4/2 Baez, Hendricks on Iowa’s roster
Javier Baez and Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ 2013 Minor League player and pitcher of the year, are both on the Triple-A Iowa roster, announced Wednesday.
The roster features 10 players on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, 13 players with Major League experience, and 12 that have played with Iowa before.
Baez is the Cubs’ top prospect after hitting .282 (146-for-517) with 37 home runs and 111 RBI combined between high-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee last year. He will be joined by fellow prospects Arismendy Alcantara and Christian Villanueva on the infield. Alcantara represented the Cubs in the All-Star Futures Game in New York last year. Villanueva led the Southern League in doubles, total bases, and extra-base hits last season.
Veterans Lars Anderson and Chris Valaika round out the infield. Both have big league experience. Anderson was up with the Red Sox for 30 games from 2010-12 and Valaika has played 55 games with the Reds (2010-11) and Marlins (2013).
Former top prospects Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters return to the patrol the outfield. They’ll be joined by Matt Szczur, who played at Tennessee last season, and veteran Chris Coghlan, who won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2009.
The Cubs will feature three left-handers in the starting rotation, including 2013 Pacific Coast League All-Star Chris Rusin who will get the start on Opening Day. It’s his second straight Opening Day start for Iowa. The rest of the rotation will be right-hander Carlos Pimentel, Hendricks, lefty Eric Jokisch, and lefty Tsuyoshi Wada. Pimentel signed with the Cubs as a Minor league free agent after seven seasons in the Rangers’ organization.
Hendricks combined to go 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA in 27 starts between Tennessee and Iowa last year, finishing seventh in minor league baseball in ERA. Jokisch, a product of Northwestern University in Chicago, pitched a no-hitter last year for Tennessee, and led all Cubs’ minor leaguers with 137 strikeouts in 160 2/3 innings.
Wada recorded 107 wins in 201 games over nine seasons with Fukuoka in his native Japan before coming to the United States and signing with the Orioles in 2012. He has pitched the last two seasons at Triple-A Norfolk.
The bullpen has six of the eight pitchers who appeared for Iowa in past seasons, including Blake Parker, Casey Coleman, Marcus Hatley, Marcos Mateo, Yoanner Negrin and Zac Rosscup. Eli Whiteside and Rafael Lopez will handle the catching duties.