Cubs Minors Recap: Almora just keeps hitting. Cubs a top 5 system?

Cubs Minors Recap:  Almora just keeps hitting. Cubs a top 5 system?
Albert Almora

We've got lots of good stuff for you in addition to the game recaps today.  This is going to be a longer piece than usual, so let's skip the usual intro and get right to it...

Professor Parks on the Cubs system

Cubs may have the 2nd best farm system according to BP's Jason "Professor" Parks.  He told reader Nathan that they're in the mix for the top 2 or 3.

He singled out 7 prospects in particular...

Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 5m
#Cubs system is very legit: Bryant (he will sign); Baez, Almora, Soler, Vogelbach, Johnson, Alcantara, etc. They have a lot of talent.

Like the Cubs brass, he's not worried about what position Dan Vogelbach is going to play (which is 1B or DH only)

Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 3m
He’s a natural DH; not a problem to worry about yet. RT @tbg9 @ProfessorParks Where else can Vogelbach play if Rizzo is in front of him?

I chatted with him a bit on Twitter myself.  We talked about how the lack of pitching isn't a huge concern when ranking the Cubs system.  In Jason's words,

"Talent is talent. Its all currency. Look at the ML arms the Royals were able to acquire w/ prospects"

He specifically mentioned Javier Baez as a guy who could bring back a lot if the Cubs were ever to decide to trade prospects for pitching when they become competitive.

And finally Parks on Dillon Maples,

Maples is such a tease. Hate to see the velo issues. Hopefully it all in his mechs, which don't exactly get good reviews

Okay...not that we're all excited about the suddenly elite Cubs farm system, let's go to the recap and talk about some of these players...

OKC 9 - Iowa 8

  • RHP Nick Struck continues to struggle to find the form that helped him win the Cubs organizational pitcher of the year at AA Tennessee last season.  Control has been a new issue and it bit him again today.  4 more walks in 5 IP, gave him 33 in 62.2 innings this year vs. just 35 strikeouts.  In all he allowed 6 runs (5 earned) and his ERA rose to 6.46.  He avoided the loss however, when Iowa came storming back.
  • Michael Bowden wasn't much help today.  After Iowa came back to within 6-4, Bowden gave 2 of those runs back in his only inning of work.
  • LHP Hisanori Takahashi has been outstanding since his demotion to Iowa and today was no exception.  He pitched 3.2 scoreless innings as Iowa mounted their rally.  Takahashi has a 2.13 ERA in AAA.
  • Marcus Hatley started off with a scoreless inning but quickly got into trouble in the 12th when he gave up a single to lead off the inning.  He threw a wild pitch to move the runner to 2nd then gave up a 2 out single to end the game.
  • Logan Watkins singled and walked twice as he continues to put up a solid OBP (.348) despite a poor batting average (.237).
  • Steve Clevenger went 2 for 5 with a double, single, run scored and an RBI.  He's 10 for 30 (.333) with 4 doubles and 3 walks since coming back from injury.
  • Dave Sappelt had a big day, including a 3-run HR that brought the I-Cubs within 1 in the 8th inning.  He also had a double and 4 RBI total on the day.  It was his 2nd HR and Dave Sappelt is hitting .246 overall.
  • Veteran utility infielder Donnie Murphy had 3 singles and 2 RBI.

Mississippi 3 - Tennessee 2

  • In a year when Cubs have a scarce supply of upper level pitching prospects, Alberto Cabrera continues to pitch well.  Cabrera went 7 innings and allowed just 5 hits and 2 runs, but most importantly for him, walked just one batter.  He also struck out 7.   Cabrera has 29 walks (3.4/9 IP) and 75 strikeouts in 77.2 innings (8.7/9 IP) this year to go with his 3.94 ERA (3.29 FIP).
  • Trey McNutt had been pitching well but he did take the loss today after giving up one run in one inning.  I'm okay with it because he threw strikes again (no walks and 11 of this 18 pitches were strikes).  Once in a while he's going to get hit, but I'd rather have him the hitters trying to beat him rather than him beating himself.
  • LHP Hunter Cervenka pitched a scoreless inning.  It was his 4th scoreless outing in a row, a streak that has lasted 6 innings in which he has walked one and struck out 7.
  • Not much offense.  Matt Szczur went 1 for 2 with an RBI while Rubi Silva singled and doubled in 4 ABs.

Daytona 5 - Fort Myers 1

  • With no game until Monday due to the All-Star break, the D-Cubs used several pitchers starting with Yao-Lin Wang, who went 4 shutout innings in which he allowed 3 walks and struck out 4.    He lowered his ERA to 2.42.  Wang has struck out just a shade over a batter per inning (27 Ks in 26 IP) while walking just over 3 batters per 9 IP.
  • LHP Kyler Burke gave up the only run of the game from the Daytona side yet picked up the victory.  Starter PJ Francescon (1 IP, 2 W, 2 Ks) and relievers Jeffrey Lorick (1 IP, 2W, 1 K) Eduardo Figuroa (1.1 IP, 1W) and Frank Del Valle  (0.2 IP, 2 ks) shut down the Miracle the rest of the way.  Del Valle now has 45Ks in 31.1 innings pitched, a rate of 12.9 Ks/9 IP.
  • RF Jorge Soler went 1 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.
  • 1B Dustin Geiger went 2 for 4 with a double and also scored a run.
  • C Chadd Krist doubled and drove in 2.
  • With all the heavy hitters in Daytona's lineup, versatile Tim Saunders has been one hitter who has struggled but he is breaking out of his slump.  He had 2 more hits, including a double, to raise his average to .216, but a after a .214 April and a dreadful .159 May, Saunders has hit .364/.463/.424 in June so far.  He also stole his 20th base of the season.

Kane County 4 - Burlington 1

  • Tayler Scott isn't going to wow you with his peripherals but he has done a good job of avoiding hard contact at the lower levels.  That was the case again today as Scott allowed just 2 hits in 7.2 IP while walking 3 and striking out 2.  Scott moved to 4-2 with a 3.84 ERA.
  • Steve Perakslis' string of dominant performances has him now getting higher leverage roles and today he was the closer, a job he may just hang on to for awhile, or at least share with LHP Nathan Dorris.  Perakslis lowered his ERA to 3.06 with a scoreless inning and a third.  He struck out 2.  He has a 0.84 ERA since a horrendous April (7.67 ERA).  Perakslis throws hard (91-94 mph FB) and can be effective when he throws strikes.
  • MiLB.com is also starting to notice Cubs prospects.  After writing articles on Javier Baez and Jorge Soler earlier in the year, it was Albert Almora's turn today.  Almora had another multi-hit game -- his 9th in just 19 games this season to raise his batting average to .430.  Almora singled, doubled, tripled and made a fine sliding catch in CF.  Aside from those 9 multi-hit games, Almora has gone hitless just twice -- and one of those games was the game where he got injured and was taken out after just one AB.
  • Bijan Rademacher was in the leadoff spot and he played that role well today.  He singled and walked twice, scoring 2 runs.   Rademacher has cooled off a bit but is still hitting .327 and has an even .400 OBP.  His walk rate has reallly improved this season.  The walks were his 17th and 18th of the season, a rate of 10.6%.

Boise season starts tomorrow

  • RHP James Pugliese makes the opening day start tomorrow and we'll have the recap for you tomorrow.

Draft signing update:

  • The Cubs signed RHP Michael Wagner out of the University of San Diego (yes, the same school as Kris Bryant).  Wagner was a 15th round draft pick but was considered a steal at that point.  He projects as a back end starter/bullpen arm in the majors.  He works 88-91 as a starter, according to BA, but his stuff is better out of the bullpen.  He also has a good slider and a solid change.  He has good command of his stuff and a clean, repeatable delivery.
  • In case you missed it in the Game Notes a couple of days ago, the Cubs also signed 9th round CF Charcer Burks to a an overslot deal of 170,000.  Burks impressed scouts late in the process, particularly a workout in which he ran 60 yards in 6.5 seconds and showed some aptitude with a wood bat.  Because he wasn't really well known, I had assumed this was a money-saving pick but the Cubs obviously see a potential sleeper here.  Burks will report to AZ.

Cubs Affiliate Scoreboard and Box Scores

 

Comments

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  • Im really impressed with Alberto Cabrera, the guy seems like he is figuring it out as a starter. I'm a huge albert almora fan, this kid just knows how to play. I heard when the cubs drafted him some people compared him to adam jones. IF he can come close to that then the cubs have something.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Cabrera is definitely under the radar. Interesting that he was compared to Jones.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think i saw that comparison too, personally I'm thinking he can be Jim Edmonds albeit with less power

  • John, speaking of prospects, The Cub reporter noted in his recap today that Alexander Santana, Erick Leal, Daury Torrez and Carlos Rodriguez should be in the AZ Cubs rotation and added that Alexander Santana, who was promoted from the DSL to AZ this year features a 93 mph heater, a hard slider and a change up... I think that's similar than Daury Torrez... Both of them throw a lot of strikes... If the secondary stuff is good, the command should play up
    very well for them.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Torrez is my favorite but Santana has had some success in the DSL too. Torrez bigger and more projectable with better command, but Santana definitely interesting as well.

    Should be an interesting staff if that's how it works out.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    It's time for us to have a new international prospect rocket through our system.....like a Johnny Cueto. An arm. Anything.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Candelario doing a good job so far. I'm a Penalver fan too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah and let's not forget that Carlos Rodriguez had success too and he's still only 17, the FO must've liked what they saw from him.... Interesting staff to follow this year, I think Keith Law makes a trip to AZ every year and scouts the area, I'm looking forward to his reports from the AZ team this year.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Not as excited about Rodriguez. Smaller guy and not all that projectable, stuff is so-so right now. He's still young so we'll see.

    I wrote this on him earlier...

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/02/evaluating-dsl-prospects-lhp-carlos-a-rodriguez/

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ah I see thank you, I remember the article now... You're right that he's not all that projectable and not everybody turns into Travis Wood lol... That's the thing about the DSL and VSL, it's really hard to assess anything, not a lot of information and stats could look wild and deceptive.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I really have a tough time with writing up the DSL because I have no real contacts there and so you wind up scouting box scores, which can be really misleading.

    I think Rodriguez has a chance because he really knows how to pitch.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I was surprised when Rodriguez made the Mesa roster. He only pitched 6.2 innings in EXST and given his age, I thought he might be headed south. Glad he's not.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I'm glad he's up too. I think pitchability wise he can compete at this level or even higher. It's the stuff that's going to make the difference.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Wasn't Leal one of two pitchers recv'd in the Campana trade?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Yes he was... Campana was traded for Leal and Jesus Castillo.

  • fb_avatar

    Burks and Clifton are both overslots so far......FO must be very confident they can find the money, probably from Zastryzny or Henneman.

    The Royals were criticized for picking Dozier, but given what they did with Manea, I can see now why.....it was very smart actually. New dynamics of the CBA.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Don't forget Bryant. If he signs for $6M, that's 700K right there, which pretty much pays for both of them.

    It works if Manaea can be the old Manaea. Otherwise they've got two fringe 1st/second round talents. They probably wound up saving a little money doing it that way, but it's basically Manaea 1st round/Dozier 1st round sup if you look at it talent wise, which is solid but it doesn't seem to me like they got away with more than they normally would with those two picks.

    I'm still skeptical of some of these draft strategies and i wonder if it's really just shuffling the deck.

    I kind of like that the Cubs were picking off some good arms in rounds 4,5,6 while some teams were looking to save money.

    I guess time will tell whether strategies like the Astros and Royals were worth it. I think teams are still in experimental mode.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Saw an interesting piece (will look it up if someone wants the citation) that the Royals were willing to gamble on Manaea because his hip injury was the same thing that Alex Gordon had in '09. Obviously Gordon recovered and is now an All-Star.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Interesting, so maybe they know something about it. They're obviously confident and he's about to get a pretty nice bonus.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Pro Sports Daily had found an article where it said Clifton got closer to 500k, which is still 3rd rd money, just not 750k or so which would've been the Cubs slot money. I think its also said that assuming everyone signs slot and with the 5% overage that Cubs would be able to slide if Clifton gets that amount.

    Another tidbit from that site on Zastryzny, says that the Blue Jays called him late 1st rd saying that they were going to take him with there 2nd pick.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Interesting, so he was only going to last 8 more picks. That pretty much ends speculation that the Cubs could have waited until the 3rd round.

    And you got to like that the Jays were going to pick him. They've done a good job stockpiling arms.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ya as much as that pick may have been a surprise, the Cubs can't get ahead by making all the moves that the consensus think are best. Gotta trust your scouts above other peoples opinions

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Exactly. And the stuff i've heard from the Cubs side is different than what I've read, especially with regard to FB.

    They like that change-up and they think he'll develop a good breaking ball. I'm intrigued by guys who develop breaking balls late in their college careers for some reason. That was the case with Kevin Gausman and Michael Wacha. Zastryzny also developing a slider late. Maybe that saves some wear on the arm during younger years. Not saying he's going to be good as those guys, but I'm going to be really interested in how this guy develops.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Jon, Ive always said look at the Mets late 60s staff that all c ame to the bigs together , and had long successful, relatively injury-free careers(Seaver, Ryan, Koosman, McGraw, Capra, etc) Someone might want to look at the fact that none of them threw breaking balls before they arrived in the bigs, as both Ryan and Seaver both first developed there CB(Ryan) and slider(Seaver) as big leaguers. OTOH, look at Kerry Wood-throwing both the slider/CB as a high schooler, and the consequent injury problems as a pro.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    That's interesting. You wonder how much injury is caused by high schoolers (or even younger) throwing breaking pitches, especially sliders.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    I believe it was $570,000.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    "Taken much later than projected, Trevor will be compensated handsomely with a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $570,000, money generally reserved for third round selections and higher."

    http://blountpressrow.com/2013/06/three-days-in-june/

  • In reply to Quedub:

    They must like that kid a lot -- must be able to fix his delivery, hopefully without losing velo.

  • Great to see Almora's torrid pace still going! If he continues even near his great start, is there a chance he could go to Daytona this year?

    Nice to see that others are seeing the fruits of Theo et. al. starting to develop. Theo told us from the ground up is the start and it's really nice to see that his plan is actually coming together. Also, his pick-ups of Maholm, and hopefully this year with Feldman, DDJ and maybe even Gregg can perhaps bring some added depth to an already growing top 5 system. And their strategy of Almora with young pitchers and Bryant and college pitchers to me has to be trusted. So far the Cubs new brass has not given me a reason to doubt the process. I wanted Gray, but I am trusting their pick of Bryant is the better choice.

    Bryant fits the style of player that they are looking for to a tee and the more I think about his OPS, HR's etc., especially with the BBCOR bats, just adds to the anticipation of seeing him start out in KC.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    I think Almora has a shot to move to Daytona by year's end but right now they're probably going to let him settle in.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think it's time for him to settle into Daytona, seems like he's not being challenged enough. With that in mind, & knowing Bryant is advanced enough (even though he appears to be set to debut in AZ or KC), it seems like our big 4 is on roughly the same ETA. Late 2015 or 2016, maybe there should be a "Big Plan" after all. Everyone already knows they have no shot at contending (competing can begin next year) until our big guns come up anyhow. I'm quite content hoping for a # 2 or #3 pick next year (major controversy I know), while simultaneously hoping our Core pieces Castro, Castillo, Rizzo, Shark, & Wood improve in the mean time. Next year compete & make moves, including drafting one of the stud college pitchers at 2 or 3, then fill in some holes via FA for 2015, & bring up some blue chip prospects. I see light at the end of the tunnel!

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Maybe, but he hasn't yet had a second go round with the league. Let's see how he adjusts. If he slumps, you'd rather have him try to pull out of it at that lower level. He hasn't hit for a lot of power, nor has he drawn many walks, so there are still things to be learned. that's probably nitpicking because both will likely develop in time.

    I think he can probably handle Daytona but I can wait a bit. Maybe give him a taste of Daytona for the last 4-6 weeks and let him hit the ground running next year with a chance to move to AA.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Very true, but with his time with Team USA, I just think he's ready. Agree though, definitely don't want to rush him. Power I think will come more with age rather than experience, or more so at least. Nor has he been challenged enough to draw more walks. I can wait a bit more too, but not unnecessarily.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah I can totally see them taking the same approach that they did with Baez last year. He should spend the last 4-8 weeks of the season in Daytona, then go to the AZ Fall League as a non AA-Roster attendee. A big league ST invite and then back to A+ Daytona.

    Assuming of course that Baez & Soler are on the AA roster the past part of the season. They should be in the AZ Fall League too. Though Soler could possibly get a sniff of the big league team when rosters expand since he's already on the 40 man. Depends on when they call him up to AA and he handles it.

    The question is, what to do with Bryant? They can only have 1 non AA rostered player in AZ Fall League, correct?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Im still out as Shark as a core piece. Soomeone needs to get the "Verlander effect" into him, like not throwing 95 plus from the first pitch. Verlander always starts off at 91-92 early in games and starts ramping it up about the 3rd/4th inning. Shark is throwing gas from pitch 1, which seems to wear him out. Same with when he throws a bunch of splitters, seems to affect his heater.

  • Found this article on milb.com

    http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/06/12/2612945/pitcher-finally-has-chance-to.html

    Noticed it says Paul Blackburn's fastball reaches 94 mph, which would be a tick higher than the scouting report when he was drafted... As young as he is, if he picks up more velocity, with his command and pitchability it'll make him a guy to definitely follow.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks for the link. Agreed that if Blackburn can reach 94 consistently, he's going to become very interesting.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John is Blackburn going to be at Boise?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Yes. In fact, he's scheduled to start tomorrow.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I was hoping blackburn got a few ticks on the fastball once he got older,If he does it could be huge.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Agreed, he already has a good make up and a feel for his secondary stuff... An increment of velocity and consistent good command should turn him into a big time sleeper... After all, he was picked high in the draft, which probably means scouts/teams were aware of the possibility of him adding velocity and turning into an interesting prospect.

  • fb_avatar

    I personally disagree with the #2 or #3 system assessment.

    I'd put pretty high still, but the overwhelming dearth of pitching is too much IMO.

    I understand what he means by "talent is talent" and if any of those players in his top 7 were blocked, I'd totally agree. But a strong argument can be made that all 7 of those guys can become starters at the same time.

    There is little to no redundancy in our high talent prospects, so a trade for pitching, to me, equates to unnecessary sacrifice.

    However, in John's recent article about trade bait, Wood and Valbuena are the only players I want to keep. If we can turn Feldman/Garza/Scierholtz/DdJ/Gregg/Russell, etc into a package of prospects including a number of high ceiling and productive arms, then #2 would be possibly an understatement.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    The lack of balance doesn't bother me as much. I agree with Parks that talent is paramount. You just have to get the best talent you can. Would the system be better if the Cubs had chose Max Fried (who I believe was an option if Almora was gone) and Jonathan Gray? I don't really think so.

    That said, if they are able to acquire a couple of impact arms and add them to what they already have, I agree that they'd be serious contenders for that top spot.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed... We traded Maholm for Vizcaino, we can do the same with a guy like Feldman, I wouldn't drop the rank on the farm because of lack of pitching, if that's so, then the same could be applied to a farm full of arms but not too many position players... Basically, for me, it's about the overall talent... Prospects can be used to add to your MLB club or as chips... We flipped a young Cashner for a young Rizzo... Who knows, it could be the other way around one day.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Feldman has a contract that expires at the end of this year. Didn't Maholm have a longer contract? I doubt that the Cubs can get anywhere near a player of Vizcaino's talent level for two months of Feldman.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Maholm had an option for the following year... It is true that we might not get the same return based on the contract status, unless we put up a good package by adding someone else being traded like DeJesus or maybe throwing in a prospect that we no longer see as the future like Vitters (who I think is no longer in the fold for future 3B considerations)

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Maholm had one year and an option Tell the truth, Id bet the Braves decline his option and he becomes a FA after this season.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agree, but I think if you have to make a trade for need, you're going to give up some value most of the time.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    That's probably true to some extent.

  • fb_avatar

    I talked to Parks about that as well. He seems to believe (and he is the expert) that our talent in the minors is so much better than at least 25 other teams that we could be a top 2/3 system without adding any arms at the trade deadline. He also stated that we are going to have 4 guys in his top 20 of his top 50 revisit.
    His top player is Bruxton right now so it is not all rainbows and lollipops for the Cubs system.

  • In reply to Rich Hood:

    Buxton is a heck of a player. Deserves that #1 rating.

    I think what makes the Cubs system special is potential impact talent. The top 4 are potential big impact players. Alcantara has a chance to be an offensive dynamo at a premium position. Johnson looks like a bona fide 3rd starter. Vogelbach has some of the best power potential in the game. Real exciting time to be a Cubs fan right now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It really is, it really is!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Totally agree I think our competitive window is about to open and these kids will be knocking on the door to put the team into the contending faze in 2015. Now if there was only a way to get Buxton.

  • In reply to Rich Hood:

    Ha Buxton is untradeable, but Cubs don't have a bad consolation prize in Almora.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Best Cubs system since the early 60s, when Williams, Santo etc came to the bigs together.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Yep. That's exactly what we're hoping for. I like that analogy.

  • I don't see the lack of MLB ready pitching as a serious problem. It isn't ideal, but not a show-stoppper. The most difficult arms to replace are SPing, and the Cubs are OK in that area and even have some degree of depth (If Baker and Vizcaino can ever arrive). If the Cubs can keep mixing and matching and find a decent combination, the bullpen will eventually be OK too. Right now, the problem is offense. If the Cubs can get a serious infusion of young, effective hitting, it will make the staff better and take pressure off the current mainstays (Castro & Rizzo). Baez will be at AA, Almora and Soler at Daytona and Bryant at KC, before the year is out. I am hoping for some debuts in Sep of '14.

  • In reply to RayA:

    Before the season's out, it should be Baez and Soler in AA, Almora getting a taste of Daytona with Bryant seeing KC and depending on how soon he signs and how well he does, he could also get a taste of Daytona along with Almora. It would be nice to start next year with Soler and Baez in AA and Almora and Bryant in A+ with the possibility of Bryant advancing to AA based on performance come June.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Soler going to AA, would be an awfully big jump. The season is nearly half over and he has yet to get a taste of the FSL. I'm not saying it can't happen, but speeding him through doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. I think Soler will open '14 at AA and if he progresses, maybe get a call up in Sept...about the same time Baez gets the call. Almora seems to have the makeup to make the jump at the same time, but I think it will be '15 before he and Bryant see the bigs.

  • In reply to RayA:

    Soler has been in Daytona all season.

  • In reply to RayA:

    It is a big jump and the Cubs are supposedly going to meet and discuss whether they want to do this. My feeling is he makes it to AA this year, even if it's just an end of the year cup of coffee.

  • In reply to RayA:

    I'm expecting Cubs teams to eventually be built somewhat like Bostons. Lots of offense, lots of power and OBP, and then enough pitching to make it all work.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I like that approach. It is more entertaining than watching Oakland win 3-2 ballgames.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Agreed. Much more fun to watch. Though SF has done it with starting pitching. Either way works, but I think Theo's strength is with position players.

  • I was a bit disappointed with Cabrera last night He had trouble controlling the location of his fastball. But we all have bad days...
    However, his off-speed stuff was great, and his use of velocity between fastballs and everything else really had the opposing batters fooled once Cabrera got deeper into counts. His off-speed stuff is a great weapon.
    Cabrera really looks like a MLB pitcher on the mound. I expect to see him at Wrigley in a couple of years.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    Thanks Eldrad. Do you happen to remember what he was clocking at?

    Sounds like he though he had no control issues he had some trouble commanding that fastball.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Unfortunately, I never heard the broadcasters mention the radar gun.

    Yeah, no control issues; his non-fastball repertoire was on target.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    Oh, my bad. I thought you were at the game. I forgot you watch them on MiLB too!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good pitchers know what pitch is working on what day. Jim Palmer once said he didn't have a 95MPH FB every day, so he had to dial down his other pitches on days his FB wasn't there. Sounds like maybe Cabrera was dong that. I sure hope so.

  • Honestly, I would have been disappointed if they weren't a top 5 system at this point. With the 3 top 50 guys coming into the year and the #2 pick and then no one graduating to the majors, they should be top 5.

    The thing that will give them an additional boost are those trade pieces. I'm hoping they can bring in 3 pitchers, 1 maybe a tick above Pierce Johnson (probably for Garza), one Pierce Johnson-ish pitcher (for Feldman) and then another maybe a tick below Pierce.

    That'd really help in re-stocking the pitching in the system. If they end up having to get more hitting back I won't be too worried about it, they can always deal position players for pitchers, but I think they'd prefer something like the mix above.

    The one thing we're going to have to get used to are "top 10" players from other teams slotting into our 15-20 range. This system has so much depth at the top that it's going to be tough to acquire guys that slot into our top 10. I'm hoping for 2 and then another 2-3 guys that fill in from 11-20.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I like that scenario and hope it plays out. Cubs had such awful luck last year at the deadline...things have to turn around, don't they?

    They'd definitely prefer to trade their veterans right now for pitching prospects.

    Nice to be in a system now where other team's top 10's don't even break our list!

  • John, I'm curious where you rank our "big 4" within the top 25 overall?

    I seem to remember reading some chatter last year (can't remember if it was Callis or Mayo, etc.) that said Baez could potentially be #3 in all of baseball the next time around. While there's some difference in opinions as to who our #1 is, the consensus is that they are all pretty close. Just curious who makes top 5 (if any) top 10, etc...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I leave that to the national guys because they see the other guys more and talk to more scouts on a league-wide level.

    If I had to guess, I'd say Baez and Almora have the best shot at top 15 status but I don't see any top 10 guys at this point. Let's see what they do in AA.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Baez is already @ #16 pre-season. With more scouts warming to him sticking at SS and the adjustments he's made, you don't think thats enough to move him up 6 spots? Almora & Soler were barely top 40, so I see that may be a bit of a stretch. But if all 4 truly are interchangeable as 1-4 then....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    We'll see. It's possible, I suppose. The adjustments the last few weeks are encouraging.

  • john, a couple of questions. what kind of injury does steven bruno have? he hasn't played in a while. where is marcelo carreno. the pitcher the cubs got in the baker deal from the tigers. also, since the cubs trade pieces feldman etc are basically rentals, do you think the cubs would settle for lessor prospects but take international signing money or ,if from a team that has them, competitive balance draft picks, both which are tradeable, instead of impact type prospects.

  • In reply to DLROBERTSON:

    Don't know on Bruno but it's been over a month now. Went on DL on May 5th. Carreno has been hurt all year. Not sure if he's had surgery but haven't heard anything about him pitching or even rehabbing, so I'm assuming he's out for the year.

    Should add to that Daytona never releases injury specifics. We couldn't find out what happened to Matt Szczur last yaer.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    okay, thanks

  • In reply to DLROBERTSON:

    Bruno is set to have Tommy John next week and is done for the season. Should be ready to go by Spring Training though. Look for him to start at AA next season, barring a setback

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