Logan Watkins thinks he can be a part of the Cubs' future

Logan Watkins thinks he can be a part of the Cubs' future
August 24, 2014, 3:45 pm
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Tony Andracki

You won't see Logan Watkins' name on any of the Cubs' top prospect reports, but the rookie thinks he can play a part in the Cubs' rebuild.

Watkins will turn 25 later this week and believes he can be a complementary piece to all the Cubs' top young position players like Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant.

Watkins, a natural second baseman, has morphed into a super-utility role with the Cubs, playing every position but pitcher and catcher down in Triple-A Iowa. He may never find a home in any one spot, but could provide value as a role player filling in all over the diamond.

"Obviously, I'm going to have to play a bunch of different positions," Watkins said. "Castro and Baez are pretty much cemented in the middle of the infield.

"It's something I've worked on at Iowa this year - playing a bunch of different positions and getting comfortable in the outfield. I'm going to have to do that here if I want to stay."

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Watkins won't win any batting titles or home run derbys, but he has carved out a niche as a guy who gets on base (.360 career minor-league OBP) and can use his speed (117 steals, 41 triples in the minors). He said his gameplan every time up is to get on base any way he can, whether by a hit, hit-by-pitch, walk, bunt, etc.

Could he be one of the guys occassionally setting the table for Baez, Bryant and Rizzo at Wrigley Field?

"You get on base for guys like Kris Bryant and Javy to hit the ball out of the park," he said. "... I've never played with guys like them. So much God-given ability. So much fun to play with, hitting in the two-hole [at Iowa] in front of those guys, knowing if you get on base you're gonna find a way to score.

"With this organization and the way this team is shaping up now, [getting on base] is going to be more important than ever."

Since he was selected in the 21st round of the 2008 Draft, Watkins has marched his way up through the Cubs system, spending only a year at each stop until repeating at Triple-A Iowa this year. He's seen the Cubs rebuild at every level.

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Sunday afternoon, Watkins was a part of a Cubs lineup that featured six players who had started the season at Iowa.

"So many good, young players," he said. "The Cubs have done a good job of drafting and trading and acquiring guys that look like they're gonna be here for a long time.

"We're very optimistic about how this team is shaping up and how it works. It's fun to be part of."

Watkins spent most of the last two months of 2013 in Chicago, but rarely saw any playing time, earning only five starts and mostly serving as a pinch-hitter.

He's been in the lineup a lot with Starlin Castro back home in the Dominican Republic on bereavement leave but Watkins said the Cubs haven't defined his role for the remainder of this season - or beyond.

"I'm just going to take it day-by-day," he said. "I try not to [think about the future]. I want to just play hard every day and hopefully I force their hand and they want me in the lineup and they find places to put me.

"I feel like I can be a pretty valuable piece to this team moving forward."