There were no surprises among the four players the Cubs added to the 40-man roster ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, so I don’t feel too bad just sharing the press release for now. Plus I’m at my son’s baseball practice and trying to write on a phone with the sound of batting cages all around is maddening.
For those who might be wondering why Matt Mervis isn’t named, it’s because he still isn’t eligible for the Rule 5 Draft and doesn’t need to be protected on the roster yet. His time will come soon enough, but for now they need to maintain flexibility.
The Chicago Cubs today selected the contracts of outfielder Kevin Alcántara from Low-A Myrtle Beach, right-handed pitcher Ben Brown from Double-A Tennessee, outfielder Brennen Davis from Triple-A Iowa and right-handed pitcher Ryan Jensen from Tennessee. The Cubs 40-man roster now stands at 38 players.
Alcántara, 20, last season hit .273 (117-for-428) with 19 doubles, six triples, 15 home runs, 85 RBI, 15 stolen bases and an .811 OPS in 112 games for Myrtle Beach. His 85 RBI led the Carolina League while his 193 total bases ranked third, his 40 extra-base hits were tied for third and his 117 hits ranked fourth. The six-foot five-inch Alcántara played 69 games in center field (.974 fielding percentage) and 23 games in right field (.929 fielding percentage). He is ranked the third-best prospect in the Cubs system by MLB.com.
Acquired from the Yankees with right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaíno for infielder Anthony Rizzo July 29, 2021, Alcántara has hit .281 (199-for-708) with 31 doubles, 14 triples, 21 home runs, 128 RBI, 24 stolen bases, a .359 on-base percentage and an .812 OPS in 187 career minor league games. The right-handed hitter was signed by the Yankees as an international free agent in July of 2018.
Brown, 23, was acquired from Philadelphia for right-handed pitcher David Robertson at last season’s trade deadline, and between High-A Jersey Shore and Tennessee went 6-5 with a 3.38 ERA (39 ER/104.0 IP), 36 walks compared to 149 strikeouts and a 1.17 WHIP in 23 games (22 starts). He averaged 12.9 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and 4.14 strikeouts per walk while holding opponents to a .221 average (86-for-390) with a .293 on-base percentage.
The six-foot six-inch Brown is the No. 7 prospect in the Cubs system according to MLB.com. He was selected by the Phillies in the 33rd round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, N.Y. Brown is 11-9 with a 3.39 ERA (77 ER/204.1 IP) in 56 career minor league games (37 starts) with one complete game, 73 walks and 261 strikeouts. He has averaged 11.5 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.
Davis, 23, the Cubs’ second round selection in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft, was limited to 53 games in 2022, spending May 10-August 15 on the injured list with a back injury. The six-foot four-inch outfielder went 27-for-141 (.192) with six doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI in his 43 games with Iowa. He appeared in center field (14 games), left field (13 games), right field (12 games) and designated hitter (four games).
A Chandler, Ariz., native, Davis owns a career .255 average (194-for-762) with 42 doubles, three triples, 32 home runs, 103 RBI and an .806 OPS in 221 minor league games. Rated as the Cubs’ No. 2 prospect (MLB overall No. 48) by MLB Pipeline, Davis was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year in 2021 after he combined to hit .260 (91-for-350) with 25 doubles, 19 home runs and 53 RBI in 99 games with South Bend, Tennessee and Iowa. He was named the MVP of the 2021 Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game after he went 2-for-3 with two solo home runs.
Jensen, 24, was 2-4 with a 4.25 ERA (28 ER/59.1 IP) in 17 starts for Tennessee in 2022, including a 3.41 ERA (12 ER/31.2 IP) in his final eight starts beginning July 8.Opponents batted .204 (44-for-216) against him on the season, including a .197 mark (23-for-117) from right-handed hitters, while he walked 39 and struck 60. Jensen was named Southern League Pitcher of the Week for August 8-14, thanks to 5.0 shutout innings vs. Mississippi, August 13.
Selected by Chicago in the first round (27th overall) of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of Fresno State University in California, Jensen is 5-11 with a 4.04 ERA (68 ER/151.1 IP) in 43 minor league starts spanning three seasons. He has walked 84, struck out 169 and pitched to a 1.26 WHIP.