Ezekiel Mark DeVoss
Born: July 17, 1990
From: Mims, FL
Weight: 175 lbs.
Position(s): 2B, 3B, SS, OF
Current team: Peoria Chiefs (Class-A Chicago Cubs)
2012 Statistics (MiLB.com)
Team: Peoria Chiefs (Class-A), Average: .236, Games: 80, At bats: 301, Runs: 53, Hits: 71, Doubles: 15, Triples: 3, Home runs: 3, RBI: 21, Walks: 50, Strikeouts: 78, OBP: .361, Slugging: .336, OPS: .696.
Versatility: Plus (adequately fields all infield positions, less first base and catcher, in addition to outfield experience collegiately and professionally).
Hits for power: Minus
Hits for average: Plus
Base running: Plus
DeVoss' ability to play nearly every position on field at a high level makes him a very valuable commodity.
Though his preferred and natural position is second base, DeVoss signed with the Chicago Cubs after playing his final season with the Hurricanes in center field.
With the ability to advance multiple bases on any ball hit into the outfield, and his high on-base percentage, DeVoss' value extends far past any box score metric. Baseball America has projected DeVoss to be the starting second baseman for the Cubs come opening day 2015, a feasible prediction.
He is one of the top all-around athletes in the Chicago Cubs system at this point in time, and looks far from his peek of ability. DeVoss' speed and range are best utilized while playing infield positions, though having him in the dugout, rather than at an outfield position, would also be a mistake.
I sat down with DeVoss last season while he was playing for Class-A shorts season Boise Hawks. DeVoss made an immediate impact with the Hawks in 38 games during the 2011 season, hitting .311 with 14 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
John Engel: Draft day is probably one of the most exciting times for a young prospect with Major League aspirations. Take me through your draft day.
Zeke DeVoss: It was a little bit stressful, I guess, because it’s something that every baseball player looks forward to. I had heard that I was going to get taken high, somewhere in the late second round, so I was anxious waiting to hear my name called. Then I heard my name come off the board as the 98th overall pick by the Cubs and that was a thrilling moment.
JE: Were you getting a little worried when the second round passed without you being selected?
ZD: Everything happens for a reason, so I knew that if I didn’t get selected (in the second round) something better would come along and that’s how it worked out.
JE: What’s your first impression of the organization?
ZD: I really like the organization, I really like how everything is handled and how things are done from the bottom to the top.
JE: What’s the biggest difference between playing at the University of Miami and Minor League Baseball?
ZD: At this point in the minor leagues, it’s not necessarily about winning games everyday; it’s about development and working on things that you need to work on. It’s about working on the little things to help you win at the top level.
JE: Two years ago, you were drafted straight out of high school. What made you decide to attend the “U”?
ZD: Miami is a really good university, academic wise, and the program they have as far as baseball I shouldn’t even have to explain much about that, they have an awesome program there. I knew it would be the right choice for me to go to college and to mature as a player and as a person.
JE: After being drafted you were promoted very quickly and only played four games in Arizona before being sent to Boise. What do you think jumped out most about you so quickly?
ZD: I think mainly my speed, and not only that, my patience as a hitter and swinging at good pitches while hitting the ball hard and getting on base and stealing bases and scoring runs really helps.
JE: You’ve only been in the organization for a year and you’re already getting buzz inside and out of the organization. How does that feel as a young player?
ZD: It’s always good to hear positive buzz about your name, but it can be good or it can be bad. It can also hurt you and make you lose your humility.
JE: Do the coaches in the organization set goals and expectations for you as a player or is that more on a personal basis?
ZD: It’s much more of a personal thing.
JE: What goals have you set for yourself as a player?
ZD: Obviously the main goal is to make it to the major leagues and to do so quickly and to play at the best level.
JE: In college you played in the outfield as well as second base. Where do you feel most comfortable defensively?
ZD: I really feel comfortable in either place. My freshman year I played centerfield and my sophomore year I played second base, so I can play both outfield and infield. I feel comfortable at both positions.
JE: What’s your favorite part of the game of baseball?
ZD: You know, I just like battling. We’re playing games every day and I like stepping in the box and battling it out with the pitcher. I challenge myself to have a good at bat ever single time. This game is a lot about failure, but you have to forget about because you play games every single day.
JE: Which currently player would you compare yourself to in Major League Baseball?
ZD: I would say Jose Reyes (New York Mets). He’s a switch hitter and plays shortstop but he has speed and a little bit of power, so I really compared myself to him growing up.
John Engel is a Correspondent for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.