Sunday, June 15, 2014

Where Are They Now? 2011 Pro Debut Part 1

Last season when 2013 Topps Pro Debut came out, I decided to take a retrospective look at the Cubs prospects from the inaugural 2010 set and what they had done since. I got eight posts out of the sixteen card set and thought I'd do it again this year. Now that the 2014 set has been released, let's take a look at the Cubs prospects from 2011. This will be an ongoing series again for the next couple of Sundays.

Numerically, the first two guys in the Cubs set were Hak-Ju Lee and Brandon Guyer. In January 2011, both of these guys were involved in an 8-player trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.

2011 Topps Pro Debut #65 Hak-Ju Lee

Hak-Ju Lee's 2010 card showed him with the Boise Hawks (low A) but he got bumped up to the Peoria Chiefs (middle/regular A) for the 2011 release. He was part of the set last year so I won't rehash that blurb but you can see it here.

When we last left Lee, he was recuperating from a knee injury just 15 games into the 2013 season. He missed the rest of the season and opened this year on the disabled list. He was reactivated on April 22, 2014 and has played in 42 games for the Rays' AAA affiliate, the Durham Bulls.

2011 Topps Pro Debut #99 Brandon Guyer

Brandon Guyer is shown here with the Tennessee Smokies, the Cubs AA affiliate. Guyer is a curious choice for this set as his "pro debut" came in 2007 after he was drafted in the 5th round of the 2007 draft. He made all of the natural progressions over the years with low, mid and high Single A before reaching Tennessee.

After being traded to the Rays in 2011, Guyer was assigned to the Durham Bulls but made his MLB debut in early May of that season. In his first Major League at bat, Guyer hit a two-run home run but was optioned back to Durham three days later with just the one game under his belt. He got another one-game call up in July and then again for thirteen games in September.

He had another 3-game Rays stint in 2012 after a hot start in Durham before being derailed for the season with a shoulder injury. The 2013 season was spent entirely in Durham but Guyer made the Rays MLB roster out of Spring Training for 2014. He played in 28 games before fracturing his thumb in late May. Yesterday, he started his rehab assignment in Durham and is expected back to the Rays by the end of the month.

I really like the idea behind Pro Debut but starting off with a guy who was in last year's set and another guy whose "pro debut" was three years before isn't great execution.

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