Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

matt loosenBefore I get into the prospect ranking stuff, the Daytona Cubs have added a no-hitter to their franchise history. Right hander Matt Loosen walked two on his way to no hitting the Dunedin Blue Jays. That’s awesome.

More on that in a bit. But first…

Two articles recently published on Baseball America are each well worth reading individually, but when read together they provide a very powerful endorsement of the Cubs farm system, front office, and future.

Start with this one. That wonderful, wonderful article is Baseball America’s midseason update to their Top 50 Prospects Lists. Number ten is Baez. Number sixteen is Almora. Number eighteen is Soler.

Now let me rephrase that slightly. Despite a near historically bad start to the season, Baez recovered and performed so well that he made it up to No. 10 on the list. Almora had surgery to remove a bone from his hand this spring, but since then has performed so well that he has soared all the way up to No. 16 despite not having any one standout tool. Soler, we found out after he went on the DL, had been battling a leg issue since the spring and he still showed enough to check in at No. 18. That’s impressive.

We’re not done yet.

The second article to read is this one. Every year a reader asks BA’s Jim Callis which draft picks from that year’s draft will immediately become the best prospect for their new team as soon as they sign. Callis only sees two 2013 draftees in that category, and…

This year, I see only two draftees who project to become their organization’s top prospect, and one of those is highly debatable. Third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant (No. 2) had the best power in this year’s draft, and though it’s an extremely close call, I’d take him over shortstop Javier Baez and outfielders Albert Almora and Jorge Soler in the Cubs system.

Let’s interpret that conservatively and say that Callis sees Bryant as roughly equivalent to Baez on the prospect ladder. That is, he sees Bryant as roughly equivalent to, maybe just slightly better than, the number ten prospect in the game.

That means the Cubs will have two Top 10 caliber talents in the organization as soon as Bryant signs. And they have four guys in the conversation for Top 20.

When we consider the Cubs prospects in contention for Top 100 status (Vogelbach, Alcantara, Johnson, Paniagua, Vizcaino) as well as the expected return from a Garza trade, it starts to look very likely that the Cubs could have as many as six or seven on the off season Top 100 lists highlighted by The Big 4.

How’s that for a great start to the day?  Cubs beat the White Sox, massive praise for the farm system, and we have a no hitter to talk about.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Four in the third proved to be enough as Iowa won 5-2.
Tennessee – The Smokies gave up five runs in the late innings and lost 6-3.
Daytona – This was a beautiful game. The Cubs scored early and Loosen was nearly pristine. The Cubs won 7-0.
Kane County – The Cougars were rained out.
Boise – The Hawks took advantage of five errors and steamrolled to an 11-3 win.
Arizona – The AZL Cubs had the night off.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Chris Rusin returned from the majors and pitched 6 innings of 4 hit baseball. He allowed both Zephyr runs, walked 4, and struck out 2.
  • [Iowa] Brian Schlitter picked up his 10th save with a hitless ninth.
  • [Iowa] Logan Watkins hit two more doubles and drew a walk. He has overcome a slowish start and is putting together a very nice season.
  • [Iowa] Catcher Luis Flora hit his 4th home run in the third inning.
  • [Tennessee] Justin Bour continues to try to make up for lost time. His 8th home run came on a solo shot in the seventh inning.
  • [Tennessee] Outfielder John Andreoli had another nice game. He finished 1 for 2 with a triple (his Double A first) and a walk.
  • [Tennessee] Rubi Silva had a 2 for 3 game that featured a double and a two steals.
  • [Daytona] Two walks from perfection. Matt Loosen struck out 9 and went the distance for a no hitter.
  • [Daytona] With a homer (his High-A first) and a walk, Bijan Rademacher did his share of the offensive heavy lifting in the retooled Cubs lineup. Dustin Geiger (2 for 4, double) is continuing to hit as well.
  • [Boise] Dae-Eun Rhee struck out three in the start for the Hawks, and Tyler Skulina tacked on two more scoreless innings to his season.
  • [Boise] It is early yet, but Shawon Dunston is off to a great start. In this game he was 2 for 4 with two walks.
  • [Boise] Cael Brockmeyer had a nice game as well. He finished 1 for 2 with two walks. It’s too early to say what kind of ceiling Brockmeyer has, but we’ll be keeping an eye on this catcher.
  • [Boise] And then we have Jacob Rogers. He finished 2 for 3 with 3 walks.

Other News

  • Keep an eye on Tennesee’s Rubi Silva as a possible trade candidate. He is hot, his value has never been higher, and he doesn’t really fit the profile of players the Cubs seem to like. I could see someone being willing to overlook the middle number of his .270/.289/.464 line to take a gamble on the 10 HR, 10 SB right fielder. He would not be a major part of any trade, but he makes a lot of sense as a sweetener.
  • More on Loosen’s piece of history can be found here. A no-hitter at any level is quite the accolade, but Loosen got his against a pretty good Blue Jays lineup. I only wish the Florida State League had been hooked up to MiLB.TV so that more than the 648 in attendance (yes, that’s a three digit number) could have seen it.
  • In total the Hawks walked 9 times against just 5 strike outs in last night’s game. Nice.
  • Shadows of Wrigley founder and BN regular TC had his camera handy at a recent Dillon Maples start, and that means we get to enjoy over four and a half minutes of excellent video, not to mention a pretty good write up of the young starter.  One key take away from this – the Cubs are overhauling Maples’ mechanics.  Those mechanics were an issue when he signed, but the Cubs stayed quiet as to their plans.  Now we know their plans, and it partly explains Maples’ control issues this season.  There is upside readily apparent in that video, but this guy is most definitely a work in progress.

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