 K) but missed the rest of 2013 after tearing a tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand in May. Beeler got some of those innings back and pitched his way onto the Cubs 40-man roster with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League. The right-hander made six starts in the AFL, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.49 ERA in 21.2 innings. He also started the championship game for Mesa, allowing one run on two hits in five innings. Beeler's fastball averaged around 92 mph in the AFL and he continued to develop his split-finger.
As a member of the 40-man roster, Beeler will be on the mound in spring training but will likely start the season at AAA Iowa. Beeler will be looking to build on his success in the AFL and should get over 100 innings in the rotation at Iowa. I like Beeler's make-up and while his stuff isn't going to blow anyone away, he has shown the ability get hitters out, work both sides of the zone, and keep the ball down. A September call-up is not out of the question, and if he succeeds at Iowa, could find his way to Wrigley sooner.
Yasiel Balaguert, OF
Age: 21 (1/2/1993)
2013 Team: Boise Hawks, Northwest League (SS-A); Mesa Cubs, Arizona Rookie League (R)
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—# 30
How acquired:—Signed as a free agent on Dec. 7, 2011
Prior to Cubs
Balaguert was a starter for the Cuban Junior National team that played in the World Junior Championship in Ontario in July of 2010, sharing the outfield with fellow Cub Jorge Soler. He played for Cuba in World Youth Championships in Taiwan in 2009. Balaguert defected from Cuba in 2010.
After his first pro spring training and a month of extended spring training, Balaguert made his pro debut for Peoria in the Midwest League. It was a tough two months, hitting .208/.232/.262 in 39 games with 49 strikeouts and only five walks. He was sent back to the Arizona Rookie League and finished the season with Mesa, playing in 32 games (.235/.289/.357). He also improved his strikeout and walk rates and played both corner outfield spots with 27 putouts and three assists
Balaguert continued his development in Mesa at spring training and broke camp with the Boise Hawks. The Cuban didn't disappoint, leading the NWL in RBI (48), earning mid-season and post-season all-star honors, and was named NWL player of the week (June 24-30). He finished the year hitting .261/.331/.433 with eight homers and 103 total bases, 4th in NWL. Balaguert settled in right field, making 59 starts with three assists and a .968 fielding average. Due to travel restrictions with Cubans, Balaguert was not able to travel to Canada with Boise for a series in July or the final two games of the NWL championship. Balaguert went 3-3 with two RBI in Boise's 3-0 win Game 1 win over Salem-Keizer in the NWL division playoffs.
Balaguert will be looking for revenge in the Midwest League as he's likely to start in right field for Kane County. One of the few prospects to show some power in the lower levels, it will be interesting to see how many homers Balaguert can put up in the MWL. He will also need to improve his defensive skills as he doesn't have the speed to make up for poor reads but did display an above average arm.