Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Underwood developing; Almora red hot; the "other" Baez HRs again

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Underwood developing; Almora red hot; the "other" Baez HRs again

We don't cover the VSL and DSL much, primarily because it is just too hard to get information and stats aren't particularly useful.  We know that Mark Malave, Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez, Jefferson Mejia, and Ricardo Marcano are doing well stateside but when we hear the Cubs sign a couple of sleeper they liked late in the IFA process, then we see these kid producing, we should probably take note. One guy off to a great start in the VSL is Wladimir Galindo, the 17 year old 6'3", 210 lbs. 3B hit his 7th HR yesterday to go with a .293/.369/.553 line overall.  Another guy to watch is DSL Cubs catcher Yohan Matos, who is at .324/.436/.523 with 3 HRs with a 13% walk rate.  Nice patience for a 17 year old kid.

On with the Recap

OKC 3 - Iowa 2

  • Carlos Pimentel started, went 5 innings and allowed all 3 runs to pick up the loss.  He is now
  • Alberto Cabrera had a solid 2 inning performance,  He walked one, struck out 4 and did not allow a run.  In his last 5 appearances, he has allowed just one run over 8.1 innings, but more tellingly has not walked a batter and struck out 8.
  • Arismendy Alcantara rebounded from his one game slump, going 1 for 2 with 2 walks and stealing his 21st base of the season.
  • Javier Baez doubled, scored, and drove in a run in 4 ABs.
  • Kris Bryant went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI.
  • Manny Ramirez got a start but went 0 for 3 with a walk.

Birmingham 13 - Tennessee 3

  • Matt Loosen got hit hard today and wasn't able to wriggle free from all the jams he got into today.  Loosen allowed 6 hits and 3 walks -- and 9 runs (7 earned) in 3.1 innings.  He fell to 4-3 with a 5.21 ERA
  • PJ Francescon continues to struggle with some inconsistency since his brilliant start to the season.  He allowed 4 runs today in 2.2 innings, raising his ERA all the way to 4.43.
  • The one pitcher who was able to stop the Barons offense is Zach Cates, who threw two scoreless innings.    Cates walked one and struck out two and has seemingly made a smooth transition to AA with his 2.19 ERA, but he has struggled with control, walking 10 and striking out 13 in 12.1 innings.
  • Stephen Bruno doubled, walked, scored, and drove in a run.  The 2B has tailed off a bit, hitting .234 in his last 10 games, but is still having a solid .286/.360/.423 campaign overall.

Daytona 4 - Lakeland 2

  • LHP Nathan Dorris struggled a bit with the strike zone but otherwise was very good overall, throwing 6 scoreless innings and allowing just one hit.  He struck out 4.  Since his promotion to Daytona and with it, the chance to start, Dorris is 4-4 with a 3.92 ERA.
  • Zach Godley earned his 2nd save, though he did allow a run in his 1.2 innings.  Godley has a 5.48 ERA in the FSL.
  • Albert Almora went 3 for 5, including a double and has raised his average up to .272.  Almora has hit .442 in his last 10 games, getting 19 hits in that span.  It was his 4th 3 hit performance in the last 9 games.  The walks and the extra base hits haven't come as consistently, but those should come in time.
  • Dan Vogelbach doubled and walked twice.
  • Bijan Rademacher hit his 4th HR, walked, and scored twice.

Kane County 4 - Clinton 0

  • Duane Underwood has steadily improved all season, improving his command while maintaining mid 90s velo and his occasional good curve.  He did not walk a batter today and has lowered his walk rate to 3.65 per 9 IP.  He struck out 6 and should continue to miss more bats as his command improves and he gains consistency with his secondaries.  He improved to 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA.
  • Jose Arias is healthy again and has resumed his dominant work as a reliever, throwing 2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out 2.  He has struck out 11.8 batters per 9 innings this year but his control has been mediocre at just a shade over 4 per 9 IP.  Arias works with a 92-96 mph two seam fastball that is an excellent pitch with good plane and some downward movement.  His secondaries are average at best and his change-up is fringy, so he fits best in the bullpen, but he will need to throw more strikes.
  • Michael Heesch finished the shutout with 1 inning without a walk and 2 Ks.  Heesch has put up a 2.81 ERA this year out of the bullpen.
  • Sparse offense even from Kyle Schwarber, who went 0-4,  Carlos Penalver drove in two with a single, his only hit of the game while Shawon Dunston was the only player with more than one hit.  He doubled, singled, scored, and drove in a run.

Boise 15 - Eugene 3

  • Trevor Graham, a pitcher with average stuff across the board, good command, and some pitchability got the start and pitched 5 solid innings, allowing 2 runs, walking 3 and striking out 8.  Considering the Boise offense exploded today, that was more than enough to pick up the win,  His ERA is at 4.74.
  • Jasvir Rakkar had a much needed bounce back outing. throwing 3 shutout innings.
  • Jeffrey Baez continues to show an impressive speed/power combo.  Yesterday he stole 2 bases, giving him 11 on the year and tonight he hit his 6th HR, a 3-run shot, and brought his slugging pct up to an even .500 with a 2 for 5 day.  Considering he is only hitting .228. that makes for an impressive .272 ISO.
  • Rashad Crawford continued to hold his own, going 2 for 5 and scoring 2 runs.  The speedy OF'er is hitting .269.
  • They may not be top tier prospects but Boise has a very prodductive 4-5-6  in their lineup.  Danny Canela (3 for 5, double, 2 RBI, 2 runs) is hitting .321/.386/.500 with 3 HRs.  Jesse Hodges, 3B, (2 for 3, run scored) iis red hot and has raised his average to .250 to go with his 4 HRs.  Justin Marra (1 for 3, HR, walk, 4 RBI) has been a steady presence all year, hitting .286/.367/.586 with 4 HRs.
  • Charles White went 2 for 4 with a walk, 2 runs, and 2 RBI, but is hitting just .208 to start his pro career.

 

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  • Prospects with legit shots at being either all-star level/above average position players, solid members of a major league rotation or high-end relief pitchers:

    AAA
    Bryant
    Baez
    Alcantara
    Hendricks
    Rivero
    Vizcaino

    AA
    Russell
    Soler
    Johnson
    Edwards (expected back late-July)

    A+
    Almora
    McKinney
    Vogelbach
    Zastryzny

    A
    Schwarber
    Hannemann
    Tseng
    Blackburn
    Underwood
    Paniagua

    SS A-
    Clifton

    Rookie
    Torres
    Jimenez
    Mejia

    Add in draftees Cease, Sands, Stinnett and Steele along with DSL/VSL IFA signees Moreno, Matos and Galindo if you wish. There are reasons to pay attention at every level.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I think you may be pushing it with Hendricks, Rivero and Vogelbach having a chance to being all star or even above average ceilings. Haven't seen Zastryzny but the scouting reports I've heard on him don't scream that type of ceiling either. I think all those guys are more average at best ceiling players.

    Still, you are right, there is a really interesting talent at every level of the organization.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Lots of prospects on this list can be debated. That's the fun of discussing prospects, but I think I can make a case for those three.

    The categories were all-star or above-average position players (that would include DH for me), solid members of a starting rotation (5th starter still counts as a member of a rotation) and high-end relief pitchers (8th or 9th inning type stuff with the ability to dominate at times) and, keep in mind, all they need is a legit shot at reaching those.

    I believe Vogelbach's bat has shown the development it takes to succeed at the next level and have a legit shot at being an above average bat in the bigs. He is 21 which is a year young for High-A and the FSL is not hitter friendly. Dan started this season hitting .253/.333/.352 with 11/17 BB/K in April and .264/.333/.418 with 9/22 in May. In June, he hit .319/.429/.553 with 17 BB against 15 Ks and .353/.465/.618 with 8 walks and 2 Ks in his last 10 games. It could be a hot month or it could be development. If it's development and a 21 year old is hitting like that in the FSL, then, in my book, he has a good shot at being able to develop into a guy who can hit major league pitching at an above average rate. He might wind up a DH, but he's got a legit shot at being an above average one.

    Hendricks has been remarkably consistent as he's come up thru the ranks. Does he have a legit shot at being a solid fifth starter in the bigs? Based on the control he's exhibited at every level throughout his minor league career (his WHIP at every level have never been above 1.17), his ability to get ground outs (1.46 GO/AO in 2012, 1.86 in '13 and 1.81 this year) and keep the ball in the park (0.67 HR/9 in 2012, 0.27 in '13 and 0.45 this year), I believe he's got a legit shot at being a solid #5.

    Rivero has been lights out this year (and last year, as well) and has the FB velocity to match anyone in the current Cubs pen save maybe Rondon, though he hits 95-96 with some regularity. In 41 IP between AA and AAA, he's got a 1.76 ERA, allowed 23 hits, walked 16 and struck out 66. I believe with his stuff and his production this season, he's got a legit shot at doing what Ramirez, Strop or Rondon have done so far this season. Not a guarantee, but a legit shot at being a high-end reliever.

    But that's just me. I'd love to learn why you think otherwise.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Vogelbach is always going to be below average defensively, so if he is going to play 1B and be above average overall, the bat would need to be pretty special. And while he has been good at the plate so far, he hasn't shown the impact needed to reach that level yet. Even if he becomes a DH full time, the burden increases, because few teams actually employ full time DHs anymore, as most try to rotate guys through to keep them fresh. He would basically need to become the current version of David Ortiz at the plate.

    I have confidence in Hendricks to be a good #4. And in a career year he might be able to reach an all star level, sort of like Wood last year or Hammel this season, but I don't think he can miss bats at the MLB level enough to consistently maintain that level. He does at the minors through good control of multiple pitches, but in the majors you often need a knockout pitch, and I don't see that in his repertoire.

    Rivero is already 26. By the time he reaches the majors an adjusts he may end up being close to his decline phase. I guess I feel he might reach that level, but I'm not sure he could maintain it for long. The command and control are still pretty inconsistent for a guy his age.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Forgot about Zastryzny. He was the one that I debated most about. But he's shown me something as the year's gone along. He's improved every month and dramatically. 8.48, 6.06, 1.90 ERA in April, May and June respectively. 14.9 H/9 in April, 12.1 in May and 6.1 in June. Add in a very strong K/BB ratio and he's become a reason to check the box scores of late.

    I'm still not sold by any stretch, but with his draft pedigree and implicit faith of the Cubs front office and his left-handedness (there's a lower bar for southpaws when it comes to being a solid 4 or 5 in a rotation), I figured what the heck. Can certainly see a good argument for taking him off the list.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Rivero is a stud. He has the potential to be as good as Rondon if left in the bull pen, and one of their best starters if he is able to move to the rotation.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    must.. not.. fwap..

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    In reply to Quedub:

    I don't have any problems with the prospects on your list. However, I would add Stephen Bruno. He is even more likely to be traded now that we have Russell but the guy just plain hits. I would also like to see the walk rate improve.

    I am on board with Hendricks. I don't see him as the "hanging on by his fingernails" type pitcher. I think his "floor" is #4-5 starter. I think being a #3 is not too great a stretch while 1-2 probably is. I base this on what I have read is the best predictor of ML success when looking at a minor league pitcher: K:BB ratio, HR rate, age/league average. The knock on him--and for some it is impossible to look past--is that his FB tops out in the low 90's. Others dislike his "frame." Finally there are those that just can't get their mind around an 8th round pick being more than a fringe player.

    "Zasty" might be a stretch but has solid K:BB ratio

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I'd like to see Hendricks get a shot on the MLB club. Hendricks just keeps proving the naysayers wrong and he deserves a shot at the MLB level. With the openings created by the Samardzija / Hammel trade, Hendricks, Beeler and Wada should get a few starts each for the Cubs. The one that has the most difficult time can return to AAA for more seasoning (unless EJax is traded...) I've seen enough of Rusin.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Not likely that they'll add Hendricks to the 40 man roster before this winter when they have to. While I agree he deserves a chance, and Rusin is slowly working his way out of our plans; there's nothing concrete to say that Hendricks will be any better at the next level. We won't actually know until he has multiple MLB starts on his resume. Even Rusin has, at times, looks solid...

    Anyways, I expect they'll use Straily, Wacha, Beeler, Villanueva, Rusin, and possibly McDonald (if he's helathy) and wait on adding Hendricks to the 40 man until this winter. Then he and the others can compete for the 5th SP spot.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    It really is ridiculous isn't it? They have so many top line guys and a ton of depth under those top guys that they may not even have to trade them away to add to a team. Just trade em because they would have no room for them. maybe for younger guys so they have some time to develop them when their stars hit free agency. I do think a lot of the reason for optimism isn't just because of the talent they've stock pied, but the amazing collection of talent evaluators with track records of success, and the people they have developing them. This is as solid an organization as I've ever seen. It's really amazing to think that this is my childhood team of choice. It's almost surreal. Can't wait till this all comes to fruition.

  • Underwood was impressive. One of the things I like about him is the pace with which he works. He doesn't mess around. Get ball, throw ball. He is an anti-Trachsel. He still has difficulty repeating his delivery, with his lead shoulder flying open too much on some pitches which causes him to miss up and out of the zone too often. But when he stays closed and finishes toward the plate he showed good control and decent command.

    He worked at 94-95 with his 4 seamer up in the zone and 91-92 with his 2 seamer (which didn't seem to have much movement). He threw a number of very good curveballs (77-80) and the not so good ones finished out of the zone. He didn't hang one all night. As the game went on he flashed a pretty good changeup (84-86), but it was inconsistent and he didn't control it as well as his curveball. He also seemed to mix in some sliders (81-84) but I didn't get a very good read on the pitch.

    I enjoy watching Arias work as well. Big dude, calm and in command on the mound. Has a presence. Gets good downhill plane on his pitches and shows good command and control. He was mostly 92-93 with his fastball and 76-77 with his curve. Clinton never threatened during his two innings.

    Heesch was 87-89. He threw mostly fastballs and I didn't get a good read on his offspeed stuff. He was victimized by a terrible bounce that ate up Penalver on a sure double play ball. Clinton was not able to take advantage though.

    As for the position players, Schwarber has visibly better bat speed than anyone else on the team. He wasn't challenged much by baserunners or balls in the dirt while behind the plate, but he didn't strike me as lightning quick back there. He fouled a ball off his foot very hard in one of his later plate appearances. I thought for sure he would come out, but he finished the game and didn't show ill effects.

    Remillard continues to impress me at the plate. Nice compact swing. Seems to have a good idea of the strike zone.

    Candelerio got one at bat righthanded in the game and he just seems more fluid and quick to the zone from that side of the plate. He still has a great eye and used it to his benefit all game. In his final at bat he got ahead 3-0 and absolutely unloaded on a pitch but he pulled it foul. It was the right approach.

    Dunston got a couple of soft singles (one of which he turned into a hustle double and then took third on errant throw). His best at bat was actually his last, when he actually turned on a pitch and drove it to the warning track in RF. I've rarely seen Dunston aggressively pull a ball so it was nice to see.

    Trey Martin was fighting it at the plate and was caught in between on a number of pitches. He did lace a single to RF late in the game. The man can really run too. Love watching that guy on the bases and in the OF.

    Carlos Penalver may never be strong enough to do damage at the plate, but he is smooth at SS.

    Balaguert had one or two good swings where he was short to the ball but more often than not his swing got loopy and it sapped his power (which can be impressive when he harnesses it). He continued his usual poor OF play. Took a couple of circuitous routes and dropped a ball in foul territory.

    I'm planning to go tomorrow afternoon as well. It will be my first opportunity to see Tseng.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Thanks, mjvz. Loved reading your report especially the stuff on Underwood. I was excited by his performance tonight. If he can become consistent and continue to develop, which at his age (he'll turn 20 later this month) he should be able to do, the Cubs may have a good one.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Wow!! Thanks for the most excellent first hand report, MJVZ. Really great stuff.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    You're welcome. I used to post my observations more often back when the team was affiliated with Peoria, but now that they are in Kane County, John and a bunch of other posters see the players on a more regular basis and provide plenty of insight. Not sure anything I wrote hasn't been mentioned before.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Thanks for the write up!

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    In reply to mjvz:

    That description on Underwood sounds like legit #1 material. He always had that kind of ceiling but his potential to bust was as high as any. If he starts to trend more toward the ceiling no way does he not shoot up the charts

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    The other thing about Underwood, he doesn't turn 20 until the end of the month. He's doing this as one of the younger guys in the league.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Thanks for the first hand observations, good stuff.

  • Can someone help me out with this...

    I'm wondering what happened to Barret Loux and Trey McNutt. Did they both have season ending surgeries or something?

  • In reply to WillieG1:

    Loux had TJ back in March and is about to start his throwing program in a few weeks. He and McNutt have been roommates out in Mesa all year. Trey has been throwing off a mound since fall shoulder surgery and should be ready to play fall or winter ball. Both will be back for spring training.

  • McNutt had injury concerns and is still part of the Cubs organization. I believe he's still rehabbing out there somewhere. It's a shame too considering he was one of the better prospects in baseball.

    Same thing with Loux. He's always been a player bogged by injuries (which is why Texas gave up on him), and he struggled in Iowa last year and I believe he is still hurt/rehabbing now.

    But I believe that both players are still in a part of the Cubs organization.

  • Addison Russell and Jorge Soler will be roommates in Tennessee: https://twitter.com/JorgeSoler68/status/485627808274599936

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    In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Hamstring homies

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    In reply to Melancubby:

    +1 to you sir!

  • I got to see Bryant in TN (and he jacked one that night), now I'm waiting for Soler to get into the lineup with Russell. Would also like to go when Edwards gets the start. And, with the way he's playing now, I'm wondering if Almora could get moved up, too. That may not be likely, but it would be simply awesome to see all four of those in one game.

  • Any names being heard on the PTBNL? Alcantara?

  • In reply to Naf023:

    No, nothing concrete. A few have been rumored or thought likely based on deduction. Raul Alcantara is one. He had TJS in May. A ptbnl has 6 months to be chosen. The Cubs could be waiting to see how his rehab is going and a decision might not come until after the season. John has put forth a possible name, Dustin Driver. He's 19 and was a 7th round pick last year for the A's. According to John, he can bring heat (a 96 mph fastball), but can't control it. Others have surmised that Dillon Overton might be on the list the Cubs will choose from. A decision likely won't be made for some time. Settle in.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    It would still be comforting to know who is in a possible pool to be chosen from...

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    Quick question on Blackburn/Underwood; most ratings seem to have Paul ahead of Duane, but Duane throws harder and has more upside. He's also younger. If Underwood continues to demonstrate control like he did yesterday, would he leap ahead in rankings? It is true that Blackburn has shown much better control so far.

    And I like Tseng better than both, and that's not a knock on Blackburn or Underwood. I like our rotation in Kane County.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Yes, if Underwood exhibits the type of control he had last night and maintains velocity deep into games, he would move ahead of Blackburn if Blackburn doesn't also further develop.

    It was reported that Blackburn was hitting 95 at the end of last season. We have yet to see that from him so far this year, however. If Underwood can maintain 93-94, walk around 2 per 9 and continue to develop his other pitches, he'd be on par with, if not surpassing, Tseng in my opinion.

    But none of that has happened yet with any consistency. We likely won't know what these guys will become for another 2 years. Tseng and Underwood are still just 19. Blackburn is 20. Once again, patience is required...

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think he absolutely can jump Blackburn. He has the higher ceiling. It's all about consistency and command with him but he is definitely headed in the right direction, He is closing in on Blackburn even though Blackburn is having a great year himself.

  • I got to go to the okc Iowa game last night. In the first inning it looked like Iowa was going to run away with it. Then Pimentel took the mound. It seems like he gets flustered easy and does not regain confidence easy. The first inning was a little rough on him, but the second inning really got to him. He was giving up a lot of long fly balls including a homer. In the 3rd inning he was trying to keep the ball low, but was throwing in the dirt. I will say Lopez did a great job keeping the ball In front of him.

  • In reply to Chuvok:

    That's an interesting observation. He has always had decent peripherals but his results have never quite matched. Lack of poise could be an alternate explanation to bad luck.

  • In reply to Chuvok:

    This is something I observed as well, last week against Colorado Springs. His body language did not show, confidence, and he was clearly frustrated on the mound. I was not terribly impressed with him.

  • Zastryzny hasn't pitched in a while. Does anyone have any idea if there's an injury or if they just skipped his turn to limit his innings? He last pitched on June 22nd.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Not sure on that. There have been a few rainouts but not enough to push him back that far. Could be an issue there. Not listed on DL

  • fb_avatar

    So Schwarber now has 20 pro games....

    Do we think he is close to a promotion to Daytona?

    20 was how many games Bryant played before Daytona.
    I realize they are not necessarily on the same game plan, but Daytona seems like where any "best college bat" should really start to be challenged... maybe.

    And if he plays well in July he might be able to get a taste of AA before the season ends. Bryant didn't get promoted to A+ until August 12th so Schwarber has plenty of time.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    As you mentioned, Schwarber is on a different plan. I think the main difference between the two was their respective signing dates. Bryant signed very late and therefore lost about a month or so of playing time.

    Schwarber, on the other hand, signed right away so I would expect the Cubs to be a bit slower with him and let him get some more reps in at KC. If he keeps raking it, I would think they would get him up to Daytona for the last month with the hopes of him starting there in 2015.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    If they plan on trying him at catcher long term they should keep him in KC the rest of the season to work with Mark Johnson. The playoff run for KC isn't a bad atmosphere to be in anyway.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    i don't believe they do, though.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    They are certainly giving him a lot of time there, despite having 3 catchers already on the KC roster, all of whom are at least borderline prospects and could use the time there. I don't think they expect him to stay there long term, but I don't think they are closing the book on it. I bet they want Johnson to get a good look at him this year before they make a final decision.

  • Offseason/End of Year prospect list will look very different once we geta longer look at some of the young guys for a longer period of time.

  • Any word on Jacob Hannemann being out?

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    I haven't seen anything. He may just be getting a day or two off.

  • In reply to John57:

    I think someone mentioned something about a suspension yesterday.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    A suspension? For a Mormon missionary? Come now...

  • In reply to John57:

    It's been three games in a row now...

  • So what route do the cubs go for pitching next year? Assuming the three remaining starters are set.
    1. Sign a big name FA or two
    2. Sign more Bosio projects like Feldman and Hammel
    3. Promote from within group of Hendricks, Beeler ...

    I would like to see Hendricks and Beeler get a shot this year just to see what they have.

  • In reply to brunsmk:

    I would expect them to aggressively pursue one of:

    Scherzer/Lester/Shields/Masterson

    Expect Straily to serve as Bosio's project for 2015. Though they may find another reclamation project from the FA ranks.

    I would expect the winner of Hendricks/Beeler/Rusin/Wada, etc to serve as the #5 SP and depth at AAA. Edwards/P.J. missed too much time in 2014 to be counted on in AAA out of ST.

    Depending on what happens with the 4/5 guys from here on out and FA this winter... I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility of an internal conversion candidate from Ramirez/Grimm/Cabrera, etc...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I already forgot about Straily. Lets hope the Cubs can get him figured out.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    My hope is they sign one of the four you mentioned and allow the battle for the 5th starter (although replace Rusin/Wada with Jokisch/Straily. But then I also want them to look to trade one (or both) of Wood/Jackson at the deadline to open up another spot for a youngster if one looks ready. Edwards and Johnson should both return to AA to begin next season and hopefully get a midseason AAA promotion.

    Don't think there is a good conversion candidate from those you mentioned. Ramirez's delivery is too violent to hold up long term as a starter IMO and Grimm/Cabrera aren't good enough to be counted on in the bullpen let alone the rotation. Rondon/Vizcaino are better candidates, but their health may prevent it.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Until Vizcaino can get through 2 full MLB seasons uninjurred, the risk of converting him back to SP is too high. Rondon hasn't pitched more than 75 innings since 2008 and doesn't have much more than that combined in his 1.5yrs as a Cub. I like their stuff, but I'm content to count on them as BP pieces only.

    Ramirez was a SP until the shoulder injury, which is what made him available. Granted there were lots of ?'s about his ability to stick as a SP due to command. Which he still hasn't answered. I agree with Grimm, but he was a SP until this ST so... Cabrera has looked pretty solid at AA/AAA the last 1 1/2 years. I think they converted him back to BP due to being out of options... But since he isn't on the 40 man anymore. They could stretch him back out and let him work in AAA and be an emergency call away... I'm not lobbying for any of them to be converted. I could just as easily argue against it as I could for it... but I wouldn't rule out the possible as we explore SP options for next year.

    I still think Jokish is destined for a Russell/Rusin role.

    I'm leery of trading away Wood/E-Jax now only because we need at least 2 SP's (preferably 3 with a FA addition) that can be counted on for 170+ innings even if it's at a #4/5 performance level... Arrieta has never pitched 120 innings in a MLB season...

    I dont think starting 2015 with 40% of our rotation Rookie eligible or reclamation projects is a recipe for success...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I don't think they will go after one of the top free agent pitchers. More likely they try to sign a couple of Hammels. Free agent pitchers have just become too overvalued on the market.

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    In reply to brunsmk:

    In any given year you need 1-8 type starters for a certain stretch during a season. Right now even with Wada, Hendricks, and Beeler the Cubs are looking at needing to acquire 3 starters for 2015 (not to mention at least one more for 2014) just in case of injury. So I think the answer to your question is yes. They will do all 3 and get those 8 to 10 arms in the majors and AAA that can compete for all the spots in the rotation.

  • In reply to brunsmk:

    Definitely #3.

    Almost certainly #2.

    They will definitely make a run for a big free agent (or maybe two), but whether they get one or not.....

  • I think that there is no doubt that they will sign a couple of big name free agents. I believe there plan is to bulk up on high risk/high reward younger arms and fill in the next 3-4 years with expensive free agents. When we have to start paying our position players more and more through arbitration, our younger cost-controlled pitchers will be ready to contribute and thus make it more realistic to keep our studs around long-term. I love that we have a FO that is always a step ahead of the competition (look at the Yankees this year loading up on IFAs like we did last year). I can't wait to see how this plays out, going to be a great time to live in Wrigleyville for the next decade +.

  • Since we traded 2 guys off of our 40-man & only acquired 1 in Straily, have the Cubs announced the new addition? If not, Any guesses?

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    I was thinking on this on Friday night as the trade was happening. I seem to think there is another shoe dropping to clear up that 40th man spot.

  • I would guess Hendricks.

  • In reply to John57:

    He's my guess, too, but I wonder if Rivero would a viable option?!

  • I think they wait until they deal one of Strop/Russell for that move. The bullpen is already crowded.

  • In reply to John57:

    I doubt the force that right away. Wada, Rusin and Beeler can get first crack at it. I am hoping they add Valaika.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Ya know, Valaika is not a bad idea. I think there is value in him...I am hoping Barney is moved to see him &/or Watkins.

  • My hope of the 2016/2017 roster, non pitching.

    LF Schwarber
    CF Bryant (got your attention huh )
    RF Soler
    3B Baez
    SS Castro
    2B Russell, Addison
    1B Rizzo
    C Zagunis

    bench: Almora, Hannemann, Alcantara, Olt, W. Castillo

  • In reply to John57:

    What If, so Why Not?!

    I truly believe we as Cubs fans have endured alot of torture and we deserve for most of these prospects to develop under this awesome system to produce a perennial powerhouse! It is time for Cubs Karma to reverse gears.

    I'll take that roster!!!

  • In reply to John57:

    If you are going to sacrifice defense for offense, simply flipping Baez and Bryant would improve that defense immensely. Or have Schwaber catch and move Zagunis to CF.

    I think you are crazy though. The Cubs will be able to field a great offense without sacrificing so much defense.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    If you want a little more speed there is Almora, Hannemann, and Alcantara on the bench. I do expect them to be used freely. But I do not see any glaring defensive problem.

  • Here's. what I hope for the rest of '14:

    --start losing dead weight
    --see what we got in Watkins, Valaika, Beelee, Straily, Beeler, Hendricks, Wada, etc.
    --give AA & Soler the September Experience
    --play good baseball...even if it isn't always winning baseball
    --get really excited for '15 & beyond

  • I would like to see one minor league starter step up and show us something. More than one would exceed my wildest expectations.

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    Yanks DFA Soriano.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Wow.
    Last year it looked like he still had a little gas left in the tank.
    Guess he should've drank some Sta-Bil over the winter.

  • John, do you think the PTBNL could depend on the performance of Shark/Hammel? if so, what is the usual measure -- Wins? team wins?

  • In reply to cubsdude74:

    PTBNL usually come from a predetermined list. Something like a group of 5 guys, maybe a couple of whom are currently injured. The Cubs would get a certain amount of time to watch and see how certain players respond to rehab, etc. before making their final decision.

    PTBNL are sometimes recent draft picks that can't be traded yet so they have to wait to complete the transaction. Although with the draft so recent, I can't imagine that would be the case in this deal because the Cubs wouldn't risk a guy playing for Oakland for close to a year before they could get him.

  • In reply to cubsdude74:

    My guess is that Cubs are going to be monitoring 1 or 2 of the recovering injured pitching prospects before making the final call. Perhaps wishfull thinking on my part.

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    I was going to say bring him back to replace Sweeney but he's not slashing much better than Sweeney. But we're still paying his salary - if he gets no MLB offers, bring him in as a roving mentor/hitting instructor?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Soriano is apparently a good guy and teammate and looks out for the young guys on the team, but not sure I ever remember mention of him bringing much in the way of teaching. Not sure he would make a good coach or not.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    I think there's something to be said for being taught by a guy who speaks the same language and has the same roots. And as I said, we're already paying him, why not get even a little value out of him?

  • In reply to mjvz:

    it's odd that the Yankees would give up on him right when he traditionally heats up. I mean, they saw it firsthand last year. They'll need all the help they can get if they hope to make a run.

  • In reply to cubsdude74:

    We are paying him...bring him back in a platoon!! I jest...sorta!

  • I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere so this is pure speculation but could the Cubs be waiting to see if the A's get a competitive balance pick to be the PTBNL? Not knowing much about the A's farm I'm just wondering if the extra pick and slot money would be worth more to Theo/Hoyer than an existing prospect.

  • Ruggiano is playing like he wants to be traded.

  • Even a horribly slumping and well past his expiration date Soriano is/can slash better than the Coghlan, Sweeney, Lake, Kalish, Schierholz et al. nightmares in the OF. I agree, we're paying him already, why not bring Soriano back for the remainder of 2014, what can it hurt? If nothing else, you know he'll hit a dozen or so bombs, I'll take that.

  • I don't think he brings enough to bring back, but what about the contract? Would the Yankees still have to pay their part? Is he effectively a $5 m. Player (prorated)

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    Good question...I'd only be semi-interested if he didnt cost anymore than we are on the hook for.

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    The Cubs traded Soriano to the Yankees, and the Yankees own his contract and are responsible for paying Soriano. The Cubs also gave the Yankees a 15 million (or whatever) which they could use to pay Soriano. If the unthinkable were to happen and someone claimed Soriano on waivers, they would have to pay the rest of his contract, and the Yankees would get to keep whatever is left of the money that the Cubs paid them.

    Of course, that won't happen. Someone will sign Soriano after he is released and pay him the MLB minimum. The Yankees will pay the rest.

    Either way, the Cubs are out of it.

  • Anyone know why Zagunis has been playing most of his games in LF instead of catcher? I haven't seen him playing there in 3-4 games

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