Continuing to adjust and add to their roster, the Chicago Cubs brought in some potential outfield depth Wednesday afternoon when they, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, signed outfielder Brian Bogusevic to a minor league deal. It’s expected that the 28 year old will be invited to Spring Training with a chance at competing for a spot off the Cubs bench in 2013.
A left-hander with experience at all three outfield positions, Bogusevic has hit just .227/.310/.346 in 618 plate appearances over the past three seasons with the Houston Astros. This past season he saw his greatest amount of playing time, appearing in 146 games for the MLB-worst Astros, batting a mere .203/.297/.299 with 7 HR and 29 RBI over 404 plate appearances, though most of that production came during the season’s first half. He did hit 61 points better away from the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park than he did at home.
Bogusevic got to pitch an inning for the Astros this past season, in early June against the St. Louis Cardinals. He’d allow two runs on three hits (including a David Freese home run) in the outing. It’s significance, however, overshadowed the poor performance considering Bogusevic was originally drafted as a pitcher out of Tulane. Houston selected him 24th overall in the 2005 Draft but he struggled mightily through four seasons as a pitcher in the team’s minor league system. Overall he’d post a 14-21 record with a 5.05 ERA over 329.2 innings (77 appearances, 64 starts). His biggest problem was his ability to keep runners off base, allowed 3.4 BB/9 and 10.2 H/9 over his pitching career. Bogusevic had been one of the top hitters in Division I throughout his collegiate career so the decision to give him a second chance (akin to Rick Ankiel’s transition from mound to the outfield) and converted him into an outfielder.
Strong defense is likely Bogusevic’s calling card at this point, as he’s struggled to hit at the Major League level (he was a career .280/.363/.407 hitter across 1,585 plate appearances in the minors), but he could still develop into a solid bench option.