Hang tight everyone. We are a week from pitchers and catchers reporting. Until then, here are a few news and notes...
BA Top Prospects List
Baseball America released it's top 31 prospects as the Prospect Handbook arrived in mailboxes everywhere. I"m waiting to order mine until I return from vacation, but CCO has them listed on their site. The list is as follows...
- Javier Baez, SS (1, 70, Medium)
- Kris Bryant, 3B (NA, 70, Medium)
- C.J. Edwards, RHP (NA, 65, High)
- Albert Almora, OF (2, 60, Medium)
- Jorge Soler, OF (3, 65, Extreme)
- Pierce Johnson, RHP (6, 55, High)
- Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/SS (10, 55, High)
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B (8, 50, High)
- Dan Vogelbach, 1B (7, 50, High)
- Arodys Vizcaino, RHP (4, 55, Extreme)
- Kyle Hendricks, RHP (NR, 45, Low)
- Paul Blackburn, RHP (16, 50, High)
- Christian Villanueva, 3B (12, 45, Medium)
- Mike Olt, 3B (NA, 55, Extreme)
- Corey Black, RHP (NA, 50, High)
- Eloy Jimenez, OF (NA, 55, Extreme)
- Jacob Hannemann, OF (NA, 55, Extreme)
- Dillon Maples, RHP (18, 55, Extreme)
- Tyler Skulina, RHP (NA, 50, High)
- Rob Zastryzny, LHP (NA, 50, High)
- Ivan Pineyro, RHP (NA, 45, Medium)
- Kyuji Fujikawa, RHP (9, 45, Medium)
- Gleyber Torres, SS (NA, 55, Extreme)
- Dallas Beeler, RHP (NR, 45, High)
- Armando Rivero, RHP (NA, 45, High)
- Matt Szczur, OF (14, 45, High)
- Zach Cates, RHP (NR, 45, High)
- Ben Wells, RHP (NR, 45, High)
- Rubi Silva, OF (NR, 50, Extreme)
- Danny Lockhart, 2B (NR, 45, High)
- Dustin Geiger, 1B (NR, 45, High)
It's nice to see 5 Cubs with grades of 60 or higher, which is indicative of a first division starter. Perhaps equally as nice is that 3 of those 5 carry just medium risk at this point.
I'll be having my own list out soon (I promise -- I apologize for the delay. I just made it out to be a bigger project this year with lots of moving parts) and I can say that one difference on my list is that there is a preference toward higher ceiling players toward the bottom. I do like players like Beeler, Rivero, Szczur, Lockhart, etc., but they are more likely to be role players, as noted by their MLB fringe average 45 grades, which indicates a bench player, middle reliever, or 5th starter.
I'm not a fan of listing veteran NPB players like Kyuji Fujikawa on prospect lists.
Darwin Barney and the Cubs avoided arbitration by sagreeing to a $2.3M deal. Barney is coming off a down year but the arbitration process pretty much guarantees a raise for all players who file. Considering Barney's Gold Glove level defense, the salary still provides value for the Cubs, but that may not be the case by next season if Barney doesn't bounce back.
Only Jeff Samardzija remains unsigned. The RHP is seeking $6.2M while the Cubs are offering $4.4. I believe they'll settle closer to Samardzija's figure, perhaps in the $5.5 range.
Cubs to consider moving from Wrigley?
I think this is probably something of a bluff at this point, but if Dan Bernstein's report is true, it does signal renewed frustration with negotiations. I don't think a move happens, but I wouldn't push my luck if I were the rooftops.
Sources: #Cubs frustration w/rooftops' intransigence is high enough that they are discussing "unavoidable prospect" of options elsewhere.
It could also put pressure on the city since they stand to lose a lot if the Cubs move to the suburbs.
Boycott rooftops? Maybe we won't have to.
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