One of the strengths of the Cubs farm system is their depth in the outfield. Albert Almora and Billy McKinney head the prospect lists but the Cubs have several minor leaguers at the lower levels that may soon by roaming the outfield in a major league ballpark.
Already one of my favorite players in the system, Eloy Jimenez (2013-Dominican Republic) does mean things to baseballs. Slowed by a shoulder injury last year, he hit .284/.328/.418 with seven homers in 57 games in Eugene and was named a mid-season all-star. The 19-year-old will start the year in South Bend, and if he can stay healthy, likely end the year in Myrtle Beach.
The Cubs used a second-round pick and over $1 million to sign Donnie Dewees out of North Florida ,and the left-handed hitting speedster got off to a slow start but hit .266/.306/.376 with 19 stolen base and five homers. Should be part of an impressive outfield in South Bend and can play all three positions
The Cubs outbid the Giants for Eddy Martinez (2015—Cuba) and the early results have been positive on the Cubs’ $3 million investment. The five-tool player “built like a defensive back” will likely make his pro debut in South Bend in center.
Cubs went back to the outfield in the fourth round last June, signing Vanderbilt bound Darryl Wilson to a $1.1 million bonus. In less than 100 plate appearances in the Arizona Rookie League, Wilson hit .266/.322/.354 in 22 games and was 5-for-6 in stolen bases. The 18-year-old centerfielder posses speed and power, has a strong arm, and due to experience will probably stay behind for extended spring training.
During the International signing period this summer, the Cubs added two more million dollar outfielders— Yonathan Sierra, a 17-year-old from the Dominican Republic, and Kwang-Min Kwon of South Korea. Sierra, who draws comparisons to Darryl Strawberry (6-foot-4 and left-handed), signed for $2.5 million and the 18-year-old Kwon inked a $1.2 million deal and displayed his power at fall instructs.
While the Cubs have invested heavily in the outfield market, they also have some interesting prospects who aren’t millionaires. Kevonte Mitchell (13th round-2014) opened some eyes in the Arizona Rookie League after he was drafted but the 20-year-old struggled last year, only hitting .169 in 49 games in Eugene.
Alex Bautista (22nd round-2015) is one to keep an eye on as he’s shown the ability to take the ball out of the yard to all fields. Needs to improve his defense but shows the potential to be a corner outfielder due to the power. In his stateside debut, 22-year-old Robert Garcia (2013-Dominican Republic) was one of the Cubs top hitters in Mesa, batting .341/.409/.445 in 47 games with 17 steals.
Chris Pieters, a former pitcher who made the switch last year, hit .311/.457/.428 with 24 stolen bases in the Dominican Summer League and earned a promotion to Mesa. 17-year-old Yovanny Cuevas (2014—Dominican Republic) had a solid year in the DSL (.259/.364/.387 in 59 games, 13 stolen bases) and Luis Ayala was the top outfielder in the VSL, hitting .285/.410/.412 with 25 stolen bases.
Other outfielders in lower levels include Ricardo Marcano (2012-Dominican Republic), Roberto Caro (2012—Dominican Republic), Michael Foster (16th round-2015), Jose Paniagua (2012-Dominican Republic), and Daniel Spingola (31st round-2015).