Winter Leagues Week 15

Good morning!  There was plenty of action for Cubs' prospects in the winter leagues this past week , as leagues moved to their finals in both Puerto Rico and Venezuela. More more information, take a look inside!

 

 

 

Roberto Clemente League

Luis Vazquez (photo by Jared Ravich at MiLB.com)

Luis Vazquez (photo by Jared Ravich at MiLB.com)

Criollos de Caguas

Caguas to a three games to none lead over  Mayaguez in the LBPRC Championship on Saturday in a 7-3 victory. Cubs infield prospect Luis Vazquez took over at shortstop in the seventh inning and scored two runs as he was 0-for-1. Caguas 7 - Mayaguez 3

Venezuelan Winter League

Cardenales de Lara

Lara still held the upper hand in their series with Aragua at three games to two as they lost on Monday 6-4. Ildemaro Vargas remained entrenched in the leadoff spot as the second baseman went 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored in the loss. Aragua 6 - Lara 4

There will be a Game 7 in the series as the Cardenales were not able to hold off Aragua on Tuesday, losing 7-1. Moving left to shortstop, Ildemaro Vargas scored the only run for the Redbirds as the leadoff man was 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Aragua 7 - Lara 1

On Wednesday, Lara gained a spot in the Finals by throttling Aragua 11-2. Ildemaro Vargas was the catalyst for the Cardenales as the shortstop would go 5-for-6 with a double, two RBI, and two runs scored as Lara went on to the championship. Lara 11 - Aragua 2

Caribes de Anzoategui

Anzoategui started the week out right on Sunday, as they evened their series with Magallanes at two games apiece with a n 11-2 victory. Rafael Ortega contributed to the onslaught as he clubbed a two-run homer in the third innings as the centerfielder went 3-for-6 with two RBI and three runs scored. Anzoategui 11 - Magallanes 2

The Caribes allowed Magallanes to take the advantage on Monday as they stumbled to the Navegantes 13-5. Remaining at second in the batting order, Rafael Ortega would go 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and three runs scored in the defeat. Magallanes 13 - Anzoategui 5

On Tuesday, the Tribe spotted Magallanes two runs in the early innings and then stepped on the gas for a 8-2 victory. Centerfielder Rafael Ortega continued to be solid at the plate as he would go 1-for-4 with a walk, double, and two runs scored. Anzoategui 8 - Magallanes 2

It will be Anzoategui in the Finals as they jumped  out early on Wednesday and didn't let up in crushing Magallanes 10-4. Number two hitter Rafael Ortega got the Caribes ahead by crushing a solo home run in the first inning, as he went 3-for-4 with a walk, two RBI, and three runs scored. The centerfielder also contributed on defense by gunning down a runner at home plate. Anzoategui 10 - Magallanes 4

The VWL Championship opened on Friday with both teams tight, with neither scoring a run until the sixth inning. When it was over, to was Anzoategui who loosened up as they defeated Lara 6-0. Rafael Ortega contributed as the centerfielder was 1-for-4 with a walk while driving in a run in the seventh inning. Anzoategui 6 - Lara 0

Comments

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  • Thanks for the update, Tom.

  • Thanks Tom! I checked out your new top 50 Cubs prospects. Pretty close to what I got. Interesting where you put the 4 guys we acquired for Darvitini.

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    In reply to Milk Stout:

    Thanks Tom for all the work. I must have missed your top 50 prospects. Where can I see that? Thanks.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Ha ha! I don’t have a publication. I make my own armchair list based on everything I’ve seen, video clips, reports I’ve read on this & other sites, & other lists/reports that have been compiled by guys like Tom, Bryan Smith, Pipeline, BA, Michael, the list goes on, etc...

    When trade rumors pop up, especially player A for prospects, I immediately go to Pipeline & pull up their top 30 to see who could be coming & what the report on them is. Then I may cross reference them to the other sites. I dunno... I just get into it.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Now Tom’s list is in the link up top under “Tweets by Cubs den”. He’s at prospects1500.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Baseball American lists the Cubs top prospects as: Brailyn Marquez, Brennen Davis, Miguel Amaya, and Ed Howard. I believe all four are listed as top 100 prospects, although I am not sure. Alzolay is their fifth prospect. The Howard one is particularly interesting to me. As John57 pointed out the other day, the Cubs have four high upside shortstop prospects: Howard, Reginald Preciado and Yeison Santana (both acquired in the Darvish trade), and 17-year old international signing Cristian Hernandez. I hope there is a minor league season.

    https://www.baseballamerica.com/teams/1004/chicago-cubs/

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    In reply to cubs09:

    Thanks. I look at Baseball America and see their lists but I thought Tom had published his list somewhere and that I missed it. Just like John, I love to read about prospects.
    Thanks cubs09.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Tom has a list too. He provides much more information:

    https://www.prospects1500.com/nl-central/cubs/chicago-cubs-2021-top-50-prospects/

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    In reply to cubs09:

    thanks so much!

  • Might Ildemargo Vargus see action leading off and playing second in Wrigley this year?

    I was thinking , it could be a tough sell trying to talk any core guys into signing with us. It looks like the Cubs rebuild is looking at 2023. Cub free agents are in their prime looking at their big mlb payday. One can't fault them for not wanting to spend a couple of those in a noncompetitive situation. So if any of the teams willing to spend would like Baez, Bryant, Contreras, or Rizzo, this next month would a good time to make their best trade offer.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    If Vargas is leading off for the Cubs then we will know for sure they are tanking. Guy can't hit, never could, never will.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think Happ is the leadoff going into spring training & beyond. I don’t have confidence that they are addressing the current 26 man roster other than simple role/platoon type players. Vargas is utility IF at best.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Speaking of second base, rumor has it that the Cubs are kicking the tires on Kolten Wong. Now there is talent. 2021 would look better with Kolten in our infield. NL central is there for the taking if no org is willing to pony up on trades. It's good to see some action on the hot stove.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Left handed hitting Darwin Barney. No thanks.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Hardly, but I always worry about any player leaving St. Louis. It seems that they become less than they were before arriving in Wrigley. Anyway, he probably will cost too much this Cubs budget.

  • Don’t know how everyone else feels but if the Cubs want to at least pretend to be competitive they are going to have to find some starting pitching. Although I would prefer a LH like a Patterson or Rondon I would go after our old friend Cahill. He’s a swing guy so he can start and relieve, he should be relatively cheap and he’s competent for his minimal price range. Certainly no ace but when I tune in to watch I’ll at least feel they have a chance.

  • In reply to PhillyCubFan:

    For me, I am hopeful that there is zero real effort to be "competitive" this season. I hope Hoyer is ruthless in tearing down the team, accepting losing, and using every opportunity to build another true World Series contender. I do like the idea of signing a pitcher like Rondon, however, to a one-year contract. My hope would be that one of Zach Davies, Rondon, or Shelby Miller would have a strong first half and be flipped at the deadline, the same way they flipped Dempster and Scott Feldman.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    I see what you’re saying, and maybe it’s my age , but I can’t stand to watch the Joe Mathers of the world try to hit .220 and hope they can rebuild while I’m still alive. I don’t think you have to tear down to the studs and be an embarrassment. Yes it did work for Epstein but I hope they keep a few guys around that could be still contribute when they improve. Guys like Baez and Contreras for example.

  • In reply to PhillyCubFan:

    I actually think my age (55) is what helps me have this perspective. I might be wrong, but it seems like the younger people who are more eager for this year to be good. I’ve watched a lot of Cubs seasons, including a lot of bad ones. I can watch one or two more bad years if it means they’re more like to repeat years like ‘15, ‘16, ‘17.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    You may get your wish, but the Cubs could be competitive by default.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    Do share and why would you want that? You do realize cubs are in a full rebuild mode.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Cubs appear to be in total cost cutting/teardown mode. Is it a rebuild?

    Large market club like the Cubs, should be including money to get a better returns in trades, to help jump start the rebuild.

    If Cubs didn't want to include much money to get a better return in trades. Then spend some of the savings on free agents with the plan of trading them at mid-season.

    If Cubs spent around $25 million dollars on free agents this off-season. They could add some interesting players who might even defer some of the 2021 salary. Those new players, could give the Cubs a few more useful mid-season trade pieces .

    Large market teams should be spending money during a rebuild.

    Cubs were fourth in estimated revenue in 2019 around $465 million. Spend some money now, with the idea of using those dollars to gain more/better prospects down the road.

    This Cubs regime seem to be total believer of investing big into the minor league system, but even then I don't think Cubs would have any kind of advantage of developing more or better pitchers than the rest of the league. I still think investing in college bats, and athletic younger players is the way to go with the limited dollars available for amateur players.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    They just spent $7M on Pederson. Schwarber showed there is a $10m market for a similar player. Which makes me think the Cubs are using they money to build a trade chip.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    I like the Pederson signing. I'm all in on the rebuild, but spend some dough to give more trade chips.

    I expect/hope the Cubs make a few more deals like the Pederson $7.0 million signing, or getting Davies $8.35 million back in a trade. Cubs could surprise fans with spending a little money on one year deals.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    Schwarber only got 7M for 2021. 3M for a buyout of 11.5M for 2022. Looks like exact amt for 2021 for these two players.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I disagree with you. I don't think Cubs are in full rebuild mode. They have replaced Darvish/Lester/Schwarber with Davies/Stewart/Petterson. What I see is they are getting much younger and less expensive but still competitive. And they have gotten 4 high ceiling prospects who will not make MLB for a while but most likely will eventually.

  • In reply to John57:

    I don't know, John. Davies/Stewart/Pederson are all under contract for one year. My guess (my hope) is that Davies and Pederson will be flipped at the deadline, while Kohl will toil away in the minors with the hope he can eat innings once Davies is flipped.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    Kohl is under control for 5 years. I think there is an option year for Peterson too. I hope Davies continues to trend up and the Cubs extend him. Solid youngish starting pitchers you want to keep.

  • In reply to John57:

    I hope you’re right, but I cannot find anywhere that says the Cubs get 5 years of control on Kohl. Everything I read says a one-year contract for $700,000. It looks like there is a mutual option on Pederson. That move puzzles me. Maybe they’re trying to win and rebuild at the same time? I tend to think it’s better to pick a lane.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    BBR has Stewart pre arb eligible. Yes he has a 1 year contract, just like Contreras has only a 1year contract. But Stewart’s clock just started clicking in 2018 & he also opted out in 2020. Obviously Contreras is not a FA after this year, but Cubs control him & can tender him at the end of it. Then either work out a deal or go to arbitration. Until 2022. Stewart cannot become a FA until 2026 & is not arb eligible until 2023. So yes, he’s pretty much under Cubs control as long as they have him in their system.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I think once a player is cut they becoming a free agent and the arbitration process no longer applies. I’m not positive about that.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    cubs-09

    New teams retains all players years of control, and minor league options.

    This off-season Cubs had the right to offer arbitration to Winkler, Ryan, & Tepera for the 2021 season. All three players previous teams choose not to offer them arbitration/contracts so they became free agents. Cubs still had team control beyond their 2020 contracts.

    Players out of minor league options after three years of being on the 40 man I think, cannot be sent to the minors. Must be designated for assignment, & removed from 40 man. If player not claimed on waivers, they have the right to become a free agent, or go to minors while no longer being on the 40 man roster.
    Cubs youngish pitchers out of options for 2021 season are Alzolay, Mills, Maples, and Underwood.

    thecubsreporter.com explains many of the rules.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Mike Stout: if that’s the case, than the Kohl signing is very smart!

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Cubs 09: Yeah, it’s weird & sometimes confusing. I like the Stewart signing as he was a high draft/prospect at 1 time. Maybe he was rushed by his team & the Cubs newish pitching gurus tweak him. Not so sure on the Williams one. I’d hate them not giving their own system guys chances for guys like him & Shelby Miller. I know they need the depth, throw a bunch of poop at the wall & see what sticks, but

  • In reply to John57:

    Agree with you on the four prospects for yu. But that alone tells me they cannnot win World Series this year. Trading front line pitcher with controllable contract is a huge sign to me. The signing of a joc Pedersen and kohl Franklin looks a lot like the early years of Theo Epstein era. Get some guys and hope they have good year and flip them at trading deadline. I like Hoyerz approach right now and hope he stays course. I am tired of the seeing the same movie with the Cubs. Meaning good enough to make playoffs and get bounced in first round etc. New era for the cubs. Hopefully Hoyer can get out of theo’s shadow and bring home another World Series. Now if he can only trade/cut the anchor in right field.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    As long as Bryant, Rizzo, Báez, Contreras, Heyward, Hendricks, Davies are here, it’s not full rebuild mode. They wouldn’t have spent the money on Joc, Jake & Chafin either.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Those names hardly strike fear into opponents. They actually laugh at heyward being in any mlb starting line up. Hoyer traded the #1 starter (which I like the move) to replenish a barren minor league system. Bryant, baez, and rizzo or all on 1 year contracts with bryant almost having no trade value. Joc Peterson replaces schwarber at a 3 million dollar discount. Seems like a lateral move to me. The professor is a solid #2 while Davies will probably be flipped at deadline. Artie talk and chafin are just guys and really don’t move the needle. Presently constructed, this is a middling team. Maybe squeak into playoffs again if mlb is expanding playoffs again but not bad enough to get high draft pick.They are baseball hell.

  • cubs09 said he hoped there was zero real effort to be competitive. I replied he may get his wish, but that despite that the Cubs may be competitive as the rest of the division is also crappy. Somebody has to win the L Central. Satisfied?

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    There were a few comments about how old people are and their reaction to rebuilding. Well, I'm 70 (70! how did that happen?) and right now I would rather they trade everyone and get good prospects and players not appreciated by their own teams--hello Jake Arrieta. Pedro Strop, Kyle Hendricks, etc. I can wait a year or two and get another wave of elite players coming through and hope that we win more than just 1 WS championship.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Well I am 73 years old and all that matters to me is that the Cubs show some spark instead of the same old BORING routines.If the sparks come from the young or older players does not matter to me. I just want to begin enjoying watching the Cubs play baseball again and NOT just going through the motions. I enjoyed watching the "lovable losers" for many decades even when they were losing, but they were playing baseball and not just swinging for the fences or just walking and striking out.

  • The Cubs saved three million dollars going from Schwarber to Pederson to spend on a couple more rehabilitating sore armed pitchers.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don’t understand the move to Joc. He is nearly an identical player to Schwarber.

    Get at bats, go crazy, and flip at the deadline?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I think that he is a much better outfielder tho, with better contact at the plate and cheaper. Doesn't he also play some first base.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I like the Joc pickup. I get that we cant compete with the Dodgers and Padres for the next couple years. I get that we are good enough to win the NL central and probably that's it.

    Here's what I dont get. You trade Darvish to get better in two years. Then why not sign and trade schwarber, sign and trade a starting pitcher, sign and trade an infielder. If you arent willing to do those things than the payroll is driving the rebuild.

    I agree with focusing on 2023 but without signing and trading guys like feldman, Dempster and Samardija you cant bring in the talent you will need to get back to the world series.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Arenado to the Cardinals for prospects plus Rockies are sending 50million. That deal probably makes Cardinals heavy favorite in NL central and more than likely eliminated any playoff chances for the Cubs.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Kinda feels that way, huh? But the Cards were pretty pathetic when peeling back the numbers. Their anemic offense doesn’t completely turnaround because of Arrenado. I still think the NL Central is a mediocre mess. One hot streak of something like a 15-2 streak wins anyone this division.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I wonder If the likelihood of the Arenado trade was related to Pederson signing and increased budget. He is a franchise signing and difference maker for the Cardinals. This next week for the Cub front office should tell us. We need a second baseman and either one near top of the rotation starter or couple innings eating middle of the rotation types just to hang.

  • Or Kolten wong. It appears to me that the Cubs are positioning themselves to compete or not. It's not a fire sale. They could, however, still move new signings and core at the trading deadline. Despite our frustration with the last three finishes, It would not be prudent to just throw in the towel just yet. The nl central is there for the taking. Then who knows?

  • I don't dislike the idea of a strict platoon, especially in leftfield where the middle of an offense is a key cog. Sometimes it produces more than one can expect from that position. The short side of the platoon is not just collecting dust on the bench and is an engaged pinch hitter when needed. I'm good with a reset, but I don't want to just hand the division to the 'dirty birds'.

  • I was thinking would Tom have increased the 2021 budget if Theo was still here? Epstein made some trades and free agent signings that almost left the org destitute this year. Some mistakes still linger, but already, Jed has corrected some of the problems down on the farm and cleared a few bloated contracts. Maybe things are looking up.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Cubs have one year of control for Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Davies, Pederson, & a $16 million dollar team option on Kimbrel in 22.

    Cubs should not be afraid to spend a little more money to acquire better players, than the typical $1 million dollar minor league deal unsigned veterans take late in the off-season.

    I hope the Cubs make trade for more prospects this year then ever before, even if they don't get top prospects back in trades. Then spend some money next off-season, make trades, & hopefully have a few prospects coming up during the 2022 season.

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    What do you all think about the Arenado trade or rather what the Rockies got for him? It seems in relation to what we got about even although I think Arenado is on the HOF path and Yu is a very good pitcher but not HOF worthy.

  • I am worried and yet excited that the Cubs are done with their rotation.

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    The Cubs don't have one starter with the exception of Adzolay that throws over 91 or 92mph. That doesn't give the opposition much to think about when they bat--it's more dealing with curves and CU and location. Our bullpen has more power arms. Maybe that's the idea.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    The decision would appear to go with off-speed pitching to counter the hyper aggressive approach in vogue by hitters. We’ll see.

  • Another stunning signing with Williams. LOL. Nothing like hoping he returns to form a year and a half removed. This smells like a flip candidate.

  • It looks like you all are right and the Cubs maintain arbitration control for both Kohl and Williams. Those deals become really interesting. Is it possible that at least one breaks through? I’d hope so.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    I like the Stewart signing more than Williams. I think there’s a higher ceiling & floor eventually.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I like both. I look for one more similar signing. It probably won't be Arrieta or Samardzjida for the same reason that Jed passed on Lester.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    So who else are the Cubs gonna sign?
    I dont think someone like Arrieta or Samardzija is in the works.

    Here is what I see:
    1. Foltynewicz or similiar reclamation.
    2. Billy Hamilton or Almora as 5th OF
    3. Jeffress or similiar in the bullpen.

    I think that's it. With that the Cubs are 82-80 second in the central.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    If the rest of this offseason is any indication, They’re going to get the guy that will accept the least & has no team &/or leverage by the start of Spring Training. Not sure who that’ll be. My guess is probably no one. Maybe a TJ surgery guy on a another flyer.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Cubs might have burned up the phone lines all off-season talking Bryant, & Contreras. Now Cubs get down to business, and trade Z. Davies $8.63 contract-before the season starts.

    Free agents signings
    1. Jonathan Schoop- total discount, heck maybe even a dirt cheap 20 plus homers RH-2B.

    2. Cubs Slurge on one setup relief pitcher- Keone Kela, & his baggage. A total buy low! Potential mid-season trade chip, or 8th inning stopper come playoff time?

    3.Starting pitchers, whoever is available the week spring training starts, Cubs then go hard with minor league offers, and open rotation spots!

    4. Cubs working the waiver wire all season looking for innings.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Could be Jed' s strategy, but I'm having strong competitive feelings about just blowing off 2021, even more so with the Arenado gift to the Cardinals from the Rockies. I want to fight for that central division title. Let's make 2022 more our rebuild year if we have to have one. At least, the Cubs could compete until the trade deadline before throwing in the towel. We still have Javy and Kris. Let's give them the opportunity to rebound from 2020. They will be playing for their big contract. It's already too late to get a fair return on Bryant. Kris Is really good at baseball and the Cubs should give him a shot at 'having a year'. Maybe the Rockies know what they are doing with the addition by subtraction with 'front runner' Arenado. I'm not on-board with conceding. I want to fight like hell.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I was hoping for Foltynewicz over Williams & Samardzija. Arrieta, with Boras as his agent, I knew would be too rich for Jed’s blood. Plus I don’t think Jed wants to sign any guys back from the “Theo” era. Just my “crazy” hypothesis... (conspiracy theory LoL!)

  • I was never fully comfortable with non-tendering Schwarber even though he would disappear for long blocks of time at the plate. I love that left side power and Kyle looked like a 35+/- homerun player. For that reason alone, I was happy to see the Joc Pederson signing. Having that second big power lefty is luxury, that is hard to come by. Anyway, Pederson is pretty much the same guy and a welcome addition.

    Anyway, Joc was less money and whatever dollars Ricketts added to the 2021 season in round figures should still be available. I wonder how much that is and who it will go to. A second baseman, starting pitcher, or a Javy/Rizzo extension?

  • Well that happened quick, Wong to the Brewers. Kolten gets two years with an option for a third year for 26m total. He wasn't much of an upgrade defensively over Hoerner anyway. I'm ok with handing Nico second, if that's the plan, and I hope it is. He is a player with a future in the dirt at Wrigley.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Nico will be a utility man for his career. Looking forward to the Chase Strumpf era to begin next year.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Wong does have 2 gold gloves. I think he is an upgrade both on defense and on offense over Hoerner. $26M for three years is not a bad price either.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I'm on record here wanting Wong, but I do like Nico. Hoerner is a slick fielding middle infielder with an excellent bat on ball gift, not fully developed yet. I always feel confident with him on the field. Apparently, the Cubs were looking for a one year contract at second, and might still be.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Are you Donnie Brasco?

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Ha, surmised.

  • Wow how quickly you have given up on Nico and moved on to the next prospect.

  • Looks like Happ won his arb case. Not sure what he’s done to earn that award, but ok.

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