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Down on the Farm: Sleeper Picks

August 14th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

The Chicago Cubs have the best farm system in major league baseball, and for good reason. The talent that they have down there is absolutely unbelievable, between guys like Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Addison Russell, Albert Almora, CJ Edwards, Billy McKinney and Kyle Schwarber. But the system goes deeper than just the big names. Here are three prospects in the Cubs’ farm system that have been flying under the radar, despite putting up real solid numbers.

Marco Hernandez, SS, Daytona Cubs (A+)

As if the Cubs’ didn’t already have too many shortstops to keep track of, 21 year old, Marco Hernandez has quietly been putting up solid numbers for the Cubs’ A+ affiliate. Hernandez has been in the Cubs system since he was 17 years old as member of the Cubs’ Dominican Summer League team and has shown the ability to do a number of things well. Hernandez is more of a left-handed, slap hitter, at 6’0”, 170 pounds, but has shown the ability to drive in runs (45 RBI in 104 games in 2014) as well. Hernandez is an average fielder, fielding .955 this season, but his speed will likely find him a place in most lineups, as he has 16 stolen bases this season. Hernandez still needs to make strides with his defense and using his speed to its fullest potential, but definitely someone to keep in the back of your mind.

Period

games

.ave

.obp

Doubles

RBI

SB

2014

104

.278

.324

12

45

16

Total (5 seasons)

445

.275

.316

80

192

78

(stats per baseball-reference.com)

Dallas Beeler, RHP, Iowa Cubs (AAA)

Dallas Beeler made his major league debut earlier this summer and was moderately successful. The former 37th round selection posted a 3.27 ERA in his two big league starts before being sent back down to AAA, where he has gone 8-5 with a 3.75 ERA this season. Beeler is reminiscent of another Cubs’ long shot, Randy Wells, who was a 38th round pick by the club and went 12-10 with a 3.06 ERA back in 2009. The biggest thing going for Beeler at this point is that he has shown that he has the ability to get big league hitters out. He did struggle with walks during his big league stint, surrendering seven in 11 innings of work, but that stat may just be the result of a small sample size. Beeler has demonstrated good command with the Iowa Cubs this year, walking just 2.47 per nine innings (the league average is around 3.00). At 25 years old, now is Beeler’s window to make the full-time jump to the big leagues. Look for him to be back with the big club in September and competing for a rotation spot in 2015.

Level

W-L

ERA

WHIP

IP

K/BB

AAA

8-5

3.75

1.210

98.1

67/27

MLB

0-2

3.27

1.545

11.0

6/7

MiLB totals (5 seasons)

20-23

3.67

1.325

402.1

258/107

(stats per Cubs.com)

Charles Cutler, C, Tennessee Smokies (AA)

Charles Cutler has been an under-valued prospect ever since he was selected in the 14th round by the St. Louis Cardinals back in 2008, but year in and year out, he has produced great numbers. Cutler, a left handed hitter, is hitting .309 in AA this year and has amassed 40 walks compared to just 28 strikeouts. Defensively, Cutler is just average, throwing out 24 percent of runners for his career, which is why he has also been used, on occasion, at first base and in the outfield. Given the Chicago Cubs current shortage of catching talent, Cutler could be a nice stopgap until the Cubs find someone they like.

Cutler has never projected as a starting catcher or an impact bat, but he has the potential, still, to be a solid back up and is a very mature hitter. He lacks significant power and speed, but his ability to get on base is really something special. Should the time come when management is looking for a new catcher, Charles Cutler might be the best internal option.

Period

Games

.ave

.obp

HR

K/BB

2014

90

.309

.417

5

40/28

Total (7 seasons)

522

.304

.394

24

212/207

(stats per baseball-reference.com)

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Tags: Addison Russell, Albert Almora, Baseball, Billy McKinney, Charles Cutler, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, CJ Edwards, Dallas Beeler, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Marco Hernandez, MLB

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