As we have been expecting all along, Albert Almora has agreed to sign with the Cubs. The minute his name hits the dotted line he will be one of the Cubs’ very best prospects and will be competing with Jorge Soler for the title of best outfield prospect in the system.

With the addition of Almora, the Cubs suddenly have one of the best pools of high ceiling outfield prospects in the game. For Soler and Almora, the sky is the limit. Matthew Szczur increasingly looks like the lead off hitter and center fielder of the future as he learns to translate his prolific athletic abilities into baseball skills. Brett Jackson still has the ceiling of a solid major league outfielder, and Reggie Golden has one of the highest ceilings in the farm system.

That’s right, Reggie Golden. I have not talked about him much since his season ending knee injury, but he is not a player we should ignore. In terms of ceiling he is not far short of Almora and Soler, but the lack of polish and the string of injuries have made it easy to lose track of that. Think of Golden as the Junior Lake of the outfield: raw, toolsy, massively high ceiling, but a lot of work to do before those tools can translate into baseball success. [Brett: My biggest concern for Golden is that, given his build, it will be even harder for him to come back from the knee injury than it would be for a less-powerfully-built guy.]

Of course, all of these guys except for Jackson are deep in the system and are not likely to arrive before 2014. Some of them won’t make it all, but that is benefit of having depth. Odds are quite good that at least one of those five players will be starring for the Cubs in the not too distant future.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Iowa Cubs are enjoying their own All-Star break. They resume play on Thursday.
Tennessee – The Smokies withstood a late rally to pick up the 4-3 win.
Daytona – The Cubs scored three times in the first, but they could not hold on for the win. The final was 5-4.
Peoria – Peoria’s bullpen gave up three in the ninth, leading to a 4-3 loss.
Boise – Once again, the Hawks had their chances, but they could not push runs across the plate. They lost 10-4.
Arizona – The AZL Cubs had the day off on Monday.

Performances of the Day

  • [Tennessee] Dallas Beeler pitched seven very good innings and earned the win. He allowed just four hits, no walks, and struck out five.
  • [Tennessee] Logan Watkins finished this game 2 for 4 with a double (his tenth) and a triple (his eighth). Junior Lake was 1 for 4 with a double.
  • [Daytona] Frank Del Valle struck out three in two innings of no hit relief.
  • [Daytona] Arismendy Alcantara raised his batting average to .306 with a 4 for 5 game.
  • [Peoria] Javier Baez hit his sixth home run as part of his two hit game. Wes Darvill also homered and doubled in the loss.
  • [Boise] Bijan Rademacher had just one hit in this game, but the right fielder also threw out a runner at home.
  • [Boise] Trey Martin had his best game as a Hawk and finished 3 for 4.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Logan Watkins has made Cub fans aware of him over the past season with his very good second half in Daytona and his pretty good numbers in Tennessee. As good as his numbers look (and that .361 OBP looks quite good) there are still some areas where his game needs work. One place is particular might be his approach against left handed pitching. Against right handers (229 AB) Watkins has a nice looking line of .301/.392/.428 with seven triples and two home runs. Against lefties (77 AB) those numbers fall to .182/.264/.286 with one triple and two homers. Against RHP Watkins has just many walks as he does strikeouts, 35. Against lefties the ratio plummets to 6 BB / 25 K. I don’t think there is much question about his ability to hit right handed pitching. If he can improve his game against lefties, he could have a very bright future indeed.
  • Robert Whitenack had another rough game on Monday, but I still would not worry. Pitchers often take over a year to come back from elbow surgery. The Cubs will be patient with him.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 38 – 53.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Third Place: 18.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 9-10
Southern League North Division – Third Place : 1.5 Games Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 9-10
Florida State League North Division – Third Place : 2.0 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 6-12
Midwest League Eastern Division – Sixth Place : 5.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 8 – 17
Northwest League East Division – Third Place : 7.0 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 12 – 4
Arizona Rookie League East – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Behind



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