Christian Villanueva is playing for Yaquis de Obregon this winter. One of the overlooked prospects in the Cubs system is hitting rather well in the Mexican Pacific League.
Villanueva had three hits on Saturday night, each went for extra bases and two left the park. Villanueva was 3-for-5 with a double, two home runs and six RBI. Villanueva cranked a two-run homer in the first inning and a three-run shot in the sixth.
In 51 games this winter, Villanueva has hit .331/.436/.525 (60-for-181) with eight doubles, nine home runs and a .961 OPS. Villanueva has walked (30) more times than he’s struck out (21) in 181 at bats.
Christian Villanueva is fourth in the league in batting average (.331), leads the league in OBP (.436), in second in slugging (.525) and first in OPS (.961). Villanueva is tied for third in home runs and tied for second in walks.
Christian Villanueva was bumped to the top of the Cubs’ prospect lists when he was acquired in the Ryan Dempster deal in July 2012. The Cubs added Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks to the organization from the Rangers for two months of Dempster. Villanueva is only 24 years old (June 19) and is still considered a prospect.
Villanueva had a good four-month stretch with Iowa after he was promoted from Double-A Tennessee. Villanueva cooled off in August which impacted his final numbers for the year.
After hitting .275/.356/.525 in 13 games in April, Villanueva had a .270/.325/.365 line in 22 games in May. Villanueva seemed to put it together in June (.266/.327/.521) and July. In possibly his best stretch in pro ball, Villanueva batted .291/.333/.515 with five doubles and six home runs with a .848 OPS in July over 27 games.
Villanueva hit .259/.313/.437 in 123 games for Triple-A Iowa with 23 doubles, two triples and 18 home runs for a .751 OPS. In 129 games for Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Villanueva batted .257/.314/.438 with 23 doubles, two triples and 20 home runs. Villanueva had a .752 OPS and drove in 95 runs.
Villanueva spent a majority of his time at third base (85 games) but also lined up at first base (35 games) and played second base. Villanueva has experience in the outfield, with time in left field in winter ball.
Versatility could help Villanueva win a job on Joe Maddon’s bench next spring, but he has yet to play above Triple-A and there are questions about how he could help a team in a back-up role.
Christian Villanueva is out of minor league options. If he is not included in a trade this winter, Villanueva will have to make the team out of Spring Training.