Chicago Cubs: Mark Zagunis making early impressions

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

There is not much more for Chicago Cubs prospect Mark Zagunis to prove in the minors, and he is making an early impression in Spring Training.

In the last two seasons, Mark Zagunis got playing time with the Chicago Cubs big league team…albeit not much. He made his debut in 2017 and played in seven games and did not get a hit in 18 plate appearances but drew four walks. Last year he got six plate appearances and recorded two hits and a walk. In total, he has 12 MLB games and 24 plate appearances in his career.

Zagunis has not gotten much of a chance to get MLB time because he’s been blocked by other players already on the team. His brief call ups were because of injuries and a spot needed to be filled. The 26-year old outfielder is a career .276/.400/.425 hitter in 485 MiLB games and slashed .272/.395/.375 with seven home runs and 40 RBI in 115 games in Triple-A Iowa last year.

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He really does not have anything else to prove in the minors. Zagunis is an on-base machine and has put up consistently good numbers since being drafted in the third round of the 2014 MLB June Amateur Draft. Can he finally get some decent playing time this season?

Zagunis smashing in Cactus League play.

It is early in spring training and a player doing well this time of year does not always translate to the regular season, but Zagunis has to be talked about. Going into Saturday’s game (which he is replacing Jason Heyward in the lineup due to illness), Zagunis is slashing .333/.375/1.108 with two home runs and eight RBI.

His on-base skills have always been superb, enough to warrant him MLB time, but if he continues to mix in power and run production, then he will get some attention. A crowded outfield which has not changed is still a major roadblock for him. However one may ask if he could be utilized in a platoon role at some point this year in the outfield. Time will tell if that is a real possibility, but it cannot be ruled out entirely just yet. We see Joe Maddon experiment with things.

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Organizational depth is never a bad thing, and Zagunis falls in that category. He is most likely the first guy called up if there is an injured position player outside catcher. Cubs fans should continue to keep a very close eye on Zagunis this spring; he will continue to get plenty of playing time.