Prospect News and Notes: BA Top 100

We're nearing the end of prospect rating season -- the only major announcement left is's organizational Top 20s in March -- but the Cubs went out with a bang last night.  They placed 7 prospects in Baseball America's Top 100 list, including 5 in the top 50 and 2 in the Top 10.  The Cubs tied the Pirates for the second most prospects in the Top 100, one behind the Red Sox with 8.  The Cubs who placed, along with free comments, are:

  • #100 Arismendy Alcantara: With a crowd ahead of him at shortstop, Alcantara’s best path to the majors is as an everyday second baseman. Honing his skills on the right side of the infield is job one.
  • #87 Pierce Johnson: Durability is at the top of the list for the slender Johnson, who could beat the similarly built C.J. Edwards to Chicago if he can repeat his 2013 production at higher levels.
  • #41 Jorge Soler: It’s easy to be satisfied when you’ve already signed a $30 million contract. If Soler plays with an edge, he’ll be a big league right fielder sooner than later.
  • #36 Albert Almora: Almora is another prospect who just needs to show he can stay healthy. Evaluators love his bat and defense in center—when he’s on the field.
  • #28 CJ Edwards: Edwards can’t post better results than he did last year, when he moved from the Rangers to the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal. He’ll aim to reach 150 innings while maintaining his high-quality stuff and control.
  • #8 Kris Bryant: Bryant could have a successful season even if he doesn’t match his 31-homer season in college; a move to the outfield could be in the offing.
  • #5 Javier Baez: Slow down—not his bat, the minors’ fastest, but the rest of the game, especially at shortstop. Otherwise, Baez’s task will be learning to play another position.

Overall, this is a very strong showing.  North Side Irish and I were discussing Albert Almora on Twitter yesterday.  The ranking seems a bit low -- heavy bias admitted -- but it appears that injury concerns are holding him down.  They praise his hit tool and defense, which are the loudest in a sum-is-greater-than-its-parts type player.

At this point, we can evaluate some trends in the lists.

  • The Cubs Top 7 have been very consistent.
  • The Cubs are starting to build some prospect depth behind the Big 4.  Solid seasons by some of Vogelbach, Candelario, Blackburn, Zastryzny, Conway, Penalver, Tseng, Jimenez, and Torres could put a lot more cubs on Top 100 lists next year.
  • Speaking of Mr. Vogelbach, he missed every Top 100 list this year.  Judging by his Twitter account, he is taking that personally.  My hope is that he uses this as motivation to become a clear impact bat by this time next season.
  • Evaluators seem to have very similar views on Javier Baez.  Some (BP) are clearly higher on him than others (Keith Law), but everyone has him as a Top 10 prospect in the game after his monster season last year.
  • Bryant has also shown up very high on all the lists.  Significantly, BA placed him four slots ahead of Jonathan Gray and 31 spots ahead of Mark Appel.  In very early returns, a combination of a very comprehensive evaluation process (going all the way back to Bryant's high school teachers) and pure dumb luck (the Astros choosing Appel) gave the Cubs the best pick of the 2013 draft.
  • There seems to be more difficulty projecting guys like Almora (injury concerns) and Edwards (durability concerns).  We want to believe the best on both of them, but it may be a good idea to take the ranks as a slight caution on both players.

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  • watched the "baseball america's top 50 prospects show" on mlb network last night..

    after they talked about Baez. Amsinger made light of 7 being on the top 100 and how "the Cubs are coming!"

  • Scary thing is BA put out a list last night of how many players from the top 100 list made it to the majors since 1990. While 80-90% of them made it to bigs, only 5-10 became impact players each year and they were often players in the lower half of the top 100. While I'm very excited to see our prospects play, the fact is probably only 1-2 will become impact players

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    In reply to Craig:

    If we get 2 impact players (let's say, to go with your lower half theory, Johnson and Alcantara) out of that list, and two more contributors (for example, Edwards as a closer and Almora as plus defender, average-bat center fielder), everything that this front office has done has been a resounding success.

    However, they do seem to have improved their analysis. If you look at Top 10 lists from more recent years, the successes jump out at you.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sure. But remember the Cubs need to jump over, in theory, 25 better teams. These other teams are not treading water in the meantime. If you look at the list, Bosox, Bucs, Tx, Cards, Dodgers are well represented. Furthermore, these teams have done it without the benefit of high level draft positions. To me, that is more a resounding success--being able to identify top talent that was passed over by others.
    A championship is no slam dunk

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    In reply to xhooper:

    Of course a championship is no slam dunk. But adding two cost controlled, impact players would go a long way towards winning one with smart FA additions like, say, Nate Schierholtz and Dionner Navarro, in addition to guys like Castro and Wood continuing to play well and develop. Impact talent, which we have coming soon, can make you jump significantly in a very short period of time.

    Not quite sure where the Dodgers are coming from -- they have 4 guys in the top 10, and none higher than 34 -- the Cubs have 3 guys better than the Dodgers best. Their biggest development guy -- Puig -- is more a story of money than excellent drafting.

    To say the Pirates did it without high draft picks is wrong: Cole was the #1 overall pick in the strongest draft in recent memory, Taillon was #2 overall, Meadows #9 overall, and Polanco an IFA in the pre-CBA era.

    As I've already pointed out specifically with the Red Sox, much of their success came prior to the new CBA. The Cardinals have been exceptional, but they've done it by adding one or two impact pieces a year to a very strong core. The Cubs have had to go from zero to top 5 system in two years. When players graduate and, hopefully, pull the team up, they will attempt to continue to add talent, though nowhere near as quickly, with later picks like the Cardinals have.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    What I am really interested in seeing (for several reasons) is whether the Cubs management can do what the Cards have consistently done once they actually consistently had a good ML team.

    NOT get top draft choices year in, year out,.... but still manage to consistently find, sign, and develop solid ML-leve talent while maintaining a core of (mostly) home-grown position players, bullpen arms, and quality starting pitchers.

    That's when we'll know for certain how well the new 'Cub's Way' will work out.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Agreed- we may be able to 'count' on a certain percentage of top 50 prospects being impact players but the kind of sustained success the Cards have is different. They seem to MAKE good MLB players rather then draft and promote. I have confidence our team will get there and that we'll see our share of success out of the guys above, but to be competitive year over year we need some of the magic they've got down the river.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    It's really not that much of a question. Look at the BoSox stacked system.

    Virtually all if it, and definitely the best of it, was built by our own FO. (Along with a few high Padres prospects).

    They've done it and they'll continue to do it.

  • I am a little concerned about Soler. I hope last seasons injury and brain fart is behind him and with being a little more familiar with the US he will take off this year. Just looking at his body and skill set screams all star right fielder. The other six are progressing nicely. I think Almora will start in High A but will be in AA very quickly. I have seen him in person and he just screams ball player and winner. Someone I would pay to see play.

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    In reply to cubbybear7753:

    I would agree that Soler has lost a little luster, though whether that was terrible luck or something else remains to be seen. I'm willing to give him a mulligan for last season but, if he struggles again this year, he may slip down some lists.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There is no rational thought in terms of people being down on Soler. The reason people are concerned is there was a publicized outburst on the field where he lost it, the fact he was injured and the "reports" that he was lazy in the AFL.

    I think we need to see how he comes out in ST and see where he is before making any predictions.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I hope you are right about Soler. I would just hate to see all that potential go down the drain due to injury or the out burst. Hopefully he can learn from the latter. I just keep thinking that most observers thought he had a higher upside than Puig.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    the scouts need to understand one thing about these Cuban players. Most of these kids are experiencing freedom for the first time in there lives. They need to get these kids like Soler to understand with freedom comes responsability. Thats why its good to have Almora and Soler together. Almora can help Soler on the straight and narrow, and get him to live up to his enormous skill set.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I do love the character in Almora and Bryant. It appears that Baez may have a polarizing personality, but even he has shown a great amount of respect in his young career.

    One of the great things about the Cubs system is the level of maturity in most of their top level prospects. Maturity has a way of spreading, not quite as fast as anarchy, but spreading none the less.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Why do you think Baez has a "polarizing" personality?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I've only seen Baez once in person, at the Cubs convention. He was on a panel of prospects. He did seem to be kind of aloof, maybe a little arrogant. Then a fan asked him a question in Spanish and he answered in Spanish and all of a sudden he seemed like a different guy. It's possible, just possible, that he doesn't understand English as well as some people might assume he does, and when he doesn't understand what people are saying he just tunes out. Admittedly it was a very limited observation, but the difference in his demeanor was pretty dramatic.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    All the Cuban guys should be given a couple of seasons to allow for the culture shock since every person is going to react differently to that. I'd be more forgiving of on field performance failures than I would be from other players. If he did go after people with a bat in hand though that goes beyond cultural differences, bcause that isn't acceptable in any society.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I'm sorry, but it is rational to be down a guy who threatened opposing players with a bat. I don't have any concerns about on field play yet other than I don't think he is as good of a defender as people give him credit for being, but mental makeup can be a deciding factor on whether some guys pan out or not. So can injuries. And Soler has questions about both. Nobody should be writing him off, and seeing as how he is a top 50 prospect or better on every list I have seen, no one seems to be doing that. Until he plays a full season with no outbursts, I see no reason his future shouldn't be questioned.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    The point is that people are down on Soler (or another way to put it is less optimistic about his abilities) because of off the field issues or "reports" of laziness. It has nothing to do with his numbers or performance in the field.

    His numbers are outstanding albeit on a limited basis. But if he continues to put up numbers like this at every level, many people will care less and less about his persona and his character (and this is coming from a guy who cheers double for "good guys").

    He is very young still, probably immature a bit due to his background and has hit the tar out of the ball when he has played. Still think he can be a major impact for the Cubs.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Sorry, just saw your last post:
    "The point is that people are down on Soler (or another way to put it is less optimistic about his abilities) because of off the field issues or "reports" of laziness. It has nothing to do with his numbers or performance in the field."
    But the laziness (at least for what I witnessed) is translating to his performance on the field. Sure, he did well, but with his skill set, doing well isn't good enough. He should be dominating. I didn't see him square more than one ball up the entire weekend. He just looked uninterested while playing. His effort was inconsistent at best. One minute he would dog a pop fly, the next he was laying out to try to get another blooper. Now, if the reports are true that he was asked to dial it down to stay healthy, fine, I can accept that. But he does have some to prove in ST I think. We need him to be the beast he looks like...and believe me, from standing literally a foot away from this guy, the dude is HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE!

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I saw him in person a few games in the AFL and he did indeed look very lazy and uninterested. It was not just in games, it was pregame too...warm ups, BP, etc...he just didn't look like someone who was focused at all. My dad and I remarked to each other he reminded us of an athlete who is used to being the biggest and the baddest where he has played, but now is facing people just as big and bad as him, and he doesn't have the killer instinct needed to excel, because he hasn't had to use it before.
    Another thing that didn't help his cause is he played next to Almora in the OF most of the fall, and with Bryant. The two of them are workhorses the entire time they are out there...all effort, all the time. Of course, pretty much anyone next to Almora is going to look like they are being lazy becuase Almora is a frakin engergizer bunny our there!
    Just my take, and I am by no means any sort of scout.

  • In reply to Pappy:

    Take your observation wit ha grain of salt... you weren't the only one to question what you saw. But Theo, Hoyer, and Mcleod have all been on record as saying he wasn't 100% and cleared for max effort until January... But injuries and excuses aside, I'm ready to see what this guy can do at AA and then ?.....

    Anywasy here's some recent quotes and a link:

    “We actually asked him not to push the running too hard,” said Jason McLeod, the vice president of scouting and player development. “It didn’t look great at times. I had scouts and other people ask me like: ‘Why isn’t this guy playing hard?’

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Fair enough. But like you, I am ready to see this guy in beast mode, cause he sure looks the part. If not, maybe the bears can make him a LB??? :)

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Watching a couple of AFL games on MLB Network, it wasn't laziness, he was still limping quite a bit. Soler was nowhere near 100%, yet still went out and tried to make up for lost time. While I still feel he's the one of the big four most likely to bust, I haven't lost any faith in him.

  • I think Hannaman (if I spelled it correctly) is one to watch. I predict he will jump in to the top 100 next year. Volgelbach learned last year the art of hitting and taking pitches, I think this year he will learn the pitches he can drive and will have 30+ home runs.

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    In reply to cubman:

    The front office clearly likes Hannemann a lot. 30 home runs seems high -- though I remember one coach calling him the second best player in his division last year, behind only Kris Bryant. So, maybe. I tend think he's a "plan B" player -- that is, he'll only start for the Cubs if Almora doesn't pan out -- but has very nice upside as minor league depth or a trade candidate.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm predicting 30+ for Vogelbach, not Hannemann (I'm using your spelling). I really like Hannemann and think he can be our CF. I'm not anti Almora, I like him a lot. However, I can't really see how an average or slightly above average runner can become a gold golve CF. There are always guys in the majors that have the same instincts, breaks to the ball, etc, but are much faster, hence they will reach more balls.

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    In reply to cubman:

    I disagree that there are "always" guys with the same instincts. Everything I've read on Almora has scouts putting him in an elite category on those aspects. Much like Baez's bat speed, there are some guys that are the top of the MLB pyramid.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree Mike. I have watched him. Not fast but he gets excellent jumps on balls in play. Very much like Jim Edmonds who also was not fast but had great fielding instincts. Things like that and good base running cant be taught. They just come naturally.

  • In reply to cubman:

    If he can field like Edmonds, he will win the Gold Glove.

    If he can also hit like Edmonds.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Ha, so true. If he doesn't hit he won't ever win a gold glove.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    you mean like barney? :)

  • In reply to cubman:

    Jim Edmonds. Fred Lynn. 2 guys who werent exactly burners who made gold-glove caliber CFS. If Almoras instincts are remotely close to Edmonds, hes a gold glove caliber OF.

  • I would prefer that Castro stays as out SS of the future, but I had a thought come to me in the airport this morning and wanted to throw it out to the panel...

    The Yankees are going to have a HUGE need for a franchise player at SS following this season. They could try to fill with an older FA, but there isn't a lot there to pick from. Acquiring one through trade may be the better option for NYY, but they really don't have the farm system to acquire a ML-ready prospect like Digi or Owens from AZ or an All Star-caliber young player like Castro from the Cubs.

    So, my question is: if the Yankees go crazy in the IFA market this year, as has been reported, could those prospect be flipped for Castro. I am not really wondering about actual packages, but more about 'could' they do it. I know that a first year player drafted can not be traded within a year of the draft, but does the same hold true for IFA signees?

    It would be interesting to see the Yankees sign the top 3 or 4 prospects in IFA, then flip them to the Cubs along with Sanchez for Castro.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I don't think the Yankees will have the pieces. Any deal for Castro will have to involve major league ready impact pieces. Any IFA spending spree they go on will necessarily result in pieces 5-6 years away. As an aside on that, the Cubs clearly choose the right year to go all out. Now they don't have to compete with the Yankees and their spending this summer.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah, I think their approach this year, since they are limited to $250K max per player; will be to use their network and the DR facility to woo as many prospects as possible and attack it with mass. They won't be able to get any top 50 prospects, but if they get 1 oe 2 out of that wave to develop and make it then they've won big.

    Not to mention that 3-4 of the kids they signed this year (you mentioned Tseng, Jiminez, & Torres) could be cracking our top 20 this year next time. Unlikely to make a top 100 list because I doubt any of ours are graduated off of the list.... but that's how deep we're getting.

    We could looking at a very, very interesting NL ROY competition between Baez, Bryant, & Soler in 2015...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    The reports on Tseng are very, very good, as I'm sure you know. He still has to go out and prove he belongs next year but, if he does, he could rise very quickly.

    Completely unrelated: Julio Urias is getting flat out depressing. Just what the Dodgers needed: the TWO best pitchers in baseball.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Were to Cubs in on Urias when he was an IFA?

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    In reply to ChiRy:

    I'm not sure.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I am well aware of the reports on Tseng. Our old pal Kevin thinks he is an Ace in the making, and he's not alone. But from what others have been saying, this kid could fly through the lower minors this year and may get as high as Daytona. Though that's more likely to be next year. Still, I expect him to fly up prospect rankings.

    Urias is still a long ways away. But dominating at full season A ball as a teenager is always good to see.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    So any knowledge on if it would even be possible? Does the IFA signings have the same trade restrictions as the first year draft signings?

    I agree with you, Mike, it is doubtful that the Cubs would be willing to part with Castro for a bunch of roles of the dice (although Sanchez could help and he is going to be blocked for the next five years). I guess I am wondering if it is a way that the Cubs would be able to avoid the $250,000 cap per signing.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    IFA signings have to be with their current team for 1 year before being traded. PTBNLs can be used to get around that, I believe.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Not only are the Cubs not competing with the Yankees for this year's top IFA prospects, they have more pool money than they need available for a trade or two to teams that wants to compete with the Yankees for top prospects without incurring future penalties.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'd take Pineda as the big piece for Castro and work from there.

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    In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    If the Yankees are willing to trade him, I want nothing to do with him.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I thought the same thing, since regardless of how they fare in 2014 it seems to me that the Yankees as they stand now are unsustainable. What with our abundance of talented young infielders, and with Trea Turner being the possible #4 pick in this year's draft, it might appear that the Cubs and Yankees would be likely trade partners after this season, except that (1) it depends on a perfect storm of people like Olt, Castro, Alcantara, etc. all having great years, since the Yankees would need immediate MLB-ready impact players, and (2) the Yankees having something we need in return. I don't really see either of those things happening. The only things the Yankees have that I'd be interested in is Tanaka (no-trade clause, and looked a lot better when he would have only cost us money) and catching prospect Sanchez. The Yankees will have the need, but other organizations have better players to deal from our perspective. That's my take on it anyway.

  • But there is another aspect to it. The Cubs will have an immense amount of IFA money next year, and will not be able to spend it easily (limit of about 250 thousand per prospect). But they can trade it for prospects (just as they traded to get money this year).

    8 million is IDA dollars might bring in some pretty good prospects.

  • iFa dollars.

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    The best case scenario is for Castro to rebound siginificantly enough to settle the argument at shortstop, and then Alcantara to make it at second base in a way that forces Baez to third base and Bryant to right field. I know a faction of people wish to see Baez become the next Ryne Sandberg, but I don't think it's a good thing if the Cubs become overly dependent on slugging. It would be better for the Cubs to be well balanced in terms of speed and power. It also won't surprise me if a need to maintain that balance and a need to balance out the right-handed versus left-handed hitting equation forces a trade, probably Soler. Anyways, when the Cubs win the World Series in 2018. here is my lineup and rotation.

    2b Alcantara S
    Cf Almora R
    Dh Vogelbach L
    3b Baez R
    1b Rizzo L
    Rf Bryant R
    Lf Candelario S
    Ss Castro R
    Ca Castillo R

    Sp Beede R
    Sp Diaz R
    Sp Paxton L
    Sp Johnson R
    Sp Wood L

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'll take it!

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'm thinking Jason Heyward is a guy the Cubs will open their wallet for in a couple of years. Good defender, good OBP, left handed bat. And a FA at 25 years old. Seems like a perfect fit to me.

  • Mike, the Red Sox have won more than 90 games almost every year over the last six of seven. How it is they have acquired the most Top 100 prospects without tanking season after season and without flipping veterans in July?

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    In reply to TTP:

    I know you think you're cleverly catching me here, but the fact is that one of their 8 players -- Allen Webster -- WAS acquired by flipping talent at the deadline. In addition, Trey Ball, #89, was the #7 overall pick last year. Their best player, Xander Bogaerts, was an IFA before the new restrictions were put in place and simply took time developing, as IFA players do. That's three of 8 that were the result of old rules, flipping players, or being awful.

    Then add to that that their only other Top 50 players, Jackie Bradley (40) and Henry Owens (50), were drafted in 2011 -- again, before the new rules were put in place -- were given bonuses above what most other players in those rounds were receiving. (In fact, in bonus money, they went closer to players in the mid-1st round.) Blake Swihart (#73), their 1st pick in that draft, went for the same bonus as Javier Baez 17 picks earlier. AND it's worth nothing that the 2011 draft was ridiculously stacked.

    That leaves 2 guys Garin Cecchini, and Mookie Betts, 74 and 75, who they acquired through nice draft picks that would have been equally feasible under the new rules.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks, Mike. Before I checked back for your response, I did tiny bit of homework and saw Theo did a nice job with his 2011 draft for Boston: Swihart (26th overall), Owens (36th), Bradley (40th), Betts (172nd). Cecchni was 143rd in 2010. Those 1.5 Round picks, can be significant.

  • In reply to TTP:

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Like the Stankees, there TV contract alone pays for player salaries and in many cases, minor league development.

  • the rules under the new CBA are what's forced the Cubs into the "tank for high picks" cycle.

    the guy who put together much of that red sox talent system's apparently a pretty smart dude, huh? the team that has him has to be in pretty good hands...

  • As Raytay says, the rules have changed completely. The Red Sox routinely got the equivalent of 4 or 5 first round draft choices by overpaying in later rounds. This no longer can be done.

  • Is Vogelbach being written off by a lot of these polls? It seems like there is an impression that he can't field and is over weight most of the time I've read that that's Law's impression. Yet I've also read that he's done everything that's been asked of him. What's he going to have to do to get beyond impressions like thar which Law has?

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    Price, I saw Vogelbomb in person about 6 weeks ago. Im 6,3" and 260 and I can promise hes not anywhere close to my size physically. Id say hes about 6ft and maybe about 240-250 and hes actually fairly muscular, especially around the chest and shoulders.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    The issue with Vogelbach is that he is a bat only prospect. Guys with only one MLB caliber skill have very little room for failure. Basically, if Vogelbach doesn't hit his ceiling as a hitter (which most players rarely do) he brings nothing else to the table. He plays one position (poorly), and obviously offers nothing as a baserunner either. Until he proves his bat at higher levels in the minors, scouts are always going to be skeptical of him.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I agree that if Vogelbach fails to hit well, he will fail totally.

    However, there are silly rumors about him that will not go away, many of them stemming from Keith Law. Vogelbach does NOT play first base poorly. He is probably fairly average at a position that does not have a high bar for defense. And he is not nearly as slow as many claim, certainly being as fast as Keith Moreland was when he played right field for the Cubs.

    If Vogelbach hits well, he will play somewhere for the Cubs, unless traded.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Sorry, he is not an average defender at 1B in any game that I watched him, and every scout I have read agrees with that assessment. Limited range and poor footwork. Doesn't mean he can't become average there, as he has proven to be a tireless worker up to this point, but he is not there yet.

    And lets not shoot for Keith Moreland's speed being the bar for what we expect from a player. Just because the Cubs were stupid enough to put a terrbile defender like Moreland in the OF 25 years ago doesn't mean anyone should consider it now.

    The same thing with all of the Adam Dunn (or Soriano) in LF stuff. Adam Dunn was one of the top 5 power hitters in all of baseball when he played LF. And he was a better athlete than Vogelbach too. And he was still a liability out there, but one that they could live with because Dunn was an incredible power and OBP guy. The only way the Cubs or any team will willingly put up with that kind of defense is if they are getting elite offense in return. So again, Vogelbach's bat needs to reach its ceiling in order for him to have any value as an everyday player for the Cubs. Because that's the only way they would consider something as silly as the OF for him or to even replace Rizzo with him at 1B.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Exactly....bat only players need a huge bat. Vogelbach could be the next Billy Butler, or he could be the next in a long line of 1B sluggers who stall in AAA and end up in Japan. LaHair, Hoffpauir, Brad Nelson, Mike Carp, there are dozens out there....

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I did see BP do a retrospective of 20 years of Top 100 Prospects lists, and admit how many times they've been mislead by big power as a seemingly stand-alone tool (Brian Dopriak, anyone?), so they've shied away from ranking those sorts of players very high in recent years. I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the industry is on that same line of thinking.

  • Offensively, I will not be surprised at all if Vogelbomb has a huge year offensively. Its his defense, not his bat, keeping his ratings low. Ive seen Vogelbomb in person 3 times , and he impressed me greatly. His bat speed is greatly underated, the sc outs only want to make the obvious Fielder comps. Well, Ill take the career numbers of either Prince or Cecil Fielder anyday.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Is Vogelbomb starting at Daytona or Tennessee this year?

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Daytona. Might see Tennessee at end of the year.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    Read this, about another 1B prospect, but it applies to Vogelbach, and why it's difficult to make it as a bat-only guy:

    Vogelbach's problem is his bat is his only carry he has to hit alot in order to make it. I could see Dan stalling as a AAA slugger, a la Lahair or Hoffpauir, or Brad Nelson,

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    wow - so every prospect makes it and is a starter
    and - we dont sign any free agents.
    that would be a front office dream but probably isnt likely.

  • I don't get it. Almora breaks his hamate bone and now he's injury prone? Or have there been other injuries that have labeled him injury prone?

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    In reply to lokeey:

    He missed multiple games last year, and was eventually shut down early, because of groin injuries.

  • I just saw an article on how baseball players are taking dance lessons to improve control of their bodies and their power numbers - most were pitchers, although former catcher Mike Piazza was listed as one. Couldn't believe what I was reading. Is this actually happening among some of the top 100 prospects? I know this question is a little off the wall but was curious.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    Walter Payton always gave a lot of credit for his balance to dance. It makes perfect sense that it would improve coordination and balance and should in theory help with defense and also weight transfer at the plate. But it is probably not something that you could convince many guys to do.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Thanks. I wondered about it. If Payton did it it should speak volumes to other athletes.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to pricewriter:

    Payton took ballet and also played the piano, which he said helped him develop strong, nimble hands. Good thing, because there were times he carried the ball in a most unconventional way.
    BTW, my dog's name is Payton. In honor, of course.

  • fb_avatar

    Hooray, 7 in the top 100! Let's look at the last time we had that many....2002:
    2. Mark Prior
    6. Juan Cruz
    40. Hee Seop Choi
    45. David Kelton
    48. Bobby Hill
    68. Nic Jackson
    80. Carlos Zambrano

    ......ouch! Well, at least we fllipped Choi and Hill for D-Lee and A-Ram.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    alot has changed since 2002, especially in how players are evaluated.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    That Prior guy was something though,.... for a season or two before his injury flame out,.....

    Cruz ended up servicable,.... and Zambrano had a good run before he went off the deep end,.....

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Don't harsh my mellow.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Prior was outstanding before he went down with injury. And despite how he finished up. Zambrano certainly fulfilled his promise. And although he never became a star, I would be perfectly happy with the career of Juan Cruz for one of out seven.

    Most prospects fail, and the further down on the prospect list they are, the greater likelihood that they will fail.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Ouch? Prior and Zambrano were starters on a team that came 5 outs from the World Series. Hill and Choi were flipped for Aramis Ramirez/Kenny Lofton and Derek Lee who made up the heart of that order. If you could guarantee me the Cubs current prospect lists will turn into 5 contributors for a World Series contending team, I'd take it.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Those seven produced 2 impact talents (Prior/Zambrano). II'll be happy if we get that out of our current crop. And also of note, the current group has 5 guys in the top 40 instead of 3. And the 2 guys at the top in 2002 were pitchers which are always more volatile as prospects than position players becuase of injury risk, as we saw with Prior.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Prior was a stud before injuries took over.
    Cruz was a serviceable reliever.
    Choi and Hill were traded for veterans who had great seasons with the Cubs and led us to multiple playoff appearances.
    Zambrano had some excellent seasons.

    All in all, not bad for 7 prospects.

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    I think the above comparison
    to 2002 prospects is a good one & Juan Cruz had a nice career.
    If we get 2 impact guys - and one guy that is a solid MLB player out of 7
    thats probably a win.

    So thats means 4 guys will fail / bust. none of know who the 4 busts will be - but we should count on it and not make line up cards - with all 7 guys - as that wont happen.

    Just as Vitters failed and B jackson failed - 4 of those 7 guys will fail.
    Expect it - count on it. And attempt to sell high on guys when possible. Hendry wasnt bad at that - the Yankees are great at that.

  • B Jackson said he is gonna go back to his old swing.. the swing that Sveum worked with him "just didnt work out".. lol

  • I really like the way the young guys are coming up and where were going with the young major league talent.

    I have a question about the 2 pitchers we got for tony campana
    from AZ. Any updates on these guys? I thought that was a great
    trade at the time ,but haven't heard much about it since.
    EXCITED for 2014 ....GO CUBBIES!

  • Last I heard Jesus Castillo hadn't done much yet but Leal was impressive at AZ and might make it to Boise this summer.

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