It's been a tough day for me so far. My 14 year old Doberman, Chloe, was diagnosed with cancer just 2 months after we lost our Rottweiler of 10 years, Eva. She is too old to have an operation and the vet said it probably won't extend her life expectancy by much -- if at all. The good news is that it's a localized form and it isn't causing her any pain, so we'll make her as comfortable as we can.
The other good news is that Chloe is one bad mother. She's the toughest, bravest dog I've ever had, yet she is kind to everyone -- well, unless you mess with her family. She'll handle this just like she handles everything else -- with courage and dignity.
It's good to have baseball on days like this and this is a link heavy day for the Cubs, so let's get to it. I'll keep this short and we'll discuss it in more detail in the comments section...
Cubs "pushing hard" for Tanaka
Are you surprised? Ken Rosenthal confirmed what we've known here since August -- the Cubs are going hard after Tanaka. We've heard hints since we first mentioned it here, including David Kaplan's assertion that the Cubs won't be outbid.
Like I've said, I realize it's going to be extremely difficult given the competiton for Tanaka's services, but I will be genuinely disappointed if the Cubs don't land him because I know he's a guy they like and they want -- maybe need -- to have.
Cubs Rookie Development and Expected Levels
The Cubs young players are in the Rookie Development Program -- just one more reason to like the way this front office works. We can never know if they'll succeed but we know they will be prepared. There are 15 rookies in camp, including all the top prospects we've talked about here.
Earlier Muskat talked about the diffferent levels where the prospects are expected to start. The Iowa infield will be Christian Villanueva (3B), Javier Baez (SS), Arismendy Alcantara (2B) and 1B will likely be filled in by organizational types and veteran depth, but we could see Josh Vitters take some reps there too if he doesn't make the Cubs out of spring.
Interestingly this seems to indicate that Mike Olt will be given every shot at making the team this spring.
Kris Bryant will start in AA, as will C.J. Edwards but the Cubs are undecided on both Albert Almora and Jorge Soler. You may remember the Cubs were close to promoting Soler to AA before he got hurt, so I'm guessing they'll start him there if he looks ready in camp.
Almora is more interesting. He was also on the verge of a promotion before his own injury, so it's practically a given he's not going back to Kane. That means they are probably considering a jump to AA. Given how well he handled the AFL, which features a good amount of AA players, the Cubs may think he can handle it. There certainly isn't a problem with his makeup and he basically toyed with MWL pitchers. He may need the challenge.
And don't forget I wrote an article on Almora suggesting he could move quickly. That wasn't taken out of thin air or my usual mancrush on Almora. I got this information from a good source and now I'm wondering if there was a little wink-wink that went along with that bit of info. The guess here is that if he goes to Daytona, it won't be for long.
Fangraphs Top 10
Another day another prospect list. This time it's Marc Hulet at Fangraphs and he has them in this order...
- Javier Baez
- Kris Bryant
- Albert Almora
- Jorge Soler
- Arismendy Alcantara
- Pierce Johnson
- CJ Edwards
- Dan Vogelbach
- Arodys Vizcaino
- Kyle Hendricks
A lower ranking for Edwards than other places, but as we've said before we can understand why some might like Pierce Johnson better. Should be fun to watch those two develop.
Good to see Kyle Hendricks here. Fangraphs has the most optimistic ranking and ceiling I've heard yet, believing he could have some seasons where he will perform like a 3rd starter. Now that would be nice, wouldn't it?
- Fangraphs' David Laurila also has an excellent interview with Pierce Johnson with wonderful information on his repertoire and approach. Essential reading if you love the scouting game as much as I do.
- Carson Cistulli analyzes some Steamer projections on some of the Cubs top prospects and it's the pitchers who project best for this coming season. At the top of the list is Arodys Vizcaino, who Steamer projects at an optimistic 2.5 WAR, not that I wouldn't take that in his first season. Neil Ramirez also projects well at 1.7 for this season. Javy Baez rates the highest of the position players at 1.7 WAR.
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