Now that most of the prospects in the system have grinded out around 100 plate appearances, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the 10 Prospects that caught my eye earlier in the season and see how they are progressing. Stats through May 7.
Daniel Vogelbach- Continues to be a professional hitter although not at the clip of his torrid start where he hit, .484/.579/.613 which was never sustainable. However Vogelbach is still one of the best hitters in the Southern League. After 117 PA, he is 3rd in the SL in both AVG and OBP with .330 and .421 marks respectively. He is also 3rd in the league by Slugging .524 and 2nd in the league in OPS, which is at .946. Vogelbach is a very disciplined player which shows up by the fact that he has only struck out 23 times while also walking 17 times this season! It’s hard to believe Vogelbach is still only 22 and I’m guessing a promotion to Iowa is on the table pretty soon.
Gleyber Torres- The 18 year old caught my eye by hitting .278 with a .395 OBP after the first couple weeks of the season. However after 110 PA he has only gotten better. He is currently 8th in the MWL hitting .317. Torres is also 4th in the league in OBP with a .415 clip. He is 3.4 years younger than the average MWL player! Torres has also has 8 stolen bases on the season. He is showing his good approach at the plate by only striking out 23 times while walking 16 times. I have been impressed with his ability to drive the ball the other way with gap power. I’d suspect he stays in South Bend for the majority of the season because there is absolutely no need to rush him. However if he continues to hit like this it will be hard not to push him through the system.
Stephen Bruno- He isn’t hitting at the .385/.429/.462 clip he was after nine games but he is still putting up a pretty good season so far. Right now he is at a .262/.333/.357 clip through 94 PA as a 24-year-old in AA. Bruno has only struck out 19 times so far this season while drawing 7 walks. He has played exclusively 2B this season and his projection remains as a quality bench guy in the Majors.
Cael Brockmeyer- Has cooled down considerably since winning MWL player of the week honors. He is still sporting a .300/.411/.422 slash line with 8 doubles and 13 RBI. In 107 PA he has struck out 23 times while taking 16 walks. He is old for the league at 23 and will need to continue to show he can handle the bat to get promoted to Myrtle Beach.
Duane Underwood Jr.- Has been the best pitcher in the organization early on if you combine stuff and results. The stuff is a mid-90’s fastball with a plus curveball and a pretty good change-up that is improving. Underwood has been dominating hitters in the Carolina League as a 20 year old, which is 3 years younger than the average player in the league. In 28 innings of work Underwood is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA. He has 22 strikeouts to only 10 walks. He is also coming off his best game of the year in which he went: 7 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 4 K. Underwood is looking like a frontline starter this year and the work ethic and preparation are finally catching up with the ability.
Bijan Rademacher- Rademacher has been mired in a slump since his quick start with Tennessee. He is currently hitting 232/.339/.354. It seems he has ran into some bad luck at the plate, in 111 PA he has only struck out 22 times while taking 16 walks. His BABIP is a career low .282 right now, which would suggest we might be seeing a bump in his production. He is a left handed hitter with a good approach at the plate. He also has gap power although he only has 4 doubles on the season. He also has 2 HRs and 19 RBI.
Jeremy Null- I really didn’t know anything about Null when the season began but after two starts in which he pitched 11 innings, struck out 13, and didn’t issue a walk, I was intrigued. Since then I’ve been able to watch a couple of his starts on MiLB.tv and this is what I noted: for being 6’7 he is able to repeat his delivery well. This allows him to have good control of his pitches. His fastball sits around 91 but with his height it looks like 95 coming out of the hand to hitters. He can start the fastball at a lefty’s hip and run it into the strike zone. So, how have his numbers been since his first two starts? Well, he is 3-0 with a 0.59 ERA. In 30.2 innings he has 26 strikeouts and has only issued 1 walk!! I’m sure it won’t be long until we see the 21-year-old in a Myrtle Beach uniform.
Ivan Pineyro- After throwing only 60 innings in 2014, Pineyro was an interesting guy for me coming into the season. So far he has been very effective. In 34.2 IP he has 34 Ks and only 8 BBs. He was unlucky on Friday night when he was saddled with the loss after a 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 10 K effort.
Willson Contreras- Has been a nice surprise for me this year. Heck, I haven’t even been spelling his name correctly (2 LL’s). The 22-year-old is hitting .333/.408/.460 in 92 PA in his first month plus in AA. Singed by the Cubs as an infielder out of Venezuela, Contreras may be the Cubs most athletic catcher in the system and has made big advances with the bat, especially after a solid winter league performance for Aragua (.273/.324/.545, 26 G, 5 HR, 17 RBI).
Daniel Lockhart- Lockhart’s numbers have dropped significantly since he caught my eye with a .375/.407/.542 start to the season. Currently he is sitting at .208/.252/.271 slash line in 88 PA. He currently has a 14.8 K % with a 6.8 BB %. He has good baseball instincts and his .246 BABIP would suggest he is hitting into some bad luck. He was recently ranked the Cubs 30th best prospect by mlb.com.