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The Emergence of Cubs’ Utility Man, Logan Watkins

September 4th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

Every team in the big leagues reserves a spot on their roster for a “utility man” but in reality, it is a dying role in major league baseball. The modern day utility man is usually a guy who can just play more than one infield spot and, maybe, fill in in the outfield if needed. Guys like, former Chicago Cubs UT, Emilio Bonifacio have become increasingly rare and even then, Bonifacio is really only a sure thing at two positions (second base & centerfield), but Logan Watkins is the real deal. Logan Watkins is a utility man in every sense of the word and has proven that he can play every spot on the diamond.

Watkins played every position (except for pitcher and catcher) in the minor leagues and has added pinch-hitting to his resume since joining the Chicago Cubs last month. In 2014, Watkins is hitting .500 (3-6) off the bench and .414 (12-29) entering play today.

Watkins, 25, was the Chicago Cubs 21st round selection in the 2008 amateur draft and has spent the last seven seasons in the minor leagues, advancing at one level per year. Watkins made his major league debut with the Cubs’ last August but didn’t have the success he had hoped for.

Year

Games

At bats

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

2013

27

38

.211

.268

0

0

2014

13

29

.414

.414

1

5

(stats per Cubs.com)

However, this year has been a different story. Watkins has been very successful in limited action thus far and looks to earn more playing time now that Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are out indefinitely.

One reason the Watkins has been so successful early on is that he is capitalizing on his opportunities. Watkins numbers when he is ahead in the count are off the charts:

Count

0-0

2-0

2-1

3-1

.ave

.714

1.000

.500

.667

(per ESPN.com)

If his minor league numbers are any indication for what we can expect from Watkins as he progresses in his major league career, we have plenty to be excited about. In addition to his versatility in the field, Watkins showed the ability to be a successful base stealer over the last seven season, accumulating 117 minor leagues steals and a 74% success rate. He was successful in 23 of 27 attempts this year for the Iowa Cubs. Additionally, he has shown the ability to get on base through as evidence by his MiLB career on base percentage of .360.

The next few weeks will go a long way in determining Watkins’ future with the Cubs’ and hopefully he is able to put all of his tools on display and earn a spot on the 2015 major league roster.

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