Baseball In Boise


Tonight the Boise Hawks, the Cubs entry in the short-season Northwest League, get their season underway in Eugene. The short-season leagues are both interesting and tough to evaluate. This year’s Boise team consists of a few players drafted in 2011 and who have already signed along with some 2010 drafties and an assortment of international players. As you look over these guys, you’ll notice that some of them are repeating the league for the second or third time. In most other leagues, that’s a problem. In the case of the short-season leagues, though, it generally means you are seeing a player who started playing professional baseball very young.

There are some names on the Boise roster that should be familiar to you, so let’s take a look.

There are several very interesting players on this roster, and I’m not going to summarize them all here. I will be attempting to cover Boise in my weekly Minor League Reports every Monday. I am sure you will be seeing more names from the Northwest emerge there.

One name you may recognize is Kyler Burke, who spent much of last season playing outfield for Daytona. He is now a left handed pitcher. If his mound conversion goes well, he’ll join a long list of successful conversions by the Cubs that includes Carlos Marmol and Randy Wells.

The Hawks will also give us our first look at 2010 second round pick Reggie Golden, who is expected to have one of the best power bats in the system. Golden is said to be extremely raw… not surprising since he was taken out of high school… so I don’t think we can expect to see him promoted quickly.

I have written quite a bit regarding Rubi Silva, the Cuban defector the Cubs signed to play outfield and who has played well with Peoria and Daytona. At that same time, the Cubs also signed another Cuban, catcher Yaniel Cabeza. Cabeza will start his professional career with Boise.

One of the better pitchers taken by the Cubs in the 2010 draft is RHP Benjamin Wells. Wells cracked the Cubs Top 30 Prospects list according to Baseball America, slotting in one spot below Golden. Wells projects as a big, hard throwing right handed starter, and he could move up quickly if the Cubs begin aggressively promoting some other arms within the system. Given how well the Cubs other 2010 drafted pitchers have done this year, I think we can expect some good things from Wells. The same could be said for Austin Reed, who will join Wells in Boise.

A year ago the Cubs paid nearly one million dollars to lure Korean RHP Jin-Young Kim into the farm system. It is very tough to find good information on young international players, so I will be very interested to see how Kim performs. His potential is thought to be extremely high.

One final name to watch, Ben Klafczynski. He is a left handed hitting outfielder drafted out of college a week ago and who signed right away, one of the few 2011 drafties to appear on this roster. College hitters have a tendency to rise quickly through the system, so don’t be surprised if he is moved up to Peoria before the summer is out. Hopefully by then I’ll have figured out how to spell his last name…