Chicago Cubs: Most likely September call-ups who can contribute
By Jake Misener
Chicago Cubs Call-up Candidates: Mark Zagunis
Mark Zagunis represents a potential outfield option for Chicago. But the Cubs are loaded with the likes of Jon Jay, Albert Almora Jr., Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ all playing regularly. He got a brief taste of the big leagues earlier this year – and went hitless in 14 at-bats.
Drafted in the third-round of the 2014 draft, Zagunis is a strong on-base presence in the Chicago farm system. This year with Triple-A Iowa, he boasts an impressive .404 OBP and a .267 average. In his career, he’s got a .402 on-base percentage; he’s done it everywhere he’s been. Now, he needs to bring it to Chicago.
Long-term, it’s hard to see Zagunis getting regular reps with the Cubs, unless he settles into a Matt Szczur-like role. But, even Szczur’s time ended because of the outfield logjam on the North Side.
"Zagunis is an on-base machine because he’s a gifted hitter who controls the strike zone and doesn’t try to do too much at the plate. He mostly focuses on stroking line drives from gap to gap but did start attacking more pitches last year. He has average bat speed and his right-handed stroke lacks loft, but he could provide 12-15 homers per year because he barrels so many balls."
At this point, I don’t care about his home-run potential. I care about his ability to play intelligent baseball and work counts. If he can do that, he has value to a Cubs team that can be pretty free-swinging.