The Cubs started the season with Darwin Barney at second and before it was over, Javier Baez had arrived. Baez will start 2015 as the opening day second baseman. With Baez, Starlin Castro and Addison Russell possessing the ability to handle second, along with Arismendy Alcantara and Logan Watkins, the Cubs have plenty of options going forward. They also have a nice crop of second basemen in the minors, spearheaded by Stephen Bruno and Gioskar Amaya, both all-stars in their respective leagues. The Cubs front office is also high on 2014 draft pick Chesny Young, who finished the season with Kane County. Here’s a look at the depth at second.
Cubs 40-man roster
Javier Baez went from a top shortstop prospect to the Cubs starting second baseman, and he’s expected to be starting at second on opening day in 2015. After a rough start in Iowa, Baez was hitting .260/.323/.510 with 23 HR in 104 games before getting the call to the majors. He homered in his first MLB game to give the Cubs an extra inning win but ended the year with a slash line of .169/.227/.324 with 9 HR and 95 K in 213 at-bats. The 21-year-old played 25 games at second and finished out the year at SS (30 games) after Castro got hurt....Arismendy Alcantara started the year at AAA at second and ended the season at Wrigley, playing CF and second. The 22-year-old hit .307/.353/.537 with 10 homers and 11 triples in 89 games at Iowa. He was named to the mid-season and post-season PCL all-star teams, and was promoted to Chicago in early July. In 70 games for Chicago, he hit .205/.254/.367 with 10 homers and 29 RBI.......Logan Watkins played every position except pitcher and catcher at Iowa, spending the most time at second (44 games). The 25-year-old had a slash line of .256/.327/.364 in 103 games with 38 RBI and 23 stolen bases. The 2008 draft pick played in 31 games in Chicago (.246/.269/.338) and hit his first MLB homer.
The Cubs promoted Andrew Ely from Mesa to play the final three weeks of the season after Baez and Watkins were promoted to Wrigley. Alcantara led the I-Cubs with 70 games at second and Watkins played in 44. Baez spent 16 games at second before his promotion.
Stephen Bruno was a Southern League All-Star in what amounted to his first full pro season, despite a trip to the DL. The 7th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Virginia hit .276/.346/.393 with 26 doubles and 42 RBI in 105 games. He spent 93 games at second, committing 11 errors for a .973 fielding percentage....Also playing second in Tennessee during season were Wes Darvill (16), Anthony Giansanti (13), and Jonathan Mota (12).
Gioskar Amaya was a mid-season and post-season Florida State League all-star at second in 2014 so it should come as no surprise that Amaya is spending his second fall instructs behind the plate. The ability to catch would improve his versatility and Cubs are developing players who can handle more than one position. The 21-year-old had a solid season in the FSL, batting .276/.379/.369 with four homers and 14 SB. Amaya should be in Tennessee next year....Wes Darvill played 15 games at second but will be written up as a third baseman.
Daniel Lockhart played 89 games for the MWL champs, batting .284/.348/.364 with 55 runs and 12 stolen bases. He was a solid defender at second and also played 11 games at short. The 21-year-old missed over a month of the season with a hand injury and hit .330 in August after returning.......Chesny Young was the Cubs 14th round pick in June and played in Mesa (2 games) and Boise (15 G, .354/.466/.417) before ending the year in Kane County. The 21-year-old played 17 games at second and six at third, hitting .324/.348/.419 in 105 at-bats.
After three years in Latin America, Bryant Flete made his stateside debut in 2014, joining Boise on July 24. The 21-year-old played 30 games at short and switched to second when Gleyber Torres was promoted. Flete hit .256/.351/.302 in 36 games and played in 19 games in Mesa (.315/.393/.352)......Jason Vosler, the Cubs 16th round pick out of Northeastern, found his way to Boise after the June draft and hit .266/.361/.372 in 30 games, 12 at 2B and 12 at SS.......David Bote ended the year in Iowa, played 58 games in Kane County, and spent 37 more in Boise as the third-year pro got familiar with airports and minor league cities. Between the three stops, he hit .235/.345/.343 with 4 HR and 40 RBI...... Alex Tomasovich played 10 games at second and hit .311/.372/.371 with 18 RBI and 18 R in 132 at-bats.
Even though he ended the year playing the final nine games at Iowa, Andrew Ely, the Cubs 32nd round pick in June out of the University of Washington, played 24 games at second, tops on the Mesa squad. The 21-year-old led the team with four homers and hit .326/.363/.535 in Mesa and batted .229/.317/.343 in AAA.......Ho-young Son, signed as a free agent out of Korea in the off-season, made his pro debut as the 20-year-old appeared in 25 games, 14 at second. Also playing seven games at SS, Son hit .254/.321/.310 with 12 stolen bases. Other players manning second and the number of games were Bryant Flete (11), Varonex Cuevas (6), Roney Alcala (4), Chesny Young (2), Emilio Bonifacio (1).
Franklin Tineo, 19, was the primary second baseman playing in 56 games, 32 at second. The 19-year-old, first-year pro hit .213/.317/.281 with six stolen bases and drew 23 walks in 187 plate appearances. SS Frandy Delarosa (16 G), 3B Miguel Ruiz (15) SS Carlos Jimenez (6) and IF Antonio Gonzalez (5) all saw action at second but it wasn’t their primary position.
Jesus Gonzalez (32 G), Henrry Pedra (29 G) and Danny Gutierrez (21 G) split the duties at second. In his second season, Gonzalez, 18, hit .224/.275/.259 while Pedra, 20, batted .254/.318/.297 and swiped nine base in his first pro season. Playing in his first season after some age issues, Gutierrez, 23, hit .285/.355/.350 in 138 PA with 12 RBI and 7 SB.
Cubs Organizational Depth