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baez almora solerThere was so much to say about Cubs prospects this morning that it required its own set of Bullets.

  • In case you somehow missed it, Javier Baez homered four times last night for Daytona, which is awesome. His line before the homer-filled night was a very solid .279/.328/.509. After? All the way up to .291/.339/.570. That’s a crazy leap for June – but you’d expect a crazy leap after a crazy game. Perhaps even better, his K rate keeps falling, and it’s down to 23.6%. Still not where you’d like it to be, but it’s now definitely in a manageable range.
  • Baez’s home run binge was even the top play of the night on SportsCenter. Good thing he wasn’t playing opposite a Turkish minor league basketball game, otherwise some completely standard, run-of-the-mill dunk would have been the top play (and the next five).
  • Sabr has a list of the four homer games in baseball history, and the only other time it happened in the Florida State League was in 2006, by former Cubs prospect Ryan Harvey. A former first round pick, himself, Harvey always had huge power but flamed out, in part, because of an inability to consistently make contact. By the time he hit all those homers in Daytona, though, his prospect status had already dimmed considerably. And, in case you need me to say it out loud: no, simply because there are superficial parallels between the prospects doesn’t mean anything. Baez will rise and fall on his own accord.
  • Before Baez turned it up last night, BP’s Jason Parks tweeted something that should make your prospecting spine tingle: “The Cubs could have four prospects ranked in the top 20 in the game when the Baseball Prospectus mid-season top 50 is released.” Parks is referring to The Big Four of Baez, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, and recent-draftee (assuming he signs) Kris Bryant. I suspect that, when the rankings shake out, not all four will fit in the top 20 – because that’s insanely hard to do when you just think about the numbers – but it’s clear that all four will be extremely well-ranked. The funny thing is I’m not sure I could even figure out how to rank the four amongst each other, let alone within the top 20/30/40 in baseball. I could make a very good argument for ranking each one of them as the best of the four. Nice problem to have, as they say.
  • Speaking of Almora, Baseball America’s Ben Badler takes a short look at the center fielder, who has a chance to have a “special” hit tool. In the same piece, J.J. Cooper takes a much longer look at Dan Vogelbach, who appears to have impressed.
  • Jason Parks also took a look at Almora recently, and writes that his fears about Almora’s hamate bone injury seem to be allayed. In part, Parks says, “At the time of the injury, I was concerned about the severity and possible lingering effects, especially at the plate, where the strength and flexibility can be slow to return. But Almora has done nothing but rake when he’s been on the field, with 29 hits in only 67 at-bats. Out of sight out of mind in this business, which is unfortunate because Almora is not only the top prospect in the Cubs organization but a top 20 talent in the entire minors. This is a baseball player, one who shows five-tool potential to go along with instincts for the game.” Parks adds that Almora could be a candidate for an “aggressive development plan,” given his unique set of skills. Almora is just 19, but, as has been said since he was drafted, he’s the kind of player you could see in the big leagues at 21-years-old.
  • Steady pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks was the Southern League’s Pitcher of the Week after a couple great starts last week. Although it’s not a lock, he’ll be a candidate to see some late-season action at AAA Iowa if he keeps pitching well at AA (though some of his peripherals suggest his ERA should probably be in the 3.00 to 3.50 range rather than the low-2s, where it’s been sitting this year).
  • Dale Sveum doesn’t see any of the Cubs’ top positional prospects making their big league debut this year. “I don’t see any of them [making their debuts this year],” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “That’s not what we’re trying to do. They’re here to develop and stay at their level and produce. We’re still not getting huge production, so they have to develop before they get here. You just don’t call people up because they’re supposed to be prospects. There’s still a way they have to produce and put numbers up and be consistent …. Those are our best prospects, whether it’s Baez or Soler or Almora. We’re still talking about a couple years away. We’re not talking about next year or any time this year. Those are the guys you have to have hit, otherwise, you’re back to the drawing board.” The only guy you’d even say had a chance for a September call-up this year is Jorge Soler, and that’s strictly because he’s already on the 40-man roster. No one expects that to actually happen, though. More likely, we’ll see Soler promoted to AA in the second half, and possibly Baez as well. Almora might see High-A before this season ends, but that’s not a lock. From there, each becomes a possibility for a call-up at some point in 2014, and I’d even go so far as to say a midseason 2014 call-up for Soler is a strong possibility. Baez and Almora look more like 2015 guys to me, but this is all so very speculative. Let’s just watch them keep developing.
  • Patrick G

    Could Baez be a potential September call up in 2014?

    • ssckelley

      I think that is the earliest we could see Baez, but 2015 seems more reasonable. It all comes down to him continuing to make adjustments and how he responds to AA and AAA pitching.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Potential sure – lots could change between now and then.

      Ideally, though, if he’s not needed for the 2014 team, you’d rather he didn’t first come up until a few weeks into the 2015 season at the earliest. That gets you an extra year of control.

      • terencemann

        I feel like there would have to be special circumstances to see Baez in September 2014, like a playoff run is going on any someone gets injured or the Cubs think he’d be the best player to take over a position like 2nd or 3rd in the same way the Orioles pushed Machado up to take over for Betancourt.

    • Mike

      July of 2015 lineup
      1. 2B. Alcantara
      2. CF. Almora
      3. 3B. Baez
      4. 1B. Rizzo
      5. LF. Bryant
      6. RF. Solar
      7. SS. Castro
      8. C. Castillo
      Util Lake

  • Rizzo 44

    All we need now is Garza to get it going in the next month and a half and either trade him or put a qualifying offer on him. I don’t think the Cubs FO will sign him to an extension unless he has a great second half and takes a 3-5 year deal. Just my opinion. I love the fact that the Cubs have a chance to have 4 of the top 20. Just proves that this front office has done a nice job. We may suck today, but the Cubs will be back soon with this type of plan and to be honest throwing 300M and making dumb trades was the very thing that hurt this organization as it stands right now. I’m happy with the progress the Cubs System is making and I’m happy with our FO overall. The main problem I have with the Cubs is the lack of attention paid to the details at the MLB level. Dale I would say should be on the Hot Seat!

    • Patrick G

      I haven’t been able to watch any cubs games since I don’t live in the area. Just curious what would make Svuem on the hot seat since I only really see highlights on TV. Not saying he should or shouldn’t be but just want to know why

      • Rizzo 44

        He has no control of this team. Mental errors have to be put in place with the team not the media. Also Castro needs some days off and Dale hasn’t given him any to this point. The BP is a disaster and he makes a lot of bad decisions with his selections of who to bring in. This is just my opinion. I liked Dale but his message just isn’t getting anywhere if he has one at all. To many mental errors on his part in my mind to say that he stays long term. Do I think he gets fired… No… Should he be well I say give it to the All-Star break and if this team looks the say then I say YES, but again that’s just my opinion.

        • Jay

          Dale’s not going anywhere this year (it would look cowardly to blame him for the record given the team he was handed), and will probably start out next year (the last of his deal) but if he continues to do all the things you correctly pointed out above, I would be very surprised to see him finish out next year. I gave him a free pass last year but have been continually annoyed with him this year.

          • Rizzo 44

            I agree with that on not this year but next. I don’t think it would be cowardly to blame him. He makes many poor decisions.

            • gocatsgo2003

              Pretty easy to call decisions poor when the players can’t execute either way.

              • Rizzo 44

                Bringing in the wrong BP pitcher at the wrong time, letting Jackson stay out to long in at least 2 starts. Using the wrong players to pinch hit at times. Saying the wrong things to the media many times now. Calling bad pitches ie (the pitch to AP a few games ago) and if it was CV’s fault then that’s Dale’s fault for not making that clear before you left the mound. Telling everyone in spring training that we have the best D in the bigs. Yeah I would call those poor decisions.

                • JB88

                  Every single one of those is subjective though and luck/chance plays as much of a role as anything.

                  You don’t seem to like Sveum—and that’s fine—but it sort of calls into question your objectivity.

                  • Jeff

                    How does watching the Cubs and seeing poor play and bad managing affect your objectivity?

                    I see shitty baseball half the time and lousy managerial and front office decisions, do I lack objectivity for seeing those things?

                    Where’s your objectivity coming from?

                  • Rizzo 44

                    Not true at all when Sveum was hired I thought he was the second best man for the job. I myself wanted Mike Maddux. I like Dale just don’t think he has what it takes to turn this team around. I also feel he makes a lot of subject calls and doesn’t do a good job of handling the media with comments on his players.

                  • Danny Ballgame

                    I agree. Our bullpen sucks, so 90% of the pitchers brought in after our starters are going to be a bad decision. Not the wrong decision, just a bad one.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      LOL well that is true to a point. But Theo and Jed paid for most of this BP knowing this was a down year and still rebuilding, but Dale decides when and who to bring in at what time so that blame is on him. The BP sucks yes.

                • gocatsgo2003

                  And you’re qualified to know (i) which bullpen arm to bring in, (ii) when to pull Jackson, (iii) who to pinch hit, and (iv) which pitches to call because… ???

                  With severely limited choices in the bullpen, the fact that Jackson hasn’t pitched more than 7.0 innings in a game this year, limited pich hitters due to the high proportion of platoon bats, and more advanced scouting work than any of us could dream of accessing, I’m guessing he’s doing what he thinks is best to win games with ample “direction” from Theo and Company. It’s pretty darn easy to sit on a couch and second-guess, especially when your team doesn’t win.

                  • Jeff

                    That’s like the famous senator being asked to define what obscenity is…the famous reply, ” I know it when I see it.”

                    “And you’re qualified to know (i) which bullpen arm to bring in, (ii) when to pull Jackson, (iii) who to pinch hit, and (iv) which pitches to call because… ???”

                    How do I know bad managing?????

                    I know it when I see it

                    • Rizzo 44

                      Thank you

                    • DarthHater

                      Of course, the reason that comment about obscenity is famous is because of its stupidity. Guess you missed that part.

                    • Jeff

                      I was wrong, it was actually used by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in the majority opinion of Jacobellis v. Ohio and is not remembered for it’s stupidity.

                      Get your facts straight Darth Hater before you make uneducated opinions.

                    • Try Hard

                      It is a Supreme Court quote.

                      It is also widely recognized as a terrible standard by which to operate. 9 Supreme Court justices would huddle together in a room of the high court and watch said material to determine whether it was pornography or obscenity. It was unworkable.

                      While that might not be “stupid”, the terribleness of the standard is probably why it was removed for the pronged test that exists now.

                    • DarthHater

                      The “I know it when I see it” standard is silly in practice for the reason you state. But it is also legally unprincipled. the principles of stare decisis require that judges must issue written opinions embodying their legal reasoning in a form that can be read, understood, and applied by other judges. “I know it when I see it” is far too subjective to function as a legal standard in such a system. So, yes, “stupid” may be a bit of an overstatement as applied to the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, it is downright stupid for a person to insist that he is right in condemning a baseball manager just because he says he knows bad managing when he sees it.

                    • Jeff

                      I’ve been watching more bad baseball and poor managing from the Cubs over the last 6 years, I don’t give a damn what you say or think.

                      The truth is the truth!! I can see it with my own two eyes, sorry if your blind to it and prefer to drink the coolaid

                  • Rizzo 44

                    LOL. I knew this team wasn’t going to win last year, this year, and most likely next year. But that doesn’t excuse Dale from his decisions in my opinion. He isn’t the man for the Cubs and he wont be here when the Cubs win the World Series and maybe not even the playoffs. IMO

                • hansman1982

                  On Sunday, Dale brought in Marmol in a 4-1 ballgame. I have heard countless times about how this is a dumb decision.

                  Marmol had a perfect inning, you wanna guess how many comments there were about that call being dumb?

                  I’ve heard him chided for leaving a starter in too long only to hear about the next starter getting yanked too early? You know how many times I have heard for Barney getting traded ASAP because he sucks offensively then to see Dale get blasted for not pinch hitting Barney?

                  Crappy BP usage? Guess who are the two leaders in B-R’s “Leverage High index? Russel and Gregg.

                  Guess who are the two leaders in B-R’s “Leverage Lo index” – Rondon and Marmol.

                  This is no different than fans bitching about the first 2-3 months of the Lou era. Gotta put the hate somewhere, I suppose.

                  • Rizzo 44

                    I don’t hate Dale. Marmol only pitches well with a 3 plus run lead majority of the time now. Pressure kills him 75% of the time that’s horrible. I have no problem with Barney he has good D and not every player is going to hit 275 and above. I would like to see him improve not step back. Castro has taken a step back since dale has been working with him. That bothers me.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      Russell.

                    • hansman1982

                      Marmol, outside of his first three god awful games this year, has quietly put in a solid performance. 3.75 ERA after those three, even then, he’s had 1 truly awful performance since then.

                      Castro was pretty good last year with Dale at the helm so we have 2 months of poor data? Unless you think they only started tinkering with his swing starting about the 15th game of the year.

                      Guess what, when you have a guy that doesn’t walk worth a damn, they are going to have struggles like this, doubly so when you try to rework their approach.

                    • Kyle

                      “Outside of when he’s been bad, he’s been kind-of OK” is a terrible argument for all players, but it’s a special kind of terrible argument when applied to relief pitchers.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      Marmol hasn’t pitched much when it counts since the start of the year when he sucked. If he is doing so well why can’t they trade him? Castro did OK last year not like the two years before or year and a half before. I agree he isn’t going to walk much and he needs to change some things a little but you can’t take away what he’s good at. First pitch was his pitch and now he watch’s it go by most of the time because they want him to be more patient. Castro is a quality player. I have seen a now a year and a half of Dale and he just isn’t the man for the job. Sorry

                    • hansman1982

                      ““Outside of when he’s been bad, he’s been kind-of OK” is a terrible argument for all players, but it’s a special kind of terrible argument when applied to relief pitchers.”

                      I don’t care for it, generally, but to spot trends or to see the effects of luck, coaching, etc… Why not. I’m not saying that Marmol is an above-average reliever, but he hasn’t been sucking it up all season.

                  • Jeff

                    You cannot base any decision made as good or bad when it comes to Marmol…..that’s like trying to predict if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow or not…

                    Sending Marmol out there is like calling “All In” without looking at your cards first.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      Then don’t send him out there in a pressure situation. That’s simple man. He sucks and should be sent packing.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      If we sent every bullpen arm we had that sucked packing we would have much of a bullpen and Dale would be forced to become Dusty 2.0.

                    • hansman1982

                      He’s actually done a decent job using the bullpen. The guys you want getting a lot of high leverage innings are the guys who have gotten the high leverage innings and the guys you don’t want getting them arent.

                      Fun trivia question: Who leads the team in blown saves?

                    • Rizzo 44

                      hansman1982 Russell has the most blown saves on the team.

                    • hansman1982

                      That is correct.

                      All told, when you look at the big picture, Sveum has used his bullpen fairly well. Marmol is improving, Gregg has been fantastic and the players are, generally, being used correctly.

                    • Kyle

                      OK, Cubs’ bullpen management.

                      7 pitchers with a minimum of 10 innings pitched. Ranked 1-7 in xFIP with their rank in leverage index (measured by when they entered the game) in parentheses

                      1. Fujikawa (4)
                      2. Gregg (1)
                      3. Russell (2)
                      4. Camp (5)
                      5. Marmol (3)
                      6. Bowden (6)
                      7. Rondon (7)

                      Fujikawa is a bit of a wild card because of his injury. And Sveum’s been a little too lenient with Marmol. But otherwise, he’s basically nailing it.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      Marmol is improving? He would fold under pressure right now if he was put into a pressure situation. IMO. I can’t stand Marmol. Russell and Gregg are the best arms we have in the BP. Jackson hasn’t pitched well but the D hasn’t helped him much either. That’s another area that bothers me the D or lack there of.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      Well Kyle with that said then I have to blame Theo and Jeb for the BP being constructed with those names. Marmol should be gone, Camp had a good 3/4 of a year last year (signs he was done at the end) shouldn’t have been resigned, Bowden is what he is not real good, CV is now in the BP where he should be, Rondon is on the roster because he’s rule 5, and I like Gregg and Russell. So IMO I think the FO should have done a better job with the BP or brought up guys from AAA to see what they got for 2014.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      Jed

                    • hansman1982

                      “He would fold under pressure right now if he was put into a pressure situation. IMO”

                      Since May 1st, Marmol has been in 11 games with a run differential between +3 and -3. He has blown 2 of those games. Not great (noone is claiming this) but not as dire as you predict.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      hansman1982 you and Kyle both come with good stats to back up your talk and I’m like that about you two. But what are the stats in run differential between +1 and -1 since he was removed from the closers role?

                    • hansman1982

                      No clue

                  • Rebuilding

                    Hansman, why does it have to be hate? There is nothing about Dale Sveum that I hate or even dislike. He seems like a nice enough guy and I thought he was a good hire. I’ve changed my mind because I think at times he seems overmatched tactically. There are also some things he seems to do well such as relate to players. B just like I want us to have the best players, I want us to have the best manager – and Sveum hasn’t shown me enough to think that’s true.

                    We’ve gone around and around this argument many times. Yes, he doesn’t have the horses – everyone knows that. But if that is your defense of him how can you ever evaluate a manager of a bad team?

                    • Jeff

                      I don’t “hate” Sveum either, seems like a nice enough guy, I just don’t see the managerial skills there.

                      Maybe Theo’s plan is too let the Cubs suck for three years and get high draft picks while Dale gets his on the job training.

                      Not the plan I’m down for though

                    • hansman1982

                      I compare them to Quade.

                      Look at Jackson’s pitches per game, for example. To start the year he was being left in to work through whatever struggles he was facing. When it was clear Sveum couldn’t do that, his pitches per game dropped.

                      Quade would have consistently trotted Jackson out for 100-105 pitches per game.

                      Wood, to start the year, wasn’t get as long of a leash, now that he has proven to be capable, he is getting a longer leash.

                      He has stuck to his guns on platoons because that is why certain guys are having success. He pulled guys out of the closer’s role after they didn’t have it and hasn’t asked other players to strike out on purpose so Castro can get 200 hits.

                      All told, the players respect him and like him and play hard for him. The same wasn’t true for Quade.

                      Is he going to make boneheaded decisions, sure. Do the stats back up that he learns from his mistakes and is willing to change it up a bit, sure. I’m not arguing that he is a great manager but he isn’t a god-awful one that needs to be fired immediately.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      I said Hot Seat not fire today. But I still don’t feel we will ever win more than 85 games with him. He just isn’t the right guy for the Cubs long term. He makes more than just a few mistakes.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Well if you’re comparing everyone to Quade they no one would never get fired, but I get where you are coming from. I don’t think Sveum is a terrible or even bad manager. That place is reserved for Quade or Terry Bevington to name a couple. However, I want the next Joe Maddon or pre-dementia Tony LaRussa. It’s no different than wanting the best 3b or SS. I just don’t see that in Sveum

        • Voice of Reason

          He has no control of this team? How do you take control of a team that has the talent to lose 100 games?

          If anything, Sveum has OVERACHIEVED with this team up to this point in the season.

          He has no control of this team????? He has done better than most would expect. It could end the season with the most losses of any Cub team… ever!

          • Rizzo 44

            I disagree with you. Dale has underachieved. Castro has taken a step back with the help of Dale, Theo and Jed. Sometimes you have to leave a guy alone and let him do his thing. He is an All-Star SS let him grow he’s 23. I’m not saying not to help him and point something’s out, but don’t change everything that made him into the player he is to be a player something he’s not.

            • gocatsgo2003

              And your subsequent evidence for Sveum’s underachievement is…. ???

              • Rizzo 44

                Look above… Castro, handling of BP, and calling players out in the media. This team isn’t very good but the BP and lack of hitting in RISP is big. No Dale isn’t out there hitting, but he also hardly calls any hit and runs or things to make the other team make plays. The Cubs have a poor record, but some of his decisions have made the record to look like it does just as the players on the field. Dale is the leader of the team.

                • gocatsgo2003

                  I implicity acknowledge the Castro angle as legitimate. However, (i) how exactly would Sveum or any other manager be able to cobble together a decent bullpen out of the arms currently down there? and (ii) If your team can hardly make contact without the runners moving, why would you call hit-and-runs?

                  • Rizzo 44

                    Good questions. See a manager that’s good can get the best out of players that may not be the best, but they have the will. These team knows if they’re up late Marmol can blow it if brought in you can see it on all the players faces when he comes in. Now with the hitting or lack there of I blame on Dale that’s his job he was brought here to help with the hitting. That’s what he was as a player either help the guys make adjustments or its time for a new voice. That’s my opinion again and I’m sure most think I’m wrong and that’s ok. One thing I think we all can agree on is the Future of the Cubs organization is looking bright.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  The RISP is a dead cow. As of yesterday, the Cubs have 112 RISP hits; if they batted the same as they did without RISP, they would have 121 hits.

                  As for the bullpen, handling this is like handling different species of poisonous snake.

                  As for Castro, it is quite possible that they are experimenting to help him develop a batting eye. There are no known techniques for doing this: after all, the only “practice” you get is live pitching. If this is what they are doing, then it could greatly help Castro in the long run. If not, then Castro can just return to what he was doing.

                  • Rizzo 44

                    If this team was loaded with (Stars) and they were preforming the same way as they currently are would you all say that he shouldn’t be on the hot seat? A manager is supposed to get the best out of his players and you guy’s think this is the best we can do, even with our current roster? Just wondering…

                    • gocatsgo2003

                      Probably, yeah.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      If this team was loaded with stars and doing this poorly, then I would wonder what was up. However, it’s not loaded with stars, which makes the issue quite moot.

                      Now, if you are expecting the manager to magically make the players better than they are, then I’ve got real estate in Hobbiton for you that is quite reasonably priced. The manager’s biggest effect is the lineup: mostly putting in the guys who will maximize run-differential and secondly getting them in an order that will maximize runs. (The latter is good for only 2-3 wins a year on most teams.)

                      You keep going on about the handling of the bullpen, but I haven’t noticed Sveum leaving Fingers, Gossage, Sutter and Rivera in the bullpen in favor of other guys. Instead, I’ve noticed another collection of Frasiers, Brusstars, Sorensons and Fontenots.

                      This team has a negative 7 run differential. That suggests a 0.486 team. Four teams should deviate from expectations by that much, two in the negative direction and two in the positive. Lo and behold, we have two such teams: the Cubs and the Tigers . (The TIgers should be a 0.642 team rather than a 0.565 team; I guess that Leyland must suck!)

                    • hansman1982

                      “A manager is supposed to get the best out of his players and you guy’s think this is the best we can do, even with our current roster?”

                      Absolutely, based on wOBA (which correlates VERY strongly to runs scored), the offense is performing about league average. The starting pitching is doing amazing, the bullpen is coming around.

                      I could probably name 10 examples of guys going from “ZOMG RELEASE HIM” or “ZOMG WHY DID THE CUBS SIGN THAT BUM” to, “Hey, he wasn’t so bad”.

                      #1 would be Marmol. #2 would be Schierholtz.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      Hey DOC. look at the Dodgers. So yes I have a point and I made it. Castro isn’t a number 2 hitter with his OBP and it took 2 months to get him to move him down. That’s great managing right there. He has a BP that has blown oh just a few games. Marmol is not worth to pennies rubbed together. You guys want to make excuses for this team go ahead. Not me Marmol sucks cut him and lets see what someone else has. He blew all chance of geeting anything for him with the way he started the season. He did great last year as well at the end when the Cubs were under no pressure to win. Come on this is dumb bring me some info worth talking about or leave it alone.

                    • Rizzo 44

                      Two

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      “Not me Marmol sucks cut him and lets see what someone else has.”
                      If you had been paying any attention, then you would have noticed that Camp, Rondon, Bowden and whatever AAA merry-go-rounder of the week also were awful. Only Russell has been particularly good: oh, and he’s the team leader in blown saves, by the way, with 4. Marmol has 2. The 13 BS are divied up nicely among 7 relievers. And that highlights the unsoundness of your argument: you keep tacitly implying there there was a good alternative other than Russell in the pen. There have not been.
                      As for Castro costing the Cubs multiple games batting 2nd, that is equally silly. What cost the Cubs games was ridiculously low slugging with runners in scoring position. After all, they singled, K’d and walked at the same rates: but for a while, they had only half the expected XBH. (That has nearly gone away in the last couple of weeks: they now have only 4 fewer XBH than you would expect given their hit total, and 7-8 fewer given the AB total.)
                      And if you think that Mattingly is causing the Dodgers to underperform, well, unless he’s been going around injuring his players, I do not see how that works.

                    • Voice of Reason

                      at Rizzo 44… you typed:

                      “A manager is supposed to get the best out of his players and you guy’s think this is the best we can do, even with our current roster?”

                      I feel that Sveum has this team over achieving based on wins.

                      My question to you…. what should this team’s record be right now? You claim that Sveum isn’t doing the job, what should the record be?

                      This team is full of sub par talent.

                  • Rizzo 44

                    That’s just crazy.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Well, $25 and it’s yours: the round door is freshly painted…..

                    • Rizzo 44

                      haha

        • Ivy Walls

          Sandberg, no nonsense, play the game the right way all the time.

          • Jeff

            Amen Brother +1,000

            If you go back and look at what Sandberg did in AA and AAA from 2009 and 2010 and what he did to elevate the play of Castro, Jackson and Vitters, this guy deserves to be the manager any day over Sveum.

            Sveum was an good old boy network Boston pick, a lousy one to boot.

            • hansman1982

              So, how many MLB games has Sandberg managed? How many teams have been beating down his door to manage for them?

              • Whiteflag

                Just let them be, bud. They want to ignore the facts. No team has been knocking down the door to let him manage. Will he be a good manager? Potentially, but it would be a good situation for him to manage the cubs at this time. It’s like Ian Stewart ignoring the fact he passed through waivers and accepted an assignment to Iowa.

    • JB88

      The way that Sveum talks, I doubt he’s anywhere near the hot seat. He talks like a guy that is part of the FO. And, if that’s the case, you imagine that Sveum and management are really on the same page on a lot of things. Probably including how he is managing this team.

      • Whiteflag

        He’s running the show according to Stewart. hehe

  • Jp3

    “Aggressive development plan”. He’s 19 now and he says it could be possible to get there when he’s 21 (assuming he keeps hitting), If that’s the case he almost has to go to Daytona this year soon right? I guess he’d be 20 yrs old in Tennessee at some point next year then maybe start 2015 in AAA then I guess could jump to Chicago?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Parks didn’t mention anything about 21. That’s me.

      In theory, Almora could still play all year at KC, and then a half year at High-A and AA each next year (age 20 season). Then maybe midseason 2015, he comes up to the bigs as a 21-year-old. That’s pretty agressive.

      That said, though, I do think a cup of coffee at High-A this year could happen.

      • Rizzo 44

        I agree

      • JulioZuleta

        I’d be pretty shocked if it doesn’t happen. Of course what happened with Baez last year could make them tentative. I don’t mean his struggles, I mean the fact that he played about a game a week due to rainouts. I think by Aug 5 all 3 will be playing at the level above where they are now.

      • Jp3

        “Parks adds that Almora could be a candidate for an “aggressive development plan,” given his unique set of skills. Almora is just 19, but, as has been said since he was drafted, he’s the kind of player you could see in the big leagues at 21-years-old.”

        My bad Brett, I didn’t catch where the quotations ended. I just assumed you were paraphrasing what he was getting at. I’d like to see him in Daytona for a cup of coffee, that could be a Daytona lineup albeit briefly of Almora, Geiger, Baez, Soler, and Bryant. That would be an $8 ticket well worth it to watch Daytona.

      • JB88

        If Almora were hitting anywhere near .400 by the end of the first half of KC’s season, I think you almost need to promote him just to challenge him some.

  • Ash

    I always wanted a “special” hit tool. I had to settle for a bat though, and it never really worked.

  • Kukini

    Take it for what it’s worth, but B/R already has us with 4 in the top 37. I’ll take it.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1667593-mike-rosenbaums-updated-top-50-mlb-prospects-after-the-2013-mlb-draft/page/17

  • ruby2626

    No way Soler makes top 20, he’s having a good but definitely not great year. Could you imagine if the Cubs had signed all 3 Cuban outfielders. I thought the Dodgers grossly overpaid theirs but he is playing incredible, let’s hope his weakness’ gets spotted soon, don’t need the Dodgers getting that kind of help.

    I give Baez and perhaps Soler another 3 weeks at Daytona before AA comes calling.

    • Cyranojoe

      I’d posit that they wouldn’t have gone for all three if they’d gotten, say, Cespedes first.

    • Honey nut Sorianos

      By August 1st , Baez, Soler, and Almora will be in Tennessee.

  • gocatsgo2003

    Huh? Soler is currently hitting .278/.344/.470 with 8 HR 34 RBI and a 33:21 K:BB ratio (not too shabby for a power hitter) in his first full season Stateside and was ranked #34 heading into the season. You can guess that it’s unlikely he pushes his way into the top 20, but to completely dismiss the possibility is a bit over the top.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Dang it… meant to be a response to ruby2626 above.

    • ruby2626

      sorry go catsgo, still don’t think .278 and 8 homers is all that great for Soler. Actually if I was to venture a guess I think he’ll drop from #34 to the #50 to #75 prospect neighborhood. Other teams have promising players also, need to get off the coolade a bit

      • caryatid62

        Save major injury, no player is dropping 30-40 spots in half a season. Not happening.

        • Kyle

          Of course they can and do. It happens all the time.

          Soler won’t, though.

          • nkniacc13

            Some places have Soler ahead of baez now as a prospect so there is no way that hes dropping to around 50

        • Pat

          See Jackson, Brett

  • OlderStyle

    I’m kind of glad Sveum threw some water on this “call ‘em all up” stuff before it gets out of hand. This is a deliberate and slow process we’re involved in. This ain’t “building”, it’s rebuilding from less than zero. Competitive Cubs team in maybe 2015.

  • another JP

    Given the promotion of Baez last season, Almora would have the same amount of ABs by the end of July, so anytime after the AS break makes sense. Need to also clear room in Daytona to make room, and it seems like a group of OF throughout the system might be ready to move up by then. If we unload Dejesus and/or Schierholtz, could see Bogusevic, Szczur, Soler all move up a level.

  • Tyron

    Fire dale fire that guy now !!

    • Chase S.

      You’re right! Jed and Theo brought him in so let’s fire them, too! Then release and trade all players they brought in! This is the worst team in baseball history, including minor leagues, high school, and the Rawlins, Wyoming Little League!! AHHHgSFHDFSDG!!!!

  • Bric

    I don’t think we’re going to see all 4 in the top 40 because I think one of Almora or Solar (probably Solar) gets packaged in July for young pitching. I don’t Thedstein has the luxury of waiting and continually flipping journeyman pitchers for 3 years while these kids develop. It’s a nice thought but I don’t think it’s gonna happen.

    • Dynastyin2017

      There is NO WAY Theo trades Almora or Soler before Baez. Baez is not ‘their’ guy, and he wants the Cubs to be built in his image. That’s fine. I’m just not sure this is the year they do it. Think Baez as this teams Hanley Ramirez. Hope he performs, and when the their competitive window opens, trade him for a Beckett type pitcher.

      • Bric

        I still think it would be Solar before either Baez or Almora but your point is well taken.

        A move may not be made with any of these guys until December but all I’m saying is I think Thedstein is already looking to compete next year which means any or all of these guys except Bryant is probably already being thought about to package with Garza, Newhouse, Feldman and the other names that are going to start popping up in trade rumors.

        All 3 of these guys will attract a lot of attention from other teams and that might be too much for Thedstein to pass on.

        • cubchymyst

          If one of those guys are packaged that means a young above average MLB player is coming the the cubs. That return would be better then the worst case scenario for a prospect. Who knows maybe the Cubs get the back end of a top 100 guy as part of the trade as well.

        • Dynastyin2017

          I’m not saying Soler will never be traded, but I just think it’s unlikely. Remember this, a lot of the big names that will be available in December will be on teams who are looking to dump salary, like Miami or Tampa Bay, so Soler and his 30 mil wont fit their needs. They’ll want cheap.

          • nkniacc13

            None of those 3 prospects will get moved until after the season. I doubt any get moved this year but I could see why Baez or Vogs could get moved in the right deal but other than Stanton im not seeing any deal that they would be moved at this point

      • hansman1982

        “Baez is not ‘their’ guy, and he wants the Cubs to be built in his image.”

        This is nonsense. Baez is not “their” guy in that he lacks a batting eye and if they don’t have confidence in him becoming a solid MLBer or someone wow’s them, they will trade him. They will NOT trade him just because he was drafted by Hendry.

        If that is the case, then why did Castro get a mega-huge extension?

        • Dynastyin2017

          It’s not really nonsense. He is not their guy. He does not fit the hitting philosophy the team prefers. It is not unheard of that GM’s have a bigger soft spot for the players they brought in.
          Will they give Baez away? No. Would they rather trade him then Almora/Soler? Maybe.
          Baez will never be Votto as far as his ability to take walks, and if the FO wants walks, oh well.
          Castro had the potential to be elite. That’s why the team friendly contract. That contract may also make him more trade-able.

    • Patrick G

      0% chance Almora and/or Soler get traded

      • Danny Ballgame

        I’d go 1%

  • Rudy

    It would be awesome to see all 4 playing for the same team at some point soon! What are the odds? Maybe daytona this year or Tenn at the start of next?

  • Jake

    As exciting as 4 prospects in the Top 20 would be, I hope we all remember that it’s no guarentee for success. It’s happened before, and recently. The Royals had 5 prospects in the Top 20, including 3 position players in 2011.

    I know we aren’t the Royals system. I hope all of our prospects pan out and become regulars on the big league club. But I think the next thought has to be, if all else fails, we’re acquiring valuable trade chips.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Moustakas, Hosmer, Myers, ???

      • andoalex

        John Lamb and Mike Montgomery. Two LHP.

  • Mrcub1958

    Honey Nut Sorianos… LOL Spit lunch on my keyboard. Darn. Where’s that compressed air thing?

  • cubchymyst

    I looked up how many minor league position players are on each of the NL Central teams 40 man roster (not counting any DL players). Decided to do this because of an earlier post about the cubs 40 man roster crunch. The Cubs currently have 8 position players on the 40 man who are not on the active 25 man roster. The next closest team in the central has 4 position players on the 40 man roster who are not on the active 25 man roster. Of those 8 players the Cubs have 3 are below AAA, no other team has a player on their 40 man below AAA. The Cubs need to get that number down before adding any more minor league players on the 40 man roster. Personally, I don’t think Baez or Almora get added to the 40 man roster until they have played some AAA ball.

  • Mike

    I’d like to see the Cubs try to push Almora to catch up with Baez and Soler. They don’t have to all be playing a full season together, but I feel like some overlap will help with chemistry as they move to Chicago. The more you can get those three and Bryant playing together in the minors, the better. It sounds like Almora has the mental make up to handle if he does struggle.

    • Mark

      I was just going to post something to that effect. Imagine if the three of them could come up and play on the Cubs at around the same time, on a team that already has Kris Bryant and Rizzo and Castro. They wouldn’t have to endure the same stuff heaped on Pie and Patterson and all the other can’t-miss Cubs prospects because there would be 6 young players who are the future of this team.

  • BABIP (MichCubFan)

    Here is the quickest I can see Baez, Soler, and Almora coming up:

    Baez and Soler: A+, AA in 2013, AA, AAA in 2014, AAA, MLB in 2015. There is a chance that one or both of them could skip straight up to AAA in in 2014 and the majors in 2015, but i really think it is more likely they move along more conservatively.

    Almora: A, A+ in 2013, AA, AAA in 2014, AAA, Maj. in 2015. Maybe more likely that he gets some more A+ time in to begin the 2014 season and ends up coming us at the beginning of 2016.

    This front office is much more concerned about players being ready for the majors once they come up than how soon they can come up. They also would plan ahead with other players rather than get stuck having to bring one of these prospects up before they are fully ready.

    This is why I think that they are serious about letting all of the positional prospects get 500 ABs in AAA before they come up to the majors. Less exciting and more waiting for us, but better development for the players.

    • Danny Ballgame

      I agree with you here. They won’t rush any of them to the show, but I guarantee that if any minor leaguer is “that guy” and ready for it, they will make the jump. Those players are just few and far between.

    • ssckelley

      2015 keeps pointing to a year that all these prospects seem to be heading to the big leagues, it would not surprise me if Bryant ends up on a similar time table. That is the year the Cubs could be looking for a new outfield as Soriano, DeJesus, and Schierholtz are no longer under contract. I know this is fantasy land as the Cubs will be lucky 2 of the 4 fulfill their potential but it is exciting to dream of Soler, Almora, Bryant, and Baez joining a lineup with Rizzo, Castro, and possibly Castillo in 2015. I am sure a 2nd base prospect will emerge out of the glut of middle infield prospects that the Cubs have in their system. The Cubs would have some major dollars to use to go after pitching in the free agency.

      • Headscratchin

        I keep reading comments including Castillo in the mix for the future “core” of the team. I’m happy to see you say possibly, because I’m not seeing it. I don’t know where to look the stats up, but I wonder how many more wild pitches and passed balls we’ve seen with him behind the plate compared to other catchers. Seems like his defense is a bit suspect. I’d hope that by the time we are a legitimate contender we’d have a better backstop.

        • ssckelley

          I used possibly Castillo as he could still develop into a decent catcher, but honestly there is nothing in the Cubs farm system that excite me at catcher. I am crossing my fingers that the Cubs manage to sign one of these high school catchers they drafted.

          • Headscratchin

            Just another of the Cubs conundrums…

    • Mark

      Depending on how they do they could skip AAA though like Castro. I feel, and I could be wrong, that a lot of top prospects go from AA right to the majors and that AAA has kind of become a place for prospects who just need a little more polish, or for rehab assignments, or when a young guy gets sent down because he’s not working out with the pro club. I don’t think it’s necessarily a level-by-level from low A to the pro club any more.

      Almora could very well skip Daytona and go right to Tennessee to start next season. Bryant could start at Kane County and then go up to Iowa just to start next season and be up with the club by this time next year. I would be very surprised if any of these top prospects played at every level in the organization.

  • Jason

    who is supposed to have the better future , or skill set, Machado or Baez ?

    • UCF

      Almost everyone is trying to tie Machado into the Trout vs Harper talk. I think that should answer your question.

  • http://Yahoo.com brandon

    I honestly thought baez could be ready for opening day next year buy if were not gonna compete then i have no problem with him developing more. Also i wouldn’t trade any of the big four

    • Patrick G

      I was for trading Baez but now with Bryant think these 4 plus Rizzo n Castro could form an elite lineup if they develop how they are said to. If Baez can move to 3B and put Bryant in LF. And either way you deal with Garza will help the future. He signs then we have him for however long the extension is, and if we trade him for pitching prospects, they will be up around the times the 4 are in the bigs

      • Bric

        I agree that’s a very good potential line up 3 years from now. But look at how hard and fast the Brewers fell from 3 or 4 years ago. They had Weeks, Braun, Hart and a couple of good looking young prospects: Lucroix and 3rd and SS who’s names I can’t think of- (one was traded to the Indians and the other went to the Royals). Their return was C.C. and Greinke rentals who bolted as soon as possible out of Milwaukee. And now they’re fooked even more than the Cubs.

        The point is if given the choice, always trade for young pitching over young position players. The Reds aren’t where they are now because of their power, it’s because of their pitching.

  • Esteban

    After the Cubs annual sell off, might we see Junior Lake on the squad?

    • nkniacc13

      could depending on who is moved

  • jt

    “Outside of when he’s been bad, he’s been kind-of OK” is a terrible argument for all players”
    — Kyle
    *
    T. Wood was given a few days off recently. There was a trade of starts with someone and then a scheduled off day. Theo Boston teams often did this. Not all players tire at the same rate. This applies to the season long schedule as well as an individual game.
    If there is a pattern to “when he has been bad” and if when he is good he is really good then there is a good chance the bad can be managed.

    • jt

      “Now, if you are expecting the manager to magically make the players better than they are, then I’ve got real estate in Hobbiton for you that is quite reasonably priced.”
      —Doc
      *
      This if true and this is the crux.
      There is a difference between over valuation of a player and playing an athlete when he is not 100%. Now, if the guy is not good a substantial amount of the time has his value dip in an exponential way. But if it is a few games here or a rotation turn there then it can be managed.
      Also, there are those who are actually better off the bench. I don’t think that can be said of many but there seems to be a few.

  • Honey nut Sorianos

    Jed Hoyer just finished interviewing on MLB network. What a class act! When asked about Baez and success in the draft he made sure to give Hendry credit!

  • thatriot

    Brett, I agree with you that run of the mill dunks in the top 10 are overrated. However, I believe that you may be looking at the issue as purely a baseball fan. I wouldnt be suprised to hear basketball fans complaining that the “run of the mill” diving catch in a baseball game is overrated. Both plays are stunning, but over time fans become accustomed to seeing these plays on a regular basis and the plays lose their shock value

  • nkniacc13

    With the signings starting to come in we can start to look toward July 2 and the international signing day. Who are the top players the cubs are reportly in on?

  • nkniacc13

    Talking of minor leaguers being moved Id say Vitters, Jackson and Vogs could be moved. I could also see Lake moved as hes rule 5 after the year and if they are unsure if he will be able to help

  • Die hard

    If Castro had 1500 PA in minors maybe he would be playing to potential now– Theo must be wondering same thing and doesn’t want to rush kids

  • Michael

    There’s just one problem with all these top prospects: they’re all RH. You can’t have a successful team with a lineup that features only one lefty, Rizzo. A righty opposing pitcher would love this lineup. Vogelbach and Jackson would be enough with Rizzo if the NL adopted the DH, but Vogelbach has no future with the Cubs. I think Jackson should be trade bait for a pitcher. I don’t see him as more than a .250 major league hitter. I’m sure it will get figured out, but, the Cubs need to move some of these RH hitters for LH ones.

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