It's that time of year and now it' s Keith Law's turn to turn out his top 100 prospects and there are a couple of minor surprises...
Here's the Cubs portion of his list and you can see specific scouting info on ESPN Insider...
7. Javier Baez
15. Kris Bryant
26. Jorge Soler
28. Albert Almora
67. CJ Edwards
71. Arismendy Alcantara
The minor surprise here is that Jorge Soler is ranked ahead of Albert Almora, which is different from most lists that have Soler closer to the bottom half of the top 50.
Law had a chat afterward and it's the usual fare: Most parts very good, one part dissing Dan Vogelbach, couple parts straw-manning Cubs fans (is straw-manning a word?), and one part this, which created a minor stir on Twitter among Cubs faithful...
Question: If you had to pick one player in your top 10 that will completely bust, who would it be? Hey, enough of this positivity. Let's get negative!
Law: Baez is where he is because he's got more risk/volatility than the 7 guys ahead of him. I don't think he has great makeup, and the newfound plate discipline came in a pretty small sample.
To which a reader responds...
Why do you think Baez doesn't have good makeup? Haven't heard that and I follow the Cubs. Not doubting, just haven't heard that.
Law: You follow the Cubs. I work in the industry. We can still be friends, but our access to information is not the same.
While it is true that he is more connected than most, I wouldn't take that as the holy gospel. I don't work in the "industry" and I don't have the same network of connections, but I do speak to scouts, have seen Baez interact with his coaches/teammates (and likely many more times than Law), and have actually spoken to his teammates. I didn't get the same impression nor did I get that impression from anyone else.
And in case you think they wouldn't say anything that wasn't positive about a player, I can tell you that I've spoken to scouts who have voiced makeup concerns about a player or three -- but never Baez.
I'm not saying Law didn't hear what he heard. I'm just letting you know it's anything but a consensus among scouts. In fact, my experience has been the opposite. Baez may be brash, some may even call him "cocky"...but mental makeup issues? I have to disagree there.
Dan Szymborski of ESPN listed some bounce back candidates a while back that included three Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and Edwin Jackson. So it's only fair that now he mentions guys who he think may be decline candidates. Again, another Cubs made the list. This time it's Junior Lake.
His ZiPS projection is as follows: .252/.295/.380, 10 HR, 41 RBI, 12 SB, 0.3 WAR
That's certainly not the kind of offensive production you are looking for a starter, especially one who may play corner OF, so the hope is that Lake continues to make progress as a player and surpasses those expectations. Most, including myself, don't expect Lake to be a starter long-term but that doesn't mean I don't hope he proves me wrong.
The Mariners signed Scott Baker to a minor league deal. We speculated earlier that the Cubs would be interested in bringing him back, but the recent tea leaves indicated otherwise. On another note, Bronson Arroyo said he has yet to receive an offer. Part of me would like to see the Cubs bring him in if they can get him on a 2 year deal. I think they could use a solid starter who is a also a veteran and a good teammate in that rotation.
Ruggiano avoided arbitration and agreed to terms with the Cubs according to Carrie Muskat,
Can confirm #Cubs and Justin Ruggiano avoid arbitration. He signed $2 million contract
This fits the pattern of this front office both from Boston and in the time they've been here in Chicago. Their preference has been to settle before the hearings.
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