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Never forget that it’s Friday, friends.

  • Some sources had suggested that, because of his commitment with MLB Network, Dan Plesac was not going to be a candidate for the Cubs’ open color broadcasting position. No so, says Bruce Levine, who reports that Plesac will be interviewing for the position, joining Eric Karros as the two known interviewees at this point. Plesac did pre and post-game analysis for Cubs games on CSN before joining MLBN. He was briefly a pitcher with the Cubs back in the ’90s.
  • I was on the season ticket holder call last night, and put together a transcript, but they also had a call earlier in the day (and that one included Jason McLeod). The CCO has a recap of the highlights from that call. It covered a lot of the same territory, but Jason McLeod mentioned his excitement about the organizational depth at second base, naming Logan Watkins, Ronald Torreyes, Gioskar Amaya, Stephen Bruno and Zeke DeVoss. On Javier Baez, McLeod added that, coming into things last year, they assumed he was going to have to be moved to third base; but now that they’ve seen him in action and worked with him, they no longer think that. They think he could stay at shortstop, which, together with Castro, makes for a good problem to have.
  • Speaking of Baez, x-rays confirmed that he did, indeed, break the tip of his left thumb. The injury, which apparently occurred during a high five (yup – seriously), is not expected to impede his development in any way, but obviously it ended his AFL season early.
  • The Cubs have worked with Nick Struck’s mechanics, and that could have marked a step forward this year.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at some managerial situations, the Dan Haren situation, and the relative competitiveness of the AL and the NL.
  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Baez has the tools to stay at short, but I still don’t see it happening long term with the Cubs. Castro has Gold Glove potential. Baez does not project to be that good at short. If both stay with the Cubs and Baez makes it to Chicago, Baez is changing his position.

    However, Theo does have a track record of trading his first round picks. Then again, I’m not sure he’s ever had a first rounder quite as high as Baez and Almora are.

    • Rcleven

      Never say Never.

    • willis

      Yeah the McLeod comments are nice to hear about Baez’ skill, but confuse me a little. Baez’ bat will be ready sooner than later. And Castro has the talent to be the best SS, offensively and defensively, in the game. So I’d love to see Baez get some work at 3B because ultimately, if both are Cubs, he’ll be on the hot corner.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Interesting that they are now saying Baez doesn’t necessarily have to move to 3B. Could a move to 2B still be in the cards? They also mentioned moving Lake to 3B. It wouldn’t make since saying that if they were planning on using him as trade bait (which I was hoping for). If they were going to move where he played I had hoped it would be the mound.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      If the Cubs leave Baez (or any other player) at SS, then a move to 3B, 2B, or almost any position other than C or P is still in the cards.

      • Dr. Percival Cox

        2B is the most intriguing in a lot of ways but, as Luke pointed out last night, virtually no one in the organization seems to be thinking that way.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          The Cubs have a lot of good second base prospects who can’t really move to third. I doubt they’d take a guy who can play third and slot him to second just because they can.

          Unless third base becomes blocked and that guy has a bat they want in the lineup, but that would really only affect the higher levels.

          • Kyle

            I find “good 2b prospect” to almost be an oxymoron. You don’t see very many of them, because the ones who are really good tend to be kept at SS as long as possible.

            We have some interesting 2b prospects, but I don’t think any of them are nearly good enough to influence a conversation on what’s best to do with a talent like Baez.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              “We have some interesting 2b prospects, but I don’t think any of them are nearly good enough to influence a conversation on what’s best to do with a talent like Baez.”

              That’s not always true. I know the old saw about “second base prospects,” but it’s conceivable, for example, that Ronald Torreyes’ hit tool keeps allowing him to be this ridiculously gifted hitter (let’s say he kills it at AA next year). And he’s literally not going to be able to play anywhere but 2B because of his size. If that happens – it’s not like Torreyes is not a really intriguing prospect, capable of a breakout, given his age and ability – it’s conceivable (just conceivable) that the Cubs would think twice about moving Baez to second base, if they’d otherwise been considering it.

              It takes a unique confluence of circumstance (most notably, the existence of a super small, studly hitting prospect who can only play 2B), but it could happen.

              • Kyle

                If Baez and Torreyes both hit their ceilings, and you think Baez is even slightly better off at 2b, then you trade Torreyes.

              • Dr. Percival Cox

                Torreyes is in a really tough spot. The Cubs glut of second base prospects pretty much dictates that he starts at Tennessee next year. (Zeke DeVoss needs somewhere to play.) So, after struggling a bit as a young guy in Daytona, he gets to take on AA pitchers at 19. If he struggles — there really isn’t anywhere for him to go, so he has to keep fighting.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                  I think he’ll be fine. He may struggle at first, but he came on very strong in the second half. His Daytona season actually mirrors that of Logan Watkins in a lot of ways. (The players themselves are quite different, of course.)

          • Dr. Percival Cox

            I know what you’re saying — and I suspect you’re close to right — but let me devil’s advocate a bit here: you rarely get guys with Baez’s bat at second. I don’t think even the rosiest projection for Gioskar Amaya would have his bat anywhere close Baez’s. So, if you move Baez to second, you essentially get 2 third-base bats in the lineup for the price of one — and the all star second basemen that are then behind Javy can be used as bait in a trade for the third baseman.

            • Cubbie Blues

              This is exactly where I am coming from. If we can get slightly above average production from 3B and have Baez develop into what his potential is and play 2B the run differential would be much better than with Baez at 3B and slightly above average production from 2B.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                have Baez develop into what his potential is and play 2B the run differential would be much better than with Baez at 3B

                The run-differential will be greater regardless of how well Baez does, but your point still stands. Jokes about 3rd base aside (it’s really not as bad as it feels to us!), the median OPS among starting 3rd basemen (400+PA) was 0.789 (Panda!) Only three 2bmen did that well: Cano, Hill & Peddy. The median 2B OPS was 0.718: and only Moutakos and Callaspo did worse than that among starting 3Bmen. That comes to about a 2-3 difference in WAR just from shifting across the infield.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  As long as someone can play average to above average defense at a position you don’t move him just because his bat would still be plus at a lower position. You keep them at the most difficult position they are capable of playing unless they are blocked as Baez will be by Castro (no you don’t move him until he reaches the majors).

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    You do not move a young SS in the minors. However, once he gets to the majors, then you move him. And if you have a choice of, say, 2nd or 3rd, then you move the guy to the spot where the alternative is weakest. On most teams, that would be 2B. (The fact that this was not true for the 2012 Cubs contributed a lot to the teams -0.08 net OPS.)

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      Isn’t that what I just said? I am also assuming when Baez is ready that we will have someone who is at least an average 3B.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Oh, sorry: I did not realize that you were making that assumption. As a late 40′s Cubs fan who remembers the long void between Santo and ARam (well, the Penguin was good for a couple of years), I guess that I’m always expecting a third-rate 3B-du-année: it’s sort of the default setting for the Cubs.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      I didn’t realize you were old enough to be a fan in the 1940′s. :D

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Young man, I was a fan in the 1840′s. Now, where’s my hitting stick and my dentures!

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      You do realize the bats cannot have a flat spot on them now right? (Actually, your only about a decade older than me.)

                    • DarthHater

                      Now, where’s . . . my dentures!

                      Don’t you remember? You loaned them to that George Washington fellow . . .

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      (Actually, your only about a decade older than me.)

                      But a decade less optimistic about the third base situation, clearly!

                      Now, I’m wandering over to that monument to find that young George with my teeth!

            • DocPeterWimsey

              So, if you move Baez to second, you essentially get 2 third-base bats in the lineup for the price of one

              Heh, I think that there might be a couple of divisions that do not have two “third-base bats” these days! Seriously, though, we are counting this chicken long before the egg has hatched. If Baez turns into a MLB “third-base bat” (the idealized type) or even less than that, then the Cubs can move Baez “down” to 2nd or 3rd. The transition does not take long: guys do it in spring training. Indeed, look at Machado: the O’s just stuck him at 3rd to get his bat in the lineup.

              Kyle’s point is a good one, too: put another way, when minor leaguers step off of SS onto 2nd, they frequently step off of the prospect path, too. Guys like Baez & Boegarts will probably keep playing SS until they reach MLB: and if they don’t, then their trajectory has probably been derailed in other ways.

              • Cubbie Blues

                we are counting this chicken long before the egg has hatched.

                Come on Doc, we have to have something positive to talk about.
                [img]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJUhlRoBL8M[/img]

                • Cubbie Blues

                  try link again.
                  Link

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    They sang that for the Queen once, you know. I don’t know if they ever sang it with Queen, however.

                    *whistles*

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              When the Cubs have that second third baseman blocking Baez, that’s the time to move him to second.

              But that’s not the current situation. It might not be a bad plan to work towards.

          • terencem

            I agree that it’s way to soon for this conversation. You want to leave Baez at shortstop as long as possible. They could give him more time at third as he gets higher in the org. I think he only played third in the AFL because the team had like 4 shortstops.

  • CubFan Paul

    It would be nice if Struck developed into quality AAA depth/insurance next year.

  • cjdubbya

    So I clicked on your link and I got an advertisement for a presidential candidate that will remain nameless. It is indeed Friday, the last Friday before the election. Columbus, OH is a nice city in which to live, but I’m very very happy that I won’t live here during the next election cycle. This whole battleground state thing is weak sauce.

    Oh wait…there was actually a video? *goes back to Youtube* – ya know, sitting through that ad was totally worth it. Thanks for brightening my day!

    (Yes, this is as political as I’ll get. Promise.)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I feel your swing state pain …

  • Curt

    I hope plesac gets the job I think he’s insightful and would compliment len casper well.

    • kmr1453

      *Like*

    • Stevie B

      Double like^^^^

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    Nice! Excited to hear Plesac is interviewing.

  • JR

    Loved Plesac’s pre and post game analysis. I really hope he gets the job.

  • ari gold

    Any of you guys read Klaw’s chat yesterday? Wasn’t too kind to Baez. Said he’s pretty risky because he swings at everything. Hopefully he can get that worked out this year. If he does, the sky is the limit.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Did he say he was “risky” in the comments or something? This is what he said in chat:

      Jack (Toronto)
      Did you get many looks at Javier Baez this year? Reviews about his bat and defence have been great thus far. Is there any reason to be skeptical based on his lack of patience?

      Klaw
      Yes, before he left the AFL. Best bat speed out here. Swings at everything and then some.
      -

      • Kyle

        He’s absolutely correct. Out of our three big prospects, Baez probably has the highest ceiling and the highest floor. The downside is real.

      • ari gold

        Yeah, you’re right, meant to say skeptical. But given the skepticism he’s a risky prospect.

  • Spencer

    how’d you get in on the season ticket holder call

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