We missed the last fall league round-up but nobody stood out, so we'll forge ahead with today's news. Cubs prospects are starting to generate some serious buzz and some minor stuff on the the manager search.
Fall League Recap
- Albert Almora went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and a walk. He also scored a run and drove in 2. He's hitting .571 so far.
- Jorge Soler went 1 for 5. He looks like he's still getting his timing back ,but when he does, he's going to be a problem for opposing pitchers again. He's hitting just .192 right now.
- Armando Rivero pitched an inning and gave up a run on 2 hits. It's the first run he's given up in 3 innings so far.
Professor Parks has some fantastic stuff at Baseball Prospectus on Cubs prospects. Among the highlights...
- His Top 4 farm systems are the Twins, Cubs, Astros, and Pirates -- though not necessarily in that order.
- Parks was asked why he's not as high on C.J. Edwards as Keith Law and some other prospect gurus. Parks' response is that he has seen Edwards a ton and loves his stuff, but feels his build will hold him back from being a frontline starter. He adds that he doesn't believe Edwards has the frame to put on weight. He thinks he can still be a good prospect who will dominate in spurts, but hasn't spoken to one scout who believes he's a frontline guy. For what it's worth, I have heard the same thing from those I have spoken with on Edwards.
- He considers Kris Bryant a top 10 prospect, slotting him just below highly touted Cardinals OF prospect Oscar Tavares. He believes Bryant will play RF and is a "polished offensive monster" who could be in the big leagues by 2014.
- Albert Almora is a top 20 prospect and Parks believes he has the skill set to handle AA, though the Cubs have no real reason to rush him.
- Javier Baez ends up at 3B because of his good hands and good arm -- but "his bat is his glory".
- Corey Black is certain to end up in the bullpen but Parks feels he will be a major leaguer.
- And finally he rates the Cubs top 4 prospects on the 2-8 scale with 6 being an everyday, above average MLB player: Baez 7, Bryant (high 6) and Almora and Soler are both a 6. He does think it is likely that at least one will underwhelm, however.
Keith Law has his take on AFL prospects and kicks it off with the 3 Cubs stars...
- Jorge Soler is visibly bigger and stronger than when Law last saw him. Law hasn't seen him since he first broke in at Rookie Level Arizona, however. He also said Soler looked like the most improved of the 3 prospects but that's partly because Bryant and Almora were already so advanced. In other words, Soler had the most room to grow.
- He missed Albert Almora's 4 hit day but saw him get 2 hits including a hard triple off of hard throwing RP John Stilson.
- Bryant put on a big time power show in BP and was easily squaring up 97 mph fastballs. Hard to figure out how pitchers are going to approach him at this time. He's going to be a tough out.
- Parks also weighed in on the Cubs manager and his choice is A.J. Hinch.
- There was an internet rumor that Tony Pena had an interview and was the "frontrunner" for the job. The rumor is incorrect. He is not in the mix at all at this point.
- One scout suggested ex-Pirate manager John Russell and Red Sox 3B coach Brian Butterfield as candidates but I have since learned neither are considered candidates. Butterfield is an interesting suggestion, however. He is familiar with the Red Sox philosophy and his father was a scouting/development guy in the majors.
- Several such as Pedro Gomez, Buster Olney of ESPN and Bob Nightengale of USA Today have suggested that Rick Renteria is the front runner but I'm told there is no favorite at this point. It's rather odd to have named a candidate a favorite before that candidate has even interviewed. It's also unlikely there would be a favorite before every candidate has interviewed. It's doubtful such information would come from the front office. For what it's worth, I think this is a good group and I honestly can't say I'd be disappointed with any of them, but as I've said, I've personally gotten the most positive feedback on Acta and Hinch so far.
- The Cubs appear to be happy with their final 4, so don't expect to hear any new names to pop up.
- The Cubs will interview Dave Martinez and he appears to be excited about the opportunity. He's definitely an innovative, high energy manager and while he may be the long shot in the group, you never know what can happen in an interview. We'll have a guest post on Dave Martinez in the next couple of days.
Here's a piece on Masahiro Tanaka. Most scout seem to prefer Darvish but at least one prefers Tanaka because he throws more strikes. For what it's worth, I also know of one scout who prefers Tanaka but in general Darvish gets the edge, but I didn't get the impression that any of them give Darvish a huge edge. Most expect the bidding to be lower for Tanaka.
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