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A look at Cubs news and prospects playing in Winter Leagues

A look at the Cubs top pick, the top power bat in the 2017 draft and winter league playoffs.

2016  Draft Update—Thomas Hatch, RHP

Cubs didn’t have a pick until the third round last June and the North Siders selected the Oklahoma State product with their first pick, # 104 overall. The right-hander signed for the slot limit, $573,900, but has yet to make his pro debut. Hatch attended fall instructs, pitched in an advanced instruct game and has drawn rave reviews from evaluators since being drafted. Ranked the 14th best Cubs prospect by for the end of 2016, the right-hander led the Cowboys to the College World Series and was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. Hatch will likely be in the South Bend rotation to start the season which could include Dylan Cease, Jose Paulino, Oscar De La Cruz, and Erling Moreno. I’m going to be a little skeptical until he gets some pro innings under his belt—I’ve learned to cool my expectations when it comes to pitching prospects. He missed the entire 2015 season with a sprained UCL and  the injury could have left teams “gun shy” on draft day but there’s a reason 48 pitchers were taken before him. I know last year’s draft was pitching heavy but the 49th pitcher drafted is the Cubs seventh best pitching prospect? Hatch displays a four-pitch repertoire with his fastball (low 90s), his best offering, to go along with a plus slider, curve and change.

2017 Draft 

Cubs front office are fans of college power bats and third baseman Jake Burger of Missouri State stands out as the top power hitter in the draft class. The sophomore was second in the NCAA last year with 21 homers and spent the summer playing with Team USA. Scout’s draft expert Jeff Ellis is a big fan of Berger and he was currently ranked #30 by in the draft class and the 27th best college prospect per Baseball America. Undrafted out of high school in Missouri, Burger was named a freshman All-American and just missed winning the triple crown in the Missouri Valley as a sophomore, sporting a slash line of .349/.420/.689 with 72 RBI and 59 runs in 56 games. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder was named a Dick Howser Trophy semi-finalist and earned a Rawlings Gold Glove award.

Venezuelan Winter League

No games scheduled. Margarita leads top-seeded Lara 3-2 with game 6 on Monday. Zulia has already reached the semi-finals with a sweep of Aragua and Caribes leads La Guaira 3-2.

Dominican Winter League

Chesny Young went 0-for-4 as Escogido (3-7) fell to Aguilas (9-1) 6-2. Licey improved to 4-5 with a 2-1 win over Gigantes (3-6).

Mexican Pacific Winter League

Mexicali scored twice in the troop of the 10th to beat Navojoa 6-4 and win the best of seven series. Hermosillo forced a game seven with a 5-4 win over Culiacan. 

Puerto Rican Winter League

Caguas evened its series with Mayaguez at two games apiece with a 2-1 12-inning win. Newly signed Cubs catcher Carlos Corporan was 0-for-3 with a walk for Mayaguez. RH Miguel Mejia worked a scoreless inning for Caguas. Santurce went up 3-1 with a 2-0 win over Carolina. 1B Yasiel Balaguert was 1-for-4 with a double for Carolina.

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