Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Prospect HR Parade -- Bryant, Baez, Russell, Soler, Vogelbach

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Prospect HR Parade -- Bryant, Baez, Russell, Soler, Vogelbach
Addison Russell

Here's your highlights of the Cubs prospects today (h/t Rice Cube of World Series Dreaming)

In all seriousness, lots to cover. So let's get started...

Iowa 7 - Round Rock 0

  • Dallas Beeler is making a bid to get called up again when the Cubs need starting pitching.  He pitched 7 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and walking 2 while striking out 4.  He also induced 9 groundball outs, his specialty, en route to improving his record to 6-3 with a 3.56 ERA at Iowa this season.
  • Marcus Hatley and Armando Rivero each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the shutout.  Neither walked a batter with Hatley striking out two and Rivero striking out 1.  Rivero lowered his ERA to 1.50, but we know he can shut down the opposition.  The key for him is to keep the walks down and he has done exactly that so far.  He has 17 Ks vs. just 3 walks in 12 AAA innings.
  • A blast from the past at the top of the lineup as Matt Szczur (3 for 5, 2 runs, his 15th SB) and Brett Jackson (2 for 5, triple, 2 runs, 2 RBI) set the table for the daunted middle of the Iowa order.
  • The big news before the game started was that Javier Baez was going to start at 2B in what is obviously a preparation for a big league job.  He handled it well but was even more impressive at the plate, where he hit his 15th HR -- an absolute bomb to CF, while also just narrowly missing poking one out down the LF line, settling for a double,  He drove in a run with each hit and added one more later on a sac fly - another ball that he hit extremely well.   Baez is hitting .244 and now slugging .456 on the year.  According to manager Marty Pevey, he  will be playing 2B for the next several days.
  • Not to be outdone, Kris Bryant hit his 10th HR of the year, another opposite field special and also hit a double down the RF line before singling up the middle in his last AB.  Bryant improved his average to .337 on the season and is hitting an incredible .35o on the year with 32 HRs -- and we are just in mid July.
  •  Ryan Kalish doubled, walked twice, and drove in a run while Chris Valaika and Rafael Lopez each added a pair of hits.

Tennessee 4 - Huntsville 1

  • Corey Black has had two very strong outings in a row.  This time he walked 2 and struck out 8 in 6 innings.  He was cut down his walk rate over the last 2 months to just over 3 per 9 IP, a huge improvement as he had been well over 5 for most of the year.  The velo  has been in the low 90s for the most part with his usual good slider.  The difference of late has been command.  He allowed 1 run over the 6 innings to improve to 5-6 with a 2.63 ERA.  He has just over a strikeout per inning (91 in 89 IP).
  • The Smokies bullpen was lights out today, starting with LHP Hunter Cervenka, who had a much needed scoreless, walkless inning after falling into a bit of a rut.
  • Lendy Castillo (0.2, 1 walk) and Andrew McKirahan (0.1, 1 K) combined for a scoreless 8th. while Frank Batista slammed the door shut with a scoreless 9th to pick up his 5th save.
  • The offense started with Addison Russell today who hit his first HR as a member of the Cubs organization today.  Russell also singled, scored twice, and showed off his solid defense by being part of 3 double plays on the day.  Russell is hitting .229 since joining the org but appears to be picking up momentum.
  • Speaking of momentum, thy name is Jorge Soler.  He got pitched around early, drawing a pair of walks and then they decided to start throwing him strikes, which is generally a mistake these days.  Soler launched his 6th HR of the year at Tennessee.  He's hitting .415.  Has 8 walks vs. 14 Ks in AA.  And between his AZ Rookie rehab and AA he has 12 doubles and 7 HRs in 24 games.  Boy it's easy to forget how fun he is when he is on.  Now the question becomes with Tennessee fading and Iowa on the rise, do you get him to AAA late in the year to get him some playoff ABs and experience?  I think I would if he keeps hitting over the next month.
  • Christian Villanueva joined in the action late with his 3rd HR at AA.  He was 1 for 4 overall.

Fort Myers 7 - Daytona 5

  • Now that the offense has perked up, Daytona has had some inconsistent starting pitching.  LHP Nathan Dorris continued his bumpy season as a full time starter in the FSL.  He allowed 5 runs in 4.2 innings as his ERA rose to 4.99.
  • Michael Jensen got the loss however.  He allowed just one run in 2.1 innings, but it was the go-ahead run.  Jensen has a 2.72 ERA on the year.
  • Kyle Schwarber got his first 2 hits as a Daytona Cub, scoring one run.  He is 2 for 6 to start the year with 2 walks.
  • The big hit came from Dan Vogelbach, who hit his 9th HR, a 2 run shot, and also added  a single and a 3rd RBI.  Vogelbach is hitting .274/.361/.427 on the season.
  • Marco Hernandez drove in a run and went 1 for 4 overall whjle Jordan Hankins doubled, walked and drove in a run as well.
  • Bijan Rademacher singled and walked, getting on base for his 28th straight game.

Kane County 3 - Lansing 0

  • Duane Underwood has really made progress this year and for all of the things we say he needs to improve, we forget he's just 19 and pitching in a full season league vs older hitters.  He has improved, particularly his control, as he walked just one batter in 6 scoreless innings.  That makes just 9 walks in his last 39 innings, a rate of just 2.08 per 9 IP.  But Underwood is no finesse pitcher.  He throws 92-94 though he doesn't always sustain that velo throughout the game.  That could come with physical maturity.  He's having an outstanding year with a 4-2 record with a 2.36 ERA on the year with 51 Ks vs. 24 BBs on the season.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa took the next step in his rehab with a scoreless inning.
  • LHP Gerardo Concepcion pitched 3 innings of scoreless, no-hit relief, walking 2 and striking out 3.  He picked up the win and moved to 2-2 with a 4.17 ERA, but he has pitched very well at times.  He's regained some of the oomph on his fastball working often at 90-91 and touching 92 when I saw him earlier in the year.  He has walked 12 (2.94 per 9 IP) and struck out 34 (8.33 per 9 IP ) in 36.2 innings this year.
  • This was a pitcher's duel through 9 before Kane County finally broke through in the 1oth.  They loaded the bases with one out when Jacob Rogers (3 for 6) drove in both Trey Martin (2 for 4) and Kevin Brown (0 for 4, walk).
  • Ben Carhart was 2 for 3 with 2 walks and he scored the 3rd run of the inning on a single by Cael Brockmeyer.
  • Will Remillard went 2 for 4 with a double.  He has had some nagging injuries in the 2nd half and has seen his line fall to a still very respectable .291/.374/.397 in 44 games this year.

Spokane 12 - Boise 5 

  • Joshua Conway had a rough outing in what has otherwise been a solid comeback season.  He allowed 5 runs (4 earned) in 2.2 innings.  He walked 1 and struck out 1 as his ERA rose to 3.12.
  • Rashad Crawford extended his hitting streak to 17 games, going 1 for 5 with 2 runs scored.  He is hitting .325.
  • Mark Zagunis went 2 for 5 and scored 2 runs.  He is hitting .352 on the year and has shown an outstanding approach, walking in over 15% of his PAs and posting a .465 OBP.
  • 3B Jesse Hodges went 2 for 4 with an RBI.  He is an aggressive hitter who has walked less than 4% of his PAs this year, but he has shown some pop, hitting 4 HRs,
  • Justin Marra appears to be back on track.  He went 2 for 4 with a double, a run, and 2 RBI.  He is hitting .320/.391/.577 with 4 HRs on the season so far.
  • SS Jason Vosler had 3 hits to raise his average to .325/.372/.475 in his first 10 games as a pro.

AZL DBacks 3 - AZL Cubs 2

  • Justin Steele started things off with a scoreless inning, walking one.  it was his 2nd appearance of the year, both scoreless innings.  He has struck out 3.
  • Tanner Griggs pitched 2 scoreless innings and remains unblemished since signing as a 12th round pick in this year's draft.
  • Jose Paulino has really struggled after he was expected to be one of the mainstays of this staff, he allowed 3 runs (2 earned) in his 2 innings of work.  He ha a 9.88 ERA on the year.
  • Andin Diaz has been excellent out of the pen for the rookie Cubs,  The 21 year old LHP threw three more scoreless innings, walking one and striking out 4 to lower his ERA to 0.82 after posting a 3-1 record with a 1.21 ERA in the DSL to start the season.  He has walked 4 and struck out 10 in 11 innings in AZ.
  • Eloy Jimenez went 2 for 4 with a run scored.  He is hitting .260/.326/.452 as a 17 year old in this league.  Even the walk rate is a respectable 8.7%.



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  • Almora didnt homer!! #firetheo

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Ha! Neither did Schwarber. Some pick,

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    disgraceful! :D

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Careful. You'll insult Felzz.

  • Reading between the lines, you were laughing your ass off. Great recap.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    I was pretty giddy :)

  • Underwood also had 12 ground outs vs zero fly outs, good job at keeping the ball down, apparently.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Nice observation. Hasnt been his game, but I am sure they are teaching him to keep it down as they do with all their pitchers. He just keeps getting better.

    Even the "secondary" prospects - the Bijans, Wills, Rashads and Eloys in the system - continue to light up the boxscores with hits & walks.

    Hey John, I haven't commented much lately but continue to be amazed by your great work here. One suggestion for the Minor League recaps (as if you're not doing enough already!). For the upper levels, probably just AA and AAA, it would be great to know if we were facing an elite prospect pitcher on the opposing team. Probably no need to mention anything if not, but it would add some good context when that is the case.

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    Thanks Craig, I will try and remember to do that. Have thought about doing that at times.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree with this suggestion. Stats are stats, but when they have a little added weight when they come against an elite prospect.

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    I checked real quick and none of our guys homered off of anyone elite, although Baez' and Bryant's homers came off of guys who have logged a decent amount of MLB innings...

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    Good thought...I actually checked that last night. Baez and Bryant both homered off Robbie Ross, Jr., a lefty who was a reliever in the majors for Texas in 2012 and 13 (6-0, 2.22 in 2012, 4-2, 3.03 in 2013) that appears to have been injured and is being developed into a starter. He was a 2nd round pick in 2008 and was a pretty good prospect and, obviously, a pitcher with major league success already.

  • Just curious...where would Corey Black rank as a Yankee prospect if he was still in that organization today. Would he be one of their top 5? Top 10? Seems like the Cubs scouts picked off another good one.

  • Nice little day! Is KB really going to hit 57 bombs in a minor league season?!

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Sure seems that way!

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    In reply to Ben20:

    I wouldn't bet against him, but with about 6 weeks left, it's going to be very tough.

    Although I do expect him to crack 50 to show the world/rest of the MLB.

    Mr. Bryant is bringing 50 + homeruns seasons back into style .....90s style !! Chicks do dig the long ball

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    In reply to Ben20:

    Here's the thing, as well as Bryant is playing, Soler looks like he could give him a run for his money as the best hitter on the team and Javy Baez, while he's struggled, is the youngest of the three, still has the highest ceiling in the minors, and is showing signs he's starting to put it all together.

    And beyond that, this system still has Almora, Russell, Alcantara, Schwarber, and McKinney.

    This is going to be so much fun.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    So much fun indeed! Here's to big Jorge staying healthy for the rest of the year. I f that happens he has a solid chance of cracking the top 20 or even top 10 on a lot of lists heading into 2015.

  • I don't know what's better: fine chocolate, or reading the Iowa recap. Jesus.

  • In reply to deutscheCUBS:

    Why choose?

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    What an incredible night for the prospects. Best of the year overall, I think.

    Soler is amazing when he is healthy. If they have gotten to the bottom of those issues, I'm starting to wonder if Bryant, Baez, Soler and Alcantrara could be in the majors by June. Hopefully to stay.

    I'm really starting to think this team could be on the brink. Tanaka, Samardzija and Girardi may have all bet on the wrong horse.

  • I was curious about Mark Zagunis. Any rumblings about him possibly moving up to Kane County? It seems like he doesn't have much to prove at Boise. Is it a case of him simply being blocked at the next level at the moment?

  • In reply to Justin5183:

    That would be my guess. Even after moving Schwarber up KC still has 3 catchers on the roster, all of whom are prospects in one form or another. Boise also has 3 catchers. AZ has 6. Cubs have really attacked the position with quantity the last couple of years.

  • In reply to Justin5183:

    I was wondering the same thing. Boise isn't much of a challenge for an experienced college player, Schwarber is no longer blocking him and be great playoffs experience for Zagunis.

    Or could it be that the staff is so good at KC that they don't know if Zagunis is someone they want handling them?

  • In reply to Deacon:

    He'll stay in Boise - isn't that the deal they worked out with him?

  • In reply to Cuyler:

    I thought that deal was for Martarano, now playing in the AZ rookie league, since he plays football for Boise St.

  • In reply to Cuyler:

    No, you're thinking of Joey Martarano.

  • In reply to John Kerth: bad on that

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    In reply to Justin5183:

    I'm thinking within the next two weeks, they move Soler to Iowa, Rachemacher to Tennessee, and Zagunis to Daytona.

  • In reply to Justin5183:

    He looks blocked, especially with Remillard looking healthy enough to play again.

  • I can't wait to see Theo and Jed jump through hoops after ST to explain why Javy and Kris are starting next year at AAA for less than 2 months without being explicit about service time.

  • In reply to bzalisko:

    I'd expect them to confront that issue head on and say "Yes, that's part of it" but Javy/Chris, etc also have some details to smooth out for a month or two before being promoted. All of which w/b true.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think that's probably about right.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yep - on both fronts HD - that's the reality of it.

  • In reply to bzalisko:

    I was really expecting the position switches to occur in ST next year. Then Baez and Bryant could be sent out to Iowa with the idea of getting comfortable at their new positions. It would have still been an excuse, but at least it would have been a plausible one. Now, I'm not sure they will have any excuse. They'll just send them down, sidestep the questions like every other FO and declare them "ready" a short time after the service time cutoff date.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    They will handle it very much like they handled the Rizzo situation two years ago.

  • I know its hard to get a lot of attention after just a few weeks in pro ball but schwarber is really looking like a top prospect in his own right. In my mind thats the real reason to be excited; Bryant, Russell, Baez, almora, and Soler are extremely exciting, but it the next wave that really gives me faith in this plan. You can see the next ten guys already, you can see the value of the guys we've got waiting in the wings.

    the reason this is so exciting is because we dont just want to buy a championship; this is what I think have gotten many people behind the plan.

    I know things are getting exciting because my pessimistic friends are even starting to regain interest in the team..

    when they ask me about the prospects and the future of this team l start with an ear to ear smirk.being a cubs fan right now is like figuring out one of Houdini's tricks while everyone else watches in wonder.

    thanks for leading us on this journey John.

  • In reply to northside disciple:

    I think that's why last year's IFA haul was so interesting, too. The front office grabbed some really intriguing highly rated 16/17 year olds from Latin America. To set up a 3rd or 4th wave of talent.

    I've got some American friends over here in Tokyo that are Cards fans, and I might have to break out your ear-to-ear smirk soon, too. I don't think they know what's brewing in our system!

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    Gotta say, Soler is quickly becoming my fav prospect. Anyone else notice that three times in the last 10 games, he's been used as a PH and ALL three times, he's gotten on base (2H, 1BB)? Combine this with the fact that every time this guy has returned from injury, he hits like a guy in the middle of a double digit game hitting streak.

    It may be small sample size, but between the extra base hits, great walk and SO ratios (which of course lead to the video game like OPS), it certainly looks like this could be the guy with the highest ceiling in the organization.

    Hopefully, the fact that he's already on the 40-man gives him a shot to come up for a cup of coffee at year's end, but with his limited plate appearances, I suspect it's more likely he ends up in Iowa.

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    In reply to CUBS100 in LA:

    I think both will be the case. I think it will get harder and harder to keep him at AA as he is already showing a patient approach and good power plus get some possible play off experience, or at least be part of a chase.

    Then get a "cup of coffee" in September.

    I would actually like for Alcantara to get sent down for the stretch run for Iowa. Extend to these guys that, together, they will be having locker room celebrations. Adding Soler to that line-up would make it even more of Murderers Row.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    How about this for an Iowa Cubs playoff lineup in September:
    CF Alcantara
    SS Russell
    2B Baez
    LF Bryant
    RF Soler
    C Lopez
    3B Villanueva
    DH Ramirez
    1B Vailaka


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    In reply to mjvz:

    As I said the other day. Pitchers will "look forward to" facing Ramirez. That line-up is insane! And I think ALL 24 or under.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    If Soler, AA, Baez and Bryant are at Iowa together, that will be the best minor league lineup I have ever seen.

  • In reply to CUBS100 in LA:

    I think if you ask most people they would say that his ceiling is passed by only Javier Baez -- higher than Bryant, Almora, Schwarber, Russell, etc.

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    In reply to CUBS100 in LA:

    The fun part is, we don't have to choose. There is more than enough lineup space for Soler, Bryant, and Baez, meaning that opposing pitchers will get no letdown at all through the middle of the Cubs lineup.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Theoretically ;)

    Jesus Montero, Matt LaPorta, Brett Wallace, & Andy Marte all forgot to hit in the show.

    I bet most pitchers would actually prefer to face three or four 23 year olds in a row...

  • Exciting day, for sure. My question, that I know can be answered by people on this great blog, is, if someone (say, Baez) does get a call up in September for a taste of the big leagues, does that start his service clock? Many people here are planning on Kris and Javy being called up in early June, late May to prolong their service clock. When does it start? Do Sept call ups, when the roster expands, count? Thanks for everyone's expertise. Maybe I can impress my friends with a witty answer with your help.

  • In reply to BobMiller146:

    September time counts. Day of service time for every day in the Majors

  • In reply to CGunz:

    I will be happy if anyone can correct me on the following.

    A player's "clock" is started when he is placed on the 25-man roster. This means that even time on the DL counts toward service time. If a player on the 40-man roster plays in the ML in September, service time is accrued, but his "clock" does not start. As an example, Zac Rosscup was brought up last Sept and accrued 27 days of service time prior to this season.

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    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    What exactly is the difference between service time and players clock time? In relation to contract elgibility and other related issues. Thanks in advance for any additional information!

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    Well, I am not 100 % sure, so if I am wrong on any of this, I certainly hope someone more knowledgeable can correct me.

    If I have understood everything correctly, "clock" is the time spent on a 25-man roster, while "service time" is the time spent in the majors. For example, Vizcaino was placed on the 25-man for Atlanta Aug 10, 2011 and his "clock" started. As we all know, he was hurt and placed on the DL. Despite that, as of 1.1.14, he had accrued 2.050 years (2 years and 50 days) of service time. This is consistent with the 2012 and 2013 seasons counting as service time. Since he was placed on the DL as a member of a 25-man roster, his clock keeps ticking until, as a member of a 25-man roster, he is optioned back to the minors. That still has not happened.

    In contrast, take Chris Coghlan. His clock started with Miami on May 8, 2009. As of 1.1.14, Coghlan had accrued only 3.171 yrs of service time, mainly because he has bounced between the minors and majors since 2011.

    Again, a player on the 40-man roster getting a Sept call-up accrues service time, but his clock does not start, because he is not on the 25-man roster. Based on this, if some pitcher on a Sept call-up blows out his elbow and misses a year, he has not gained that year of service time, unlike Vizcaino.

    All data taken from

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Thanks for the clarification and the illustrations with current ballplayers really sheds light.

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    A season is actually about 183 days long, but a year of service time is defined as being on the 25 man roster for a total of 170 days. The numbers may be off one or two, but are reasonably close). If a player is brought up 14 days after the start of the season, he does not have one year's service time after staying on the roster until the end of the year, as he would have if he were brought up 12 days after the start of the year. The 170 days are cumulative, and do not have to be consecutive.

    The question I do not know the answer to ------

    Does service time in September count in the total? I think so, but an not positive. Perhaps someone can research ArizonaPhil's past articles and find out. That is where the Commissioner's office goes to find out details like that.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    A Sept call-up counts as service time but does not start the 'clock'. Read my post above.

  • In reply to BobMiller146:

    Also, Baez and Bryant only have to wait like 3-4 weeks into the season next year until they can be called up. They won't lose a year if the FO waits until late April/Early May. That's when they will most likely be called up.

  • In reply to BobMiller146:

    They do count, but you can add that it doesn't count for Rookie of the Year purposes, not that it matters to the Cubs.

    The Cubs may be concerned more with the extra year of service time than they are with Super 2 status, so they may need only to wait through April, but if Javy comes up in September, it may push him back to May.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Javier is a prime candidate to sign an extension early though. He doesn't come from money, and he is his Mothers, and handicapped sisters primary/sole means of support. He did get a couple mil signing bonus, but nothing like Bryant.

    The financial security now for sacrificing 2-3yrs of FA ala like Castro/Rizzo did could make a lot of sense for him. Plus, position players have a longer shelf life than pitchers so they are less opposed to hit FA at age 30 because with a premium bat, they will still get a 8-10yr and 9 figure contract.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Baez playing second is certainly very intriguing. I would think it only means a couple things:

    1. Getting him ready for a late summer call-up (makes sense because of how he as initialy struggled at new level last 2 years)
    2. They want to move Russell to AAA in next month or so to play SS.

    Epstein has said on several occasions no need to move these guys off of their current positions until we have an opening to fill. So I am very excited about what this could mean.

    On Bryant I do think he stays at Iowa because of service time as well as I have to think they want Olt to play 3rd the rest of the summer to see what he can do.

    I wouldnt be surprised at all to see Soler in Chicago in September he needs the AB's he is on the 40 man, he seems ready. Why not?

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    He had no problems signing early with the Cubs when he was drafted. I think the actual signing was delayed for administrative reasons, but he was basically ready to sign from Day 1, I think he's pretty straightforward.. Doesn't play games.

  • The casual fan will laugh in my face when I proudly tell them I am a cubs fan. I smirk knowing of the hell we're about to unleash upon the rest of the league soon.

  • In reply to DemonBerryhill:


  • Call me a meatball or a conspiracy theorist, but I don't believe the timing of Baez's first start at 2B was coincidental. The F.O. wanted this to happen during the all star break when maximum eyeballs would be on the minor league club, which should shut up the media trolls ordering the Cubs to trade a shortstop.

  • In reply to Darth Stout:

    I think that's a good point.

  • In reply to Darth Stout:

    Conspiracy theory works both ways. If the Cubs wanted to trade a shortstop, they would look much less desperate if they made it look as if they didn't HAVE to do so.

  • While I am thrilled about our prospects, just imagine what it would be like if we hadnt tanked the 2010 draft. Yelich, Synergaard, Walker, Aaron Sanchez, Castellanos , Zach Lee all went after Hayden in the 1st & supplemental rounds!!

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    2010 was a disgrace for us. Matt Szczur and Dallas Beeler are all that's left from that draft. Not much impact....

  • This makes makes me very sad. Easy to say in hindsight but just having one of those pitchers would be huge.

  • development is a part of that too.. which the Cubs system lacked previous to theo getting here. I am not just pointing out Hendry either. it was a weakness for quite a while

  • There are also quite a few guys that went after Simpson that have failed. There is no reason to think the Cubs would have taken one of the winners, rather than one of the losers.

    And remember, Wilken was on an extremely tight budget. The Trib didn't want to spend a penny that didn't have instant results. Wilken's only choice was to gamble on a lower cost, higher risk pick.

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    Is it possible to have an embarrassment of riches,NAH, didn't think so. The Cubs front office has to be feeling like King Midas. I love it.

  • I know this is the proverbial "great problem to have", but where are we going to put all these guys? Trades, for sure, but I don't want any of them playing for someone else. We need platoon baseball and special teams with 45 man rosters, I guess. LOL.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Where will we put all these prospects if they would all make it? Of course they wont if two-thirds make it then that will be very good. But if they all make it here are the options:

    C Castillo/Lopez/Schwarber
    1B Rizzo/Olt/Vogelbach
    2B Baez/Alcantera
    SS Castro
    3B Russell/Olt
    LF Bryant
    CF Alcantera/Almora
    RF Soler/McKinney/Schwarber

    that 14 guys for 13 spots: Almora/McKinney/Vogelbach are likely 2017 before they make an impact. Schwarber/Russell are likely 2016 before they make an impact. That leaves 9 guys that will make an impact in 2015 with 4 already here that leaves (AA,Baez, Bryant,Soler & Lopez for 2015). So there will be plenty of room.

    Lets say the 9 prospects (not counting Castro,Rizzo,Castillo,Olt or Lopez) probably at best only 6 make an impact at MLB level so there will be plenty of room. But it would be a great problem to have.

  • We truly have waves and waves of talent in the system. Every level has significant players to read about. Exciting!

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    Has anyone heard about Vogelbach's weight? Has he been able to keep the weight off? He's still one of my favorites and love to see him make it although with so many guys mashing right now he seems to be a bit forgotten.

    Com'on NL, adopt the DH already!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I don't know his weight but he still looks good, about the same as when the season started, which was about 225-230.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Looks like Dan and Schwarber could wear the same size suit. I think the two being together could benefit both of them.

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    Thanks for the update. This must have been a fun one to write. I hope Soler does go to Iowa this year.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Very fun to write! Thanks.

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    OT on this thread, but very good article on Chris Coghlan:

    Cliff Notes: Players improve due to either a) change in luck, or b) change in approach. This article makes very strong case for b) for Coghlan, meaning we may have actually found something

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Good read! Thanks for sharing!

    I had a good feeling about Coghlan when we signed him and he showed flashes (inconsistently) early on. Nothing driving that but intuition, and to be fair, felt the same way about Kalish and Olt. Both of them started out hot and then fizzled.

    But that's the beauty of signing guys like Valbuena & Coghlan, you only have to be right once in a while to make up for the 4 or 5 that didn't work. No one expects any of them to anyways, so it's like catching lightening in a bottle.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    That is a good article. I'm not a 100% sold on Coghlan yet, but he is cheap and the Cubs have no other options at the moment so I have no issue with running him out there every day the rest of the year. Hopefully he can keep it up and make Ryan Sweeney a DFA option next April.

  • Baez, Bryant, Soler 3-4-5 is going to make AAA pitchers crap their pants. Hell if Alcantara goes back down and they are hitting 1-3-4-5...wowza.

  • Thinking ahead a little, April 2015, Des Moines Iowa will be a prospect haven. That will be one scary lineup for AAA pitchers early on.

  • In reply to couch:

    True, they may not be there long, though.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to couch:

    I am already looking at places to stay in Des Moines!

  • Another thought, is it just me or do the Cubs seem to have a lack of pitchers needing season ending surgeries, especially the ones the current front office drafted, excluding surgeries that were expected at the time of draft/acquisition? Seems like the pitching program is doing an excellent job, with some small setbacks here and there, but overall great progress. Slow and patient seems to be the way to go from a fan's prospective with pitching.

  • In reply to couch:

    Derek Johnson is worth his weight in gold with his work behind the scenes. One of Theo's really good moves.

  • Manny in Iowa seems to be fixing Szczur and BJAX too.

  • In reply to John57:

    I was decidely NOT in the camp that thought that bringing Manny onboard was a good idea,.... Was not a 'fan' of the guy since most of what I knew about him was based on assessments from the "Manny being Manny" press he got on his way out in Boston, and some of the primadona sentiments that surfaced in Clevenad after Manny left (but that were strangely absent while he played there).

    But it's hard to deny that since he got to Iowa and since he hung out in AZ for a bit - that his impact on the youngsters has been anything but positive.

    In his prime he was probably the best pure hitter in the AL - and especially for the 'Latin' players he's kind of an idol. If he can get them to listen and improve - let's keep Manny on.

  • Interesting quotes from Marty Pevey - AAA Iowa manager on javier Baez at 2B last night:

    "He looked like an All-Star shortstop playing second base. You can put an All-Star shortstop anywhere in the infield,"

    "He had the most range of anybody I've seen at second base in a long time."

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    He does indeed have range, but I think Pevey was exaggerating, just how he said Kyle Hendricks was hitting 95 mph at least 20 times a game.

    I think Alcantara has shown more range than Baez at 2B, I could be mistaken though... But both of them could be above average defensive 2B.

    Baez did look fluid, turning a couple of double plays.

  • I really, really, really,... hope that Soler can stay healthy through September and the end of the MiL season.

    And that we get a chance to see him smack a HR or two in Wrigley to help close out the season.

    A September batting lineup with Soler, Alcantara, Vailika, Watkins and maybe a 'last gasp cup of coffee' for BJax along with Rizzo, Castro, Castillo, Ruggiano and Valbuena could be very interesting. And since all of those guys don't require a roster move to get them on the field - It could be a combo we see.

    I suspect that unless something very interesitng happens - BJax and Watkins (at least) won't be on the 40-man come next April.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:


    BTW, this is Vitters last option year, meaning that he will have to be placed on the 25-man roster, or optioned to the minors via waivers.

    That's at least one 40-man roster spot open this winter...

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Why do you think the Cubs will kick Watkins off the 40-man?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I suspect that Watkins is DFAed from the 40-man (barring other moves that clear roster space above him) come Winter as he is trapped behind a backlog of other prospect who have most of his positive quailties, and who play the same positions that he plays defensively.

    He's got one of the lowest upsides IMO. He also is more likely than some alternatives to actually clear waivers after being DFAed if the Cubs go that route as any team absorbing him would also have to accomodate him on their roster.

    Although I do suspect that Vitters and BJax are on the 40-man chopping block ahead of him, and whether (or not) he gets cut will depend on other roster moves that might be made.

    I actually like what little I have seen of Watkins - but fact is - somebody with at least some upside is going to be cut off the 40-man this Winter. The Cubs (and it's been a while since we saw this kind of problem) just have too many promising young players that might need to be protected from other teams' poaching - and Watkins may end up drawing a short-straw.

  • Anyone know what the deal is with the Round Rock announcer? I saw a lot of people on Twitter complaining about the guy last night and I've heard those announcers before on home run videos of Baez I think. What is their problem? Is it just a Hawk Harrelson situation where they are assholes to any team that isn't Round Rock, or do they have some irrational Cub grudge?

  • round rock is for the Rangers arent they? tired of getting raped in trades??

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    That's the only thing I could think of

  • I spent a bit of time researching Bryan't home runs. I didn't do Baez. Here's a brief recap with special attention paid to ranked prospects he hit homers off of (H/T to Tokyo Craig for the idea):
    *Sorry this is such a long post, but cool to look at...
    April 3 – Mat Latos (SP) – (1)
    Um… - Bad ass start to the year Bryant.
    April 4 – Daniel Corcino (SP) (2) – Pennsicola Blue Wahoos
    10th rated prospect in Reds Organization –
    The stocky right-hander looked like he might be ready for Cincinnati soon, but the wheels fell off during his first trip to Triple-A. It was a rude awakening for the Dominican who signed back in 2008, but the stuff is all still there for Corcino to find his way again. When he's had success as a starter, his fastball was a tick above average, with good sink to it. His average slider would flash plus, with good bite and depth. Corcino's changeup was solid as well, thrown with deception and fade. He became too timid in 2013, and he didn't attack hitters like he had in the past. Corcino was guilty of throwing too many strikes at times, making him much more hittable.
    Corcino's best role might end up in the bullpen, where his fastball gains a few ticks of velocity and his overall command wouldn't be as much of an issue.
    April 11th – Geiger HR leader – come on Bryant!
    April 12th – Andres Santiago (SP) (3) – Chatanooga
    April 14th – Geiger reclaims lead with 4th HR!
    April 18th – Cam Hobson (SP) (4) – Jackson Generals
    April 26 – Drew Gagnon (SP) (5) – Huntsville Stars
    16th rated prospect in Brewers Org
    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
    Gagnon is hoping to extend the legacy of Long Beach State pitchers in the Major Leagues. His polish and feel for the craft helped make him a third-round pick in the 2011 Draft, and those attributes have continued to push him through the Minor Leagues.
    Gagnon's fastball sits around 90 mph, with good life. He mixes it with an average changeup and a curveball. Gagnon's command deserted him in Double-A Huntsville, but before then, he had been known as a strike thrower.
    Because he doesn't have overpowering stuff, it will be paramount for Gagnon to regain his command. If he does so, his pitchability and high baseball IQ give him the chance to become a back-of-the-rotation starter.
    April 27th – Geiger gets his 5th!
    Ends April tied with Geiger for team lead, 5 homers
    May 3 – Andres Santiago (SP) – (6) Chatanooga Lookouts
    May 7 – Myles Jaye (SP) (7) (8) – Birmingham Barons
    May 8 – Scott Snodgress (SP) (9) – Birmingham – Soler RBI Bryant
    19th Rated Prospect in White Sox Org. – haha!
    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Cutter: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
    Snodgress went 4-7, with a 5.47 ERA while working primarily as a reliever in three seasons at Stanford, but the White Sox liked his size and repertoire enough to take him in the fifth round of the 2011 Draft. They immediately made him a starter, and he has advanced quickly through their system.
    While he doesn't have a pitch that stands out as plus, he can mix four offerings that are all around average. He has some life on his 87-92 mph fastball and can turn it into a mid-80s cutter. He also throws a downer curveball and a fading changeup, and on any given day any of his pitches can rank as his best.
    Snodgress is athletic but has trouble staying in sync with his delivery, which features some crossfire. His control is fringy and his command is below average, and unless he can improve them, he may wind up a reliever rather than a No. 4 or 5 starter.
    May 10 – Mayckol Guaipe (RP) (10) – Jackson Generals
    May 13 – Cam Hobson (SP) – (11) – Jackson
    May 21 – Bradin Hagens (SP) (12) – Mobile BayBears
    May 24 – Charles Brewer (SP) (13) – Mobile BayBears
    Has had cup of coffee with big league club
    May 25 – Geiger hits his 6th! Bryant, oh nevermind…
    May 26 – Tyler Cravy (SP) (14) – Huntsville Stars
    May 28 – Brent Suter (SP) (15) – Huntsville Stars
    May 29 – Eric Marzec (RP) (16) – Huntsville Stars
    May 30 – Tommy Toledo (RP) (17) – Huntsville Stars
    Ends May with 17 homers – 12 in the month!
    June 1 – Chris Beck (SP) (18) – Birmingham Barons
    8th Rated Prospect in White Sox Org – he would be 176 in Cubs org, JK!
    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 40 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
    Projected as a top-10 pick entering 2012, Beck slumped as a Georgia Southern junior and fell to the second round. He finished his first full pro season in Double-A, winning the Southern League championship with Birmingham.
    Beck has the arsenal and control to be a No. 3 starter. He can throw his 89-95 mph fastball to both sides of the plate, and his changeup ranks as the best in the system. Beck's slider isn't as sharp as it once was, but it's still effective as a third pitch, and he can mix in a curveball to give hitters a better look.
    While Beck doesn't have any trouble throwing strikes, he doesn't miss as many bats as his stuff suggests he should. He uses a drop-and-drive delivery, which gives him a flatter plane than most 6-foot-3 pitchers.
    June 3 – Scott Snodgress (SP) (19) Birmingham Barons
    Scouting info above as Bryant already went deep on this guy!
    June 4 – 7th for Geiger!!!!
    June 7 – Frankie Reed (RP) (20) – Jacksonville Suns
    June 8 – Justin Nicolino (SP) (21) – Jacksonville Suns
    3rd best Marlins prospect – 62nd out of top 100 in baseball
    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 60 | Overall: 55
    Nicolino was a part of the package the Marlins received in their blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays in November 2012. A polished left-hander, he has a good feel for pitching and a chance to have three pitches that are at least Major League-average.
    Nicolino throws his fastball in the low 90s with good tailing movement. His best pitch is his changeup and he also throws a big, sweeping curveball. All of his pitches play up due to his above-average command. He earns praise for his intelligence and poise on the mound.
    The Blue Jays were cautious with his development, but the Marlins gave him a little more leash and he reached Double-A Jacksonville in 2013. If he continues to move more quickly, Nicolino could be in Miami before too long
    June 14 – Geiger with 9th – closing in on ½ Bryant, watch out! – Wait, the All Star Game, and Bryant is promoted? Geiger is the NEW HR leader for Tennessee!
    June 19 – AAA!!!! – Brandon Kloess (SP) (RP) (22) – El Paso Chihuahuas
    June 20 – Watkins hits 2nd as he really wanted to be ahead of Bryant in homers for AAA!
    June 22 – Red Patterson (SP) (23) Matt Magill (24) – Albuquerque Isotopes
    Cup of coffee with Dodgers.
    June 23 – Jeff Bennett (RP) (25) – Albuquerque Isotopes
    June 24 – Zach Lee (26) – Albuquerque Isotopes
    4th rated prospect with Dodgers
    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 40 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 60 | Overall: 55
    Lee was a big-time football recruit in high school and appeared intent on heading to LSU to play quarterback and pitch. In a stunning move, the Dodgers were able to sign him away from Baton Rouge with a franchise record bonus at the deadline in 2010.
    Lee has moved through the Minor Leagues quickly, first reaching Double-A Chattanooga as a 20-year-old. He has four pitches that project as Major League average or better offerings. His fastball sits in the low-90s with good sink. He throws two breaking balls and has a good feel for his changeup.
    Lee's loose, easy delivery allows him to command all of his pitches well. That command and his advanced pitchability help him miss bats despite not having a dominant offspeed offering. Lee projects as solid middle-of-the rotation starter and could get a chance soon in Los Angeles.
    June 30 – Casey Coleman (27) – Omaha Storm Chasers
    YES- that Casey Coleman…
    Ends June with 10 Homers – 6 in AAA, 4 in AA
    July 4 – Asher Wojciechowski (SP) (28) – Oklahoma City Redhawks
    12th rated prospect with Astros
    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
    Originally drafted by the Blue Jays, the Astros acquired Wojciechowski in their massive 10-player trade in July 2012. He has pitched much better since the deal and spent most of 2013 in Triple-A Oklahoma City.
    Wojciechowski throws his fastball in the low-90s, using both sides of the plate well. He mixes it with a slider and changeup, both of which are average offerings. He lacks a true out pitch, limiting his ceiling. But he does a good job of throwing strikes with all of his pitches and does a lot of little things well to help him succeed.
    Wojciechowski has the look of a dependable, workhorse starter and is nearly ready for the Major Leagues.
    July 6 – Rudy Owens (SP)(29) – Oklahoma City Redhawks
    Cup of coffee with big league club
    July 10 – Michael Mariot (RP) (30) – Omaha Storm Chasers
    Relief pitcher on big league club.
    July 17 – Robbie Ross Jr. (SP) (31) – Round Rock Express
    Pitching with Kansas City now.

  • Does anyone have an idea of what Manny's angle is in this? Is he looking for a platform to be a hitting coach, play in the mlb this year, just likes to be around the game.

    If Bryant does not get any reps in the outfield soon, do we assume the plan is for him to play third in the mlb?

  • In reply to ejs1:

    also, dont think the Cubs will worry about moving Bryant to the OF till they have to.. at the earliest that would be this time next year if Addison Russell stays on track and is about ready to be until then. they probably wont worry about crossing that bridge until they come to it..Bryant's and Baez's sucess at the MLB level isnt guaranteed. lot of things can happen till then

  • I think he thinks he can play, and maybe another team comes around and offers him a contract to play.. if not. he can be a hermit in the batting cages and teach the young kids..

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