Sorting through the hype: The love of prospects and the minor league game

Sorting through the hype: The love of prospects and the minor league game

I have probably been as guilty as anyone on this.

I've been a prospect hound since I discovered this little baseball rag called Baseball America in the early 80s.  I've been regularly attending minor league games since I was an undergrad in Peoria. We watched players like Jerome Walton and Frank Castillo make their way through the Cubs system.  Prospect love has increased tremendously since then and the reporting of minor league games, scouting reports, prospect rankings, etc. have grown steadily over the past 3 decades.

It has exploded the past two seasons for Cubs fans.  We shouldn't be surprised.  With the big league team not providing much excitement, it's only natural that you would gravitate toward the young prospects and the future.  That is what moves the needle right now.

There were some who covered prospects before I started blogging, AZ Phil of The Cub Reporter, Josh Timmers of BCB, and Tom of Chicago Cubs Online, leap to mind.  No doubt that those guys helped pave the way for a relatively new blogger like me. But even back then, about 4 years ago, I felt like I would do my Daily Cubs Minors Recaps and there was a smaller niche audience who followed it.  Cubs Den was even referred to as a "minor league blog" by some in the early days.

Well prospects and minor league baseball have definitely gone mainstream.

We have all surely reaped benefit from the boom, but for me it's kind of bittersweet.  I relish digging up the Willson Contreras and the Marcus Hatleys of the world.  I enjoy talking about good minor league players who, frankly, are MLB longshots -- guys like Michael Heesch, Ben Carhart or Pin-Chieh Chen or guys who may just be utility infielders like Daniel Lockhart.

But the scene has changed.

Now it's all about Bryant, Schwarber, Baez, and all the big name guys.   I can't blame anyone for this.  The Cubs need impact players.  Who cares about backup catchers, middle relievers, and utility infielders?  Who even cares about average big league regulars?

I do.

I think that's part of the fun in all of this.    Not everyone is going to make it.  Even fewer are going to be MLB regulars, and even fewer of them are going to be impact talents.  You need role players too.

Every once in a while I will spot a scout or talent evaluator at a minor league game or an amateur showcase/exhibition and just talk baseball.

I always introduce myself simply as John.  Not John Arguello the Cubs blogger. Not John from Cubs Den.  Just John.  You might be surprised just how friendly people are in the baseball industry.  And the cool thing about it is they are more than happy to just talk baseball.  I'm not looking for anyone to spill secrets.  I'm just trying to absorb as much baseball knowledge as I can.  One thing I was told early on by one of the brightest minds in the game is that no matter how long you do this, you will never learn it all.  There will always be players that surprise you and you will never get to the point where you have it all figured out.  That doesn't scare me -- that is exactly I love baseball so much.

I've told stories in the past of being  impressed by players I didn't know much about beforehand, players like Lockhart, Gioskar Amaya, or Marco Hernandez -- or how I was surprised to see  Michael Heesch come bearing down with intimidating plane and running two-seamers in on hitters, once breaking 4 bats in two innings.  Even this year I was surprised that Zach Godley, a guy who signed for 35K as a college senior last year, actually had quality stuff that has the potential to play in the big leagues.

It's why I enjoy the instructional league most of all.  It's just baseball.  No frills, no hype.  And sometimes when you remove all the bright lights, you really begin to see things in ballplayers that you may not otherwise catch, especially when you get to see multiple players in succession.   Some of you may remember when I wrote about watching catcher drills and witnessing one catcher stand out in athleticism, intensity, quickness, and arm strength.

"Who is that guy?", I asked the scout next to me.

"Willson Contreras", was his response.

"Holy moly, that guy is explosive", I said as a smile crept across his face.

I would ask about him over the next year and found I was not alone.  The kid is raw and still has a long, long way to go in terms of development,  but he has some talent, both at the plate and in the field, and while nobody would go so far as to say he was a top prospect, all agreed he had the ability to make the big leagues if he put in the work and continued to mature as a ballplayer.

I think with prospect love going mainstream, I miss those kinds of things.  They get buried now in the hype.  Such is the case when you are in a big market starved for stardom and the winning environment we all hope it will bring.

I certainly get it.  Finding impact talent is ultimately why so much emphasis is put on scouting and we will absolutely continue to focus on the big name players.  I certainly wouldn't want to impose my prospect nerddom on anyone.

But if any of you ever want to ask me about guys like Danny Lockhart, Michael Heesch, Pin-Chieh Chen, or Willson Contreras once in a while, that would be cool too.

Filed under: Minor Leagues, prospects


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  • Hey John,

    Where would you put Marra in terms of prospect status? I rememeber when the Cubs drafted him, people thought pretty highly of him

  • In reply to NathanE:

    Justin Marra can hit, good swing plane, stays in the zone, and he has a good approach. Not a great baseball body, which is why his only hope is to stick at catcher -- and even then he'd be an offensive oriented guy.

    He's fun to watch hit, the question is if he'll have a defensive home.

  • This leads right into my question that got stuck in the interwebs under the minor league recaps. I was trying to ask about Justin Marra. Being canadian I imagined he's a little rawer than most prospects, since he'd likely someone who didn't play year round ball, and the competition isn't as good (though I believe he played on the Canadian Jr team internationally). I always pay extra close attention to Canadian draft picks for just this reason, they generally go less heralded, and have more volatility, but I do think they possess considerable upside as a result.

    How is Marra's defense? He does appear to have power, and he does appear to have a pretty good approach he walks pretty well. He did great in Arizona in 2012, and rebounded after a terrible month in 2013 in Boise to put up a nice second half. If his D is any good, he could be a nice piece.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Ha! That's great -- 2 Marra questions. Intriguing bat. The kid can hit but as you imply, defense will determine his fate. He's not a great athlete, even for a catcher, so that part of his game is what has been holding him back. I'm not sure he is viable as a prospect anywhere else. The Cubs have moved him slowly because of his defense, but I have no doubt he can hit at the full season A ball level right now.

  • Well done, John! I love the fact that the best two hitters at Kane County this year were "under the radar guys" Will Remillard and Jordan Hankins. It takes a 40 man roster to win a world series, not 3-4 guys.

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Thanks. I was thinking about this as I wrote the recaps and I flooded the article with videos of the top guys --- but sometimes I miss talking about those diamonds in the rough.

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    Who is this year's "Pop-up Prospect?" Remillard? Bruno? If you had to pick one, who would it be?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think we can exclude Tseng because he started to get well known before the season, but he is the one that is a pop-up on the national scene.

    Locally I think Remillard and Bruno are good picks and should make top 30 lists. Bruno was kind of known but the fact he is doing what he's doing in AA after such little A ball experience is remarkable. Jordan Hankins has shown he can hit and defend 3B pretty well.

    Lots of bullpen arms: Pugliese, McKirahan, Hatley, Cervenka...

    I think a couple guys to look for as a pop-up next year are Duane Underwood and Trevor Clifton. Good stuff and seems to be making progress with his command. If he develops consistency with his breaking pitch he could be a beast.

    Clifton seems to have smoothed out some delivery issues and he has great athleticism and arm speed.

  • I noticed Dunston didn't play in the Cougars game last night. I guess he will be the one who loses playing time because of Schwarber. Obviously Dunston is a prospect that will followed closely because of his last name. I hope he can at least be a 4th OFer someday.

  • In reply to TD40:

    I'm getting the feeling Dunston isn't high on the prospect priority list. He works hard, but approach has slipped, and the hitch in his swing may limit his extra base power down the road.

  • I started with "Baseball america" with issue #1 then gave it up when
    I got married and the price when up. But I follow it everyday on the net

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Love BA! I thought it was the coolest baseball magazine as a kid.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good but "This Week in Baseball" was an awesome TV show and would still be good today. I loved the bloopers.

  • In reply to CubsBuck22:

    Agreed! That was a fun show.

  • imagine the bigs are far more populated with guys who came out of nowhere to have impact big league careers than guys who were "sure things."

    it's why there is such a thing as a minor league program.

    tks for lighting the candle, john...and keeping it lit..! learn more every day i visit this place.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    This is a great point. We can even say that about this year in the draft about how Schwarber came out of nowhere, but sometimes guys with more hype, like Alex Jackson, get an undue amount of attention when the reality is that the talent level (at least on offense) is debatable between the two and some would add Conforto.

  • John, I appreciate your perspective. I follow the the Cubs minor leagues closely, but I realize that only a small % of Cubs fans actually do. Most don't even know about the hyped players and many on the message boards only know something about the hyped players that are discussed on the boards and in the press.
    Many minor leaguers get called up and for most fans they might as well have popped into existence from another universe. :)
    "Where did this Junior Lake guy come from?" :)

  • In reply to ddevonb:

    Haha! It's a different world out there.

    I was feeling a little nostalgic today. Hype is fun, but sometimes it makes you miss out on the little things (or in this case, the little guys)

  • I remember a few years ago watching Peoria games and the team had to be one of the shortest and smallest teams i can ever remember watching. I have seriosuly seen HS teams bigger than those guys. It was the Szczur, DeVoss, Zapata, Chen, Darvill, and a bunch of guys like that. It was actually kind of funny to watch.

    They were also a terrible team though. There was really no known prospects among the position players outside of Szczur (who I have never believed would be a valid MLB player). Except one little guy really caught my eye. He may have been the smallest guy on the team (or at least in a tie with DeVoss). That guy was Alcantara. Probably a 150 pounds soaking wet, no plate discipline, making tons of errors at SS, but the ball jumped off his bat.

    When watching A ball games the first thing I watch for is if there is anyone on the field that can do something at a MLB level right now. He doesn't have to do it consistently, but I want to see if its there. Alcantara, much to my surprise, was the only guy on the team with any jump off his bat. He wasn't making a lot of contact, because he was swinging at everything, but when he was given a good pitch to hit it went into the gap or into the corner on a line. I walked away from all of those games thinking that little guy is the only one that has a chance.

    Fast forward to the next season in Daytona and Alcantara started figuring out an actual approach and all of a sudden, the kid is a prospect. Seeing those first glimpses and projecting what could be, that's fun. For me at least.

    Gioskar Amaya shooting line drives from gap to gap. Trey Martin gliding under a ball ticketed for extra bases. Contreras popping out of his crouch or absolutely smoking an opposite field HR. Rubi Silva having every tool necessary but showing no instincts how to utilize them. Witnessing Zach Rosscup completely overpower hitters with a mere 90 MPH fastball that seems to jump out of his hand. Michael Jensen, Andrew McKirahan and James Pugliese quietly displaying a repetoire necessary to get hitters out and an knack for how to use them even though no one particular pitch jumps out at you.

    Discovering that stuff as a fan is what being a fan of low level minor league baseball is all about. Its what I love about it.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Alcantara is a good ballplayer. Athleticism has always stood out even before the hit tool caught up. But even then he showed some ability to square up. He was raw, but the skills were evident.

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    Great stuff! Would love to run into you some day to talk baseball. My favorite players to follow this year have been the relievers in our system with the high strike out numbers and low walk rates. Godley has been my favorite along with Rosscup who I enjoyed watching with the Cubs before he went down with an injury for awhile. Can't wait till he gets the call-up again.

  • In reply to Dan Raleigh:

    If you ever see me, please stop by. But be warned, I may talk your ear off.

  • Cool stories there John,.... love me some MiL BB as well. Even though I haven't been to a Major League game in person for over 10 years (was living a couple hours from Kansas City at the time so saw a woeful Royals team take it on the chin from Cleveland) - still love MiL games when I get a chance to see them.

    Am making my MidSummer pilgrimage to a MiL game this weekend. Have the fortune to live about 8 walking blocks from one of the Orioles affiliates (the Frederick Keys!) and am going to go and catch the game. Don't know if they have any real prospects playing there, as I don't pay any attention to the Orioles' farm system,.... but it is always good to catch a game with friends, have a nice cold beer or two, and watch the post-game fireworks they always have on weekend games.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Thanks. I was thinking of a lot of you guys when I wrote this, because you all share the love of minor league ball the way I do.

  • I started reading BaseballAmerica during the 1998 season. Prior to that. I understood the importance of a farm system, but until Wood stepped on the field as the best pitcher on the team, I realized the potential impact. Prior to that I only heard about Cub prospects during the broadcasts, but unfortunately I was used the impact, of the Frank Castillo's who come up and contribute in some ways. Or the Jerome Walton, who come up and contribute for 1 season then are pretty much garbage. Even the awesome Greg Maddux took a few years after being called up to really establish himself as a stud. Grace established himself pretty quickly and had a nice career. So when Wood came up, I was floored to think, okay, so their best pitcher (by a landslide) hasn't been with the team. Immediately, I needed to know, are there any more of them out there, how did the Cubs get him in the first place. This also coincided with Hendry building a pitching dynasty through the farm. Garland, Zambrano, Lohse, Cruz, Downs, Willis, Prior, Nolasco, Farnsworth came through in about a 5 year period. Sadly when Hendry was promoted he left a void that took years to fill, while Lynch was shipping out a pretty good whack of those pieces for some bullpen help.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Yeah, I think the last regime with a real plan was the Dallas Green/Gordon Goldsberry duo. Early Hendry/McPhail had a plan early but not really a phase 2.

    I have more confidence these guys will be able to stick to the plan and adapt when necessary.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Its not so much that they didn't have a plan. Main problems:
    1. early years where Lynch raided the farm trading for bullpen help
    2. big name managers pushing their rookie GM around through the media demanding Corey Patterson to be brought up, trying to re-train him at the major league level as a leadoff hitter, then passing over him. This wasn't just a Patterson thing. Hendry kept letting Baylor, Baker, Piniella dictate player development through the media. And never put prospects in positions to succeed. No protection. Jumping in and out of line ups.
    3. Player development vacuum. Stocksill couldn't fill Hendry's shoes and the farm went to crap for about 5 years until Wilkin came in.
    4. Injuries, Wood and Prior couldn't stay healthy. Coupled with 1 and 3, they couldn't replace those innings internally. Costly to fill via FA or trades, not that you could ever really replace innings of that quality. Ultimately leading to a bloated payroll.

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    Do you guys think Junior Lake spending more time in the minors would have increased his chances of becoming an elite talent? Or because of the way he plays he was always going to be a hit or miss guy. I see people mention baseball intelligence a lot and was wondering if this could explain why he struggles so much or if its just his general lack of experience. Its no secret hes one of the most physically gifted players on the field and I often wonder how someone so talented could struggle so much. Love the article John.

  • In reply to Restless:

    I think he is just a guy that you have to live with when it comes to holes in his game. I don't think there is enough time in the minors to erase his flaws so you just hope he learns as he goes along in the bigs.

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    In reply to Restless:

    Junior Lake was in our system for 6 years before his ML debut. That's alot of development time. It should be enough.

    Junior is new to the OF, so I can see improvement there, but odds are he'll always be the hacker that he is showing us.

  • Love this article John, and I've loved reading your blog for the last 3 + years. A question I have for you as I read: If you could pick anybody's mind in the baseball industry for an hour or two, who would you pick? ( How high does Theo rank?)

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:


    I would love to spend time with Theo and talk baseball. Obviously Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod would be great too,

    I've been lucky enough to talk to quite a few people, though never for an hour or two. Tim Wilken would be one guy. He lives and breathes baseball, knows the nuts and bolts better than just about anyone and is about the friendliest, nicest person you will ever meet. Would be fun to talk to a new school guy like Boehringer too. Also a nice guy.

    Of the writers it would be fun to hang out with Jason Parks for a couple of hours.

  • Good stuff John. This is why I read Cubs Den everyday, although I rarely post. As Cubs' fans, we all have a vested interest in how the top prospects are doing, but its still fun to hear about the unheralded players who work so hard chasing their dreams. After retiring from the Air Force in 1993, I worked for years as a sportswriter in Oshkosh and Appleton, WI. While mostly covering high school and college sports, my editors would often send me to Appleton Foxes/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers games to do features. My first such effort (in 1994) was on an 18-year-old named Alex Rodriguez. As cool as that was, I enjoyed talking to non-prospects who would never make it to "the show" just as much. Keep up the good work.

  • In reply to Bucky:

    Thank Bucky.

    How cool was it to have seen Alex Rodriguez at that age!?

    I think when it comes to smaller prospects, it comes down to my love of the whole journey rather than the destination. Maybe you feel the same way.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You bet John. I especially liked covering guys I saw in high school or college. One you may know. A three-sport star from little Menasha, WI went to Arkansas before being drafted by the Cubs. He never played for them, now wears the Cubs uni -- Eric Hinske.

  • I can somewhat relate on having pride in finding guys that are just average at the AAA/MLB level. Back when the Schaumburg Flyers were still around, they signed a Red Sox farm system castoff named R.J. Swindle. Tall-ish (6'3") lefty that had worked as a reliever in the Sox system, but the Flyers put him in the rotation, where he excelled. After one particularly good start, Swindle was signing stuff after the game, as was pretty standard. I think I was 14 at the time, but I distinctly remember telling him that he would be a Major Leaguer. Almost two years to the day later, I get home and turn on SportsCenter, and they're talking about a reliever for the Phillies making his MLB debut on his 25th birthday, a southpaw with a mid-50's curveball, R.J. Swindle.

    He never had a very great career, spending most of the time toiling in AAA before what I presume was a retirement after the 2013 WBC. But on that day I saw Swindle's debut on SportsCenter, I felt amazing. I've seen other young players come up, but it's never felt the same. You knew even down in low-A that guys like Yordano Ventura and Taijuan Walker would be studs if they can find the plate and harness their breaking stuff. There's a certain love of finding that guy that doesn't have all the tools in the world, but still makes it. Even if it's only for 11 1/3 innings over 9 games like Swindle.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Ha! Great story and I must confess I don't remember RJ Swindle, but that is a great name. And a mid 50s curveball? That had to be fun in it of itself,

  • Great piece, John. I've got a couple for you.

    First, he's had some contact issues of late, but I'm wondering how Jeffrey Baez is viewed. Seems like a really interesting guy.

    I'm also wondering about the two international signings we haven't heard much about in Wladimir Galindo and Erling Moreno. Galindo is hitting well, albeit in the VSL, and Moreno pitched one game there where he pitched well, but I haven't seen anything on him since. Any word on him?

    Thanks, your blog is great.

  • John this article expouses the very reasons Cubs Den is the first place I look for my daily cubs info infusion. I've been following for a couple years now and you and a small number of other sites have gotten me excited about the Cubs in a way I didn't think existed before. Its your perspective that keeps me coming back I can count on your veiw of things to make sense to me. Thank You!

  • I understand your feelings about minor league baseball and prospects, John. I grew up watching Class D and Class A baseball in Clinton, Iowa. Clinton always had and still has a minor league team, and they still play in a charming ballpark known then as Riverfront Stadium, a 1930s WPA structure, I believe. When I was watching them in the late 50s and early 60s, they were a farm team for the White Sox, and I still have my promo black batting helmet for the Clinton they were known then. I saw a number of players who eventually made it to the bigs. One of them was named Denny McLain. He wasn't all that special back then, but he did make a name for himself in 1968 with the Detroit Tigers. He ran into some trouble later on. Others whom I recall were Tommy McCraw, Duane Jopsephson, Marv Staehle, Dick Kenworthy, and Ed Stroud, not stars, but good solid ballplayers. However, my favorite was Angel Bravo, who wore out a path in centerfield. He really didn't stick in the majors very long, but, man, could that guy steal bases when he was in Clinton. Angel's undoing, if I recall correctly, was spitting on a AAA umpire in the early 70s. After that incident, he was relegated to the Mexican League. He always liked to spit when he was at the plate. I liked the manager, Don Bacon, too. He was notorious for getting into arguments with the umpires, piling dirt about a foot high on home plate, and the departing the game on the umpire's orders. Precious memories are fondly recalled by every one of my siblings of Dad buying one bag of peanuts every game and passing it down the bench to my four siblings and me. We each ended up with 1 or 2 peanuts, depending upon where you sat in proximity to Dad. We weren't wealthy by any stretch of anyone's imagination, and Dad had to make his dollar go a long way. I also remember the stinky cigars all over the place. LOL Those were the good ol' days.

  • Kevin Brown is my "lower level" prospect I love the most of the guys further down in the system.

  • Great Read John !!!

    How about a little Felix Pena info ?

    I know with any pitcher there is always a chance to make it.

    Thoughts ???

  • In reply to SouthsideB:


    Pena has decent stuff 89-93 on the FB and a decent slider. When his command is there he can be tough but his stuff isn't quite good enough to get away with missing spots. I see a middle reliever if he makes it.

  • I know I have been getting excited about the relievers and the depth there. I know later on you will have a piece about who has to be protected etc. Some people think you can just stash them forever and maybe that is partially true since not big name prospects. Relievers are very important, just not as much as starters and some view them as failures for not being able to make it as a starter. But the front office is going to have some tough choices to make. Some will be simply let to walk and others will be able to be held in case of injury and others probably like Russell to be traded. I can see at least one being transitioned back to the starting rotation as I am really hoping Vizcaino can do that as even if he fails should be able to go back to be a solid late innings guy. Closers have the most trade value, but usually best if doing it at the major league level. As far as position players I had gotten excited about Bruno but kept telling myself that he needed to prove it at least at AA and he has been even more impressive considering the injury. The one thing I am lacking of understanding is how these players are on defense.

  • But when is Bryant going to get called up already?!?!?

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    Jesus John. What is going on? Are you dying? That was a real random article. I'm not sure what the point of this story was. Cubs Den has come a long way? 'WHEN I WAS....' ...? This seemed like a post retirement writing where you're trying to determine your legacy. (BIG fan! CUBS WOOO!)

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    OT but did anyone else see that Garza still can't field a bunt and not end up throwing it in the stands??

  • Castro! You are a monster!

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    Good to see the Cubs winning games on the backs of core players like Rizzo, Castro, Arrieta, etc. It will will be one of the keys to establishing a winning culture long term.

    I believe it was John who said a few years back that he could see Castro developing into a .300 20-25hr type player offensively as he reaches his prime. Looks to be the case this year.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    After that first game I though anything was possible for him. Glad to see he is learning to work the count a little better but that homer was on an 0-2 something he would have swung and missed on the way he played last year.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Just think about all those hard hit balls at players or players robbing him of hits earlier. Maybe I 'm being greedy.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Hes been a .300 hitter since day one, I think most saw him this way.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Neil Ramirez is looking like the real deal. Its getting close to lumping in with the core players time. And Vizcaino and Rivera on the horizon. We could have a powerhouse bullpen in a few years.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Behn... It could be called a powerhouse pen now with the power arms we have. Grimm, Ramirez, Rondon, Schlitter, Strop. Everyday Jimmy doesn't bring it like those guys but he seems to have found 'it' again. And maybe the two best arms were just recently promoted to Iowa.

    It's kind of scary to think what this *could* look like next year and the years following

  • Speaking of prospects and ceilings and hype machines... Anybody look at the top 30 international prospects? Cubs not favored for any. Is that because of last year going strong and over allotment? I must admit to being vague on the mechanics of international signings?

  • First of all, Castro did not do his job - because we had two men in scoring position.
    Now we have none. I can only attribute this to a lack of focus.

  • In reply to tboy:

    Well played, sir!

  • In reply to tboy:

    Todd, your supposed to be announcing the game, what are you doing posting online here?

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    In reply to Behn Wilson:

    LOL! Was thinking the same thing.

  • In reply to tboy:


  • My popup prospect--though not as much popup as I'd like so far--is Tyler Skulina. Love this kid, I'm hoping he takes the next step soon. Great raw talent.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I like him too. Would like to see the velo return,

  • Nearly three years ago, thirsting for some Cubs minor league news and getting nothing but glasses of sand from the mainstream media, I found Cubs Den. I have been a loyal follower ever since.

    Thanks, John.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Thank you!

  • A 5-0 lead, and back-to-back walks to start the top of the 5th. What the hell, Multiple Ed?

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Followed by a three-run dinger by the nr. 8 hitter?


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    "I certainly wouldn't want to impose my prospect nerddom on anyone."

    Haha... Please don't stop with the prospect nerddom.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    Ha :)

  • Please can someone help me? whats the name of the young reliever from the tigers. He was a big guy who threw hard but having a hard time with control

  • In reply to seankl:

    Bruce Rondon?

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Thanks, me and my brother had a hard time thinking of his name. Is he still with the tigers ?

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    In reply to seankl:

    He caught Tommy John disease, I believe. (Too lazy to confirm.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:


  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    yes down with TJ

  • Through BA I followed Dunston's career until he got to the majors.
    Will always be my favorite player. I met him twice

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    John- just saw the top 30 International prospects on mlbpipeline. Looks like the Yankees are looking to go big. Any chance the Cubs can grab a prospect or two with our available slot $$$?

  • This article make you realize how young castro is and what rare company is and makes you happy.

  • John, what guys in the system are the new "junior lakes"?

    Also, which guys will jump into the top 100 prospects? Tseng?

  • John, I can relate. Different sport but I was once enamored with a prospect named Ken Yaremchuk who....oh never mind. #facepalm..

  • For Juan Paniagua, I was curious if it was just a matter of him getting work in (catching up for visa issues etc) for why he is going like 5+ innings or if they want to really try him as a starter until he proves he can't do it. I think either way he is definitely getting consideration for a promotion.

  • Why is Trey Martin still getting at bats? Just do not see the promise in the potential.

    At this point, I would cycle the Catchers out there (brockmeyer, Carhart & Schwarber) before Martin/Dunston. Time to identify and play those who have potential

  • In reply to Gator:

    Martin has all kinds of potential and he has been trending upward. He is a better player than Dunston and a better shot to make it than Balaguert. He absolutely should be getting more ABs.

  • turn on the Iowa game guys Hendricks perfect game thru 5 and AA and Javy are killing it . 6-0 bottom 5 Iowa

  • John, nice props to Az Phil. It sure would be nice if y'all could snag an interview with him to discuss his history, and what current "under the radar" prospects he is keen on.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    Absolutely. I have met him at AZ. Good guy.

  • When I was a young man in the Air Force, I was stationed in San Antonio from 1968 - 1972. The Cubs had a farm team there, and being a Cub fan, I started to attend their games. I found it quite easy to make friends with the lonely kids away from home, many for the first time, and my wife and I had quite a few over for dinners, the most famous (later) was Oscar Gamble, but also Gary Ross (traded to and played a little for San Diego) and a large number of others.

    When I got out of the military I was lucky to get a job that had extensive travel and great flexibility as to destination. I managed to attend about 60 - 70 games per year for the next 30 years. And in those days, the Cubs farm system REALLY sucked. Since retirement, that is what I miss most. Never got the minor leagues out of my system.

  • I am curious about Pin-Chieh Chen.

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    I think Chen is an org player/5th OF'er but I just like his approach, his above average athleticism and his ability to square up the baseball. His issue is his frame is just very small and he will probably never add a lot of strength.

  • Folks, here we have a guy whom no one exceeds as to dedication, hard work, and outstanding ability to get a job done. Yet he comes across as the next door neighbor type who never puts himself above anyone here. How refreshing is that?

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