Minor League Recap: Baez, Szczur HR; Silva, Bruno red-hot; MLB Draft bonus pools

Minor League Recap: Baez, Szczur HR; Silva, Bruno red-hot; MLB Draft bonus pools
Stephen Bruno hit .361 at Boise last year and is off to a .422 start in Daytona.

Today we've added a bonus with a couple of draft notes including the allotment the Cubs have for each pick and a link to see the rest of the teams.  So let's get started with the updates.

Iowa 4 - Nasville 1

  • LHP Brooks Raley had a superb outing today going 6 scoreless, walkless innings.  He struck out 7.  Raley can be a legit bottom of the rotation starter when he commands his pitches, but that hasn't happened consistently enough.
  • Yoanner Negrin stretch his scoreless inning streak to start the season to 9.2 with 2 more scoreless frames.  He has walked 2 and struck out 13 batters during the streak.
  • The I-Cubs managed just 3 hits but they were timely and they combined them with 4 walks, leading to the 4 runs.  Ryan Sweeney had one of each with a triple, a walk, and one of the RBIs.
  • Emergency catcher JC Boscan is off to a good start, hitting .391.  He doubled and drove in 2 runs today.

Tennessee 4 - Huntsvile 3

  • Alberto Cabrera's conversion to starter is going well, if not spectacularly.  He pitched 6 innings and allowed 2 runs today.  He walked 2 and struck out 5.  He's off to a 2-1 start with a 4.00 ERA with 4 walks and 19 strikeouts in 18 innings.
  • A.J. Morris bounced back from a horrific outing with 2 scoreless innings with no walks and 3 strikeouts.
  • Frank Batista got the save but did allow a run in the process.
  • CF Matt Szczur had another good day at the plate with 2 hits, including his first HR of the year.  In fact, it was his first extra base hit. Right now it seems that Szczur can play CF, be can asset on the bases, and get on base -- but the doubt has been whether his swing can generate consistent power.  Perhaps today will be the start of more extra base pop from Szczur.
  • 1B Justin Bour got his 10th RBI the season with a HR, his 2nd of the year.
  • 4th outfielder prospect Rubi Silva stayed red hot with a pair of hits, including his 3rd HR of the season.  He's batting .405 with a .784 slugging percentage.
  • 3B Christian Villanueva has struggled a bit at the plate but did contribute with an RBI double today.

Clearwater 15 - Daytona 6

  • The D-Cubs pitchers gave up a whopping 27 hits today led by 15 in just  4.2 innings by starter Ryan Searle.  The only real prospect who pitched today, however, was LHP Hunter Cervenka, who made his debut.  He was throwing well in AZ, hitting 93-94 mph on the radar, but did give up three runs in 2 innings today.  He walked 2 and fanned 2.
  • Javier Baez hit his 2nd HR of the year but he also struck out 3 times today.  He's off to just a .173 start at the plate.
  • John Andreoli continues his OBP ways with 2 singles and a walk today.  He also scored a run and had an RBI.
  • If there is one player who is nearly as hot as Silva, it' s 2B Stephen Bruno.  Two more hits today, including a double, to go with 2 walks.  Bruno is hitting .422 this season but he's also doing something he didn't do a lot of last year, which is to draw walks.  He now has 5 walks in 50 PAs.
  • Dustin Geiger has really turned it around after a slow start and is not hitting .310 after a 2 hit day.  He hasn't hit for a lot of power, but we know Geiger can go on a power binge as well.
  1. Kane County 4 - Beloit 3
  2. Beloit 8 - Kane County 3
  • RHP Jose Arias survived a nightmare defensive performance in the first inning in which the Cougars committed 3 errors on the first 3 batters.  He did also give up 3 hits and 3 runs in that first inning, but all but one of those hits should never have happened.  He ended up pitching 3 more innings and allowing just one more hit, though he did walk 3 batters.  He also struck out 3.
  • LHP Jeffry Antigua picked up the victory with 3 scoreless innings when the Cougars rallied to win the game in the 8th and 9th.
  • In the second game, RHP Michael Heesch was not able to follow up on a strong debut and in fact, lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up 6 runs.  Again, it was the Cougars defense that played a hand.  Only 2 of the runs were earned.  LHP Brian Smith gave up 2 more runs (1 earned) in 2 innings while RHP Stephen Perakslis and LHP Nathan Dorris ended the game with a scoreless inning apiece.
  • Jeimer Candelario went 2 for 7 in the two games with a double and 2 RBI.
  • Marco Hernandez looks like he's starting to climb out of his slump and had 3 hits, including 2 doubles, 2 runs scored, and an RBI.  On the downside, he's still struggling in the field and committed 2 errors -- both of which led to multiple runs.  He has 5 errors on the season so far.

MLB Draft Update

  • A while back I wrote how Houston will be in a bind if they draft Mark Appel and try to use the same strategy they did last year.  I thought this simply because Appel won't sign early and Boras has shown a willingness to go the distance rather than give up his right to negotiate.  This would seriously hamper the Astros' efforts to sign overslots later in the draft.  So I'm very flattered to see that a great baseball mind like Jim Callis feels the same way.
  • Jim Callis alsohas the bonus pools and slots for each individual pick for every team here.  Here is what the Cubs pool looks like...
  1. $6,708,400
  2. $1,361,900
  3. $736,2004
  4. $477,3005
  5. $357,4006
  6. $267,600
  7. $200,400
  8. $159,400
  9. $148,900
  10. $139,000

Bonus Pool$10,556,500



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  • At what point do we have to raise Bruno's ceiling to "above average starter"? At this point id be surprised if he sees 150 PAs in Daytona because he is well on his way to tennessee

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    In reply to Andrew:

    Villanueva sure isn't doing anything to stop him!

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Maybe needs to show consistent extra base power and that the new found plate discipline is for real. He has Torreyes, who is also playing well, blocking him at TN, but he can play other positions. Right now, he's trying to work toward starting prospect before he gets to above average starter. So far it's been assumed he'd be a utility player but he could change that if he keeps this up.

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    WOO! Szczur's slugging is finally above his average! now he just needs to get it above his OBP and we're rolling!

    In all seriousness, though. It's great that he's keeping up the momentum.

    I've said it before, but I love the minors updates. I can't wait until next year. There's some great things going on at all levels of A ball, and it'll be nice when those positives progress up the ranks, and (hopefully) are replaced by just as much optimism behind it.

    I was arguing with a guy the other day about Theo & Jed's value and was pointing out to him that Boston is set for a few years still with young talent coming up to replace old, almost all of which was drafted by Theo during his tenure. The fact that they can have the flexibility to not NEED to give someone like Ellsbury big money is pretty significant. (even if Jackie Bradley is struggling. No one expected him to make the team this year anyway)

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Thanks. And it's good to see Szczur hit for some power. WIthout extra base pop, he's basically a 4th or 5th OF'er.

    I agree with you on Theo and co. People look at big signings and I think those will eventually come, but it's going to be the farm and the guys they find in the bargain bin. So far only Schierholtz has been working out this year but still plenty of time left.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hey don't forget about Villanueva!!!

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Yes! That was another good one so far. Hoping to include others as well.

  • I am concerned that Baez is going to have to change his approach a bit. If you look at his advanced A stats going back to his call-up last season they have been pretty bad. It is a very small sample size. I think I am onto something but also making it more of an issue because of seeing so many Cubs "can't miss prospects" flame out over the last 25 or so years (Gary Scott anyone :) )

  • In reply to Tide23:

    I think he will have to tone it down some. He can certainly take more pitches and it seems he's done that at times recently. He can also take the pitch the other way, which I've seen as well. He needs to do both things much more often to succeed in the majors.

  • John, not a minor league question, Do the Cubs and Dale Sveum see something in Shawn Camp that I don't? Because nothing good comes out of a Shawn Camp appearance. Just gets shelled every game, not sure why we re signed him.

  • In reply to GoFreakingCubs:

    I think part of it is the amount of use they put on him last year. He was a great piece of the bullpen last year and was used and abused accordingly.

  • In reply to GoFreakingCubs:

    Camp was pretty much the Cubs best reliever last season. It's possible he may have lost it this year, but I think it's too early to tell. Sveum is just hoping he's going through a rough patch and that he'll be the pitcher he was last year.

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    Any reason Soler didn't play? Today was the 6th game since his suspension, no?

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Perhaps he took his bat with him to lunch.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Perhaps Cubs management wanted to impress upon him the importance of handling things better in the future by giving him a suspension of their own.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    They should. 5 games is not enough.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Cubs may have added an extra game. The return game happened to be against Clearwater, the very team they had issues with before. Maybe they wanted to see him watch this one from the bench before putting him out there against these guys.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    According to the Daytona paper he isn't with the team. Perhaps they're holding him out of the Clearwater series.

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    This Baez thing is starting to scare me a bit..

  • In reply to Colman Conneely:

    I'm not too scared. I think he's starting to change a bit and it's early. If this is still happening by the end of May, I'll probably get a little worried.

    These are all short samples -- what he did in spring, what he's doing now. The answer for him is that he's probably somewhere in between.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, do you think maybe he is pressing too hard right now? He did pretty well in spring and then the front office and Sveum came out saying he looked good but was no where near MLB ready. Maybe he is trying to make too much happen with his bat instead of just playing the game with his natural talent like he has in the past. Then again its also possible he's just in a slump after a decent spring.

  • In reply to Bill Newton:

    I think that's possible. There are a lot of expectations being put on him and he could be trying to live up to them all at once. Just needs to step back a little. I think he'll settle in and be fine. Part of it is a good old-fashioned slump, I'm sure, as he's missed some good pitches too.

  • Hopefully for Szczur this a trend and not an anomaly. If he did find his power, that would be very nice. Instead of being just a potential reserve , he can be a everyday player in the majors

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Samardzija was a football player too. See how long it too him to figure things out.

    I'm thrilled about Bruno. He's hitting like Castro was at the lower levels. At bat like that will not be kept down.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Excited for Bruno as well. The only reason he really lasted as long as he did was probably his size (5'9") but he was a very good college hitter and he has shown that already. I don't know if I'd compare his rise to Castro's since he's older and doesn't have the same kind of power potential, but as a pure hitter he may be as good as the Cubs have playing in their system right now.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    That's exactly it for Szczur, just needs to be more than a singles hitter to avoid being a Juan Pierre type player.

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    "(Update: Actually, as @jeremynygaard reminded me on Twitter, the signing deadline doesn’t apply to Appel, making it even easier for him to hold a team’s bonus pool hostage.)" ~ Jim Callis

    So the signing deadline doesn't apply to Appel. I wonder if this makes him less attractive to teams.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Definitely makes him less attractive to any team that wants to employ the same strategy that the Astros did last year. If Astros want to repeat that strategy and they think Gray or someone else is close, then they may well go in that direction.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That's true, but there is such an interesting game theory happening here..because the one threat that Boras can and should beleive is that clubs will not overspend to the extent they lose a draft pick. So there is a limit.

    So, if Boras scares too many teams away, his client will get drafted lower, and end up, in the end, with less money. Boras has to signal enough of a willingness in advance to get drafted by a team with a big bonus pool, but then hold out for top dollar. If that makes sense.

    It's all making my head hurt, the scenarios!

  • In reply to Zonk:

    As far as game theory goes, Boras holds an edge because only he knows what his client will sign for at minimum. Teams are going to try and find that out pre-draft but that's not going to happen. Boras won't give that up. If he floats anything out there, it will be a much higher amount than what he'd settle for.

    Teams also can't be certain he won't go the distance because he's done it before. And that's the edge that Boras has with the new CBA. In the past, you could wait and go ahead and sign all your other picks in the meantime and sign him for whatever you want later. Can't do that now. You may run out of money because you don't know what he'll sign for...or may lose out on signing your overslot guys because the negotiations will drag out.

    I think Boras will get his bonus one way or the other. The Astros can still pick him, but they'll have to offer up a big bonus right away, virtually guaranteeing they'll have a lot less money to clean up later on overslots. It depends on what they want to do. If they take Appel, I expect them to be more conservative later in the draft.

  • Can they go the 5% over only on their 1st pick. Will Houston do this?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Yes, they can and will if they absolutely have to. I don't think they will need to do that, though. I don't think the Astros will do that. If it's going to cost them that much, they'll pick someone else.

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    I'm glad to finally see Hunter Cervenka back in minor league action. I know he was held at extended spring on what they were calling minor rehab, but I don't know what it was for. He struggled with Boston, but really did pretty well for us last year, so I am hoping he does well this season. Not a great start for him, but it sounds like it wasn't a great game for anyone pitching on Daytona.

  • In reply to Bill Newton:

    Good to see him back. He looked like a real find there and there's not doubt he has good stuff, especially for a lefty. Rough day for Daytona pitchers, we'll give him a mulligan!

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