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Chicago Cubs Prospects: Christian Villaneuva Impresses In Cubs Debut

When the Texas Rangers acquired Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs, they shipped off third base prospect Christian Villaneuva and right handed pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks. Dempster didn't exactly have a stellar debut for the Rangers, but one player in the trade did: Christian Villaneuva.

On the same night Dempster was torched by the Los Angeles Angels for eight runs on nine hits in four and 2/3 innings, Villanueva shined in the Florida State League. Villaneuva went 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk. Those two hits, however, were home runs, giving Cubs fans some hope for the future.

Prior to being traded, Villanueva hit .285/.356/.421 for Myrtle Beach, with 10 home runs in 375 at bats. Ranked as Texas' eighth best prospect coming into 2012 by Baseball America, there is certainly some upside to Villaneuva. Baseball America gave him a grade of 60 high, meaning, he has the potential to be a very good player (60 grade), but is a high risk of reaching that potential, since he's still fairly raw and still has to advance to class AA.

This isn't to say Jon Daniels made a mistake trading Villaneuva. Dempster's numbers prior to being traded are very, very similar to Colby Lewis' numbers. Lewis, as you may already know, is out for the year, leaving a rather gaping hole in Texas' rotation.

With Adrian Beltre under contract for a few more years, and Mike Olt ahead of Villaneuva on Texas' organizational depth chart, Villaneuva was deemed expendable -- and rightfully so.

Still, Villaneuva could prove to be a nice piece for Theo Epstein and the Cubs.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.