Photo by Dennis Sievers/Peoria Chiefs

Javier Baez is a good prospect. Javier Baez is a very good prospect. How good of a prospect is he?

According to Baseball America, he’s the No 25 prospect in all of baseball. Sort of. He is also the only Cub in their Top 50. Sort of.

Baseball America’s mid-season list does not include this summer’s draft picks or international free agent signings. That means likely Top 50 guys Albert Almora (when he signs) and Jorge Soler were not considered for this ranking. I’m not sure either would rank above Baez, but both would be in that ballpark. When those two guys are included the Cubs are very likely to have three prospects among the Top 50 in all of baseball.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa was shut out 3-0.
Tennessee – Tennessee was rained out on Thursday. They will make up the game as part of a doubleheader today.
Daytona – Daytona scored early, but not often. They lost 5-2.
Peoria – The Chiefs had some very good pitching as they earned a 2-1 win.
Boise – Boise scored three times in the last two innings to pull out a dramatic 7-6 win at home.
Arizona – The Cubs rallied late and eventually won in ten innings, 12-11.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Alberto Cabrera and Ryan Rowland-Smith combined to pitch 2.1 scoreless innings in relief.
  • [Daytona] John Andreoli finished 3 for 4 with his 29th stolen base. Thanks to two walks and a double, Matthew Cerda also reached base three times.
  • [Peoria] Zach Cates got things started by scattering five strikeouts over 4.2 scoreless innings. Zach Rosscup topped that with three innings of scoreless, one hit relief in which he also struck out five. Luis Liria coughed up a solo home run, but he held on to the lead for a four out save.
  • [Peoria] Dustin Geiger homered in his first at bat, his third home run in his past two games. For the season the young third baseman now has six.
  • [Peoria] Javier Baez and Zeke DeVoss both had a stolen base in this game. It was the 12th steal for Baez and the 21st for DeVoss.
  • [Boise] Gioskar Amaya and Stephen Bruno both had three hit games.
  • [Boise] Marco Hernandez finished 2 for 5 with the first triple of his Boise campaign.
  • [Boise] Bijan Rademacher had the best game of the night for the Hawks. He finished 2 for 3 with a double and his first home run.
  • [Arizona] Timothy Saunders had another huge game. He finished 5 for 6 with a double and his first home run of the year. Rafael Lopez and Issac Garsez both had three hits apiece.
  • [Arizona] Nathan Dorris pitched three scoreless innings of relief. He allowed two hits and struck out one.

Other Minor League Notes

  • The Smokies were rained out, but the grounds crew deserves a lot of credit for putting up a fight against the storms that swept through Eastern Tennessee. And I mean ‘putting up a fight’ in a very literal sense. When the final bell rang the tarp was judged the winner, but the grounds crew did not go down easily.
  • As a followup to yesterday’s comments on the attendance and stadium situation in Boise, the attendance for the Hawk’s great come from behind was just a hair over 2100. That’s up quite a bit from their last Thursday home game. Maybe word is beginning to spread that the Hawks are not going anywhere.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 35 – 53.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Third Place: 21.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 6-8
Southern League North Division – Third Place : 3.0 Game Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 7-8
Florida State League North Division – Fourth Place : 2.0 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 5-9
Midwest League Eastern Division – Fifth Place : 4.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 7 – 14
Northwest League East Division – Fourth Place : 4.5 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 9 – 4
Arizona Rookie League East – Second Place : 1.5 Game Behind

  • chirogerg

    Vitters just got his average up to .300, too.
    Good for him

  • MXB

    That tarp-nami vid was awesome.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Loved that video. The guy running across the tarp was hilarious.

    • hansman1982

      yes, it made me cry I was laughing so hard

  • Jackalope

    I was curious if anyone has heard any updates on a few minor leaguers. Apologies, as I’m sure several have already been discussed recently.

    1) Any word on the recoveries of Reggie Golden or Dillon Maples? When we might expect to see them back and what level are they likely to start at?

    2) Same with Soler. When we might expect to see him begin and what level is he likely to start at?

    3) Assuming Almora signs, do you expect that he’ll be at Boise for the last few months of the summer? How about Pierce Johnson and Duane Underwood?

    On a side note, the Cubs system is rich w/ position player talent. By the end of the year weak could easily have 5+ position players in the top 100 in minor league baseball (Rizzo, Jackson, Baez, Almora, Soler, with Szczur and Candelario meriting consideration). The pitching, not so much. Hopefully, we can maybe pick up a few good arms in trades this summer.

    • Joker

      Hey Jackalope, hopefully Rizzo won’t qualify. I think there is a good chance he’s in the majors to stay. : )

    • Luke

      Golden is out for the season.  We likely won’t hear much about him again until next spring.

      Last I heard, Maples was scheduled to starting pitching later this month.

      Any of the Cubs high draft picks could wind up in Boise (or even Peoria) by the end of the year, but they are all likely to start in Arizona.

      The Cubs did pretty well picking up some high upside arms in the 2012 draft and pitching is thought to be a priority for them at the trade deadline.  I don’t know if they can balance the system by the time the season ends, but they are heading in that direction.

      • hansman1982

        Is the flame out rate higher for pitching or positional prospects or is it fairly even?

        • Luke

          Conventional wisdom says it’s higher for pitchers, but I have not seen numbers on that.

          If we subtract injury cases and limit the population to players who have had some success at Double A or higher, I suspect it would be fairly even.  But again, I do not have numbers.

        • Jackalope

          I think injury attrition is definitely higher for pitchers, but in terms of general busting, not really sure.

        • Norm

          Gotta believe it’s pitching base on TINSTAAPP becoming a somewhat common acronym.

    • hansman1982

      1. Maples should be seeing some action soon, if his tweets are to be believed
      2. Soler is currently in Arizona. I would imagine around Aug 1 he heads to Boise (but that is just pulling something out of my butt)
      3. I’ll defer to the resident expert on this one.

  • baseballet

    In Baseball America’s list of top 50 prospects, the Cubs only have one player, so they need to play catchup, even just in their own division. The Astros have two, and the Cardinals and the Pirates each have four. The Cardinals and the Pirates are already good now, and they have more top prospects coming up than the Cubs.

    • Luke

      As I mentioned, the Cubs probably have three when we include Soler and Almora.  Rizzo just missed being on that list by a matter of days.  The gap isn’t as large as it seems.

      In the off season rankings the Cubs were clustered tightly with those other teams.  The Cards (12) and Pirates (13) were slightly ahead of the Cubs, and the Astros (17) weren’t far behind.

    • Spriggs

      To add to what Luke said, it is conceivable that the Cubs could have up to 7 players in the top 100: Baez, Soler, Almora, Jackson, Szczur, Vitters, Candelario (with even Lake a possibility and Maples an even longer shot if he starts pitching soon!)

      • Luke

        Lake and Maples are very long shots.  I think we could see Pierce Johnson under consideration in the same tier as Vitters and Candelario, though.

        Edit: As of now, I don’t think Vitters, Candelario, or Johnson would quite crack the Top 100.  I see them finishing the year in the 100-150 bracket and climbing.

        • Spriggs

          I assume the Cubs will give Pierce Johnson every opportunity to start, but do you think he’ll stick as a starter or wind up a reliefer?

          PS… I live in AZ and watched Soler in batting practice the other day. The kid is huge! He practices with the AZL Cubs right now, so I’m hoping he’s not far from getting into a few games before he gets assigned elsewhere.

          • Luke

            I think he can start.  Ultimately that’s up to him, but I think he has the stuff to do it.

        • Scotti

          I don’t think either Maples or Johnson has a realistic chance regardless of how their limited play pans out. However, Candelario and (especially) Vitters have this in their own hands. Continue to play/improve as they have been and they will force BA to keep them off. Vitters is a guy who has been on that list three times. His current season–if continued–is vindicating their past choices but they’d look silly if they kept him off this time around and he put up decent MLB numbers in ’13.

      • Jackalope

        Any chance Gioskar Amaya gets consideration?

        • Luke

          Probably not.  If he projected as a shortstop he would absolutely be in the mix, but he’s probably more of a second baseman.  Unless a second baseman has an exceptional tool or two, that position is not likely to be featured on a Top 100 list.  There are exceptions to that general rule, but not many of them.

          On the other hand, if Amaya earns a promotion to Peoria and keeps hitting a triple every four games at that level, things could change.

          Personally, I’m higher on Amaya than any other likely 2B in the system, including Torreyes.  I’m in the minority on this, but there you go.

          • Spriggs

            Glad to hear you’re high on Amaya. I feel likewise. His combination of skills and instincts are really interesting and keeping tabs on his progress will be fun!

    • Cubbie Blues

      Breaking it down, the Cardinals have 4, Mariners 4,Pirates 4, Blue Jays 3, Diamondbacks 3, Rangers 3, Red Sox 3, Royal 3, Yankees 3, Astros 2, Marlins 2, Mets 2, Orioles 2. All other teams on the list have 1. The Cubs will have 2 more in the top 50 after Soler is placed on a team and Almora signs. That puts them in up with the other 9 teams with 3 or 4. On top of that there are more that are in the top 100. The farm isn’t as bad as you are making it out to be. What it needs (which was addressed in the draft) is high upside pitchers.

      • djriz

        Dont forget, some of the others teams draft choices will crack the top 50 also (wouldn’t be surprised if Correa and McCullers added to the Astro’s tally). Mariners with Zunino, Pirates with Appel, and so on.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Yeah, I was thinking about that when I posted, but I wanted to show that it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Also, Rizzo would have been on the list but barely missed it. The system is on its way. With how depleted it was on star potential before the new FO came in you can’t turn it around on a dime. It’s not even a 3 point turn around. You have to think more along the lines of Austin Powers in a golf cart.

          • djriz

            I totally agree that the system is turning around. One other point to help your argument is the age of our potential ‘impact’ players. We may not have a bunch listed in any top 50’s yet, but considering players like Vogelbach, Candelario and Underwood are all so young and just starting, you could see them making top 50/100 lists at the end of next year.
            There is a bunch of baseball left to be played, but with promotions, trades and attrition throughout the minors, I’m betting the Cubs will be WELL represented in pre-season top 100’s next year. Minimum of 4 players topping out at 7 players. Huge improvement in System rankings.

            • Josh

              Yeah our system was ranked in the upper 20’s in most expert rankings around the start of the 2011 season with Brett Jackson being the one guy we could hope for. Now since then we have acquired multiple prospects that have higher ceilings than Jackson and I see most rankings with us in the mid teens. That is quite the jump in a little more than a year. And those rankings were at the start of this season before Almora, Soler, and the rest of our draft.

  • Jackalope

    Thanks for the input everyone. Look forward to seeing Maples get going and hopefully seeing Soler at least in the NW league by the end of the year. Nice that the new CBA moved the signing deadline for the draft up a month so more picks can get a chance to play before the end of the season.

    • Jp

      Good stuff Jackalope, very good questions and answers provided by all. Can’t wait to see some of those guys in action, especially Soler and Almora. Boras should be about done counting the Cubs money saved and be ready to send Almora out with a big go get’em tiger (help me help you get a $200 million contract in about 6 years).

  • Jackalope

    Can’t remember where I saw this, but earlier this year someone in the baseball blogosphere posted some research showing that for high school draftees, there was a significant correlation between career value and age when drafted. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, because generally, the high schoolers will be within one year of each other age-wise, but apparently even 6 months can make a difference. Anyone remember this article who could post it?

    The reason I bring this up is because I noticed that several 2012 Cubs high school draftees are on the young side. For example, Almora just turned 18 in April, while many high school players in the draft will already be turning 19 in the next couple months. Duane Underwood is especially young, as he is still 17, and won’t turn 18 until the end of July. This could just be random, but I wonder if the FO took this research into consideration.

    • Kyle
      • Jackalope

        Thanks Kyle. I was thinking it was a Rany article.

        I love having a site like Bleacher Nation where I can ask about an article like that and people know what I’m talking about. Great to have so many intelligent, sabermetrically-minded commenters. Brett & Luke do a great job here.

        • Jack Weiland

          Yeah yep. BN rules.

          Side note: I’m a huge ARL guy across the board. It’s something that’s really significant that people don’t pay that much attention to, altogether.

          • Jackalope

            Agreed. (ARL = Age relative to league for those scoring at home)

        • Brett

          Thanks, Jack-o.

  • Ralph

    #25 prospect in baseball eh? Well, I hope he kills it against the Kernels (Angels) on Saturday and Sunday in Cedar Rapids. Dougy D and I are ready for some live baseball and a couple of Chiefs wins.

  • Grige

    The cubs need to bring uP bitters soon, he is ready

  • Rdevine

    I’ve noticed that Baez has been racking up stolen bases so far and has only been caught once. From the reports I’ve read, it doesn’t appear that Baez has or will have great speed in the future, especially after he fills out. Is this true or does Baez have any stolen base potential in the future? Is it just really easy to steal bases in the minors (Midwest League)?

    • Luke

      He doesn’t have great speed (he’s no Campana, for example), but he should always be a threat on the basepaths.  I wouldn’t hesitate to project him as high as 20 SB a year in the majors.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I’m really don’t seeing why people are getting all excited that Baez is showing stolen base ability. By the time he’s wit the cubs, he will most likely being a much bigger kid who will fill out and slow down considerably. I would rather him fill out and show +30 homer power with 10 steals, then 18-25 power with 20 steals. Its nice that he’s showing stolen base ability now but in 5 years I don’t think he’ll be as quick because he’ll fill out more. But you never know maybe he’ll be able to be a 20 steal guy his first couple years in the majors

  • Josh

    This makes me happy but at the same time every team should have at least one player. I’m excited to see Baez progress but he, Soler, and Almora are still years away from making an impact in Chicago

  • baldtaxguy

    Amazing how this Timothy Saunders just keeps collecting hits.

  • florida al

    Alcantara is 3/3 double short of a cycle at Dunedin tonight cubs up 4-0

  • AD

    Colvin with two homers off of Strasburg tonight. That make .309 BA 13 HRs 40 RBIs

    • Cubs1967

      damn!……..what a fucking bad is the stewart trade; no only was the fucker hurt all along colvin is being used property unlike how the ass quade used him and is succeeding…….that is just a horrid trade. we could have lahair-bjax-colvin next year with a decent platoon OF who bats right-handed and have an OK OF till soler is ready or scuzur at some point…… lamahuei and vitters could cover 3B anyway…….OUCH!

      • djriz

        don’t forget sean marshall.

        • Turn Two

          You take chances on trades- at this point (and its waaay too early) but just to respond here- at this point we appear to have been small losers in Colvin for Stewart and winners in Rizzo for Cashner and Wood for Marshall. Again, I realize that there is no way we can pick winners and losers on all these trades yet, but it is ridiculous to continually harp on the Colvin trade when he is not even a starting caliber outfielder and all of the other early moves look so good.

          • Josh

            Not to mention his stats are inflated playing at Coors Field.

      • Toby

        Are you talking about the same Tyler Colvin that batted .150 with 6 home runs and 20 RBIs in 2011? The Cubs had a surplus of OFs coming up and on the roster where the Cubs could use Colvin in a trade in order to address the 3B position which doesn’t have the depth. Ian Stewart was a good young 3B whose 2011 season can be blamed on his wrist. Stewart hit 25 and 18 HRs in 09 and 10 respectively. I dont’ blame Theo and Jed one bit for this trade.

    • AD

      That makes 10 in his last 76 ABs according to Ken Rosenthal.

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