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welington castilloHappy Groundhog Day. May that furry little bugger not see his shadow, and may the Cubs not repeat the ugliness of the last few years.

  • The Cubs had three players – Javier Baez, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler – on Jonathan Mayo’s top 100 prospects list for MLB.com, but they also had two guys who just missed his list. Mayo released his next ten prospects, and Brett Jackson (105) and Arodys Vizcaino (110) made the cut. Five prospects in the top 110 in a league with 30 teams (so each team should average 3.67 prospects in the top 110) is a pretty nice total. It could – and should – look even better by this time next year.
  • Keeping the lights on: should you find yourself in the mood to do some online gaming, you might consider checking out www.casinodino.com.
  • The Cubs’ starting catcher in 2013 is going to be former top prospect Welington Castillo, who has always offered offensive upside and a great arm, but who always needed improvement on his receiving skills (most 25-year-old catchers do). He’s been working on it this offseason, and even passed on the opportunity to play Winter Ball and/or in the World Baseball Classic so that he could focus on preparing to be the starter for the Cubs in 2013. I like to hear that, and I hope that the addition of a solid veteran like Dioner Navarro as his backup can help even further. It’s easy to forget, but if Castillo could become league average defensively, with his bat, the Cubs could find themselves with an above-average overall catcher – and for cheap.
  • The Vine Line Blog takes a look at pitching prospect Robert Whitenack, who was just added to the 40-man roster this Winter. From Vine Line: “Command and control are often the last things to come back after Tommy John surgery, and Whitenack’s feel just wasn’t there in 2012. His 2011 campaign – in which he had a 1.93 ERA and reached Double-A – won over many Cubs talent evaluators. The front office is hoping he steps up and surprises this year. Before the injury, Whitenack had a power sinker with a big hammer curve and a good change-up. He’s been added to the 40-man roster, so if he can regain his command, he could eat up innings at the back of the big league rotation.” I’ve said it before: if Whitenack resembles his early 2011 self this year, he’ll quickly enter the conversation for a second half rotation spot at the big league level. His emergence would go a long way to helping generate even more confidence about the team’s ability to be competitive in 2014.
  • Marlon Byrd had a really rough 2012 season. He slumped badly out of the gate with the Cubs, was dumped on the Red Sox, was popped for a banned substance, and ended the year with terrible numbers. He’s signed a minor league deal with the Mets to try and get things back on track. Probably not the free agent contract he’d imagined for himself just one year ago.
  • FanGraphs looks at the effect of weight loss/gain on defensive performance to try and determine if the things we generally hold as true – less weight = more range; more weight = worse defender – stand up to the statistical analysis. Unfortunately, due to sample size issues, it’s tough to say anything conclusive, but even if you took the results at their face, the results are, themselves, inconclusive. There’s a little bit to suggest that weight gain can negatively impact defensive ability, but there’s nothing in the data to suggest that weight loss positively impacts defensive ability. This is at least of some note for fans of Cubs prospect Dan Vogelbach, who has reportedly lost a fair bit of weight this offseason. He’s already been called “very athletic” by the Cubs’ development staff, but I’m sure they’d love it if he could somehow put himself in a position to be a serviceable defender either at first base or in left field.
  • JR

    Brett, that would be so awesome if Castillo became decent behind the plate this year. I wasn’t a big fan of his receiving skills at all last year. Fingers Crossed…

    • Hansman1982

      I just remember a game in Milwaukee early in the season where he just looked completely lost behind the plate and cost the pitcher a strike call per AB.

      • JR

        Yeah it was pretty weird watching Castillo behind the plate last year, as he had the tools, but looked completely clueless. I don’t remember seeing an mlb catcher who looked so new to framing and other normal catching duties. Has he caught for a long time?

        • waittilthisyear

          agreed. i remember at one time while watching castillo thinking to myself “i have never seen a catcher move like that on tv” (and i meant that in a bad way). that being said, i expect a very serviceable, if not better, year from wellington

        • MightyBear

          I believe this kind of goes back to what Brett and Luke said. The Cubs didn’t have a scouting problem, they had a development problem. I have never seen so many young kids make it to a major league level with the Cubs and have such basic deficiencies in their game. Campana was in the Cubs system for five years and with his speed, he gets to the major league level and he can’t bunt and he can’t work the count for a walk. It staggers the imagination. Didin’t somebody in A ball or lower say “Look kid, with your speed, if you can bunt and get on base consistently, you’re going to make it to the show and have a great career.” and then have him bunt 100 times a day and work on taking pitches, etc. Blows me away.

          • OCCubFan

            and Patterson and Pie and …

          • DocPeterWimsey

            “he can’t bunt and he can’t work the count for a walk.”

            Campana problem is not that he bunts poorly. The problem is that it’s all he does, and he cannot hit the ball hard enough to get it past the drawn in infield. Moreover, MLB pitchers know how to throw pitches that are tough to bunt.

            So, when Campana comes up, the pitchers and fielders know what is coming: a bunt. The pitchers try to throw tough-to-bunt pitches, and the fielders are 30′ from home plate with little fear of the ball getting hit past them. The best bunter in the universe is not going to do much with that. After all, bunting works well only if there is some element of surprise: and Campana bunting is about as surprising as crap weather in February.

            As for working counts, I am unaware of any organization that can teach that skill. Organizations that have a lot of those players do so because they sign guys with that skill. On the occasions they do sign guys who lack this skill (e.g., Will Middlebrooks on the Sox), the guys do not learn how to do it: they get as far as their contact skills allow them.

            • MightyBear

              You’re probably correct Doc but my point was the Cubs have a lot of players come up with deficiencies in their game that should have been addressed at the minor league level. I didn’t want to bring this up but it seems the Cardinals young players almost never have these issues.

              • waittilthisyear

                idk, i agree with op, campana, from what i saw, was a below average bunter on a good day. never even saw him try to drag one down the first base line/past the pitcher’s mound. lots of poorly placed push bunts in the direction of the third base line

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Why would a pitcher throw Campana a pitch that he can drag? When you know a lefty is going to bunt, then you throw him stuff that he has to push OR you bust him so far up and in that he’ll pop it up.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                If this is true (although it is almost certainly partially a “grass is always greener” view), then I think that the problem is a different one. At the core, I doubt that the Cards and Cubs are (or were) grabbing players of the same caliber and getting different results. The Cards (and Sox and Rays, etc.) simply are (or were) being smarter about their scouting and doing a better job of identifying true baseball tools than are (or were) the Cubs. They do not mold Campanas into Butlers or Vitters into Middlebrooks: they either sign guys with better tools first OR they don’t sign those guys at all.

                I put a lot of “or were” caveats in there. Obviously, what Jed & Theo consider to be important baseball tools are very different from what Jim Hendry did. However, most of the Cubs farm system was acquired by Hendry, and thus by people looking for different things than many other organizations.

          • True(ly) Blue

            Mighty Bear, I’ve been saying this about Campana (and the Cubs rather woeful minor league development of players) on this site even before the incredible Campana mania and “scrappy” talk. Maybe if you dropped the “s”, scrappy would be appropriate, eh? Other major league players made a living bunting. (Brett Butler?) It’s way to late for Campy!

  • myporsche

    2015 outfield of vogelbach, almora, and soler? Yeah right…

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      My outfield for 2015 is manny Ramirez, babe Ruth and freshly rested Sammy Sosa.

    • sclem21

      Vogelbach is not going to be anything better than a liability in the OF. I’m not a scout but when guys like Keith Law say he isnt even going to be able to sniff league average at 1B it doesnt take much guess work to project what his OF defense will look like.

      • JBarnes

        It’s tougher to play 1B than it is LF. With practice I’m sure he could move to LF at least for the early portion of his career.

    • George Altman

      Vogelbach (if he develops) should be good trade bait for 3-4 SP or 7-8th inning RP.

      • JBarnes

        He projects to be better than that. High contact rate, good plate discipline, huge power. “If he develops” he should net more than an average pitcher or bullpen guy.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          JBarnes: I completely agree. If Vogelbach continues to hit, and he is able to crush AA pitching then he could be a center for a potential ace starter. The reason Vogelbach isn’t ranked higher on people’s prospects lists is because he hasn’t played against more advanced pitching yet. His ceiling is huge. Yes there are concerns about his weight and defense but supposedly he is much more cut and slimmed down now, which potentially help him with his defense. If he could play a solid first base and have the hit tools that he has with huge power then you have a potential Prince Fielder (not saying he will be, but he could be AT LEAST a poor mans Prince, but its far to early to tell). There is a ton of value in Vogelbach

  • Mike

    OT: What do we know about the plans for Logan Watkins? I see him on the 40 man roster, yet I don’t see his name come up..

    • CubFan Paul

      Watkins is blocked by Barney. Hopefully he gets a real shot to unseat Barney at second base this Spring (unlike Rizzo/LaHair).

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Watkins is probably a year away from Wrigley yet, but don’t lose track of him. At worst he looks a solid defensive utility man who can bring some good lefty OBP to the plate off the bench. At best, he’s left handed hitting second baseman who could take over the lead off spot in the lineup.

        His ceiling is not super high (we’re not talking All-Star material here), but his floor looks pretty high as well. He might be one of the safest prospects in the system at this stage.

    • MightyBear

      I think Watkins has a good shot at making the team as a reserve. He can back up Barney, Castro and Stewart and play CF and the outfield positions. He hits well, works the count and gets on base. His intangibles are off the chart. I think he’s the kind of guy Theo/Jed and Cub fans are going to love.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I’d rather see him head to Iowa for at least half the season. But I agree he is a guy that the front office and fans are probably going to love watching.

      • hogie

        Did you just say he was scrappy?

        • Xavier

          He’s a scrapper. He plays like Theriot.

  • preacherman86

    Just a generic question, how in the world is vizcaino ranked below jackson on the prospect list? In know way am I saying Jackson cannot be a great pro, but as far as ceilings and prospecting are concerned, a hard throwing, big movement pitcher who is only 22 and has tasted the big leagues, seems to me to be a bit more prospecty than a 24 year old cf who has struggled with the same exact issues since college all the way through, where scouts told us this kid has the ability to out athlete the level of play but wouldn’t hack it without a retooled swing/approach. I love BJax, don’t ge me wrong, but Vizcaino still has the stuff to be a potential front half of the rotation starter, something far more valuable than a passable CF, who is not a star. Same could go for Vogelbach jumping Jackson in my opinion, the ceiling at this point is like comparing a Sears store to the Sears tower. Looking at shear size and hit tool alone, Vogelbach could conceivably be a 40+ homer guy who hits .300 and gets OBP at a great clip. Not saying Vogelbach will necessarily ever touch that potential, but as a matter of prospecting, I would rather have Vogelbach’s potential than BJax. We are all thinking a .275 hitter with 15-20 HR potential who strikes out more than Mark Reynolds is a good turn out for Bjax at this point, I just don’t see the love. Passable maybe even good future if he works hard to fix his issues? yes. Great CF with a plus bat? don’t buy it.

    • Rich H

      The reason for love on Jackson still is very simple. 20/20 power and speed is very rare. His walk % and ability to get on base makes him an interesting package. Think Austin Jackson with a little less range in center but a bit more power and can already get on base. His upside still makes the market for him.

    • Mike

      I think it’s a matter of opinion. Vizcaino is ranked above Jackson at both Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus.

  • cubspong

    Nice to see that Jackson and Vizcaino just missed the cut. While I understood why they did not make the top 100 (strikeouts and injury) it was still disappointing. Also, what is Welington Castillo’s ceiling? I cannot remember. I know this article states he could become an average defensive catcher and have an above average bat for a catcher, but what would that look like numbers wise?

    • Drew7

      .270/.330/.460?

    • Rcleven

      Castillo PA H 2B 3B HR SB avg obp slg wOBA
      CAIRO 364 83 17 0 14 1 .249 .316 .430 .326
      ZiPS 375 81 17 0 12 0 .240 .309 .398 .307
      Average 370 82 17 0 13 0 .245 .313 .414 .316

      • cubspong

        Thanks. Hopefully he will surprise and do a bit better, at least have a higher OBP. Maybe we will draft a catcher in the 2nd or 3rd round this year?

        • Rcleven

          To tell you the truth, I don’t care how he hits.
          Last year, he was a reacher behind the plate. He’ll have to learn to move his body more to get in front of pitches in the dirt. He improved as the season went on. Let’s hope he can improve as much this winter/spring and to become serviceable for the next two to three years. He has a canon for an arm and average game calling skills.
          Framing skills will improve with pitchers who are around the plate.

  • nkniacc13

    The likely 2 reasons is 1 Viz is hurt and 2 he doesn’t have a clear roll wether that is a starter or a closer

  • @cubsfantroy

    Can’t wait to see the improvements that Castillo is making behind the plate. Hopefully he will be a nice surprise back there with pretty good receiving skills.

    I’d also like to see anywhere from 15-20 homers from him. He may just become my favorite catcher since Jody Davis if that happened.

    • Hansman1982

      If we could just Soto out of him that’d be fantastic.

  • Xavier

    So there’s no hope of the Vogelmeister playing 3rd?

    • Jim L

      Nope. Never was.

    • Hansman1982

      There is almost no hope he can play LF and just a tiny hope he can play 1b.

      • TonyP

        I find it hard to believe he can’t handle 1B. There have been a lot of wide bodies that have manned the position. Maybe not well but passable…

        • TonyP

          Anyone considered “very athletic” should be able to be passable at 1b.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        There’s more than a tiny hope at 1B. Let’s see how he handles the position over a full season before we sentence him to a career in DH-only purgatory.

        It’s tough to gauge Vogelbach’s defense from scouting reports because everyone who goes to see him expect him to be absolutely terrible, and everyone comes away saying they were impressed with how well be performed for his size. Which tells me nothing. They expected him to be an immobile stump who couldn’t catch a ball covered in super glue if it was nailed to his glove. So, with that as the standard, what does “moves well for a big guy” mean?

        Hopefully I can watch some Kane County games online this year and get a better feel for him that way. I strongly suspect he is better than he is given credit for, but his high school junior weight of 280 is shading perceptions of him strongly towards the negative.

        • OCCubFan

          They expected him to be an immobile stump who couldn’t catch a ball covered in super glue if it was nailed to his glove.

          Great!!!

        • DocPeterWimsey

          “So, with that as the standard, what does “moves well for a big guy” mean?”

          In other words, they should end the sentence (and their incredulity) with “moves”?

        • Hansman1982

          I may have been using hyperbole to explain his chances of playing third

    • Carew

      Being the same exact body type as Vogelbach, I can see him being successful at whatever he does. We bigger folk don’t get the credit for athleticism that we should get. It’s there. Please don’t think I’m bragging about my self, it’s more about praise to him.

      Judging from what I’ve read, he’s got the motivation and skill to do what is needed to be done.

  • pouncey

    Ugg. Don’t understand why the Cubs don’t sign a premium defensive catcher. Too soon? Molina. Posey. Etc. Its important.

    • Rich H

      And who was the premium defensive catcher that was available to sign?

      • @cubsfantroy

        They should trade Soriano for Posey. Fair trade if we don’t have to eat a lot of salary.

        Complete sarcasm. But I’m sure there are Cubs fans on here that feel it should get done and if it can’t it is Theo and Jed’s fault.

      • pouncey

        Tim Federowicz, for example, would be an upgrade defensively. Receiving skills are underrated because no metric, in a world of metric analyzers, has been to effectively measure how they effect a pitching staff’s ERA. ERA is the most positively-correlated statistic to winning in baseball.

  • cub2014

    they were talking about outfielders at cubs.com so I was interested
    I know OBP and avg dont mean everything but it is interesting:
    majors minors
    avg obp hr sb avg obp hr sb
    brett jackson .175 .303 4 0 .282 .379 4 0
    nate schierholtz .270 .319 6 3 .306 .353 10 4
    dave sappelt .256 .314 1 0 .299 .351 8 19
    tony campana .262 .306 0 27 .301 .356 0 50
    david dejesus .281 .355 11 8 .301 .400 5 7
    alfonso soriano .273 .323 34 25 .282 .329 15 20
    scott hairston .247 .302 20 7 .312 .402 12 7
    numbers are rounded not totally accurate.

    *hairston hasnt lived up to minor league numbers
    *sappelt,schierholtz & campana minor stats look very similiar.
    I think it show these 3 arent going to be very good in the bigs
    *jackson a better on base percentage minor stats are similiar
    to soriano’s (we will have to see if he can be a .270 hitter in majors
    if so he will be pretty good.)
    *dejesus numbers solid at both levels
    *OBP drops by roughly 50 points from minors to majors
    *major stats for:campana,sappelt & jackson are minimal so who knows.

    • cub2014

      my stats are garbled but hopefully you can read (left to right major to minors
      stats).

      • jt

        I like that sort of presentation. Not sure that others share that though.
        Try dots or dashes to line up the columns

  • jt

    Brett, nice piece on Castillo. I think you hit the nail on the head.
    Who knows? But …..

  • North Side Irish

    Castillo’s progress is huge because there is nothing in the system to replace him if he fails and the FA market is consists of backups and guys on the wrong side of 30. One of the Cubs Den guys just wrote an article on how the Cubs will likely try to add some catching in the draft because the system is so bare. And the 2014 FA class has guys like Carlos Ruiz, Brian McCann, and Saltalamacchia, but they all come with age or injury issues. Cubs can’t expect Castillo to be the next Molina, but they do need him to hold the position for awhile.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      The Cubs have been trying to add catching the past two drafts. The problem is teams don’t tend to draft very good catcher. They make them. And the Cubs have not done well at that.

      There are some options in the low minors that are well worth monitoring (Rosario and Krist in particular come to mind), but now that Castillo and Clevenger have been promoted, catching is a real weakness in the system.

      Pitching remains a bigger problem, though. The Cubs flatly will not reach to draft catching in 2013, and I strongly suspect their focus this summer will remain pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, and them more pitching. With a bit of pitching.

      And then some pitching.

      • North Side Irish

        For the most part I agree, but the Cubs will need to draft pitching at some point too.

        Actually I’d love to see them spend at least their first four picks on pitching, but this draft is deep in catching, so I wouldn’t mind seeing them select one some time in the 4th-8th round area.

        I know Krist showed more bat than expected last year, but he was probably just more polished than the competition he was facing. I’ve also hear rumors of trying Bruno at catcher since he doesn’t really have a true position. I don’t know why so many people think the Cubs could DFA Clevenger because at worst he’s a solid backup waiting at Iowa and there is no one else on the way.

  • Cubby Mike

    I haven’t heard a word on Vogelbach’s winter effort’s until this blurb about him losing weight . If his dedication to work matches his words he may turn out to be something special.

  • North Side Irish

    Jordan Bernfield ‏@JordanBernfield
    #Cubs and #Northwestern to make a “major business announcement” Tuesday in a press conference at Wrigley Field.

    • college_of_coaches

      This doesn’t sound promising. As much as I’d like to see Ricketts expand the earning potential of Wrigley, I think that it’s a poor venue for football (assuming that’s the announcement).

      • T C

        I know Northwestern is trying to fund a massive new sports complex, so I imagine the announcement has something to do with a partial sponsorship of the complex/sharing of the baseball complex for Cubs practice on off days or something along those lines

        • North Side Irish

          Teddy Greenstein ‏@TeddyGreenstein
          Source: Cubs/Cats will announce broad biz partnership. No fball games in ’13 but hope is ’14 and beyond, dep on renovations …
          Retweeted by Paul Sullivan

  • T C

    I really dislike the idea that because Vogelbach is being described as “very athletic for his size” that somehow he could play LF. 1) of COURSE he’s athletic for his size. He got paid nearly $2mil to play a sport. Do you know what most 5’11″, 260lb guys look like? 2) “athletic for his size” =/= “athletic for his position”. And even if he might have the footwork and flexibility to be alright at 1B, that doesn’t mean he hast the frame, speed, or tools to play in the outfield. He has short legs, little arm, and isn’t fast. That’s just not an outfielder’s frame/skillset, regardless of how “athletic” a person may be

    • Rich H

      Tell that to Matt Stair, Pete Incaviglia. Over the years there has been a lot of heavy outfielders that were serviceable (Adam Dunn). The ability to minimize mistakes and maximize opportunity is the key. Meaning max effort and no mental mistakes (Soriano last year). So to say a certain body type can’t do something is nuts. Look at Trumbo for the Angels. He is playing where ever is necessary to stay in the line up.

      Not saying Vogelburg can or can’t just saying lets let his work ethic and dedication decide where and if he plays.

      • T C

        Matt Stairs was horrendous in the outfield, and he wasn’t Vogelbach’s size until much later on. Adam Dunn was a former top QB recruit with very real athleticism, and he ended up being one of the worst outfielders of all time. Pete Incaviglia was 6’1″ and not super heavy. Trumbo is 6’4″ and built like a tight end. These guys aren’t great comps for Vogelbach, and they aren’t people you’d want to play the OF anyway.

        Also, saying a certain body type can’t do something is most certainly *not* nuts, there’s a reason there are typical body frames at every position, and why you rarely find someone super far from that poistion’s type.

        • cub2014

          i know this is from yesterday but TC was saying that body type absolutely determines defensive ability. (referring to vogelbach in left field) I say not necessarily, someone mentioned Adam Dunn,Pete Incaviglia,Matt Stairs and others they were all serviceable. . It is possible that a short round guy can play left field in majors if he has quickness (which supposedly vogelbach has) and can judge a ball of the bat (have no idea). Think of tony gwynn and kirby puckett granted they were the exception but these 2 were top defensive outfielders.

          So the answer is yes it is possible Vogelbach could be a decent outfielder.

  • Fastball

    All the Cubs really need to do with Castillo is have a really good catching coach on staff. He made it through the system with his bat. No way should these catchers coming up have such poor skills/playability at their craft by the time they reach AA and AAA. I give him credit for the effort. Cubs should hire Hank White to be there catching coach throughout the system. Hank White couldn’t hit much but he was a damned good defensive catcher. His expertise would be an asset to the organization. Most important to a pitcher is a great backstop. I had a couple of really good ones and my confidence on the mound was different. I don’t know if it increased my confidence as much as it increased my trust. A good game caller is critical. I loved it when I didn’t have to think too much. When your a pitcher and you have call your own game you out think yourself sometimes. I always like a guy back there who knew the hitters and the situation. Castillo has a very good arm. When he develops himself into a defensive asset from keeping runners at 1st base he will improve this staff ten fold. Holding runners is important but when a guy knows your catcher has a gun and is accurate it causes just a fraction of hesitation and that’s the difference between a punch out and a runner being safe. I hope the Cubs found someone exceptional to coach up Castillo. If so we should see dramatic improvement behind the plate and on the mound.

    • Rich H

      I would love for them to give Ron Karkovice a call. That guy could play some Defense even if it was for the White Sox.

    • jt

      41 y/o henry blanco has a $750K MLB contract to play for the 2013 Jays

  • Die hard

    If Russ Canzier still available may be worth a look

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I’m really optimistic about W. Castillo but I think there is a bit to much hype surrounding him. I’m glad D. Sveum’s confidence in him but I won’t get to excited till I see him in, in game situations. If he could give us .250 avg, .325-.330 OBP, with around 15 homers, and can call a good game behind the plate then I would be pretty happy.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Do Cubs’ catchers even call games? On most teams these days, games are called from the bench. (It seems like Cubs catches spend as much time looking at their bench as other catches, but the cameras do not dwell overmuch on that.)

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Doc: Thats really interesting. I never thought about that. I knew at least occasionally the bench would call pitches. I know our bench and coach’s bench is extremely involved in infield shifts. I’m really hoping W. Castillo will put it all together, he has the tools to hit and throw but I need to see it to believe it before I get to excited.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Supposedly one of the biggest changes to the game in recent years has been pitchers, coaches & catchers using heat charts on smartphones & iPads to plan for each individual batter on the opposing team. Pitchers and catchers study them between games, but they don’t have access to the information (even if it’s just notes) while on the field. However, the coaches do! (I think that they are not supposed to have computers & related things in the dugout, but you know that they’ll have guys with those things in the clubhouse!)

          That almost certainly has changed how games are called, too. At any rate, teams sticking to “traditional” game calling are going to be hurt relative to those that take advantage of this information efficiently.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    So what is Wellington Castillo’s ceiling of potential as a hitter in his prime one day? Could he be a .280 avg, .340-.350 OBP, and 20-25 homer guy one day?

    • Hansman1982

      He might get that (or a touch more) in a career year but I’d say .250/.325/.425 with 15-20 out of him in a 160 game season. The OBP might be .005-.010 optimistic.

      Disclaimer: this is just a quick glance at his minor league stats.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Lol!

  • Marcel91

    Castillo did begin to improve his defensive skills as the season went on and judging by the comments from Dale and Co. he seems to have made leaps defensively. If he gives you solid-above average defense anything you get offensively is an upgrade from last year. Even a modest .250 with 15hrs is above-average overall from your catcher. I think he has the potential to be more than that but even if he doesn’t your still set at C for a few years. Anxious to see his development.

  • math101

    99% of all these prospects you are talking about will never make MLB
    for one simple reason. There are only about 360 positional jobs at any
    given time, or roughly 12 per team. That means you better be something
    special.

    They all mostly have the talent to compete, but there just aren’t enough
    spots available.

    The next factor is the “I’m not wrong” aspect.

    Talent evaluators/decision-makers who go out on a limb(draft slot/bonus/financial investment) rarely, if ever will admit they were wrong. Their ego’s will not allow
    them to admit being wrong, so as a result, they will continue to try and
    force a square peg into a round hole(keep playing a bust) while someone
    with better ability(but lesser investment) gets overlooked while the brass
    waits and waits to hopefully say one day, “see, I told you we were right”

    When you add all this together, it becomes obvious that the minor leagues
    are loaded with many many MLB caliber players who will never get the opportunity
    because of the numbers game.

    These make believe future lineups/wish lists never really happen. The majority of
    1st round picks end up as non-factors, and the ones that break through
    are just displacing another major leaguer who leveled off from the works
    of the baseball gods, or simply, the laws of average within the games design.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Bingo. I wish more people would get that. In three or four years most of these guys in the minors will be a distant memory and posters will be making new lineups with the next group of draft picks and the same thing will happen again.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        Bingo?
        99% won’t see MLB? So only ONE out of any Top 100 list is going to see the majors?

        But, I don’t see how that can be if talent evaluators never want to admit they’re wrong and they keep giving playing time to busts. That would mean that a higher percentage would make the majors, wouldn’t it?

        Did you guys happen to see how much of the World Champion Giants were homegrown prospects?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Talent evaluators are not the ones who give playing time: those are, as they say, different departments. Indeed, it’s a great frustration to many guys running farm systems when the MLB team has that crusty old manager who play “proven” veterans over “inconsistent” youngsters.

          That said, you are dead-on that the “1 in 100″ doesn’t describe anything. Close to 2/3rds of first round picks play in MLB, and near half of 2nd round picks do. Far, far fewer 3rd+ round picks ever do that. Standing this on its head, the plurality of All-Stars were first round picks. That is not to say that most first rounders become All Stars, but more All Stars who were drafted were taken in the first round than drafted anywhere else.

          Given the huge disparity between amateur play and MLB play (which far outstrips that of basketball or football), it actually is really impressive how good MLB scouts are at identifying the guys who will be great.

          • BluBlud

            Given the huge disparity between amateur play and MLB play (which far outstrips that of basketball or football), it actually is really impressive how good MLB scouts are at identifying the guys who will be great.

            Hey Doc, I don’t disagree at all. However, if a player is taken in round 1 and another player as good is taken in round 40, the round 1 player will probably recieve more development and more attention and therefore has a higher chance at success, even though in reality, that round 40 player was just as good. Teams tend not to invest a ton of resourses in round 40 players unless they know they are sneaking a player under the radar, which rarely happens, since the draft is so long, and talent drop off is so widespread.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              That is possible, although I know of no evidence to actually support this idea. However, the key thing to remember is the difference between “development” and “scouting” is akin to the difference between piano tuning and piano buying. If your instrumental scout chooses a Steinway whereas your neighbor’s scout chooses a Costco Cheapy, then your neighbor can tune that Costco Cheapy as often as he/she likes, and it’s never going to sound as good or play as easily as the Steinway.

              All in all, baseball scouts do a really good job of not confusing lesser brands for Steinways, and also not letting all that many Steinways get past them.

          • The Dude Abides

            That seems possible, where did you get your data? Does it say how long an average first rounder take to get to the majors? Thanks

            • DocPeterWimsey

              If you go to sources such as BaseballReference.com, then you can find full draft lists from each season, with URL links to players names for the MLB careers. You’ll see the general breakdown pretty quickly.

              Periodically (and especially around draft time), places like FanGraphs will have articles about the general success rates of players by round. This comes up every year both at draft time, but also at free agency time: people want to know the “value” of a 1st, 2nd, etc. round draft pick.

              Ultimately, we do have to distinguish between two statements: the probability that a high round draft pick (and/or a highly ranked prospect) becomes a good player (low) vs. the probability that a good player was a high round draft pick and/or a highly ranked prospect (high).

              Yet another issue is why the Cubs have been so bad at getting future MLBers out of any of their draft picks: but that is (as I wrote!) another issue.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                “Yet another issue is why the Cubs have been so bad at getting future MLBers out of any of their draft picks: but that is (as I wrote!) another issue.”

                Have they been bad? Getting stars, yes, but MLB players?

                Last I looked the Cubs were in the middle of the pack on that one. The problem is that many of the players are the types of players that fans tend to forget about quickly. Instead of Trouts and Harpers, the Cubs have been drafting Theriots, Fontenots, Donaldsons, Guyers, Russells, Sotos, Wellses and so forth. Still MLB players, but far from as memorable as the big names.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  The Cubs have been at the bottom of MLB (and often dead-last) in terms of farm-hands on the All Star ballot for the last several years. Obviously, that measures just position players: but it shows that Cubs minor-leaguers are not well represented among MLB starters on the 30 teams.

                  (Whenever I read about how Hendry supposedly gave away the future many times during his tenure, I always bring that up!)

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                    You originally said draft picks, not farm hands.

                    And the All-Star ballot does not include pitchers, either.

                    I’ll have to see if I can dig it up, but I remember a year or two ago reading ranking of organization based on the number of drafted players that reached the majors, and then by the total WAR of the those drafted players. The Cubs were somewhere in the middle on total number of players, but near the back of the pack on total WAR.

                    Or, in other words, they were about average on cranking out major league players, but they weren’t doing a good job of cranking out good major league players.

                    I imagine those slottings have changed since then (and likely not for the better for the Cubs).

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Right, as I noted, the All Star ballot applies only to position players. And as for drafted or undrafted, that was sort of a separate aspect of the more general issue regarding how well projections pan out. I was anticipating the rejoinder of “if that’s true, then how come the Cubs’ minor leaguers tear up AAA and then flop in MLB?”

                      As for farm system WAR, I seem to recall that the Cubs were in the low 20′s. I know the article to which you are referring, but I cannot seem to Google it.

  • BluBlud

    It’s typically that way in all sports. However, there is some safety in certain players. Baez may never turn into a super star, but it’s pretty safe he’ll play in the league, where as Vogelbach, who I love, may never see AAA and flame out in 5 or 6 years in somebody elses organization. Or go down as a minor league attraction as a guy who couldn’t put it together but could hit 550 ft bombs when he did catch one. You never know, but it still doesn’t take away the fun of imagining these guys 3 or 4 years from now in a MLB lineup. And as years pass, you just pull, plug and replace the names. Kind of like lifes cycle.

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Projecting the future of a minor league player is about as easily done as it would be to look at a class of 1st graders and tell someone who is going to be a straight age student in college or president of a corporation someday. It’s an impossible task and a waste of time. Plenty of guys tear it up in AA or AAA and completely bust out in the majors.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Your attitude on this remains far too absolutist. Projecting *exactly* who will be a big league All-Star, or projecting *exactly* how a certain player will perform in the bigs is, you’re right, impossible.

      But you can fairly project that Oscar Taveras is more likely to be a successful big leaguer than some random low A schlub.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “Plenty of guys tear it up in AA or AAA and completely bust out in the majors.” But very few guys do poorly in AA and/or AAA and then go on to do well in MLB. Moreover, they guys who do succeed in AA & AAA while busting in MLB usually come with warning labels, such as “overcomes poor batting eye with great contact skill” or “makes up for poor control with pure speed.”

      Remember, we expect the MLB success stories to be a subset of the AA/AAA success stories, which in turn we expect to be a subset of the A/A+ success stories. At each stage, guys are getting through a finer sieve. The real concern would be if there was an abundance of stars who had been dismissed at low levels: and there really is not.

    • DarthHater

      Plenty of guys tear it up in sweeping generalizations and completely bust in meaningful insights.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Indeed, isn’t that a first step to the Dark Side? Or is that using WAR? I get confused sometimes…..

        • DarthHater

          The ability to summarize a player’s total contributions to his team in a single statistic is insignificant next to the power of the force.

    • Martin

      That’s an absolutely ridiculous comparison. The development that occurs between age 6 and 40 is about a million times more complicated than the development that occurs between age 18-23. It’s exponentially more complex. It’s not worth discussing further.

      In terms of the specifics of your “impossible to project” comment, though…

      Of COURSE you can’t project every player, but good scouting and good analytics can project a hell of a lot of them.

      Unless you’re saying that the Rays’ last ten years have been one loooooooong streak of dumb luck.

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