Daytona Roster Preview: Who to watch

Daytona Roster Preview: Who to watch

Last night we covered the Kane County Cougars roster.  Today, here's my quick overview of the Daytona Cubs roster.  These are not meant to be exhaustive lists, but rather a highlight of players that I'm most interested in following this year.  As with all lists, you are limited and are forced to leave off interesting players, but I'll be happy to address any player not on the list in the comments section.

Daytona Cubs

Pitching

Top Prospects

  • Ben Wells
  • Starlin Peralta

The fact that Ben Wells skipped Kane County is encouraging to me.  I'm hoping it means he's healthy and that his potentially devastating two-seamer is back in that 92-96 mph range.  For a pitcher of limited experience, Wells seems to learn quickly.  He already has 3 pitches, including a potential plus slider and a solid change as well as above average command.  Starlin Peralta is all about power, able to reach 97 mph and last year I saw him sustain mid 90s velocity into the 7th inning.  Consistency with his slider and command, and developing a change-up are all on the development agenda this year.

Sleepers

  • Austin Reed
  • Yao-Lin Wang
  • PJ Francescon

Austin Reed intrigues because he was consistently in the mid 90s out of the pen late last year.  He also has a chance to have good secondaries, including an advanced change-up.  I'll be interested to see if the Cubs consider trying him as a starter again, which they did in 2011.  Yao-Lin Wang puts up the kind of peripherals (9.46 Ks/9 IP and 3.38 FIP) that gets the stat side of my brain excited.  The scout side of my brain is less impressed with Wang's somewhat portly, non-projectable physique and an 89-92 mph fastball that spells bottom of the rotation starter/middle relief.  Wang does play up that FB with a plus change, however, and his ability to change speeds leads to big strikeout numbers.  Because he doesn't project well, you have to hope that Wang continues to improve command and that his stuff will play at the upper levels.  PJ Francescon dominated at Peoria last year and held his own at Daytona.  The Cubs limited his innings down the stretch since he made the conversion from relief.  Francescon can dial it up as high as 94-95, but is more successful when he keeps the ball down with a low 90s two seamer and solid offspeed stuff.

Position Players

Top Prospects

  • Javier Baez (SS)
  • Jorge Soler (OF)

Javier Baez and Jorge Soler are elite prospects.  They alone are worth the price of admission at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, so I wanted to leave them separate from the rest of the pack.  Much has been written about both players, so I won't rehash that stuff again.  Suffice to say that the bat speed and power potential is excellent, the athleticism more than adequate, and both players have a chance to be impact offensive players at the MLB level.  Soler has a more advanced approach at the plate than Baez, but Baez may be further ahead overall -- and the more versatile player on defense.  Soler should play RF and Baez will be at SS.

  • Tim Saunders (SS-2B-3B-OF)
  • Stephen Bruno (2B-3B-OF)
  • Zeke DeVoss (2B-OF)
  • Dustin Geiger (3B)
  • Ben Carhart (3B-1B)
  • John Andreoli (OF)
  • Taiwan Eastering (OF)

Tim Saunders and Stephen Bruno both have a knack for squaring up the baseball and have great instincts with underrated athleticism that allow them to play all over the field.  Saunders fits the MLB profile more from a physical standpoint and is aided by his ability to play SS, but both players are good candidates to make the majors as utility players.  Zeke DeVoss is an athletic player with good speed and great discipline at the plate.  He struggled some at Peoria last year but still managed to put up a .383 OBP.  This year he'll try to improve his hitting, power numbers, and defense.  Dustin Geiger has no issues with power.  Along with Soler and Baez, Geiger should provide the team with the kind of power it lacked last year.  Geiger needs to improve his approach and his OBP skills while also being a bit and be more consistent on defense.  Ben Carhart is a sleeper prospect who showed a good approach and a line drive bat in the Arizona Rookie League.  The Cubs think he's polished enough at the plate to skip two levels this year.  John Andreoli has plus OBP skills and above average speed that he plays up with great instincts.  Can defend at all 3 OF positions but is best suited for the corners.  May end up a tweener and thus an extra OF'er in the bigs.  Taiwan Easterling shows a quick bat and the ability to make hard contact but needs to adjust better to breaking pitches.  He's an athletic player (former WR at FSU) with good speed and the ability to play all OF positions.

Filed under: Daytona Cubs Preview

Comments

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  • Do any top prospects have to share a position. If so how do they
    get enough ABs and playing time.

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    One would guess that Baez and Solver would have a lock on their respective positions.

    The others can fight for their chance. Make every AB count.

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    Gotta love the infield versatility.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Agreed! Didn't list it but Geiger can obviously play 1B too and we know Baez can probably play anywhere.

  • The Cubs a bunch of quality 2b prospects, at least one at every level.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Lets hope that at every level the top guys (hitters) don't have to share a position.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Yes, they do. And many are athletic enough to play multiple positions so they can either switch or be utility men.

  • Carhart was drafted in 2012 correct? What round? How old is he?

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Yes, 35th round. Downside is he's already 23 (undoubtedly a factor in his big leap) and his body leaves no room for projection. He's already a filled out 5'10, 200 lbs. He is a good hitter but he'll have to keep proving himself every year, starting with this one.

  • I love the fact that Alcantara looks like he will be in AA. Allowing him to stay at SS for a while.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Agreed. That puts him on the fast track. Have a hunch that if Baez doesn't end up at 2nd Alcantara might be the 2b of the future. Really high on him.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Hes put up some solid offensive numbers in the pitching dominated MWL and was doing well in the FSL before hurting himself. His defense seems shaky in terms of the # of errors, but a lot of minor league fields arent very good quality, the scouts consider him an average-to -above average defender. First time in my memory, Cubbies minor league teams will be fun to watch.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    He is in AA. I'll have AA and AAA tomorrow morning.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Or maybe Thursday morning.

  • FSU football fan right here, and was so excited when Taiwan Easterling was drafted by the Cubs! Hopefully he can continue to develop.

  • In reply to fsufrenzy911:

    Easterling has some solid bat speed but just needs to polish up that approach and gain experience with recognizing pitches. Definitely some talent there but he needs to improve a lot this year.

  • john, where is paul blackburn starting ? And one comparison I think about when I think of blackburn is matt cain. Cain is not overpowering with his fastball but plus off speed stuff and I think blackburn could get there.

  • In reply to seankl:

    More than likely since he is only 19, short season Boise is his stop. He could end up in Peoria at some point this year.

  • I think I read (Arizona Phil) that Bruno had been playing second almost exclusively this spring. Maybe that is meaningful.

    Alcantara is being pushed by Baez, in a sense. Is it likely that he moves up to triple A if Baez is promoted to AA? Maybe back to A+ to keep him at SS

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    That is meaningful. It's great to have AZ Phil out there to give us the low down.

    Alcantara could move to 2B. I don't think he'll go to AAA unless he earns that privilege on his own.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, this might be a bit late, but didnt P{ierce Johnson just pitch down in AZL? I read a little blurb that Kieth Law had on him pitching against the Giants AZL team down there, and apparently he dominated.

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    Looks like Cubs signed Ryan Sweeney to a Minor league deal. Headed to AAA. I don't know why but back in his White sox days when he was a pretty highly-regarded prospect I remember thinking he'd be in a Cubs uni someday. This move reeks of the Valbuena signing last year. Almost the exact same resume and fall from grace. Nice flyer to take.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Eh, he's just depth. Not much difference between him and Bogusevic these days except that Sweeney may play a better CF. Could be DeJesus insurance until Jackson is ready.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That's what I was thinking. Means if Dejesus gets hurt we won't have to rush Jackson before he's ready. Gives us at least one more guy who can play a decent CF.

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    It really is depressing just how thin the pitching is. Obviously Hayden Simpson failing and Dillon Maples multiple injuries hurt us, but when the #2 guy on the high A team is Starling Peralta -- a guy who some don't even think can stick as a starter -- it's pretty telling.

    Rome wasn't built in a day -- but I can't wait for the waves and waves to flow through the system.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    So it makes sense that, if Samardzija stays true to form, the Cubs lock him into a long term contract no matter how much hurts the pocketbook and also take a gamble on Appel/Gray with their first pick in the draft.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    That is why I kind of lean towards Appel if available at #2. It is almost like signing a free agent as he could be in the Starting rotation in 2014.

    Would give you Smardzija, Jackson, Appel, Wood and then a handful of others competing for the last spot. Not great, but you can see it evolving.....

  • John, any new of Ronald Torreyes? I cannot seem to find him on any of the rosters. Injured?

  • In reply to WillW:

    Agreed. Very young playing at A+ last year and had a solid 2nd half.

  • In reply to WillW:

    Torreyes is on a rehab assignment in AZL.

  • Great info here John. Looks like a major logjam at 2B and 3B in Daytona, with Baez being the main SS. Who do you project, out of the group you listed, to get the majority of the starts at those two positions?

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