Cubs Notes: Cubs hire new Director of Baseball Operations; Baez named top prospect in AZL

Cubs Notes: Cubs hire new Director of Baseball Operations; Baez named top prospect in AZL

Just a couple of quick notes and I'll add more as they come...

  • The Cubs have hired 25 year old Scott Harris as their Director of Baseball Operations.  I don't know much about Harris, so instead I give you the press release, courtesy of cubs.com,

The Chicago Cubs today named Scott Harris as the club’s new Director of Baseball Operations.

Harris, 25, joins the Cubs after spending the last two years with Major League Baseball as the league’s Coordinator of Major League Operations.  With Major League Baseball, Harris provided transaction support and analysis to all clubs and helped manage procedural operations within the league office.

Prior to joining Major League Baseball, Harris interned for the Cincinnati Reds (2010) and Washington Nationals (2008).

A native of Redwood City, Calif., Harris is a 2009 graduate of UCLA and was attending Columbia Business School while working at Major League Baseball.

  • In other news, Javier Baez was named the top prospect in the Arizona Fall League by Baseball America.  They talked, of course, of his tremendous bat speed and raw power.  The aggressive approach was exposed a little, so perhaps this in some ways was a good experience for Baez.  Nothing can cause you to think twice about your approach than a small dose of failure.  According to Baseball America, scouts believe he will eventually adjust and hit for average.  They also believe he has the skils and athleticism to stay at SS.  No other Cub made the top 20 list.
  • The Nationals filled a big need by acquiring speedy CF Denard Span from the Twins in exchange for top pitching prospect Alex Meyer.  Meyer ranked as the Nationals #6 going into the season and may have improved on that with a big year.  Good trade for both.  Nats are a win-now team and they got themselves a legit everyday CF while the Twins got themselves a potential ace.

 

 

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    Just curious: did Castellanos make the list?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes. He was #8. Some pretty heavy hitters in that top 10. Billy Hamilton was that 10th guy. Pretty impressive.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I was more curious because I know John Sickles was *way* down on him after this season (referred to him as potentially another Josh Vitters), wondered if the feeling was the same at BA. Apparently not.

    Really impressive for Baez to get the placement above a bunch of guys older and more developed than him, though. Go Javy.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't completely disagree with Sickels. There are some similarities. They're both pure hitters with contact skills but without a whole lot of plate discipline. Defensively, neither is a stalwart at 3B. A lot of the praise was based on his "natural" ability as a hitter, which is what we have heard a lot with Vitters.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree, this is a big deal for Baez. Normally the "Top Prospect" is a guy who is knocking at the door, where Baez probably won't get his first cup of coffee until sometime in 2014, 2015 is more likely. Very impressive to impress against the older competition (AA/AAA pitchers and some with a small amount of MLB experience, vs. a guy with not a lot of A ball experience).

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Amazing that he could stand out among other stars, especially ones that are older and more experienced.

  • is it rare that Baez will be in A+ but still has to learn to be patient? I know that he thinks he can hit anything, but I just thought he was a little more advance than that (kinda like how people speak of Almora being a little more polished than other kids)

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    In reply to CubFan Paul:

    Most kids don't have the natural talent to go that far before hitting the wall. He was always raw in that sense, but they had to keep moving him until he found pitcher he couldn't just naturally hit. Now he's seen it, and hopefully he adjusts.

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    He's 19, he's 2 years removed from dominating high school pitchers and 1/2 season away from tearing up the MWL. Not only did he think he could hit everything. He was hitting everything until he reached Daytona. By the way, Almora only walked twice all season. The polish refers to his mechanically sound swing.

  • Nice that the Cubs are still adding personal to the system.
    Hopefully these new guys will bring new ideas to the system.
    Baez in mid 2014? What position?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I think 2014 is too early for Baez. 2015 maybe and it will probably be 3B but its hard to say what will happen in 3 years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree 2015 is a good year, and I would love him at 3B but john what do you think about what theo said about him being a 2B ?

  • In reply to seankl:

    I have mixed feelings because it's a tough position physically. Also doesn't make use of his great arm. But if the Cubs get themselves a good 3B, that could make it a pretty potent young IF. Lot of offensive value for Baez if he plays 2B.

  • Who was the old Director of Baseball Operations?

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Scott Nelson. It's not as huge a role as it sounds, but to get it at age 25 for a team like the Cubs is pretty impressive.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ah, gotcha!

  • In reply to lokeey:

    It's more administrative. Does a lot of the paperwork for the big guys.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    I don't think they had anyone with that title. Jim Hendry tried taking care of a lot of stuff.

    Here's what the old front office looked like:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20110105075601/http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=chc

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I think it's similar to Nelson's position. Different title but I think it's the same function.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    And by the way, I love all these gadgets you find to use on the internet. Never heard of this "wayback".

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Scott Harris, Scott Nelson, Scott Feldman, Scott Baker. Getting them confused. John, you need to start calling yourself Scott Arguello...

    The Wayback machine belongs to the Internet Archive, which is a great repository of stuff like live music and other time wasters...

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Ha! That doesn't right. I don't think there's a Scott in my entire family.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Great site. I remember hearing somebody talk about working there and wanting to put a bunch of shareware ISOs online. They pointed him to a computer and asked him if there was enough room on it. He looked at it for a second and said, "Uh, yeah. This should work." It had 140 terabytes free.

  • Has worked under Rizzo, Jocketty, and Selig? I like this guy already.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    Some good baseball men. Especially the first two.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well put, John. I'm not a Selig fan.

  • Would've liked to see the Cubs trade for Span but not for that much.

  • Yeah, that's not one the Cubs could afford to pay, especially since it's young, frontline pitching. Meyer would have been ranked among the Cubs top 2 SP prospects, and probably at the top considering he's healthy and coming off a good year.

  • 2 years and 26 million wasn't enough for Dempster to sign with KC.

  • I agree that a bit of a setback for Baez might be a good thing for his overly aggressive approach. But when it's accompanied by being named BA's top AFL prospect, I worry he won't get the message.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I can tell you that the kid hates to make outs. I'm sure he wasn't happy with how many he made in his brief appearance. I don't think he's the type to think it's all okay because scouts ranked him #1.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's good to hear, thanks.

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    John, you know the scouting community far better than I do. It seems to me that Baez is getting ringing endorsements across the board -- I kinda can't get over best prospect in the AFL on a terrible team that he had to leave early with a bad thumb. Moreover, it's not just from Sabermetric types, but also from old school scouts who are more concerned with tools. Do you think that's a fair statement?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Anybody know when the last time a cubs prospect was held in such high regard as Baez is?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Mark Prior

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    For position players it was Starlin Castro.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    yes but since Castro signed international and was a under the radar type guy He didnt have a fraction of the buzz Prior had. Prior was a # 1 pick except the Twinkies went for the local guy and cheaper signing their eyes.Holy crimps I wish 2013 draft was as strong as that draft with the Cubs at 2 .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    True, though he didn't stay under the radar long. Was a top 20 prospect in all of baseball at one time per BA, #16 maybe? Can't remember exactly, but it was the year before he came up.. That's higher than Baez has been so far. There was a fair amount of buzz, even nationally, when he came up.

    That was a great draft. I remember Cubs had hearts set on Prior but if the Twins would have picked him, they wouldn't have picked Mauer, their next choice was Texeira. Last draft until recently where the Cubs seemed willing to spend.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I remember that draft so well. Prior fought hard not to be drafted by the Twins. Oops.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good for him still. He got most of his money up front from the Cubs.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    True enough, but given that the Twins have a decent rep for developing pitchers you have to wonder how many millions were left on the table when the Cubs threw him until his arm fell off.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's like the Cubs weren't going to draft Vitters they were going to draft Weiters but the powers that be cut the draft budget so they drafted Vitters.

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    In reply to WickitCub:

    If I recall, it was more complex than that. Zell needed Selig's approval to do some of his maneuvers to sell the team and Selig was going to withhold it if they went over slot. So bingety-boingety-bingety, suddenly they're in love with a guy who would sign for slot. (Weiters wound up getting the highest signing bonus of the draft that year -- even higher than some Vanderbilt pitcher named David Price who went #1.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That not how I how
    I heard it from some one very close to the situation. I heard
    I was a pure money thing from Zell who at the last minute cut the budget.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    I don't know the exact mechanics of it all, but I did hear that they considered Wieters the BPA at #3. They ended up picking Vitters, but here's the kicker.

    The Cubs felt that the Royals were going to take Vitters and were all set to take RHP Jarrod Parker, who was 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA this season with Oakland. KC changed their mind and went with Moustakas, another big bonus demands guy and the Cubs happily scooped up Vitters.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Well, I want to say that the majority of scouts/development people I know are a blend of the two disciplines. Many understand sabermetrics and some incorporate it, so if scouts like him across the board, there's a good chance that both disciplines are being taken into account.

    I do have a story that applies almost too perfectly. I went to see Baez play in a game this summer and I wound up sitting next to two scouts. One was about as pure an old school guy as you can imagine and the other was younger and completely versed in modern metrics. Both came to the same conclusion. At different times, each said that Baez was by far the best player on the field and very likely the only future MLB'er that played that day. Moreover, both named the same players as the three best in the MWL (Baez, Lindor, Sano)

  • That Span trade may just make Micheal Morse available, 30 years old but a free agent in 2014 , Hmm

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I can't see us being interested. The Nats are in win-now mode, and need good ML talent back in return. Who do we have that they would be interested in? Rizzo for sure, but anyone else? Castillo maybe?

    We would have to trade someone we don't want to trade to make that happen....for a player that won't help us contend, because he'll be a 32-year old FA by the time that happens

    Not a fit

  • In reply to Zonk:

    depends if they resign LaRouche . If they do Morse odd man out and they may take salary relief and maybe Marmol ect .

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Soriano for Morse and a prospect. Since Sori would block Harper, we can just take him. Problem solved!

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Saw where LaRoche may be odd man out and Boston would be interested.

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    John, first of all, you do a fantastic service, especially for Cubs fans like me stuck living in Dallas. If you could foresee one blockbuster deal the Cubs might pull off, what would it be?

  • In reply to Mike Ogulnick:

    Thanks Mike,

    Sorry I missed your post earlier. I don't know if the Cubs are capable of a blockbuster with their current personnel. If they packaged Soriano and another player, that might be the closest thing.

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