You may not know the newest addition to the Boise Hawks infield core by name yet; but rest assured, you will. After only eight games in the Chicago Cubs organization, Ezekiel DeVoss is making his name (Zeke) heard loudly around the organization while in Boise.
Devoss joined the Hawks after being selected by the Chicago Cubs in the third-round of the 2011 First-Year players draft as a sophomore from the University of Miami. He was promoted after playing in only three games for the Arizona Cubs of the Arizona Rookie League.
He reportedly signed a $500,000 contract with the organization.
While with the Hurricanes, the 5-foot-10 second base/outfield hybrid did nothing short of impress. In only two years, DeVoss started 121 of 123 while dominating most offensive categories and showing incredible plate discipline.
Discretion at the plate can often be difficult for young, professional hitters making the transition from college. However, in his final year with Miami, DeVoss led the team in walks (57) and on-base percentage (.491). For the Hawks, he has three walks and an OBP of .591 through five games.
Some skeptics may debate whether a player as young as DeVoss is ready for the lead-off roll as a professional. Think about this: DeVoss started all 61 games for the Hurricanes last season, where he led off in every game and led the team with a .340 average in his sophomore year.
DeVoss’ scouting report boasts a well-rounded game with immense potential for offensive production at the next level. He hits well for average, has plus speed on the base-paths and is very versatile in the field.
Since arriving in Boise, DeVoss has eight stolen bases and three multi-hit games while carrying a .407 average from both sides of the plate.
It’s not hard to find where DeVoss’ talent originates from. His parents, Mark and Angie DeVoss, were both collegiate athletes at Florida Southern University, leaving Zeke with a wide range of athletics ability spanning across three sports (baseball, basketball and football) while attending Astronaut High School.
Whether you know his name or not, one thing is for sure; Zeke DeVoss will be stealing the hearts of Wrigley Nation for years to come.
Over the past few seasons, the Chicago Cubs have shown their deep investment in Asian prospects through multiple free agent signings that have landed many foreign born players on the Boise Hawks roster.
Most notable of these recent acquisitions was Korean born short stop Hak-Ju Lee, who played in Boise during the 2009 season and is now rated the number 92 prospect in minor league baseball by Baseball America.This season the Hawks may have received their best overseas prospect yet in 19-year-old Pin-Chieh Chen from Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.
Despite being considerably slower than his counterpart Kyung-Min Na — signed by the Chicago Cubs in 2010 out of Seoul, Korea — Chen boasts a well-rounded skill set, while Na showed deficiencies at the plate.
Through six games with the Hawks, Chen is leading the team in batting average at .440 and is second in both slugging and on-base plus slugging to Paul Hoilman.
Chen is very comfortable in centerfield and shows good range while making only minimal tracking mistakes. He also has an above average arm, and has yet to commit an error thus far in 2011.
On June 23, Chen started in centerfield over Na, who started the majority of the 2010 season in center for the Hawks.
Though short season Class-A is the only level Chen has amounted to thus far in his short career, he should expect continued promotion in the Cubs organization over the next year. Na was promoted as high as Class AA Tennessee (majority of top prospects), with little success at the plate at each level.
Overall, it can be seen that Chen is an incredible all around prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization with plus hitting and fielding ability and above average speed. Though the season may have just started, Hawks fans are running out of time to see Chen in action.