Some minor matters to take care of quickly. First of all, congrats to John Andreoli, who we talked about getting a promotion to AA Tennessee in yesterday's minor league recaps (we already noted Bijan Rademacher's promotion). The third player is Kevin Encarnacion.
John Andreoli, OF
Andreoli is RH hitter who is an on-base machine with above average speed who can play all 3 outfield positions. He lacks power and elite speed, so he may end up being something of a 'tweener. Not quick enough to play CF and not enough power to play the corners. He's a good extra outfielder prospect and perhaps more if he can prove he can handle CF and/or hit for more power.
Bijan Rademacher, OF
Rademacher is also a RH power who is patient, but aggressive in the strike zone. He's a good hitter for average who will get on base and like Andreoli, is better suited for the corners defensively -- though he doesn't yet have the power teams like at the position. He's an intelligent player with an excellent approach to the game.
Kevin Encarnacion, OF
Encarnacion is a guy we've had our eye on for a while in the DSL and we were a bit surprised it took him so long to get promoted. Now 21, he's making up for lost time. He skipped the AZ Rookie League and now is being promoted from Boise to Kane County. Encarnacion is a strong, athletic player who can put on a good show in BP and shows a good approach at the plate. He hit .374 with a .955 OPS two years ago in the DSL and last year hit 5 HRs ( a good amount in the DSL) while putting up a .915 OPS. Defensively he can handle CF but most likely winds up in a corner spot, where he'd be a plus defender with a chance for his bat to carry the position.
Paul Blackburn shows great approach
A nice story on Paul Blackburn at MiLB.com. We have often talked about him as a projectable guy who had room to put on some weight. Well, we were right about that. He's put on 30 lbs. of muscle and looks completely different from the high school picture I'd been using. His fastball has been 92-93 and when you combine that with a potential plus curve,. plus command, and an aggressive, but intelligent approach on the mound. He's also got great mental makeup, as you'll not from the article. This kid is going to be zooming up the prospect charts by seasons end -- and he may be the next guy to go from Boise to Kane County.
We've told you about OF Eloy Jimenez and SS Gleyber Torres. Well Ben Badler of BA ranks them 1 and 2 respectively and still has the Cubs as the big favorites to sign both.
Jimenez, you'll remember is a toolsy corner OF"er with an excellent swing and potential for power down the road. He's still a bit raw but projects as a guy who can hit for average and power with the arm to play RF.
Torres is more of a polished player and the concern with him is more about whether he has the athleticism to stick at SS. Most scouts seem to think he can -- which would be an asset because he compares to Freddy Sanchez as a hitter. Some think Torres is a better player than Jimenez.
Another interesting prospect the Cubs have their eye on is a 16 year old, 6'3" 190 lbs Colombian RHP named Erling Moreno. Moreno is currently at 87-90 mph. He has a big frame and projects to be a power pitcher as he fills out and gains strength. He pitches with good downward plane and has the makings of a good breaking ball and change with most scouts preferring the change right now.