Chicago Cubs: Flemin Bautista, 2B/SS, Age – 19
The first guy who falls on this list is a middle infielder who improved dramatically within a season and has not even reached his 20th birthday. It is Flemin Bautista, who is still just 19 years old and has two seasons of professional baseball under his belt.
Bautista joined the Cubs organization as part of their international class in 2018. While the average was stagnant, Bautista did manage an above-average 113 wRC+ and a robust .356 OBP in his first year at rookie ball. At just 18 years old, Bautista saw action in 29 games, accumulating 101 plate appearances.
The switch-hitting utility infielder managed to work a whopping 17.8 percent walk rate and managed to keep his strikeouts somewhat at bay, posting a 23.8 percent strikeout rate. One aspect of Bautista’s game that first year was his impressive speed and the eight bags he swiped.
This past season, Bautista struggled to start the year, strangely in the AZL, before he moved to the Dominican Summer League to finish out the year. He slashed an impressive .289/.399/.533 in his final 37 games, posting a 152 wRC+ with six home runs and double-digit stolen bases. Bautista improved his walk rate from 7.5 percent to 14.1 percent, and the strikeouts dropped dramatically.
At just 5’10, 170 pounds, Bautista carries some great speed and pop. Since joining the organization, Bautista has carried an above-average ISO as well as speed, per Fangraphs metrics, and has displayed a small affinity to drive the ball to the opposite field. It will be fun to see what Bautista can do for an encore in 2020.