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Chicago Cubs To Promote Highly Touted Infield Prospect

The Chicago Cubs are set to promote infield prospect Luiszquez, per his cousin Jorge Castillo of ESPN. Vázquez is expected to be with the team on Tuesday as the Cubs begin a series against the Atlanta Braves. MLB Pipeline ranks Vazquez, a 14th-round pick in the 2017 draft, as the 13th-best prospect in Chicago’s system.

The move comes as the Cubs have been without both starting middle infielders for at least a week. Shortstop Dansby Swanson has been on the injured list with a knee sprain, while second baseman Nico Hoerner hasn’t played since Monday due to a hamstring issue.

In their absence, the Cubs have turned to Miles Mastrobuoni and Nick Madrigal. Unfortunately, the duo has not provided any offense (35 wRC+ for Mastrobuoni and 62 wRC+ for Madrigal) and doesn’t compare defensively to the elite abilities of Swanson or Hoerner.

Chicago expects both Swanson and Hoerner back in the lineup on Tuesday. So, Vázquez’s promotion might raise some questions regarding their statuses. It’s possible one of them experienced a setback and will miss more time. It’s also possible that the Cubs would rather promote Vázquez and give him a shot over Mastrobuoni or Madrigal.

Chicago Cubs To Promote Luis Vázquez

Vázquez, 24, comes with a reputation as a glove-first player. However, his prospect pedigree has risen as he started having offensive success last season. Split between Double and Triple-A, Vazquez hit a combined .271/.361/.456 with 20 homers and good walk and strikeout rates.

The Puerto Rican prospect has carried that success into 2024. In 164 plate appearances, he has hit .270/.369/.409 with three home runs. According to MLB Pipeline, Vázquez made mechanical adjustments at the plate that improved his bat path and exit velocity. Additionally, he made an effort to pull the ball more, thus further tapping into some power.

The publication describes Vázquez as still “overly aggressive at the plate.” But teams will take that if it comes with his elite defense and decent offensive upside.

Evaluators credit Vázquez for making all the plays and possessing quick hands, good range, and solid arm strength. Though Chicago has kept him predominately at shortstop, he has seen time at second and third base. The Cubs will promote Vázquez and likely use him in a utility infielder role.

Vázquez might be the antithesis of Christopher Morel. While Morel is a bat-first utility player who doesn’t field well anywhere, Vázquez should field well all over the infield even if he doesn’t hit in the majors. Even if Swanson and Hoerner return healthy on Tuesday, Vázquez will likely be an upgrade over the journeyman Mastrobuoni in that backup role.


Photo Credit: © Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports


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