Cubs Minors Recap: Bryant and Baez progressing quickly. And Arrieta is just plain filthy

Cubs Minors Recap: Bryant and Baez progressing quickly.  And Arrieta is just plain filthy
Jake Arrieta

So Jake Arrieta is having no trouble with AAA hitters and he didn't have much with MLB hitters either in his one start with the Cubs.  So when will we see him again?  Well, the answer has to do with service time and the Cubs can avoid Super 2 status and losing a year of control if they make sure he is on the roster for less than 52 days.  A good guess is that we'll see him on the homestand that begins August 12th against the Cincinnati Reds.

Meanwhile Javier Baez is maturing at the plate and learning pitch recognition and that's scary for the rest of the league.

“I’m working with Desi (Smokies hitting coach Wilson) on recognizing the pitch,” Baez said. “If it’s not my pitch, I’m not hitting it.”

“We worked on seeing breaking balls off the [pitching] machine and that kind of helped Javy with his timing, seeing the ball out of the pitcher’s hand,” Wilson said. “We’re trying to get him to understand to be patient and selective and look for your pitch.”

Just be glad you're not a pitcher in the Southern League right now.

Let's get on with the recap...

Iowa 8 - Tacoma 4

  • Jake Arrieta was pretty close to unhittable today in just 5 innings of work.  He allowed 2 hits, one of them a bunt single and struck out 11 -- including 6 in a row at one point.  Arrieta has a 3.29 ERA overall at Iowa and has struck out 19 batters in his last two starts.  See you in Chicago soon, Jake.
  • Alberto Cabrera had his second straight rough outing but this time it was the long ball.  Cabrera pitched 2 innings, did not walk  a batter, and struck out 3 -- but he did allow 2 solo HRs.
  • Chang-Yon Lim pitched a 1-2-3 inning and we could see the fireballing sidearmer soon as well.  He has allowed one run in 5 AAA innings, walking one and striking out 4.
  • Jae-Hoon Ha looks like he's beginning to adjust to AAA pitching.  He went 3 for 5 today with a double, 2 runs scored, and 3 RBI.  Ha still isn't lighting it up with a .252/.299/.378 line but he's making progress.  He's 10 for his last 23 with 3 doubles and a HR.
  • Speaking of picking up the pace, Mike Olt had 2 hits, including a triple and a ground-rule double.  He drove in 2 runs.  Perhaps this was the game Olt needed to get on a roll and perhaps get a look this September.

Jacksonville 10 - Tennessee 4

  • A.J. Morris was having great success as a starter when he was first transitioned to that role but has struggled in his last 3 starts.  This past start may have been his worst as he lasted just 1.1 innings and allowed 7 runs.  In his last 3 starts he has gone 8.1 innings and allowed 18 runs (15 earned) while walking 5 and striking out 4.  He has a 5.25 ERA overall.
  • LHP Jeffry Antigua is now in AA and pitched 3 scoreless innings.  Have arm will travel.  Antigua has very likely reached his ceiling as a pitcher and the Cubs are finding him to be an extremely useful pitcher in their organization, able to pitch at any level at a moment's notice.  His stuff is fringy 84-87 mph fastball, slider, and a good change-up that I've seen as slow as 59 mph -- though he often slows his arm speed when he throws it.  There's some deception to his delivery as he throws it across his body and it's been working against minor league hitters.  Whether he'll ever get a chance to try his smoke and mirrors act against MLB is in question, but Antigua has done everything the organization has asked of him.
  • Brett Jackson went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored.  He's hitting .261 in his first 7 games at AA and he's struck out 6 times in 24 PAs, which is a small sample, but an improvement so far.
  • Javier Baez went 3 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI.  He raised his line to .243/.306/.586 with 11 HRs in 27 AA games.

Clinton 11 - Kane County 1

  • 4th round pick Tyler Skulina made his full-season A ball debut and may have had a case of the jitters.  He went 3 innings and allowed 3 hits and 2 walks, which resulted in 3 runs scored.
  • Steve Perakslis pitched a scoreless inning at the end of the game, but then it was too little too late as Jose Rosario walked 5 and allowed 7 runs in his 3 innings of work.  After showing some promise early on, Rosario now has a 7.36 ERA at Kane County.
  • Not much offense for Kane County.  They got an RBI double from LF'er Jose Dore and a 3 for 3 game from 3B Guiseppe Papaccio.

Boise 10 - Everett 5

  • Skulina wasn't the only 2013 draftee who struggled today, 2nd round pick LHP Rob Zastryzny had one of those days.  He walked just one and struck out 5 in 2.1 innings, but also allowed 5 hits, including 3 doubles, which led to 4 runs.
  • The Hawks did get great work from two other 2013 draftees: 8th round pick LHP Sam Wilson and 10th round pick Zach Godley each went 2 scoreless innings, striking out 3 without walking a batter.  Wilson got a win for his efforts, his 3rd, and has yet to allow a run in 13 innings.  He has walked just 4 and struck out 17.  Godley, meanwhile, has allowed just one earned run in 15 innings (0.60 ERA), walking 3 and striking out 15.
  • Jack-of-all-trades David Bote is filling in for Shawon Dunston in CF and did a pretty good impersonation, singling twice, walking, and scoring 2 runs.  Bote is hitting .239/.324/.374 with 5 HRs at Boise.
  • Kris Bryant has undoubtedly found his rhythm now.  He had 3 more hits, including 2 doubles and is now hitting .292/.352/.583 with 3 HRs in just over 50 PAs.  I'm hoping that maybe we will get to see him in Kane before the year is out.
  • 23 year old Rony Rodriguez was signed out of the independent Canadian-American Association.  His age and size (5'11", 210 lbs) doesn't lend to a lot 0f projection, but the Cubs may have seen something in him because he has been getting quite a bit of playing time early on.  He made it pay off today with 2 HRs -- his 2nd and 3rd of the season.  He's hitting .244/.326/.427 in 24 games so far this season.
  • 2B Jordan Hankins had himself a nice day, going 1 for 3 with 2 walks and a HR -- his first as a pro.  He drove in 2 and scored 2.  The 13th round pick is hitting .240/.306/.310 on the season.

AZL Cubs - AZL A's

  • Rehabbing RHP Ryan Searle pitched an inning, allowing 3 runs (2 earned).  He walked one but also struck out the side.
  • The 24 year old Orbandy Rodriguez is probably a little old for the league but he has been away from the game for awhile because of a fraud incident -- a mistake that was pushed on him by an unscrupulous agent.  Rodriguez has a decent FB, often in the low 90s but he's hit as high as 94.   He struggled to a 1-2 start with a 6.10 ERA at Boise, but he has yet to give up a run in AZ over 8 innings in which he has walked 2 and struck out 13.   Perhaps he gets another shot at Boise.
  • Daury Torrez is probably my favorite pitcher in the Cubs AZ complex.  The just turned 20 year old has a big frame at 6'3", 200 lbs (up from the 170 at which he was originally listed).  He sits at 90-93 with his FB, throws a hard slider, and a solid change -- and he commands all 3 pitches.  He went 3 more scoreless innings today but his ERA is deceptively high at 4.50.  Torrez has often dominated in the first 3 innings or so of his appearances, only to run out of steam and give up runs in his last inning of work. Today he was limited to 3 IP and allowed just 2 hits and one unearned run.  He did not walk a batter and struck out 4.  He now has 4 walks and 30 Ks in 30 IP.  His FIP is 2.47.
  • 7th round pick David Garner has some talent but has been inconsistent so far.  The Cubs are hoping to tap into that talent but up until today, they haven't gotten great results from Garner, who came into the day with a 10.80 ERA.  He had his best outing of the season with 2 scoreless innings.
  • 12th round overslot signing Trevor Clifton who allowed a single and walk, but pitched a scoreless inning.  He also struck out a batter.
  • 3B Jesse Hodges singled, doubled, and scored 2 runs.
  • DH Kelvin Freeman singled twice and scored a run.  Freeman is hitting .291 on the year but only 4 of his 23 hits have gone for extra bases (all doubles).  Considering his size (6'5", 245) and position (1B/DH), the Cubs will expect he hits for better power down the road.
  • SS Francisco Sanchez has the opposite issue.  He's only hitting .216 but over half of his hits (11 of 21) have gone for extra bases (174 ISO).  He went 1 for 4 with a triple, a run scored, and an RBI today.
  • 9th round overslot OF Charcer Burks hada  pair of singles and is now hitting .260 on the year.  Burks didn't get much notoriety out of high school but was a late riser when teams got to see his quick hands and wrists to go with his overall athleticism.
  • Mark Malave was at 1B today and singled, walked twice, scored, and drove in a run.  The 18 year old from Venezuela is holding his own, hitting .258 and has shown great patience with 11 walks in less than 80 PAs.  The power isn't there yet, but the advanced hitter does have plenty of natural strength, so it's a matter of him tapping into that power during games.  That will probably come with experience.

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  • fb_avatar

    Sweet Jesus our big league lineup could be good in a couple of years.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    Things are coming along nicely.

  • Why do you think Arrieta runs up such a high pitch count so early in games? Is he nibbling too much? It seems like with his fastball he could easily challenge guys and avoid as many deep counts. It will be interesting to see what kind of progress he makes in the next few years. I am excited about that trade!
    Thanks for the article

  • In reply to Tide23:

    I agree and all for the low price of Scott Feldman!! I believe the Cubs "won" this trade.

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    In reply to Tide23:

    99 pitches, 55 strikes. His stuff is close to unhittable, but he also has trouble locating it. Particularly for a strikeout pitcher, that can lead to high pitch counts (since you need at least 3 pitches for every strikeout).

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Tough to command that kind of velo and movement. I think he's going to need a go-to pitch to contact offering like Hendricks with his cutter or Wells with his two seamer.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Is the ability to command it what separates Jonathan Gray from every other pitcher that throws 100 mph?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hard to tell if he's commanding at this point without seeing him. Control numbers are good. But when you throw 100, you only need average command, which is what many expect out of Gray.

  • In reply to Tide23:

    He doesn't nibble, he just misses too much. I think he's going to have to learn to pitch to contact more and lower that pitch count. Maybe throw a cutter in there with less velo than FB and less movement than slider to get himself some weak contact.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am probably more excited about him than I am any other prospect/young player returned in a trade. I hope Derek Johnson (or whoever else) can help him refine his arsenal so that he becomes more efficient. I never thought about the addition of another pitch like the cutter but that sounds like it could definitely help

  • Great recap, as always.

    I was wondering, looking over the box score, it looks like Almora left the game early today. I saw no mention of it on Twitter from Kane County, or any of the other usual people that would know, so I'm assuming it's nothing serious. Have you heard anything?

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    Thanks. He hurt his groin, is what I was told. I was at the Cubs game and heard that second hand.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks. Damn, that's not good. Hopefully it's just a little tweak and he's right back in the lineup.

  • The cubs also won the Tony Campana trade.

    Erick Leal

    Jesus Castillo

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    Those two show promise, but both have a long, long way to go.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So does Tony Campana.

  • I think it's about time to move Kris Bryant up. I know Candelario is at Kane County and should be starting everyday so I say move Bryant up to Daytona.

    I don't think it's too soon. He's played 15 games with the AZL Cubs/Boise just to get his feet wet since he hasn't played baseball in a couple months. Well...the feet are wet.

    The jump shouldn't be considered too much, the consensus best college hitter should be at least be at A+ now he's knocked any rust off.

    The only thing...the rainouts. I hope this doesn't become such a big deal that it comes up whenever we have a prospect making the jump to Daytona. Move him up and hope for the best with the weather (same for Almora). I don't think staying at Boise is going to do much for him for the rest of this season. It's a league full of guys that he's much more advanced then.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I do not want either to be in Daytona this time of year. It seems like every other game is a rainout. The games Saturday and Sunday were cancelled due to the field being in unplayable condition. I would rather leave Almora in Peoria than him go to Daytona and then start next year in Daytona. That is an interesting dilemma with the Bryant and Candalario dilemma. I will be interested in seeing how they handle that. What a great problem to have!

  • In reply to Tide23:

    I'd honestly rather see Bryant in AA for the remaining couple weeks then to finish out in Boise. He's in a league that's for 19/20 year olds with no college experience.

    I'm not asking to rush some high school kid or some middle of the road college hitter. I'm seeing if the top college hitter can hold his own.

    If he can...great.
    If he can't...that's fine too, I don't see it doing any harm to his development, it's only for a few weeks. He can still start back in A ball next year. No biggie. Not like he can't go back down.

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    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I think there's a lot of FO's that are very conscious of hurting a player's confidence, which is honestly a realistic concern to professional athletes.

    Also, the organization may have goals for every level of the organization.

    I'd like to see him promoted to KC and finish out there. No need to rush him. Candelario will most likely start at KC again next year, because he's incredibly young still so it's really no problem IMO if you give Candelario a few weeks at OF or 2B.

    KC will still be an increase in competition for Bryant and if he plays really well in that month and maybe the fall league, I could see them starting him at high-A in his first full year, with a mid-season promotion to AA if performance allows.

    Making double-A in his first full season would be quite an accomplishment, and a far cry from taking things slowly.
    I think double-A in the same season he was drafted is just too much.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    My last post wasn't directed specifically at you, I posted it then read yours, but it does work as a response to what you said.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I feel there's going to be a lot of "No, he's definitely not ready, the leap is much to AA" talk.

    So I put together the amount of games the Dick Howser Trophy winner (given out since 1987) played in rookie league/A-Ball before moving to AA...(only hitters, and let me say this again, not necessarily as a permanent move, because he could struggle, just to try it out, I feel I have to add these disclaimers because if you don't some people on here twist your words and you'll have people saying I want Bryant on the big league team opening day, so without further ado...)

    Zunino- 29
    Rendon- 22
    Posey- 90
    Gordon- started at AA
    Weeks- 21
    Greene- 56
    Teixeira- 38
    Furniss- 54 (bounced back and forth between A - AA)
    Drew- 30
    Helton- 54
    Varitek- started at AA
    Kieschnick- 9
    S. Bryant- 116
    Ventura- started at AA
    Fiore- 247

    Yes, I know every case is different and just because other people did it doesn't mean he has to do it, but it's far from unprecedented. Lets see what the kid can do.

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    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    The bigger factor to me is WHY.

    Why bother sending him up that quickly? There's nothing to gain.

    We're an awful team and next year there's a very good chance we will still be quite bad,

    Even then, he may not be that far off from some of the projections you posted.
    He'll only play about 40 games this year. If he gets promoted to KC soon, or maybe even if they have him skip KC, then they could promote him after a few months to double-A, and that wouldn't be taking it slowly by ANY means.

    Hell, if they start him at KC and promote him after 76 games like they did with Baez, even that would put him almost exactly at the 116 games for "S. Bryant" on your list. If he's promoted sooner than he could very conceivably be on a similar path than Posey.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    To clarify: I meant why move him up as quickly as double-A THIS year, the rest of my post was supposed to more or less agree with you.

    I think he can be promoted relatively quickly, like others in similar situations, while still not having an altogether different road than some other Cubs prospects.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    You say there's not much to gain, I don't see that there's much to lose. Who's to say it's too quickly? Judging by the DH Trophy winner if you'd put "Bryant-15" on that list it wouldn't stick out.

    He's well advanced for Boise. And probably even Kane County. Daytona has the rainouts. AA is the next logical move.

    I'd hope that we didn't draft someone so emotionally thin skinned that his confidence is ruined if he struggles for a couple weeks at AA. He could also do well, we don't know, he has the talent to get it done.

    A lot of those teams were also awful. They had those guys in AA so soon because the guy was talented enough to handle it.

    But yes, I completely understand and respect your point, I want to see what he can do, I don't feel he'd get challenged enough for the rest of the season in Boise/KC.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    One thing to consider: Most of these elite young players have never tasted personal failure at any level of baseball competition. Imagine being the absolute best player in your pee wee league, little league, high school, college. There is the real possibility that a first time failure could get to into your head and mess you up a bit.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    He's in the wrong business if we're worried about him tasting failure.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    "He's played 15 games with the AZL Cubs/Boise just to get his feet wet since he hasn't played baseball in a couple months. Well...the feet are wet.

    The jump shouldn't be considered too much, the consensus best college hitter should be at least be at A+ now he's knocked any rust off."

    Do we really want to use the terminology that a player's "feet are wet" as a reason to send him to Daytona?

  • Anyone has any word on whether Jorge Soler will be back before the season is over or not?

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    In reply to Caps:

    I'd bet they just shut him down for the year. Those stress fractures can be a bit tricky. But I haven't seen anything about his current status....

  • On Javier Baez's last AB. He was down in the count 1-2. The guy threw him 2 straight breaking balls and javy laid off of them. Then he fouled off two more fringe pitches. One was a Fb and then other a Breaking ball. Then he just guessed wrong and took a 92mph FB at the knee on the outside corner for strike 3. It was too close to take, but javier thought he had worked the count for a walk.

    So yeah, after going 3 for 3 with 3 RBI's, he was still looking for his pitch and content to draw a walk if he didn't get it. Seeing him now and what he was like last year in Daytona and the kid I remember in HS... light years apart.

    If his K's look like that one. I don't care if he has a 30% K rate and I doubt this FO will either because he will be seeing 30+ pitches per game and if they throw that many pitches to Javier... good things are bound to happen.

    P.S. I would like him to shorten up and just hit the ball hard somewhere vs swinging for a HR every time he swings though.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks Hoosier for the detail. Missed the game today since I was at Wrigley.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yup, Hoosier, like John said, that's great info! Very happy to hear it too!!

  • What is it with pitchers going from lower levels to Kane County?

    I know there's often an adjustment period after a promotion. I tend to throw out numbers from the first couple of games whether they are good or bad, so I'm not saying that Skulina's poor performance was anything meaningful, but seriously? This is just odd...

    Paniagua (Non-KC) 17.2 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 19 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP

    Paniagua (KC) 7.2 IP, 10 H, 12 BB, 6 K, 8.22 ERA, 2.87 WHIP

    Maples (Non-KC) 18 IP, 15 H, 6 BB, 16 K, 1.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP

    Maples (KC) 34.2 IP, 33 H, 31 BB, 34 K, 8.31 ERA, 1.85 WHIP

    And now Tyler? What, did the Sianis family send a goat head to the Cougars pitching coach? WTF?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Tyler's 3 run 1st inning was partially the result of a misplay by catcher Carlos Escobar on the #3 hitter, w/runners on 1st & 2nd, who later tripled to the wall and later scored himself on a sac. fly.
    I also felt he had 1st game jitters and threw a lot of pitches in that 1st inning but had a much better 2nd.
    3 runs but could and should have been unscored upon with any defensive help.
    Too early to jump to conclusions on him.

  • Bryant now has a 10 game hitting streak in which he has put up a line of .361/.415/.722.

    I see no reason why he and Candelario can't co-exist on the same team for the rest of Kane County's season (28 games). And if there is a problem, just send Rock Shoulders to Daytona and have him swim laps in the dugout to get in better shape...

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I'm all for Bryant moving up to Kane County...hopefully by Sunday when I am going next. Got to hope Almora's injury is not too bad so he is on the field as well.

  • I clicked on the link to the Baez article and watched the attached video. It looked like Javy got weak contact and popped that ball up. Somehow, it carried out of the park. I guess that's what insane bat speed can do.

  • Javier Baez played a total of 76 games in High-A this season. Cut those games in half and the difference is stark.

    In his first 37 games in High-A, he struckout 46 times and walked 5 times. That's basically a 9:1 ratio. We were all rightfully concerned. But it was mid-May and he was a supposedly headstrong yet highly-talented 20-year-old, so patience was in order (for him and his fans).

    In the next 39 games before his promotion, he K'd 32 times and walked 16. A 2:1 ratio. In his final 21 games he had 18 K to 12 BB, a 1.5:1 ratio. He had clearly shown improvement.

    In his first 17 games in AA, he struckout 25 times and walked only 3 for an 8:1 ratio. Patterns repeat, right? So what has he done since then? 14 K, 7 BB in his last 10. He's hitting .268/.375/.537 in that span. He's definitely shown the ability to learn, adjust and be coachable.

    So far, he's played 27 games in AA and has the exact same amount left in the regular season. I can't wait to see what the next 27 will bring.

  • As far as Soler's possible return, I couldn't find anything on the interwebs, but we are squarely in the 4-6 window originally put forth. July 28th was 4 weeks. August 11th would be 6.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    It seems like kind of a moot point to me.

    He's played well enough that a promotion to AA almost goes without saying, so I'm ok with them erring on the side of a LOT of caution regarding the injury.

    If anything, healing 110% and playing through the fall league will probably help more than squeezing in 3 weeks at Daytona.

    Hell, if he does get healthy I'd probably rather he gets a taste at Tennessee..

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Quedub:

    I understood it as 4-6 weeks in the walking boot, not necessarily time missed.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    If that's the case, I'd rather have them hold him out and let him get ready for the AZ Fall league ... maybe get some work in out there. shrug

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Ah, yes, you're right.

  • Everyone's right, the Cubs line by 2016 is going to be lethal, if everything pans out.

  • Another seemingly recent, almost overnight, development for Baez: driving the ball to right field. He hit a liner to right for a double in Saturday's game, smacked another double to right-center yesterday, and in a later at-bat (the strikeout described above) fouled several outside pitches down the 1st base line. He's just as likely right now to have a strikeout being from a called pitch, rather than a swing.
    If these recent developments are part of an ongoing trend, then it will become less and less likely that Baez might "flame out at double-A," as some scouts warned being one of two eventual outcomes.
    He seems right on the cusp of breaking out into an advanced phase of his development. We'll know for certain in the next couple of weeks.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    He was pretty good at that when I saw him in Peoria, actually. That's always been a part of his approach that I liked. He's never really been afraid to take it back up the middle or go the opposite way.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    His hitting coach at TN indicated (as did Javy) that it's something they're working on ... him staying back and driving the ball the other way!

  • Another rain out for Daytona? I'm watching the Scott Baker rehab tour with some interest so this is discouraging.

  • I agree with what has been said here, move Bryant to Kane County now. He spent 3 years in college, its not like he's 18 years old. If he comes up and dominates in Kane County like he is in Boise, you can possibly have him jump Daytona next year or at least start the year there. Bryant isn't a 3rd round pick that is surprising, he was the best hitter in college baseball last year, we should expect him to move quickly through the system.

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    I know it's early to start talking draft, and I don't want it to seem like I'm rooting for the Cubs to lose, but I thought this worth mentioning. It's not all bad. I hope it brightens a few days. Thanks to the recent losing, if the 2014 Draft were held today, the Cubs would draft 5th overall.

    1. HOU 36-74
    2. CHW 40-69
    3. MIA 43-67
    4, MIL 47-64
    5. CHC 49-62
    6. SFG 49-61
    7. NYM 49-60

    I think the Cubs would have to move up at least one more spot to have a shot a Trea Turner, which is whom I think this FO would prefer based on how they operate. Like 2013, the strength of this draft, though it's still early, appears to be college pitching. Only the number with top of the rotation potential appears to be higher right now.

    I'm not even going to pretend to know much about the HS prospects at this point, but given how close the Cubs are to contention. It wouldn't surprise me if they preferred someone who would help sooner rather than later if all other things were equal.

    I'm excited about this upcoming draft. I think the team is going to take a real leap forward at the Major League level in 2014, and they won't have a chance to draft this high again for a long time. Also, other than our young Major Leaguers and our prospects, there just isn't much else to focus on.

    The trading deadline has passed. The Cubs are what they are, and we should look for silver linings.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    In the abstract, my ideal game is where I see development and improvement from Castro, Rizzo and Lake (and any young pitchers and perhaps Welly) and we lose. I would like Carlos Rondon or another top college pitcher and it seems we could potentially get to the #3 pick (White Sox and, as always, Astros are likely uncatchable).

    Now, of course, watching an actual game, I want the Cubs to there is some cognitive dissonance here.

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    In reply to springs:

    That's kind of where I'm at. I'm not rooting for the Cubs to lose, but I'm not so caught up in this team that I can't see the big picture.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    As you said, a lot of really good college pitching at the top of the draft. The Cubs should have plenty of options should they choose to pick a pitcher. Carlos Rodon (still clear-cut #1?), Tyler Beede, Newcomb, etc. Ceredoth. Not to mention the high-schooler Touki Toussaint, who I really like. He's the top prep pitcher this class and is getting a lot of attention lately

  • i haven't heard much of jacob hannaman lately, is he injured?

  • In reply to menny:

    He is hurt again. Pulled up lame running the bases, I believe.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    thanks john

  • I don't understand this need to rush prospects through the system. Did we learn nothing from the Hendry era? That was a "development plan" wherein guys got promoted when they did well for half of a season and moved quickly through the system.

    At any rate, in the best case scenario, what does one good month prove? Nothing. Just as this one month doesn't prove Lake is a .340 hitter, one month of Bryant at AA isn't going to prove or show anything. Let's see what he can do? Why? For what purpose?

    We all can't wait to see these guys in major league uniforms but not at the expense of development. This FO knows something about that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Because we love watching our star prospects develop at the MLB level. Just look at all the love they've given Castro... Why would we want to eliminate that for Baez, Almora, Soler, & Bryant?...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Great point. This goes back to the Aaron Sanchez comment I wrote yesterday. There are actually Blue Jays fans who want him to get called up to the show from A ball. The Hendry Era was so bad with player development. I want these players up just as much as everyone, but the FO has a plan for each player. So far I think they have done a great job

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Prospects should be challenged. Bryant was far and away the best hitter in college last year, there's no reason to make him club bad pitching for 2 more months. Bryant is going to be 22 in January. The average age of a player in A+ ball is 22.4. Baez is already in AA and he's only a month older than Bryant.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Bryant just started hitting Boise pitching a week ago. John has shared his opinion that he may get to Kane County this year, and speculated that he could start there or at Daytona next year. I think this is reasonable. Nobody is arguing that he is old for his league, but he just suited up as a professional a few weeks ago. Next year they'll get him where he belongs.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Actually, Javier Baez is only 20yrs old... He will be 21 in December, so Bryant is 11 months older than Javy

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Amen Brother John!!! Preach on!!!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Everyone is in a hurry because the Cubs suck. But that's no reason to jeopardize the development plans that the FO has laid out for each prospect. They'll get here when and if they get here.

    It will be a slow trickle at first as most of the top talent was drafted/acquired this year and last. Those guys probably won't get to Chicago until 2016 if they get here at all.

    If things go perfectly, we could see Baez and/or Alcantara next fall for a trial run. Maybe Olt and Sczcur get a shot out of Spring Training. As John has discussed, a couple of pitchers like Cabrera and Arrietta could see more time this fall and certainly next year.

    The other position guys like Bryant/Almora/Soler, etc are at least 2 years out. But even that would be an aggressive timeline. Look to 2016 and hopefully enjoy following their progress through the minors until then.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What's the point of babying the #2 pick at Boise/KC? To see a couple cool home runs against overmatched pitchers with little control?

    I don't think he's rushing, we drafted a top hitter. As my list showed, the top hitter went to AA at about the same time Bryant is at now.

    If you're the best hitter in the draft, the #2 pick, all these reports about now mature you are, you should be able to handle AA.

    You say putting him at AA does nothing, same could be said for keeping him at A.

    What development is he getting at Boise that he needs? I didn't realize we drafted someone so technically unsound.

    If you look at my list, it's not in a hurry, it's on the same pace as guys just like him.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Because the Cubs actually have a development plan, one that has worked for the front office in the past.

    Bryant just needs reps right now and to get his feet under him right now. He'll get a chance to move through the system next year. Bryant isn't a finished product by any means and guys at AA are close.

    The only reason people want to put him in AA is because they think it will rush him to the bigs faster, but those who actually care to let a player develop and work on his skills would rather make sure they do it right.

    The only system that advocates your strategy is the White Sox, for every Chris Sale there are tons of Courtney Hawkins who are overmatched by the competition and falling quickly down the prospect charts. It's why the White Sox have the worst system is in baseball. No thanks. I'd rather have the Cubs organization be about developing players than winning races or satisfying fans who want to see prospects in the big leagues as soon as possible.

    Patience and a plan, not instant gratification, are the keys to developing good players.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Dustin Pedroia spent 12 games at A ball and 30 at A+, was in AA by age 21 where he spent 61 games and was promoted at age 21 to AAA where he played 51 games. Ellsbury skipped A ball entirely and spent 61 games in A+ ball before hitting AA at age no, the White Sox aren't the only team that quickly advance prospects through their system.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Anecdotal. There are always special players in the game who don't fit normal timelines. It's up to the Cubs to evaluate if Bryant is that type of player. They've obviously felt Baez was special enough to move quickly, so yeah, every team does it once in awhile.

    But it's not a development plan/strategy with every top prospect. And the worst idea is, "Let's see how he does". You have to evaluate each player individually and determine whether you think they can handle it. If the Cubs feel that way with Bryant, then we may see that. If they don't, then I don't want to see them do it just to do it because he's "mature and a top prospect". I don't want to see them do it with every top prospect the way bad development teams like the White Sox do.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't recall anyone saying to do this with every top prospect.

    Can you point out who said that?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Great post.

    Craig Hansen had 3 innings in the Red Sox system (Epstein regime) before he went to AA.

    To suggest that this regime doesn't has a specific plan they don't stray away from is inaccurate.

    Moving Bryant up is not as cut and dry as "let's see what he can do" because that's true with any prospect you move up. Obviously they have to produce, and well by reading these reports sure seems like he's producing.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The development plan also said for 500 AAA at-bats. I'm sure you can't believe they're holding the #2 overall pick to the same standards as their other minor leaguers. If so, you can stop reading now because we'll never agree.

    I wouldn't say AA is close at all. Javy is at AA I wouldn't say he's close. Would you say Baez is close?

    Courtney Hawkins was never considered the best college hitter. He never even went to college. I don't see how that compares at all. I posted above Dick Hoswer trophy winners and how long they spend in A-ball. Zunino was drafted just last year, so the White Sox aren't the only team that brings guys up. Look through the list again.

    By the way, it's not an organizational strategy that I'm saying. What I'm saying is for one player.

    Nothing that I said was about a timeline to the big league club, so yeah...that comment you made is very much misplaced.

    Treating him as others with his same pedigree isn't instant gratification. It's putting him where he belongs. As has been proved with other players who had the "Best college hitter" title.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    You're just making generalizations. You haven't scouted the player, nor do you have that training -- so why do you think that he should be moved up to AA. Because he's "mature"? Because he's had a good week or two? Because he hit college pitching very well? Because other teams have promoted college players quickly from time to time? That's not how baseball decisions are made in the post Hendry era.

    Give me a baseball argument based on Kris Bryant's skills as to why Kris Bryant should be called up to AA. "other teams call up college guys so we should too" isn't a real argument.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Baseball argument.


    He has the power and advanced hitting approach that made him the #2 pick. The league that he's currently in is a league full of 19/20 years old, he's too advanced for it.

    I would rate the next league as inferior pitching to that he faced and dominated in college.

    I feel Daytona would be a nice league to put him in right now, but yeah, the rainouts that happen everyday.

    A 3 week stint in Tennesee, which I have said numerous times, that's temporary, he should start at Daytona next season unless he kills AA pitching, isn't going to kill any confidence or do any irreversible damage.

    This regime has moved guys up fast, something that was pointed out and you brushed off.

    Don't generalize what I sayas "eff it, just give him a try for no reason"

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Every player is a case by case basis, based on his skill set, approach, and readiness to handle any given league. That's up to the Cubs scouting, developmental staff, front office to decide. It's not going to be decided because this front office or any other one has done it with other players in the past.

    The team has a specific developmental plan with benchmarks for each player. When Bryant reaches those, he'll move up.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I think my point got lost in everything.

    It was never "he has to go to AA because it happened before".

    It was more like, This could be an option. I'm not a scout and I'm not going to pretend to know more than someone who is internally involved. Just an opinion. I don't see my opinion as different then those who are saying Almora should go to Daytona.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I know...and I do see where you are coming from. He's a mature kid with a good approach. He's played a high level of college ball. A lot of the pieces fit for a move up. It's an interesting opinion and you've thought it out well.

    It doesn't strike me that the Cubs view these couple months as a period of intense evaluation. It seems they want these guys to get oriented into pro ball. It's also just a tough call for Bryant. Candelario is at Kane, Daytona has been rainy this time of year for the past two seasons, and AA is a huge jump for anyone and if they don't feel Bryant's ready to benefit from that level of play yet, then it won't get done.

    I think it's possible we see Bryant in Advanced A next year with a chance to move up to AA. Candelario is a factor but he's young at 19 and they have plenty of options with him. It's going to be an interesting decision one way or the other.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Great post John. I couldn't agree more.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Thanks. I hope that you're right and Bryant can move quickly through the system. They could sure use him.

  • This is hilarious. Just a couple of days ago we had someone freaking out about Javy. Now everybody loves him again.

    Everybody just needs to embrace the fact that the guy is a beast and is going to be the most exciting hitter this team has had since Sammy.

    Everyone should remember the following, rain or shine, 4 Ks or 4 HRs:
    He will not be traded. He is the centerpiece of the rebuild, not the expendable part.
    He will not crash and burn, he is too talented, too hardworking, and too instinctive to fail.

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    I really wish Olt would go on a tear and force them to call him up.

  • Bless you, mjvz.
    I, too, do not get the trade talk. We whine and cry because we don't have an impact talent, then when we get one, we cry for him to be traded. I don't get it. The guy is our top prospect. Does he have warts? Sure. But he is 20 in AA and his short (less than 700 pro AB's) history says he's willing to adjust.
    Do people want him traded because he's NOT a 'Theo guy'?

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    In reply to djriz:

    I haven't seen tons of trade talk, I don't think anyone should want him traded, unless it's for a potential #1 starting pitcher, like Taijuan Walker. But that's the only thing we should consider trading him for.

    As Baez advances, the bigger question will be defensive position. I think we'll figure it out, and alot depends on whether Olt makes it, or Alcantara, or whomever, (or even if Castro is traded), but defensively is one area we probably have some decisions ahead once he clears AA. Cubs seem convinced he can play SS, and he has cut the errors at AA to his credit.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    The vast majority of errors have been throwing errors. Throwing errors are the easiest to correct. Daytona was really the first time he struggled with that. He seems to have made the adjustment.

    Javy can play anywhere on the field. His primary position up until H.S. was Catcher. His older brother is also a Catcher in P.R. and is good friends with G. Soto. So there's a bit of history for you...

    Anyways, I called a tournament in Central Florida one time and Javy caught one game. I was the home plate umpire for that game. (he did a good job too). Later that afternoon, I saw him throwing in the Bullpen and I actually thought he was going to pitch. Which struck me as odd that he would catch a game prior to pitching. Anyways, I asked him if there was anywhere he couldn't play and he casually said "I have never played outfield"... Turns out, the BP session was just for fun.

    So while Javy CAN play anywhere, he has the most value at SS. This FO will leave him there until they can't leave him there anymore. Whether they trade him or keep him, his 30/30 potential has the most value to all MLB teams, including the Cubs at SS.

    If it comes down to him & Castro both raking offensively and playing solid Defense... they'll find a way to get them both on the field together.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Exactly, Zonk. If by trading Baez, you make your team better, you do it. But you'd better be sure if you really are trading the next 'Manny Ramirez'. You just shouldn't trade him because he's not your type of guy.

    I think Baez is athletic enough to play both outfield corners, or SS, 2B, or 3B, so we can let that play out.

  • In reply to djriz:

    I agree wholeheartedly with mjvz and djriz. The FO talks about "waves of talent". Baez is the first breaker. It would be one thing if the Cubs in 2015 had impact talent all over the field - without an obvious position for Baez - and we needed a pitcher to get over the hump. That will most likely not be the case. There will most certainly be a hole - multiple holes, most likely - where Baez will fit comfortably whenever the FO decides he is ready for the Show.

  • good thing no one had a meltdown over Bryan't first few games.

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    John, have you seen this?

    The biggest reason to be wary of Japanese pitchers.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks for sharing that link.

    Obviously, we're dealing with huge cultural differences. In the US, the coach would be incarcerated for having a 16yo throw 700+ pitches in less than a week. One would assume there's a greater risk for injury, and I certainly wouldn't want my kid throwing that many pitches... But we don't really have any statistics that show the Japanese pitchers are any more susceptible to arm/elbow/shoulder injuries as a result of these high pitch counts.

  • John, if Bryant did make KC by the end of the season, what does that mean for Candelario or do you see Candelario getting a cup of coffee at Daytona? I can't see Bryant moving up and not playing third and I really can't see Candelario playing DH full time. It really doesn't seem to benefit either of their developments to not be playing 3rd every day.

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    In reply to JB88:

    Somehow, I think the Cubs need to leap Bryant ahead of Candelario. Candelario is younger, and a repeat of Kane County next season, while Bryant plays at Daytona, wouldn't be a terrible thing, since he's young for that league anyway. Candelario has done very well IMO for a 19-year old, holding his own and showing good plate discipline in a full-season league. Power will hopefully develop as he does.

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    In reply to JB88:

    Candelario could easily move to leftfield.

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    Adding to the comments above, I'm not sure I get the Baez trade talk either. I doubt this front office would've taken Baez had the decision in 2011 been theirs to make. They probably would've taken George Springer. He just seems to be more naturally their kind of player, but that doesn't mean Baez can't become their kind of player.

    For all of Baez's struggles, we've also seen the progress. Granted, it seems like for every two steps forward he takes a step back, but Baez has raw skills like few players ever have, and you can't teach that. What you can hope to do is harness it, and this is a front office with a philosophy of player development that might allow him to do that.

    Javier Baez may have been drafted by Hendry, but if he becomes the impact player his skills suggest he could be, it will be entirely because of this front office. Were the old regime in charge, Baez would be set up for failure, and Cubs fans for another disappointment.

    I suspect the FO has some idea of what Baez could become, and they'll be hesitant to include him in any trade.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    For all the flack Hendry gets... No one questions that he was a great talent evaluator. His regime sucked at developing that talent, but he had an eye for spotting it.

    I can't imagine this FO would thwart a "core" piece simply because they did not draft him. Castro's extension should dispel that myth. We seem to hear that reasoning a lot here though.

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    Just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in about the Bryant promotion or no promotion debate. It's my feeling Theo and Jed just don't like to rush guys. It really doesn't fit their "Cubs Way." I may be in the minority here also but I'd just leave Bryant at Boise and here's why.

    Why give Candelario something to worry about at this point of the season. And......... Bryant did have a bit of a layoff after the draft. Candelario will restart at Kane County next season and Bryant will start fresh at Daytona with future buddy Almora when the Florida weather is a bit more dry.

    If both play well we could see both promoted to Tenn just as the rainy season starts in Florida. We would see the methodical development of both guys with success along the way.

    Here's a big what if for those that say Bryant needs to be in Tenn right now. What if, the guys has trouble adjusting to AA at this time of year? Do we want doubts entering his head over the winter. Either way you look at it both guys end the season at Tenn next season knocking on the Iowa door. But the slower promotions just gives Bryant a little adjust to professional ball with a better chance of tasting success.

    Just my view....

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I agree with much of what you're saying, but I think the real point is that their development/promotion schedule is in good hands. No sense in us worrying about it.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I said I would like to see him at AA. He doesn't "need" to be at AA though. No one said he needs to be there it was a suggestion.

    If he has trouble adjusting then he starts next year at Daytona.
    I can throw the opposite question at you, what happens if he has success?

    This whole development/promotion schedule shouldn't and I bet isn't the same for the #2 pick, he is and will be held to a higher standard, like he should be.

    What happens to Almora if he moves to Daytona and struggles? Are we not supposed to move our guys up to a level for adequate competition for fear of them struggling a bit?

    Moving him to AA isn't even rushing him. If you look at at players with similar pedigrees keeping him at A would be holding him back as opposed to this notion that keeping him on the same schedule as others just like him is "rushing".

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    One more point, didn't Dunston Jr say he was the kind of player that came into the ballpark the next day after his 5 K performance like it never happened.

    When did Bryant become so emotionally fragile? If he struggles, big if, who's to say he doesn't have an attitude that says "ok, this is what I have to work on this winter, I'm ready for the challenge" instead of curling up in a ball until spring comes because his feelings are hurt.

    And that's IF he struggles, I'd like to think he can hold his own.

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    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Wasn't it Theo that said they would prefer to error on the side of long term? This would bode well for just letting the kid "play" and have fun for less than 1/2 season in Boise. Then just start fresh in Daytona next season.

    Whether your post is for a "need" or just a suggestion it still has the smell of rushing him to AA. Does it really matter if he hits AA now or next season? I suspect that will be as far as he progresses by the end of next season anyway.

    Or are you also advocating pushing him to Iowa next year as well?

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Theo did said that but again, Bryant isn't a normal prospect. Didn't he also say 500 AAA at-bats? Junior Lake didn't come close to that.

    I'm not advocating anything about Iowa, now that's moving to fast. I want to see how he does at AA before I even mention Iowa again.

    Can we stop saying moving him to AA is rushing him? Can we call it exactly what it is?...moving a prospect at the same pace as others with his same pedigree.

    I don't see how you can call it moving up too fast when the best college hitter has moved at a similar pace in the past. I guess in regards to an average prospect it's fast, Bryant isn't an average prospect.

    If you look at similar "best college hitters" he's would be moving too slow if he finished at A-ball and started there next season.

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    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    So with your thinking (I'm guessing here), if we promote Bryant now and he hit's lights out, then it's ok to send him right along to Iowa for the start of 2014?

    Ah, that makes it's all ok. Let's not worry about any hicups that may occur down the road. He's a "pedigree." Move him along because up til now we've seen no hicups and thus they will never happen at this A+ or AA or AAA. Hell just send him to Wrigely and see how he does. He's a thick skinned pedigree robotic athlete of the future.

    I get it now. Forget everything I posted. Move along. Nothing to see here....

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    No, definitely not. I don't know why you keep talking about Iowa.

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    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I see the light now. I'm actually pushing for Wrigley at this time. Thanks for setting me straight.....

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    Oh and forget the fact that it hasn't been decided if Bryant can handle 3B or RF or LF or wherever. He can't fail because he was drafted #2 overall. Just move him up. We'll figure it all out later.

    Hmmmm, wonder if he's played any SS, we could trade Castro..... oh wait, I may getting ahead of myself.......

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    It's funny because I addressed this earlier.

    "and let me say this again, not necessarily as a permanent move, because he could struggle, just to try it out, I feel I have to add these disclaimers because if you don't some people on here twist your words and you'll have people saying I want Bryant on the big league team opening day"

    There needs to be an IQ test for these boards.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Knock it off. You've been hurling insults because people don't agree with your idea of moving Bryant up to AA. The front office doesn't agree either and they know a bit more about baseball than you do.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    I agree. I just wanna "try it out" at Wrigley. Great way to get a promotion. The Cubs use the "tryt it out" method of player development and advancement.

    Here's another thing we could try out. Let's try to give all our coaches a chance to be manager. We'll give them about 10 or 20 games...... then..... shift. We'll try out another coach as manager.

    Oh wait.... Did we try that already? Really? We did?

    Nevermind I got a million of ideas. Just like most of your posts. Let's just post any garbage and see what sticks and along the way we can attack others that differ from you.......

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    "So I put together the amount of games the Dick Howser Trophy winner (given out since 1987) played in rookie league/A-Ball before moving to AA...(only hitters, and let me say this again, not necessarily as a permanent move, because he could struggle, just to try it out, I feel I have to add these disclaimers because if you don't some people on here twist your words and you'll have people saying I want Bryant on the big league team opening day, so without further ado...)

    Zunino- 29
    Rendon- 22
    Posey- 90
    Gordon- started at AA
    Weeks- 21
    Greene- 56
    Teixeira- 38
    Furniss- 54 (bounced back and forth between A - AA)
    Drew- 30
    Helton- 54
    Varitek- started at AA
    Kieschnick- 9
    S. Bryant- 116
    Ventura- started at AA
    Fiore- 247"

    Yeah, such a crazy idea, I guess it never happens lol

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    And I'm ready to see Bryant join the list that go straight to the show.

    I can find stats that prove useless info as well.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    It's been fun but I'm gonna hit the sheets now. Don't fret cause I know you'll probably attack me or someone else tomorrow.

    Have a great night.

  • LOL!! The comment section here is so schizophrenic.

    One day everyone is happy and patient and advocating that we should allow Theo's process to play out....

    One day everyone is upset and impatient and wanting players promoted ASAP and ready to trade anyone and everyone for 2014 impact talent.

    And back and forth we go....

    I believe these swings correlate with the MLB teams recent game results. But I have not the time to go back and chart it.

    Better baseball is in the Cubs future. Yes, it sucks if your 93 and unsure if you will wake up tomorrow, but for most of us seeing good baseball is not that far off.

    Personally, I think I will be watching the best Cubs baseball since before WWII. Certainly the best in my lifetime. And I can expect to watch many, many years of the best Cubs baseball!!* And best of all, thanks to the internet (and Cubs Den) I will have been able to track the whole building process.

    These are exciting days!

    I'm perfectly content with whatever Theo and company decide for Bryant (and everyone else).

    *assuming ownership can keep hold of Theo and Jed or equally competent people.

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    In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Actually, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Jason McLeod gets a GM opportunity this offseason (Mariners?) and that will hurt almost as much as losing Theo or Jed.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    If that happens, it is where Theo and Jed really prove their worth by finding a replacement who can maintain the competence of the position.

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    In reply to Richard Beckman:

    I think the other guy they brought over from San Diego is probably high on the list to replace McLeod if he leaves.

  • John,

    What's the theory behind the promotion of Daniel Lockhart from Boise to Iowa? Seems like a HUGE jump for a kid who have never played full season ball.....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Not John, but go to Google Earth or Mapquest and check the distance between Everett and Tacoma (Boise and Iowa Cubs road series when the promotion took place), compared with where KC and Daytona were playing.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    As Eldrad mentioned, the proximity was a factor as far as where both teams were playing on the road. Lockhart's mental makeup and baseball instincts were also likely a factor. They probably figured he could handle the temporary move. He'll be back at Boise or perhaps Kane County once everyone gets healthy again.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So this was simply Logistics? I know this kid isn't on anyone's top prospect list, but since you mentioned his mental "make-up" and "instincts" as the other rational, I'd like to point out that he is the Son of former Major Leaguer and Cubs area scout Keith Lockhart. Which seems to validate the theory that former MLB players kids who grow up around the game 24/7 seem to be more advanced...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Not just logistics, but it played a role. And yes, he is the son of Keith Lockhart. Other than intangibles, Lockhart has a good knack for squaring up and making contact, though he lacks the strength right now to hit for extra base hits. I think he can actually handle AAA pitchers from a skill standpoint without being overmatched -- though physically he's not ready to compete long term. He'd mostly be a singles hitter there at this point.

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