Candelario turning heads this spring

Cubs' No. 20 prospect a pleasant surprise in camp

Candelario turning heads this spring

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs catcher Miguel Montero likes what he's seen of Jeimer Candelario. So does Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

"The big thing with a guy like [Candelario] is to keep him working and hope it plays out the way you think it will be and keep promoting him within and getting him to a higher level, get him ready, and then see what happens at that point," Maddon said of Candelario, before the 22-year-old went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in Saturday's 9-2 win over the White Sox.

"Sometimes you look at a position and say it's a really thick position, [and ask] 'When will this guy get a chance to play?' and you find out way too soon," Maddon said. "Just keep him rolling and moving forward."

It would be easy for Candelario, ranked as the Cubs' No. 20 prospect on MLB.com, to be frustrated. The Cubs already have Kris Bryant at third base. But this is his first big league camp, and Candelario is taking advantage of it.

"I'm excited to work hard every day and keep learning from the veteran guys here," Candelario said Friday. "I'm going to take advantage of it."

"I love the kid," Montero said of Candelario. "For me, he's going to be a big league Gold Glove, solid third baseman. Watching him play, he reminds me of Aramis Ramirez, but a switch hitter."

On Saturday, Candelario started his fourth straight game, and went 2-for-3, hitting a double in the second and a single in the fourth. He also drew a walk in the first to load the bases and set up Anthony Rizzo's two-run single which helped spark the Cubs to victory. Candelario was charged with two errors.

"Bad things are going to happen in the game," Candelario said. "You just have to work hard and play hard. When you play hard, good things will happen. There will always be positives and negatives."

Montero gave Candelario some advice.

"[I told him] 'Don't try to impress, don't try to be the hero. Just go out and do your thing and you'll be fine,'" Montero said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.