The Chicago Cubs promoted infielder Jeimer Candelario to the major leagues yesterday; he went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts in his MLB debut against the New York Mets.Candelario is replacing the injured Chris Coughlan on the roster.
Candelario was born in New York City but moved to the Dominican Republic. Signed as a free agent in 2010, he struggled upon reaching High-A in 2014 but was more effective in 2015 and moved back up the Cubs prospect list.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Bats: S Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 210 DOB: November 24, 1993
2012: Grade C+; 2013: Grade C+; 2014: Grade B; 2015: Grade C+
Good points for Jeimer Candelario: he rebounded in 2015 after a shaky 2014, holding his own in a return engagement in High-A then hitting very well in Double-A over the last six weeks of the season. He is a switch hitter with a fairly polished approach and solid strike zone judgment. He has some power. He is a very good defender at third base. He’s still just 22. Bad points for Jeimer Candelario: his power is to the gaps and while he’s a good threat for doubles, he may never be a big home run guy. While his glove is fine at third, he isn’t quick enough for the middle infield and doesn’t run well enough to project well in the outfield, limiting his use as a potential bench asset. For the Cubs his best value is as trade bait; in the meantime, he’ll be hanging around awhile waiting for someone above him to get hurt. Grade B-.
Candelario split 2016 between Double-A (.219/.324/.367 in 210 at-bats) and Triple-A (333/.452/.600 in 72 at-bats) until yesterday's promotion.
There's been no real chance in Candelario's profile this year. His composite line of .249/.359/.428 between Double-A and Triple-A is well within expected parameters. He is still showing his solid eye for the strike zone, produces moderate/gap power, and a batting average which goes up and down a bit but generally settles in the .250-.260 range. He continues to play well defensively at third base but doesn't look like he is very suited for other positions. He hasn't stolen a base since 2013.
Long-term it is unclear exactly how Candelario fits on the Cubs roster, but wherever he lands he seems like he could be a fine role player.