Callis: Cubs young bats unmatched, will contend by 2016

Callis: Cubs young bats unmatched, will contend by 2016

The accolades keep pouring in for the Cubs system lately.

Whether it is their prospects littering MLB.com's top 100, rankings from the likes of Jim Callis, Jason Parks, or Keith Law, it's high praise these days for the young Cubs.

The bad news is most talent experts agree the Cubs come up short in the arms department. Outside of CJ Edwards, it's mostly the bats that experts rave about.

The good news is the Cubs are possibly cornering the market on young power bats. That could allow the front office to fix that pitching issue.

Parks mentioned earlier this year he suspects Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are consciously stockpiling power bats in their system, like many teams usually try to do with pitching. Market inefficiency anyone?

Bats like Javy Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Dan Vogelbach, Mike Olt, and Albert Almora could all be pushing their way up by 2015. No matter how the Cubs view these bats in their long range plan, they could ultimately allow Hoyer some flexibility to obtain pitching.

Parks has mentioned if there is a shortage around the game, it’s power even more so than pitching. The Cubs could be dealing from a surplus soon, it would seem.

This might especially be the case if Olt returns to his top prospect status with a strong spring. That scenario may later trigger a move of Bryant to the outfield, and allow the flexibility of dealing a prospect like say Soler for arms.

That was a possibility that Callis agreed with while visiting "The David Kaplan Show" on Tuesday night. Callis reasoned Soler is the fourth best player out of the memorable quartet.

"When you're talking Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler, I can't remember ever having four hitters in a system like that at the same time", said Callis.

Callis expects the Cubs to be contenders by 2016.

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  • If Olt returns to his previous results I see him locking down the 3B postition. The next 3B prospect coming up is Bryant. I see him moving flawlessly in to RF where he would be great defensively. I see Baez being better than Castro at SS and getting that position. This is my round about way of saying I see Castro being traded for a TOR pitcher and not Soler. Soler will look mighty fine in LF.

  • In reply to John57:

    The problem with that is it makes them a very RHed Line up. Soler and Castro could both be on the trading block next year.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    I was commenting on the article saying they would trade Soler, a RH hitter. I was just substituting a different RHed hitter, Castro.

  • In reply to John57:

    If they trade Castro. Baez would take over as the SS who is another RHed hitter. But it would free up 2B for Alcantara. The problem with that is it still gives them 6 RHed Bats, 1 LHed, And one Switch hitter still very RHed. Ideally I think the Cubs would like to have at least 3 player that can swing from the left side and lets review the lineup by position.

    C: Castillo R
    1B: Rizzo L
    2B Alcantara S
    SS Baez R
    3B Olt R
    RF Bryant R
    CF Almora R
    LF Soler R

    OF would be the easiest to find another LH hitting player. So out of those 3 OF who would you trade. I think it would be Soler without a thought.

  • In reply to Jason Brooks:

    For a pre-majors youngster, Soler makes huge money. Which depresses his trade value for now. Also, the character concerns and some deficiencies at the plate. Horrible time to trade him. Would be another instance of selling low.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    The money isn't nearly the problem that the Bat situation is. Money can always be adjusted by the other side. I am not saying trade him now but he does have to show he can play the whole season.

  • In reply to John57:

    We want a full, good, rebound season from Castro. So that a trade would be selling high rather than low on him. The whole picture regarding our prospects and their optimal positions will become clearer simply by how they play moving forward. None of us has any clue if Toronto has interest in Castro or for which position. J Reyes SS, B Lawrie 3B. Soler and his strong arm profile best in RF. K Bryant furnishes most value as 3B, position of scarcity. Good OF's are far more plentiful. A 3B with athleticism stands apart even more. Also, a building team should never be in a rush to fill LF. It either fills itself internally, or good one easily obtained as one of final pieces. That also applies to 2B, but we won't have a void there.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Yes of course I am assuming Castro does well this year before he is traded. Got to sell high. And selling a 24 year old 2 time allstar at a premium position will bring back more talent than prospect Soler will. And I want a TOR pitcher.

    As for Soler, I don't see him coming up until the end of 2015. So why do people want to trade him now. I say wait the two years and things will sort themselves out. Who knows what will happen. Maybe the NL goes DH. Vogelbach could then be in the lineup. Hannemann develops as hoped and passes Almora. If those things happen we have Hannemann, Vogelbach, Rizzo and Alcantara able to hit from the left side with Castillo, Bryant, Baez, Olt, and Soler hitting RHed. I just find it funny that people want to trade elite prospects before we know what we have and as a result need.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Michael, sorry for not being clearer. When I said TOR pitcher I meant Top Of Rotation pitcher. Personally I want to trade Castro for David Price one for one. Tampa Bay likes low priced players and Castro is very reasonable cost wise. Hopefully we can extend Price on a fair contract. It will be expensive though.

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    Theo and Jed have done an excellent job of aquiring the best players they can regardless of position or need. They continue to stock pile bats instead of overreaching to fill a pitching need in the Draft or in International signings.
    This will definitely serve them well soon if their prospects continue to develop at the pace they have been.
    There is no doubt that they don't have pitching prospects that really jump out at you now, but they have drafted pitchers in volume and I think you will see a couple more of the draft picks from the past few years start to make a name for themselves along with Johnson and Edwards. That is probably what I am looking forward to the most this upcoming season is to watch the progress of our young pitchers such as Blackburn, Underwood, Maples, Black, Clifton, and the college arms from last years draft.

  • In reply to Richard Madsen:

    I do some scouting. Another name to watch is Tsung. I have heard that he some very good things about him. Could make a big jump and could have #1 potential.

  • In reply to Jason Brooks:

    That would be nice if IFA Tseng could become a TOR SP. Thanks

  • In reply to Jason Brooks:

    Was told today about him making a move.

  • In reply to Richard Madsen:

    Always take best player on board. I was in favor of Grey for a while but think Bryant could be franchise changer.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I had a chance to see all 3 of the top 3 picks. Bryant edged out Gray for me and Appel was a 3rd.

  • RHP Pierce Johnson made Jason Parks' top 101 list at No. 91. Loved seeing that. Tom should have noted it. Still true re hitters/pitchers imbalance.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    For sure, I thought about that yet not everyone mentions him. Callis did when he was on with Kap, thinks he's underrated.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Thanks, Tom. Aside from my nitpick, very well-done article.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Thanks Mike.

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