Cubs Minors Notes: Arizona Cubs Roster player profiles, Can Bryant help Baez? Hendricks throwing...heat?

Cubs Minors Notes: Arizona Cubs Roster player profiles, Can Bryant help Baez? Hendricks throwing...heat?
Eloy Jimenez, Manny Ramirez, and Gleyber Torres

Here are some interesting notes was we get ready for the suddenly competitive Cubs, who have an 11-7 record in June, 2nd best in the NL, 1/2 game behind the Brewers.  Since starting 13-27, they are 18-13.

Some interesting stuff from where Iowa manager is excited to have Kris Bryant and thinks it may have a positive effect on Javier Baez, plus some thoughts on Arismendy Alcantara and Kyle Hendricks.

Bryant and Baez

"Baez had a great approach in [batting practice] and took that into the game," Iowa manager Marty Pevey said. "He went to the opposite field three times. It's going to be exciting. I'm hoping that they both feed off each other.Anytime you get good players, you're excited about it. You're excited to see them play and you're excited to get to work. There are two things I really like about [Bryant] already: First, he's very coachable. Second, he's a really good teammate."

Speaking of Bryant, Theo Epstein reiterated that he still needs development and the plan is to keep him in AAA for the rest of the year.

Arismendy Alcantara

"Alcantara is such an exciting player in his own right," Pevey said. "He led off [the game] with an absolute rocket, a 400-foot shot off the wall."

Kyle Hendricks

"You're looking at a guy that takes the ball every time out and pounds the bottom of the strike zone. And he sinks it and cuts it really well," Pevey said. "He's got four quality pitches and he's starting to step on the heater. He's throwing between 15 and 18 fastballs at 95 mph just about every start now."


Some of you may not get all that excited once we get down past Boise.  That is understandable.  The complex leagues can be misleading when it comes to statistics and we aren't going to be seeing these guys anytime soon.

But this year's AZ Roster is a pretty interesting mix of players.  Here is the full roster with some commentary:


  • Tyler Alamo
  • Albert Mineo
  • Tyler Pearson
  • Yorvit Torrealba

Tyler Alamo is a big catcher at 6'4", 200 lbs with some strength and a good arm, so he loosely fits the Cubs mold of having catchers who can control the running game and provide some occasional power, but he is raw, features a rather long swing and needs work on his mobility behind the plate.  He is a project, that is why he's here, but there is some talent to work with.  Albert Mineo is an Italian born baseball player who is more than just a novelty.  He can catch and throw but hitting is the question.  Tyler Pearson is  a 2014 25th round pick out of Texas State. Yorvit Torrealba is an ex-MLB'er who is just here to get in shape, but not a bad guy to have around the kids until he does.  He's a good catcher and a coach on the field.  Eufran Vargas put up good numbers in the VSL in a very small sample size.


  • Roney Alcala, 1B
  • Bryant Flete, 2B
  • Dalfis Ortiz, 2B
  • Adonis Paulo, 3B
  • Ho-Young Son, SS
  • Gleyber Torres, SS

Another interesting group here.  Roney Alcala has a knack for squaring up the baseball though he has an aggressive approach.  As a 1B with a stout build, he is going to be bat dependent on his journey up to the system.  Bryant Flete is an undersized but athletic, fluid middle infielder who defers to the two superior shortstops on the roster.  One of those shortstops, Ho-Young Son, is a speedy player with excellent defensive skills, including a plus arm.  Could be an under the radar guy as he came from a small high school and had some immaturity issues.  Of course, GleyberTorres is the real attraction as one of two high bonus IFA signings.  He's a polished SS who already shows a good approach and an excellent line drive stroke.  Adonis Paulo showed some extra base pop in the DSL but he'll have to fend off Joey Martarano, who just signed.


  • Charcer Burks
  • Amaldo Calero
  • Calvin Graves
  • Eloy Jimenez
  • Ricardo Marcano
  • Shamil Ubiera
  • Manny Ramirez

Yes, it's that Manny.  He'll be getting reps and into playing shape then heading off to Iowa in a couple of weeks.  Charcer Burks is an athletic player who showed a surprising feel for barreling up the baseball, making a late rise on draft boards last year.  Cubs took him in round 9.  Calvin Graves is a college senior the Cubs took in the 27th round.  Eloy Jimenez is the star and the enormous, athletic outfielder should be exciting to watch.  He has great raw power and surprisingly good feel for hitting.  However, to this date Jimenez hasn't performed as well in live games so he may start slowly as he gets adjusted.  Ricardo Marcano was regarded as  the third best player in the Hendry regime's last IFA class but has since passed Luis Acosta from that class.  Marcano has a good approach and a sweet-left-handed swing that reminds some of fellow Venezuelan Victor Martinez.  Shamil Ubiera is an intriguing player from the DSL with athleticism and good pop,


  • Adbert Adzolay
  • Jesus Castillo
  • Scott Frazier
  • Zach Hedges
  • Luis Hernandez
  • Carlos Llano
  • Brad Markey
  • Jefferson Mejia
  • Yomar Morel
  • James Norwood
  • Jose Paulino
  • Hector Perez
  • Victory Salazar
  • Carson Sands
  • Alex Santana
  • Justin Steele
  • Jake Stinnett

The 2014 draft picks are the obvious attraction here but don't expect them to pitch a whole lot.  The Cubs will get their feet wet, rest them up and get them ready to go full speed next season. Jake  Stinnett is the most polished of the group and we could see him move up, but considering he pitched late into the year, it may be out of the bullpen (or at least 1-2 inning starts).  James Norwood was the most recent sign and he has hit as high as 98 but sits in the 92-95 range.  Could be a sleeper among all these great arms they picked in rounds 2 and then 4 through 7.  Carson Sands is a mix of polish and an emerging FB that could reach 95 consistently in the future.  Justin Steele is a very athletic pitcher with a low 90s FB that could jump into the mid 90s as he matures.  He already has good movement.  He needs work on secondaries.  Jefferson Mejia is aa 6'7" RHP who was available because he was 18, but he's still very projectable. He's 90-93 now but that could change as he adds strength and fills out physically.  He already has a solid change that may be his second best pitch.  If he refines his curve, he could move quickly.  Jesus Castillo is the second pitcher the Cubs picked up in the Tony Campana deal and is regarded as having the better upside of the two.   Victor Sanchez and Alex Santana are veterans of the DSL/VSL with Sanchez having an ideal pitcher's frame.  Both have had success but we will have to see how it translates to the AZ rookie league.  Brad Markey (19) and Zach Hedges (26) are polished college pitchers from this draft who should have some success here.  Scott Frazier would liked to have been in Daytona by now but some setbacks having him regrouping here in AZ.


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  • Bryant is Toews
    Baez is Kane

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    I'd take that in a heartbeat.

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    In reply to ucandoit:

    Valaika is Hossa.

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    In reply to ucandoit:

    You understand that Toews and Kane have already won titles together. Bryant and Baez haven't won anything. So that correlation is very off base.

  • In reply to Rushi Desai:

    Kane and Toews were both drafted in the top-5 and both began playing in 2007. Hawks fans were pretty excited about them even though they hadn't "won anything," and wouldn't win anything until 2010, three years later.

    We're excited about Bryant and Baez, who may make their major league debuts together next year or 2016. I think that's what ucandoit meant. So you're the one who's "very off base."

  • Just imagine being a newly-drafted HS pitcher coming into your first pro game, and the first batter you face in Manny Ramirez.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    Welcome to pro ball kid!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I am thinking of this the other way. Think if you are a young kid from Latin America and the first person you see in Arizona is Manny Ramirez! He was a hero to most of those kids growing up and they get to work with him in their first taste of State side baseball!

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    True. Good point.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wink at him :)

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    In reply to hawkmcd:

    "Field of Dreams".

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    In reply to cubsin:

    Or those poor souls who had to face schwarber in their debuts

  • In reply to Melancubby:

    Schwarber is probably scarier right now.

  • In reply to Melancubby:

    Schwarber left arizona and was promoted to Kane cougars in Illinois closr to the cubs. ( 30 miles)

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    In reply to race:

    I know, a lot of pitchers start in the Northwest league after the draft. That's what I was saying.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    In that place - I would absolutly LOVE IT!

    What's to lose? If he gets a hit or HR off you,.... hey - It's Manny,.... what else would you expect?

    If you get him out,..... Hey - you got out Manny!

    Win - Win!

  • 17....Gleyber is only 17....Oh, wait. So is Eloy. :)

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    In reply to historyrat:

    It's interesting they are starting in AZL, rather than DSL or VSL. It's good to see them in the US at such a young age. If all goes well, they should both be at Boise next year

  • How soon do you see Jimenez and Torres breaking into A or AA ball

  • If Mejia is 6'7 and can touch 93 at 18 that is very intriguing. Thumbs up for Manny and Yorvit.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    The early season reports on him had him touching 94-95. Him and Tseng could prove to be steals during the last IFA class....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Do you he an arms and legs guy or does he have some bulk?

  • John... You wrote Victor Salazar's name as Victory Sanchez. It gave me pause for a second until I checked the roster. Thought you'd like to know.

    I know a lot of these kids will flame out... but what an intriguing group... top to bottom!!!

  • If Hendricks can keep his command/control combo AND regularly hit the low 90s for his fastball,..... that could be a scary thing (in a good way) on the Cubs in 2015 and beyond.

    Would a rotation based around Arrietta, Wood, Beeler and Hendricks for 2015/2016 be as dominating as Wood, Pryor, Clement were c2003?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    That wouldn't happen by 2016 but most likely not close to that group although Arieta stands the best chance on ability. Now mind you that doesn't mean the Cubs won't be in the playoffs 2015/2016. Cubs will pick up better options or at least what they have done with guys like feldman/hammel etc.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    No, I dont see that group touching those 3 from 2003.... '

    Also, Hendricks FB flattens out if he gets above 91. For him, it's all about location and movement, getting weak GB contact. We don't want him throwing mid 90's more than he is. Which is just enough for them to think about it being a possibility....

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Not even close. And don't forget, zambo was an up and coming stud that year with a 3.11 ERA too.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I can think of about 20 guys, who are realistic options, that I would rather base a rotation around than Dallas Beeler. No offense to him.

  • If Hendricks is legit throwing that fast at times during the game. He could become one of the biggest trade steals in recent memory.

  • he was dealing last night , just filthy with the command of a surgeon .

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    Yeah, Dempster for a long term cost-controlled #3 or 4, if that's what Hendricks projects as a ceiling. I call that a good trade. I've been really impressed with Hendricks's progress and consistency.

  • Does anybody know how Kyle has added the mph? He's pretty far along in his development so this seems unusual.

  • OT: Rodon still hasn't signed. Think we might have dogded a bullet there. Sox can't be happy.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Major what if scenario....

    Rondon doesn't sign, goes back to play senior year, Cubs get first overall pick, take Rondon, Sox aren't just unhappy....


  • Well it's not like he's sitting 95 all game, like the manager stated, he's only throwing around 15 pitches at that speed. So it's not like he's turning into a flamethrower, it's probably just something he picked up on, if he's sitting low 90's all game, letting loose and blowing a few mid 90's heaters by a couple batters will keep them on their toes a bit more. He doesn't have that lights out stuff so he has to tinker. And he's probably more aware than anyone that the harder he throws, the more his FB flattens out so he won't do it often, just enough to make hitters remember he has it in his back pocket and give them something to think about

  • John, can you inquire as to the status of Erling Moreno? He pitched one game in the VSL early in the year (3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) but hasn't pitched since. He's currently listed on the DSL roster but hasn't made an appearance. I was waiting for the Mesa roster to be announced hoping he'd be on it, but to no avail. Is he injured? Working on the side at the academy?

  • The Mesa roster is remarkably young. 2 17-year-olds, 2 18-year-olds, 11 19-year-olds... and 1 42-year-old. Manny has always thrived on being a little different. Just Manny being Manny.

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    Anyone at the iowa game?

  • Ahhh, CJ Nitcumboop is awful to listen to. Why is he on the air?

  • Soler DHing for Mesa tonight. In his first AB, he hits an RBI double. He now has 9 hits on the season, 8 of them are doubles with one single.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    And he got the double off of Archie Bradley.

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    Does anyone still think we got the short end of the Cashner/Rizzo trade??? Rizzo is in beast mode!!

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    Bryant is kind of struggling so far in AAA it's early, but it should let us cubs fans realize that theo and Jed know what they're doing

  • In reply to Melancubby:

    He's actually striking out right now just to make them look good.

  • Really nice 2nd start by Trevor Clifton in Spokane tonight. He's intriguing. If he does well in Boise this summer, he would provide Kane County with another 19-year-old, high upside starter next spring.

    In the organization right now, Blackburn is 20, Tseng, Underwood, Clifton, Mejia and Sands are all 19. Steele is 18 and Moreno is 17. All have upside. When you're playing the lottery, it's always good to have more than one ticket.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    And hopefully Cease joins that crew for another ticket.

  • Been a Cub fan since 1975 and I don't remember having so much
    good/great young talent

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I became a Cubs fan in '75 also (at the age of 6). I've been diligently following their minor leagues since I was 18. I can't remember a time when their system as been deeper either. And now that they have a state of the art development system, staff and facilities, the next 5 years should produce home grown talent at a rate never before seen in our lifetimes. For a prospect-o-phile like me, it's pretty exciting.

    Watching to see how many of Baez, Bryant, Soler, Alcantara, Schwarber, Edwards, Johnson, Hendricks, Almora, Vogelbach, Vizcaino, Rivero, Black, Tseng, Blackburn, Underwood, Zastryzny, Stinnett, G.Torres, E. Jimenez, Clifton, Sands, Cease, Steele, Mejia, Delarosa, Moreno, Y. Matos, Galindo, et al will make it will be a lot of fun.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    "the next 5 years should produce home grown talent at a rate never before seen in our lifetimes"

    Of course, that's not saying much, but still...

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    My favorite types of guys are guys like Torres -- glove first with a good hit tool before they even start rookie ball. Too early to tell, but it's fun to think that when guys like Bryant and Baez are in their prime, we'll start to see a new crop emerge just in time for a world series run. Sigh.

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