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2023 Cubs prospect profiles: Luis Vázquez

He’s been around for a bit but progress, as they say, isn’t linear, and he jumped a couple of levels in 2023.

Luis Vázquez plays in the Arizona Fall League in 2021
Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

This series of Cubs prospect profiles is based on Fangraphs’ top 52 prospects list, minus the players who have already been profiled. Generally, these will be of Triple-A and Double-A players that might see the 40-man roster at some point. I’m not necessarily doing them in order and will skip around a bit.

Luis Vázquez was added to the 40-man roster, so one could guess that the above is operative. He had a breakout 2023 season and might well be worth keeping around, even if he’s just a ‘break glass’ sub.

“Vázquez, 24, hit .271 (123-for-454) with 24 doubles, 20 home runs, 80 RBI and 54 walks to contribute to an .817 OPS in 124 games between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa.” — Evan Altman

That’s swell production, especially when compared to his career MiLB marks: .236/.304/.350, with a .654 OPS. He’s bounced around a lot. Vázquez played for four teams in 2019, three in 2018, and two each the last two years. Any production at all, and he can lock up that Iowa shortstop spot if the Cubs don’t advance BJ Murray or Andy Weber. Even then, he’d be in the mix, if he retains that 40-man spot. No guarantee there — the Hot Stove League is just getting going after the general manager meetings priming period.

But he has a better-than-long shot. Unless unless, what we can’t predict.

Anyway he’s there and available, has defensive skills and a bat that still has a little growing to do. He can hold that spot until the young shortstops/infielders start disseminating into Iowa and taking over other positions as well, if in fact they do that. We’re talking there about Triantos and Matt Shaw, Ed Howard, and Cristian Hernandez, others on the Smokies, South Bend, Myrtle Beach rosters.

Pretty good for a guy who was drafted in the 14th round (435th overall) by the Chicago Cubs in 2017 and signed for $125,000. Brett Taylor called him “one of the best defensive infielders in the organization.” North Side Baseball has him ranked No. 20 and says “It’s fair to give him a 60+ grade on the glove, and if you want to be very bullish, a 65 is probably okay. His glove has never really been in doubt, giving him a relatively safe floor as we move forward. If not for Pete Crow-Armstrong, an argument that Vázquez winning “Cubs MiLB Defensive Player of the Year” could be made.”

There’s what he can do at his best. It’s not hard to look at. Arizona Phil’s Cubs depth chart has Vázquez as Dansby Swanson’s backup, but that’s likely to change, and he could well pair with Levi Jordan at Triple-A.

“As always, we await developments.”