Cubs Notes: Vitters to get less playing time; Raley will get one more start; 2013 MLB Draft notes

Cubs Notes: Vitters to get less playing time; Raley will get one more start; 2013 MLB Draft notes

Some news and notes to peruse as the Cubs prepare for an early game today..

  • Paul Sullivan tweets that Luis Valbuena is going to get the majority of starts in September. I'm not going to go deep into the Josh Vitters issue as I did talk about this back on August 8th.  The simple answer here is that Vitters is overmatched at the MLB level.  This isn't a matter of a slow start or some bad BABIP luck.  As I mentioned in the previous article, Vitters turns every pitcher into Greg Maddux by letting them get away with less than perfect location.  He swings at their pitches and it's difficult to make consistent solid contact that way.  I expect Vitters to learn a lot about how MLB pitchers are approaching him and will take that knowledge back with him to Iowa next season where he can work on it everyday at a more appropriate level of competition for him right now.
  • Brooks Raley will get one more start and be shut down for the rest of the year.  Phil Rogers speculates that he'll be one of the Cubs 8 starting pitchers next year.  I'd say that's a pretty safe bet right now.  The shut down likely has to do with the amount of innings Raley has pitched this year.  Raley has already thrown a career high 151 innings this year.
  • Great to see some of our own branch out.  One of our readers and contributors Kevin Gallo (Wickit Cub) got himself a gig writing scouting reports for Baseball Futures.  Here's his first report on Brett Morales.  MLB Draft fans, don't worry, Kevin will still be doing reports for Cubs Den as well!  Please congratulate Kevin on a well-deserved opportunity to showcase his scouting talents.
  • Speaking of the draft, Baseball America has scouting reports on the top performers at the Cape Cod League this year.  Possible Cubs pick, LHP Sean Manaea of Indiana State heads the list. It's insider only, but I'll have my own report on the top college pitchers available in the 2013 draft and Manaea is near the top of that list.

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    Way to go, Kevin!

  • I know it's not a popular opinion, but I'd actually like to see the Cubs re-sign Ian Stewart for next season. He provides great defense and I'm curious to see if his offense would improve with a healthy wrist. I'm really not interested in seeing more of Valbuena but I also don't think it makes sense to acquire another 3B for more than a one year deal.

    Re-signing Stewart would also allow Vitters to go back to Iowa without placing any long-term obstacles in front of him, just in case it ever clicks. I still think Vitters' most likely future is as a Joe Mather type who could play 1B, 3B, and LF off the bench. Not exactly what the team expected from the #3 pick, but still has some small value.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I'd be on board. Not many cheap options better than Stewart out there.

    You might be right on Vitters too, especially early in his career. I just think he's going to be a late bloomer. When he masters a good approach, he'll be a viable starter somewhere.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd be ok with another year of Ian Stewart I guess. Might as well since the team is going nowhere next year.

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    In reply to Eddie:

    Part of the Vitters experiment may have been to see whether he was a viable option next year. Since he isn't, the $1.5 million offer to Stewart may make sense.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Irish, I'm with you on Stewart. But I think it's still too soon to pass judgement on Vitters. While he's been in the system for a while, he's had some injury's and the shortage of player development has been discussed extensively with Vitters being the poster boy for that shortcoming of the organization. But, he's only 23. MiLB is filled with 23yo's that are still playing at AA/AAA with Sept call-ups so he's not really that far off pace. It just seems like it because he was drafted in 07.

    I guess in a perfect world, Stewart produces and he can be dealt at the deadline for prospects. Vitters improves @ AAA and then comes up to takes Stewart's spot. I'm okay with Valbuena as a utility infielder and ph LH bat off the bench.

    P.S. Magic 8-ball says Vitters becomes a pretty good everyday MLB 3B, but is dealt for a huge a package of prospects in 2015.....

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I've been a fan of Stewart since he played here in Asheville and i have to believe most of his issues have been due to injury over the last few years. I'm taking bet's he comes back strong.

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    It is nice to have a front office that thinks long term and is more worried about Raley's arm than squeezing out two more wins this season. Ditto Shark if he is shut down.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Many young pitching prospects never made out of the minor
    thanks to a bad managers only interested in winning.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    True. Sveum is the first guy I remember to try and balance winning and development.

  • Why no AFL for Vitters?

  • In reply to Eddie:

    He's been there twice. It's more AA level, so I don't think it helps him much.

  • Thanks John and everyone! I will be an in depth report about every other day and of course John will always get an advance copy. If there are any player you want to know about. Contact me on twitter @kcmgallo905 and I will do my best to get it up

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    You're welcome. I will definitely do that.

  • Its kind of a coincidence that this was posted after the story on Brandon Hyde and the associated topic of player development. When Vitters was drafted, a lot of the same things that are being said about Baez were also said about Vitters - amazing bat speed, great ability to barrel the baseball, etc. Let's try to develop Baez a lot better than Vitters.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    It is, but there's definitely a connection here. Vitters is the poster child for letting a guy play and thinking he'll make it based on natural talent alone.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    There is no question Vitters is overmatched right now. He had some injuries that slowed his development as well. I think the Cubs have done the right thing by bringing Vitters and Jackson up now. It is an opportunity to show them how much they still need to improve. Sometimes it takes more then a September call up for a player to realize he needs to work harder. Jackson has to find a way to make more contact and Vitters needs to mature. He is still so young and unfortunately the old regime hyped players so much that we forget he was drafted out of HS.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I agree with you on the development aspect, but I do not think this is a fair comparison. I don't recall Vitters speed or defense being touted like Baez's. While Vitters was touted for his bat, even that pales in comparisons to Baez. Wilkens has gone on record stating that Baez is "special". Scouts have compared him to Gary Sheffield. Other quotes about Baez include: "top-shelf bat speed", "I haven't seen that type of bat speed this year outside of the big leagues. It's pure, unadulterated, just violent bat-speed.".... I don't recall anything like that being said about Vitters. Also, Baez has way more defensive flexibility that Vitters. Vitters is a 3B. His lack of defense may force him to LF. But ultimately, his bat that will decide how far he goes. Half the scouts feel like Baez can stick at SS. Baez himself will tell you he's comfortable anywhere in the infield. The kid can play (and has) all 9 positions.

    In short, Baez's 5 tools all rate plus whereas Vitters has 3 at most. But even Vitters strength (his bat) pales to Baez's grade.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    You're correct. I was just thinking bat speed.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I understand the frustration/suspicion with Vitters. Though I do believe the jury is still out. He's obviously not special, but I don't recall anyone touting him as such.

    Even with bad speed, I don't recall anyone claiming he had the kind of bat speed Baez possesses,

  • Cubs win...Cubs win.....

    It must have beeen all about money or wanting to live in Chicago of why Soriano did not get traded......

    this guy could have helped at least 5 clubs in the playoff hunt....Yankees, Rangers, A's, Giants, Rays......

    I like how the Cubs are taking more pitches these days......

    Some bad umpire calls today......the Umps must be NFL replacement refs as their side job.

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    John, I love your site. Absolutely comprehensive! I have a question regarding minor league player rankings. It seems to me that too much is given to potential and not enough to actual production. I mean this in terms of say a guy who is hitting well in Triple-A should be ahead of a guy who is hitting well in Low-A. Producing in upper levels should rank a guy higher than a guy who they are merely projecting to produce. Case in point: Jedd Gyorko raking in Triple-A is number 50 in BA's midseason top 50, while Bubba Starling is 46 and Christian Yelich is 21. What do you think?

  • In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    Thanks for the kind words! Very much appreciated! It always has to be a balance when it comes to ranking prospects. If Bubba Starling reaches his potential, we're talking superstar, one of the best players in the game. If Gyorko reaches his potential, he'll probably be a good hitting 3rd baseman with average defense and above average power. Gyorko is the safer bet, but if both players play up to their capabilities, Starling will be better. As we've seen with Vitters, skills that play at AAA don't necessarily play at MLB level.

    I always take both into account. To me, Gioskar Amaya and Jeimer Candelario are both better prospects than say, Greg Rohan, even though Rohan has produced at the upper levels. At the same time, someone like Rizzo or even Jackson, who were both productive at AAA, are guys I would rank ahead of both of those players.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Ok, lets use that as our example. Please explain, in some detail, exactly why Gioskar Amaya and Jeimer Candelario are better prospects than Greg Rohan. I am not even saying I disagree but would like to know what kinds of things go into the thought process.

  • Congrats Kevin! Nicely done!

    I think signing Stewart to a club friendly deal is really not a bad idea. If he struggles, Sveum could always go back to Valbuena while Vitters works on his craft in Iowa... or even Junior Lake maybe mid-year.

    A light seems to have come on for Jackson. Very nice to see. I'll take a 50% success rate on our prospects (though I by no means think that we can write off Vitters yet or think that we can declare Jackson a success yet).

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Agreed. It's too small a sample to declare either one a success or a failure.

    One thing I do look at is what can a player contribute other than their bat. We look at Jackson and there's a lot less pressure on his hit tool. If he hits .250, he's an MLB starter because of the walks, defense, speed, and power. If Vitters hits .250, then he's not a starter and will have a hard time finding playing time at all.

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    John, did you notice who BA's Pat Hickey had ranked as the #2 overall draft prospect in the Great Lakes Collegiate Summer League?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Ivan DeJesus? Former pick of the Cubs. Wonder if they'd consider picking him again.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I was wondering that myself.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can admit to not having a BA subscription, but what am I missing? Wasn't Jr. just traded to the Red Sox? How many Ivan DeJesus' are there?... lol

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