After six weeks, the concept of “position redundancy” is taking a hit with several top prospects not performing well. The idea of having several prospects at every position is sound as long as everyone’s development is going as planned. But with top prospects such as Javier Baez, Christian Villanueva, Brett Jackson, Albert Almora, Jeimer Candelario, and Dan Vogelbach all off to poor starts, is the organization willing to go the more traditional route and demote these players to get their development back on track? Several players, such as John Andreoli, Kris Bryant, Charles Cutler, Rafael Lopez, Bijan Rademacher, and Will Remillard have performed well enough to get a look-see at the next level. With regular starters nearing 150 at bats, using the excuse “it’s still early” may be wearing a bit thin.
If Javier Baez didn’t have enough trouble with teammates Arismendy Alcantara and Logan Watkins out-performing him to this point, Stephen Bruno is also getting back on track. The 2012 Northwest League batting champion suffered from injuries last season that held him back. After struggling early at Tennessee, Bruno seems to be regaining his form. Bruno has hit .417 with eight RBI over his last ten games to raise his season average to .291with a home run and 13 RBI. Primarily a second baseman, Bruno does have experience at short, third, and the outfield while fooling around with catching in the Fall Instructional League a couple of seasons ago.
The gap between Tennessee and Daytona appears to be widening, as several prospects mentioned above are not living up to standards while players like Gioskar Amaya, Pin-Chieh Chen, Marco Hernandez, and Tim Saunders are cooling off. Only OF Bijan Rademacher and RHP Felix Pena have remained consistent for the D-Cubs this season.
It looks as though the career of Zeke DeVoss is in real jeopardy. The 23-year old switch-hitter had to be sent down to the Short-Season A Boise’s roster in a procedural move to complete a demotion to Daytona. DeVoss hit only .120 for Tennessee but did steal five bases, and has yet to get a hit in six plate appearances at Daytona. After batting .311 in 38 games for Boise as a rookie in 2011, DeVoss has had a really downward turn as he hit only .249 for Peoria in 2012 and .244 with Daytona last year. Some point out the 2012 season when DeVoss lined up at second base and committed 28 errors as the turning point in his development. With a multitude of infield and outfield prospects behind him, DeVoss needs to get his act together in a hurry or it could be all over.
A prospect that has flown under the radar thus far has been third baseman Jordan Hankins. The 2013 eleventh round pick has raised his season average to .300 after going 12-for-36 over his last ten games for Kane County. Hankins bashed his first home run on Friday night and he has 14 RBI so far. Hankins will have to get his defense together at third, but the organization has flirted with the idea of moving him to catcher several times.