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carlos marmol yesA new podcast is on the way today, and you prospect hounds are going to want to tune in.

  • Theo Epstein said on Tuesday that he expected Carlos Marmol’s legal issues to not impact his ability to be on time for Spring Training, and a separate source tells Bruce Levine the same thing. My read on the situation was that it had become, effectively, a civil matter that, even if it went against Marmol, wouldn’t prevent him from traveling. Epstein said that their investigation strongly suggests Marmol is going to be cleared of any wrongdoing, and I very much doubt Epstein – as guarded as he is – would say something like that unless he could back it up. Of course, Epstein has a bit of an incentive to reassure everyone that Marmol’s legal issues are no issue at all. Namely, it’s hard to have trade talks about a guy who might not even be able to enter the country for Spring Training. Hopefully Marmol will be in Mesa early next week, and the entire situation will be resolved.
  • Speaking of Marmol, Patrick Mooney wrote about the 10 guys to watch this Spring, and Marmol was naturally on the list. It wasn’t just Cubs players, though, as new pitching coordinator Derek Johnson, new assistant hitting coach Rob Deer, superagent Scott Boras, and PED-clinic suspect Anthony Bosch made the list, too. Matt Garza and his elbow lead off the discussion.
  • Jonathan Mayo added one more prospect to his team lists for MLB.com (the Cubs’ list was discussed here yesterday), and the Cubs’ 21st prospect is shortstop Arismendy Alcantara. The 21-year-old shortstop is finding himself on lists like that after a very solid year at Daytona (at just 20), and he could be one of the younger shortstops in AA this year, depending on how aggressive the Cubs want to be with him after a leg injury cost him a big chunk of the second half of 2012.
  • Jayson Stark pooled some executives to rank the strength of the divisions, and, what do you know, the NL Central … isn’t last! It’s just second to last, ahead of only the AL Central. Which, like, whatever. Three of the last four teams in the NLCS came from the NL Central, and even the pooled groups seem to believe that at least one of the NL Wild Cards will come from the Central, but I guess the badness of the teams at the bottom is more than enough to drag down at least two teams – the Reds and the Cardinals – that will go into the season in the conversation for best team in the league. Of course, given that the Brewers weren’t terrible last year, and the Pirates floated around .500, the team dragging down the pile has to be the Cubs.
  • Stephen Bruno comes in for a Vine Line profile, and it’s easy to see a possible utility future for the Cubs’ 7th round pick in 2012 (he was one of the few college players taken in that range who actually required a real bonus to sign). From Vine Line: “Bruno, who was a standout among standouts on the stacked Boise short-season squad, is a professional hitter who can flat-out rake. Few are capable of going on a tear like he did in his first pro season. It’s not clear where he’ll play—he could be an average second baseman or play third base/outfield (Bruno also tried on the catcher’s gear in fall instructs, though it’s an unlikely landing spot). Still, his bat will keep him in the lineup, despite lacking big power. There weren’t many college hitters available in the draft, but the Cubs feel they got a good one out of the University of Virginia.”
  • The Mets have signed former Cub – and, perhaps more notably, former Cubs top prospect – Corey Patterson to a minor league deal. The 33-year-old outfielder didn’t play in the bigs last year, instead spending the season at AAA for the Brewers.
  • EQ76

    I was at a Cubs/Brewers game in ’04, shortly after we got NOMAH!… Corey Patterson hit a walk off HR in a night game for the win. I really thought that guy would have a solid MLB career at the time. Too bad he didn’t work out, maybe he’ll stick with the Mets this time around.

  • Ryan

    Brett, I am new to the website so this is my first post. You were discussing lefties in the bullpen the other day. You mentioned Takahashi as more likely to make the than D. Willis. I seem to remember reading that Takahashi is injured and won’t pitch this year or at least until late summer. Do you have the details on that? Or am I thinking of someone else?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for jumping in, Ryan. If he’s hurt, that’s news to me. It’s certainly possible, but I don’t remember hearing anything like that. Are you maybe thinking of the Korean reliever the Cubs signed – Lim – who had Tommy John surgery, and won’t be back until late in the year?

  • CubFan Paul

    Is it possible to record the podcast on the weekend so that we can have it by monday and get all week to make time for it?

    I still havn’t gotten to the Harry Pav episode.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      With apologies, no. Sahadev and I have to coordinate our schedules, and the weekend tends to be family time for both of us. We try to have it done by Wednesday, but sometimes the guests make for trickier coordination. We may try to bump up recording to Monday night so we can publish on Tuesday, but that’s likely the earliest we’ll be able to do.

      • hansman1982

        How is your life getting in way? Aren’t you just copy and pasting from other shows?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Haven’t you ever noticed how Sahadev’s voice bears a striking similarity to Colin Cowherd’s?

          • ETS

            Brett, I always find sounds like Jim Rome, scratch that, he sounds alot like Jim Rome.

            • hansman1982

              How amazing would that be:

              The Roman Cow Show!

              • ETS

                [img]https://twimg0-a.akamaihd.net/profile_images/2653825762/bef406ee6e5aa39eb0a2a0f62a1382f0.jpeg[/img]

                • hansman1982

                  He’s sooooo dreamy and insightful and funny and just plain awesome…

                  [img]http://armpitofamerica.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/south-park.png[/img]

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Ew, for rill?

              • hansman1982

                Comeon, clone, get real. Of course you don’t sound like Jim Rome cause Jim Rome is the only Jim Rome out in the Jim Romeing WORLD.

            • JulioZuleta

              HysTERical, but also ree-diculous.

            • DarthHater

              If you really want to do the Jim Rome thing, invite Evan Logoria onto the podcast, repeatedly call him Eva, and see how long it takes him to deck you. ;-)

      • Stinky Pete

        Hell, you spend so much time talking about your kids, why not just have ‘em on the show? Maybe then the show can be four hours long.
        *TIC*

        • DarthHater

          *burn*

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          They come up again today!

  • JP

    Corey had the ability to look like a HOF one minute then well…. Corey Patterson. He put it all together for about a half of a season then tore his ACL or something and he never was the same after that…. He never saw a pitch he didn’t like.

    • AB

      I would have taken his 2004 season out of CF for the next ten years.

  • COW142

    Long time reader 1st time poster…. Question regarding Corey Patterson… I followed the world of prospects pretty closely while he was coming up. I even went to see him play in Kane County when the Lugnuts came to town. Were we all blinded by the tools that we were able to ignore the horrendous pitch selection or did that not happen until he made it to the Bigs? I guess my bigger point here is… Is the industry more focused on pitch selection and baseball I.Q. these days to the point where a Patterson would not be a Soler/Almora type prospect today but rather a Lake type prospect?

    • Nomar’s Left Glove

      ….or a Brett Jackson-type prospect.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Or a Lake type prospect. We can go all day with toolsy players that may never put it all together and/or don’t have a good eye at the plate.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I love this question, and I’m not sure I know the answer. You’ve got to believe people are getting “better” at identifying issues earlier on, but there will always be whiffs (pun intended).

      • Cubbie Blues

        It still also depends on the organization. Hendry always believed you could learn how to see a pitch better but, all one can actually do is refine that ability. Theo has long valued a good batting eye.

    • The Dude Abides

      IMO you can catch up to a lot more pitches if your bat speed & eye hand coordination is superior to the kids you are batting against and pitch selection doesn’t seem to be mentioned as much. That catches up to you when the pitching quality goes up and you regularly face guys who have second and third pitches they can throw for strikes. It becomes harder to hide the fact you have basically been a free swinger over matching the competition with the ability of hitting fastballs in and out of the zone.

      Almora as an example in a very short sample size had two walks last year; not exactly a testament to a disciplined hitter who regularly faced pitchers with would normally have control issues as they themselves try to develop. Obviously way too early to read into but something to keep an eye on.

      It’s a tough long haul from rookie ball to being an everyday player in the majors let alone an all-star. Patterson tore it up it the low level minors before his off & on career in the majors began. I saw him play in Lansing as well and he was awesome.

    • Kygavin

      Considering he took 99 walks in his first 3 full years I dont think that it was something he developed in the Majors, but man those stats are pretty. 320 with 20HR 33 SB and 17 3B in A ball as a 19 year old. I always liked Patterson shame he could never fully put it together, but i think the point you make is an interesting (if not actually true) one. Even with the lack of plate discipline, those numbers he put up in A ball would have him highly ranked no matter what, but I think the numbers he posted in the next 2 years (261 22HR 27 SB 115 K/253 7 HR 19SB) should have served as a bit of a warning even if he was really young for the levels (Played AA at 20 and AAA at 21). Looking at that it makes you wonder if maybe he was rushed a bit which could have hurt him with the lack of discipline as well. With all that being said i dont think he would have been seen as a “Junior Lake type” but maybe more like a Rymer Liriano from SD (less power, more speed but ranking as kinda fallen a bit the higher he climbed due to bad K/BB issues)

  • Peter

    Man, I wish we could have the carlos marmol from the picture, could have gotten olt and probably another good prospect straight up back then…..

    • CubFan Paul

      I still think Marmol will be bring back a few good prospects (3 Top 20s or the major league equivalent). That would be just as much as Theo&Co got for Marshall.

  • North Side Irish

    Law’s Top 10 Cubs prospects is out…he’s definitely higher on the Cubs SP prospects than most…

    1. Javier Baez, SS (31)
    2. Albert Almora, CF (33)
    3. Jorge Soler, RF (42)
    4. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP (64)
    5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
    6. Duane Underwood, RHP
    7. Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP
    8. Pierce Johnson, RHP
    9. Paul Blackburn, RHP
    10. Arismendy Alcantara, SS

    • Jacob

      It seems to me that Law doesn’t take MLB-readiness into account as much as other prospect guys. Hence why the Cubs were 5th overall. I think he looks at talent and projections first and weighs them heavily.

    • hansman1982

      wait, no Vogelbach?????????

      OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!!!!

      For reals, Candelario will be interesting to watch as well.

      • North Side Irish

        He refers to Vogelbach in his overview…”brutal athlete with no position”.

        • TWC

          Ouch.

          • hansman1982

            Ya, he will find his way onto an AL team and have a shot at DH with some spot starts at 1B. Heck, maybe that way he can win a GG!

        • hansman1982

          athelete…Athelete!? See he’s athletic, people LOVE his glove.

          • Mick

            Not everyone has a tight core like Josh Vitters just like not everyone has light tower power like Dan the man.

        • BluBlud

          Vogelbach will continue to be undervalued, and yet will continue to outrake every sinhle Cubs player.

          Im glad he has Underwood in front of Johnson though. Pierce is good, Duane is better IMO. I ranked him ahead of pierce too.

          • Jacob

            Question: and I’m not being a jerk. Have you actually watched these guys? Where are you getting your rankings from?

            • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

              Doesn’t matter if any of us watch a player, unless he’s a scout?
              I don’t see any players. But I can rank them based on what I read from Keith Law, John Sickels, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America….maybe I’m forgetting something. And then throwing in my own opinion (which is usually based on BB%, K%, ISO, BABIP)

              • Jacob

                Which is fine. That’s why I asked, “Where are you getting your rankings from?” I was curious to why he ranks the way he does. I wasn’t bashing him.

              • Mick

                Well, don’t believe everything you read because 75% of your sources haven’t seen him play either.

                • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

                  So….don’t believe 75% of the published prospect rankings, is what you’re saying?

                  • Mick

                    Word of warning, steer clear of DarthHater. Your blind faith makes you vulnerable.

            • BluBlud

              You can also find video on most these guys from high school, college and the minors. Scouting reports, comparing stats and playing styles of previos player and things of that nature.

        • Kygavin

          ” I should mention Dan Vogelbach here, since I’m so often asked about him: He has 80-grade raw power and he has a pretty good idea at the plate, but he’s a brutal athlete with no position. So unless the Cubs follow the Astros to the American League, I don’t see how or where they use him, assuming that pitchers don’t take advantage of his lack of flexibility and limited coverage on the outer half.”

          Full KLaw Vogelbach quote

          • truthhurts

            Want to bet that if Vogelbach hits .320 with 30HR’s and a .400/600/1.000 triple slash for the next two years, Law’s take on his ‘athleticism’ will change?

  • NCMoss

    Did something happen to Concepcion? I haven’t seen him on any lists. I only ask because we did sign him to a big league contract. I figured he would have to be quite a prospect for that.

    • NCMoss

      Well, actually I did see him on the rule 5 draft eligible list for after this season.

    • North Side Irish

      He hasn’t exactly lived up to that contract. Pitcher terribly last season, had a bout of mono, and was removed from the 40 man roster in the offseason. He cleared waivers and will probably pitch at Kane County this season. Not looking like a good investment so far.

      • MightyBear

        According to Sahadev on the podcast, he talked to a Cubs minor league coach who said the Cubs only wanted Concepcion to use his fastball last year as they thought it was too weak and needed work. Supposedly Concepcion has a wicked change up and that’s his out pitch. The Cubs didn’t want him to use it because it didn’t need any work. Let’s see how he does this year. As I said to Kyle, it’s too early to call him a bust.

        • Spriggs

          I’ve heard the same thing from several sources. But that just doesn’t make any sense to me. Is that a common practice? Why would any young pitcher be told that he could not use his best pitch, especially during games. Working out, maybe… It’s almost like saying, “we want to watch you get your brains bashed in and your confidence completely destroyed in front of a crowd – so we can see how you deal with that. Oh, and welcome to the USA you bastard.”

          • NCMoss

            Well, my understanding of it is that it’s to teach them to not rely on that one pitch. If you use the same pitch every time then it’ll be hit sooner or later no matter how good it is.
            Oh, well, I didn’t know about any of this. I kinda quit paying attention. He’s still young. That contract sure didn’t do him any good though.

          • CubFan Paul

            It’s a Bosio thing. He had guys throwing nothing but fastballs in camp for arm strength. Then the same to Marmol after his DL stint midseason. It works.

        • Marc N.

          I’m willing to wait it out on Concepcion, especially if I can somehow find a source that says he hit 92 or 93 at some point (since that snuck into some scouting reports when they signed him). Physically he had some traits that I like, but holy jeebus was last year a disaster for that guy. A 21 year old pitcher has plenty of time to work out kinks so long as he’s healthy, though this is all in the hope that he has some physical talent.

          I just never bought that whole “they paid this guy 6 million to get to Soler” stuff, which is why I give a longer leash than his year says I should.

        • AB

          Frankly, his numbers sucked in Cuba for the level of competition he was pitching against. It seemed all about projectability based on his frame.

  • North Side Irish

    Law also lists Paniagua, Alcantara, and Underwood as sleeper prospects who could make the Top 100 prospect list with a good season. Big praise for Underwood…

    • Marc N.

      Underwood’s stuff is probably/arguably the best of the teenage starter arms in the system. Maples might get that claim, but his mechanics and the early injuries are annoying enough that I give Underwood the edge.

      Really like that Underwood’s #2 pitch is a changeup.

  • North Side Irish

    In Law’s chat today he was asked who has the best chance to become a regular out of Szczur, Lake and Vogelbach. Referred to Vogelbach as a DH again and said “you can have the other two”.

  • Die hard

    Marmol can be next Rivera as top reliever if learns to change speeds and loses 10 lbs

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