Cubs Prospects Who Should Be Called Up in the Second Half
Cubs fans haven't had much to watch at the major league level in 2014, but the stellar performances of a number of Cubs prospects have given fans around the country something positive to talk about.
While the big league team struggles with a 32-44 record, the future stars of the team have played exceptionally well.
The Cubs promoted their last two first-round draft picks last week. They sent 2013 pick Kris Bryant to Triple-A Iowa and moved 2014 pick Kyle Schwarber to Single-A Kane County.
Both young players have hit solid since their promotions, but don't expect either to see the majors this season.
No. 1 overall prospect Javier Baez hasn't been as successful. Baez is currently hitting .229 with Triple-A Iowa. Prior to this season, Baez had been very successful in the minors. Despite his unimpressive performance this season, the Cubs will likely call him up after the trade deadline.
Let's take a look at the prospects the Cubs should call up in the second half of the 2014 season.
6. Logan Watkins, 2B
It's sad when a .211 batting average is an improvement for the team.
Logan Watkins has played in 27 games in his young major league career, all 20 of them coming with the Cubs in 2013. In those 27 games, Watkins hit for a .211 average.
Sadly, that is a 10-point improvement over current second baseman Darwin Barney. Sure, Watkins is no Gold Glove winner like Barney. However, a Gold Glove only does so much for someone hitting .201.
Watkins is playing well with Triple-A Iowa, hitting .273 with a .360 on-base percentage.
It's time for the Cubs to explore other options at second base. Regardless of Barney's Gold Glove defense, the Cubs are in need of more offense at the big league level. Expect to see some prospects get a shot at Barney's position.
5. Kyle Hendricks, P
Kyle Hendricks has been impressive in Triple-A Iowa. Hendricks is 8-5 with a 3.55 ERA in 88.2 innings. Even more impressively, Hendricks has only given up three home runs all season. In his last 14.2 innings pitched, Hendricks has given up only three earned runs.
The Cubs would be wise to give Hendricks some time at the major league level, likely in the bullpen. He has more innings under his belt this season than Edwin Jackson, so the Cubs need to be cautious of wearing out the 24-year-old's arm.
Cubs fans (well, Iowa Cubs fans) got a taste of the future on Friday. A season-high 14,128 fans saw Hendricks throw 7.2 innings of three-hit ball as shortstop Javier Baez drew in three runs.
Fans on the North Side could certainly get used to that.
4. Arodys Vizcaino, P
As has been the case in the past, Arodys Vizcaino's health is the main concern for his future. Vizcaino returns to baseball after not playing since 2011 due to injuries. He started out with Advanced-A Daytona and made his way to Triple-A, where he has made two appearances.
Vizcaino will need plenty of time to redevelop his arm in Triple-A, but it may be a wise decision for the Cubs to give the 24-year-old some time in the majors after the trade deadline.
Despite not playing since 2011, Vizcaino is ranked as the Cubs' No. 8 overall prospect by MLB.com.
3. Tsuyoshi Wada, P
Despite being 33 years old, Japanese-born Tsuyoshi Wada has not yet played a game in the MLB. Wada played for Fukuoka of the Japanese Pacific League and then spent the past two years in the Baltimore Orioles organization before coming to the Cubs in 2014.
Wada is playing well with Triple-A. Thus far, he has posted an 8-4 record with a 2.73 ERA. The addition of Wada would bring another left-handed arm to the big league club, which has only three lefties on the roster (Wesley Wright, Travis Wood and James Russell).
2. Javier Baez, SS
By his standards, Baez is struggling. Last season, he hit .294 with 20 home runs with Double-A Tennessee.
It's obvious that Baez is capable of much better than his current .229 batting average. His work ethic will certainly get him to the majors, and that may be what gets him the call-up this season. Despite his struggles, the Cubs may reward him for his progress.
Unless Baez's average drops more, it's likely the team will call him up after the trade deadline. Perhaps playing alongside Kris Bryant, another player who is considered to be the future of the team, will help Baez improve.
1. Arismendy Alcantara, 2B
Alcantara is looking more and more like the second baseman of the future for the Cubs. With starting second baseman Darwin Barney struggling yet again, it's likely the Cubs will rid themselves of Barney despite his Gold Glove defense.
Alcantara is hitting .290 with eight home runs with Triple-A Iowa this season. He is currently ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the Cubs organization by MLB.com.
Alcantara and Watkins could split some time at second base if Barney is traded at the deadline. Let's face it; they couldn't get much worse at offense at second base.
Jason S. Parini can be followed on Twitter: @JasonPariniBR.