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A look at Cubs news and prospects playing in Winter Leagues

The Cubs added a left-hander via the Rule 5 draft and also lost a pair of minor leaguers.

Cubs acquire lefty

The Cubs acquired LHP Caleb Smith from the Brewers for cash considerations following the Rule 5 draft. The Brewers selected the former Yankee with the seventh overall pick in the Rule 5 draft and then traded him to the Cubs. Two years ago the Cubs selected infielder Taylor Featherstone and then traded him to the Angels following the Rule 5 draft. Smith was the Yankees 14th round pick in 2013 out of Sam Houston State and has spent most of his minor league career as a starter, making 69 starts and appearing in 94 games (367.2 IP). The 25-year-old pitched at AA Trenton last year, going 3-5 with a 3.96 ERA in 27 games, seven starts. He missed a week with a hamstring injury and finished the year striking out 70 in 63.2 innings, a career high for K/9. Smith provides the Cubs left-handed depth and should be the first of a hand full the North Siders add before the start of spring training. Smith was added to the 40-man roster than stands at 36.

Cubs lose pair in Rule 5 draft

Right-handed reliever Armando Rivero and infielder Daniel Lockhart were selected in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday. The Atlanta Braves grabbed Rivero with the fifth overall pick and Lockhart was selected by the Diamondbacks in the minor league phase.

Rivero signed a $3.1 million deal in March of 2013 and the Cuban native made his pro debut for Kane County three months later. After reaching AA in his first year, Rivero excelled in 2014, striking out 100 hitters in 65 innings between Tennessee and Iowa with a .189 BAA. The following year, Rivero’s fastball dropped a few ticks and he spent the year in Iowa with 53 K in 57 innings. The 28-year-old had a solid season for Iowa in ’16 as a set-up man, fanning 105 in 67.2 innings while holding hitters to a .169 mark.

The son of Cubs scout Keith Lockhart, the 24-year-old was the Cubs 10th round pick in 2011 and spent his first two seasons in the Arizona Rookie League. A good defender at second, Lockhart played 118 games for Myrtle Beach in 2015, hitting .223/.271/.301 with two homers and 41 runs scored. Lockhart reached AA last season after starting the year back in the Carolina League and in 52 games with Smokies, hit .213/.260/.277. Lockhart has been assigned to AAA Reno, that also includes former Cubs farmhands Kristopher Negron and Kelly Dugan.

Cubs added Cornelius

The Cubs selected Yankees farmhand Kevin Cornelius in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the only player they selected. The Yanks 31st round pick in 2013 out of Grayson College, the 24-year-old plays first and third and smacked a career-high 13 homers in 2016 between Pulaski (Rookie League) and Tampa (High A). Cornelius sports a career slash of .296/.383/.505 in 146 minor league games.

Venezuelan Winter League

SS Carlos Penalver went 0-for-3 in Aragua’s 5-4 loss to Lara on Dec. 7. Penalver is 4-for-8 in four games.

Dominican Winter League

Chesny Young extended his hit streak to nine games with a single and two walks during Escogido’s 8-1 loss to Aguilas. Young is 14-for-31 and is slashing .452/.541/.484.

Puerto Rican Winter League

CF Jacob Hannemann’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th gave Santurce a 3-2 win over Carolina. RH Corey Black got the win with a scoreless inning of relief, lowering his ERA to 0.47. Black leads the league with 11 saves. Yasiel Balaguert was 0-for-3 with a walk for Carolina. 


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