Several of these Bullets, I had to think to myself, “Should this be its own post?” That’s when I know the Bullets are dense and quality … not that they aren’t always …
- Baseball America’s Jim Callis answered some questions yesterday, and he noted that the Cubs’ projected 2013 Draft bonus pool will be around $10.5 million for their top 10 picks, the second highest (behind the Astros at $11.6 million). That’s up significantly from last year, when the Cubs had about $7.9 million (on 12 picks). Here’s a fun fact: back in 2011, when the Cubs went nuts on Draft spending, they spent about $11.9 million. If the go over their $10.5 million this year by 4.999% (the most you can go over without losing a draft pick), they can spend up to $11.025 million. That’s not too far off from the amount they spent when they were affirmatively trying to sign every overslot guy they could get. In other words, if they do it right – saving money on some signings, going overslot on others – the 2013 Draft could be very kind to the Cubs.
- Among Callis’ other thoughts: Matt Szczur was one of the farthest falling prospects in this year’s prospect handbook (recall, Callis was higher on Szczur than any other prospector last year), and Josh Vitters’ ceiling has been dramatically capped. Some of those Vitters thoughts: “When I wrote, ‘There still are scouts inside and outside the organization who feel comfortable projecting him as a .275 hitter with 20 homers annually,’ I also followed up by noting that other scouts think he gets himself out because he lacks selectivity and intensity. That .275 with 20 homers is more a best-case scenario, and it’s hard to reconcile that with the guy who hit .121/.193/.202 with 33 strikeouts in his first 99 big league at-bats. I can see the .275 but it probably would come with a .315 on-base percentage, and I’d bet on 15 homers more than 20. I also don’t see Vitters as someone capable of playing third base on a regular basis in the majors. His speed and range are deficient, his throws are erratic and the game seemed to fast for him at the hot corner when he was with the Cubs. He fits better at first base or maybe left field, which would put a lot more pressure on his bat. Could Vitters be a regular at third base and provide solid offense and adequate defense? Yes, that’s possible. That’s also his absolute upside, and he looks like more of a platoon player than a regular and more of a first baseman than a third baseman.”
- Ian Stewart says he’s thankful that the Cubs are giving him another chance, and, although other teams expressed interest when he was briefly a free agent, once the Cubs told him how they felt about him and wanted him back, he was ready to return to the Cubs. He also says that he hasn’t felt any pain in his wrist since his surgery last year. It appears to be the first time he’s been totally pain free in years.
- MLB.com’s Matthew Leach picked five low-key signings this year that could prove to be pleasant surprises. The Cubs inking Scott Feldman to a one-year, $6 million deal made the cut. Among Leach’s thoughts: “Over the past four seasons, Feldman has been a slightly-worse-than-league-average pitcher (his adjusted ERA+, where 100 is average, was 96 during that span). He’s a few days shy of his 30th birthday. He is not going to be a star for Chicago, but he can be expected to deliver a decent performance, and he’ll do it at a bargain price. Plus, Feldman signed a one-year deal. If the Cubs are out of contention in July, he can be flipped to a contender for more pieces in the ongoing rebuilding process at Clark and Addison.”
- If you want to know what it’s like to scout teenagers in the Dominican Republic, Ben Badler offers some insight. Short version: it ain’t easy.
- Former Cubs Farm Director Oneri Fleita is employed once again, now a consultant for the Reds. The new job will save the Cubs a little bit of money – he had a contract with the Cubs through 2015, and he still gets that money, but it’s now reduced by however much he makes with the Reds – but you kind of wish he was going outside the NL Central. He’s got some Cubs institutional knowledge you’d probably rather the Reds didn’t have. I’m sure that played a small role in their interest, but Fleita’s Latin American connections and general baseball knowledge probably played a larger one. Best of luck to him. Sort of, I guess.
- And the man who (essentially) got Fleita’s job, Brandon Hyde, is profiled by the Knoxville News.
- Vine Line talks to the Cubs’ new third base coach, David Bell.