Cubs Prospects—Loosen, Lockhart, Lopez

Matt Loosen threw the first of three Cubs minor league no-hitters in 2013 as the right-hander sandwiched his gem in Daytona between two stints at AA Tennessee. Danny Lockhart earned NWL all-star honors and C Rafael Lopez was a AA All-Star in the Southern League.

Matthew Loosen, P
Age 24 (4/10/1989)
Throws: Right
Bats: RIght
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 205

2013 Team: Tennessee Smokies, Southern League, (AA); Daytona Cubs, Florida State League, (A)

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated

How acquired:—Drafted in the 23rd round in 2010, # 700 overall

Prior to Cubs
A two-sport star at Chaminade High School in New Hyde Park, NY, Loosen was named Long Island Pitcher and Player of the Year after going 9-0 with a 0.61 ERA as a senior. He was a four-year starter earning his first all-league honors as a junior. He was a four-year starter at wide receiver and safety for the football team.

He attended Jacksonville University and earned A-Sun all-freshman team honors with a team-leading 3.52 ERA in 22 games, including two starts. He went 4-0 with two saves and has BAA of team-low .235. He made 10 starts as a sophomore and earned second-team all-A-Sun honors going 3-1 with a 4.88 ERA as a starter after beginning the year in the bullpen (21 IP, 27 K, 2 SV, 2.14 ERA). A unanimous selection to the preseason all-Sun team, Loosen made 14 starts his junior year and fanned 86 in 82.2 innings with 34 BB. He was 3-4 with a 5.88 ERA, allowing 12 homers. Loosen turned pro instead of retuning for his senior season with the Dolphins.

Cubs Career
After signing his pro contract, Loosen made his debut in the Arizona Rookie League on June 27, getting the win in 1.2 innings of relief. He appeared in three games for Mesa before a promotion in early July to Boise. Loosen spent his time between the bullpen and the rotation, pitching a season-high 4.2 innings in a start on July 26. He appeared in 11 games, tossing 37.2 innings with 32 strikeouts and a4.54 ERA.

Loosen made a quick rise through the system in 2011, starting the year in Peoria (2-1 1.74 ERA, 31 IP, 6 BB, 28K), was promoted to Daytona (2-3 4.42 ERA, 36.2 IP, 13 BB, 39 K) and finished the season at AA Tennessee (0-2 5.73 ERA, 11 IP, 8BB, 7K). With a new front office and development plan in place, Loosen spent 2012 at Daytona, and he responded by leading the league in wins and was second in the FSL in WHIP 1.14 and BAA. 205. He made 23 starts for the D-Cubs, tossing 112.2 innings with 110 K and 46 walks and was named to the Florida State League post-season all-star team.

2013 Season
The highlight of Loosen's season was a nine-inning no-hitter the right-hander fired for Daytona against Dunedin on July 8. He fanned nine and walked two in the 7-0 gem. Loosen began 2013 in AA Tennessee but struggled with a 7.32 ERA and 26 BB in 35.2 innings. He was sent back to Daytona, worked with pitching coach Storm Davis, and turned his game around. In nine starts with the D-Cubs, he went 5-2 with a 1.82 ERA and 17 BB in 54.1 innings. His success earned him a promotion back to Tennessee but had problems with his command, leading to a 7.08 ERA in five stars and 17 BB in 20.1 innings. Loosen ended the season on a high note with 11 straight shutout innings. Loosen was named Florida State League pitcher of the week twice and earned Cubs Pitcher of the Month honors for July. He concluded 2013 in the Arizona Fall League, appearing in eight games with the Mesa Solar Sox (13.2 IP, 3.29 ERA, 14 K, 1.54 WHIP).

2014 Outlook
Loosen throws a fastball in the low 90s and his arsenal includes a decent curve, change-up and slider. He's well aware his success depends on keeping the ball down and getting aheads in counts, something he mastered while pitching in Daytona. Loosen will likely return to AA but its not known if he'll work out of the bullpen or continue his role as a starter, He said during the Arizona Fall League he would be willing to embrace either opportunity and will be ready to go in spring training.




Daniel Lockhart, IF
Age 21 (11/4/1992)
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 165

2013 Team:Boise Hawks, Northwest League, (SS)

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated

How acquired—Drafted in the 10th round in 2011, # 309 overall

Prior to Cubs
Lockhart led Hebron Christian Academy in Dacula, Georgia to a state title his senior year after hitting .572 with seven homers and 21 stolen bases as a junior. He was a four-time Georgia All-Region 8A performer. He turned down a scholarship to Kennesaw State University to turn pro after the Cubs signed the shortstop to a reported $395,000 bonus.

Cubs Career
After signing his deal, Lockhart, the son of Cubs' scout Keith Lockhart, made his debut Aug. 20 going 2-5 against the Padres. He appeared in seven games in the Arizona Rookie League, hitting .219 (7-32). Lockhart spent his first full pro season in Arizona attending extended spring training and then playing in 45 games for Mesa. He hit .211/.302/.305 and smacked his first pro homer on Aug. 13 against the Reds.

2013 Season
After hitting .220 in his first two seasons of pro ball in Mesa, the 20-year-old had a breakout season batting .290/.346/.331 in 67 games for Boise. Lockhart found a home at second base with 47 games (.968) but also showed his versatility at third (13) and short (8). He was second in the NWL with 72 hits, including an eight-game hitting streak, and was named a NWL all-star. With AAA Iowa in Tacoma and in need to a middle infielder, he got the opportunity to play for the I-Cubs Aug. 4-5 going 4-9 with a stolen base in two starts at second.

2014 Outlook
Lockhart could be a fixture at second base in the Kane County lineup, looking to improve on his 2013 campaign. One of the 11 high schoolers selected in the first 15 rounds of the 2011 draft, only Javier Baez and Daniel Vogelbach have reached High A. Lockhart is a good athlete and is primarily a singles hitter from the left side of the plate. Lockhart also became more efficient swiping bases, going 6-7 over the final month after only one steal.




Rafael Lopez, C,
Age 26 (10/2/1987)
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Height: 5-foot-9
Weight: 190

2013 Team: Tennessee Smokies, Southern League, (AA)

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated

How acquired:—Drafted in the 16th round in 2011, # 489 overall

Prior to Cubs
A three-time, all-county selection at Summit Christian School in Wellington, FL, Lopez redshirted his freshman year at Boston College and then transferred to Indian River State College in Florida. Lopez hit .375 with seven homers and 43 RBI and swiped 18 bases to earn all-conference honors and the shortstop was selected to play in the Florida Junior College All-Star game.

A position switch was in store for Lopez when he walked on at Florida State as a second baseman, he moved to catcher, and made 47 starts behind the plate in the ACC. He threw out 42 percent of base runners and hit .287 in 54 games. He continued to improve behind the dish as a junior and was selected to the Johnny Bench Award watch list and named to the NCAA All-Regional Team in Norwich He started all three games of the Super Regional against Vanderbilt, hitting .300. Lopez was named an All-SEC second-team performer as a senior, hitting .325/.436/.514 with 7 HR and 37 RBI in 60 games for the Seminoles. FSU went to the Super Regional for the second straight year but fell to Texas A & M.

Cubs Career
Lopez shined in his first year after turning pro, hitting .316/.381/.449 in 54 games in the Northwest League. He also threw out 35 percent of base runners and hit .476 with RISP. Lopez made his pro debut in Mesa before being promoted to Boise.

In his first full season, Lopez spent six weeks on the DL after suffering a concussion but still had a solid season splitting time between Peoria and Daytona. He played in 31 games for Peoria to start the year, hitting .265/.350/.342 and had more walks (17) than strikeouts (13). After rehabbing and playing four games in Mesa (7-15, 4 RBI), he was sent to Daytona, appearing in 35 games (.269/.338/.403. 2HR, 12 RBI). He ended his season with three games for Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

2013 Season
A non-roster invitee to spring training, Lopez hit .143 (2-14) in nine games for Chicago, before being sent back to minor league camp to start the season in Tennessee. A mid-season all-star in the Southern League, Lopez was fifth on the Smokies in plate appearances with 367 and finished his AA season hitting .247/.350/.392 with eight homers and 43 RBI. Lopez was the workhorse behind the plate for Tennessee, catching 88 games while nabbing 27 percent of base runners. He was charged with nine passed balls, 11 errors, and finished with a .984 fielding percentage.

2014 Outlook
Lopez has put together a nice minor league career in his four seasons with the Cubs but with the signing of three free-agent catchers with major league experience, Lopez may not get promoted to AAA Iowa to start the season. If he does start the season in Tennessee, his experience will be valuable for the young starters headed to the Southern League. Lopez could reach AAA in 2014 and has a future as a backup catcher in the majors. He has been invited to spring training as a non-roster player for the second straight year.




Rest of the L's

Carlos Llano, RHP—The 21-year-old made his pro debut in 2013, making 19 appearances in the Dominican Summer League. He fanned 48 in 39.2 IP and went 6-1 with a 2.95 ERA.

Trey Lang, RHP—The Cubs sixth-round pick in 2012, Lang is still learning the craft of pitching as he was drafted out of Gateway Community College in Phoenix after really only one year of pitching experience. Lang needs to work on his command, 22 walks in 27.2 IP between stops at Mesa and Boise in 2013. He throws in the mid-90s and can miss some bats with 32 K.

Jeffrey Lorick, LHP—Joined Daytona in May and made 26 appearances out of the bullpen in his fifth pro season, the fourth with the Cubs after being drafted by the Braves in 2009. Lorick went 3-0 for the FSL champs, with a 3.32 ERA in 43.1 innings.


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