Den Chat Ep. 002 - Javier Baez

Den Chat Ep. 002 - Javier Baez

Jordan Gorosh of Baseball Prospectus once again joined me to talk Javier Baez, Cubs' MiLB pitchers and Trea Turner.

Filed under: podcast

Tags: Baseball, Cubs, milb, mlb


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  • Has he seen Stinnet pitch? I ask because he has him at #4 for Cubs pitching prospects. But I've been told by a couple of sources outside of the Cubs org that we may have hit a HR with him. His stuff has been compared to Sharks and has a TOR #2 SP upside. There's some that think BP too, so...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I hope you (and your sources) are right. My top pitching expectations/hopes for this draft really revolve around Cease/Sands/Steele, so if Stinnet and Norwood can become as good as some project, that would be exceptional.

  • In reply to springs:

    John posted Kevin Gallo's scouting report on him shortly after the draft. He had a similar take, though he said #3. Keep in mind, Stinnet has only been a SP for one year. One scout told me he w/b the ACE of the Daytona staff right now if the Cubs sent him there. But they're (smartly) keeping him in AZ to really limit his workload this year.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Awesome insight HD...thank you.

  • Love the podcasts. Good stuff. I wonder where he would put Vizcaino?

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    After listening I was wondering how much the Cubs really "NEED" to invest in the FA pitching market. We may only go after Lester and just do another wait and see. It seems our pitching may be in better shape than most media types would have us believe.

    I'd be fine with the top 3 pitchers next season being :

    I'm still torn with his comments about Kris Bryant as well. He still seems to think Bryant ends up in RF over the long term. The thing that really throws me is how he just won the best defensive 3B in the PCL. Now with a lot of folks saying that Soler may be the best of the core 4, I would think he locks up RF. So if the move Bryant to the OF he probably goes to LF.

    With all that said, if we do see both Bryant and Soler in the OF, I guess the Cubs are fine with being a very RH hitting club.


  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I have not actually seen Bryant play the OF, but judging by his movements at 3B and on the basepaths, I believe he would have greater range than Soler in the OF. And since they both have RF arms, I believe Bryant would make the superior RF because he would be able to cut off and reach balls in teh alley and the corner more rapidly than Soler and therefore limit extra base hits better.

    I don't know if it is just the number of lower body injuries that he has sustained, if he is simply still babying those injuries, or if the added weight he has put on in the last couple of years has slowed him down, but Soler looks much more stiff and does not move as well in the OF as he did when he first arrived. Bryant appears the more fluid athlete at this point.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    I think at least some of the media hype about lack of pitching in the Cubs system is based on 2 facts:
    1. All of our pitching prospects have huge question marks. Whether it is relatively low ceilings or size or age. Most teams have one guy that everyone agrees is a true starter.
    2. Ignorance. Thought processes such as, "The cubs have neglected pitching in the draft since 2010" ignoring the fact that almost every top 20 pick outside of the first round has been a pitcher. That and "NONE of their top 6-8 prospects is a pitcher. Every other team has at least 1 of their top 3 as a pitcher. Clearly the problem is a lack of pitching" until we dare them to put that other teams #3 prospect (pitcher) into our top 6-8. I think many of them would fail or would not get higher than 4-5.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    3. The media feeds like sharks do. Sharks go in a feeding frenzy because other sharks do, and not necessarily because there is a lot of food. The Chicago sports media is just a bunch of sharks, not particularly knowledgeable.

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    In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Reporter: But sir, there isn't a story there.
    Editor: I don't care. People expect us to say the same thing as everyone else.

    I think that could be a Dilbert cartoon.

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    In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I can agree with that.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Next article will actually be related to this.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Many note that a good hitter is a good hitter, so a right side imbalance is not a big deal. I would rather have good right handed heavy lineup than a bunch of left hand guys who suck, but this FO has a history finding excellent left a nd right handed players.

  • I have always seen Bryant moving to a corner of position and Baez moving to 3b. But we don't have to worry about it till Russell is ready.. I think just one pitcher this off season.. if we surprise we can then trade for another one if need be

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    And don't forget about Mike Olt. He seems to be doing just fine at Iowa now, so If he came back up and avoided past mistakes, he wouldn't be the first player to stick after a send-down and the second call up. Just look at Rizzo.

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    In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I agree with you, but to be factual, Olt has already had two call ups. The first was a brief one in Texas way before he was ready.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    He was not ready for either of his two call ups. He may not be ready for the next one, but it is more likely that he is ready now.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I don't really think Olt's current problems are visual or a matter of physical talent. I think he has a mechanical issue. Maybe John can expand on this. But it seems he has a deeper "V" in his swing rather than a shallow "U" so his bat head isn't in the ball's plane very long. That is even more devastating on pitches low in the zone, off-speed, and breaking pitches. That downward cast of the hands and bat head toward to ball automatically creates that sharp "V" in the swing, and a quick return of the bat up out of the plane of the ball to the shoulder. Since it is mechanical, it might be fixable at least to some degree. He has the bat speed. John has seen him more than me, so maybe he knows?

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Maybe John can help with this, but it seems Olt has a deep "V" in his swing. He has a sharp downward plane to the ball, which automatically means his bat head climbs out of the pitch-plane very quickly. His bat head doesn't stay in the ball's path for an optimal time. That would make him more vulnerable to low pitches, off-speed, and breaking balls. He is athletic for sure. His bat speed I believe is very good. This isn't physical, but mechanical, and you might think it could be improved.

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    Since he's only 19 right now, what's a realistic time frame for Jen-Ho Tseng? I would be assuming one level each year with him finishing at Daytona in 2015, Tennessee in 2016, Iowa/Chicago in 2017.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I think the Cubs wanted to make sure not to overload Tseng this year because of his age and because it is his first pro season. They may accelerate a bit next year, meaning he could concievably reach AA next year. 2017 is realistic. I think the Cubs will need some time to build him up toward the workload required of an MLB starter.

  • Too bad Baez wasn't brought up as a catcher. With those legs, he looks like a catcher.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Javy was having some knee issues, nothing structural, just sore/stiffness. That's why Rob moved him off Catcher.

  • Lets not forget, the potential of a FA RF emerging either via trade next year or FA signing the following... that guy - Giancarlo Stanton, he seems to carry the hitting profile the Cubs FO would to get their hands on.... just sayin

  • In reply to damdardan:

    The chance we get Stanton is very low. Plus we don't need him.

  • In reply to John57:

    This opens an interesting question for research for John or Maricio. There are teams which are top heavy with 1, 2, 3 superstars. How do those teams do compared to a team of 8 guys, 7 or 8 of them above MLB average? My guess is that the later produces more runs, and shows better defense. It reminds me of Oakland now. If the talent was shown on a line scale, would a flatter line overall portend better results?

    Fore example if the average MLB player was a "0" and you had a line of:
    0, -2, +2, +5, +4, +2, 0, -2,
    or a line of talent:
    +2, +1, +2, +3, +2, +1, +1, 0
    be more productive? Those big talents in the middle might reduce money available for other spots in the lineup.

    I ask because my personal opinion which might be more appropriately compared to WAR for the Cubs potential starters might be:

    Alcantara +3 (OF/2B defense and SLG)
    Almora +2 (defense and AVG)
    Soler +4 (OBP, OPS)
    Rizzo +4 (defense, AVG, OPS)
    Bryant +4 (OF defense, AVG, OPS)
    Baez +4 (2B/3B defense, SLG)
    Russel +5 (SS defense, AVG, SLG, OPS)
    Castillo +1 (defense)
    (Infield and catcher get a premium for defense)
    Castro +3 Not sure if Castro will be here.

    In comparison Stanton might be a +6. But if he costs $30million a year is he worth substituting two "0" into the lineup to compensate for his high salary? Or true only if you are LA or the Yankees?

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Very interesting, indeed. The lineup and numbers you project are not only + at every position, but ultra-+ at five of them. As to your question about "Team A vs. Team B", I'll take team B every time, because it poses more problems to the opposition every time out there, such as who are you going to pitch around? Men on base more often, more high leverage situations, getting the starter out of there earlier. I don't think we can realistically expect the level of +s you have there (I know you're talking about the ideal), but I think we can expect 0s and better up and down the lineup. This is why I truly believe we don't three starters of the caliber of the Dodgers' or As' starters. If we can manage to have, say 2 true #2/#3 starters (by however one wants to measure that) and the rest #3s/#4s (by however one measures that), all of them reliably keeping us in games, we're going to be a dangerous team and playoff bound. We already have a promising picture of our bullpen, too. We might be winning a ton of games 8-4, but who wouldn't take that?

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Yes, you are right. I think those are "potential" scenarios, and in truth I didn't put a large amount of research into the prospect projections, just top end feeling about their potential. But it is possible. Right now I have questions about Almora for example. I don't doubt Bryant, Russel, or Soler, and I do believe Baez will make adjustments. But if all of them turned out to be a +1, or +2, and you could have that down the lineup, it seems to me it would project a more formidable lineup as you said. However, I don't know. Just a hunch. I wish John or Rubio would consider this theory.

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    I hope you can do more of these. Like these podcasts.

  • I saw Bryant in Omaha as I was traveling through. He did a little of everything that night, but nothing surprised me more than his speed on the bases and lateral quickness at third. I agree that he also might make a better right fielder than Soler.

  • Yeah, saw Bryant in Daytona and those long legs really cover a lot of ground quickly, whether running the bases or in the field. I thought he was really quick to the ball too, so those long legs didn't seem to be a liability like they are with other tall guys. Plus plus athleticism!

  • Is Bryant speedy enough for center?

  • In reply to wastrel:

    I think he is.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    He played it in college but can't do it at MLB level.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I asked a couple of questions above, and I could sure use your better insight!

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    Another kid that might be flying under the radar right now is Trevor Clifton. We haven't mentioned him today but he is worth noting, imo....

  • I worry about Bryant's height at 3b and the wear and tear that position would have on his back and throwing shoulder. Troy Glaus was about the same height and by age 26 his back and shoulder were wearing out and he became a shadow of his former self.. Scott Rolen and Ryan Zimmerman, 6'4" and 6'3" respectively, also got worn down playing third. It seems that 6'0" to 6.2" is ideal for 3b (Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, Ron Santo, Manny Machado etc.)

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