Offseason Prospect Overview: Trent Giambrone

Trent Giambrone (photo: Stephanie Lynn)

Trent Giambrone (photo: Stephanie Lynn)

Season Review

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I get why Trent Giambrone draws comparisons to David Bote because he is another late-round (25th), late-blooming utility man with developing power at the plate. But they are differences in their games. Giambrone isn't as big or quite as strong but he does pack a punch while adding a bit of speed to the package. He is also more focused on hitting to all fields than the up-the-middle approach Bote embraces.

What made the biggest difference for Giambrone during his breakout 2018 was improved plate discipline. It wasn't consistent or as good as it could be with a little more work, but he is now waiting for pitches to drive, and more willing to take a walk when he doesn't get get his pitch. 

He also turned in one of the monster games of the entire 2018 Minor League season (note: the 3-R double listed should be a 2-R double but the final stat line is accurate):

Positives

Giambrone does a little of everything. He doesn't possess a single plus tool but he can impact a game with a home run or a stolen base while also rotating through multiple positions. He projects as a 15/15 guy, bordering on 20/20 if he ever received ample playing time, and upgrades his production against left-handed pitchers. His speed is only average or a tick above, but gets good reads, is aggressive at all times, and takes late slides to ensure he loses no momentum when stealing bags.

He's become a solid defender at 2B. He isn't fluid enough to play a MLB caliber SS, but he can fill in there if needed. Giambrone does have the athleticism and enough arm to handle both corner outfield spots and I wouldn't mind seeing him given a chance in CF even if it might be a stretch.

Negatives

Giambrone has been streaky hitter so far in his career, although he did better in that regard during 2018 until an injury in late July set him back a bit the rest of the year. The power and patience he showed need to coalesce at the same time more frequently. There were stretches where Giambrone was patient, there were other stretches he hit for power, but we haven't seen the full package yet.

I haven't wrapped my head around why or how, but he has also been a crazy reverse-split guy every season of his career. Becoming a better hitter against lefties is crucial:

Career vs. RHP: 267/343/419

Career vs. LHP: 224/295/347

It's also important Giambrone gains more experience at multiple positions this season, especially in the outfield, as he is already 25 years old and has limited playing time in roles that he will likely need to handle well if he hopes to secure a job on a MLB bench. By the time he reaches the Majors he will already be into his peak years so like Tommy La Stella and David Bote before him it could be difficult for him to secure multiple bites at the apple and he'll need to seize any opportunities presented to him. Even if he does perform well, he could be shuffled back-and-forth to the Minors, and will probably be nearing 30 by the time he even reaches arbitration, so he'll need to be accepting of the potential usage and treatment La Stella faced with little long-term financial security.

Summation

Giambrone can play an important as a 26th-man riding the Des Moines shuttle the next few years, even if he never grabs a full-time bench role in Chicago. With the athleticism to play multiple infield and outfield spots, as well as his ability to impact games with his bat and feet on offense make him an ideal candidate to fill in at the MLB level whenever injuries occur outside the catcher position.

2019 Outlook

Giambrone should receive ample opportunity in Iowa this season. If he maintains or continues to build on his accomplishments from 2018, it should be enough to entice the Cubs into granting him a 40-man roster spot next offseason. He will be 26 by then, and eligible for the Rule 5 draft, so this season is absolutely critical if he hopes to remain with the organization in the future. He needs to show he can be reliable option in both the infield and outfield while producing against veteran pitchers.

Comments

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    Trent reminds me of most of our pitchers in the minors. They (and he) don't have any outstanding or plus traits but maybe above average in a few. We need these players but they are complimentary ones. To succeed we need elite talents--like many on the big league roster--but not in the minors.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Nice post Jonathan. I agree. We seem to be talking about 4/5 SP’s and back up IF’s. We got spoiled with the graduation of 6 regular players.

    Hopefully we see some more everyday players emerge when the arb costs rise.

  • Trent looks very interesting. Looking like another Zobrist type player, solid bat, versatile, and decent speed.

  • Will always appreciate Zobrists clutch big time hit in the 10th and his professionalism. But it’s time to say goodbye trade him to tampa sign Harper(creative contract),promote trent for depth and more versatility

  • In reply to bolla:

    Ha ha, good one. There should be a sarcasm character...

  • In reply to bolla:

    Trading Zobrist will not allow the team to sign Harper. Tampa will not want to add to payroll and the Cubs will receive little back in a trade.
    The Harper hope has to die.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I’m hoping he was trying to be funny about trading Zobrist & then calling up Giambrone... A team trying to get back to post season this year does not trade one of their better obp guys, not mention a veteran leader type that they are/were seeking to have more of at the outset of the off season.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    You obviously missed the part where I said sign harper

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Maybe the Cubs could wait for Washington to sign Harper and then trade Zobrist for him. The Nat's would probably thrown in Scherzer if they are pushed a little. Of course, we might have to throw in Chatwood...

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    YAWNSS

    Except the tampa bays beat writer mark tompkin said himself the rays might be interested in zobrist, & cubs beat writers have said the cubs have contemplated trading zobrist, ben zobrist even acknowledged at the cubs convention he's aware he could be traded .Shedding zobrists 14 mill aav DOES allow the cubs to be players for harper it allows enough room to give harper aav that does not go over the 246 mark.Your contrarian gimmick is corny , please stop replying to what I post

  • In reply to bolla:

    Just because the Cubs contemplated trading Zobrist doesn't mean they decided it was a smart move. They may have decided it would be good to keep him.

    The Cubs are going to be close to 246 million most likely if they keep Zobrist. Trading his 14 M AAV will not allow them to add ~34 M for Harper and still stay under 246 M. It will put them around 266 M.

  • I can see the Bote comparisons. Giambrone appears to be improving with the bat as he progresses through the minors. Although he'll probably need to improve further to be a decent hitter in the majors. This is what the minor leagues and development is all about. Getting the light to come on for people, who then take their game to a new level. Bote, Contreras, hopefully Giambrone are some examples of this.

  • Our beloved Chicago Cubs gifted us with a world championship in 2016 AFTER OVER A CENTURY OF LOSING....from this point on..anything further should be considered gravy. We need nothing more from the Cubs at this point..We need a statue of Theo Epstein on the premises..I don't care who we gave up or traded to reach WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS...2016....No dynasties necessary. Mission accomplished.

  • In reply to Hey Hey:

    I guess I agree Hey Hey.

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