Promotions send Pelicans Cubs’ top prospect Torres

pel-torresShortstop Gleyber Torres is the top-ranked Cubs prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, and on Wednesday, the Cubs promoted the 18-year-old from Class-A South Bend to join the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Torres highlights a bevy of roster changes for Myrtle Beach.

Outfielder Jeffrey Baez, who has led the Midwest League in OPS in the second half, joins Torres in Myrtle Beach as well.

In a corresponding set of roster moves, shortstop Carlos Penalver has been promoted to Double-A Tennessee, and outfielder Kevin Brown returns to Triple-A Iowa. Additionally, catcher Jordan Hankins was activated off of the 7-day disabled list and transferred to Class-A South Bend.

Torres, 18, was one of the youngest players in Class-A and is now the youngest player in the Carolina League. The Midwest League named the 6-foot-1-inch right-handed hitter as the Prospect of the Year in the league, and he departs ninth in the circuit in hitting (.293), tops on the South Bend roster, along with 24 doubles, five triples, and three homers. Torres was named a Midwest League Midseason All-Star for the Eastern Division after hitting .312 in the first half, and he was the starting shortstop for the Postseason All-Star team as well. Torres has spent all of his 119 games at shortstop and is a stolen base threat as well, with 22 steals in 35 attempts.

Prior to the start of the season, Baseball America named Torres the number six prospect in the Cubs system, and, after the “graduation” of many of the Cubs top prospects, MLBPipeline.com now lists Torres as the Cubs overall top prospect. Chicago signed Torres as an international, non-drafted free agent out of Caracas, Venezuela, on July 2, 2013.

Baez, 21, came out of the gates slowly in 2015 but has been one of the hottest hitters in Minor League Baseball over the last two months. In 101 games in the Class-A Midwest League, the outfielder is hitting .284 with 17 doubles, five triples, and nine home runs to go along with 34 runs batted in. Twenty-three of those extra-base hits, including eight of his nine home runs, have come in the second half.

Entering play on July 10, the native of El Tigre,Venezuela, was hitting just .176. Since then, the right-handed hitter is batting a robust .388 (75-for-193) with 42 runs scored, seven home runs, and 26 RBI. Since that date, he is 15th among full-season minor league players, second in Class-A, and tops in the Midwest League in OPS (.989). In his last 44 games, hes posted 26 multi-hit efforts, including two four-hit games. To go along with his other offensive skills, Baez can run, as he has 34 steals in 44 attempts, with 25 of his steals coming in the second half, and 13 in his 26-game month of August. The Chicago Cubs signed Baez as an international, non-drafted free agent on July 7, 2010.

Penalver, 21, was named “Best Defensive Infielder” in the Chicago Cubs farm system by Baseball America to begin the season. The slick-fielding native of Aragua, Venezuela, departs the Carolina League as a .197 hitter with 16 extra-base hits, including two home runs, one of which was a walk-off long ball on July 30 against the Potomac Nationals. He drove in 42 runs, fourth-most on the club, and has swiped 11 stolen bases in 19 attempts. The 6-foot shortstop logged 114 games with the Pelicans, all at shortstop. The Chicago Cubs signed Penalver as an international, non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2010.

Brown, 24, returns to Triple-A, where he played in seven games with the I-Cubs in the first half. In 75 Carolina League contests, Brown hit .225 with 11 doubles, three triples, and four home runs. The product of Northborough, Massachusetts, drove in 21 runs, including three during the week of May 25-31, when the left-handed hitter was named Carolina League Player of the Week. Chicago selected Brown in the 22nd round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Bryant University.

Hankins, 23, was placed on the 7-day disabled list on August 18, his second trip to the DL this season. In 23 games with Myrtle Beach this season, the left-handed hitting catcher carries a .227 batting average (15-for-66) with six RBI, five doubles, one home run, and eight runs scored. A 5-foot-10-inch tall native of Wentzville, Missouri, the Cubs selected Hankins in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Austin Peay State University.

Photo courtesy of MiLB

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