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Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Almora HRs twice; Baez, Soler also go deep

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Almora HRs twice; Baez, Soler also go deep
Albert Almora

The other 2/3 of the trade Dan Straily and Bill McKinney made their debuts today, but once again, it was the guys who have been here all year who stole the show.

Albert Almora was one of those players and it sounds like he's really excited about the acquisition of his friend Addison Russell, whom he knows from Team USA and the AZ Fall League.

Omaha 7 - Iowa 3

  • Dan Straily made his debut with the Cubs organization and ran into some trouble with two outs in the 4th after Kris Bryant made an error on what would have been an inning ending play.  Straily went on to give up 4 unearned runs, the only runs he gave up.  He otherwise pitched well, going 5 innings, walking one and striking out 3.
  • Suddenly Arodys Vizcaino is struggling.  It was bound to happen.  He had his 2nd poor outing in a row, allowing 3 runs in 1 inning and raising his ERA to 14.40.
  • Arismendy Alcantara went 0 for 2 but walked twice, raising his walk rate to 6.9%.  Since mid-May over 53 games and 220 PAs, he has a 9.6% walk rate and has hit .343/.400/.599 with 8 HRs, 13 SBs, and has an improved 20% K rate in that time.  Whatever his bench marks are, these last two months have to be pretty close.
  • Javier Baez went 1 for 4 and the one was another booming HR.  Baez continues to try and work the count, though the ump didn't cooperate with him on borderline calls.   Suddenly Baez is slugging .456 (ISO .215) and has 14 HRs on the year.  His walk rate is a more than respectable 8.5%, including a remarkable 16% since Kris Bryant joined the team 19 games ago.  Things are coming together quickly for him right now.
  • Kris Bryant went 1 for 3 with a walk.

Birmingham 7 - Tennessee 1

  • Pierce Johnson didn't have that great command, missing the zone (3 walks) and leaving the ball up (2 HRs) in what was his least effective start since coming back.  Johnson lasted just 4 innings, giving up 6 hits and 3 runs overall, though he did strike out 6.  He fell to 2-2 with a 3.79 ERA at AA.
  • Addison Russell has hit the ball hard at times but went 0 for 4 and is still  hitless (0-9) since joining the Cubs organization.  He'll be fine.
  • Jorge Soler went 3 for 4 and hit his 2nd HR in as many days.  He's hitting .394 with 10 of his 13 hits going for extra base hits.

Daytona 4 - Lakeland 3

Daytona 6 - Lakeland 1

  • Daytona stayed red hot and lead their division on the 2nd half, though it is still early.  Tayler Scott started the first game and went 5 solid innings, allowing 2 runs.  As usual he didnt miss many bats (2 Ks) but Scott also didn't walk anyone which is important for him.  His ERA is at 5.08.
  • LHP Austin Kirk allowed 2 walks and a run in 2 innings, but it was good enough to pick up the win.  Steve Perakslis pitched a scoreless inning to pick up his 2nd save.
  • In the second game, LHP Rob Zastryzny started for the first time in just over 2 weeks. He picked up where he left off, pitching 3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and walking none.  He struck out 5.  We love his peripherals and now his ERA is beginning to follow suit, hovering just over 5 at 5.05 after it was in double digits early in the year.  The walk rate is just 2.17 while his K rate is a very good 9.39.  His FIP dropped to 3.38.  Zastryzny's biggest issue -- the long ball -- has also improved.  He has given up 6 HRs but 4 of them were in April.  His FIP since May 1st is 2.48 while his ERA is 3.15.
  • Justin Amlung hasn't had as dramatic a turnaround but he has been pitching much better of late as well.  He worked 4 innings and allowed just one run.  He did not walk a batter and struck out 4 to move to 2-2 and dropped his ERA to an even 5.
  • Albert Almora is red-hot.  He went 3 for 7 with 2 HRs, 3 runs, 4 RBI and is now hitting a respectable .275 with 5 HRs.  The OBP needs work but it is rising (.299) as is his slugging (.385).  He is hitting .425/.455/.683 in his last 10 games.  Almora left the game in the 2nd game of the twin bill, but it was just leg cramps and with Daytona up 5, it was the right move.  He was fine after the game.
  • The other big producer is the ever reliable Bijan Rademacher, who went 3 for 7 with 1 HR, 2 runs, and 2 RBI.  He hit his 5th HR, tying Almora for 3rd on the team (the FSL is not a hitters' league) and is hitting .284/.394/.424 overall.
  • Rock Shoulders hit his 6th HR of the year.  He is 2nd on the team to Dan Vogelbach, who has 8 on the year.
  • Bill McKinney went 2 for 6 over the two games, both singles.

AZL Indians 11 - AZL Cubs

  • It was great to see Dillon Maples on the mound again.  In his second start he was a bit wild, walking 3 in 2.1 innings while allowing 3 runs (2 earned).
  • Great job by the bullpen starting with Victor Salazar.  The 21 year old RHP from Venezuela retired all 5 batters he faced, striking out 2 of them.  He has not allowed a run yet this year, but that only covers 3.2 innings.
  • Tanner Griggs made his pro debut and allowed just a walk in 1 inning but that runner was cut down stealing, so Griggs faced the minimum.
  • Luis Hernandez imploded in the bottom of the 8th, allowing 7 runs to put this game out of reach for the rookie Cubs.
  • Not much offense.  A player I like, Bryan Flete went 1 for 3 with a walk and is hitting .345 on the year as he rotates with Gleyber Torres, Ho-Young Son, and others.
  • C Alberto Mineo is just 19 and is that rare player that hails from Italy.  He is off to a great start this year and today went 1 for 4 with a double, run, and an RBI.  He's hitting .351 with 4 doubles and 4 walks in 37 PAs.
  • Joey Martarano played 1B and went 1 for 3

 

Comments

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  • Isn't it a good sign when "Kris Bryant went 1 for 3 with a walk." Makes us fans depressed. We are getting spoiled.

    Thanks for the recap, John.

    Speaking of Soler, who do you see being a better OF (RF) between Soler and Bryant? I'm dreaming of the twin towers in the corner OF, with AA/Almora between them in CF.

    I have to tip my hat to Theo and Co for the Addison trade. I was a proponent of Shark to LA for Pederson. Looks like they made, what I thought undoable, happen in acquiring a top prospect MI. Well done!

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    I was also wondering about the Soler/Bryant comparison. They both have good arms from what I've heard. If Soler and Villanueva get promoted to AAA next year, Bryant could be playing a lot more OF.

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    They are roughly the same but Soler has the skills to be better. Right now it may just be a matter of who plays there first.

    They wound up getting an even better prospect than Pederson, so I guess we should be pretty happy with that!

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    Wow you give Theo tips? Some clues as players develop. #1 for long term Cubs fans this is a new thing, organizational development and scoring/adjusting, i.e., Alcantara the last three years, Baez this May-June making significant plate approach changes, Almora making adjustments to actually turn on the ball to gain more power, Soler changing his body workout regimen, etc. Cubs are amassing a helleva stable that will have impact.

  • Is it too much to ask for KGallo's take on Addison? (I know he has to edit himself)

    Also...I'm being a pest...any chance we can get a list of the past theo/hoyer drafted players and "where are they now"?

    I know we ask a lot. Please take it as the compliment, for what it is...we would not place such high expectations upon you, if we felt that you could not deliver.

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    In reply to SymposiumX13:

    Good call. I was thinking the same thing.

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    Theo oversaw Boston's drafts from 2003-2011. Keep in mind, the CBA was a lot different then and draft money was not slotted or capped. Also, the FA compensation draft picks were assigned differently as well.

    His first draft produced OF David Murphy in the 1st round and Jonathan Papelbon in the 4th. Matt Murton was also taken in the 1st.

    2004 saw Dustin Pedroia taken in the 2nd round. They had no 1st rounder that year. Nothing of note after that.

    He struck gold in 2005 taking Clay Buchholz, Jed Lawrie and Jacoby Ellsbury in the 1st. Because of that previous CBA, they had 5 1st round picks that year. Pitchers Craig Hansen and Michael Bowden were the other two. They drafted Pedro Alvarez in the 14th round but failed to sign him.

    They had 4 1st rounders in 2006, prep CFer Jason Place and pitchers Daniel Bard, Caleb Clay and Kris Johnson. Place never made it above AA and was out of baseball by 2011. Bard had some success until getting injured and generally just losing it. Clay has yet to make the majors and is pitching in AAA Salt Lake after a brief stint in Korea. Johnson has spent much of the last 5 years toiling in AAA with brief and unremarkable call ups the last two seasons. However, the Red Sox did get Justin Masterson in the 2nd, Brandon Belt in the 11th and Josh Reddick in the 17th. Belt never signed.

    In 2007, Nick Hagadone was their first pick (comp) followed by 4 guys you've never heard of SS Ryan Dent (comp), 3B Jeffrey Morris in the 2nd, RHPs Brock Huntzinger in the 3rd and Chris Province in the 4th. None made it to the bigs. Will Middlebrooks followed in the 5th with some guy named Anthony Rizzo in the 6th. Hagadone was packaged with Masterson and 2008 1st round comp selection Bryan Price for C Victor Martinez while Rizzo was sent to San Diego as part of a package for 1B Adrian Gonzales. They also selected Justin Grimm in the 13th, Yasmani Grandal in the 28th and Nick Tepesch in the 29th, all of whom didn't sign.

    In 2008, they took oft-injured RHP Casey Kelly in the 1st and the aforementioned RHP Bryan Price in the comp round. The 3rd yielded Dodgers AAAA emergency starter Stephen Fife. The only player of note this year was 6th rounder, C Ryan Lavarnway.

    2009 is quite likely his worst draft. 1st round pick Ray Fuentes is a CFer in the Padres org. He, along with Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo, was part of the package for Adrian Gonzales. 2nd rounder P Alex Wilson has toiled away in AAA for the last 4 years seeing brief duty in the Boston pen in 2013 and 3 innings this year. 3rd round pick, SS David Renfroe never made it above High-A and is out of baseball. No one of significance that I can identify was drafted by Theo this year.

    2010 1st round pick 3B/OF Kolbrin Vitek (who?) never made it above AA and is no longer playing. Comp pick OF Bryce Brentz was the 64th best prospect (MLB) in 2012 but has topped out at AAA. But fellow comp pick, RHP Anthony Raunado is still highly thought of and 2nd rounder Brandon Workman is pitching for the big league club. 3rd rounder, prep IFer Sean Coyle is 22 and tearing up AA and 4th rounder Garin Cecchini was ranked in the top 50-75 prospects coming into this season.

    Theo definitely went out in style with his last draft. He had two 1st round picks and two comp picks to work with, and so far, they're all looking good. RHP Matt Barnes was ranked around 40 last year and between 64th & 86th coming into this season. 1st rounder C Blake Swihart is ranked between 61-73 and playing well in AA. Comp pick LHP Henry Owens is ranked 30-69 and doing very well in AA as a 21-year-old. And their 2nd comp pick, CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. broke into the bigs last year. But the best is yet to come. In the 5th round, the Red Sox took rookie phenom Mookie Betts. Nice way to go out, huh.

    Lots of misses, as is to be expected. But, interestingly, some of those misses were packaged in deals for well established major leaguers. Attrition rates are high. Scouting is an inexact art that Theo treats like a science. But I would venture that he's done better than most. I caution against comparing the Cubs drafts from 2003-2011 to those of the Red Sox without having some shots lined up. You'll want to forget.

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    I will talk.to John about putting some together. I think I even have pre draft notes on Russell and McKinney.

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    I spent an hour recapping all Theo's drafts while with the Red Sox, but the spambot here is still chewing on it. Hopefully it shows up eventually. Would hate to have all that go to waste. John or Mike, is there some sort of queue you can check?

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    Do you mean the players they drafted with Boston and San Diego?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can see his post... it's really good info and good perspective. This really could be its own article.

  • It will be interesting to see if Soler keeps up his solid hitting what the Cubs will do as he has a major league contract. Does that change his ascent? Good problem. From what it appears, he has put in the effort so I hope he gets rewarded.

  • Just curious, what makes the FSL consistently "not a hitter's league"? I'm out here in California League territory so I know what makes this a hitters league (the elements). Is there something similar going on there?

  • In reply to TheFiveYearPlan:

    Just the climate the amount of humidity it the air makes it heavy pretty much the opposite of Denver

  • In reply to TheFiveYearPlan:

    Heavier air and big parks that are also used for MLB spring training

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    Thanks for the recap, John. I am encouraged by Soler, and can only hope he can stay out of the trainer's room and on the field.

    I am more encouraged by Almora's progress. He really scuffled at the beginning of the year for whatever reason, and he's really putting it together in a big way these days.

    It will be interesting to find out the attrition rate of the big prospects, as each one brings something different to the table. I just hope Hoystein can use great asset management in our system to fill out the rest of the rotation.

    Exciting stuff for sure!

  • In reply to Cubs 27:

    Thanks. There will be attrition so the Cubs will have to be careful about who they trade.

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    Really good to see Soler tearing it up and Almora waking up. Overall, things are really starting to look up in the minors after Bryant produced most of the best news for the first third of the season.

    If Soler stays healthy and finishes strong along with Almora and Baez, and Alcantrara stays hot and reaches the majors this year, it could make for one of the most exciting winters in years looking forward to 2015 - especially if the Cubs get aggressive in free agency.

  • If any one is interested on cbs New York cashman talks about the trade talks he had with the cubs leading up to the trade

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    Go to the link below. It;s close to being up to date.

    http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/team/draft.jsp?c_id=chc

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    In reply to Ed Holndoner:

    That list is not a good one. There are 7 players on that list that show as "Unsigned" that have actually played in a minor-league game. BA's is much better

  • In reply to Ed Holndoner:

    http://ccdt.webs.com/

    This site has been mentioned here before and is a helluva lot better than relying on anything MLB puts out... in my opinion.

  • I would love everyone's input on a question that's been rolling around in my head for a while now.

    The Cubs FO has a fairly well known and specific development philosophy. Hit certain benchmarks, get a certain number of plate appearances, etc., before being promoted. They want players with a good approach at the plate that will put together quality at bats each time. We saw their patience with keeping Bryant in AA, not promoting Baez until he showed better discipline and improved his walk rate and K/BB ratios at Daytona and Tennessee, and sending Rizzo back to AAA to work on his swing and get a "full compliment" of PAs.

    Why does this philosophy not apply to Junior Lake and Mike Olt?

    Lake was promoted after 170 plate appearances in AAA. He was hitting well, but not exactly dominating. Olt did dominate in AA while he was with Texas, but was terrible in AAA slashing .197/.302/.368 with a 30.6% K rate while dealing with the after effects from a concussion and allergy-driven eye problems. If Baez or Bryant were performing at that level, would we be clamoring for them to be brought up?

    While with the Padres, Rizzo hit .141/.281/.242, striking out in 30% of his 153 PAs. By comparison, Olt is hitting .147/.225/.365, striking out in 38.7% of his 191 plate appearances so far this season. Rizzo had 412 PAs in AAA when he was sent to Iowa. Olt has 420, so why not send him back? They had identified something in Rizzo's swing they wanted him to work on. He did, played great in Iowa, was brought up and the rest his history. Wouldn't it be obvious to the Cubs FO that Olt would benefit from spending time in AAA working on his swing?

    So what is so different about Lake and Olt? If Theo is all about creating value, why doesn't he use his tried and somewhat true developmental philosophy on those guys? You think the Cubs have some trade chips now, can you imagine if Lake and Olt were performing well? Right now, they have very little value to the Cubs or any other team.

    Both Lake and Olt are older now, 24 and 25 respectively, than Rizzo was when he returned to AAA, and certainly older than Bryant, Baez or Alcantara. But in a world where we are in the business of creating value, should that matter? Have they given up on Lake and Olt? Are they passed being helped?

    I'm at a loss. Can anyone shed some light on what they're thinking?

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    In reply to Quedub:

    Strictly a guess based on human behavior. Theo /Jed/Jason value Baez, Bryant etc at a higher level than Olt and Lake. Rizzo had the potential to be better than the numbers he was putting up prior to being sent down. I would extrapolate that out to mean they feel like this is about what Lake and Olt are... for better or for worse.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Olt already had MLB experience, so I'd guess they felt that with the eyes fixed, he's as ready as he'll be. Plus they have better 3B prospects who need playing time down there. Lake did okay feasting on mistake pitches and mediocre fastballs in AAA, so sending him down to do it some more would likely do little to change his Soriano-style approach. I suspect each of these guys has hit the limit of what they can do in terms of contact ability and pitch recognition, respectively. No amount of whispering in their ear and drills can create an MLB player.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Good question which hopefully gets answered right after the All Star break.

    IMO, Junior Lake is in Chicago because there was nobody at Iowa playing worth a flip. Szczur, Kalish, BJ, and Casper Wells were awful and Manny isn't eligible. Unless the Cubs are concerned about cratering Iowa's playoff chances, I expect the Cubs to start the second half with AA in CF with Ruggianio taking Jr's place in left.

    Mike Ott is more of a quandary, but MAN does R2 have a ton of patience with him and is obviously trying to put him in the best situations to succeed. Hopefully, however, the second half begins with Ott playing 1B at Iowa and either Valaika or Watkins platooning with Valbuena at 3B.

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    In reply to DropThePuck:

    You might be the only person alive who is confusing Mel Ott and Mike Olt.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Great question Quedub and answer DropThePuck. 100% on board with everything you said here. Get those two back to AAA so they can see if they can get something to click, bring up Valaika and/or Watkins and actually use them this year unlike what Dale did last year with Logan. This would allow you to see if you have a good utility player when next year comes around or if those Valaika and Watkins are just going to be 4A players. I think the demotion would help Olt better than Lake but they should both be sent down to work out their problems and have them earn their way back like Rizzo did a couple of years ago.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Simply put, Olt's arb clock had already been started by TEX (he's under contract through his prime years anyways) so from a business perspective, we lose nothing with him being with the MLB club. He's got legitimate prospects behind him at AAA/AA in Bryant & Villanueva. He had a great ST so why not see what he can do?

    I agree though, he didn't have the level of success required at AAA so they can say all they want about those benchmarks, but they didn't apply to Olt.

    I don't think we should expect Junior Lake to ever be more than a utility guy. His tools are loud and he is exciting 9and infuriating) to watch. But when they brought him up last year, the only OF'r we had that didn't suck or wasn't on the DL was Nate. They needed him, he was a bit of an emergency call up. Then he has early success and I do believe failure is the best teacher. He needed to fail at the MLB level to accept that he needs to make adjustments. I think a post AS break demotion and Sept call up might be in his best interests. But who do we replace him with? Other than Ruggiano, and Coghlan's last handful of games... Who has out played him at the MLB level. Anyways, his struggles is just something he has to play through whether its at the MLB or AAA level.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    As a minor point, the Arb clock stops when you option a guy to the minors. If they wanted to push back his arb status, they could have. Arodys Vizcaino was accumulating service time while on the DL with us for 2 years, but now he is not.....he is on optional assignment. We would have done that sooner, except that you cannot option an injured player

  • In reply to Zonk:

    My point with Olt was he only has this year and next year eligible for options. Since he would have to accumulate 2.128 years of service time and be in the top 22% of same tenured players, isn't he mathematically eliminated from super-two status? Hence, he will have 4 years of arb eligibility which will take him to age 31+ before he is a FA. i.e., we already have him locked up for his "prime" seasons so there was no business reasons/motivation to keep him in AAA. He obviously could have benefited from a developmental standpoint, but thats a separate discussion.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Indeed. Probably doesn't matter, Olt's swing has way too many holes, just seems like a fundamental problem that minor league reps won't solve. Too bad, because he plays a nice 3B IMO, and clearly has power, he would only need to hit .230 to be a productive ML regular.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    That's still not out of reach for him... That would give him some decent trade value or he'd make a great corner IF/OF utility/power PH bat type of guy.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Theo was on Bruce Levine's show the morning after the cool music event. He said he still had hopes that Olt would develop into an everyday player, but if that does not happen, he still has value as a utility player and as a pinch hitter with power. He even mentioned Olt being available for spot duty in the outfield. Sounded like he wanted to hang onto Olt.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    Look at it this way........Rushing these guys shows fans they're willing to promote and give chances. Really it was a distraction and a plan to make sure this was a losing season. The FO knew Lake and Olt aren't/were ready, but if they played and were given a shot they can tell fans at least were giving them a shot. They're playing for a high draft pick. My guess is next year they're both sent down and Alcantara and Bryant take their place

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Unfortunately it does matter. Players that stay in the minors past 24-25 years old tend to have less success.

    I know with Lake they just didn't have any options. Outfielders were going down like flies and they needed somebody. It was meant to be temporary but when he played well, they kept him around.

    Olt is older and didn't have anywhere to go. In retrospect they may have been better off playing him at 1B at AAA, but he has had some misfortune He didn't have time on his side.

    So the answer I guess is that sometimes circumstances dictate your decisions and that it isn't always the most ideal situation. Sometimes you have to make choices and reality means that Lake and Olt may not have the same luxuries that guys like Baez and Bryant do.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sink or swim for Olt and Lake. Swim=value, while sink='place holder'. Either way neither were expected to be long term regulars.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    There are already posted better answers to this than mine, but...

    Every painful time I watch Lake bat I think "They keep him here hoping that at some point he realizes that his approach is just wrong and he tires of being an automatic out and THEN maybe he will become coachable."

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    If Soler and Almora continue to be red hot for the rest of July, Do you think it's realistic to think that Almora goes to Tennessee for August and Soler goes to Iowa by August 1st, and participate in Iowa's playoff games? If Soler opportunity does happen and he is successful, do you think he will get a September call up due to his ML contract or play it safe and play hold up with his service dates?

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    There's no reason to play it safe with Soler's service dates as he already has a major league contract. 2015 will be the last year they could send him back and forth from the big club to the minors. He has to be up for good in 2016 either way.

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    I'd consider giving Soler a call up to Iowa but I think they want to have him see some sustained success at one level. The same applies to Almora. He is learning some things down at Daytona, no reason to rush him.

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    Is there a reason Zastryzny had a couple weeks off? He did not pitch from June 22 until yesterday, then only pitched 3 innings.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    There was the all star break and a series of rain outs that have caused problems in the FSL.

    Vogelbach and Bryant had this issue last year. Could be a reason Schwarber was parked at KCC

  • In reply to Gator:

    So do you think that Schwarber might just skip Daytona similar to Bryant skipping KC so he can continue getting consistent reps? Or just play it out in KC this year and start next year in Daytona when it isn't quite the rainy season yet? Or is that too big of a jump to make skipping A+ ball?

  • So we are pretty sure the FO will keep Baez and Bryant in AAA to start 2015. There is also a good chance Russell and Soler could start there too. That could be the greatest minor league lineup ever. I may have to get a permanent residence in Des Moines if that happens.

  • I don't think Bryant will be there long at all.
    I believe the Cubs gain a year of service time in mid-April.

    Soler needs to advance quickly. Clock's ticking.
    Hopeful he can get up to the big club sometime in the 2nd half next year.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I think the super two date is in may/june. IDK the exact formula they use to compute it and it seems to change every year... One could sit down with the CBA and 2015 season calendar and back into it if they really wanted to... But yeah, it doesn't make sense to lose a year of cost control on a guy like Bryant/Baez just to bring him up approx 6 weeks earlier.

  • Wow...didn't think of that. The infield would have 3 top 10 prospects (likely) with Bryant at 3b, Russell and Baez at SS/2B or 2B/SS. The outfield would probably pair Cuban pals Silva and Soler and perhaps whoever is still around (and not cut, traded or in the majors) of Vitters, Jackson, Szcur and Watkins. Somehow Bruno, who hits about .300 at every level, doesn't have a place to start until Baez and Bryant are promoted.

    The rotation will not be likely as strong (perhaps Edwards, likely Johnson and Black but overall nowhere near as strong as the lineup in a hitters league), so it could be lots of high scoring games next April and May in Iowa.

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    I can't see a lineup of soler Almora, Bryant in the of with castro baez and Russell...way too right handed. One of them has to move. What about trading for Alex Gordon? Lefty bat, veteran presence. Think he just signed with KC though.

  • In reply to Melancubby:

    I think you're getting too far ahead of yourself. We need to wait until they've played their way up the MLB level and then see what we have before trading away our prospect depth. Not to say they won't go out and sign a FA LHH OF'r... but who? The FO has attempted to fill part of the LHH organizational void by drafting Schwarber and adding McKinney.

    Almora still looks to be 2yrs away. About the same as Schwarber & McKinney. But I think there's a possibility we see some combination of A.A./Soler/Bryant/Baez in our OF for at least part of next year...

  • Seems every day, 3 different guys go deep. Should we start a pool on which 3 Cubs top prospects will homer tonight?

    I'll go with Schwarber, Russell and Bryant. Nah, Alcantara, Jimenez and Vogelbach. Check that, Baez, McKinney and Torres. Yeah, that's the ticket!

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I like it, though the rule should be at least one pick has to be from someone not part of the Magnificent Seven....I'll go

    Schwarber (after two off days, against a weak pitcher)
    Soler (hitting everything right now)
    Jesse Hodges (been hot lately, not sure if he is actually any good but .368/.435/.602 in last 10 with 3 homers).

  • In reply to springs:

    Sounds fun.

    Bryant - because it's what he does
    Vogelbomb - He is due
    Boise Baez - Seems to be as likely as anyone else

  • In reply to IowaCubbie:

    Alcantara
    Mckinney
    Schwarber

  • I think the delay in calling up Alcatara is that the FO wants him to participate in the AAA All Star game. They did the same thing with Bryant at AA.

    I think the FO wants these guys to taste success and reap the rewards and get used to things like All Star games and Playoff games. It is a part of their development.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    That makes sense, hard to quantify but it's valuable. I would like to see him get a chance in Chicago for the reminder of the year and give Lake at bats in Iowa. Too early to give up on him.

  • Let me know if I am wrong with Soler's time table but because of his current contract and only having one minor league option left for next year is the FO's plan for him the following (with the assumption they have figured out his health issues)

    1. Get reps in at AA to test the hammie
    2. Get up to AAA just before the playoffs and gain that experience
    3. Get a Sept Call up for a cup of coffee
    4. Get tons of reps in ST against ML pitchers
    5. Either start the 2015 season with the Cubs or in AAA for a short time and then be called up

    That way if he gets 100 AB's at the MLB level and is only hitting .150, he can still be sent down to tweak his approach for a couple of months without having any contract issues?

  • In reply to IowaCubbie:

    A minor league option next year means he can go down and be called up all year. He can and probably will spend most of the year in AAA next season.

  • Jordan Minch scouting from a Big Ten baseball site (so slightly biased in his favor, but still promising for a LHP, especially the strong Cape Cod league numbers):

    Purdue’s Jordan Minch to sign with Cubs, forego final two seasons
    Purdue left-hander pitcher Jordan Minch announced via Twitter he will sign a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs, bypassing his final two years of eligibility for the Boilermakers.

    The No. 1 starter for Doug Schreiber’s club, Minch went 1-7 with a 5.71 ERA in 2014. Pitching 86.2 innings, Minch surrendered 102 hits, walked 36 and struck out 52 for 13-37 Purdue, a 6-18 club in the Big Ten to finish tenth. Though unable to translate into production and success, opposing coaches spoke well of the stuff Minch possessed. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound southpaw often featured a low-90s fastball with late tailing life and a 12-to-6 curve.

    Minch was selected in the 35th round by the Cubs, the 1,039th pick overall. Minch was eligible for the draft with a date of birth of July 16, 1993. Players at Division I institutes are eligible for the draft if they turn 21 within 45 days of the end of the draft. Minch made the cutoff by six days.

    A native of Highland, Ind., Minch was enjoying a strong summer in the Cape Cod League with the Hyannis Harbor-Hawks. In 19.1 innings, Minch held a 2.79 ERA, striking out 20 with nine walks, scattering 18 hits. Minch was one of two Boilermakers drafted in June. Senior catcher Sean McHugh was selected in the 18th round by the Phillies.

  • In reply to springs:

    That was a great summary. Thanks

  • Prospect watch this week: Starting pitchers not as exciting as hitters but hopefully all goes well for Beeler & Hendricks this week.

    If Beeler & Hendricks do well I think they will try really hard to push Ejax out the door so Straily can take his spot. With off season FA I think we will only need 1 of these 3 to be really good.

    Sounds like Wada is going back down so these spots are Beeler & Hendricks to lose?

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I am guessing they have priority because they have a future with this team but it is also because Wada is the 26th man for the DH so he has to go down. Maybe it depends on how they do.

  • Someone else mentioned it, but if Soler just tears up AA this month, I'd love to see him go to AAA for the last month of the year then go off to the Az Fall League. If everything goes perfectly, he may be in line for a mid-season call up next year.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    It will be interesting to see what they do. He hasn't yet had anything close to a full season at any level.

    He also needs reps, but might they be better off working with him some more and then sending him to the winter league? Better competition and it will give him more time to continue his workout regimen.

  • Wow no one read Ken Rosenthal article today. On how Desmond turned down 90 mil and they could be shopping for a young SS. Come on people.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    As long as they're contending for the post-season, Desmond isn't going anywhere so there's no need to do a deal now. Plus he's under contract through 2015 so there's no rush anyways. Now this winter could get interesting as we've cornered the market on young, impact MLB ready SS's. lol

    Obviously any deal that would net us Giolito and AJ Cole has my attention. lol Have you heard anything about Solis? I can see the stats, but before his TJS he was a LH SP with a 97mph FB... seems like the type we might target.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Would the Nats part with Giolito? If the answer is "no", who would be enough to pry lose Baez, Castro, or Russell from us?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    It depends on what they need. Noone is untouchable.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    That would be insane.

    In a good way.

    Castro's deal is less than half of that.

    Castro + for Desmond and Gioloto?

    Or a three team deal that nets us Gioloto and Cole?
    Do they need ant

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I don't think anything happens until the offseason.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Hmm.

    That just makes me like Castro for Desmond + Gio even more. We might need Cole, too. but we can add a reliever or maybe a guy like Beeler to equalize.

    We get a comp pick for Desmond while he keeps the seat warm for Russell.
    No worry about the question of if or where to move Castro.

    But chances are they probably trade for a much less srxy SS prospect that doesn't require they give up an elite prospect.

    The Dbacks have 2-3 SS prospects and a growing reputation for making embarrassing trades.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    article coming...

  • If Soler were called up right now I think he could be our most productive OF, which is a combination of how much I like him and how awful our current OF is (although Ruggiano and Coghlin have been pretty good lately).

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    You know after reading so much here, most seem to feel that our high profile guys hitting is not a big issue. Some might hit better than others, some with more power, but at least is sounds like most of you feel they will hit. What I wonder about is their fielding? Of our studs, what would be our best fielding team, dream wise? And with that team, can the really stay in those positions?

  • In reply to Daniel Stone:

    Our best Defensive team with our core players & top prospects?

    CF - Almora
    RF - Soler
    LF - Bryant
    3B - Baez
    SS - Castro
    2B - Russell
    1B - Rizzo
    C - Beef

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I'd flip Bryant and Soler as well as Russell and Castro.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    You can make a case for them either way... but I placed them there due to all of the scouting reports I've read that predict Russell may eventually outgrow SS whereas Castro is already a 3-time AS at the position and will never outgrow it... So if Russell can take it, then that's great! But I'm not giving it to him.

    Also, I've seen Bryant a cpl times in Daytona last year and in Jax this year. He has an absolute cannon for an arm. But I think he's still half a tick below Baez/Soler/Lake/Silva for best arm in among the upper minors/MLB players. Plus I've seen Soler play RF, and witnessed him throw out runners at 3B from the RF foul line. I've only seen Bryant at 3B. While I think he can play it from I've read, Soler is already a plus defender there...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think Zagunis will be better defensively than Beef. I don't know if you count him as a top prospect.

    And you forgot our LH hitters, Alcantara, Hannemann, Schwarber and Mckinney. Your line up is heavy in RH bats.

  • In reply to John57:

    it's yet to be seen if Zagunis can stick at Catcher. I think he can, but he has a long way to go to get there. His 20% cs rate is not acceptable so he needs a lot of work. Way too raw to count on him.

    A.A. and Hannemann have speed to burn, but their arms pale in comparison (especially Hannemann) to the others and while they're best suited to play CF, Almora is the best defensive CF in the system.

    I suppose if it's just defense, an argument c/b made that A.A. might be better than Bryant in LF, but by how much? IDK...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yup Soler has puig type are. Perhaps it's something in the water in Cuba.

    What if Soler has a Puig type impact next year? Oh my

  • In reply to Daniel Stone:

    Almora will be at least an above average defender, maybe more.

    Russell is well liked by scouts to be a good MLB SS, Prof Parks is the highest of all on him. So there's two spots filled by prospects with plus fielding between Almora and wherever Russell ends up with Castro playing solid D.

    Bryant is a legitimate question mark at third. Some think he'll be fine, and some think his size makes him not agile enough to make some plays big league 3B need to. But he's played in the outfield before and is athletic with a cannon for an arm, so I think he ends up as an average LF or RF with a plus arm.

    Soler is solid but not spectacular, but with a plus arm.

    Baez is a question mark at SS or 2B. He makes plenty of errors, but they seem to be more between the ears resulting from overaggression. I think a move to 3B, which plays mostly on instict (which he has an abundance of) and would reduce those errors.

    AA is extremely athletic, but wasn't consistent enough to stick at SS, and is new to CF. He has the tools for it (great speed, range, and a good arm) but it remains to be seen how well he takes to the nuances such as routes to the ball.

    So a pretty good mix. Some plus, some average, some question marks. None of them are butchers in the field though, so there will be plenty to work with. I don't see any of them making a glaring hole in the field. Some lower profile prospects (Eg: Vogelbach) do have the possibility of being a liability, but for the most part not the top guys. The only thing to factor in now are age and injury. It is possible that Soler's leg injuries sap him of speed into his late 20s and he becomes a liability, or that as Almora and Russell hit their mid 20s they add bulk and lose speed, moving them off of an up the middle position, as it goes with prospects though.

  • Would we trade Starlin to the Nationals for a package headlined by Cole and Giolito? They are looking for a young SS since Desmond isn't going to sign an extension there.

  • In reply to apalifer:

    Trading a for sure top flight offensive SS at the major league level who is controlled for a long time for pitching in the low minors is asking for a disaster if you ask me.

    We all know about the attrition of pitching prospects, let alone a headliner in A ball. Sufficed to say it's exponentially higher than the attrition rate of young proven MLB shortstops.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I agree and I'm content to have Starlin at SS for the duration of his contract +++..... But if we get blown away, it's a business decision. If we could get Desmond & Giolito, or Gio & Cole; they would have my attention.

    Desmond could handle SS for 2015 (we may gain 1-2 WAR) and then let Russell/Baez take over in 2016. Then we get a comp pick when Desmond leaves... and we have a potential ACE in waiting in Giolito.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I really like the Desmond & Giolito option. If they don't do that then I would keep Starlin.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I love Giolito, so I'm not saying it isn't an interesting proposition, but the floor is too low. I'll assume the prospects in the minors are equal in both scenarios, focusing only on the new acquisitions and how it would effect those prospects.

    Best case scenario, Desmond has a big bounce back year next year in a not spectacular but pivot year for the club and then we get a comp pick for him or we trade a few months of him for prospects. Russell/Baez take over at SS in 2016. This leaves another hole to fill in the field long term due to prospect attrition (inevitable in any scenario) because in the "keep Castro" version that spot is locked down before those guys get there and they fill in other holes with plus defense rather than average-possibly plus at SS and leave holes elsewhere, seems to be treading water offensively (our biggest problem) compared to keeping Castro and loading up everywhere else. Giolito becomes a bona-fide ace in 2016-17, huge plus.

    Worst case scenario: Desmond continues the terrible season he is having into next year and the Cubs are unable to get any prospects for him before he leaves for FA after the year and must place a heavy burden on the prospects to come in and be a long term SS. Once again, this leaves another hole to fill in the field long term due to prospect attrition (inevitable in any scenario) because in the "keep Castro" version that spot is locked down before those guys get there and they fill in other holes with plus defense rather than average at SS. Giolito battles arm troubles, as he already had TJS once, and never even pitches an inning as a major league player, like a number of pitching prospects.

    The ceiling is intriguing and there is no doubt of that, but that floor is way, way, way too low to give up an asset like Castro. If you insert Baez instead, then I'm with you on pulling the trigger. This FO has shown the ability both in Chicago and Boston to build a solid pitching staff utilizing FA and the draft. I don't get the perceived need to get TOR prospects in a trade for one of our premier position players when building a pitching staff has never been a problem, and scoring runs has.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I don't disagree with any of that NMU. If I had to choose, I'd keep Castro. Too much risk in trading him away for a team that I think is close to getting back to .500+ ball.

    I doubt the Nats are really going shopping for a SS anyways. They have Desmond for another year and its still too early to give up on Zach Walters.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Fair enough. But if there were any pitching prospect in baseball who made you salivate enough to want to pull the trigger, it would be Giolito.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I agree. It's going to have to be something like Castro for Jordan Zimmerman + cole . The nasty Nats do not think they can resign him, and he seems destined to hit free agency.

    I could def see something like this happening in the off season as Nats going for the WS this year

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Obviously Zimmerman would have to agree to an extension

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    I have to admit that i was wrong in my assessment of Albert Almora. I watched the young man play many times last year in Peoria. I shouldn't of been comparing him to the many other top prospects that i have seen play in peoria for the cubs and other organizations. Nope Almora will never have the power a Baez or a Bryant has,or the speed of a Alacantara,or the throwing arm and physique of a Jorge Soler....what Almora has going for him that will make him stand out amongst the others....the kid is a winner. Make up wise Albert Almora reminds me of a derek Jeter. Hopefully he will have a career like the great and classy Jeter has had.

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