Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

Cubs camp extras

Not a lot of extras from my final camp visit. I guess I left it all out on the field. You can see if you agree by reading my Spring Training camp report. You can also view the Cubs’ Top 20 list, Bernie Pleskoff’s take on how the system fists the big league needs, as well as Jim Callis’s 21-25 prospects (he did their Top 20).

Here’s the video piece:

 

There was one answer Neil Ramirez gave me, before we were rudely interrupted by a team meeting (what nerve). I asked him about what had happened to cause him to kind of back up after he made that huge leap forward in 2011, and what he’s been able to do to get past it (He was better in 2013 than in 2012).

Ramirez: I think I put a little too much pressure on myself after 2011 coming into 2012. I thought I had to do a little too much. Now I’m back to worrying about what I can control.

Good news for the Cubs, who while rich with hitters, could use Ramirez’s contributions on the pitching front.

With that in mind, my One More Guy is another arm:

OK, it might seem like a copout because Callis has him at No. 21, too, but I still like Duane Underwood‘s upside, even after his terrible 2013. One of the key reasons for his struggles was the fact he was not in good shape to start the year. But when I was in Cubs camp, farm director Jaron Madison used Underwood as an example of one of a few arms who had really worked hard this offseason. I’m intersted to see what that translates to on the mound in 2014.

 

Tri tri again with prospects

Our most recent Pipeline Perspectives is up on the MLBPipeline.com now. Jim Callis and I debate which teams have the best trio of prospects in the game. I went for the Cubs combination of Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora. Jim advocated for the Twins trio of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer.

As we’ve tried to get in the habit of doing, both of us are blogging about the subject as well. Jim ranked his favorites. By now, you know me… I like using our Prospect Points system to see how things shake out. So I took the top trio from every organization that had three or more prospects in the Top 100 (the Red Sox could have had three trios, for example, but I only took one) and ranked them using our points system. A quick refresher: 100 points for the No. 1 prospect, 99 for No. 2, all the way down to one point for the last prospect in the Top 100. Here’s what the “standings” look like:

Rank Trios Org Points
1 Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Alex Meyer MIN 270
2 Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora CHC 269
3 Carlos Correa, Mark Appel, George Springer HOU 257
4 Gregory Polanco, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow PIT 247
5 Xander Bogaerts, Henry Owens, Jackie Bradley BOS 238
6 Kyle Zimmer, Yordano Ventura, Raul Alberto Mondesi KC 205
7 Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, Rafael Montero NYM 185
8 Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Rodriguez BAL 184
9 Jonathan Gray, Eddie Butler, David Dahl COL 177
10 Francisco Lindor, Clint Frazier, Trevor Bauer CLE 172
11 Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Zach Lee LAD 170
12 Andrew Heaney, Colin Moran, Jake Marisnick MIA 158
13 Austin Hedges, Max Fried, Matt Wisler SD 158
14 Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong, Stephen Piscotty STL 144
15 Archie Bradley, Chris Owings, Braden Shipley ARI 142
16 Jorge Alfaro, Rougned Odor, Michael Choice TEX 133
17 Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Roberto Osuna TOR 132
18 Jake Odorizzi, Hak-Ju Lee, Taylor Guerrieri TB 69

Beyond the Top 100

After any Top 100 prospects list comes out, there’s going to be outrage, disbelief, dismay (there’s also some triumph, jubilation, celebration, but that doesn’t fit into the subject of today’s post). The list gets pored over and complaints about snubs come pouring in. You thought people were upset that Ben Affleck didn’t get a Best Director nod for “Argo”? You should talk to Astros fans about Delino DeShields Jr. Sheesh.

So, I thought it a good idea to throw out a Nos. 101-110 list. Yes, this could open a pandora’s box if guys aren’t on that list who you think should’ve been on the Top 100 to begin with. But I can deal with that. I’m happy to keep the conversation going. And keep in mind, the team Top 20s start rolling out on Monday, so there’ll be more fuel for the fire soon enough. Keep in mind, this next 10 isn’t a guaranteed list of who’ll be the first to move in when guys graduate as 2013 gets started, but clearly some names will come from this list onto the top 100 during the season. No time for expanding on this list, so here it is:

101. Dan Straily, RHP, A’s

102. Delino DeShields Jr., 2B, Astros

103. Luis Heredia, RHP, Pirates

104. Daniel Corcino, RHP, Reds

105. Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs

106. Marcell Ozuna, OF, Marlins

107. Michael Choice, OF, A’s

108. Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Brewers

109. Corey Seager, 3B/SS, Dodgers

110. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Cubs

Who’s next: The outfielders

The final positional list went up on Monday, and it was a doozy. The Top 10 outfielders is jam-packed with talent and the second 10 is probably better than the top 10 at some other positions. As always, you can read the story or go right to the list.

Nos. 11-15 in the outfield department is a very strong list, perhaps with only the RHP 11-15 list coming close to competing. Here it is:

Jorge Soler, Cubs
Brian Goodwin, Nationals
Rymer Liriano, Padres
George Springer, Astros
David Dahl, Rockies

I think the names speak for themselves. The next set of names shows you just how talent-laded the position is. Without giving it all away (you have to check out the Top 100 list tomorrow and all the team lists, after all!), names like Gregory Polanco, Courtney Hawkins and Jake Marisnick are not too far behind.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing/reading everyone’s reaction to the Top 100 tomorrow. Be sure to tune in to MLB Network or MLB.com at 9 p.m. ET. And we’ll be live tweeting during the show, using #mlbpipeline. We’ve got some great prospects lined up to participate: Taijuan Walker, Archie Bradley, Tyler Skaggs, Mike Zunino, Billy Hamilton, Mike Olt and Zack Wheeler (listed in no particular order). So be sure to join us there and interact with some of the game’s top prospects. And if you’re not doing so already, follow @MLBPipeline for all of your prospect info!

At some point tomorrow, I’ll be back with a scorecard of sorts of how all 30 teams fared in regards to placement on the Top 10 by position lists. Does it lead to any conlcusions? Not necessarily, but I always like to add more fodder for debate.

AFL catchup — Rays, Marlins, Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers…

As could have been predicted, I’ve fallen behind on AFL updates in recent days. I’d love to blame Sandy for that, but that wouldn’t be fair. So… let’s catch up on team reports and Stars of the Day, shall we?  Oh, and stay tuned for news on the Rising Stars Game rosters, the exciting game being played at Salt River on Saturday (And I’ll be there in person to cover).

First, the team reports:

Tampa Bay Rays: Focuses on Tim Beckham

Miami Marlins: Focuses on Christian Yelich

Chicago Cubs: Focuses on Tony Zych

Los Angeles Dodgers: Focuses on Chris Reed

OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to hand out some Stars of the Day for action from Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday.

Thursday: While there were some good hitting performances — Nick Franklin homered and drove in a pair for Peoria; Kyle Jensen homered and drove in two for Phoenix, Brian Goodwin went 3-for-4 with two doubles and Carlos Sanchez  went 2-for-3 with a triple and 4 RBIs, both for Salt River. But I have to give the tip of the B3 cap to Tim Crabbe of the Reds. He tossed four hitless innings for Peoria, walking one and striking out two. That brought his AFL batting average against down to .182.

Friday: It really comes down to two hitters from the Peoria-Salt River game. Vinnie Catricala of the Mariners had a nice day, going 2-for-4 with a homer and 3 RBIs. But the Rockies’ Kent Matthes one-upped him a bit, going 3-for-3 with a home run and 4 RBIs. Matthes is now fifth in the AFL with his .596 SLG and tied for fourth with 10 RBIs.

Saturday: It was tempting to give a rare star to a reliever. Chris Martin of the Red Sox went two perfect innings and struck out four for Surprise. But it was too hard to ignore Tyler Botnick‘s day for Salt River. The Diamondbacks’ infielder went 4-for-5 with a double, four RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base. Those were the first four RBIs of the fall for Bortnick, who is hitting .296 for the Rafters.

And, finally, Monday: A couple of good candidates, including another homer from Matthes. Ryan Perry of the Natinals went five scoreless, allowing just one hit while striking out three. But the Pirates’ Kyle Kaminska was just a smidge better. He also went five scorless, allowing just one hit. But he struck out six to earn the Star. He’s on a one good, one bad start pattern. In the two good starts, he’s gone 10 IP, allowing no runs on just four hits and no walks while striking out nine. In the not as good starts, he still isn’t walking anyone — just one free pass allowed all fall — but he’s given up four earned runs on 13 hits over eight innings. Kaminska came to the Pirates at the trade deadline along with Gaby Sanchez. He hasn’t started regularly since 2009, so it’ll be interesting to see if the fact that he is starting in the AFL means anything in 2013.

AFL Star of the Day, Volume 1

The first day of the Arizona Fall League is in the books and it’s time to revive a series I’ve tried on here in the past — the AFL Star of the Day. I’ll admit it’s been a challenge keeping it going all Fall, but I’m going to do my darndest to post every day. After a day’s games, please feel free to send in nominations in comments or via Twitter (@jonathanmayob3).

Typically a hitting-friendly league, there were some pitchers that deserved serious consideration. The Royals’ Justin Marks tossed three hitless innings for Surprise in what ended up being a 5-2 win for Peoria. Chris Gloor of the Giants tossed four innings of three-hit, shutout ball for Scottsdale, striking out five and walking none. In the same game, Shawn Haviland of the A’s went three scoreless, allowing just one hit while striking out four for Phoenix. And it was the Desert Dogs who won the game.

But I think I’ll stick with some offense for our first AFL Star of the Day: Javier Baez of the Cubs. Ranked No. 23 on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects list, and No. 1 on the Cubs’ Top 20, Baez is coming off of a very solid first full season that saw him reach the Florida State League at age 19 and hit a combined .294/.346/.543 with 16 homers and 24 steals. And he didn’t make his 2012 debut until the end of May. Now he’s one of the younger performers in the AFL. And all he did was homer and double while driving in three in Mesa’s 6-5 loss at Salt River on Tuesday night.

 

 

OMG: Chicago Cubs

Here’s the Cubs’ Top 10 Prospects and, as always, OMG (One More Guy) from their system:

wallach.jpgBrett Wallach, RHP: It seemed like a story-book scenario. Son gets drafted by his big league father’s old team. Tim’s kid was taken in the third round of the 2009 Draft by the Dodgers and began his first full season with Great Lakes in the Midwest League. He went 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his first month in the league and it looked like he could take off. He struggled for the next two months, but turned it back around with a 2.63 ERA in July.

But then the fairtale was over. The Dodgers sent Wallach to the Cubs in the Ted Lilly deal. Wallach stayed in the Midwest League, pitching with Peoria, though he had a 5.76 ERA over seven starts there. But that’s not a real way to judge just what kind of prospect he is. Cut the guy a little slack, given that he was taken from the family organization (his dad has managed and his brother is a catcher in the system to boot). He’s got great pure stuff and with a little help, he could have a pretty high ceiling.

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