Kevin Encarnacion, OF
Age 22, (11/23/1991)
Weight: 175 pounds
2013 Teams: Boise Hawks, Northwest League (SS); Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, (A)
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—# 38
How acquired—Signed as a free agent on May 29, 2010
Encarnacion spent three years in the Dominican Summer League before he got his chance to come to the states. He hit .233 in 63 games after signing in 2010, and then put up a slash line of .296/.396/.426 with 28 stolen bases, playing for both Cubs DSL teams. The switch-hitter turned in his second solid season in 2012, batting .308/.447/.465 with five homers and 31 RBI in 52 games.
Encarnacion made the most of his first season in the states. He not only led Boise with a .355 average but the 21-year-old Dominican led the entire Northwest League in hitting. The fourth-year pro hit .298/.400/.489 his first 13 games before earning a promotion to Kane County. The switch-hitter started 8-20 with the Cougars but went 4-50 over his next 11 games and was sent back to Boise. Encarnacion was one of the hottest hitters in the organization over the last month, batting .378/.444/.597 with six homers and 23 RBI. The center fielder swiped 10 bases and showed good plate discipline, hitting leadoff with 21 walks and 33 strikeouts. He was named to the media's post season all-star team and finished off the year participating in fall instructs.
Encarnacion will be looking to get some revenge on the Midwest League as he'll likely start the year at Kane County. If he wants to make it to the majors, the 22-year-old will need to take some big strides in 2014. He provides the Cubs a switch-hitter with great on-base ability at the top of the order, with good speed and base running skills. Encarnacion was a passenger in a car driven by Cubs prospect Frandy Delarosa on Jan. 6, and according to one report was in the hospital over a week later still receiving treatment. It is not known if he will be ready for spring training when the minor leaguers report in early March.
Greyfer Eregua, P
Age 20 (10/15/1993)
2013 Team: Venezuelan Cubs, Venezuelan Summer League, (SS)
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated
How acquired—Signed as free agent on May 24, 2012
A member of the Venezuelan team at the 2011 Under 18 World Championships, Eregua had solid debut season in the Dominican Summer League throwing 44 innings with 36 strikeouts and six walks. He went 3-2 in nine starts with a 3.48 ERA in 2012.
Eregua's control was even better this season in the Venezuelan Summer League as the right-hander only walked three in 43.1 innings with 42 strikeouts in 11 outings He sported a 1.45 ERA and allowed 34 hits with a BAA of .217.
The 20-year-old is only 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, so the odds are stacked against him becoming a starter in the majors. He could earn a trip to spring training and stick around for the year in the Arizona Rookie League.
Rest of the "E"s:
Luiz Escanio, RHP—Made his debut for the Cubs in 2013 as the 21-year-old recorded three saves for the DSL-Cubs in 18 games. He worked 26.2 innings and fanned 32 with 16 BB and a 2.36 ERA. The 6-foot-5, Dominican had a BAA of .186.
Jenner Emeterio, OF—Signed as a free agent in June of 2012, Emeterio, 20, swiped a team-high 37 bases and also finished the year with an OBP of .409 in 63 games in the DSL. The speedy outfielder hit .261 and knocked in 23 runs while scoring 41. Emeterio hit .283/.380/.396 in his debut season in the DSL in 2012.
Paolo Espino, RHP—Signed as a free agent during the off-season, the 27-year-old has spent the past seven seasons in the Indians minors, and parts of the past four years in AAA. Espino adds starting depth at AAA Iowa and has thrown at least 120 innings the past five seasons as a starter.
Carlos Escobar, C—A 15th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Nevada, Escobar spent the entire 2013 season at Kane County. The 23-year-old hit .237/.293/.387 in 49 games with four homers and 12 doubles.
Taiwan Easterling, OF—Easterling ended the season on the DL after spending the year with Daytona as a reserve outfielder. The 27th round pick in 2011 out of Florida State hit .216/.282/.332 in 64 games with 3 HR, 26 RBI, and 10 SB. Easterling hit .243/.316/.366 in 70 games in 2012 at Peoria.