As we wait for Matt Garza and the Cuban players to sign, here are some Cubs related news and notes...
- Kevin Goldstein polled baseball execs on Yoenis Cespedes, giving them a list of 5 players with which to compare the Cuban slugger. It's a good read if you have ESPN Insider or subscribe to Baseball Prospectus. I won't give you the tally or the details, but the players to whom he was compared were Colby Rasmus, Drew Stubbs, BJ Upton, Chris Young, and Adam Jones. There were mixed opinions from execs on each player and I think one of the interesting things was how you could clearly see how different baseball people can be when it comes to risk aversion. Sometimes they chose players because they were more comfortable with a known quantity while others preferred to gamble on upside.
- Cespedes may lose his Cuban HR record to Alfredo Despaigne, who has 17 HRs in just 42 games. Before you get too excited about the next big thing keep in mind that a) Despaigne has not defected, b) He's only 5'9", 170 lbs and c) played DH for the Cubans in the 2008 Olympics.
- Theo Epstein has said he expects the matter to be resolved soon but Peter Gammons reports that neither the Cubs nor the Red Sox have submitted proposals to Bud Selig.
- Gammons tweeted in a response to a question yesterday that he expects the Red Sox to receive an A level prospect. I'm assuming Gammons is using the more common baseball lingo in which level means playing level (i.e. Class A, AA, AAA). That's all well and good but there are some good players at the A level. Assuming they won't get anyone for the last draft class, the list includes Dae Un Rhee, Ben Wells, Reggie Golden, and even Matt Szczur who split the season between low A ball and high A ball. I don't believe it will be someone as good as Szczur but I can't rule out the other guys.
- Just my opinion, but it seems to me the Red Sox were less concerned about losing Theo Epstein than they were about exploiting the unwritten compensation rule to acquire a big-name player. Larry Lucchino could care less that Theo's gone except for a) it wasn't on his terms and b) he wanted to get a great player out of it. If Selig needs to stop anything, it's not executives under contract from leaving. The teams can do that themselves. He needs to stop people like Lucchino from trying to exploit the system for personal gain.
- Baseball America revised it's Cubs top 10 and slots in new acquisition Anthony Rizzo at #3 behind Brett Jackson and Javier Baez.
Speaking of Baseball America, I finally got my Prospect Handbook on Monday and have been pouring over it ever since. Some interesting tidbits..
- No LH starting pitcher in the top 31. That includes Chris Rusin, Eric Jokisch, and Austin Kirk. Kirk ranked in the top 10 at Fangraphs. In fact, the only LHP to make the list at all was Jeff Beliveau at #24.
- Trevor Gretzky is listed as a third baseman.
- Seven players from last years draft class made the list. In order of draft position they were: Javier Baez, Dan Vogelbach, DeVoss,Tony Zych, Shawon Dunston, Dillon Maples, and the biggest surprise, Taiwan Easterling. The Cubs really seem to like that kid.
- Hayden Simpson eeks in at #29 but would not have made it had Anthony Rizzo, Zach Cates, Ronald Torreyes, and Dave Sappelt been eligible for the list. The only prospect acquisition who made it in time for print was Casey Weathers, who ranked 27th.
There's tons more than that, of course, but for that you'll have to buy the book, but Bleacher Nation did list the top 30.