Cubs news and notes: Baseball Prospectus Top 10, Tanaka Thoughts, And More

Baseball Prospectus Cubs’ Top Ten

Baseball Prospectus came out with their sketch of the top 10 Cubs Prospects. You can read it here. It’s important to remember that these rankings are snapshots in time; they are a view of a specific thought process frozen in place by the constraints of deadlines and a rankings system. Opinions can change as evidenced by Jason Parks’ want to rank Javier Baez over Byron Buxton as the top prospect in all of baseball despite what’s gone to print with the BPro Annual.

Regarding the Cubs list itself there are a few interesting takeaways. Albert Almora is seen as a better prospect than Jorge Soler at this point. Soler’s tools might be louder but at this point the sum of Almora’s parts paired with an “impact hit tool” make the case for the young centerfielder. Arismendy Alcantara added some helium to his stock as he rose to #6 on this list. He went unranked in 2013 but it’s clear that he’s broken out in a big way. Jeimer Candelario also makes the list at #10 after being an “On The Rise” candidate. He has an interesting profile in that he’s a big body with a questionable power tool that looks to be less about HRs and more about power.

The list is worth reading if you want to plop down for a subscription, but that about ends my advertisement for the day.


Once I dreamt that I was walking shortly before the dawn through a cold valley where the snow had been falling lightly. The ground underfoot was difficult as the footsteps of many souls who had traversed this path before created a myriad of footprints in the snow which over time had frozen in place making it difficult to walk. When the clouds broke and the sun rose I thought a reprieve was coming and that the snow would melt more quickly under the heated yellow rays of our nearest star. I stood and appreciated the warmth on my face for time eternal as the very essence of my being was heated enough to forget the cold. Suddenly, without warning the cloud cover returned and the snow began to fall again. My heart despaired for a moment before I picked up my things and continued on the journey.

Masahiro Tanaka is a Yankee and that’s how I feel about it.

Fantasy takes

For you fantasy junkies out there, Razzball interviewed me for a Cubs fantasy preview, you can read it here. it was a fun, albeit slightly depressing exercise. Mike’s worth a follow as well. The one amendment I would make is this: Baez might, might, be a 2B when it’s all said and done after all.

Filed under: Analysis

Tags: Baseball, Cubs, mlb, news, notes


Leave a comment
  • Loving the BP prospect write up of Baez. It contains four “elite”s, one
    plus-plus”, a Miguel Cabrera comp, and the phrase “generational talent”.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Alcantar and Baez, sounding real good. Love Bryant's start with Cubs so far, pretty impressive. Almora is another that can't get here quick enough. Let's pray they keep progressing rapidly in their growth.

  • I sure hope we have Soler on a good conditioning program along with Castro & Vitters, these guys need to come to camp ready to compete this season.

  • Hey guys.. first time contributor. I feel very good about the upcoming prospects in the system, but after reading the BP report, I am more excited than ever. I don't see why the Cubs couldn't possibly contend in 2015 with a few good pitching moves next off season. What do you guys think?

  • In reply to MascherD:

    It's gonna take a few offensive acquisitions as well, I don't think it's responsible to assume all these guys will contribute right away. Maybe 2015 can be for the Cubs what 2011 was for the Nationals.

  • Is it crazy to think our Tennessee lineup could be better than Chicago's....and Iowa could be pretty special too.

  • Sounds like Cubs only offered 6 years for 120...Cubs aren't going to nab free agents away from top ball clubs like the Yankees by underbidding especially when we have a losing record...kind of disappointing.

  • In reply to Mick:

    Did the Cubs underbid or did the Yankees overbid? If the Cubs had landed Tanaka with the contract that the Yankees gave him, it would have been stupid.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    I would have had very mixed feelings if the Cubs signed him to that kind of deal.

  • Love the rankings man - it's a sign that the front office is doing all the right things at least.

    Won't shut up the naysayers (and probably shouldn't) though until Beaz and the others start to get to the big leagues AND start to look like impact players.

    All I gotta say is - I'm content with the way things are moving along - if still a touch impatient to see the results on display where it actually counts.

  • When will we know where prospects are going to start? After spring training? Does Bryant start at AA or AAA?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    There is a bit of a numbers issue at 3b. Olt, Villanueva, Bryant, and Candelario all high end prospects to a degree. I'm guessing Bryant starts at AA.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Heard AA in past posts. 3rd is covered at AAA. But if he continues to crush the ball the way he has so far, he could move up rapidly. Some guys force their way into a lineup. Kris could be one of those guys.

  • I wanted to add a thought about the Yanks signing Tanaka. So, apparently the Cubs were serious about signing him. I read an article that the Cubs were not even close. Under 150 million. I am concerned going forward the FO ability to sign an impact or top free agent. Hard to sell a losing franchise. Thoughts?

  • In reply to sringh5:

    Kinda difficult for me to give a guy like Tanaka near Kershaw money considering the lack of track record in MLB.

    I think this isn't a new issue, the Yankees are will to outspend anyone. To me it'll be interesting to see who the Cubs do trade for a pitcher, because I have to think that's coming soon.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    As I mentioned in the other thread, Tanaka did get Cy Young award winner money. He cost the same as King Felix.

    You could look at this way - the Yankees gave Cy Young award winner money to what is essentially a top minor league prospect. The Red Sox made the Yankees desperate so they had to do it.

    So we can blame the Red Sox for this. Best case scenario is Tanaka wins the Cy Young award and the Yankees get what they paid for... and then he probably opts out.

    Anything less ranges from okay to horrific, plus he's probably untradable without a big chunk of his deal being eaten. Or they're just stuck with him because he got an NTC.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to sringh5:

    A more important consideration than money is actually that 4-year opt out clause that Tanaka got from the Yankees. This I think was the killer for us.

    The reason is that our window for contention realistically is 2016 and that point, we may have Tanaka only 2 years before he walks. The Yankees get Tanaka during the NEXT 4 years, which given their window makes more sense for them

    The whole point of being interested in Tanaka is that there is a good chance he is still effective years 5 through 7. But the way the Yankees structured his contract, he'll either a) be worth the money and walk after year 4, or b) the contract will be an albatross in years 5 through 7

    If Tanaka is good, the Yankees will effectively pay $108 mil for 4 years of Tanaka

    If he's bad, it will be yet more dead money for the Yankees in years 5 through 7

  • Are the Cubs financials really as bad as Gordon from the Sun-Times keeps writing?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to MascherD:

    Not even close. Nit-Witt-enmeyer doesn't have a clue. He never does.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to MascherD:

    He's a jackash.

  • Too many fans have lost sight of how auctions work - and that's exactly what the Tanaka debacle was. "Top Bidder" and "Winner" are two entirely different things. Like eBay, it's not about being the person who ends up with the item - it's about paying no more than the item is worth (and, hopefully, far less.) Time will tell if Theo & Jed underestimated (or the Yankees overestimated) Tanaka's value, but we may be very glad they still have that $23 million a year the Yanks are spending.

    And, if he turns out to be the next Kershaw? The Dodgers have the real Kershaw and they watched the Series on TV last year, like the rest of us (only with better beer...)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cliff1969:

    You have to also realize that the yankees are paying 23 mil plus the luxury tax. They really wnted him as his number is actually closer to costing the yankees 32.3 mllion per season. That is jsut crazy

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Todd Claytor:

    Luxury tax or no, the real number is $27 mil AAV over first 4 years, because you have to add the posting fee. That is higher than any pitcher in baseball not named Clayton

    If he's actually worth it, he'll walk after year 4

    If he's not, you get a Zito-esque albatross contract

    Tanaka's contract is really a 4-year, short term deal, with long-term downside risk.

    The opt-out clause was the killer for us; it would not make sense for us to agree to that

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Zonk:

    Could not agree more...that opt-out clause is a win-win for you stated, if he's "worth the money" he'll exercise his opt-out and command even MORE money in 4yrs, otherwise he'll be collecting checks that are over his "paygrade"

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The only issue I have with your comment is that they watched the series on TV (but with better beer).
    Living in beautiful Asheville NC. The winner of the title Beer City USA 3 out of the last 4 years.(or is it 4 - 5) I have to think that I was drinking better beer than those guys in LA.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to carolinacub:

    well played, carolina, well played....i live in Charlotte - just recently moved back from Houston, TX - and am still trying to find a good, local Amber ale...i've tried a few, but none that have really resonated...My favorite is a micro-brew from Katy, Tx (suburb of Houston) called Ridgeback (by No Label Brewery), which is only sold in for now, I'm back to Killian's Irish Red...any suggestions are appreciated, as I prefer to "shop local"...Go Cubs!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to cking6178:

    How about Lone Star Beer. I really like them but they are really hard to find in Illinois!

  • In reply to cking6178:

    You might check the forums over at Beer Advocate for the region including S.C.
    Now that Sierra Nevada has discontinued Tumbler, there really isn't a good go-to amber that I've ever tasted, unless you want to shell out for an import like Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale (BTW, St. Arnold's is ok, but not outstanding).

  • In reply to cking6178:

    good question cking, not a big amber fan. I know there are some really good beer sale places in Charlotte. I'd just go in and tell them you want to try local and then commence grazing.

  • The Yankees look like fools to me. They sacrificed Cano and others in a two-year effort to get under the salary cap to reset their luxury tax clock, then threw it all away to sign Tanaka.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    Actually, they were done when they signed Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran. After that, they might as well go for more.

    With A-Roid getting suspended and Cano and Granderson gone, they could've gotten under, but they couldn't help themselves.

  • Anyone hear about Shark's comments about Tanaka. He had apparently said that if the Cubs don't get Tanaka he is open to being traded, don't think I like that attitude I say let's tradem! At best I believe he is a more effective middle reliever than a front end starter. He doesn't necessarily have an out pitch and if he doesn't by now he won't! Thoughts?

  • In reply to sringh5:

    Shark is pissed that his camp and the Cubs are really farther apart on a contract extension than everyone knows about. He's under control for the next two years. Let's see what he does this season. I still think the Cubs will do something silly and trade for another pitcher before the season starts.

  • In reply to LRCCubsFan:

    Right, he does need to step up and prove that he is worth the money and the investment. I know that the offense needs to provide for him but still he needs to prove himself.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to sringh5:

    Shark is a low-end #2 at best, imo, and a high quality #3 in a good rotation...I like his enthusiasm and work ethic, but he's only considered an "ace" bc of how pathetic our rotation is...which is why no teams have been willing to part with the prospects theo & jed are asking for...

  • fb_avatar

    Former Cub All-Star Bryan LaHair is a free agent once again.

  • Samardzija wants to compete now and the Cubs are a couple years away. Most likely it's not just the $$ but the timing.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Then I say we trade him!!!!!

  • fb_avatar

    My optimism grows when I think of the corner bats the cubs could have in Baez, Bryant, Rizzo and Soler. That's even if they don't play the corners!

  • fb_avatar

    Think the Shark to Arizona trade will get more serious now that Tanaka is gone? Even if Archie Bradley is not in the trade?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubsforlife:

    No reason to make a deal with Arizona if Bradley isn't in the trade. I think that possibility is dead in the water. Blue Jays, Orioles, and possibly the Royals are the best landing places. But I think he probably goes for a king's ransom at the trade deadline. (Theo is as good at playing his hand there as anyone we've ever had.)

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    I dont think they have anything else we would be interested in.

  • ARI doesn't have the juice now after trades. TOR best trade partner unless the Pirates / Orioles decide to throw hat in, I don't see KC getting in, I think most likely team to cave now is TOR. AA is on the hotseat after the Mets/ Marlins trades to win now. I think the ripple effect of BOS plus the Yankees offseason make AA either overpay for Garza/Ubaldo/Santana or trade for Shark . Depend if payroll or spects are more important .

  • Interesting kaplan says the cubs were in on years and dollars but 4 year opt out was a deal breaker.

  • In reply to seankl:

    As much as I would have liked to see what Tanaka could have done in a Cubs uniform - I think the front office made the correct call there.

  • fb_avatar

    Garza to the Brewers. 4/52.

    What can possibly go wrong here?

  • Nice video of Keith Olberman's commentary about the Yankees' signing of Tanaka -- "The Yankees broke their vow of fiscal restraint for an uncertain deal. They might get Yu Darvish -- they might also get Hideki Irabu."

  • So was the selection by BP of Jeimer Candelario as #10 just a purposely provocative one? His average and OBP has basically gone down each of his three professional years. He might have a lot of potential and a high projected ceiling, but nothing in his accomplishments suggests "On the Rise," except maybe his errors at 3B (26 last year, and 63 total in 2.5 years). Not to talk the dude down, but really, where do people get these selections from. A .256 hitter with just 11 homers is our 10th best prospect in a Top 5 farm system? And yet the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year (Kyle Hendricks) with Tom Glavine-like minor league numbers can't even break most Top 10s? Likewise with Villaneuva. I love that we have an apparent surplus of 3B prospects for trading. And he looks like a solid, but not spectacular potential major leaguer, but with nowhere near the minor league resume of Hendricks.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    In the low minors, it's a lot more about projection than actual numbers. Candelario has the best plate discipline in the system and was playing against players, that for the most part, were older than him. He is also a know hard worker and should stick at 3rd base. Yes his errors rose, but he also played in a career high 121 at 3rd base. Considering he had 20 errors in 59 games in 2012 and only had 26 while playing in more than twice as many games this year, it shows he has definitely improved. In addition, Candelario has been on almost every top 10 list, so it's not really a surprise at all.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    There's a lot more to evaluating and assessing minor league players besides their numbers. If looking at basic metrics were all it took, anyone could be a scout and Bryan LaHair would be a hall of famer.

    Candelario was just 19 last year and his OBP didn't go down from 2012 to 2013, it went up by a point, as did his OPS, despite moving up a level.

    As for Hendricks, I like the kid too, but he doesn't have great stuff and a lot of the stuff he gets minor league kids out with may not translate on the big stage.

    So, a lot of these rankings depend on whether the person doing the assessments are weighing heavily with ceiling or floor.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    You rightly slag on Bryan LaHair, but LaHair's ho-hum major league numbers are pretty similar to Candeleria's minor league numbers, with the exception of strikeouts. So it's interesting LaHair's numbers made him a suspect but Candelerio's make him a high-ceiling prospect. After three years in pro ball, I'd prefer to see more success than just projected success. Here's hoping, but when others say he's playing with a lot players older than him, this only suggests he's been promoted too fast.

    In terms of Hendricks, his "lack of stuff" has consistently gotten them out at every level through AAA. Perhaps his luck will run out in the majors. But Candelario's "stuff" has resulted in average results the last two years. Interesting how Hendrick's bar is so much higher. He performs great, but many say he won't be able to at the next level. Candelario doesn't perform great, but others say he will at the next level.

    I'd put my money on Hendricks at this point.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    A wise man once told me that you can't scout off a spreadsheet alone. I think he held his own against advanced competition. He's also only 19.

  • Hey guys I gotta say, I made a comment about this earlier and I just wanted to say I am now getting angry that the Cubs could not land Tanaka. We have NO ace in the system and this would have been a huge score. Unless we have really bad inside sources which lead us on to believe we had a shot at Tanaka I am a little ticked the FO could not get it done. Or these inside sources and guys like Kaplan need to shut their mouths and stop stirring the pot about rumors. Thoughts?

  • In reply to sringh5:

    A few of those kids will be dealt for a pitcher. I think that's one of the main takeaways here.

  • I am also optimistic about the Cubs long term. But on the short term I believe the Cubs are not doing the correct stratadgy. I am disapointed that for 2 million a year at most they failed to reel in Tanaka.

    They would have recooped that alone in an increase in attendance n ot to mention obtaing a whole new set of Asian or Japenese fans. The amount of advertising He would bring in was worth much more than the 2 million per year over a seven year contract. This is not rocket science. They good will and hope by Cub fans would have returned them to sell outs on most days. This is too difficult to comprehend.
    They announced they would go to a nine figure contract, which is a five year at 20 million. The Cubs would have bid 22 million for seven years and the total would have been 154 million. My instincts say this is either another Gregg Maddux type error or they were never interested in the aqquiring of his services.
    Either way, it will cost the jeff Samarjzda. This way will delay their pursuit of a championship by years. I donot blame Jeff S. for wanting out. Too many indicators do not show the behaviors that would back up the talk they put out. Jeff S. wants a fair chance to compete. He is a competitor. Thats what the Cubs needed.
    The Cubs already have aquired 200,000,000 ( two hundred million) in equity alone the last two years. Whe the new contracts start they will be even more valuable (If they keep their attendance up)
    They fight the rooftop owners over a sign and are able to sell on on not being able to repair wrigley????? until they can go to court and fight this out. Maybe they are planning on leaving and do not want to put wasted money into the park.
    It appears they are stalling for time. WHY.
    Jeff S. see the writting on the wall. if changes do not happen he will force them to trade him. Then they will blame him, or told them he wants to stay if they are serioud contenders. They are acting like the Kansas City Royals. Drafting and drafting and rebuilding forever. several years and now they may content. Small market teams must do it that way. The market is not small in Chicago, but the plan to compete is. Theo get paid along with crain the big bucks to make those decisions. I may be wrong. it scares me tht jeff S. sees the lack of effort to compete that he must leave his hometown team in order to play competitive baseball. maybe Rickets will read this and see the error of their ways. Fact is, bussiness sense says this is the most profitable manner to do this.
    I guess I long for the days when I was fooled into believing that this was a game. I will say a prayer for the fans.

Leave a comment