I've had a hectic weekend. First my 10 year old Rottweiler, Eva, got sick. Then it was me. Not the same thing, I hope. Anyway, I'm taking another day to recover, but Cubs Den contributor Kevin Gallo just came up with a great question (and some good answers)...
Who will set the Cubs table?
by Kevin Gallo
We hear names like Baez, Bryant, Soler, and Vogelbach, and we think, "Wow that is great looks at all that power." We all know about the lack of impact pitchers or even left handed bats in the systems but the real question is who are these big bats going to drive in? I am going to go through each level of the Cubs system and see what that have as far as players who can set the table for all of these future impact bats.
Boise: The first player we are going to take a look at Jacob Hannemann. Hannemann has speed and enough power to keep the defense honest. He also looks like he has the instincts to develop good on base skills. Shawn Dunston, Jr. has shown OBP skills and plus speed but doesn’t have a lot of power. All and all they are both good options because of their speed and OBP abilities, it also doesn’t hurt that they are left handed bats. The one thing going against them is that they are very far away from being major league ready.
Kane County has one outstanding player with the on base ability that fits the table setting model. That player is Albert Almora. Almora can hit he takes good at bats and shows enough power to keep the defense honest. The one thing he doesn’t have is outstanding speed. Gioskar Amaya also fits this role loosely. He shows the ability to get on base but has a little more swing and miss in his game. He shows above average speed and at times shows at least average power. I like Almora more as a table setter even without the speed. Je would be my first choice for a #2 hitter in the Cubs future. But then again they are also a few years away also Almora could take big steps quickly.
Daytona have two possible table setters in Zeke DeVoss and Pin-Chieh Chen. Both have excellent on base skill but DeVoss doesn’t make strong enough contact to be effective and Chen doesn’t hit for a lot of extra bases to keep the defense honest. They both have good speed but I just doesn’t see them as viable options for being table setters at the Major League level.
Tennessee had two very interesting candidates for the table setting role in Arismendy Alcantara and Matt Szczur. Alcantara is the closest to being the perfect candidate for a leadoff man the Cubs have in their system right now. Is he going to be a .300 hitter? Most likely not. But he will have a very good OBP and has plus speed with enough power to keep the infield and outfield back. Szczur is a player I really want to believe in but his lack of power makes him an 4th OFer for me. I like Szczur’s other tools but it’s the power going to play well at the Major League level.
Iowa: I know Brett Jackson didn’t have a good season at all he really isn’t on the Iowa but if he could get his strikeouts under control he could be a great table setter.
All and all the table setter situation turned out the way I expected with Almora and Alcantara being the top candidates that are the closest for the job. The biggest question is where Alcantara will play on the field. He is an ideal 2B but Baez could push him off that spot. Almora is viewed as a fixture in CF for the Cubs for years. Of course being the Draft Guy I am, I have to throw in a draft possibility in Trea Turner. He could change the landscape if drafted.
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