Prospect talk continues to filter in and we will have our version coming up soon. We'll do a top 35 with video, photographs, and 8 podcasts. We'll get some scouting information, some help from Professor Parks of Baseball Prospectus, Tim Sheridan of Boys of Spring, and Brian Bedo of MiCubs.
I should also have some podcasts up in the near future including one from my appearance on The Score with Joe Ostrowski, a podcast with Ivy Envy (they do a fantastic job with their podcasts, you should check it out), and a couple with Jason Thomas and Dan McGuiness of ChicagoLand Radio.
Our own podcast here at Cubs Den is tentatively set for mid-March.
Here are some news and notes in the meantime...
7 Cubs in top MLB.com Top 100 Prospect List
The Cubs placed 7 prospects in the top 100 list compiled by Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo. Heading the list for the Cubs was Javier Baez at #7, which is about as low as we've seen him of late. That may be because they expect him to move off of SS to either 2B or 3B. Kris Bryant follows closely behind at #9. Mayo and Callis feel that Bryant will be able to hit for average and stay at 3B, which undoubtedly helps his ranking
Albert Almora is at #18 and like a lot of people who have seen him play, they laud the instincts that help play up his average tools.
C.J. Edwards is next at 42 and they see potential for a frontline starter if he can hold up physically. Jorge Soler's stock has dropped off a bit, but he comes in at #49 to give the Cubs a 5th top 50 prospect. They consider him a prototypical RF'er in terms of power and arm strength. The approach is good but Mayo/Callis have some makeup concerns.
Rounding out the list is Arismendy Alcantara at 89 and Pierce Johnson at 100. They describe Alcantara as having exciting tools with some pop and base-stealing speed while Johnson projects as a mid-rotation starter because of his stuff and feel for pitching.
The Red Sox had the most prospect on the list with 9. In fact, Dan Kirby of Through the Fence Baseball and I were doing a little counting and it turns out that Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod are responsible for 16 of the prospects on the top 100 list. That would be every Cubs prospect except for Baez and Alcantara; every Red Sox prospect except for Trey Ball, plus Casey Kelley, Matt Wisler, and Austin Hedges with the Padres.
Where do the Cubs go from here?
Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald (subscription required) talks about some Cubs plan B options in the wake of the Yankees signing Tanaka. Among the in-house options are Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks, and Carlos Villanueva.
He also wonders if the Cubs may try to bring back Paul Maholm.
You may remember I made some suggestions as well. Mahom was among those. I do like the idea of Bronson Arroyo on a two year deal as well while Jason Hammel may present the best value.
What is perhaps more interesting is the first wave of young arms who may get their chance. Miles mentioned Hendricks and Rusin. I would also add Justin Grimm, Alberto Cabrera, and perhaps later in the season, Dallas Beeler. I'm interested to see how Beeler's extreme groundball ways can match up with a good Cubs infield defense. He could be a sleeper as a midseason call-up.
The Cubs avoid arbitration with Travis Wood
The Cubs signed Travis Wood for $3.9M, avoiding arbitration. Wood had something of a breakout season, finishing 9-12 with a 3.11 ERA (3.89 FIP).
The Cubs still hope to sign Wood to a long term deal, though that seemingly has been put on the backburner for now.
Brewers set to sign Matt Garza?
This may disappoint some who were hoping the Cubs would re-unite with the talented starter, especially since he wasn't attached to a comp pick. In all honesty, I never got the impression it was even a consideration. A while back, one industry source told me that there are questions as to why such a talented pitcher has been so well-traveled. It's interesting that the Cubs didn't make an effort to bring him back. I'm not going to speculate as to why but some have said there are still concerns about his elbow. For what it's worth, the Brewers said nothing came up in his physical and they have no such concerns. There has, however, been a hold up. If Garza does indeed sign, it will be the 5th team in 8 seasons for him.
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