Cubs’ prospects: Lopez, Remillard, Bremer, Soler, Godley

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As the Cubs continue to struggle, their record 12-24 through Sunday, Cubs’ fans are largely left to focus on the minor leagues for silver linings in Year Three of the Theo Epstein regime.  This week, we profile several more Cubs’ prospects who are excelling this season. Let’s get to work. Catcher Rafael Lopez, 26, is having a tremendous season for the AA Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League, which is also where he played last year.  In 95 games and 367 plate appearances in 2013, the stocky left-handed hitter batted .247 with eight home runs, 22 doubles, 43 RBI and 49 walks.  His OBP was .350 and slugging percentage .392. lopez-cubs-prospects

Through Sunday for the Smokies, Lopez was hitting .326 (4th in the league) in 114 plate appearances with 11 doubles (2nd), two homers and 15 RBI.  He is slugging .511 (6th) and has an OBP of .456 (1st).  Lopez has thrown out an impressive 48% of attempted base stealers  and committed just three errors in 217 chances. Lopez is one of the more under-the-radar Cubs’ prospects. RH hitting catcher Eli Whiteside, 34 and batting .159 in 76 plate appearances for AAA Iowa, is inexplicably blocking a Lopez promotion.  Another catcher opening eyes is Will Remillard, 21, who was named minor league player of the month in the Cubs’ organization. Remillard, a 19th round selection in the 2013 draft, is in his debut season in the Cubs’ organization for Class A Kane County of the Midwest League.  In 92 plate appearances through Sunday, the right-handed hitting catcher was averaging .367 with one home run, nine doubles and 22 RBI.  But for a delayed season debut, Remillard would be among the league leaders in most offensive categories, including leading the league in batting average. remillard

The catcher has thrown out 33% of attempted base stealers and has yet to commit an error in 211 chances.


RHP Tyler Bremer:  Selected in the 27th round of the 2012 draft, Bremer is pitching for Kane County after spending last season for the Boise Hawks of the short-season Northwest League.  Bremer has produced prolific strikeout totals since joining the Cubs’ organization. In 23 appearances last season covering 29.1 innings, Bremer allowed only 19 hits (one home run) and eleven walks while fanning 48.  His ERA was 2.15 and WHIP 1.023.  He fanned 14.7/9 and had a SO/BB ratio of 4.36. In eleven games covering 16 innings this season for the Cougars, Bremer has allowed 16 hits (one home run) and eight walks while fanning 23.  His ERA is 2.81, WHIP 1.500, SO/9 12 and SO/BB ratio 2.88. The velocity of Bremer’s fastball has increased to the low 90’s, and his best pitch is a curveball with late bite.  He also throws an effective changeup.    He’s described as an aggressive pitcher



OF Jorge Soler:  The biggest obstacle for Soler, ranked the 34th best prospect by Baseball America entering the season, has been staying healthy.  Last year, Soler was cobbling together a solid year for Advanced A Daytona when, during that league’s All-Star game, he suffered a stress fracture in his left tibia that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. In 236 plate appearances, Soler finished the season with a .281 average, eight homers, 13 doubles one triple and 35 RBI.  He swiped five bases in six attempts, slugged .467 and produced an OBP of .343. Soler’s season for Tennessee started inauspiciously, as he injured his left hamstring in his first at bat on April 3 legging out a double.  He was activated on May 8 and has been clubbing the ball since.  In 20 plate appearances, Soler is batting .412 with six doubles and seven RBI. If Soler can stay healthy and dominate AA pitching for the next couple months, he will likely finish the at season at Iowa. He is one of the most ballyhooed Cubs’ prospects.


RHP Zack Godley:  Godley, a tenth round selection in the 2013 draft, was recently promoted to Daytona after a dominant stretch at Kane County to start the season.  He split the 2013 season between the Arizona Rookie League Cubs and Boise, where he was also impressive. In 14 games covering 26.2 innings last season, Godley yielded 22 hits (no homers) and just five walks while fanning 28.  His ERA was 2.02, WHIP 1.012 and SO/BB ratio 5.60. godley-cubs-prospects

In eleven games this year for Kane County covering 15.0 innings, Godley allowed nine hits (no homers) and seven walks while striking out 25.  His ERA was 1.80, WHIP 1.067, SO/9 15.0 and SO/BB ratio 3.57. Since his promotion to Daytona, Godley has tossed two no-hit innings, allowed one walk and fanned three. Godley throws a mid-90’s fastball with pinpoint control but needs to refine his curveball and changeup. Check back next week for more Cubs’ prospects profiles.

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