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Kris Bryant on the fast track to the big leagues

Kris Bryant on the fast track to the big leagues

On the surface, Dustin Pedroia and Kris Bryant wouldn't appear to have much in common.  Pedroia is listed at 5'8", was drafted as a SS  and plays 2B.  Bryant is 6'5" and hopes to stick at 3B, but may move to the OF if another prospect like Javier Baez moves him off the position.

Pedroia was a 2nd round pick of the Red Sox in 2004 out of Arizona State and some questioned why such a small player would be chosen that high.  There was little question, on the other hand, that Kris Bryant was a top 3 pick last year.  He'd been high on scouts lists since high school, where he had the possibility of being a first round pick had he not made his intention of going to college so clear.

Bryant is already considered a top 30 prospect in baseball while Pedroia never reached higher than #77 on Baseball America's list.

They don't really have similar styles at the plate.  They are different hitters to be sure.   Pedroia was known for his excellent hand eye coordination and ability to make consistent contact, which sounds much more like Albert Almora and he was also known for swinging from his heels -- much like Javier Baez.

But when it comes to following Pedroia's quick ascent to the majors, Bryant seems like the best fit.

In the year he was drafted, Pedroia made it to high Class A ball in his first professional season.  That offseason he went to the Arizona Fall League and impressed the Red Sox enough to have him start his first full season in AA.

Sound familiar?

Bryant is already drawing raves in the fall league for his all-around play.  Concerns about his ability to stick at 3B are beginning to fade and it appears the only way he'll move is if the Cubs have a better option at 3B.

But Bryant is going to make his impact with his bat.  Whereas there was some concern in Daytona for an aggressive approach, Bryant is putting up his usual good ABs so far in AZ.  There's some thought that even Daytona wasn't challenging enough for Bryant last year and he was perhaps a bit too eager to take his swings.  This fall he is re-focusing on that patient approach for which he was known at the University of San Diego.

He's hit 2 HRS already and is hitting an even .500 after 3 games.  Some scouts believe he can already hold his own in the major leagues.  While that may be true, the Cubs will hold off on that for now.  He will likely not return to high A ball and instead head straight up to AA the way Pedroia did.  Pedroia spent just 66 games at the AA before being promoted to AAA Pawtucket and finishing the year there.

Pedroia showed his first struggles at the AAA level that year, hitting .255 and slugging just .382, though his approach remained very good.  The next year Pedroia returned to AAA and then finished the year in Boston and has been there ever since.

If Bryant were to continue to follow the same path, he'll finish the year at Iowa, though I have heard from some that he may just skip AAA altogether.  The Cubs do like their hitters to have a full season at AAA, but there can be exceptions.  Bryant may be one of them.

If not, then Bryant will go to AAA and if he adjusts quickly could still see the majors by the end of 2014, perhaps sooner.  It seems that at the least, like Pedroia, he should be in the big leagues by the end of his 2nd full professional season, which for Bryant would be 2015.  By then he could be joined by the likes of Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, C.J. Edwards, Pierce Johnson, and possible Jorge Soler and Albert Almora.  That's not to mention current core pieces Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo,  Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood.

While the focus of late has been on the managerial hire, the real success of the franchise will depend on some of those names and perhaps some we haven't talked about here.  The manager will have to be the one who just makes sure they have the best environment to develop as long term impact players.

As for Bryant, it is yet to be seen whether he can win an MVP and become the heart of a perennial playoff team the way Pedroia has.  And he'll be a different player, possibly more in the .275-.285 range with 30 or more HRs from 3B or a corner OF spot.  You can read Kevin Gallo's scouting report here.

But despite all their differences on the surface, it does appear Bryant is at least following Pedroia's quick path to the majors.

 

Filed under: prospects

Tags: Dustin Pedroia, Kris Bryant

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  • Let's keep our fingers crossed that this young man's progress continues.

    Do the Cubs operate on the philosophy of 1500 AB at the minor league level before coming up?

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    In general they do something along those lines, but as with all rules, some people are meant to bend them. Bryant and Baez could be two that do. Maybe Almora as well.

  • Great article as always. Hopefully another core piece will be Masahiro Tanaka! I would be shocked if we got him, but I am still going to be furious if we miss out on him. The $ is there but lets see if the FO thinks he is worth it.

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    Thanks. I'll be shocked, actually, if the Cubs don't make a strong run. I'm hopeful enough about Tanaka that I'll be disappointed if they don't get him.

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    I think I understand where you're coming from, but we can't fault the F.O. for NOT spending if they feel the player is not worth it. Baseball is a funny game, there are no sure things. You have to trust your scouting information. We've assembled a pretty impressive team and equipped them with the latest technology. If we don't get him, I'm assuming it's because someone with less information agreed to pay more than he is worth. Might not be the popular attitude, but I do believe the guys making these decisions for us are the best in the business.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    So its just absolutely inconceivable another team may have scouted him more extensively than the Cubs? If we don't get him I'm going to assume another team bid higher than we did. This guy's been on the radar for a long time in a high profile spot so I don't think its a matter of anyone having less information than anyone else. He's not a 16 year old Venezuelan kid in a village in the mountains.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    No, what's absolutely inconceivable to me is that people form such strong opinions on such limited information. From what we know about this high profile FA, I want the Cubs to go all in too. But, you do realize that even though he is a high profile player, there's a bazillion pieces of information that each scouting department relies on that may or may not be in the mainstream or public media. I know I certainly haven't viewed much film on him, have you? Is all of his games even available on video? Have you interviewed former team mates & coaches? What about current team mates & coaches? How about the kid himself? Did you talk to family members? What kind of sense do you have for this kids character, work ethic, personality, etc... So I don't care if he is in a mountain village in Venezuela, or a HS kid in Peoria, IL... teams will attempt to collect as much FIRST-HAND information as possible. So NO, not everyone has the same information. Assuming they do is very foolish on your part.

    Getting "furious" (as stated by the OP) if we don't land him is ridiculous once you have an idea of all the nuances involved. It is conceivable that we chose not to bid "X" because our scouts felt the player wasn't worth it whereas team Z won with bid "X" and may or may not have had as much information as our scouts had.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I want them to be all in on Tanaka too. I'm Pro-Tanaka.

    My Dad was a Crosschecker for the first 14 years of my life. So yes, I do realize that there are a bazillion pieces of intel that aren't in the public or mainstream media. That's why they have guys that live over there and go watch him pitch. Just like every other ML team. I've seen some video, yeah. I've asked around too and was told that the Yankees have "been on him since he was in diapers." Obviously the guy was being facetious but that's what teams do. They're doing it to Otani now in hopes of him being posted 6 years from now.

    Every team that is serious is doing their homework on his personals. That's just scouting. He's not an amateur though so there are limitations. You can't just go talk to the kid after the game like you can in the states. After he gets posted is when most of that stuff goes down.

    My point was that every single team that's serious about him is doing the same thing, and have been for years. If the FO goes for it, and loses, it will be because their bid wasn't high enough, not because they decided he was only worth 54 million instead of 58.75 because of some secret intelligence. I'm going to assume they didn't bid enough. Its not like there will be a huge gap between first and second. Again, that's IF THEY GO FOR IT. All the early signs point towards a big push. Their scouts may not like the kid to the tune of a 100 MM+ commitment. Then again, 6 yrs 62 MM isn't what it used to be.

    Where Theo and Co. need to do most of their homework is on the financial portfolios of competing organizations in order to put in a bid that is safely out of range. I'm guessing that it's pushed up near and maybe past 60MM.

    I've read tons of your posts, Hoosier. Respect them all. I think you and I are just in different camps in that you're a little more Pro-FO than me. If they don't get Tanaka, you'll assume they decided to let someone else over pay. Whereas I'll criticize them for not getting their man. I like the front office. Glad we have them. But 'best in the business is pretty lofty.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Great post. I agree.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    We'll have to agree to disagree about being "Furious" if we don't get him. I'm assuming they will have substantially more intel than either of us. I'm expecting them to do what any good FO would do with that information, set a max price and stick to it. If someone else's max bid is more, so be it. I'm not going to be upset that they are disciplined and deliberate. That max bid could very well be determined by proprietary information acquired by our scouts. Clubs will have different information, and different opinions of that information.

    If we don't get him, I'll be disappointed that we didn't land a coveted FA in a position of need, etc... but furious? I tend not to let thing that I have no control over influence me in that manner.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I don't get why you're air quoting the word 'furious'. I don't remember saying either one of us would be furious about anything. I know I won't be furious if we don't get him. Odds are that we don't land him anyway so I'm prepared for that. I'll be disappointed too but my disappointment will lie in the FO not bidding a high enough number.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Go back and read my original post, that started all of this. Sandberg said he would be "Furious" if we lost out on Tanaka... that's how all of this started.

    Other than the verbiage, you seem to support that endorsement. You seem to have this "it's the FO fault for not bidding high enough" if we don't get him. My point all along is every FO has a limit as to what they are willing to spend. They will have tons of data to support their decision. I don't expect them to exceed that amount. Period. I have no idea, nor pretend to know what it will take to get him. Neither do you, other than the media sound bites which is crap. I just don't comprehend the finger pointing at the FO if their bid is beaten by another team. You can't sign every player. You won't win every game. It's not as if they aren't willing to spend money on players....

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Agreed. And really the volume if information we do or don't have is irrelevant. No player is so good that you will pay ANYTHING to get them.

    Smart teams decide what they'll be willing to pay and stick.

    Even if the Cubs LOVE a guy, I would be 'furious'if they got into a bidding war they HAD to win.

    The Yankees owe hundreds (plural) of millions of dollars to a few players that may have just a handful of good games between them.

    The Cards won a WS with one if the best hitters ever and still let h walk when he wanted note than they were willing to give.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Why would you be furious if they get into a bidding war over a really good young pitcher? And for that matter, this isn't even a bidding war. Its a silent auction. Teams don't know what the others are officially putting in. Posting fees are house money. Straight up cash. It doesn't affect your payroll constraints or count against the luxury tax. Do you think the Yankees would be in on him so heavily if they were really that worried about the hundreds of millions they already owe? If the Cubs summit a winning bid of 64.725 MM instead of 55.725 MM its not going to do any real organizational damage. ESPECIALLY if they guy turns out to be a really good pitcher! They didn't seem too worried about exceeding this years international spending limit thereby hampering their budget for next year. Were you furious about that? Or were you happy they spent that extra money to get that better talent?

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    In reply to Ben20:

    I wasn't referring to Tanaka with the bidding war comment. I realize there isn't traditional budding there.

    That said I definitely don't want us to just bid enough we KNOW no one will beat.

    If our bid, bases on our scouting and evaluation, isn't enough to get him, I'm OK with that.
    I don't think we failed on Darvish. We made a good offer that wasn't enough.

    Successful teams aren't built by spending more than your evaluations suggest us wise.
    I don't think we failed on Darvish

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Successful teams are built in lots of ways.

    I do want us to bid enough that they know they'll win. That way he gets to pitch for us. I'm okay with a bid that's comfortably out in front.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    True, the posting fee doesn't affect payroll or count against the luxury tax. But it is MONEY that comes out of the Ricketts pockets that could have been used to pay down interest and debt. If the posting fees do not come out of the payroll budget, they DO come out of another portion of the budget.

    And although the front office had no problem busting through this year's international spending limit, you are talking about adding about less than two million to the overall budget, not twenty million.

    I expect the Cubs to be extremely aggressive when bidding on Tanaka. But I also expect at least 4 or 5 other teams to be extremely aggressive also. They could easily add 10 million to what they think it will take to get him, and find out that another team addeded 20 million. This is what happened when they went after Hampton years ago, and when they went after Sanchez last winter, and it could happen to them this year when they go after Tanaka.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Its not like going after Hampton or Sanchez. The player and his representation play no role in the negotiations of the posting fees whatsoever. In the cases of those players and other free agents, their agents inform clubs of existing offers and play all kinds of games to drive up the price. They made bids on Darvish and Ryu and surely based on contractual inflation alone speculate that the bid will start at the 54 million or whatever it was with Darvish.

    Are you saying that if the Cubs have a winning bid of 68.725 MM (fill in any number in this vicinity, really doesn't matter) and we find out that the second place bid was 61.5 MM, that you'd be upset with that?

    I'm just saying that this is the one area of baseball finance (posting fees on big time int'l FA's) where it usually behooves a club to overpay since this isn't directly tied to payroll space for other players. If you overpay on a FA like Hampton, that cuts into the budget for other players.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DaveP:

    This is a reply to Ben20^^^^

    " it usually behooves a club to overpay since this isn't directly tied to payroll space for other players. If you overpay on a FA like Hampton, that cuts into the budget for other players."

    This makes no sense. There's no salary cap in baseball. Budgets are what they are because teams have to make a profit. Posting fees aren't paid with monopoly money, or magic. It isn't some scheme where you don't have to pay the money.

    Because of Ricketts' debt and much publicized revenue "problems", the Cubs, despite being a major market don't have quite the budget you'd expect. So even a posting fee is still REAL money. Not counting against the luxury tax is the only thing that the posting fee doesn't "count" for and that's irrelevant because we are nowher NEAR the luxury tax.

    Think all you want that the Yankee way if effective but it's telling that even the YANKEES don't want to play the Yankee way anymore.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I agree within reason. The player is worth what the open market is willing to pay. If you want the player then he is worth the money. If the money gets to the point where you would like to spend the money on another player then you shift gears because player B has become the better value. If there is no better value available and you need starting pitching that will be ready when you are ready to compete... then you MUST be willing to overpay on some level... I believe many thought the BoSox overspent on players this offseason but it produces results. I agree you don't want to saddle yourself with a lot of bad contracts that cripple your franchise... but if you don't have one or two mistakes along the way then you are probably not taking an appropriate amount of risk along the way to be a successful franchise... Especially for a large market team. And yes the Cubs are a large market team, they just need to create a little energy around the MLB team to improve revenue (all the reason to overspend - slightly, for the right player).

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    I would be pleasantly surprised if we get Tanaka but not shocked, Theo has done remarkable things already. Why not one more? If we don't get him, I will be a little disappointed but not furious. We have an awesome farm system even without him and getting better all the time.

    Go Theo get Tanaka!!

  • The other substantial difference is where the organizations are when those players climbed the MiLB ranks. Will they really start his arb clock early, when they are not in contention? we can afford to let them mash in TEN & Iowa. If you take that part of the equation out of the decision, then I expect it to be a foot race between him & Javier to the show in 2014.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That is another good point and why I think the Cubs may hold Bryant back a bit longer, but I think they won't be able to hold him beyond 2015 and he may even force their hand sooner.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, if Bryant wipes out AA like Baez did, any possability him and JB might see the bigs at about the same time? This kind of reminds me of the Indians teams of the early 90s, with Belle, Baerga, Sandy Jr, Ramirez and Thome all hitting the bigs at about the same time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    They may but 2 thoughts on this subj:

    1). It will be hard to justify if Baez or Bryant are hitting 30+ bombs at AAA....

    2). So far, this F.O. has always done the right thing for the player; i.e., the way they handled the Ian Stewart & Kevin Gregg situations.

    I think these two guys force their hands in 2014. Which is exactly what this F.O. (and us fans) wants....

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Can you afford not to? How do they justify not putting their best product on the field to fans? A long term view is important, but on some level you cannot expect good money to chase a bad product for too long. I am not suggesting scrapping what is being built, but this is a business decision both near and long term, especially with the teams debt situation. Revenue is important.

  • Everything Ive seen about Kris Bryany screams elite hitter.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I dont think that is out of the question..

  • If you HAD to guess, like I was holding your scotch at ransom, does he stick at third or move?

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    If he moves it will be for Baez, Olt or a LH hitting 3B with equal defense. Not because he can't handle it.

  • As long as the advancement through the minors is determined by the player's performance, I'm all for it. I worry that they will bring up some players faster than they would prefer to appease fans.

    If the arb clock issue prevents players from coming up in 2014 I have no problem. But I think any players that are ready for Wrigley in 2015 need to be there in 2015.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Fortunately, I don't think that will be a problem with this front office. We saw fans clamoring for Rizzo and Jackson to break camp with the big club after productive springs in 2012 (of course, arb clock played a role in that for Rizzo). I don't think Theo & Co. will break away from their philosophy due to fan pressure, but I think they will if the player forces their hand!

  • Its high time this system produced a top shelf superstar! That happens in other organizations, why not here?

  • I hope one of Baez or Bryant has to move to a corner outfield spot because that would mean that Arismendy has forced his combination of speed, power, and obp onto second base. A switch hitter for the top part of the order to score in front of middle of the horsepower bats of Baez, Rizzo and Bryant. If Almora and Castro are already aboard even better.

  • John, nice article and good comparison. We'd all be very happy if Bryant forces his way onto the team early.

    Quick question -- is there a typical "make or break" spot in the minors? On the Cubs Den forums we all talk about the realistic likelihood that some of these guys won't work out. Is there a common place to see the switch? I.e. "The (insert here) League will be his real test. If he plays well here, I think he's a keeper. If not, all bets are off."

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    I look at AA as the biggest test. It's a big jump from Class A and there are some that will tell you that's where the general physical ability really starts to approach MLB level. Of course there's more than physical ability, so it's not nearly the same -- but in general, if you can compete physically at the AA level, you can probably compete at the MLB level physically. That is certainly the case with Baez, for example, but that's not to say that MLB pitchers won't school him right now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree with John.

    Some get stalled out in High A because that is where they start seeing some pitchers that can control a breaking ball, and some are killed in AAA, where command is common rather than the exception, but for most prospects, if they can make it to AA and perform acceptably there, they are better than 50 - 50 to be decent in the majors.

  • I believe there is a decent chance that Bryant ends up at 1st base. His frame, athleticism, and bat would play well there.

    What about Rizzo? By any accounting Rizzo needs substantial improvement to stay in this lineup long term. His first full year numbers, as we know, were not good. And at 1st base, your bat must carry you and thus far his has not.

    A look at him compared to other 1st basemen on fangraphs is revealing. His wRC+ 102, his wOBA .325 both put him near the bottom of 1st base qualifiers. Many will point to his low BABIP (.258) and expect big improvement and I hope they are right. But if Anthony Rizzo puts up more numbers like this year (or even numbers that are modestly better), moving him for Bryant at 1st base may make a lot of sense.

    I know many of you will say this too early to talk this way about Rizzo. Maybe. But 1st basemen must hit, period.

  • In reply to Illini88:

    I'm one of those who say it's too early... You don't want the Cubs to make the same mistake the Rangers made when they gave up on Chris Davis.

    Eric Hosmer put worse numbers than Rizzo last year and bounced back nicely this season... I think we should give Rizzo a chance.

    Besides, if it's too early to talk like this about Rizzo... Isn't it too early to talk like this about Bryant replacing Rizzo too? Rizzo proved he can hit at the MLB level last year... First Bryant needs to come up and prove he can hit and Rizzo has to prove he CANT hit at the MLB level for that to happen.

    So far Bryant and Rizzo have both proven they can hit minor league pitching, but Rizzo has had moderate success at the MLB level... These things tend to sort themselves out.

  • In reply to Illini88:

    No way he ends up at 1B. It would be a complete waste if a plus arm, specially since he is athletic enough to play the OF.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Agreed. Unlike Rizzo, Bryant IS athletic, could play either corner outfield position, but LF looks like his long term home if Soler plays out(Didnt Kieth Law say recently Soler is more talented than Puig?). My ideal Cubs lineup in 2yrs would have AA at leadoff(2b), Castro at SS, Baez at 3b , Bryant in LF Soler in RF Rizzo at 1b and Castillo at C.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    I think it could be close. Bryant's best defensive tool is his arm, which plays just fine in right. Really, both Soler and Bryant are capable of being gold-glove right fielders.

    A wonderful problem to have.

  • Excellent article, John, thanks for posting it... I do believe he's on the fast track.

    I also wanna thank KGallo for that amazing scouting report... I always thought Bryant had a long swing, so I thought he was more like the low BA, high obp and power type of guy with high K rate, like Troy Glaus... But this scouting report tells me he could be much more of a complete player than I thought.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks you. But he has made some very good adjustments very quickly and I don't think 300 is out of the range of possibility. His learning curve isn't something the cubs have seen in a while.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    If he is around a .300 he will be a monster! Is it fair to say his upside is Mike Schmidt? Not saying that is what he finally is but a 270/380/530 guy seems within reach.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    I am think 270 is not his floor.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    270 is about his floor.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks and we know Kevin has liked Bryant for a long time.

  • I respectfully disagree. Rizzo is 23 years old and just finished his first full year and I have confidence he will make the necessary adjustments. Any talk of Bryant or Vogelbach supplanting him is premature. If Bryant doesn't end up at 3rd I'd prefer him in a corner OF spot anyway.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Agreed.

  • So if Bryant starts at Tenn. do you see Candelario starting at Daytona or returning to KC?

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    I think he returns to KC or gets traded.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I think as a last resort, as the rumors I've heard, he could be a conversion candidate as the org looks to find some catchers.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    I think I'd like to see him get to Daytona and work with Duncan, but wouldn't be disappointed if they slowed him down and let him repeat a league.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Vitters and Olt are more likely to the OF and DH at Iowa leaving a spot for Villanueva who has earned a promotion to Iowa. Bryant, then, will be at Tennessee and Jeimer will get Daytona. Carhart, Geiger and other get utility roles, DH, or the Outfield. Kane County is a mystery...lots and lots of options there from Papaccio to Lockhardt or Malave. Its wide open there.

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    In reply to TheMightyGin:

    I think he'll repeat at KC. He was one if the youngest on the team last year (which is to say, super young), so he will still be age appropriate for the league. I think another year of physical maturity alone will really help.

    I imagine he'll end up trader eventually, but I hope it isn't until he progresses and has a great year and improves his stock.

  • John, being now well acquainted with your level-headed analysis, I can't tell you how exciting it is to see you raising the specter of Bryant in the bigs next year! Purely from a fan perspective, I hope Baez and Bryant both force their way to show in 2014, and not just as September call ups. Junior's promotion and early performance all the sudden had me tuning in just see him play.

    Baez or Bryant (and especially both) at Wrigley would ignite fan interest like we haven't seen in years. Oh, boy! Indeed, while I'm sure it's entirely Theo/Jed's call, I gotta think ownership will be pressing to get 'em up here sooner rather than later if once again there's a bunch of empty seats in June and July.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Thanks. I think it's in the realm of possibility. Bryant and others have to force the issue. As we saw with Pedroia when he slowed down in his first stint at AAA, Theo's not going to just give them the promotion, but if Bryant or Baez keeps forcing it, it's possible.

  • Count me out on Tanaka.

    Posting fee included, only 10 pitchers have commanded $100+ million. I don't feel comfortable giving that to a player with no major league experience. That's going to come with a lot of pressure and really high expectations to succeed from the beginning. Players rarely if ever live up to those contracts anyway. Off the top of my head I can't think of anyone where in retrospect it was a good idea to give them $100+ million. I'd rather spent the money elsewhere.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I guess you can make that nine, you don't count Sabathia twice even though he signed two different ones.

    My mistake.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I might have to take exception with the Pujols contract of 2004.

  • In reply to giamby:

    I was just trying to focus on pitchers.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Sorry, rereading your post just now I see that it does explicitly mention pitchers.

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    The Cubs would be wise to focus their Tanaka evaluation on his make-up and maturity.
    I'm sure his agents and advisors know that going to the Cubs is a whole different animal than going to New York or L.A. Signing a huge contract in Chicago would immediately put him in a white-hot spotlight and the media coverage and expectations would be exponential compared to other destinations. He would be labeled as the latest savior with Theo's biggest Cub contract in his pocket.
    I really believe the daunting history of the franchise plays a part in field performance.
    (Posted after channel-surfing got stuck on ESPN Classic 2003 game 6).

  • Good stuff.

    I just want to say I enjoy it here, but lately it seems to be all about the manager and the prospects.

    Here are some take it or leave it ideas for blog posts:

    - Player profiles - projections for each player
    - Possible free agent acquisitions of interest
    - Blast from the pasts on Cub events and history
    - Cub parallels - compare players of today with yesteryear
    - More Interviews - The Cub players need to get hip with this site if they are not already. I think upon review they will find the writers to be very fair and balanced, most then most. If nothing else, seek out famous people who are Cub fans and interview them. Should help with your keywords and people finding the site as well.
    - Small ball vs Moneyball features - Compare the two philosophies and relate them to individual experiences from Cub players present and past. (Including management)

    Just a few things. Don't worry. You guys do great and I will be back daily either way.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Thanks for the ideas. This is a slow period in the offseason and the news right now is the managers and the players in the fall league.

    We'll do more stuff in the coming days, and I'll definitely look at the things you've mentioned, although probably not so much on historical things. It's not normally my think but I'll think about it. I try to be flexible! I do have some old stuff on some great trades and bad trades in history. Maybe I can dig those up. I can try and get some interviews with players, though mostly it may be minor league guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No pressure at all. If you can put them in a notepad and save them for a day the brain isn't working, or if you want to incorporate, either way.

    I would like to see the site grow along with your name and your revenue.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, just another random idea since this is kind of a slow period, but maybe do an article about the possible rebranding and new uniforms that they are considering for next season. Just thought of the idea because I really like the white C on the hat that Bryant is wearing.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    Thanks Josh.

  • "275-.285 range with 30 or more HRs from 3B or a corner OF spot" sounds dandy to me,.... Couple that with a patient approach, and some ability to hit in the clutch,.... sounds kind of like the kind of line that Aramis Ramirez put up for the better part of a decade,....

    Couple that with more than adequate defense,..... we have a winner and a danged good 3B or corner OF.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Indeed. I didn't even think about how A-Ram like that sounded.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How about Sammy Sosa like numbers and better defense than Sammy provided........

  • Question (probably already answered at some point): I see regularly that Bryant - and Olt, maybe? - could move to the outfield if someone else grabs third base first. I never seem to see anything about Baez moving to the outfield. How come? If there are others at his natural position (SS) and at other infield positions...

  • Bryant safe on an E-6 in the first; Soler batting sixth, leading off the second.

  • BTW, Bryant has a strong arm and quick release from third...and he can whip it to first ala Shawon Dunston....no need to move him to the OF.

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    In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    There's more to defense than a strong arm. And a strong arm is important in RF too.

    Olt is by far and away the beat defensive 3B in the system. If he can start hitting again, its not close.

    Also, I could care less about arm strength right now. Damn near all of our prospects have big arms. Its a moot point.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I agree if Olt hits, he's the 3B. Baez is also a candidate.

    Olt's a good 3B but I'd say Villaueva is the better one of the two defensively. Olt is like a 60 grade on D, Villanueva is about a 70.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Bryant's foot movement around the bag is good, he looks preet comfortable there...second AB, Bryant hits a scorcher right to the 3B, who drops the ball for an E-5...Bryant scores on a HR by Lindsy...Soler strikes out swinging his first time up, called third strike on his second AB.

  • In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    Thanks for the updates Jolly. It does seem like Bryant is good enough to stick at 3B. Only question is whether another 3B emerges and pushes him into the OF.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Such a critic...enjoy life for a change.

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    Anyone else see that Keith Law has another article today about the fall league? He's been extremely positive about all of the Cubs big AFL prospects.

    It's funny, he says Soler has filled our and looks bigger/stronger. That's sounds ridiculously absurd.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I did see that. I'll link it in tonight's piece.

    I don't think Law has seen Soler since he was in the AZ Rookie League. Soler looked pretty big to me when I saw him last fall == but he was still a bit gangly. I can only imagine how he must be now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Soler is listed at 6'4, 215 on the program

  • In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    He may weight a bit more than that now. He was tall and athletically built when I saw him, but a bit gangly still, like a not quite mature Doberman. I don't know if the 215 is a recent weight or if that's just the MLB figures, which they don't update regularly.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I see what you mean but he's still a big strong dude. Not your typical kind of gangly.

    To me, he's big enough to seem slightly comical to talk if him 'filling out'. But he has the room for sure. There's a lot if pictures of him with Puig. They're about the sane height but Soles definitely looked like he had a 19 year old body in the pics.

    It was nice to see Law call him "most improved". Not just commenting on physique.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    It is interesting. Really a guy that's been forgotten a bit but he's still got the potential to be an offensive monster.

  • That is one freaky picture of him. He looks like Rik Mayall about to say WOOF!

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Ha!

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