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Early look at Rule 5 draft: Red Sox duo intriguing as Cubs may look at familiar systems

Early look at Rule 5 draft: Red Sox duo intriguing as Cubs may look at familiar systems
Jeremy Hazelbaker

I thought about doing this later but there's a lot of questions regarding this particular topic, so I figured I could at least give an early peek.

This is early in my research process and this is undoubtedly an incomplete piece, so feel free to chime in with some suggestions if you have them.  I'll take a look at some interesting names that the Cubs may consider taking with their 2nd pick in the Rule 5 draft, starting with 2 organizations they know all too well..

Boston Red Sox

  • If you need a guy who can help right away and a cheap way to fill a bullpen slot, RHP Josh Fields is an intriguing candidate.  Fields showed an incredible ability to miss bats with about 12Ks per 9 IP between AA and AAA last year.  He features a 92-93 mph fastball that can reach the mid 90s when he needs it.  Also flashes a plus, 12-6 curveball.  Command isn't where you'd like it to be but Fields did a reasonable job of at least holding down the walks to 2.8/9 IP between the two levels.  There's no question to me that Fields can make the Cubs opening day bullpen.
  • A bit more raw is CF Jeremy Hazelbaker.  He has plus speed (36 SBs) and some pretty good pop (19 HRs, .206 ISO, .479 slugging at AA).  Overall he hit .273/.338/.479 in AA last season. Despite the plus speed, Hazelbaker needs work in CF.  He has plus raw range but needs to learn to read the ball better and take better routes.  Enter defensive guru Dave McKay.  He did a lot with an aging, sore-kneed player in Alfonso Soriano, perhaps he can translate Hazelbaker's plus athleticism into plus defense in CF.  Hazelbaker has shown the ability to take walks in the minors but his overall plate discipline is inconsistent.  Furthermore, his ability to make contact at the MLB level may be a concern, though he's trending in the right direction.  His 23.4% K rate at AA last season was a career low.  If the Cubs think he can improve in the spring, he fits the profile of a potentially plus defensive CF with good range in CF.

San Diego Padres

  • The Cubs lack a utility player that can play SS and Jonathan Galvez can do that, albeit not very well on the defensive side.  He can also play 2B and possibly 3B as well, however, and may be an offensive-minded complement to the more defensively oriented Darwin Barney and Luis Valbuena.  Galvez put up a .292/.364/.426 line at AA last season.
  • If they want a more defensive oriented utility man, then Beamer Weems may be the better fit.  Said current former Padres scouting director and current Cubs Sr. VP of Scouting Jason McLeod, "“Defensively, Beamer is a major league shortstop.”   He had been a switch-hitter but struggled with consistency and so has recently become exclusively a RH hitter.  The early results were encouraging as Weems got off to a good start and showed some pop in 2011, prompting McLeod to say,  “It’s great to see Beamer swinging the bat like this” , but  he tailed off as the season went on.  Overall he hit .246/.331/416 at AA.  Last year he hit just .241/.305/.351 in AAA.

Other names of note...
The Cubs front office is also very familiar with the Diamondbacks system and you also have to account for teams with whom they've recently had trade talks.  In that vein, here are a few other names to consider...

  • Marc Krauss was recently traded to Houston but is originally from the Diamondbacks system.  His stats look very enticing, as he put up a .280/.416/.506 line at AA.  He also hits left-handed.  If you were to look purely at his numbers, you'd wonder why Houston would leave him unprotected.  Here's your answer: Krauss is sort of thick and not very fast.  He's a below average defender who can maybe play LF but probably is best suited for 1B (or DH).  He also hits righties much better than lefties.  In other words, he's a younger version of Bryan LaHair.  Tough to keep that kind of bat-only player on your roster, especially when Alfonso Soriano still blocks the only realistic position he can play on the Cubs.
  • When news first leaked about a possible Cubs trade of Sean Marshall to the Reds, we speculated here on who the return might be.  One of the names that came up was J.C. Sulbaran, a RHP who is now with the Kansas City Royals.  Sulbaran drew attention because his once fringy fastball jumped in 2011 when he was suddenly hitting 93-94 with some consistency and flashed a good curve, striking out 10.2 batters per 9 IP in high A ball.  As he moved up to AA, the K rate went down slightly (9.64) and the walks rate rose to 4.64, up from 3.28 in 2011.  He has some upside.  He may not be as advanced as Fields, but he has a chance to be a starter if he makes progress.
  • Last trade deadline, the Cubs worked furiously to try and get Ryan Dempster to the L.A. Dodgers, who played coy knowing that the Cubs were limited in their options.  In those talks, it wouldn't surprise me if the Dodgers offered a guy like Aaron Miller, a LHP who was once a first round pick (2009) but has since lost velocity (now 86-90) and consistency with his slider.  Last year at AA, Miller went 6-6 with a 4.45 ERA with a solid K rate of 8.16/9 IP, but his 5.27 walk rate is a concern for a pitcher who doesn't have a lot of margin for error anymore.  The Cubs can now likely get him at the cost of $50,000 and a roster spot, but the feeling here is that they'll pass anyway.

If I come up with some more interesting names in the future, I'll write more pieces like this so consider this a preview/early look for now.

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  • fb_avatar

    very good piece

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Thanks Jim. Will try to find more names between now and December.

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    Beamer Weems is a fit based completely on the slew of odd names the Cubs have in their system.

  • In reply to Mike Mayberry:

    It is a fantastic name. He'll blend right in.

  • Great job. Theo/Jed job is to get talent where ever they can.
    The Rule V draft is a great place to find such a talent. Lets
    hope they get down to 39 by then.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Thanks E. I knew you'd be interested in a piece like this :) This is right up your alley.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Can't wait until the big day. Many good prospects to pick
    from. Lets hope our guys do their homework.

  • fb_avatar

    How is Fields available?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    You got me. I was surprised. Astros can take him to replace Story (but not sure why they would let go of proven guy to take slightly more talented unproven guy). If they pass, he's my first choice so far.

  • Fields looks pretty darn good stat wise, 42 of his 100 career BBs came in one season about 3 years ago, 3 IBBs included . Command actually looks pretty good thru His career. SO rate very good, I think He might be missed by the Sox. He looks better than alot of the Cubs in House Bullpen candidates. Pen is also a place to hide a guy like the Cubs did Lendy last year. Sold me on him Jon.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Seems like a great fit. My favorite in the bunch and the guy most certain to help next year of all the names I've seen.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks for the write up. I think its pretty badass that we're picking 2nd (benefits of sucking) because it almost guarantees that Theo&Co will select someone

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    Your welcome. I think they probably will select someone. Just need to open up a roster space.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Plus he can fill in at third base, no? :)

  • In reply to kansasblackhawk:

    Haha! And play QB?

  • Texas left Chris McGuiness exposed which jumped out at me because he was the AFL MVP and comes out of the Boston system. Don't think I'd draft him though for the same reason you mention with Krauss - really best suited for 1b. I like the look of Galvez too, but I think I'd go with Hazelbaker. McKay can help with his defense, and he's got power and speed and decent plate discipline. Think he'd rate pretty well on that 5/6 tool test.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Hazelbaker interests me if he can stick in CF. Like you said, some pretty good athleticism and tools, especially power/speed.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    As for McGuiness, his lack of versatility is indeed the issue. Hard to carry those players on the bench, especially in the NL. Most teams not looking for starting 1Bs and even fewer, if any, looking to fill that through Rule 5. It's no coincidence that some of the best minor league performers available are 1Bs. And it's probably a reason no team was going to trade for LaHair. Why give up something when you can get it (and a younger version) from the Rule 5 for basically nothing?

  • Tough decision. Fields looks like he can slot into the bullpen now, but the potential of getting a possible SP in Sulbaran is enticing. I'm leaning towards going for upside and stocking Sulbaran, much like we did Lendy. Don't know much about him but seems like his stuff has improved and he could be a potential SP.

  • John...Any chance the Cubs could trade two roster to the A's for Crisp? Perhaps two of Campana/Coleman/Vitters/Sappelt. If not, where do you put Coco's value?? Also, he'll probably be plucked by a contender but what are your thoughts about Denard Span. The Cubs don't really have the pitching the twins would probably need in return but I really like the player. Crisp too.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Have an article on the backburner for CF trade candidates. Both of those guys are on the list as well as a few more.

  • Per mlbtraderumors.com:

    Cubs Sign Brian Bogusevic

    By Ben Nicholson-Smith [November 21 at 3:22pm CST]

    The Cubs signed outfielder Brian Bogusevic to a minor league contract, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports (on Twitter). The Cubs also signed infielder Alberto Gonzalez, right fielder Johermyn Chavez and catcher J.C. Boscan, according to Eddy.

    Bogusevic, a 2005 first round pick, appeared in 146 games for the Astros in 2012. He posted a .203/.297/.299 batting line with seven home runs and nine doubles in 404 plate appearances. The left-handed hitter played all three outfield positions for Houston. Beverly Hills Sports Council represents Bogusevic.

    Gonzalez appeared in 24 games with Texas in 2012, posting a .241/.241/.315 batting line while playing second base, third base and shortstop. Boscan, 32, appeared in six games for the Braves this past season. Chavez posted a .725 OPS in 288 plate appearances for the Mariners' Double-A affiliate in 2012.

  • In reply to apalifer:

    Seems like some very 'meh' transactions.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Eddie:

    Bogusevic seems like a less talented LaHair without LaHair's power. Kind of an odd move since he doesn't offer much offense but counters that by not being a very good defensive player either. :)

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Just wrote it up. Bogusevic more athletic, less power than LaHair. Stole 15 bases, can play CF. More useful bench player if Cubs hopefully sign starting level CF.

  • In reply to apalifer:

    Thanks. I like the direction in that all are potentially good defenders. Bogusevic and Gonzalez have outside shots of winning a job but will at least provide depth.

  • BA posted a list of 10 players who could be targets in the Rule 5 draft. Unfortunately the list contained four 1B options. But among the pitchers, they said Rays LHP Braulio Lara had the biggest upside on the list. He was only at Hi-A last season and struggled, but he's got a mid-90s FB and big curve. A lefty with that kind of upside has some appeal to me because the Cubs don't have a lot of high upside LHP in their system.

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