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Cubs prospect notes and photo gallery: Jen-Ho Tseng, Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, and Rob Zastryzny

Editor's Note:  This article and gallery is from Mauricio Rubio.  I simply re-published to change the photo gallery formatting.

-John Arguello

Prospect Notes from Maurico Rubio

I went searching for baseball in the Arizona desert and I found it in the backfields of major league squads that play in the cactus league. I saw a lot of interesting players whose shape is still taking form as the loose ends of talent and physical ability either meld together with repetition and form tangible baseball skill or they are pulled apart by facing advanced competition.

You can read about most of it here, Jason Parks and Mark Anderson did excellent work (as always) with the Cactus League. We hit the Cubs complex on our last full day there. The Cubs were playing an International Prospect League showcase team, here's what I saw:

Cubs

When the Cubs acquired Jen-Ho Tseng in July of 2013 MLB ranked him at 29 on their "Top 30 International Signings" list. He impressed during a short stint against lower competition as he showcased a low 90's fastball that hit 94 on the upper level and a curveball that shows a lot of promise as the outing went along. The break was sharper and tighter towards the end as he seemed to gain a feel for it after throwing some looser breaking balls earlier. He showed good command and worked the ball around. Tseng has a good frame and it should be able to handle adding good weight as his 19 year old body grows.

A lot is made of how poor the Cubs pitching depth is within the system. There are some interesting names like Tseng, Paul BlackburnRob Zastryzny and Tyler Skulina in the lower levels. It's not close yet but there's some stuff there.

I wrote up Zastryzny for Prospectus. In addition to his pitchability and stuff I was impressed with his work rate. The pace was crisp and he didn't waste any time getting into his rhythm. Zastryzny knows how to pitch and where to work within sequence. If the breaking ball comes along I feel a lot better about his long term future as a starter. The lefty FB-CH guys don't tend to work well out of the bullpen either so it was encouraging to see him flash the breaker.

Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres were both there as well. It was my first look at both players and I don't have enough to give a full write up on them but from a physical standpoint Eloy was a very impressive dude. He has a big body that should fill out fairly well. Gleyber was unimpressive in a limited amount of defensive reps and at bats but take all that with a grain of salt. Both players will be tracked by us as the season wears on.

Below are some photos of all four players listed here.

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  • They all seem to be wearriig Cub uniforms. Other than that., what else should i know about them?

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    We have written much on Tseng and Torres was #25 on prospect list.

    We should have some good stuff on both Zastryzny and Skulina tonight or tomorrow morning.

  • It will be nice in the coming years to see our future grow before
    our eyes. Can't beat raw talent and speed

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Very raw talent in this piece but some huge upside.

  • Hey John, it seems like today's lineup is being posted, but from what I hear, Jeimer Candelario is starting at 3B today (Mike Olt DH) and Baez at 2B... I know you're rooting Candelario like me.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Holy moly, I just saw that too.

    Plus Hanneman and Vogelbach are on the bench!

    I'm going to nerd out tonight.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    LOL love it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Has Olt played 3rd yet this spring?

  • In reply to Ray:

    Not yet. There was some possibilty today. The fact that Candelario is playing makes me think they changed their minds last minute. Hopefully soon.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks, John. I'd like to see Olt as the Opening Day 3rd baseman and have him get off to a good start.

  • In reply to Ray:

    That would be huge for them, I think. He looks like he's back but only time will tell for sure.

  • John, Which hitting prospects have the best raw talent? And
    can we help develop them

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Off the top of my head, Jimenez, Torres, Hanneman are the most raw, but as far as best hitting grade overall it goes to Almora. Then you have the other big 3 -- and Candelario, Vogelbach, Amaya can also be solid MLB hitters.

    Sleepers to watch are Stephen Bruno and Daniel Lockhart. The kids can hit.

  • It looks from today's list that the main criterion for being a Cubs prospect is having an unpronounceable name. Just think what would have happened if Harry were still around, given that he had problems with his broadcast partner Steve "Stein."

  • In reply to jack:

    Some of my favorite Harry-isms:

    Cam Kennedy (Ken Caminitti)
    Brett Barbecue (Barbarie)
    Hector Villanova (Villanueva)
    Anthony VanSlyke (Andy)

  • john what kind of stuff does Zastryzny and skulina have ? I read different things on Zastryzny like he has high 80's to low 90's then a different report says he can reach mid 90's.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Write-up coming later tonight or tomorrow when next prospect segment comes out.

  • will this game tonight be on mlb network/mlb.tv?

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Yes, indeed!

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Cubs have games on MLBTV ch on Time Warner cable all week this week. I saw four games btwn this one and Cubs-Sox on Friday. DVR peoples!

  • It would seem that both Zastryzny and Tseng would benefit more from being out of Arizona so they can work on their breaking pitches. I sure do like smart pitchers who approach each batter with a plan.

    The other element that I hope gets addressed is how does this FO approach getting pitchers acclimated to the weather differences that a typical season brings in Chicago. This season is shaping up to be a very cold start. Tseng probably has not pitched much in cold weather. I would love to see him at Kane County to start the season to give him time to adapt.

  • http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/page/bbtn100_topSS/ranking-top-10-shortstops-mlb-2014

    ESPN (40+ experts) ranks the Top 10 SS in baseball evaluated based only on how well they will perform in 2014.

    Starlin doesn't make the Top 10, and in the video they talk about nine other shortstops who didn't make the list but not him.

  • In reply to AndyMilanokis:

    I think once the "experts" are unanimous, it has the reverse effect. It's like groupthink ;)

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