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Minor League Spotlight: Schwarber & Zagunis

August 1st, 2014 at 4:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury

DSCN2488 from Flickr via Wylio? 2009 ttarasiuk, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

In the spirit of yesterday’s addition of C Victor Caratini, lets take a look at how the Chicago Cubs’ incumbent catching prospects have been performing lately. After getting off to a red-hot start Schwarber, the Cubs first round pick in this summer’s amateur draft, has cool off significantly since being promoted to A+ Daytona. In 16 games with the Daytona Cubs Schwarber is hitting .250 with two home runs and 11 RBI’s.

Level

Games

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

A- Boise

5

.600

.625

4

10

A Kane County

23

.361

.448

4

15

A+ Daytona

16

.250

.375

2

11

Total

44

.352

.443

10

36

(stats per baseball-reference.com)

Schwarber has moved through the lower levels of the Cubs’ farm system at a Kris Bryant-type pace and has put himself on the fast track to the big leagues. As a result, Schwarber has been receiving fewer games behind the plate (only 3 since being promoted to Daytona). Schwarber had been playing surprisingly good defense before his promotion, throwing out 58% of would-be-base-stealers for the Kane County Cougars and 43% of all runners on the summer. However, it appears as though Schwarber is following the progression of Washington Nationals converted outfielder Bryce Harper, whose bat was also far more developed than his glove, and as a result became a full-time outfielder.

The book on Mark Zagunis (the Cubs’ 3rd round pick this summer), however, is still open. Zagunis has made 24 starts in the field this summer and has spent 12 behind the plate but with marginal success, throwing out only 17 percent of runners. Zagunis has hit tremendously well this summer but has often been overshadowed by news of Kyle Schwarber’s gaudy power numbers. Here’s how Zagunis has done thus far:

Level

Games

.ave

.obp

SB

RBI

RK Arizona

2

.125

.222

0

1

A- Boise

31

.325

.455

7

18

Total

33

.312

.442

7

19

(stats per baseball-reference.com)

Zagunis has played more like an outfielder than a catcher thus far, acting like a prototypical number two hitter and showing the ability to steal bases. Depending on how the Cubs choose to use Schwarber and Zagunis going forward, Zagunis could be in line for a promotion before the season is over due to his high level of play, as well as his maturity (he is 21 years old).

The Cubs did a nice job of addressing their organizational catching depth by trading for Victor Caratini but they may need to continue to stockpile backstops with the questionable futures (position-wise) of their two top catching prospects in Schwarber and Zagunis.

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Seeing your team play in the SuperBowl is priceless. Watching the SuperBowl live in the stands for $1 per week is beyond priceless. Find out how at TicketScore.com, the future of Championship Tickets. Tags: amateur draft, Baseball, Bryce Harper, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Daytona Cubs, Kane County Cougars, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Mark Zagunis, MLB, Victor Caratini, Washington Nationals

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