Last night was one of my favorite baseball events of the year: the Futures Game. Once a night, every All-Star break, each team across Major League Baseball gets to send a player or two to the game in which some of the best prospects in all of baseball are assembled to face off against each other in a game of USA vs. The World. Every season, the most untouchable prospects are involved, and this year was no different with the likes of Alex Bregman, Andrew Benintendi, and Yoan Moncada to name a few.
This year’s Cubs players included Eloy Jimenez and Jeimer Candelario, both representing the World team in the event. While Candelario could not participate due to the fact that he was already called up to The Show. Jimenez on the other hand got to participate and did not disappoint. Jimenez, going 2-3 with a homerun, a double, 4 RBI and an incredible catch in the outfield, made his best case to take home MVP honors only to fall short to Moncada.
With Eloy now directly in the spotlight as the next big Chicago Cubs prospect, it got me thinking about the players the Cubs have sent to the Futures Game in the past and what those players are doing now. I took a look back at the past 10 seasons to see who the represented the Cubs in the Minor League showcase and also looked at their career stats and where they are now.
Eloy Jimenez: Currently in Single-A South Bend hitting .332/.372/.527/.899.
Jeimer Candelario: Has seen a taste of Chicago. Hitting .333/.452/.600/1.052 in AAA Iowa.
Carl Edwards Jr.: Has gotten a few stints in Chicago since the game. Currently in The Show with a career ERA/FIP/WHIP of 2.51/3.23/0.91.
Kyle Schwarber: Of course he is out for the year with the devastating knee injury, but last year he was a postseason legend after being called up soon after the game. Career slash of .242/.353/.479/.831 with a wRC+ of 129 and a WAR of of 1.8.
Kris Bryant: We know this guy. Bryant was up to Chicago the following season. Career .277/.373/.520/.893 with a 141 wRC+ and 11.1 WAR.
Javier Baez: He made his appearance in the bigs later that season and has now made his presence truly felt now starting this season. Career .231/.280/.392/.672 with 81 wRC+ and 1.2 WAR that is severely weighed down by an awful rookie year.
Arismendy Alcantara: After getting called up the following season, Alcantara made the Opening Day roster in 2015 but then spent nearly the whole season down in AAA Iowa. He was traded this June to the A’s for Chris Coghlan where he now is in AAA Nashville. An unimpressive .196/.251/.340/.591 is paired with an equally poor 64 wRC+ and 0.0 WAR.
Jorge Soler: With a brief debut at Wrigley in 2014, Soler has been in Chicago since, except for the crazy amount of time he has spent on the DL. His career line reads .258/.325/.421/.745 and a 102 wRC+ and 0.7 WAR.
Jae-Hoon Ha: Yes, the Cubs Futures Game representative was Ha. He continued through the system as an outfield through 2014 getting as high as AAA Iowa before getting switched to the mound as a hail mary of sorts to try to revive his fairly unproductive career. He was then released after a partial season of pitching in short season Eugene. He is now with the Yakult Swallows of the Japan Central League. He is 25 years old.
Matt Szczur: It took Szczur another 3 years to reach Chicago in 2014, but it is now 2016 and Szczur is still around. He has been tossed back and forth between Chicago and Iowa for the past few seasons and is now out of options but has played fairly well as a fourth outfielder this season. Career line of .239/.288/.367/.655 with a 78 wRC+ and a -0.1 WAR.
Brett Jackson: Oh this is getting good. Jackson was called up to Chicago 2 years after his appearance in the Futures Game and was supposed to be the savior. Too bad he basically sucked it up in the Windy City his whole career. He was traded to Arizona in 2014 and then picked up by the Giants later that year in the Rule 5 Draft. He is now out of baseball. Career line? .169/.299/.360/.651 and a 75 wRC+ and 0.1 WAR. (Also a 40.8% K rate.)
Hak-Ju Lee: He has yet to see a Major League inning, but was a major piece in the trade to the Rays that brought Matt Garza to the Cubs. He has since been picked up by the Giants on a Minor League deal and has a wRC+ of 94 this season for AAA Sacramento.
Josh Vitters: Debuting at the same time as Jackson in 2012, he followed the same career path. He stayed with the Cubs through 2014 when he was released. He now plays Independent League baseball for the Bridgeport Bluefish. Another awful career line. .121/.193/.202/.395, wRC+ of 5, WAR of -1.5.
Starlin Castro: My man Starlin shot up the system, making his Cubs debut the next season and being a building block of the team for years. 1,000 hits later, he was traded to the Yankees this past offseason for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan. His line reads .279/.318/.403/.721 with a 94 wRC+ and a 10.9 WAR.
Welington Castillo: A Cubs favorite as soon as he made it to Chicago in 2010, Castillo was finally traded to Seattle in 2015 due to a catcher logjam. He ended up in Arizona and that is where he is now as their everyday catcher. Career line of .254/.316/.419/.735 and a 100 wRC+ and a 9.2 WAR.
Geovany Soto: After winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2008, his career went south as a Cub and he ended up getting moved around from team to team including the Rangers and White Sox. Now with the Angels, he is seeing a platoon role. He has a career .247/.332/.435/.676 and a 102 wRC+ and 13.7 WAR.
So there you have it. Of the 16 players the Cubs have sent to the Futures Game over the past 10 years, half of them are still with the organization and 11 of them have seen Major League time this season… and then there is Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, and Jae-Hoon Ha.
Of note: The 2008 Futures Game saw quite a few guys that eventually made their way into a Cubs uniform even though they weren’t in the organization at the time. Those names included:
Jake Arrieta – Baltimore
Trevor Cahill – Oakland
Clayton Richard – Chicago White Sox
Dexter Fowler – Colorado
Hector Rondon – Cleveland
Taylor Teagarden (Cubs Legend) – Texas
Chris Valaika – Cincinnati
Nate Schierholtz – San Francisco
Welington Castillo – Chicago Cubs
Emilio Bonafacio – Arizona