Cubs: Recently acquired prospects face a critical year of development

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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Yu Darvish / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: With more time, the Yu Darvish trade looks promising

Owen Caissie (from the Padres), LF, Fangraphs #3

What he’s done: Take and rake. Caissie put up a sterling .248 ISO in Arizona while walking nearly 20 percent of the time. The power disappeared in his brief exposure to A-level pitching in Myrtle Beach, but his walk rate remained high (17 percent). Caissie is just 18, but he’s already showing a good feel for the zone.

What he needs to do: Fill in the holes. Caissie whiffed at a Baezian 28.1 percent in Arizona, which jumped to over 30 when he reached Myrtle Beach. Fangraphs thinks he’ll probably always have a lot of swing-and-miss in his game, but he’ll need to advance at least somewhat in this area if he’s to provide a major league bat. As he’s a corner outfielder, his bat will have to carry him.

It’s too bad that: The nickname “Big Maple” is already taken, because Caissie is one of Canada’s more physically imposing baseball-playing humans.

Reginald Preciado (from the Padres), SS/3B, Fangraphs #5

What he’s done: Show some discipline. Another 18-year-old, Preciado struck out 22.7 percent of the time in Arizona. We’re not talking Joey Votto here, but he’s making more contact at this early stage of his career than either Alcantara or Caissie.

What he needs to do: Show patience. Preciado’s walk rate in Arizona was just seven percent. That will wither even further in the face of higher level pitching unless he begins to exercise better judgment. The Cubs will need to show patience with Preciado as well; last season was his first in organized ball.

It’s too bad that: He probably won’t stick at shortstop. Fangraphs already has him listed at third, while Law says he’s likely headed there. Like Alcantara and Caissie, Preciado has a game power ceiling of 60; that’s good for the hot corner but stellar for the middle infield.