The big news from Spring Training on Sunday was that third baseman Christian Villanueva broke his leg during a drill. The 24-year-old third baseman will have surgery tomorrow morning to repair the fracture. Villanueva had hoped to make the team this year as a backup infielder, though the odds of him doing so were very slim. On the other hand, there’s not much for him left to prove in the minors, and he might have been able to get a big league job with the Cubs or another organization with a good performance at camp.
I, for one, was pretty disappointed about the injury, as Villanueva had a great 2015 at Tennessee and Iowa (18 HR’s and 88 RBI’s) and followed it up with a great winter season in Mexico, where he hit .322 with 9 HR’s and 38 RBI’s in 64 games. Even more impressive was .434 OBP.
As a result of the injury, Villanueva has been placed on the 60-day DL and is expected to mix several months – no real timetable was given.
This will have a small domino effect on the Cubs system, the primary ripple of which will be that Jeimer Candelario could report to AAA Iowa this April instead of AA Tennessee. It also opens up room in Tennessee for Chesny Young to play every day. Outside of those two, however, I don’t think we’ll see any other prospects in the organization moving up a level.