Name: Gioskar Amaya, 2B/C
Age: 22 (12/13/1992)
Weight: 175 pounds
How acquired:—Signed as an international free agent on July 9, 2009, out of Venezuelan. Scouted by Hector Ortega and Julio Figueroa.
Daytona Cubs, Florida State League, High A (112 G, .276/.379/.369, 4 HR, 35 RBI)
Amaya earned all-star honors his first three pro seasons after signing with the Cubs as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela. He was named to the Dominican All-Star game in his first pro season hitting .282/.375/.353 with 18 SB. In his first season in the U.S. in 2011, Amaya dominated the Arizona Rookie League with a slash line of .377/.417/.510, knocking in 36 runs in 52 games. He was named to the AZL post season all-star team and named a Cubs organizational all-star by MiLB. After another stint at extended spring training in 2012, Amaya was promoted to Boise and excelled at the plate with 12 triples (led NWL) and eight homers in 69 games. A Northwest League post-season All-Star, Amaya hit .298/.381/.496 with 15 SB and entered 2013 as the Cubs #18 prospect according to MLB.com. Amaya experienced some growing pains as the grind of his first full season produced a roller-coaster year for the 20-year-old. After hitting only .229 the first month of the season, Amaya finished the year at Kane County batting . 252/.329/.369 in 117 games and showed his ability to hit in the MWL, batting .326/.401/.496 with 17 R, 3 HR and 12 RB in a 33-game stretch from late June to early August. Amaya had a tough year in the field committing 22 errors for a .959 fielding percentage but did show good range and ability to make the great plays but sometimes lacked concentration to make the routine ones.
Amaya spent the entire season in Daytona, earned mid-season and post-season Florida State League all-star honors, and led all Daytona regulars with an OBP of .379. Amaya ended his fifth pro campaign with a slash of .276/.379/.369, 4 HR, and 14 stolen bases in 21 attempts. His 112 games was fourth on the team and he cut down on his errors at second, playing all 905 innings at second and finishing with fielding percentage of .. Including an 11-game hitting streak, Amaya hit .290 in June and July with an OBP over. 400 but struggled the final month, going 19-for-83 (.221). Amaya got hot in the playoffs, batting .385/.429/.538 with four doubles in six games.
For the second straight fall, Amaya put on the catcher’s equipment and this time it looks like the chest protector and shin guards are staying on. He reported to spring training with the catchers and when camp opened, still had on his catcher’s gear. If he does remain behind the plate, its hard to tell where he starts, but most likely at extended spring training to get him some game action. Amaya’s path to the big leagues may be more crowded at catcher than at second base with the recent addition of several prospects through the draft and trades. If he does move back to second, he’s likely to start the year at AA Tennessee and is Rule 5 eligible. Amaya isn’t alone in the switch to catcher as former third basemen Ben Carhart and Jordan Hankins are both now behind the plate.
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