Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Bryant HRs, nails the scoreboard; Beeler grounds the SkySox; MLB Draft Links

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Bryant HRs, nails the scoreboard; Beeler grounds the SkySox; MLB Draft Links
DP combo Marco Hernandez an Gioskar Amaya have played well this season

We have seen Javier Baez, Dan Vogelbach, and Jorge Soler abuse stadium scoreboards and signage, why not Bryant?  Today it was his turn, hitting a bomb that struck the scoreboard beyond the fence in left-center field.

MLB Draft Update

  • It was a solid day for all the Cubs top prospects and another one, may be on his way soon,  Kyle Schwarber tweeted that he was flying into Chicago, leading some to speculate that he may sign soon.  Speaking of Schwarber, Jason McLeod continued to insist that he was the 2nd best player on their board.  It seem incredible to some that they would have him rated higher than Carlos Rodon, but I can tell you they aren't the only talent evaluators who didn't have Rodon in their top 4, so maybe there is something to that.  I have found over the past couple of years that individual organizational boards can be very different than the ones posted by those who write on the draft.  There is little question that Schwarber is among the best college hitters in the draft -- and he was the best hitter I have seen in person this year (and that includes Alex Jackson and Michael Conforto), but the question is where he plays.  McLeod and the Cubs staff indicated that he can handle LF.
  • Here is a link to a Kyle Schwarber story that was passed on to me, and so I will pass it on to you.
  • McLeod believes they will sign the prep pitchers they drafted in the first 10 rounds (Carson Sands, Dylan Cease. Justin Steele).  I believe the Cubs will sign their top 1o picks and have a very good chance to sign their top 20.  Joey Martarano will present the first big challenge outside the top 20, but the fact he wanted to get drafted and play in Boise helps.  The toughest sign will be the very next pick, Isiah Gilliam.
  • One scout told me that if they sign Martarano, Gilliam and another outfielder , then he'd give the Cubs draft an A.  He specifically mentioned DJ Peters as a good pick, lauding his big time power potential.
  • One last draft bit: Yags over at Pro Sports Daily has created a great resource to track draft signings.  You can check it out here.  I once read where Kurt Vonnegut wrote "I have lifted this speech from Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.  If more people would acknowledge they got their pearls of wisdom from that book instead of the original, it might clear the air."  Well, I maintain that nobody really breaks their own draft signing news, they just lift it from Yags at PSD.  We here at Cubs Den will acknowledge that right now and clear the air.

Now, on with the recap...

Iowa 3 - Colorado 0

  • Dallas Beeler hasn't been the ground ball machine he was at Tennessee last year but he still gets his share of groundballs, posting a 1.41 GO/AO ratio.  He got 8 groundball outs today to go with 5 Ks to help keep the SkySox scoreless for 7 innings.  Beeler has shown good command this year, pounding the lower part of the zone and limiting the walks (1.94 per 9 IP).  The one thing he doesn't do well is miss bats (6.26 Ks per 9IP), in part because he lacks a great secondary pitch, so he is dependent on his defense, but his style fits into what this staff teaches and just might work at Wrigley Field.  He is 3-2 with a 3.89 ERA on the year.  Half of Beeler's runs were allowed in one frightful 3 inning outing.  Subtract that one start and Beeler is 3-1 with a 2.09 ERA.
  • Veterans Zach Rosscup and Blake Parker wrapped up the shutout with a scoreless inning each.  For Parker it was his 13th save.
  • Arismendy Alcantara tripled and walked, scoring a run and driving in another.  The walk is good to see as Alcantara has dipped his rate back to around his pre-AA levels.  I think he's getting close to the big leagues but the .307 OBP this year could use some improvement before he gets the call.
  • Javy Baez went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored, bumping is average up to .230.
  • Chris Valaika continued his solid season with a 2 hit game and an RBI.
  • C Rafael Lopez is creeping closer to the big leagues and while he may well spend the entire year in AAA, he could be putting himself in a position to compete for a job next season.  He went 2 for 3 today and is hitting .273 early on at Iowa.

Jacksonville 6 - Tennesee 5

  • Matt Loosen is the Smokies box of chocolates.  You just never know what you are going to get. One day he looks great and the next start he can't find the plate and struggles to get out through the 5th.  Today was one of the bad days as he walked 4 batters in 4 innings, allowing 5 runs in all.
  • The Smokies middle relief staff picked him up with a combined 4 innings of scoreless work.  Working 2 of those innings was Lendy Castillo while Zach Cates and Tony Zych each contributed a scoreless frame.
  • Today was not one of Armando Rivero's luckier days.  His defense didn't help, leading to an unearned run.   Rivero set the table with a leadoff walk and then a sacrifice, then came around to score on an error by the normally dependable Elliot Soto.
  • Kris Bryant hit a 2 run HR to bring the Smokies within one run in the 6th, it was a blast off the scoreboard, as mentioned earlier, and it was off a pretty good pitching prospect in Justin Nicolino.  Bryant narrowly missed another HR earlier doubling off the wall in RF.
  • Dustin Geiger hit his 8th HR of the season.

Clearwater 8 - Daytona 7

  • Justin Amlung got his first FSL start after dominating for Kane County and it went ok,  He did not walk a batter and struck out 5, but did allow 7 hits and 3 runs to take the loss.
  • Daytona would have had a chance to come back had Jose Rosario not imploded in relief of Amlung.  The hard-throwing RHP allowed 5 runs in the 7th inning to essentially put the game out of reach at 8-0..except that Daytona scored 7 runs the next half inning.
  • Andrew McKirahan followed up with 1.1 scoreless innings to get his ERA under one at 0.95.
  • Albert Almora went 2 for 5 with a run scored and 2 RBI.
  • Dan Vogelbach's hot hitting continued with 2 more hits, including a double to raise his line to .276/.360/.419 -- a .779 OPS, with 5 HRs.
  • Willson Contreras doubled, scored, and drove in a run during the Daytona rally.  He is hitting .274 on the year.
  • Gioskar Amaya got off to a great start but has since cooled down.  He has still had a solid season overall, however as a 1 for 3 day with one walk (one run, 2 RBI)  put him at .275/.358/.333.
  • Marco Hernandez has also played well in his FSL debut and today went 2 for 4 with a run scored and 2 RBI.  He's hitting .276/.317/.351 on the year after struggling terribly the past two seasons.

Cedar Rapids 3 - Kane County 2

  • Paul Blackburn rebounded somewhat after his worst start of the season.  He went 5 innings and allowed just 3 hits and one walk while striking out 4, but he did give up 3 runs (2 earned).  He suffered just his 2nd loss of the season, falling to 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA.
  • Alberto Diaz is an undersized lefty who has spent his entire career in the DSL and VSL.  He made his debut a good one with 2.2 scoreless innings, walking one with no strikeouts.
  • Corbin Hoffner retired the last 4 batters in order, striking out one of them.
  • Danny Lockhart went 1 f-or 2 with 2 walks and a run scored.  His average and OBP have steadily been on the rise since a poor start and are now at .273 and .343, respectively.
  • Ben Carhart has been seeing the ball well lately, yesterday he hit his first HR and today he added 3 hits to raise his average to .295 and his OBP to .350.

Comments

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  • Super excited to see Daniel get his bat back on track... hope to see him in AA before the year is out

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    John, I think you got the wrong link there to the Pro Sports Daily page.

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    Here's the link to Yags incredible page.

    http://ccdt.webs.com/

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Thanks Q

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    I did. Thanks. Fixed now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You're right, John. That really is a marvelous resource!! Thanks to you and Quedub for finding/posting it.

  • Just looking over Gray and Appel's numbers..Gray is decent nothing special, but Appel, wow. His last start, 10 hits and 10 runs in 1.1 innings.

    So please everyone, trust this FO and "love it when (their) plan comes together". Any reason for Appel's struggles?

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    In reply to Buzz:

    96.1 IP, 77 H, 34 ER, 21 BB, 100 K with the scouting report to match is a little bit more than "nothing special". I'm as happy as anyone with Bryant, but it's too early to pass judgement on the 2011 draft, let alone last years.

  • In reply to Dale Madden:

    Sorry, slight oversight. I was looking at this years numbers. I was on record to wanting Gray as much as anyone. But very happy with the results.

    About this years draft.. Ironically I asked a friend last week who played baseball and was their C for IU. I asked if Schwarber could continue to C, thus increasing his value. Absolutely was his response. So I tend to believe McLeod when he said Schwarber was their #2.

  • In reply to Dale Madden:

    I don't see anything special in Grays stat line. It doesn't change the scouting report, but it doesn't stand out to you. Also, it was the 2013 draft with appell, Bryant and gray.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Only 77 hits across 96 IP... A K/9 of over 9... A K/BB of 5...

    His biggest "blemish" is a 3.18 ERA. Sure, it doesn't quite compare to what Bryant is doing, but not an apples-to-apples comparison anyways.

    Regarding the year of the draft, I think his point was that if it is too early to judge the 2011 draft it is wayyy to early to evaluate the 2013 one.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    College pitchers taken early in the draft have an awful track record for some reason. Blew my mind a little bit how hit or miss they are. Less than half of the time you get Verlander/Price, the majority of the time you get Dewan Brazelton (a completely ineffective baseball player and wasted pick). Playing with fire on top college arms apparently.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/ask-ba-appels-rough-start-cant-be-ignored/

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I should clarify, this is the top 3 picks in the draft I'm talking about. College players have the rep of being more "sure things". But that only seems to be the case with the bats.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Yikes. The Cubs were right last year and have no reason to doubt this years #1 pick and let's hope the same trend next year by cornering the market on these high character, high power/obp guys. I do like Schwarber's lower K rate too!

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I was looking at this myself recently and noticed that Tyler Colvin was a college bat picked early in the draft. Thought he might be proof that college bats are less safe than people think -- but BA had him ranked 170 going into the draft. It seems like that was a huge reach since the real target of that draft was Samardzija, who they took with their next pick in the fifth round.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Colvin was a pretty raw player for a college guy at the time. Not your typical college hitter.

    It's funny though, because the same guys who ripped that pick, were pretty silent when he tore up pro ball in his first debut. It was like, "Cubs don't know what they are doing...oh wait, they're genius...oh, we;;, he was a decent pick, made the majors at least"... which is more than you can say for most mid first round picks, especially one that was weak at the top.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Actually, by most measures Colvin was at least as successful as many players drafted around him. The rest of the first round that year (2006), the only players that stand out that were drafted after Colvin were Ian Kennedy (21) and Daniel Bard (28)....not exactly huge impact.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    At the time of the draft Colvin had a ton of helium. According to Callis before the draft Colvin would have been ranked about 70th (100 spots higher), but he was at 170 at the time of printing.

    As well after the draft BA confirmed that a couple of teams were looking at him as a late 1st rounder (I'm pretty sure it was the Angels).

    He wasn't the egregious reach people made him out to be. And if he hadn't been staked, he probably would have been slightly more productive. Everyone was screaming for Travis Snider, but it might turn out the Colvin was the better player. Late first rounders aren't a gimme.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Isn't it because a top college arm is worked to death by his team? And probably has been worked to death by his teams since high school? I think there was an article about that on this site in April maybe, about how attacking pitching with volume in the draft is beginning to become more popular because taking that projected ace of the staff/beast of a pitcher usually doesn't work out.

  • In reply to jorel1114:

    Very possible that this has something to do with it. If he's that much of a stud to be a top pick, you can bet every team he's ever been on has been riding on his arm.

    That brings you to the picks like Jake Stinnett. Never been a full time pitcher until this year, so there's not much mileage on the arm. But he has all the traits of a big time pitcher, walks like one, talks like one. Just needs to be developed a bit more and we may have something there.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    K Law mentioned that he had/has tendinitis in his throwing hand. Whatever thats worth...

  • In reply to Buzz:

    I trust this FO. However, I think they passed on Appel because they thought that Bryant would be better. Not that they thought that Appel would be bad.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    You probably meant to say Gray because Appel was already taken.

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    Bryant's just showing off now.

  • Here's video of Bryant's blast off the scoreboard.

    http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?content_id=33566957&sid=t553

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    Bryant looks like he's still going to fill that frame out a bit. I wouldn't be surprised to see him add 15-20 lbs over the next 2-3 years.

  • The yags at PSD link is linked to the Schwarber article. Dropping a Vonnegut quote on the site and then misleading is a cruel thing to do, John.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Here's the actual link to Yags incredible page.

    http://ccdt.webs.com/

    From skimming thru the twitter feeds so conveniently linked on this info packed page it seems:

    1st - Schwarber will sign and soon.
    2nd - Nothing officially yet on Stinnett, but he's a senior.
    3rd - Zagunis has signed for $615,000 (a little over $100,000 under slot)
    4th - An MLB.com reporter who focuses on the draft and prospects tweets Sands is "really looking forward to signing".
    5th - Two tweets saying Justin Steele doesn't want to say anything until he is officially signed which implies he will seriously entertain the idea and could be currently in negotiations.
    6th - Nothing on Cease yet, but from @sahadevsharma: McLeod on the HS arms taken in rounds 4-6: We took them in those rounds because we feel confident that we will be able to get them signed.
    7th - Norwood was quoted in an article as saying “I always thought I’d go on and play pro ball. I just can’t wait to start this part of my life.”
    8th - Nothing on junior LHP Tommy Thorpe yet.
    9th - RHP James Farris is a senior, but nothing on twitter yet.
    10th - In response to a Cubs fan welcoming him to the team, Ryan Williams said "Thank you! I couldn't be more excited for this opportunity to play for this organization." He's also a senior.

    Outside of the top ten:

    11th - Jordan Brink tweeted this out "Nice to wake up today as a Cubs fan!! Draft fun is over, time to work."
    12th - Tanner Griggs appears to be a done deal after tweeting "Man I'm too blessed I'm officially a member of the Chicago Cubs organization".
    13th - Athletic prep 3B Kevonte Mitchell also appears to be in the fold after a sports anchor from Cape Girardeau, MO tweeted "Just spoke with Kennett's @_KevonteM and he says he will forgo his scholarship to @SEMObaseball and sign with the Chicago Cubs". The coach at the college Mitchell had committed to also tweeted "Best of Luck to Semo signee @_KevonteM who will be signing with the Chicago Cubs to start his professional career."
    15th - Jeremy Null posted the following on twitter: "thanks to everyone for the love and support, excited to become a member of the Chicago Cubs organization!"
    16th - College junior and shortstop Jason Vosler tweeted "Thank you to everybody who has reached out to me, it really means a lot. Real excited to start this new journey of my life!"
    19th - Virginia Tech Senior RHP Brad Markey was quoted in an article saying “We’re really excited,” Markey said. “We’re hoping we’re going to be on the same [minor league] team.” He's referring to Cubs' 3rd round selection Mark Zagunis who was his battery mate at VT.
    20th - College senior SS Alex Tomasovich tweeted "Extremely grateful for the opportunity the @Cubs have given me to continue chasing my dream #GoCubsGo"
    21st - Maryland OFer and junior Charles White posted to twitter "Awesome day-One win away from Omaha and picked up by the hometown team."
    22nd - Brian Murphy, a sportswriter for the Idaho Statesman tweeted this interesting tidbit on Joey Martarano: "Martarano's dad told me pre-draft: "The Ideal situation would be the Cubs take him. ... We're crossing our fingers for that deal."
    25th - Senior college C Tyler Pearson posted this on twitter "Blessed and excited to be given the opportunity to continue my baseball career with the Chicago Cubs! I appreciate all the support! #cubbies".
    27th - Usually a prep player taken this late is a longshot to sign. There are two articles out on CF Calvin Graves being drafted by the Cubs. This quote from his high school coach is vague: "Another childhood dream came true today and we are so proud of the work ethic and determination Calvin showed throughout his career," said head coach Jayson King. "He will make the Cubs' organization better both on and off the field, as he is a first-class person and teammate." A second article doesn't quote anyone but makes a straightforward statement that could be a mistaken assumption "The 799th overall pick likely will report to the Arizona League or the Class A short-season Boise Hawks of the Northwest League", but who knows...
    31st - Prep RHP Brad Depperman tweeted this encouraging but still vague message yesterday "Thankful for the Cubs giving me the opportunity to play professional baseball! So excited to see what future holds for me." It could mean nothing but at least it wasn't what fellow Floridian and top prep prospect Keith Weisenberg posted "Excited for the opportunity to play in the PAC-12 for @StanfordBSB".
    35th - Purdue LHP Jordan Minch appears to be signed very shortly. Yesterday he tweeted that he hated airports and posted a pic on instagram (ain't the internet grand...) of a new hat he couldn't wait to purchase. http://instagram.com/p/o_mIObDv6y/

    The Cubs not only scouted talent but also who might be more likely to sign because they're Cubs fans. Mitchell, White and Minch all indicated they were Cubs fans of some sort.

    Thanks to Yags for the great work and to John for pointing out this great resource!

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Good work!

  • In reply to Quedub:

    If we sign all of those and somehow have enough still to sign Gilliam and Davis, this could be one of the best drafts (on paper) I have ever seen. Indeend, Gilliam, Schwarder, Martarano, Davis and Mitchell have, talent wise, the ability to be another round (with Jimenez and Gallindo, possibly) of huge power coming through the system.

    I highly doubt we will sign Gilliam and it is unlikely we get Davis or Peters or intriguing pitchers Willis, Niggemeyer, Zayas, Depperman or Bass. Getting the top 13 and Martarano makes this a great draft, getting Gilliam makes it exceptional and getting some of the remainder makes it one of the record books.

    Of course drafts are only relevant based on how players perform, but it is hard not to be excited for the potential here.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Thank you for this. Great information!

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Awesome stuff! Thanks Quedub.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I'm surprised the 35th rounder is signing

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Just fabulous, Quedub!! Thanks so much for all the hard work!!

  • In reply to Quedub:

    And last year they signed Bryant's room mate.

    That probably has very little effect on most people, but you never know what might tip the scales. One of most effective recruiting tools the army had during the Vietnamese war (where NO ONE wanted to volunteer) was the "buddy system", in which you could enlist with a buddy and would be guaranteed that you would go to basic training together. Sailing off into the unknown can be scary for a high school senior.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Yikes! Sorry about that. Will fix.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No problem, I ended up finding it. Some great stuff on there.

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    To put Kris Bryant's utter domination of Southern league pitching into perspective:

    In big league history, only 6 times has a player posted a higher wRC+ than Bryant has at AA (223). Those 6 seasons all belong to either Babe Ruth (3 times) or Barry Bonds (3 times). The lowest WAR in any of those 6 seasons was 11.6.

    Obviously MLB is MLB and AA is AA. That said, Bryant is dominating at a level almost unprecedented (even Miguel Cabrera had an OPS 124 points lower at AA).

    I wish he K'd a bit less, but this guy has legit 80 grade power.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    But his Kids rate has steadily been going down. Going into 28+% to 26%

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Yep. And less than 25% since April. I only worry about K rates if they go up, not if they trend downward, as it has with Bryant as he gains experience

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Just to put this Bryant season further in perspective:

    Fangraphs data on minor league season leaders goes back to 2006. Since that time, the highest wRC+ for any 22 year old in AA is Joey Votto's 177 in 2006. In fact, the highest for any hitter of ANY AGE in AA or A ball since 2006 is 181. Bryant sits at 226 after last night.

  • John, I respect this site and your astute insight into the draft, and season-long scheming of the Cubs organization. This is THEE best Cubs site, bar none. That said, I'm a little confused why you say Schwarber is the best pick, when a few weeks ago, you predicted Gordon.

    I'm chalking it up to Gordon had the best overall tools? (Giving you an out)

    Don't get me wrong...I love what the Cubs are doing, and I am pleasently surprised. Still...why not Gordon? (Love Schwarbers hit/power)

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    Not John, but for me it comes down to 4 factors.

    1) Gordon is far away from the bigs. 2) College bats are so much more advanced and have so much less projection to them (in short you know what you're getting). They are the safest pick a team can make. Safer than high school bats and way safer than college or prep pitching. 3) Schwarber's proven power and status, at least in their minds, as the best college bat in the country.

    But the 4th factor I think played a huge part. The Cubs had the 4th pick in a draft that had 3 top pitching talents and a drop off after that. That could've been seen as a tough break for the Cubs, but the 4th pick still carries with it over 4 million in slot money. The Cubs undoubtedly talked money with both Gordon and Schwarber, and Kyle was less expensive. The strength of this draft was it's depth in highly ranked prep arms. Signing the cheaper and safer but still very talented Schwarber allowed the Cubs to, in effect, trade down to draft, and hopefully sign, 2 pitchers (1st and 2nd round talents, Cease and Sands) that other teams couldn't afford because their slot money had been used up.

    The Cubs front office is known for exploiting market inefficiencies or loopholes in the CBA/draft rules as they did by maxing out in the International Free Agent signing period last summer. They appear to have ingeniously found a way to get more value out of picking 4th and take advantage of a draft deep in talented but expensive high school pitching prospects.

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    I'm saying the Cubs thought he was the best pick. I'm only saying he is the best hitter -- especially for power -- I have personally seen from this years draft class. I thought Gordon was the best player because I think he can play SS at a high level at the big leagues, but the Cubs apparently were looking more at an impact bat. But I will tell you that not everyone I talked to felt Gordon was the BPA, so it is subjective.

  • Was at the Kane County game today and got to see Blackburn for the first time. Came away pretty pleased. Kid works quickly with a clean delivery. Induced gb outs regularly. Even after giving up the few runs he came back in his last inning and struck out the last two batters he faced. Stands tall and confident on the mound. This guy.... Maybe...

    Carhart also made a great over-the-shoulder catch running into foul territory while playing first today.

    That seems to be this team's thing lately - was impressed by all the pitching, but not a ton of offense. They did take a few walks. Not much out of Hanneman today, either. Good times, though!

  • Extended spring training is over now that the draft is done. Arizona Phil at TCR does a great job of compiling all the stats. These stats don't mean a whole lot, but the most exciting performances for me were:

    1. 17 year old SS Gleyber Torres .311/.402/.396
    123 PA, 106 AB, 15 R, 33 H, 5 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 14 BB, 21 K

    He did commit 14 errors in 31 games.

    2. 20 year old OFer Jeffery Baez .322/.408/.511
    103 PA, 90 AB, 18 R, 29 H, 3 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 12 BB, 15 K

    Baez also stole 14 bases without being thrown out.

    3. 17 year old OFer Eloy Jimenez .261/.289/.402
    97 PA, 92 AB, 8 R, 24 H, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 4 BB, 23 K

    Over his last ten games he hit .297/.324/.778

    Of the pitchers:

    1. 19 year old LHP Jose Paulino
    1.11 ERA - 1.03 WHIP - .186 OppBA
    24.1 IP, 16 H, 5 R (3 ER), 9 BB, 18 K, 27/26 GO/FO, 61% strikes, 15.4 PITCHES-PER INNING

    2. 19 year old RHP Trevor Clifton
    4.73 ERA - 1.28 WHIP - .232 OppBA
    26.2 IP, 23 H, 16 R (14 ER), 11 BB, 34 K, 30/14 GO/FO, 57% strikes, 16.7 PITCHES-PER INNING

    We knew Clifton had a good fastball when he was the Cubs main overslot signing in the 12th round last year. He is still struggling a bit with command though it's improved from 2013, but I didn't see the over a 2:1 ground out to fly out ratio coming. Small sample size and low level competition, but I hope he can continue that trend this season in Boise.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Thank you Quedub and thank you (long distance to TCR) to Arizona Phil.

    I agree this stats are amazing. Particularly, look at the OBP for Torres...hard to imagine many 17 year old good hitting prospects that are willing to be so selective.

    Also, while Clifton is a work in progress, 34K in 26.2 IP is a nice sign.

  • "The toughest sign will be the very next pick, Isiah Gilliam."

    Since his dad jumped through hoops to get him declared draft eligible, I wonder if that is the case.

  • In reply to ddevonb:

    All comes down to how much money he wants versus how much the Cubs have left over after signing guys like Sands, Steele, Cease and Norwood.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    You're right. A pick like that is an insurance policy in case Cease or someone else does not sign. They can use the slot money "allocated" for him to sign Gilliam or someone similar. Otherwise, they go to college.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Doesn't work that way. If for example Cease does not sign we lose his slot money because he was drafted in the top 10 rounds.

  • In reply to ddevonb:

    I hope you're right -- maybe the Cubs talked to him beforehand.

  • Stinnett won't pitch much once he's signed due to his workload this season in college and the fact that he didn't pitch a lot the year before. McLeod said somewhere between 15-20 innings. And Cease will be on the shelf for at least a year, but assuming the Cubs do sign everyone in their top 10 like McLeod is confident they will, the Cubs should have some interesting prospects in short season ball this summer.

    Eloy Jimenez was reportedly being sent to the DSL but never left and played in 2 games after the story broke. He hit very well over his last 10 games so perhaps he stays.

    Jimenez, Torres, Baez, Paulino, Clifton, Leal and Malave will be joined by Schwarber, Stinnett, Zagunis, Sands, Steele, Norwood, Brink, Griggs and Mitchell. With possibly other overslot signings like Martarano as well. Hopefully Schwarber can move quickly, possibly finishing the year in Kane County with Stinnett and Zagunis starting there next season.

    Many of these guys will not make it, of course, but here's hoping some of the younger guys like Jimenez, Torres, Paulino, Clifton, Sands and Cease can form the next wave of talent swelling through the Cubs ranks over the next 3 years.

  • Stats in the VSL/DSL don't mean a lot, but they carry a bit more weight when it's a 17 year old, top signee putting them up. 6'3" thirdbaseman Wladimir Galindo is hitting .295/.368/.538 with 8 2B, 1 3B and 3 HR in 78 at bats with 7 BB and 23 K.

  • Kris Bryant makes me giggle like a little girl. Could the Cubs FINALLY have found a home-grown monster bat after all these years? Maybe Palmeiro, though he didn't show power while with the Cubs. So you'd need to go all the way back to Billy Williams--that's more than a half-century ago if you're counting....

  • Almora is more comfortable batting second. They should leave him there.

  • Interesting that with all this talk about lack of talent/depth at the C position, the players at almost all levels have rebounded. Lopez is still only 26 and is on trajectory to be called up in September. With the lack of a decent back up, he could fill that spot next season. Contreras and Remillard are having nice season as well, though I am not familiar with the defensive work on any of these guys.

    Sprinkle in the draft choices, maybe the FO has addressed the void in the system.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Yeah, and we've seen pretty steady improvement with Beef's work behind the plate, so I think the catching coaching is pretty good. If they can turn Schwarber into a league average catcher, we'll have yet another power bat added to the lineup. Pretty exciting.

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    In reply to cubs1969:

    Am I the only one that's not sold on Beef, though? The last few days Baker and Whiteside are showing much better framing skills it from the eye test, and our pitching has been excellent. Of course, Baker/Whiteside can't hit at all, and are not the answer. But Beef isn't great with the bat either.

    Beef blocks pitches and can throw, but hasn't really developed at the plate or framing much. I feel like he's a very average catcher.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Castillo is an average MLB catcher but at his cost that's nice value.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I wouldn't call myself "sold" on Beef, either, but I was just saying the coaching has brought him along pretty well. So we might see some "light" here with Schwarber at the C position.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Don't forget Brockemeyer either. Though it is unclear whether Brockemeyer or Remillard can play MLB defense at catcher.

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    In reply to springs:

    BA ranked Remillard as the best defensive catcher in our system pre-season, for what that is worth. Seems like an endorsement that he can stick there.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I think at least 4or 5 guys in the system have a chance to be solid backuos, but except for Lopez, the catchers are all in A ball and below, so there is time for them to develop and become more.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Yup, and I noticed the Cubs emphasis both high and low in the draft this year.

    The pitchers seem to like throwing to Baker and Whiteside. Framing is mentioned quite a bit on other boards. John... how do Lopez and others in the system stack up on that issue?

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Framing is a trendy topic but I am not yet satisfied with the data out there. I don't think it's effect is really understood yet. My friend Harry has done a lot of great work in this field but I think Id like to see it more isolated from other factors before I draw too many conclusions from it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Interesting, I don't think that umpires like too much framing and it can work against a pitcher.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Some of Harry's analysis showed that certain pitchers were far more likely to get strikes called regardless of who was catching (i.e. Tom Glavine) and while he hasn't done the analysis yet, I am sure he will find that guys like Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas got calls that guys like young free swingers like Starlin Castro don't.

    Framing may have an effect, but I think there are other factors, biases involved and I think maybe too much emphasis is put on the framing itself without consideration to other external factors -- some talk about framing like it's the only reason for variance in strike calls, which is really hard for me to believe.

    I think if a large enough sample size gets created, it'd be interesting to see how Baker and Whiteside framing stats compare to those of Castillo. Unfortunately I don't think that will happen because Castillo isn't expected to be out long and even if he is, the pitching staff could change and throw off the analysis as well.

  • I wonder what's up with Loosen. I was at his previous start against Birmingham and he looked so good, painting the black with his fastball and missing bats with his slider - all night. I guess young pitchers will have their ups and downs, but he seems to have more than he should with that kind of stuff. Maybe he just needs to tighten up his delivery.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    He is a mystery, good breaking stuff, average fastball -- but when the command is off, watch out!

  • Kris Bryant missed hitting the scoreboard when he was here (Huntsville) a couple weeks ago. Instead he went OVER it.

    The Smokies come back for 5 games in Mid July, but I've got a feeling that Mr. Bryant won't be coming with them.

  • Great job with the draft this year. It was my first year following the draft with the Cubs Den and I can't be happier with the info from the Writers, as well as the followers posting on the site. The ESPN article you linked was a good one but then you start reading the comments and realize how spoiled we are at this Blog.

    As for the draft, I think in a couple of years we are going to be talking a whole lot about our 2nd round pick Stinnett. With the way his career has progressed, there is a lot of room for him to improve and he has the tools to do it. With Johnson and our minor league pitching coaches, I have a good feeling he will be a great #3 or solid #2 in a playoff rotation in the not so distant future.

    Keep up the good work guys. I can't get enough.

  • In reply to IowaCubbie:

    Thanks IowaCubbie. The draft is one of our specialties and we're glad to have you aboard!

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    It is now 2 1/2 seasons since Theo took over. During that time, how many pitchers from our farm system that were drafted by the Cubs have graduated to the major league roster? Any guesses?

    Just one: Chris Rusin. Beeler and Jokisch are the only ones even close drafted during the Hendry era. When you look closely, you realize how incredibly barren our farm system was when Theo took over.....just dreadful. That lack of productivity is squarely on the last regime, because it takes a couple years to develop pitching.

    It's not like there was a huge pipeline of position players either; basically, Castillo and Lake were products of the old regime. Of position players, Alcantara is promising, but for Hendry holdovers that's pretty much it aside from a couple backups

    It's clear that our drafting/scouting from 2006-2010 was largely a failure, and that is the largest reason for the lack of impact talent on our major league roster right now

  • In reply to Zonk:

    To give them credit, Baez was a Hendry pick. Otherwise I agree with you completely.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I give Hendry credit for the Baez pick. But I also give Theocorp credit for 'making' or 'trying to get him' to adjust his approach. I think Hendry would have just pushed him through based on HR's and 'upside'.

    I'm more critical of our FO now than before, since I think they've done basically zero to enhance the ML club, but I like that they make guys refine their skill-set.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    You know that's very normal for pitchers to take longer specially HS pitchers.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Of course. Any Hendry drafted HS pitchers on our top prospects list though?

    Unless you still believe in Dillon Maples, there are none. It was a failure any way you look at it.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Well not to split hairs, but Hendry did get us Cashner which we turned into Rizzo. Also, traded some legit prospects to acquire Garza which we turned into Ramirez, Olt, Grimm, and CJ Edwards...

    It's not really fair to bash Hendry for the weak farm system when ownership (and the old CBA) didn't place the emphasis on it like it does today. The teams with the best farms previously did so out of necessity (Oakland, TB, etc). CHI is a major market team and Hendry was being pushed by ownership with an agenda that didn't include developing talent.

    Not that Hendry and his Regime didn't have their warts, but most baseball people will tell you, he is an excellent talent evaluator/scout... albeit a bit old school about things.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I agree fully and believe this type of evidence is needed when people ask why the rebuild is taking so long. Creating a great organization like the Braves that keeps redeveloping and adding new players for sustained success is difficult in any situation, but an incredibly long and painful process when the team is barren throughout the organization like the Cubs were.

    That said, I do think you are missing Baez (he was Hendry, right?). And Cashner and Archer are both Hendry acquisitions, though Archer was also traded by Hendry, so perhaps not a good addition.

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    In reply to springs:

    I should give Hendry credit for Baez, my bad. Cashner should also credit to Hendry, he did draft him. But Archer was a trade acquisition from the Indians. The farm system was a wasteland when Theo got here still.

    Hendry was a very good trader, I will give him that; aside from the Juan Pierre trade, he won alot more than he lost. The core of the 00's teams, D-Lee and A-Ram, were acquired basically for free.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Theroit and Lilly for DeNitWitt, Wallach and Smit wasn't a shining moment for Hendry either. I get the feeling Theo would have gotten a much better return. Same with the Fukudome dump

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    maybe he was repaying the Dodgers for one of Hendry's masterpieces: Todd Hundley for Karros and Grudzielank, one of the best dump trades of all time

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I hope the Pirates never ask to be repaid for the Danny Jackson - Steve Buechele dump. The Todd Hundley and Danny Jackson signings should be required reading for FA 101 classes.

  • Yes I am back now that the draft is over.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Welcome back Kevin!

  • In reply to IowaCubbie:

    Thanks.

  • In reply to IowaCubbie:

    Got any good draft stories?

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Not really played a lot of catch up because I really didn't know a lot of players in Indiana.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Welcome back! Are you able to give any thoughts on the Cubs draft or any of the particular players (I certainly understand if you cannot).

    Either way, it is great you are back as your insight adds even more to the already great discussions here.

  • In reply to springs:

    I will just let me decompress first from the draft. It was a very good draft for the them.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    It's been 4 hours. Aren't you decompressed yet?

  • In reply to KGallo:

    What's your take on Schwarber?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    My Bryant of this year's draft. Will be sending in a Scouting report to John when I decompress.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Would you be surprised if Schwarber starts immediately in Boise? Seems like a lock. More important question: Will they play him initially at Catcher? I feel like he should stay there until forced to move, but you never know.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    The scouting report will cover all that. It will be tailored to Cub fans.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Another welcome back, Kevin!

    This site just keeps getting better and better!

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Oh, that sounds good. Very good.

  • Welcome back kevin! This is a general question to anyone that can answer it. Has Cease gotten the TJ surgery already or does he still have to have it? For his sake I hope he's already received the surgery so he can start the recovery process.

  • In reply to JLynch2247:

    He hasn't had it but McLeod suggested some type of surgery will be needed, probably TJ.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That makes sense considering I don't know how his family would have paid for the TJ without a major league contract. Well hopefully he makes a close to full recovery because his arm is amazing.

  • Kevin,

    Nice to see you back!

    I know you give us your opinion on the Cubs' draft...but how did the draft go for the Indians?

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Not good for me and thanks

  • OT: Cubs Web site says that Ramirez and Rondon were unavailable yesterday. Anyone know why?

  • In reply to bruno14:

    Probably their usage the previous days, too many pitches and /or consecutive days pitched.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks - That's probably it. It just struck me as odd given that neither pitched Saturday

  • In reply to bruno14:

    View From the Bleachers maintains a nice bullpen usage graphic at the top of their page on the right. I refer to it often.

    http://viewfromthebleachers.com/

  • In reply to bruno14:

    That is the part that makes it weird. Young arms, maybe just being extra cautious.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Over the weekend, I heard that they wanted the arms to be around 60 appearances or so. Can't remember if it was Levine or someone with the club. This part of the schedule is a grind going into the break. With trades possible, there may be more outings going into September when the rosters expand.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    This makes sense.

  • Question for whomever might have the answer...I read that Stinnett had a pin in the elbow of his right arm. If true, is that a concern long term?

  • In reply to nilrem:

    Garza has pin(s) in his elbow and he has managed to pitch through it. Although that is one of the reasons that he apparently had difficulty getting a long term contract this offseason.

    Its certainly not a good thing. But I guess it probably also depends on where the pin is located.

  • In reply to nilrem:

    It is it happened when he was 4. It is not a concern it's just part if his anatomy at this point.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    If he winds up succeeding over-aggressive parents will be sticking pins in their 4-year-olds arms all over the country.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I hope I'm not on the same flight when Stinnett flies to Chicago to sign his contract. I can just see the line forming as the TSA agent rechecks the imaging machine while listening to the "pin in the arm since I was 4 years only" story.

  • The Cubs DSL team threw a no hitter yesterday. Three pitchers combined to do it. They are also 6-1 and in 1st place.

  • fb_avatar

    Really nice to see one of my favorites (Dan Vogelbach) turn things around. He's not the 2nd best hitter at Daytona (by avg).

    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ibp&cid=450&stn=true&sid=t450

    I think the time he spent at Daytona at the end of last season has made him a much better hitter. He has made adjustments to hit the other way and even a bigger adjustment to play at a much lighter weight. Hard not to just love this guy!

    I also believe that the struggles Almora has had this season will make him so much better in the long run. I'm so glad this FO has a system in place to develop these young guys instead of just rushing them through the minors. The Cubs will be so strong in the future.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    To be fair, the opposite field approach was something he was working on in Kane County. But I think a lot of people undersell the necessary adjustments he has had to make in the last couple of seasons to play at the much lighter weight. Vogelbach's slow start didn't diminish my view of him at all. I still believe the bat is MLB caliber. I just don't think he'll ever be able to hold down a position, and if he really is a DH only player the bat needs to be better than average in order to stick in the majors. I'll be curious to watch his defense next year (maybe later this year) in Tennesee. Maybe the weight loss will make enough of a difference.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    I was kinda refering to last year and this year with his approach to hitting the opposite way. His promotion last year got him a chance to see the FSL pitching a little earlier than Almora was what I was trying to get at. We see Vogelbach emerging now from the experience and I expect Almora to do the same.

    Most of the focus right now is on Bryant and Baez for the casual fan because of the HR's. But this Cubs system is so much more than that. I think we can thank Cubs Den for us fans starving for more information about what's really going on. It's just great knowing what's coming while those casual fans that I mostly interact with stay focused on the W/L record of the parent company.

    Sorry if I wasn't clear with my thoughts about Vogelbach and Almora.....

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