Thomas Neal has been claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs just two days after he was designated for assignment by the Yankees. The loss may not seem like much since Neal only played four big league games this year. However, another young outfielder whose call-up was wasted away for 13 plate appearances does not seem ideal.
Before the 2010 season, Neal was ranked as the 96th best prospect in the majors by Baseball America. He was traded from the Giants to the Indians for Orlando Cabrera in 2011, where he spent just one full season before being signed by the Yankees in January.
This season, Neal hit .325 in Scranton with a .391 on-base percentage and a 127 wRC+. For his career in the minors, he hit .301 in just under 3000 plate appearances with 70 homers while being named to the all-star team four times. In six seasons, Neal had 61 outfield assists with a .990 fielding percentage. Neal has the potential to be a major league starting outfielder but probably not for the Yankees, unless its in 2025.
Neal seemed happy to be picked up by a team that will give him a fighting chance at the majors, instead of just being a fill in. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>God is So good. All glory goes to him.</p>— Thomas Neal (@TdaddyNeal) <a href="https://twitter.com/TdaddyNeal/statuses/364448940453666816">August 5, 2013</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The Cubs outfield has been slimmed down to just three guys with the loss of Alfonso Soriano. Neal could get a quick call up to the big leagues. Expect him to get good playing time with the Cubs organization and with the Yankees 2013 luck, we may see him as a big free agent name in 3 years.