Luis Vazquez, infield.
October 10, 1999 Orocovis, Puerto Rico
2017 14th Round Draft Pick (Cubs), Alberto Melendez Perez High School
The word that best describes Vazquez’ minor league career is “truncated.” In his draft year, he played at the Rookie Level in Mesa, and was the 2018 starter at short for Eugene. Then, it got a bit screwy, and it had very little to do with Vazquez.
I’m not sure how vividly you remember the 2019 season, particularly in the minor leagues, but injuries were par for the course. Early on, Nico Hoerner missed a bunch of time. A few other middle infielders missed quite a few games, as well. Needing to promote infielders beyond their comfort levels, Vazquez was among them. He played eight games for South Bend, 25 for Tennessee, and even saw time in Triple-A Iowa as a 19-year-old. He did fairly well, even there. Once the injuries cleared, he returned to Short-Season Eugene, and started 61 games for them.
With 2020 a wash for all but 60 players, Vazquez wasn’t one of them. He returned in 2021, and was injured in his sixth game. Once healthy, he had a suspension to serve, from a bench-clearing brawl in May. After a fashion, Vazquez styled a .755 OPS in Advanced-A for South Bend over 23 games, tacking on eight late in Double-A Tennessee. Added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster for 2021, he struggled at the advanced level of play offensively, hitting .208/.323/.321 (11-for-53).
Vazquez’ calling card is his glove. His bat is far from useless, though power isn’t his primary asset. He scored the final three runs, from the ninth spot in the order, in the 6-0 Mesa Solar Sox title game win. As with most prospects in the Cubs pipeline outside most Top 30 lists, he’ll have to upgrade something somewhat soon, or he might become that guy that Cubs fans float in a trade discussion. “Trade Luis Vazquez for him.” He has a modicum of value, but unless he hits in Tennessee in 2022, while keeping the glovework up, the hill to meaningful playing time gets steep.
After all, truncated is not a good word to be described with, with the Cubs’ upcoming middle infield depth run.