Today the Chicago Cubs announced their 2012 Spring Training invites – 21 in all – and, while we’ve collected piecemeal the names of the guys from outside the organization who are coming, now we know what young guys who were already in the system (but not on the 40-man roster) will be coming.

From the official press release:

Nine pitchers – righthanders Marco Carrillo, Manuel Corpas, Jay Jackson, Rodrigo Lopez, Trey McNutt, Blake Parker and Dae-Eun Rhee and lefthanders Trever Miller and Chris Rusin – have been invited to major league camp, as well as catchers Michael Brenly, Jason Jaramillo and Blake Lalli.

Five infielders – Alfredo Amezaga, Edgar Gonzalez, Jonathan Mota, Bobby Scales and Matt Tolbert – have also been invited, along with four outfielders – Jim Adduci, Jae-Hoon Ha, Brett Jackson and Joe Mather.

We’ve known about Corpas, Lopez, Miller, Jaramillo, Amazega, Gonzalez, Scales, Tolbert and Mather, as guys the Cubs have signed this Winter to minor league deals. Brett Jackson and Trey McNutt were obvious invites, and I’m not surprised by Chris Rusin, who is a 25-year-old lefty starter at AAA. Marco Carrillo and Jay Jackson, as pitchers who have spent parts of the last two years at AAA are also no surprise. Carrillo is a 24-year-old, moderately successful reliever, and Jackson is a once-beloved starting pitching prospect who’s fallen on hard times.

Righty pitcher Dae Eun-Rhee, 22, is an interesting invite, as a guy who’s always had a ton of scouting hype, but who has only slowly come back from 2008 Tommy John surgery (2011 was his second full season back from the procedure). Pitcher Blake Parker, infielder Jonathan Mota, infielder/catcher Blake Lalli, and outfielder Jim Adduci have been in the organization for some time, so their invites are probably as much about giving them some love as they are about giving them a legitimate shot to make the team. Jae-Hoon Ha is a 21-year-old AA outfielder whom I suspect the Cubs would like to get a closer look at.

McNutt will look to rebound in 2012 from an ugly and injury-filled 2011 season, and, while he could see the bigs later in the year, is not a real threat to make the team out of Spring Training. Brett Jackson will almost certainly be with the Cubs later in the year, but, for reasons related to the availability of a starting spot, his high strikeout rates, and his service clock, barring a rash of injuries, Jackson will not break camp with the big team.

  • ferrets_bueller

    Ha is a guy that i definitely want to get a look at.  He doesn’t strike out much at all, but also doesn’t hit for a super high average, .270-.280.  Doesn’t seem to be very good on the bases, as far as Sb success goes.  Seems to have a little bit of pop, but not much…but also is young.  I really have no idea on how to grade any of his tools, so it’ll be nice to see him play.

    • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

      If you think of Ha as a ‘Brett Jackson Lite’ you wouldn’t be too far off. But at the same time, you might be selling him a bit short.

      Defensively, he’s probably the best the Cubs have in the minors right now. Szczur leads a pack of players just behind who will probably take that crown away from Ha before the season is out. If Ha and Jackson were both on the Cubs together, Ha would be in center and it would not be a hard decision.

      At the plate, it really is a little hard to say where he’ll end up. Right now, I’m expecting a higher average (.280+ ), a lowish OBP (.320 or so), and doubles power. He has the speed to steal, he just has no idea how to do it (13 steals in 30 tries in 2011). If he can clean up his base running he’ll be an effective bat in the lower part of the order.

      But then again, he is young and there is reason to believe he’ll develop some more power. If he can translate his doubles power into 20 HR or so a year (which is pretty likely I think – BA projects him as a 15 HR guy), then the Cubs are potentially sitting on a plus-plus defensive outfielder with 20 HR and 20 SB potential. That’s not half bad.

      Long term, I think he’s a fourth outfielder. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took a starting job one of these days, though. He’s on pace to reach the majors at the age of 22.

      • Kyle

        I keep reading mixed reports on Ha’s defense. I’ve read in some sources that it’s borderline plus-plus in CF and the best in the Cubs’ system, as you said. I’ve read from others that it’s nowhere near that and that he might not even stick in center as he continues to fill out.

        • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

          Do you have dates on those different reports? I remember hearing last winter that Ha was fringy in center and probably profiled best as a right fielder, but this off season the plus-plus talk seems to dominate again. I know he made major strides last season, and I wonder if that’s not part of the reason for the slightly conflicting reports on him.

          Ha was one of my favorite guys to check in on last season. It seemed every time I took at look at his numbers they were better than I expected and he was improving his game in unexpected ways. He just seems to keep getting better. That’s a lot of fun to watch. I’m still projecting him as a fourth outfielder, but I think that’s more of a safe call than an aggressive ceiling call, and it is written in pencil.

          • ferrets_bueller

            As far as I know, the initial reports of him following his move from catcher was that he was an RF…and then throughout last season he progressed to the point that he’s a plus CF.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          If/when Szczur is up at AA, together with Ha, I suppose we’ll know whom the Cubs see as the best CF in the system, at least in the upper ranks. I’m guessing Szczur will be getting the starts there.

  • Noah

    If Ha learned how to take a walk, he’d be a much more compelling prospect. As is, he’s probably a 4th or 5th outfielder type. Doesn’t K a lot but also doesn’t walk, has some but not much above average pop, good defender in both corners, can play a little CF. I’d be curious how much his lower BA is related to a problem similar to Josh Vitters. Vitters also doesn’t K a lot, but since he’ll make contact with a pitch two feet out of the zone he grounds out weakly a lot too.

  • cubsin

    I’ll be focusing much of my attention on McNutt, Jackson, Szczur, Rhee and Ha, plus Cespedes and Soler if they’re signed. I’ll also keep and eye on the new pitchers (primarily Wood and Volstad).

  • TeddyBallGame

    Out of all these names, why are names like Rizzo and Sczur not included? Rizzo is supposedly being called up at some point this year, so why not get familiar with the players during Camp while he has the chance?? Neither player included in the Marshall trade was invited either. The one pleasant surprise to see on the list was MIchael Brenly, son of Bob Brenly. He had a solid season last year, so I’m interested to see what he looks like during Spring Training…EIther way, baseball is mere weeks away and I couldn’t be happier…

    • Bric

      Rizzo and Szcur are both on the 40 man roster so I believe they are automatically considered invitees but I might be wrong. The name that I was looking for is Kyle Smit. His absence makes me think maybe he’s the compensation for Theo, not Szcur. Ace, any idea when the emperor is gonna fire his lighting bolts?

      • JulioZuleta

        That’s a pretty big jump from Szczur to Smit, but one I’d be very happy with. Personally I expect it to be someone in the middle. I’d be very pissed if it ended up being Szczur.

        • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

          I can’t see it being Szczur. Some analysts (John Manuel for one) have him in the Top 50 Prospects in all of baseball. That’s exactly the kind of absurd precedent that Selig should be looking to avoid.

          That said, if the compensation goes all the way down to Kyle Smit, Selig may have gone too far in the other direction. Smit may not be one of the Cubs’ own Top 50 guys. That’s not a shot a Smit… he has a chance to be at least a major league set up man if he can refine his stuff a bit… but more of an indication of the depth of the Cubs system. Still, I can’t see the Cubs getting off that easily.

          • Bric

            I see J.Z. and your points and agree. But you have to figure that Bud is going to work off the list that neither the Sox or Cubs could agree on. Given the Sox were doing the asking, you’d think they were asking for either pitching or outfielders. So you figure the Sox might have asked for Szcur and the Cubs might have countered with Smit. This is the reason I came up with these guys: one too high and one too low. So who else was on the list considered in the middle? Dolis? Guab? I could see Bud easily deciding on either of these guys as “fair” compensation just to end it. Brett, is it too late to start a pool on who gets send? My bleacher bucks are still on Szcur even though it’d be sad to see him go.

      • Noah

        Sappelt and Wood are also both on the 40 man, so they’ll be at big league camp. Torreyes was just in Low A Ball last year. Even if he has a good year at Daytona, I wouldn’t be shocked to not see him in Big League camp even in 2013. He’s not even going to turn 20 years old until right before the 2012 minor league season ends.

  • cubsin

    Rizzo and Szczur are on the roster, so they will be there.

  • TeddyBallGame

    Good to know, thanks….I should’ve realized that, but in this case I’m glad I’m wrong…

  • die hard

    Cubs ticket prices are third highest in the league behind Yankees and Boston….when are the fans going to realize this unfairness and just stay home given the caliber of player going to spring training this year?…at least the other two put a competitive team on the field…and do the Cubs have Castro at starting shortstop this year because there has been no official word
    closing the investigation?

    • TWC

      “…ticket prices are third highest in the league behind Yankees and Boston….when are the fans going to realize this unfairness and just stay home…”

      Dunno.  Keep reminding them, though, mkay?  ‘Cause THAT doesn’t get old.

      “and do the Cubs have Castro at starting shortstop this year because there has been no official word
      closing the investigation?”

      And for all you youngsters out there, this is called “concern trolling”.

      • DocWimsey

        heh, my mother always said that the reason why the Yankees win and the Cubs and Sox don’t (she died before the Sox ascendancy) is that Yankee fans don’t tolerate losing whereas Cubs and Sox fans do. Or, to paraphrase, only fans who demand fair weather deserve fair weather!

        • BT

          I’m sure spending twice as much as the rest of the league has nothing to do with it. It all comes down to the fan attitude.

          • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

            And when you actually check into the numbers, the myth of Cub fans coming to the ballpark no matter how the team does completely falls apart.


            Historically, the Cubs attendance has been nothing special. The spikes correlate roughly with the more successful teams, but those numbers never appear to last for long.

            • baseballet

              I went to the link, and since 1984 the Cubs have ranked in the top 5 in attendance in 19 out of 28 seasons. Furthermore, in that 28 year span they’ve never ranked worse than 9th. That sounds like consistently terrific attendance to me.

              • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

                Those results were compared to the rest of the National League, not the rest of all baseball. Finishing 9th out of a field that has never been larger than 16 is nothing special.

                With the exception of a few years, the Cubs are usually not in the 25% of National League teams in terms of attendance, and about a third of the time they are in the bottom half of the League. The size of their ballpark plays into that, but even you just look at their own attendance figures, particularly over the past four decades, you see a lot of up and down. Cub fans do not blindly buy tickets regardless of the team on the field, and the numbers clearly show that.

    • ferrets_bueller

      troll, troll troll troll..…trollllllll

      • MichiganGoat

        More of an enigma, die hard’s message is consistent. It’s the why that’s frustrating.

  • Mike Foster

    IMHO that price thing is deceptive. The ticket cost is really much higher if you don’t live in Chicago and can purchase tickets directly. When Stub Hub gets a hold of tickets the prices go up a lot. Same with scalping outside. The secondary ticket market has become ridicules. If those tickets are worth that then I’d rather see that money going to the team and then hopefully onto the field. OR maybe real prices could actually come down some. FWIW.

  • Cheryl

    Brett, Any hint yet who might be going to the Red Sox for compensation. I have a feling it wil be Barney.

    • MichiganGoat

      I don’t think anything else has happened since the “unnamed AL GM” report out of Boston, frankly I’d prefer we lose Barney before we lose a top 10 prospect like BJax, or Szczur. Replacing Barney won’t be as difficult as many fear and he doesn’t have a very high ceiling.

      • ferrets_bueller

        hell, I’d rather lose him than a top 20 prospect.

        • MichiganGoat


          • Cheryl


            • Spriggs


              • ferrets_bueller


                • TWC

                  Is Darwin Barney still on the team?

                  • ferrets_bueller

                    c-c-c-c-combo breaaakerrrrrr

  • Dante Hicks

    I’m consistently surprised at the numbers of Korean players the Cubs signed. I’m not an expert on Korean baseball, but an uneducated mind like mine sees that the old regime were saw a chance to poach talent in place no one else did. They signed lots of young guys, so it may be too early, but besides Choi (who got us DLee) and Lee who was traded for Garza, how many of these guys are real prospects? My reflex is to not trust Jim Hendry, but maybe they were right, but there haven’t been any superstars from Korea (or Europe for that matter) yet. I’ll be very interested to see the Cubs Far East movements and hope some of that limited money goes instead to new DR academy.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      There are no signs that the Cubs are going to back away from the far east. In fact, they are now one of the leading teams working in Taiwan as well as Korea. The idea is to find players with a lot of a ability and get them the improved coaching they will need to take advantage of that talent early enough they can develop it to the point that they can make it in the majors.

      I don’t think the Far East operation is going to defunded at the expense of the new Dominican facility, either. The Cubs are, to all appearances, fully committed to both (and to other markets besides). And they’ll have more money to spend on facilities and scouting in these areas because of the caps on draft and international free agent spending. I’d not be surprised to see the Cubs looking to open a facility in Venezuela, Mexico, or some other country in the next few years. Australia, perhaps.

      The players from these programs are coming. Jae-Hoon Hae headlines the Far East contingent in the Cubs minors today, but don’t loose sight of Dae-Eun Rhee, Pin-Chieh Chen, or Yao-Lin Wang.

      • Dante Hicks

        thanks for the thoughtful response…we can’t always see that here in Chicago. I learned a lot from your response.

        Ari Gold – And I need a new job. Think video stores are hiring? I hear one is next door.

  • Deer

    “limited money”? Are you talking about the new CBA rules or the Cubs budget? The Cubs have plenty of money to spend as they please, don’t fall into the trap that the Cubs are barely getting by these days.

  • ari gold

    Dante, are you even suppose to be here today?

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