According to the Cubs front office, Starlin Castro will start 2015 at short, Javier Baez will man second and Addison Russell will begin the year in AAA. While those three names headline the debate moving forward, here’s a look at the rest of the Cubs shortstops in the organization.
Cubs 40-man roster
Starlin Castro bounced back in 2014, was named a NL All-Star, improved his defense and seems to be past the problems that plagued him at the plate last year. Missing the final month with an ankle injury, Castro hit .292/.330/.573 with 14 HR and 65 RBI. He had a career-high .973 fielding percentage with a 38-game stretch in late June and July when he handled nearly 150 chances without an error.....Javier Baez played more games at short (30) than second (25) in Chicago, taking over for Castro in the final month and had a better fielding percentage at short (.964) than second (.957)......Chris Valaika played every infield position including two starts at short.
Baez (85), Logan Watkins (16), Chris Valaika (15) and Arismendy Alcantara (6) all started for Iowa but the only shortstop on the roster is Elliot Soto. Suspended for the first 50 games due to a drug suspension, Soto played 40 games in Tennessee (.246/.348/.306) and joined Iowa on Aug. 1 after Baez left. In 29 games in AAA, he batted .241/.286/.306, reaching AAA in his fifth pro season. Soto’s best tool is his glove with a .992 fielding percentage in 125 chances in Iowa.
Addison Russell’s season only lasted two games before a hamstring injury landed him on the DL, and didn’t return until early June. After short rehab stint, he was sent back to AA and saw action in 11 games before traded to the Cubs. The 20-year-old played 50 games for the Smokies, hitting .294/.332/.536 with 12 homers, including a pair of grand slams. A top notched defender, the 11th overall pick in 2012 committed two errors in 210 chances. Russell is playing in the Arizona Fall League for the second straight year and will see action at second and third during spring training.......Elliot Soto played 36 games before Russell’s arrival and Wes Darvill saw action in 17 games over the first two months before heading to Daytona.
Marco Hernandez was at short for 122 games and finished the year with a .949 fielding percentage, committing 29 errors, a 10 percent improvement over last year in Kane County. He also had his best season stateside, hitting .270/.315/.352 with 55 RBI and 22 stolen bases......Wes Darvill played six games at short.
Nobody in the Cubs minors logged more innings at shortstop than Carlos Penalver, who ended his first full season with a .964 FLD%. Penalver had a highlight reel of plays showcasing his talents but hit .211/.263/.270 in 526 plate appearances. The 20-year-old swiped 22 bases and hit in some tough luck with a .262 BABIP......Daniel Lockhart played 17 games at SS and David Bote saw action in two games while he was in town.
If you’re looking for the next wave of top prospects you may want to start with Gleyber Torres, who signed as a 16-year-old free agent last July and ended his first pro season in Boise for the final seven games and the playoffs. Torres hit .393/.469/.786 with a homer in 32 plate appearances for the Hawks. After starting year at extended spring training, Torres batted .279/.386/.440 in 43 games with Mesa before the late August call-up......Bryant Flete was at short for 30 games but moved to second when Torres showed up, a possible preview for South Bend. Jason Vosler (12 games), Varonex Cuevas (6), Chesny Young (2), David Bote (1) and Alex Tomasovich (1) all saw action at short.
A look at short in Mesa usually found Gleyber Torres (43 games) manning the position while Ho-Young Son saw seven games at short. Varonex Cuevas, 22, played 12 games at short between Mesa and Boise and hit .262/.323/.402 in 133 plate appearances in his first season stateside.
A DSL all-star, Carlos Jimenez hit .301/.376/.435 with three homers, 33 RBI, 41 runs and 21 stolen bases in his first pro season. The 21-year-old played 44 games at SS (.922 FLD%) and also saw time at second and third.......The Cubs gave Frandy Delarosa a $700,000 bonus in 2012 and after struggling last year, had a breakout season hitting .281/.336/.402 with 19 doubles and led the team with 50 RBI. The 18-year-old spent a majority of his time at DH but played 15 games at short and 16 at second.
In his first season, 17-year-old Andruw Monasterio opened up some eyes as the 6-foot switch hitter batted.292/.368/.343 with 14 SB and a 15:19 BB/K ratio. He played 35 games at short with a .935 FLD% in 168 chances..........Humberto Garcia, played all over the diamond with 22 games at short, four at second, one at third and 29 in the outfield. The 20-year-old hit .275/.350/.388 in 160 at-bats with 20 stolen bases.
Cubs Organizational Depth