Gioskar Amaya, second baseman, 5-11, 175
Acquired as international free agent in 2009
Probable 2014 landing spot: High-A Daytona
In early 2012, the Triple-A Iowa Cubs were about out of hitters as they were departing to an American League affiliate city. They had nine healthy hitters, and needed another on the bench in case of injury. The players in Double-A Tennessee wouldn't be well-served by being called up to sit for three games. What was decided was to call up Gioskar Amaya from Extended Spring Training.
EST is for a melange of different players. Much of the short-season Boise Hawks roster is culled from these players. Also, injured players rehab at EST. Anyone stateside unassigned to go elsewhere will spend time there. Yeah, that's quite a few bodies. Amaya had been a utility player, but had played much better since assigned to second base, and would OPS .877 in the upcoming Boise season.
Amaya sat the bench in the road series, and nobody was injured. (An AL city means DH baseball.) Late in the third and final game, Amaya was sent up as a pinch hitter, and he did what he does: Look for a hittable pitch, and take a whack at it. The resulting two-bagger gave him a 3.000 OPS in Triple-A ball.
Amaya is a hitter. He draws some walks, and was plunked by 13 pitches last year. His defense is a bit fluctuating. He makes some really good plays, and bobbles some easier chances. There would have been years where Amaya would have been one of the high points of a Cubs barren system. Alas, this isn't that time.
The best hope for Amaya, who turned 21 in December, is that he has a good enough year in Daytona so that he can get traded to a more 2B-friendly system. He has pretty much entered the Ronald Torreyes zone. He's too good to not acknowledge his offense, but not likely to take the job away from Arismendy Alcantara. Or Javier Baez. Or Kris Bryant. Or...
There will be trades. Amaya will hopefully be in one of them. A good season in Daytona is the next step.