One pro sports legacy leaves the Cubs organization and another one enters.
The Cubs on Thursday traded minor league outfielder Trevor Gretzky, a likely Kane County Cougar in 2014, to the Los Angeles Angels for first baseman Matt Scioscia.
Both products of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft have famous fathers – NHL legend Wayne Gretzky and Angels manager Mike Scioscia, a former all-star catcher.
Both also are still seeking to rev up their careers. Scioscia, a Notre Dame product and 45th-round draft pick, is a .267 hitter in 454 minor league at-bats. Gretzky, taken in the seventh round, enters the season with a .288 average but just seven extra-base hits in 250 at-bats.
The 6-foot-4 corner outfielder, who was promoted to the Cougars in August, played at 190 pounds last season. Gretzky, 21, recently told Minor League Baseball’s website he had added 25 pounds of muscle this winter.
Should the Angels tab Gretzky for Class-A ball, he could return to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark with the Burlington Bees from May 2 to 4. Gretzky’s celebrity parents – his mother is actress Janet Jones – were on hand for the final series of the 2013 season, including when Gretzky smacked his first professional home run against Peoria.
Scioscia, 25, figures to be in the Cougars’ lineup to open the season. He has not played above Class-A and batted .194 in 40 games over three levels in 2013.
Manager Mark Johnson will return for a second season with the Cougars, but the players he’ll mold still are being determined as the organization concludes spring training in Mesa, Ariz.
The Cougars open the season at Quad Cities at 7 p.m. April 3.
The home opener against Fort Wayne is set for 6:30 p.m. April 8.
Bobble, bobble: Outfielder Albert Almora and first baseman Dan Vogelbach enticed Cougars fans and Cubs brass for much of last season.
Both prized prospects will return to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in 2014, if only in novelty form.
The Cougars recently announced 2014 bobblehead nights for both Vogelbach (June 24) and Almora (Aug. 12). The first 1,500 fans receive the giveaway. First pitch for both games is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Almora, Vogelbach and right-hander Pierce Johnson were among the most trumpeted names during the Cougars’ debut season as a Class-A Cubs affiliate. Each figures to be ticketed to begin 2014 with at least Advanced-A Daytona (Fla.).
Johnson and Vogelbach finished the season in Daytona, helping the club to a Florida State League title.
“They’re all great kids,” Cubs assistant director of player development and international scouting Alex Suarez said last month. “Definitely a group of kids that we’re looking forward to their continued development.”