{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

{"event":["spring_training" ] }

Former first-rounder Simpson among notable cuts

|
Former first-rounder Simpson among notable cuts play video for Former first-rounder Simpson among notable cuts

Former first-round Draft pick Hayden Simpson and former two-time All-Star Dontrelle Willis were among the Minor Leaguers the Cubs released on Saturday.

The Cubs selected the right-handed Simpson with the 16th overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Southern Arkansas University, but he never found his footing. Mononucleosis prevented Simpson from making his pro debut that year, and he suffered from a loss of velocity.

Simpson, who turns 24 on May 20, made 30 starts in 56 Minor League appearances from '11-'12, getting as far as High Class A Daytona last year. Overall, he went 5-17 with a 6.42 ERA, 120 strikeouts and 89 walks in 161 1/3 innings. He posted an ERA of 5.72 or higher at each level along the way.

Willis signed a Minor League deal with the Cubs in January, ending the retirement he announced last July after a brief stint with the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk. The 2003 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner made one Cactus League appearance this spring, on Feb. 25 against the Dodgers. He issued a walk, then exited with tightness in his left shoulder while facing the next batter.

Originally an eighth-round Draft pick by the Cubs in '00, Willis won 46 games with a 3.27 ERA for the Marlins from '03-'05, but has struggled with injuries and poor performance in recent years. He last pitched in the Majors in '11, when he made 13 starts for the Reds, posting a 5.00 ERA.

The Cubs also released catcher Michael Brenly, the son of former team broadcaster Bob Brenly. The younger Brenly, 26, hit .227 with six home runs and 28 RBIs for Double-A Tennessee last season.

Bob Brenly left the Cubs this offseason to broadcast games for the D-backs, the team he managed to the '01 World Series title.

Gene Duffey is a contributor to MLB.com. Andrew Simon is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español