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Cubs acquire young talent in Lee deal

Cubs acquire young talent in Lee deal

Derrek Lee was the big name going from Chicago to Atlanta on Wednesday, but the Cubs did get three Minor League pitchers in return for the veteran first baseman. Here's some more information on Robinson Lopez, Tyrelle Harris and Jeffrey Lorick.

The best arm in the deal is Lopez. The 19-year-old right-hander was signed out of the Dominican Republic in November 2008 and had a stellar U.S. debut in 2009, going 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA, .229 batting average against and 42 strikeouts (vs. just 12 walks) in 48 2/3 innings pitched. This year with Rome in the full-season South Atlantic league, Lopez has gone 3-8 with a 4.37 ERA, striking out 70 and walking 43 in 92 2/3 IP. He's fared better as a reliever (2.61 ERA, .213 BAA, 27 K's in 20 2/3 IP) than as a starter (4.88 ERA, .248 BAA, 43 K's in 72 IP), but has the chance to be a starter. He's got a plus fastball that sits at 91-94 mph and will touch 96 mph. He'll show an occasional above-average curve as well. Young for the league, he got off to a great start (2.88 ERA in the first half) but got tired in his first taste of full-season ball.

Lorick, a 20th-round pick out of the University of Virginia last year, has been with Lopez on the Rome staff in his first full season. Pitching mostly in relief (including one two-inning stint up a level), the southpaw has gone 3-6 with a 2.24 ERA in 27 games, all but four in relief. In 52 1/3 total innings, he's given up 43 hits (.224 BAA) while striking out 43 and walking 21. He throws his fastball 88-92 mph with an average to slightly above average curve. He has a changeup, but it's below average. His future is as a reliever -- he's got a 1.87 ERA out of the Rome bullpen -- and likely as a lefty specialist. He's held left-handed hitters to a .128 batting average in the South Atlantic League, but he needs to improve his control to succeed at the higher levels.

Harris, at age 23, is the oldest of the trio headed to the Cubs. A senior sign out of the University of Tennessee, he's pitched at three levels in 2010, almost entirely in relief. Currently in Double-A, Harris has a combined 2.90 ERA and six saves with a .210 BAA and 60 K's in 49 2/3 IP. There's not a ton of upside here, but he's got a fastball in the 90-93 mph range, with a fringe average slider and changeup. He seems to be more of a value to provide depth in an organization, a bullpen arm who could get called up in an emergency.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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