Arodys Vizcaino, P
Age: 23 (11/13/1990)
2013 Team: None.
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking —# 12
How acquired —Traded from the Braves with Jaye Chapman for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson on July 30, 2012.
Prior to Cubs
Vizcaino made his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League after signing as a free agent with the Yankees, and was identified as one of the top pitching prospects in the league. In 2009 he made 10 starts for Staten Island, recording 52 punchouts in 42.1 IP and a 2.13 ERA but ended the season on the DL with a left back strain. Traded in the off-season to the Braves in a deal that included Javier Vasquez, Vizcaino made 14 starts for Rome in the South Atlantic League and earned mid-season all-star honors after going 9-4 with a 2.39 ERA in 71.2 innings. His season ended on June 30 when he went on the DL with a strained right elbow.
His best season as a pro was 2011 when he made the jump from High A Lynchburg to the majors, appearing in 17 games in relief for Atlanta. He made his MLB debut on Aug. 10 vs. Marlins and finished the year at 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA in 17.1 innings. In 17 starts between A and AA to begin the season, Vizcaino recorded 92 K in 90 IP, and then made six relief appearances in AAA before getting called up. Vizcaino entered the 2012 season as the second-best rated prospect in the Braves organization and ranked 40th overall by Baseball America. After one spring training appearance, he was shut down, had Tommy John surgery on March 20, and was traded to the Cubs in July.
He's spent his entire Cubs career on the disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Calcium deposits after the surgery delayed his return in 2013 and a scheduled trip to the Arizona Fall League was scrubbed as well. Vizcaino did appear in a Fall Instructional league game.
With his lack of innings the past two years,Vizcaino should start 2014 in Iowa until the front office feels he's ready for Wrigley. Unless he experiences a setback in his return, that may not take long. Vizcaino was throwing in the high 90s during off-season workouts and has continued that velocity in spring training. He made his Cubs debut this spring, tossing a scoreless frame. Health will be Vizcaino's main concern for 2014 and if he returns 100 percent, would be a great addition to the Cubs bullpen this season with an outside chance to join the rotation in 2015, however he's likely to stay in bullpen. Before the injury, Vizcaino's fastball, his best pitch, was low to mid-90s, topping out at 98. He also threw a decent breaking ball and a change-up.
Josh Vitters, 1B/OF
Age: 24 (8/27/1989)
2013 Teams : Iowa Cubs, Pacific Coast League, (AAA); Mesa Cubs, Arizona Rookie League, (Rehab).
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking —# 33
How acquired —Drafted in first round in 2007, # 3 overall
Prior to Cubs
Vitters had all the accolades coming out of Cypress High School in 2007 after being named Gatorade Player of the Year in California. He hit .390 with nine homers and 29 RBI as a senior in 24 games after batting .352 with 9 HR and 32 RBI as a junior. He was the top-ranked high school position player by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, with BA calling him the best pure high school hitter in the draft, and the 2nd best power hitter and strike-zone judgement.
Vitters only played 14 games after the draft, seven each between Mesa and Boise and spent most of 2008 at short-season Boise, hitting .328/.365/.498 with 5 HR and 37 RBI and was named a Northwest League post-season All-Star. He was ranked the Cubs top prospect going into the 2009 season and excelled at Peoria with a slash line of .316/.351/.535 with 15 HR and 46 RBI in 70 games. He was named a mid-season and post-season Midwest League All-Star, received player of the week honors, played in the Futures Game, and capped off the year in the Arizona Fall League, earning Rising Star and All-Prospect team honors. Vitters hit .291 in Daytona to start 2010 and was promoted to Tennessee. He struggled in AA batting .223/.292/.383 in 63 games with seven homers. He got back on track in 2011, spending the entire season back in Tennessee and punished AA pitching for 14 homers and a slash line of .283/.322/.448 in 129 games. Vitters excelled at AAA Iowa in 2012 with a career-high 17 homers and 68 RBI and earned an August call-up as a 22-year-old. With Cubs fans watching the much anticipated prospect, Vitters struggled with the North Siders, starting 5-72 with 23 strikeouts and ended the year with a slash line of .121/.193/.202.
Vitters couldn't stay on the field in 2013 as he was on the disabled list four times with a lower back strain, strain in his right rib cage, and twice with hamstring problems. Despite the injuries he was able to square up the ball when he did play, hitting .295/.380/.511 with five homers in 88 at-bats. He spent 18 games at third and saw time at first and left field.
The Cubs made it clear during the off-season that Vitters days at third base are over so the 24-year-old will look to continue his career in left field or at first base. A member of the Cubs' 40-man roster, Vitters will start the year at back at Iowa as he learns a new position. His best tool is his bat, and despite the number of plate appearances, looked good hitting the long ball at Iowa last season. He has a fluid swing and makes solid contact, showing the ability to drive the ball.
Rest of the V's
Dilson Vasquez, RHP—Th 6-foot-3, 200-pounder made his pro debut in the DSL, in 2013, tossing 28 innings in 14 games. The 22-year-old finished with 18 K, 5 BB, 1.46 WHIP, and a 3.21 ERA.
Antonio Valerio, C—The 22-year-old showed some life with the bat in his third pro season after hitting below .200 his first two years. In 56 games, the right-hander hit .258/.317/.328 with a homer and 23 RBI in the DSL.
Ramon Valera, RHP—Signed in Dec. of 2012, the 19-year-old made his pro debut in the Venezuelan Summer League and was roughed up. In 4.2 innings, he surrendered 11 hits and 11 walks, resulting in 22 earned runs. He also hit six hitters and threw eight wild pitches.
Mauro Vides, RHP—The 18-year-old made his pro debut in 2013 and like most young pitchers had command issues walking 19 in 29 innings in the VSL. He appeared in 15 games and made seven starts, finishing with a 5.90 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.
Roberto Vahlis, C—Signed as a free agent after a season in the Blue Jays organization, the 20-year-old played in 33 VSL games hitting .241/.320/.379 with 3 HR and 14 RBI.
Eufran Vargas, C—In his second season with the Cubs, the 19-year-old only got 50 plate appearances but did hit .366/.460/.537, missing over a month before a late-season return. The Venezuelan had five multiple-hit games in the 12 he played but only caught one game, spending most of his time in the lineup at DH.