Cubs Minor Notes: Trio of Promotions, Paul Blackburn, Cubs in on Colombian pitcher

Cubs Minor Notes: Trio of Promotions, Paul Blackburn, Cubs in on Colombian pitcher
Bijan Rademacher

Some minor matters to take care of quickly.  First of all, congrats to John Andreoli, who we talked about getting a promotion to AA Tennessee in yesterday's minor league recaps (we already noted Bijan Rademacher's promotion).  The third player is Kevin Encarnacion.


John Andreoli, OF

.318/.394/.405, 23 SBs, 11.2% walk rate

Andreoli is RH hitter who is an on-base machine with above average speed who can play all 3 outfield positions.  He lacks power and elite speed, so he may end up being something of a 'tweener.  Not quick enough to play CF and not enough power to play the corners. He's a good extra outfielder prospect and perhaps more if he can prove he can handle CF and/or hit for more power.

Bijan Rademacher, OF

.303/.374/.373, 2 HRs, 5 SBs, 9.9% walk rate

Rademacher is also a RH power who is patient, but aggressive in the strike zone.  He's a good hitter for average who will get on base and like Andreoli, is better suited for the corners defensively -- though he doesn't yet have the power teams like at the position.  He's an intelligent player with an excellent approach to the game.

Kevin Encarnacion, OF

.298/.400/.489, 14.5% walk rate, 2 HRs, 3 SBs

Encarnacion is a guy we've had our eye on for a while in the DSL and we were a bit surprised it took him so long to get promoted.  Now 21, he's making up for lost time.  He skipped the AZ Rookie League and now is being promoted from Boise to Kane County.  Encarnacion is a strong, athletic player who can put on a good show in BP and shows a good approach at the plate.  He hit .374 with a .955 OPS two years ago in the DSL and last year hit 5 HRs ( a good amount in the DSL) while putting up a .915 OPS.  Defensively he can handle CF but most likely winds up in a corner spot, where he'd be a plus defender with a chance for his bat to carry the position.

Paul Blackburn shows great approach

A nice story on Paul Blackburn at  We have often talked about him as a projectable guy who had room to put on some weight.  Well, we were right about that.  He's put on 30 lbs. of muscle and looks completely different from the high school picture I'd been using.  His fastball has been 92-93 and when you combine that with a potential plus curve,. plus command, and an aggressive, but intelligent approach on the mound.  He's also got great mental makeup, as you'll not from the article.  This kid is going to be zooming up the prospect charts by seasons end -- and he may be the next guy to go from Boise to Kane County.

International Prospects

We've told you about OF Eloy Jimenez and SS Gleyber Torres.  Well Ben Badler of BA ranks them 1 and 2 respectively and still has the Cubs as the big favorites to sign both.

Jimenez, you'll remember is a toolsy corner OF"er with an excellent swing and potential for power down the road.  He's still a bit raw but projects as a guy who can hit for average and power with the arm to play RF.

Torres is more of a polished player and the concern with him is more about whether he has the athleticism to stick at SS.  Most scouts seem to think he can -- which would be an asset because he compares to Freddy Sanchez as a hitter.   Some think Torres is a better player than Jimenez.

Another interesting prospect the Cubs have their eye on is a 16 year old, 6'3" 190 lbs Colombian RHP named Erling Moreno.  Moreno is currently at 87-90 mph.  He has a big frame and projects to be a power pitcher as he fills out and gains strength.  He pitches with good downward plane and has the makings of a good breaking ball and change with most scouts preferring the change right now.


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  • fb_avatar

    John aren't you glad you got guys watching your back as you head out to a morning of fun in the sun.

    That story on Blackburn has me itching to see him at KC soon. Just to get eyes on him (even if they are not my own).

  • In reply to Rich Hood:

    I am! You guys are great. My wife is on vacation this week and we have something planned every day through tomorrow. Trying to squeeze in some writing in-between -- but you guys updating stuff has been great.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Scores Les Grobstein takes his wife to Hawaii for a vacation........maybe you can take your wife to that Hawaiian restaurant on River Road for a meal!

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    CubsTalk, not the kindest thing to say. It seems to imply JA is cheap, or cant afford to take his wife on a decent vac. Please engage brain before putting keyboard in gear.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Trolling is for other sites, CubsTalk.

    I'm guessing your post was meant in humor. The humor didn't work and it came off as rude.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    To be honest it didn't come off as offensive to my reading...

    Being Cubs fans we all need humour and self-deprecation in our lives... it was probably one of the least offensive postings that CubsTalk has made.

    Blogs are about opinions, not all right and not all wrong. I enjoy this blog more than any other but sometimes responses to opinions contrary to the norm can be over chummy / over protective...

  • In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    There's a lot of disagreement here and we have no problem with that. We have a problem with disrespect.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John - I'm with you 100%... respect must be a given - respect of contributors and their opinions - however laterally thinking they may be so long as not offensive.

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    Congrats on the big 3 getting promoted

    Blackburn said he wants to top out at about 200lbs so there's still room for a little more velo. But even if he doesn't add to it... a 93mph 2-seam fastball is the equivalent to a 95mph 4-seamer if not more effective.

    Are we at a point now where his ceiling could be a solid #2/front-line guy? The general consensus when we drafted him was a #3-4 starter and since then he's filled out without losing command.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Being 6'5 and about 180 lbs in high school I can tell you that adding the weight the right way is tough. I maxed out about 225 then (actually was close to that last year as well) so I was able to gain a lot of strength in those 45 lbs between my 18 and 19th birthdays but I lost a lot of bat speed doing it. The tough part is remaining flexible with the increase in mass. It is now 20 years later and the hard part has been maintaining a healthy weight between being too heavy and too thin but as a kid I can understand the need to get stronger.

  • In reply to Rich Hood:

    You had an excellent pitchers frame there!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah too bad I was trying to be a 3rd baseman. Didn't work out very well but got a couple years of school paid for.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I'd say he's a three with a chance to be more.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    What's he missing that makes him a 3 instead of a 2?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Just being conservative. For him to be a #2 he needs to have at least average command and a couple of plus pitches. I think he has a good chance to get there, but if he doesn't, he's probably going to be good enough to be a #3. I think he'll have at least average MLB command (it's way above average for his level, but I"m talking MLB average) and he may wind up with plus command. Curve and fastball have chances to be plus pitches. It's really just a matter of him continuing the path he's on right now.

  • John, 3-4 years ago there was a young right hander in the Bosox system who was a "tweener" who threw an outstanding CB who just needed to be able to use his FB more, That kid is 9-1, even tho currently hurt, with the Bosox(Clay Buckholz) . Any similarities?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Hmmm. Interesting. Some similarities there. I think Buchholz has a bit more velo but I think Blackburn may end up with better command ,but I think the results could end up being similar.

  • Bleachers Report lists teh Top100 MLB players of the first half of this season....only one Cubs...T Wood at #89.....No Castro...No Rizzo....even Michael Bowden was left off the list....that is a Gosh Darn shame....

    only 69 days until the Bears kick off the season......which will be 8-8.....

    We hear all about these Hawks with various injuries they played with during the season and playoffs.......and then we hear about Derrick Rose not feeling well enough to play with his team mates.....

    Can one image seeing a sea of fans with Cubs shirts on at Grant Park for a victory celebration?.....okay, it was a thought......

    Tampa wants Garza back !!!!........let me guess.....they are offering Sam Fuld.......

    I think the Cubs should have a between inning character race similar to Brewers sausages.......large head puppet characters of Ron Santo, Harry Carey, Jack Brickhouse, Ernie Banks and the Cubs back up catcher Navarro himself......I bet Navarro never wins a race.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    How bout you add Tunney to that list and then have Randall Simon standing there with a bat to knock him out every time he rounds third.

  • The story about Paul Blackburn said he was 6'8" and weighed 160 last year. According to the Boise roster, he's 6'2' and weighs 185. I believe he's added 25 pounds. I doubt that he's shrunk six inches.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    yeah, he's 6'2". Not sure where the 6'8" came from. But I wouldn't treat MLB/MiLB height/weight info as gospel.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    Really excited by his progression. No excuse for that mistake in an article for! Two and 8 are not right next to each other on the keyboard and if there's an editor, he doesn't know much about Paul Blackburn. Otherwise that's a nice, encouraging piece.

  • So far we have gotten many good prospects in the draft can't
    wait to see who we get in trades and international signings.
    The next 2-3 weeks will very promising.

  • Anyone know where the current Cubs farm system is rated at in baseball?...........

    with the upcoming trades, and the prospects we will get in return, we might be in the top 3 of the entire league by next Spring........

    but what will count is the number of prospects who will produce at the MLB one remembers what happen in Iowa, Tenn, Daytona or Boise 5, 10 or 20 years ago.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Ive seen some places where they have Cubs at anywhere from 5-8 in farm systems.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    10ish was concensus. They will probably jump since no one of significance is graduating, Jackson and Maples will drop off, Bryant and the trade pick-ups will enter the list, and Alcantara, Johnson, Blackburn, Baez, and Almora all took steps forward.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    What system was number one?

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    In reply to fsufrenzy911:

    Cardinals. 3 impact talents (Taveras, Miller, Martinez) in the upper minors. Lots of very good talent behind them. They might drop a bit next year, but only because Miller and potentially Martinez, Taveras, and Kolten Wong have graduated to the big Cardinals.

  • In reply to fsufrenzy911:

    I think the Twins farm system is #1. It has depth + Buxton, and Sano. They also signed the top HS pitcher in draft Kohl Stewart.

  • Be interesting to see if they can sign all 3 of those international players

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    2 out of 3 will be ok

  • John: Since discovering this web site it is the first place I go every morning. Love your analyses and comments. But, as my wife is Colombian, please remember it is COLOMBIA, not Columbia. Cheers

  • In reply to Fast:

    Thanks Fast. Did I write Columbia? Oh man. Meant the country, of course, not the university.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And both of my parents were born in South America (Brazil, Ecuador). That was a major flub.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Something tells me you don't do well with the ladies, so I'll pass on your advice.

    In all seriousness, stick to the subject matter and if you can't properly engage the readers or writers in meaningful conversation, then you need to find another site. Last warning.

  • Does Boise end earlier than Kane County? Or is Kane County better competition?

  • In reply to hartmtown:

    Kane County is better competition.

  • Fireworks at the Daytona game. Javy crushes a HR to right, then Gieger gets hit in the head, almost charges... both pitcher and manager ejected. Pitcher Brian Mitchell shoved Umpire James Rackley on his way out.

    At least Soler isn't there to wield his bat as he would have been up after Javy.

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    In reply to Rudy:

    Is Geiger okay? I'm not sure why (a) the pitcher didn't wait to drill Javy if he did something annoying and (b) why you throw at Geiger's head. I'm hoping it was a pitch that got away, but it seems as if the pitcher has anger management issues.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Damn, Mitchell (the pitcher) is a real prospect. Mid 90s fastball. Really hope Geiger is okay. Mitchell is going to get some time off, I would hope.

  • Gieger stayed in the game to run the bases so he seemed fine. The announcesrs made it sound like it had to do with Gieger than Baez but not sure.They did say Baez did not show boat this time.

  • They said the ball reached the crowd on a fly off his helmet but he turned away enough to not be that bad.

  • "Glad to be moving up and hopefully leaving this 117 degree heat behind #Boisebound."

    - Scott Frazier.

    Wonder if this means, Blackburn goes to KCC, or maybe one of the DSL guys just goes to the pen (Orb-Rod, Padron).

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    I hope it means Blackburn to KC!

  • I was at Kane County tonight and enjoyed watching Michael Heesch... not a pitcher who will scorch out the hitter with his blinding pace but seems to have good control, walked only one and consistently got ahead of hitters especially with first pitch strikes.

    It was however worrying to see a line up with little more power than Theriot in his prime, and a lack of ability to play small-ball against a very good groundball pitcher who neutralised the whole Cougars line-up.

  • In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    He doesn't throw all that hard despite his size, but I like that he works fast and throws strikes. The hitters never get into a comfortable rhythm. Shows good movement at times with his fastball and all that adds up to a solid pitcher, at least at his level.

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    Gammons is reporting that the Dodgers are favorites for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Sounds like we're going to have to open the checkbook if we want him.

    As much as I dislike the new international rules, to the extent that they minimize the Dodgers ability to sign everyone in the Caribbean, they could be worse.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's a shocker. I'm really not getting my hopes too much on these unrestricted IFA's. Dodgers have so much money they can bid what they want and it doesn't make a dent. I just hope they keep losing.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm never a fan of limiting spending, but something needs to be done about the Dodgers. It's just too imbalanced.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I am also a man of the free markets but look what it has done to the English Premier League. When the season starts only a handful of teams even have a chance in the EPL and the drop off from top half of table to bottom half is depressing. The Dodgers will eventually stop spending as much as they have been if it continues to blow up in their faces

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    In reply to Tide23:

    The trick is that free markets rely on buyers who are roughly equal. Before the Dodgers went crazy, the international market was pretty fair, and talent was well distributed among the league. The issue with the Dodgers deal is that they can, literally, just outspend everyone else without it showing up much in their bottom line.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They're making a mockery of the process because money seems meaningless to them. They can absorb any risk, so price becomes no object.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, it is a shame and I cannot stand it, but it is within the rules. Times like these are when it sucks that the Players' Union would never agree to a salary cap without a work stoppage. I don't blame the Dodgers because they are just trying to win. I don't think the draft spending limitations or INTL FA limits are good because now it is hard to reward the team that locates the talent. Hopefully, when the Cubs get a new TV deal they will be able to spend as liberally as some of the heavy hitters.

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