This off-season MiLB.com has been honoring players at each position who had the best season in their respective organization, regardless of age or prospect status. MiLB.com released their list of the Cubs organizational All-Stars and a couple of the players on the Cubs’ list lost their prospect status a few years ago … and two of them are no longer with the organization.
The Cubs’ system had a good year and continued to show improvement across the board. From the development of talent to learning how to do the ‘little things’ that win ballgames, things are looking up down on the farm … 2010 Cubs Organizational All-Stars
Robinson Chirinos – C
Micah Hoffpauir - 1B
Tony Thomas – 2B
Marquez Smith – 3B
Hak-Ju Lee – SS
Brad Snyder - OF
Bryan LaHair – OF
Brandon Guyer – OF
Russ Canzler – Utility
Chris Archer – RHP SP
Brooks Raley - LHP SP
Jeff Beliveau – RP
- Robinson Chirinos, C – The catcher in the Cubs’ system that everyone has their eye on. Chirinos had a great year with the Smokies and I-Cubs and earned his promotion to the big league roster.
Chirinos set a career high with 18 home runs in 2010 and recorded 74 RBI in the process, the most for any catcher in the Cubs’ system. Chirinos earned midseason and postseason All-Star nods and continued hitting after his promotion to Triple-A.
The converted shortstop began catching a couple of years back and has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Chirinos has become a “real good defensive catcher” according to Oneri Fleita that has leaned how to swing the bat.
- Micah Hoffpauir, 1B – The Cubs’ 13th round pick in the 2002 draft had another tremendous season in Iowa. The first baseman/outfielder set the franchise record for RBI (378), hits (517) and doubles (121) during his career.
Hoffpauir spent time in Chicago in 2010 but is no longer in the organization. Hoffpauir signed a contract to play in Japan back in November after the Cubs granted him his release.
- Tony Thomas, 2B – Thomas excelled in his second full year in Double-A. Thomas, the Cubs’ third round pick in the 2007 draft, ranked fourth in the Southern League in slugging (.485) and third in triples (11). Thomas set a career-high in RBI (73) in 2010 and tied a career-high with 11 home runs.
Thomas combines speed and power and he led all second basemen in the Cubs’ system in home runs and RBI … and only Logan Watkins stole more bases than Thomas’ 15.
- Marquez Smith, 3B – The one many thought would get away. Smith had a great 2010 campaign and several of the ‘experts‘ felt the Cubs would lose him in the Rule 5 Draft … Smith was not added to the 40-man roster and was left unprotected. With Smith still in the system, the Cubs have a back up to Aramis Ramirez and he should make his big league debut at some point in 2011.
Smith led all third baseman in the Cubs’ system in batting average (.297), home runs (20), slugging (.556) and OPS (.927).
After a slow start and a demotion back to Double-A, Smith started hitting again. Smith rejoined the I-Cubs in June and hit 12 of his 20 longballs in August … tied for the most in all of professional baseball.
- Hak-Ju Lee, SS – Lee was selected to the Midwest League’s Midseason All-Star team and was selected to the World Team at XM Radio’s Futures Game during the All-Star weekend.
The 19-year old shortstop (turned 20 in November) led all shortstop’s in the Cubs system in runs scored (85) and stolen bases (32).
Lee continued his development at a very young age and put together a good year in 2010.
- Brad Snyder, OF – Before getting a cup of coffee at the end of the season with the Chicago Cubs, Snyder put together a tremendous year with the Iowa Cubs. Snyder was added to the 40-man roster but was released in November. Snyder looked around before re-signing a minor league contract with the Cubs. Snyder’s deal for 2011 includes a non-roster invite to big league camp.
Snyder was one of only two players in the PCL to drive in 100 or more runs (106). Snyder finished in the top five in runs scored (97, third), extra-base hits (68, fourth) and doubles (37, fifth). Snyder hit .308 with 25 home runs and 19 stolen bases.
- Bryan LaHair, OF – LaHair also spent time at first base in 2010 and will be in the mix for a job on the Cubs’ bench, along with Brad Snyder, when Spring Training begins next month.
LaHair continued hitting at the Triple-A level in 2010 … 25 home runs, 30 doubles, 71 runs scored and 81 RBI.
LaHair elected for free agency after the 2010 season but has since re-signed with the Cubs on a minor league contract that includes an invite to big league camp.
- Brandon Guyer, OF – Guyer stole bases and hit for power in his breakout season of 2010 … all after two trips to the DL in April and May. Guyer was named the Smokies Player of the Year and the Cubs’ Minor League Position Player of the Year.
Guyer led the Southern League in slugging percentage (.588) and he finished second in the league with a .344 batting average. Guyer ranked in the top five in the league in doubles (39, third), extra base hits (58, fourth) and OBP (.398, fifth). Guyer was one of two players in the Southern League to reach double digits in home runs (13) and steal 30 or more bases.
Guyer was awarded for his great season by being added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster in November. Guyer will be in big league camp this spring competing for a spot in the Cubs’ crowded outfield.
- Russ Canzler, IF/OF (Utility) – Canzler had a tremendous year and led the Smokies in home runs, and finished second in the Southern League in dingers with 21. Canzler (24 years old) played a majority of the year at third but also spent time at first, DH and in the outfield.
The Cubs’ 20th round pick in the 2004 draft became a six-year minor league free agent at the end of 2010 and signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays back in November.
- Chris Archer, SP (RHP) – The Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year turned a lot of heads in 2010. Archer excelled with the Daytona Cubs (High Class-A) and Tennessee Smokies (Double-A) with a combined 15-3 record, 149 strikeouts, a 2.34 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Archer seemed to get better with his promotion to the Smokies. Archer threw 32 straight innings without allowing an earned run and in 13 starts at the Double-A level, Archer was 8-2 with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
Archer was added to the 40-man roster in November and figures to make his big league debut at some point in 2011.
- Brooks Raley, SP (LHP) - Raley showed a lot of promise in his first full year of pro ball. Raley posted an 8-6 record in 27 starts with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. The Cubs selected Raley in the sixth round of the 2009 draft.
The 6’3″, 185-pound southpaw struck out 97 and walked 43 in 136 1/3 innings.
- Jeff Beliveau, RP – The soon-to-be 24-year old lefty (January 17, 1987) excelled in 46 appearances out of the Peoria Chiefs (Low Class-A) and Daytona Cubs (High Class-A) in 2010. Beliveau was a combined 4-2 with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 64 1/3 innings.
Beliveau is a swing and miss guy and can throw multiple innings out of the pen. In his 64 1/3 combined innings (46 games), Beliveau struck out 97 and walked only 29 while allowing only 47 hits.