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It’s been a while since we’ve had a Prospect Notes post, and, with the regular minor league seasons at a close, it’s a fair time to kick it back up.

  • Cubs’ sixth round pick, catcher Neftali Rosario, comes in for high praise from John Sickels as a good sleeper pick. “The Cubs spent a lot of money on over-slot bonuses, so it is harder to stay within what I’m trying to do with this series of articles, but one guy who stands out is sixth round pick Neftali Rosario out of Puerto Rico. He hit .294/.351/.490 in rookie ball and has the tools to be a good defensive catcher. He needs some work with the strike zone and just general experience, but looks like a possible bargain for a $150,000 bonus.”
  • Two young Cubs were named to Baseball America’s Top 20 Arizona League Prospects list, middle infielder Marco Hernandez (No. 6) and infielder Gioskar Amaya (No. 9). Both have been discussed here at BN as they tore up the AZL as teenagers. Both are products of the Cubs’ Latin America scouting efforts, and are a reminder of just how good the young portion of the Cubs’ farm system could be – remember, the best part of the Cubs’ highly-regarded 2011 draft was in the high school ranks. So, um, 2015 here we come! (I kid – I’m genuinely excited about the future of the Cubs’ farm system.)
  • An ITI thread discusses a recent Keith Law chat wherein Keith fielded questions about Darwin Barney, DJ LeMahieu, Ryan Flaherty, Josh Vitters, and Bryan LaHair. In sum, Law thinks Barney shouldn’t be a ML regular, doesn’t think Flaherty can play defense well enough to be a regular 2B, doesn’t expect LeMahieu to become a starter but thinks he should be given a chance, doesn’t think Vitters will make it (hates his glove and lack of power), and doesn’t expect LaHair to have a regular role in MLB.
  • A Fangraphs chat recently addressed a few more Cubs prospects. Trey McNutt still has his plus velocity, but looks more like a reliever than a starter. Junior Lake is a raw, toolsy kid who would be the top shortstop prospect in many organizations. Josh Vitters (this will sound familiar) is a poor defender at third who has a good, quick swing, but doesn’t have much power.
  • Cubbie Blue

    So in other word’s he’s say lemahieu shouldn’t be a ML regular :D Some one agrees with me finally! & i disagree i believe..i truly beleive that bryan LaHair should be given a chance. (next jose bautista on our hands )

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He’s guessing LeMahieu won’t become a big league regular (I’d probably guess the same), but says he should be given a chance – which is what I’ve been saying for months (and will keep saying).

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I should add, coming from Keith Law, that’s like any other prospector (not named Kevin Goldstein) saying LeMahieu is the best prospect in the history of the universe.

  • Bleed Cubbie BLue

    True very true. but what i have been reading is people saying that lemahieu is the next biggest thing in chicago. which…………… i’m not even gonna say anything to.

     

    • Sean C

      I don’t think anyone is making LeMahieu out to be an all world prospect, but the guy has a great hitting tool and size on his side. The lowest average he’s hit for in a single year out of the three years he’s been with the Cubs is .314. He can put the bat on the ball. If he can play good enough defense and walk have an IsoD of .030, I think he can be a useful player. Any power that he were to develop would be a bonus.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Sean, a question for the expert: let’s say LeMahieu could put up a .290/.330/.390 line in the bigs, consistently. Is his defense at 3B good enough that you’d be comfortable having him as the long-term starting 3B?

        • NyN

          he would be placido polanco basically.

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            I’d be happy with that especially if he can be as good defensively as Polanco

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          Reports are that LeMahieu takes a lot of pride in his defense and has really progressed in the past couple of seasons. I think he’ll be at least average at both second and third given time.

          Baseball America’s Jim Callis commented earlier this season that he would not be surprised to see LeMahieu supplant Barney at second in 2012. I mention that because going into 2011, Callis was one of the only members of the national media who expected Barney to win the second base battle in spring training. Many of the others thought it was a four person race between DeWitt, Ojeda, Scales, and Baker. I agreed with Callis on Barney then, and I agree on LeMahieu now. I think the real question is: would the Cubs be happy with that line out of an everyday second baseman? Given average defense, I would be.

  • Deez

    Really appreciate the Look-in on the Farm Brett, Thanks.

  • JulioZuleta

    I don’t get the Vitters lack of power thing. At 21 years old he hit 14 HRs in a pretty solid pitching league. I’m not saying he’s going to be a 40 HR a year kinda guy, but 25 is more than reasonable I think (which happens to be how many Aramis Ramirez will finish the year with). He has an incredible swing, and at 6’2″ -6’3″ 195-200, he hasn’t completely filled out yet. Power is usually the last tool to develop. If the claim is being made that he won’t be a major leaguer, it should be based on his defense and plate discipline, not his lack of power, but then again it’s Keith Law

  • die hard

    Corey Patterson

  • CubFan Paul

    the fanGraphs chat link wont open up..

    now it is.. got it

    FanGraphs on Lake: Junior Lake is really, really raw, but he would rank as the best SS prospect in a number of organizations. He’s definitely not short on tools

    so he’s not the best SS prospect in our organization? or does he mean or farm sucks?

  • Dumpman

    Nice post Brett. Isn’t Keith Law the one who said Matt Szczur has Pierre like power? I really hope McNutt doesn’t break in as a reliever. What a total waste that would be.

    • http://Bleachernation Bric

      I’d actually be ecstatic if McNutt produced as a servicable reliever. Set the bar low enough and you might be pleasantly surprised. Remember, McNutt is the best pitching spect in the Cubs’ minors. That ain’t saying much. That’s Jim Hendry code for a marginal prospect with “tremendous” upside.

      If he has so much upside, why didn’t the Rays go for him to replace Garza someday instead of the prospects they got? Answer- because their scouts are more concerned with winning and building a solid farm system than hype and PR. Same thing with Vitters. They’re only worth something in Hendry’s soon to be gone used car salesman, baby kissing hand shaking outdated world of baseball operations.

      If the farm system was as deep as he always made it out to be, why sign free agents year after year? The dude’s theory that five .180 batting infielders equates to one .300 infielder. Money ball. Hopefully the next G.M. will have a little more reality in him.

      • auggie1955

        Bric, you pretty much summed up how Hendry operated.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        The Rays did go for McNutt. If you read the interviews done with McNutt just after the Tampa trade was announced, McNutt thought he was going to Tampa. The Cubs appear to have refused to deal McNutt and let Tampa take Archer instead.

        I think the Rays weren’t interested in Vitters because of the position he plays, not because Hendry liked the guy. The Rays were not looking for a corner infielder in that deal. They were thought to be primarily seeking a catcher and a shortstop… and that is exactly what they got. The Padres, among other teams, are thought to have been asking for Vitters in the past… and I doubt it is because Hendry liked him. Scouts are mixed on Vitters, but it is largely because of his position and his patience. It is looking unlikely that he will make it as an everyday third baseman, and he may not have enough power for first. No one is questioning his bat. The guy can hit virtually any pitch he sees. That’s also his problem… he knows he can hit anything and he doesn’t wait on pitches he can really hammer.

        I maintain that the basement on Vitters is a career .265, 20 HR guy. I think he’s more likely a .285, 25+ HR guy… and could be better if he’d ever learn to be more selective at what pitches he swings at. He’s more likely to wind up in left or at first at this stage… I think LeMahieu and Flaherty will crowd him out at third in the short term… but he’ll get a shot at the majors, probably before next season is out.

  • LouCub

    The thing about Vitters is that he’s got the stroke down, and he strikes out very little..If this guy ever learns the zone he could become a Mark Grace type hitter with about 10 more homers per year..My bet is LF for him, he’s improving,,these same writers would crucify the Cubs if they ever dealt him and he put it all together abd book it he will…

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