Wilson Contreras, Pin-Chieh Chen, Josh Conway

Northsiders Report continues its way through the Cubs minors with three more interesting prospects—catcher Willson Contreras, outfielder Pin-Chieh Chen and right-handed pitcher Josh Conway. There's also a brief look at 16 others minor leaguers.

Here's the rest of the "C"s including a look at 16 other Cubs prospects.

Willson Contreras, C
Age 21 (5/13/1992)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height 6-foot-1
Weight: 175

2013 Team: Kane County Cougars, Midwest League (A)

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated

How acquired—Signed as a free agent on Dec. 7, 2008

Cubs Career
After receiving a $850,000 bonus, Contreras began his pro career in the Dominican Summer League, playing third base in 2009 and hit .205/.305/.313 in 29 games. He only played in 17 games in the DSL in 2010 and came stateside in 2011, playing 60 games for Boise at third, first and some outfield with a slash line of .261/.305.347. Contreras made the switch behind the plate in 2012 and returned to Boise, catching 39 games. He also improved his offensive numbers in the Northwest League, hitting .273/.316/.357 with 46 RBI.

2013 Season
With limited experience behind the plate, Contreras was given the starting catching job at Kane County and it was a learning experience for the young Venezuelan. He was charged with 18 errors and allowed 19 passed balls in 72 games. Contreras did hold his own against base stealers, throwing out 30 percent, the league average. Playing in a full season for the first time in five years, Contreras had career-highs in almost every offensive category and showed some power with 11 homers as he hit .248/.320/.423 with 46 RBI and eight stolen bases. Despite the drop in batting average, Contreras showed a good approach at the plate, improving his walk and strikeout rates.

2014 Outlook
Without a true catching prospect in the system, Contreras still has time to step forward and develop into a big league catcher. He has the physical attributes to play the position but with only 111 pro games behind the plate, is still very raw. He has a decent baseball IQ and is very competitive, almost to a fault at times as he earned a three-game suspension for bumping an umpire.



Pin-Chieh Chen, OF
Age: 22 (7/23/1991)
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 170

2013 Teams: Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, (A); Tennessee Smokies, Southern League (AA); Daytona Cubs, Florida State League, (A+)

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated

How acquired—Signed as a free agent on June 23, 2009

Cubs Career
After attending fall instructs after signing for $300,000, Chen played 42 games for Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League (.292/.372/.327) and was promoted to Boise for the final six games of the season. At age 20, he spent the year at Boise and was named to Baseball American's short-season all-star team after hitting .301/.363/.424 with 20 stolen bases. He also didn't commit an error with 84 putouts and three assists.

Chen's first full season was a roller coaster ride as he started out slow, put together two good months, and struggled over his final 125 at-bats. He finished 2012 hitting .259/.345/.347 with 36 stolen base and 10 triples for Peoria. He did make three errors in 45 games in the outfield and added three assists.

2013 Season
Like many of the Cubs minor leaguers, Chen returned to where he finished 2013 as he broke camp and headed back to the Midwest League. In 44 games, Chen hit .242/.346/.298 with 25 walks before a roster opening due to injuries at the upper levels landed Chen in AA Tennessee. Appearing in seven games, Chen made two starts and actually looked like he belonged at the upper level, going 4-12 and handling all five chances in the field.

Instead of heading back to the MWL, Chen was promoted to Daytona, just in time for this second half title run. Chen showed his ability to take quality at-bats with a .403 OBP the final month and was moved to the leadoff spot for the D-Cubs during their FSL title run. He hit .281/.369/.351 in 51 games with 14 stolen bases. In 103 games in 2013, Chen had a OBP of .357 with 23 stolen bases and a K:BB ratio of 60:47.

2014 Outlook
Chen's likely to be back in Daytona to start 2014 and if he continues to show his ability to get on base, should earn a promotion to AA Tennessee. Chen's probably the most underrated defensive player in the system as all he does catch the ball when its hit near him. He's fearless going after balls, gets good jumps, takes direct routes, and uses his speed to take away extra base hits. However, his reckless defensive play takes a toll on his small frame.



Josh Conway, P
Age 22 (4/12/1991)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 195

2013 Team: None.

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated.

How acquired:—Drafted in the fourth round in 2012, #134 overall.

Prior to Cubs
A two-sport star for Smithsburg High School in Maryland, Conway was a 2nd team Rawlings All-American and earned several local Player of the Year honors during his high school baseball career. He went 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA as a senior, striking out 52 batters in 35 innings. The Atlanta Braves selected Conway in the 42nd round of the 2009 draft but he headed to Costal Carolina instead.

Conway was a two-way player his freshman year pitching in 19 games with five starts as well as serving as the team's DH with a .274 average. He excelled in his second season with the Chants appearing in middle relief, a stint as the closer, and finally a top starter. His breakout game came against College of Charleston, ranked #18 at the time, as the right-hander fanned a career-high 12 in 5.1 innings and earned Big South Pitcher of the Week for his performance. Conway ended his sophomore year at 8-2 with a 2.69 ERA (10th best in school history) pitching in 20 games with 12 starts and three saves. He threw 77 innings with 70 strikeouts and allowed 70 hits with 23 walks and a BAA of .241. That summer he earned Cape Cod League all-star team honors going 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in five starts as he fanned 28 with 10 walks in 28.2 innings. Conway was off a great start his junior season going 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA in nine starts. He logged 54.2 innings with 54 strikeouts and 1.17 WHIP. After coming out of a game against Liberty, it was determined that Conway had torn his UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery on May 15. Despite the injury, he was still named to the Big South second-team. He signed with the Cubs on June 16 for a reported $280,000.

Cubs Career
Still recovering from Tommy John surgery, Conway spent 2012 on the disabled list and stayed in Mesa rehabbing.

2013 Season
After a successful rehab, Conway had a great spring training and was working his way to a spot in Kane County's rotation making five starts at extended spring training. Conway's season ended May 4 during an EST game when he slipped on a wet mound while delivering a pitch and suffered a stress fracture to his pitching elbow. He missed the rest of the season.

2014 Outlook
Conway's not giving up as he makes his way back from another arm injury and sets his sights on finally making his pro debut in 2014. Before the injuries, his fastball was clocked in the mid-90s and threw a plus slider with a changeup.


Here's a look at the rest of the "C"s:

Yaniel Cabezas, C—Signed out of Cuba in 2010, Cabezas split 2013 between Kane County and Daytona. He was behind the plate for Matt Loosen's no hitter and also caught all seven innings of the combined no-hitter from Ben Wells, Kyler Burke and Zch Cates. He hit .260/.317/.313 in 43 games between the two stops.

Arnaldo Calero, OF—The 20-year-old has improved his numbers every year and hit.297/.347/.454 with five homers and 33 RBI for the outfielder in his third pro season in the VSL.

Daniel Canela, C—The Cubs signed the 21-year-old after he was named Rookie of the Year honors in the Independent Frontier League after hitting .360 with 12 HR in 67 games. He was a 2009 draft pick of Tigers but attended North Carolina State for three years.

Roberto Caro, OF—He hit .254/.378/.376 with 18 stolen bases in 60 games in the Dominican Summer League in his second pro season. The 20-year-old was signed as a free agent in 2011.

Marcelo Carreno, RHP—Missed the entire 2013 season after an Army injury landed the 22-year-old right-hander on the disabled list. Carreno has yet to pitch for the Cubs since being acquired as the player to be named later for Jeff Baker trade with the Tigers in August of 2012. He was named Venezuelan League Pitcher of the Year in 2008 after being signed by the Tigers in 2007.

Francisco Carrillo, RHP—The 23-year-old went 8-3 with a 2.09 ERA in 21 relief appearances as the Venezuelan native fanned 53 in 51.2 innings. He signed with the Cubs in June of 2012.

Erick Castillo, C—The 20-year-old spent the season in Mesa and hit .265/.280/.367 in 16 games in the Arizona Rookie League. The Venezuelan native spent 2012 in the DSL after signing in 2010.

Jesus Castillo, RHP—Acquired with Erick Leal in the Tony Campana trade last year, the 18-year old appeared in five games in the VSL, going 0-2 with a 4.26 in 19 innings.

Lendy Castillo, RHP—Acquired in the 2011 Rule 5 draft from Philadelphia, Castillo split 2013 between Kane County (2-5 6.58 ERA 64.1 IP, 78 H, 32 BB 55K) and Daytona (2-0 3.60 ERA, 20 IP, 21 H, 7 BB, 21 K). The 24-year-old Dominican pitched in 11 games in the Arizona Fall League.

Zach Cates, RHP—The right-hander made 20 starts in Daytona, going 9-9 with a 4.12 ERA in 109.1 innings. Cates was part of a combined 7-inning no-hitter on Aug. 21 and pitched the final month out of the bullpen, recording three saves. Cates we acquired in the Anthony Rizzo trade with San Diego.

Hunter Cervenka, LHP—Cervenka started the year in the bullpen at Daytona and after 11 games and five saves, was promoted to Tennessee. In 39 games in AA, Cervenka threw 38.1 innings with 33 K and a 5-1 record with a 3.05 ERA.

Casey Coleman, RHP—After getting MLB time the previous three season, the 26-year-old spent 2013 in AAA Iowa, appearing in 41 games with a 3.16 ERA and three saves. Coleman has been used as primarily a starter during his six-year career.

Gerardo Concepcion, LHP—Signed to a five-year, $6 million contract, the left-hander is no longer on the 40-man roster but is set to make $1.2 million each of the next three years. The Cuban appeared in two games in the Arizona Rookie League after going 2-6 with a 7.39 ERA in 12 starts for Peoria in 2012.

Rashad Crawford, OF—An 11th round pick in 2011 out of Mundy's Mill High School in Georgia, Carfare's career has gotten off to a slow start for the speedy outfielder. He stole 10 bases in 42 games at Mesa in 2013 but hit .210/.299/.275.

Varonex Cuevas, SS—Signed in May of 2011, Cuevas finished his third season in the Dominican Summer League, hitting .260/.374/.358 with 34 runs and 13 stolen bases. The 21-year-old had as many walks, 37, as he did strikeouts.

Charlie Cutler, C—Acquired by the Cubs in the Rule 5 minor league draft, the former Cardinals minor league catcher was selected by the Pirates in the 2011 Rule 5 draft and spent last two season in AA at Altoona.


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