Taking chances on pitchers has long been the norm for Theo Epstein and Co. so we shouldn’t expect that to change now that he’s a year into his tenure in Chicago. Another name can be added to that list it would seem, as the team released word Monday evening that they had acquired right-hander Barret Loux and a player to be named later from the Texas Rangers in exchange for right-hander Jake Brigham.
Loux is an interesting story. Dominant throughout his collegiate career at Texas A&M (including going 11-2 with a 2.83 ERA and Big 12 leading 136 strikeouts, a semifinalist for the prestigious Golden Spikes Award), Loux was selected 6th overall in the 2010 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The two sides had a pre-draft deal in place that would have paid him a $2 Million signing bonus, however he failed his physical. A torn labrum and elbow damage were found, with team doctors openly concerned that Loux was likely to end up needing ligament replacement surgery (i.e. Tommy John) sometime down the road, so the D’backs essentially voided the signed agreement, making Loux a free agent. They’d receive the 7th overall selection one year later as compensation, drafting right-hander Archie Bradley.
Due to the unusual circumstances causing the decision, Major League Baseball made an exception for Loux, freeing him to sign with another team much sooner than normal. He’d land in Texas after throwing for scouts, agreeing to a signing bonus of $312,000.
Over the past two seasons he’s thrown well in the Rangers’ system, pitching 236.0 innings over 46 starts. He’s 22-6 with a 3.62 ERA over that span, adding 8.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. He excelled at Double-A this past season, going 14-1 with a 3.47 ERA. At 24 and likely heading to Triple-A to start the upcoming season, Loux would seem like a highly regarded option for the Cubs to acquire (Baseball America had him as the 20th ranked prospect in the Rangers organization prior to last season), particularly for such a seemingly marginable price.
Brigham had just been acquired by the Cubs this past summer, from Texas in exchange for catcher Geovany Soto. The 24 year old made just two appearances for the Cubs before straining his elbow, ending his season. He’s 27-44 with a 4.49 ERA over six minor league seasons after being taken in the 6th Round of the 2006 Draft. Overall he went 5-7 with a 4.72 ERA in 114.1 innings (23 starts) at Double-A in 2012, his second season at the level.