The Cubs minor league roster shuffle continued Thursday. The Cubs sent 3B Christian Villanueva to Double-A Tennessee to make room on Iowa’s roster for Kris Bryant. And Jeimer Candelario was transferred to Kane County from Daytona for the recently promoted Jordan Hankins. The demotions were expected with both players struggling the level above where they excelled last season.
Christian Villanueva really struggled in the half season he spent with the Iowa Cubs and hit .211/.283/.372 with 18 doubles and six home runs. Villanueva was an All-Star last season for the Smokies and had 62 extra basehits. Villanueva hit .261/.317/.449 in 133 games for Double-A Tennessee with 41 doubles, two triples, 19 home runs and a .787 OPS. Villanueva is only 23 years old and will still be considered young for his level.
Christian Villanueva has a chance to get back on track at the plate as well as work on his consistency in the field.
Jeimer Candelario returns to Kane County after managing a .193/.275/.326 slash line in 62 games for the D-Cubs with 10 doubles, two triples and five home runs. The 20-year old, switch hitter recorded only 42 hits in 244 plate appearances, 17 went for extra bases. Candelario showed a lot of promise as a 19-year old with Kane County last year. Candelario hit .256/.346/.396/.742 with 35 doubles, one triple and 11 home runs.
Both prospects took a step back in their development this season, and hopefully familiar situations will help build their confidence back.
RHP Frank Batista has spent time in Major League Spring Training, Tennessee, the Mexican League and Iowa already this year and will be back in Tennessee where he has pitched rather well out of the Smokies bullpen. In 94 games at the Double-A level over the course of his six-year minor league career, Batista is 5-3 with 43 saves and a 2.43 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP.
LHP Jeffry Antigua has been in the Cubs’ system for eight years and is still only 23 years old (turns 24 on June 23). Antigua was 1-0 in 10 games out of Iowa’s pen this season with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.