Daily Minor League Recaps: Skulina rebounds; Hanneman, Remillard tally 3 hits; More on Korean SS Son Ho-Young

Daily Minor League Recaps: Skulina rebounds; Hanneman, Remillard tally 3 hits; More on Korean SS Son Ho-Young
Tyler Skulina (photo from Todd Johnson)

It's a pretty light day in the minors with the Smokies (AA) getting the day off and Iowa postponed.  I thought we could use this opportunity to write a bit about new Cubs SS Son Ho-Young.  I mentioned that I talked to a scout about him and while he didn't talk about him as a star, the shortstop did enough to leave an impression, particularly his strong throwing arm, good speed, and defensive skills.  A second scout I spoke with wasn't as impressed and felt it was more of a depth move as Cubs shortstops start moving up the ladder -- and that it was better to take a chance on a young kid than just fill those spots with minor league veterans.

So does this kid have a chance?  Maybe.

Dan from @MyKBO (a great follow if you're on Twitter) sends over a couple of links that has a bit more information and the description in one of those pieces confirms my source's report.

"In his first season at Hongik, he was a great defensive player with a good throwing arm," Sung said. "He had above average speed and could steal bases. He was a fearless player."

What's interesting, however, is that Son actually dropped out of college and has a reputation of leaving schools and having something of an immature, arrogant attitude,

“He had some talent, but he wasn’t a serious baseball player,” said Hongik University baseball coach Jang Chae-geun.

“We are aware of those issues,” said Sung. “He left teams several times when he was in high school. I think that history would cause KBO teams not to pick him in a draft because players of such character generally don’t adapt to professional baseball.”

His coach also added that he could run, throw, and hit but that he had difficulty fitting in and didn't want to play anymore.  Since then, however, Son seems to have matured a bit,

"I think he grew up and matured as a person during that time off," the scout said. "I don't think his past should be a problem. He will get a new opportunity, and I believe he will be able to make adjustments."

A scout for the team, Sung-Min Kyu, agreed with that sentiment,

 “People may think he is a bit arrogant judging by his behavior, but he’s not a child anymore,” he said. “He told me that his determination to become a true baseball player got stronger than ever while he worked at construction sites for the past last eight months before he met me. I have been watching him for a long time and I judged that his fielding ability, which is one of the most important abilities for a shortstop, is good enough to challenge for a spot in the big leagues.”

No financials are reported but Sung added that the Cubs got a real bargain on this deal considering the shortstop's raw talent.  He'll play in the U.S. -- probably in Arizona, as soon as he can get his visa.

It's an intriguing signing and there isn't much to lose here.  The Cubs might just have themselves a steal.

Let's get on with the abbreviated recap...

Lakeland 7 - Daytona 0

  •  Ben Wells was once a promising prospect that the Cubs signed as an overdraft out of a small Arkansas high school but injuries have cost him development time and velocity.  He's tried to adapt as a pitcher who throws a hard two seamer with good plane, pounding the low part of the zone and drawing weak ground ball contact.  He had some success with that last season but after another injury to start the year, he's struggled so far in 2014.   He fell to 1-2 with a 4.35 ERA after 2 innings of 3 run baseball.  Most concerning was that he walked 4 batters, something he cannot afford to do -- he now has 13 walks in 10.1 innings.
  • Another once promising pitching prospect, Starlin Peralta, has had an up and down start to the season and today's outing was on that downside.   He pitched 3 innings and allowed 3 runs, walking 2 and striking out 2.  His ERA is at 4.96 on the year.
  • A third formerly well-regarded prospect, Zach Cates, has had better success.  He's worked strictly out of the bullpen since late last year, when he was pitching in the mid 90s and topping out at 97.   Cates also has a promising but inconsistent breaking ball, and a solid change.  Where he has improved this year is with is command.  He had a 3 inning outing in which he did not walk a batter while striking out 3.  He did give up a run, raising his ERA to a still good 1.76 and what's more impressive is that he has walked just 1 batter in 15.1 innings.  He has struck out 12.
  • Not much offense to speak of.  The only hits on the day came from Dan Vogelbach and Marco Hernandez, though red-hot hitters Gioskar Amaya (2 walks) and Bijan Radenmacher (1 walk), also found their way on base

Kane County 2 - Cedar Rapids 1

  • After his worst start of the season, big RHP Tyler Skulina bounced back with a solid 5 inning performance in which he walked just one batter and struck out 2 while giving up just one run.  Unfortunately for Skulina, the Cougars were locked in a pitching duel and he actually left trailing the game 1-0.  Skulina has a 3.81 ERA on the year with 9 walk and 16 Ks in 26 innings.  He has flashed good stuff, particularly his slider, but he has lacked consistency so far --- something that plagued him as an amateur.  Still, he's a guy to keep an eye on according to a couple scouts I talked to this offseason.
  • LHP Nathan Dorris has been a dependable, versatile pitcher for the Cougars over the past two seasons, working with an 87-90 mph fastball and a big breaking curve, Dorris has shown an ability to miss bats, though he sometimes struggles to throw strikes with that big bender.   Today he pitched 2 scoreless innings with one walk and 2 Ks to pick up the win.   He's now 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA and has 8 walk and 15 Ks in 16 innings.
  • RHP Zach Godley was a 10th round pick last year who was picked in part because of his good size and a fastball that reaches 93 mph but, truth be told, the fact that he was a college senior and could be signed relatively cheaply factored in as well.  He's turned out to be more than just a guy who helped facilitate big money signings, he's been a very good closer for the Cougars, even if at 24 he's a bit old for the league and there isn't much projection in his physically mature body.  But there is no arguing the results.  Godley pitched 2 scoreless innings in which he walked 1 and struck out 5 to pick up his 5th save.  He has a 1.54 ERA with 4 walks and 21 strikeouts in 11.2 innings.  I don't care how old he is -- that's an impressive K rate and if he keeps doing that, he might just put himself on that prospect radar when all is said and done.
  • OF Jacob Hannemann has struggled some with consistency but the fact that he's holding his own after playing such little baseball over the past 3+ years is impressive.  Hannemann went 3 for 4 today with a double and a triple -- but his most important hit went about 45 feet as he successfully laid down a suicide squeeze bunt to drive in Danny Lockhart with what turned out to be the game-winning run.
  • The Cougars first run of the game, the one that tied the game, was driven in by...who else?  Yasiel Balaguert.  Balaguert scored Hannemann from 3rd on a ground out for his organization leading 19th RBI.  He also singled later in the game.
  • Catcher Will Remillard just continues to keep hitting and he tallied 3 more today to raise his OPS over 1.000 (1.007) with a line to .373/.458/.549.  Granted, it's still just 59 PAs -- but it's an impressive start for the first year pro.

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  • If our shortstops didn't have maturity issues what would we ever talk about? Starting to think Hannemann is going to make some organizational noise...

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Ha! Good point on the shortstops, though I think this is the year they all grow up! Or at least Castro, Baez, and Hernandez.

    Hannemann might get better as the year goes on. He needs to get steady ABs.

  • We are about 6 weeks away were we might see some movement of guys up and down some levels. I am eager to see who makes those moves.

    Some guys at KC who are a bit old as you mention, John and I am looking forward to see if their success can be duplicated in leagues that are more age appropriate.

    Of course, Bryant will hold the most attention and we will all eagerly watch how he adjusts to the AAA level.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I believe Bryant will have a smoother transition than Baez did. We should see some guys to move up. Guys who are old for their league and/or repeating a level are always good bets.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Why 6 weeks from now? Especially Bryant. Does he really need 6 more weeks of AA for his development? Why not get him up to AAA with an eye toward having him in the bigs in 6 weeks? The lack of even a hint of urgency is killing me.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Because their is no urgency. You want to rush one of our top prospects and skimp on his development, for what" to rush him prematurely to a major league team that has no hope of competing this year? So he can get a taste of losing at the big league level, with the added pressure of fans like you expecting him to turn the team around? Thank god fans don't run the organization.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Exactly. It's been 100 years and counting...what's the hurry?

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Agreed. Reminds me of Bradley.
    Before he got hurt the idea of Archie Bradley being brought up early was squashed by the manager, who said it wouldn't be fair to bring up a guy when the team is playing that poorly because you're sending a message that he has to save the whole team.

  • In reply to TTP:

    cuz of a thing called "small sample size". typically 250 AB's shows what a guy can do consistently.. its too ensure what he is doing isnt a fluke and he isnt being rushed.

  • Cubs have the worst outfield in the league!!!!! A fringe prospect, an infielder by trade who is our best outfielder, and 3 waiver pick ups after they were designated for assignment. My god HORRIBLE!

  • In reply to topps84:

    I don't see a lot of immediate help in sight either.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, with a pitcher likely coming from the first pick, do you see the Cubs looking for a AA or AAA lefty outfielder as part of deadline deals instead of only multiple arms?

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    I think it's a really interesting thinking exercise to look at how much sense a CarGo-Shark trade makes.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Good call on Cargo. Outside of that, it would increase the number of teams that could be involved even if it opens up three-way trades. BTW, thanks for your contributions to this site. Your posts are much appreciated.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    Thanks I appreciate that. I try to make sure I make intelligent contributions even if I have strong opinions.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I am scarred we will trade shark and hammels. What will we do? Ejack, Wood, Arieta. Then who? It could get worse before better.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Not to mention playing the AL East this year and how competitive the NL central is now (minus the Cubs). Due to his injury we probably will not see Edwards this year, Wood will not sign an extension, it could be a historically bad year that will just add to a historically bad tenure for Ricketts as owner. Please wake me when it's 2019. On the positive side per Forbes the Cubs are worth approximately 1.2 billion an increase of approximately 40%+ from Ricketts initial purchase price. Please stay healthy Bryant and I have never wanted more home runs than I do from Theo in Junes draft.

  • In reply to Rock:

    If you wait to 2019 to wake up, I think you are going to miss some good years.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Always darkest before the dawn...and I'd prefer it be that way. I'd much rather see Jokisch, Wada and Hendricks pitching in the second half than Shark and Hammels (both of whom are, based on past performance, just as likely to revert to marginal as continue being dominant). Even if we get worse, we'd have more talent at the minor league level from trading these players to hopefully give more likelihood that it will get significantly better. And the worse record will likely be the difference between 70 wins (at best) and 64 or so wins. That win differential has no bearing on whether we will be competitive, so I don't care if it makes us worse.

  • In reply to springs:

    Agreed Springs. Spellc heck has NEVER put together 2 good halves in a season, its always been 5 good starts, 5 lousy ones. Thats why he shouldnt get Verlander-type $, hes not Verlander. Hammel has been a pleasant surprise, but the season still has a ways to go. Better hope he keeps his GB rate high, come this summer he will need it.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Sure it makes sense from the Cubs side. Makes no sense for the Rockies though. Why would they strengthen their rotation in the middle of the season only to leave a gaping hole in their lineup? CarGo has a reasonable contract. The Rockies are not in payroll trouble. There is no reason for them to trade him right now. This is the type of deal that might make sense in an offseason when they could deal CarGo and then replace him with a FA OF. But by next offseason the Rockies probably won't need additional rotation help. They have Gray and Butler on the way. A rotation built around those two and an offense built around Tulo and CarGo is a playoff threat.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I don't think that exact situation is realistic, I just think it's interesting to think about trading Shark for someone like a CarGo, Kemp, etc rather than prospects, because we will need to add veteran bat eventually, and this FO has made it clear that free agency is not the best way to go about that, so why not use your biggest trade chip to do it?

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Seriously, Rockies are 1/2 game out of first; they are not trading away one of their best bats in a pennant race. It's not even worth discussing.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    I certainly wouldn't rule out getting a lefty hitting OF"er, though it looks like Ryan Kalish is starting to click. Not sure if he's more than a 4th OF"er but they have some time to find out.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    No immediate help from our system, no...maybe Coughlan, but he looks like just another guy these days.

    We have to hope Nate turns it around, and maybe look for a waiver pickup. Longer-term, between Soler, Bryant, Almora, we'll have great options, but not until later. And that pipeline means we really shouldn't invest in more than one top-end FA OF in the meantime.

    Kalish is probably our best OF right now, and that's not very good

  • In reply to topps84:

    Keep a brown paper bag next to you during the games. Helps with the breathing when someone takes a fastball down the middle with 2 guys on.

  • In reply to topps84:

    Jose Abreu has more RBIs than our six outfielders put together.

  • In reply to BudMan:

    Wonder what PED's he's taking?

  • In reply to topps84:

    Waiter? Check please.

  • I really hope Hannemann makes enough progress to be in Daytona by the midseason mark. He's definitely got talent, but at his age he needs to be a quick mover.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    He's an exciting player. I'm amazed that he's competing as well as he has. Says a lot for his instincts and the Cubs scouting.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I actually look forward to finding what Hanneman did in your recaps ahead of the top ten prospects. His athleticism is so intriguing.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I disagree that he "needs" to be a quick mover just because of his age. Regardless of how old a prospect is, the thing that should determine his promotion is if he's hitting his developmental bench marks and whether or not he's being challenged.

    The Cardinals have produced many very good players of late that were college draftees, like Hannemann, and made their debuts at ages 26-27 (Freese, Carpenter, Craig). Hannemann turned 23 today. If Hannemann turns out to be good, but we have to wait for him to see his first cup of coffee at 25 and his first meaningful playing time at 26, I'm okay with that.

    Now, I'd love to see him get promoted quickly because he's progressing in his development. The sooner, the better. But I don't see his age being a factor in that decision.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Completely agree Quedub. Better to have an as fully developed as possible 27 yo than an overmatched, struggling 25 yo. And if he isn't promoted until 27 he will still be under team control through his prime years. His power is such that I doubt he will be a star but more likely a servicable 3rd or 4th outfielder.

  • In reply to RTGrules:

    His value is not in his power. It will be his speed, defense, stolen bases, OBP, and being LH in a RH dominant lineup that will make him very valuable. He may hit 10 HRs but that is not what he will be counted on for. With what he does well, he could be a star, but he has still has development to complete.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Great point....I was in the fast mover camp as well for Hanneman, but your analysis makes a great deal of sense and definitely made me rethink this concept.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    These of course are not mutually exclusive events. Obviously we would all like for him to move quickly. That shouldn't read that we want him promoted at the expense of development. It just means that ceteris paribus we would like to see him move quickly because he will be more likely to have a meaningful big league career if he develops sooner than later. I for one am just cheering for steps forward. At his age the next step is being capable of competing with his peers.

  • In reply to Jordan Dutcher:

    Totally agree, Jordan. And I said as much in my post. What I was responding to was the statement "He's definitely got talent, but at his age he needs to be a quick mover". He doesn't need to be, but obviously we would all like to see him progress quickly.

  • It sounds as if Son had a humbling experience... He may have heard a few voices tell him "what the heck are you doing, kid? You could be making big money in baseball and you're just wasting away at a construction site"... I'd say things like that would force anyone to mature... Hopefully that's the case.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Caps, you are probably correct. I hope this kid is a steal.

  • In reply to Caps:

    It reminds me of Good Will Hunting. Maybe that voice in his ear was Ben Affleck!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good call!!!

  • "It's an intriguing signing and there isn't much to lose here. The Cubs might just have themselves a steal."

    The slogan of the Epstein era.

  • I look forward to going back to Kane County again to see Will Remillard. Every time I go he gets three RBIs.

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Any chance of you going to Wrigleyville and seeing if your good luck power works on a few of those guys?

    :)

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Neifi got 3 hits and 2 RBI the one time I saw him at Wrigley. If I only could have been in Chicago more, Neifi might be up for Hall of Fame consideration! :)

    In all seriousness, Remillard looks great on paper (I haven't seen any KC games in person or on MILB tv). How did he look live?

  • In reply to springs:

    I've seen him live. Good approach, good arm. He has a bit of a long swing so I don't think he'll hit for a high average but I think there's some power potential.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thank you John....what a coup it would be if Remillard becomes a serious catching prospect! Would provide unexpected help for one of the few holes in the system (with hopes for Malave, Mineo, Carhart, Contreras to further help fill the void).

  • Prior to the season, I assumed Alcantara would spend the entire year at AAA to refine his approach at the plate (cut down on strike outs & draw more walks) and to get comfortable at 2nd base, but with the way he is playing this year, I'm wondering if we could see Arsimendy Alcantara as the first top prospect to get the permanent call to the major league team. In his last 10 games A.A. has 13 hits including 1 double, 3 triples, and 2 home runs. He is now batting .299 for the season with a slg% of .540. He does still need to improve his OBP which is at .310 but he is a very exciting player that can fill up the stat sheet... #2 on I.Cubs with avg.(.299), #2 in Runs (14), #2 in HR's (2), #1 in RBI (15), #1 in Stolen Bases (7), #1 in Triples (4), #1 in Hits (26) and on and on. His last check-mark on the development sheet is plate approach/OBP, if he can learn to be more selective (he is going deeper in counts), then he could make the Cubs decisions for them with regards to the future team makeup, i.e if Alcantara can be the 1st up and claim 2nd base, then Baez goes to 3rd (the position best suited for his body and bat in my opinion), Bryant moves to RF and so on...which to me is our best scenario for future lineups. (especially considering that Mike Olt and C. Villanueva (Iowa) are not setting the world on fire this year)

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I was thinking too that Alcantara would spend the whole season at AAA and come up in Sept but maybe he comes up early. Not a problem.

    Baez may not knock Olt off of 3B just yet. He also is not setting the world on fire.

  • In reply to John57:

    Honestly, I'm not worried about Baez at all. He has started slow at each level but has made the necessary adjustments each time. He is also a very motivated kid who is constantly working to get better. That combined with his talent is a recipe for long term success.

  • Couple of tidbits from EXST via AZ Phil:

    Josh Conway was back on the mound in a sim game. Soler is DH but not playing the field yet. And in the realm of the things not often seen in a professional baseball game, LF Ricardo Marcano had some fun:

    The A's committed all eight of their errors in the first three innings, and three of the miscues occurred on the same play in the bottom of the 2nd. SS Jesus Lopez began the slapstick by dropping a Ricardo Marcano pop fly in short left field for an E-6, then LF Matt Hillsinger picked up the spheroid and made an arrant throw trying to nail Marcano at 2nd base, and finally 1B A. J. Kubala completed the TARFU by retrieving the "hot potato" in short right field and airmailing a throw to 3rd base that allowed Marcano to come around to score the classic "Little League Home Run."

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    What position would Bryant play if he moved up to AAA? Would he be moved to the OF at that time?

  • In reply to Denvil Farley:

    Most likely yes but we probably won't see that this season.

  • Prior to the season, I assumed Alcantara would spend the entire year at AAA to refine his approach at the plate (cut down on strike outs & draw more walks) and to get comfortable at 2nd base, but with the way he is playing this year, I'm wondering if we could see Arsimendy Alcantara as the first top prospect to get the permanent call to the major league team. In his last 10 games A.A. has 13 hits including 1 double, 3 triples, and 2 home runs. He is now batting .299 for the season with a slg% of .540. He does still need to improve his OBP which is at .310 but he is a very exciting player that can fill up the stat sheet... #2 on I.Cubs with avg.(.299), #2 in Runs (14), #2 in HR's (2), #1 in RBI (15), #1 in Stolen Bases (7), #1 in Triples (4), #1 in Hits (26) and on and on. His last check-mark on the development sheet is plate approach/OBP, if he can learn to be more selective (he is going deeper in counts), then he could make the Cubs decisions for them with regards to the future team makeup, i.e if Alcantara can be the 1st up and claim 2nd base, then Baez goes to 3rd (the position best suited for his body and bat in my opinion), Bryant moves to RF and so on...which to me is our best scenario for future lineups. Especially considering that Mike Olt and C. Villanueva (Iowa) are not setting the world on fire this year.

    Sorry if duplicate but I think my comment got eaten by the filter.

  • I don't understand this signing of Son Ho-Young. We have multiple SS prospects in MiLB and a pretty darn good SS in MLB who is signed to a multi-year contract. Why do we need a probably light-hitting SS with an attitude problem? Sounds like a waste of $$$ if you ask me. The Twins were sold a bill of goods when they signed Nishioka, an Asian league batting champion of all things, and they're still scraping the egg off their faces. He couldn't hit and got his leg broken trying to play 2B. Heck, according to what you've reported, John, even the scouts over there are saying that Son isn't all that.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    FO trying to draw to an inside straight.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    You can never have enough SS. They're assets because they can move to other positions or they're valuable in trades.

    Money isn't a factor here at all. The Cubs got him extremely cheap.

    One guy didn't like him, the other guy did -- but neither had enough information on him to have a strong opinion. The kid hasn't played much.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And even the guy who didn't like him all that much said it's worth taking the chance rather than filling those minor league roster spots with veterans.

    I truly don't see what the downside is here.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, I hope we didn't spend much on him. I can't say when the last "MLB quality" shortstop came from the western Pacific rim. I'd rather look to the Caribbean.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    We got Lee, who was a key player in the package, we traded for Garza. They are valuable in trades if we don't use them ourselves.

  • In reply to John57:

    Hak-ju Lee has not ever played MLB. He's played 21 games with 77 ABs in AAA..

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    In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    So because there hasn't been one, there won't be one?

    Good teams find players where the others don't know where to look.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Except other teams have looked for middle infielders there, and the results have not been very favorable.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    There is no such thing as too many shortstops. There are only so many people on the planet capable of playing it at the MLB level and there aren't enough to go around. You look anywhere and everywhere to get your hands on them and you are willing to overlook issues with them that you wouldn't from other positions. If the Cubs end up with more shortstops then the need there will be 29 other teams lining up to get their hands on one of them.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Newsflash: The Cubs have 8 minor league teams, plus a major league team. That requires about 230 players just to fill the rosters, not including those out with injury, etc. They will lose and add players all the time as that is the nature of the game. Waves and Waves of talent. Some will make it, many more will bust out. So to ask why do we need another short stop, especially one that the Cubs took a cheap minor league flyer on is pretty much absurd.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Indeed, prospect math. Odds are Son won't amount to anything, but throw 10 guys like him against the wall, and chances are one will stick. It takes volume to find impact sometimes

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Keep the best, flip the rest. Well, contracts have to be considered in that "best" thing as well as performance, but every "extra" player the Cubs have at any position is trade bait for pitching or something else that's needed at the MLB level. The ability to trade minor league talent without depleting the farm system is a luxury that most Cubs fans, especially me, have not had a lot of experience with...

  • I assume the Son signing will could against last year's international cap (I don't remember his age, but assume he is under the ceiling where the cap comes into play). If that is the case, the only cost to the Cubs would be further tax penalities -- it wouldn't even cost us any amount against our budget for this season (which is already a high cap for a team that can't sign anyone over $250k anyway).

  • In reply to springs:

    I think John said he should be a soph in college now so I am guessing his age is 20.

  • In reply to John57:

    He is 20.

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