by Mark Sherrard of the Cubs Billy Goat Blog

With the draft in the books and the Cubs working diligently on signing their picks, its time for short-season (or Rookie) ball.

The Boise Hawks season got underway on Friday, with the Hawks splitting their first two games.  Here is a look at some of the players to watch on this year’s roster:

Kyler Burke, P – a former first round pick of the Padres, as an outfielder, the Cubs acquired Burke in 2007 for Michael Barrett.  With a career line of .244/.330/.387 over 5 minor league seasons, the Cubs decided to convert him to pitching this year to try to salvage his career.

Charles Thomas, P – another former position player (1B/3B), Thomas was converted to a reliever at the end of last season.  He reportedly throws in the high 90′s and it will be interesting to see what he can do over a full season.  He’s gotten out of the gates well, throwing 2 scoreless innings with 3 K’s in his first appearance of the season.

Austin Reed, P – a 12th round pick last year, Reed pitched well with the AZL Cubs (2.94 ERA and 34 K’s in 33.2 IP) and will look to build upon that success this year.

Benjamin Wells, P – a 7th round pick last year, Wells only pitched in 1 game after signing late and will get his first real taste of the minors this year.

Reggie Golden, OF – the highest profile player on this year’s roster is Golden, last year’s second round pick.  A 5-tool player in high school, Golden will probably be known more for his power than his speed as he grows and fills out.  He played only 4 games last year and will be looking to live up to his high expectations this year.

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