Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 7/29/13
Yesterday, we featured two players from each of the Chicago Cubs’ three upper-tier minor league teams, Iowa, Tennessee and Daytona.  Today, we feature two players apiece on the rosters of their lower-level teams, Kane County, Boise and the Arizona Rookie League Cubs. KANE COUNTY COUGARS Armando Rivero:  RH relief pitcher Rivero pitched a couple of seasons professionally in his native Cuba, most recently in 2011.  He defected that same year and then experienced a circuitous route to the United States via The Dominican Republic and Haiti while his immigration status was resolved.  Then the Cubs signed the 25-year-old relief pitcher, and former teammate of fellow Cubs’ farmhand Gerardo Concepcion, in March of 2013.  There are conflicting reports about his velocity, some saying that his fastball reaches the mid 90′s but that he generally pitches in the low 90′s.  More optimistic reports indicate that his fastball touches the high 90′s and consistently reaches the mid 90′s. Rivero, who received a $3.1 million signing bonus from the Cubs, debuted in the organization at Kane County of the Midwest League on June 22, where he has been pitching out of the Cougars’ bullpen.  Having not pitched in two years, the lanky Rivero was understandably a bit rusty in his initial appearance, in which he allowed 5 hits and 4 runs in just .2 of an inning.  Rivero continued to struggle, as he allowed 3 runs apiece in appearances on July 7 and 13 that each covered 1.2 innings.  However, Rivero appears to have found his rhythm of late, as he has not allowed a run in his last four appearances, covering 7.2 innings.  During this stretch, he has yielded 4 hits and 3 walks and fanned 14.  In yesterday’s 6-3 Cougars’ victory over the Peoria Chiefs, Rivero earned the save with 2 innings of no-hit, shutout relief in which he walked 1 and struck out 5. Overall, Rivero has produced an ERA of 6.08 and WHIP of 1.60 in 16.1 innings.  He has allowed 18 hits and 8 walks and struck out 24.  But if Rivero continues to pitch like he has since July 13, a late season promotion from Kane County could be in the cards, as the Cubs are trying to move him through the system with alacrity. Gioskar Amaya:  2B Amaya, 20, has achieved success at each of the three lower levels of the Cubs’ system since being signed as a free agent out of his native Venezuela on July 9, 2009.  In his debut season of 2011 with the Arizona Rookie League Cubs, Amaya hit a robust .377 in 227 plate appearances.  Though he did not hit a home run, he clubbed 11 doubles and 8 triples.  Last season for the Boise Hawks of the short-season A-Ball Northwest League, Amaya averaged .298 with 6 doubles, a lead-leading 12 triples, 8 home runs and a league-best 61 runs scored.  This season for Kane County, Amaya’s average has dipped a bit to .273 with 5 home runs, 21 doubles and six triples.  He is 3rd among Midwest League second-basemen in triples and 4th in doubles. Over the course of his three seasons in the minors, Amaya has stolen 57 bases in 82 attempts, including 11 of 15 this season.  He also has a career on-base-percentage of .376.  His minor league RBI total of 122 is relatively impressive considering he has batted leadoff during a good portion of his career. One part of his game Amaya needs to improve is his defense.  While he has exhibited versatility, having played SS and 3B in addition to 2B, his career fielding percentage is a substandard .948.  This season, playing 2B exclusively, it is .957.  However, Amaya has accomplished a lot for a player just 20 years of age, and he was listed, prior to this season, as the 18th best prospect in the Cubs’ system by MLB.com. BOISE HAWKS Yasiel Balaguert:  OF Balaguert, 20, signed a $400,000 bonus with the Cubs on December 7, 2011, making him one of the first players acquired by the Theo Epstein regime.  Balaguert was a member of the Cuban junior national league team in 2010 before defecting later that year.  He debuted in the Cubs’ system last season at age 19 for Peoria, the Cubs’ former Midwest League affiliate.  There, the stocky 6’2 right-handed hitting outfielder struggled, batting .208 with a single home run and 18 RBI in 149 plate appearances.  The Cubs demoted Balaguert to the Arizona Rookie League to conclude last season, but his struggles followed him.  He hit .235 with 2 home runs and 15 RBI in 128 plate appearances in Arizona.  Balaguert’s combined on-base-percentage last season was a paltry .258. This season, with the exception of a four-game instructional detour back to Arizona, Balaguert has spent the entire year with Boise, where he has improved immensely.  Through yesterday’s action, he is hitting .280 with 4 home runs and 28 RBI.  His home run production ties him for 8th in in the league; his 19 walks for 7th, and his .457 slugging percentage and 22 runs for 6th.  He ranks second alone in doubles with 10 and in RBI with 28.  Balaguert has spent the majority of his time in RF with the Hawks but has played some LF and CF during his brief career.  He has 9 outfield assists and only 1 error in 116 career chances and has yet to commit an error this season. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino:  RH pitcher Martinez-Pumarino, 22, is also a native of Cuba who was signed on December 7, 2011, for $250,000.  Unlike Balaguert, he had played a year of professional baseball in Cuba prior to defecting and signing with the Cubs. Martinez-Pumarino, it has been reported, has a fastball that sits between 91-93 MPH.  His debut season of 2012, with the Arizona Rookie League Cubs, was a success.  He appeared in 14 games covering 43.1 innings and produced a 5-0 record, 3.53 ERA and 1.154 WHIP.  He yielded 36 hits and 14 walks while fanning 44, leading to a better than 3 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio.  This season pitching for Boise, he has achieved similar success.  In 10 games covering 16.1 innings, the 6’4 Martinez-Pumarino has put together a reduced ERA and WHIP of 3.31 and 1.102, respectively.  He has allowed 14 hits and 4 walks while striking out 15, for an improved strikeout to walk ratio of almost 4 to 1.  In 59.2 minor league innings, Martinez-Pumarino has allowed only 3 home runs. ARIZONA ROOKIE LEAGUE CUBS Trevor Graham:  The term most often used to describe RH pitcher Graham, 21 and a 13th round selection in the 2013 draft, is “hard-nosed.”  Graham stands 6’3 and is listed at 220 lbs.   After signing, Graham debuted with the Arizona League Cubs on July 10.  He has appeared in 5 games covering 8 innings and has allowed 6 hits, no home runs and 2 walks.  His ERA and WHIP are an impressive 1.12 and 1.000, respectively, and his strikeout to walk ratio is a gaudy 3 to 1.    Admittedly Graham’s numbers represent a very small sample size, but it is encouraging that Graham, in addition to several other pitchers from the 2013 draft class, is performing well out of the gates. Jeffrey Baez:  While the Arizona League Cubs’ pitching staff ranks in the top half of the twelve-team league in ERA, fewest walks allowed and most strikeouts, the team hitting is mired near the bottom in virtually every statistical category, including a league worst .219 batting average through Saturday’s games.  OF Baez, 19, represents one of the few bright spots on a moribund offense. After a six-game stint in the Arizona League last year, Baez returned this season and has produced respectable numbers.  Through last night’s game, Baez is averaging .274 with 1 home run, 4 doubles, 1 triple and 7 RBI in 109 plate appearances.  He has added 11 walks and has an above-average on-base-percentage of .365.  Baez has played all three outfield positions for the Rookie Cubs this season without committing an error in 48 chances while adding 4 outfield assists.  But most impressively, Baez is second in the league in stolen bases with 14, and he has only been caught once. We look forward to regularly profiling Cubs’ minor leaguers.  Please give us your feedback on players you think deserve to be featured or on the players we have profiled already. The post Chicago Cubs prospect profiles: Amaya, Balaguert and more appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dodgers reportedly ‘in the mix’ for top left-handed relievers

Did LeBron troll the world with Ben Simmons birthday tweet?

O.J. Simpson granted parole, will be released in October

Jourdan Lewis will miss start of camp for domestic abuse trial

Vick 'truly sorry' for comments about Kaepernick

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NFL owners pushing for Ezekiel Elliott suspension?

Report: Derrick Rose in ‘serious talks’ to join Cavs

Giants co-owner: Kaepernick is not being blackballed

Report: Lakers wanted to sign D-Wade if Bulls bought him out

Report: Bell has no plans to miss regular season games

Le'Veon Bell wants to be paid like 'a No. 1 RB and No. 2 WR'

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

Every NFL team’s biggest question as training camps start

Box Score 7/20: Nothing but Nolan

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

Every MLB team's biggest need at the trade deadline

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

Box Score 7/19: The shadow of the trade deadline begins to fall over baseball

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

Box Score 7/18: Burying a glove is fine until you have a zombie glove in the outfield

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

The 'Youth in baseball is cyclical' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

Getaway Day: Class is back in session

The 'Safeties in numbers' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker