John Andreoli, OF
Age: 24 (6/9/1990)
How acquired:—Drafted in the 17th round in 2011, #519 overall, out of the University of Connecticut. Scouted by Matt Sherman.
Tennessee Smokies, Southern League, AA (61 G, .211/.329/.249, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 28 SB)
Prior to Cubs
Andreoli comes from a sports family. His dad played for the New England Patriots and his grandfather coached baseball and basketball at MIT and Holy Cross. A three-sport star at St. John High School in Shrewsbury, MA, Andreoli was a two-time all-state player and earned a baseball scholarship to the University of Connecticut. He hit .367 in 34 games his freshman year and spent the summer playing in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He earned the starting nod as a sophomore, batting .362 with 24 stolen bases. After spending the summer in the Cape Cod League, Andreoli hit .317 in 66 games, earned second-team all-Big East honors, was named to the Clemson Regional NCAA All-Tournament team, and drafted by the Cubs in the 17th round..
Andreoli didn’t see much action (10 games) after signing with the Cubs, making his debut on Aug. 8 in the Arizona Rookie League for Mesa and three days later was making his debut in the Midwest League for Peoria, playing eight games for the Chiefs (.111 3-27). He started 2012 in Daytona and excelled in his first full pro season, earning Florida State League mid-season all-star honors and was named to the Cubs Organizational All-Star team by MiLB. He hit .289/.402/.376 in 121 games and led the league in walks (75) and stolen bases (55). He patrolled all three outfield positions and had 13 assists, including 11 from left. Despite his success in the FSL in 2012, Andreoli returned to Daytona and picked up right where he left off, earning mid-season all-star honors after hitting .318/.394/.405 with 23 SB in 68 games. He was promoted to AA and continued to post quality at-bats in the Southern League and ended 2013 leading all Cub full-season minor leaguers with a .305 average. He also led the organization with 40 stolen bases. In 59 games with the Smokies, Andreoli hit .289/.358/.398 with 17 stolen bases in 19 attempts, helping lead Tennessee to the SL playoffs.
Andreoli was a leadoff machine at Tennessee as his on-base percentage was over .400 for most of the first two months when healthy, and he swiped 20 bags in 21 attempts over his first 38 games (.281/.415/.344). His performance earned him a trip to the Southern League All-Star game but he wasn’t able to play through the injury, going 8-for-81 over his last 23 games before the Cubs shut him down. He had surgery at the end of June and didn’t return to action. Andreoli got some of those at-bats back in the Puerto Rican Winter League, playing in 26 games for San Juan. He led the league with nine stolen bases and hit .216/.278/.330.
I’m not one to give up on players after an injury or a “not so great” season, especially if they have the work ethic and tools like the Massachusetts native. The ability to play all three outfield poisons, get on-base, and swipe bases at a high rate are all qualities that could push Andreoli to a major league roster. He has a solid approach at the plate, rarely chasing balls out of the zone and making solid contact with a short, compact swing. He’s not going to hit a bunch of homers but his ability to get on and take advantage of his speed, make up for the lack of power from an outfielder. Andreoli may start year back in Tennessee because of lack of roster spots in Iowa, but should be in Des Moines at some time in ‘15.