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matt garza cubsWhat with the explosion of Alfonso Soriano rumors yesterday, it was hard to find a moment to dedicate to a review of the reactions to Monday’s trade of Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Justin Grimm, third base prospect Mike Olt, pitching prospect C.J. Edwards, and a PTBNL (or two) that figures to be pretty good.

I think the reaction around here was pretty much universally positive. The return fell right into the range I’d expected, but with the bonus of a nice PTBNL (or two – it’s believed to be pitching prospect Neil Ramirez, or two from a lesser list) on top. Given how much the trade had been built up in Cubs fans’ minds, and how unrealistic the expectations for a return had become, I was pleased that our collective reaction was positive. As it should have been.

But what was the take from everyone else? Did the Cubs get a good deal? Did the Rangers? Here are some nuggets from around the web, including salient bits on the prospects, though every article linked is worth your time:

  • Baseball Prospectus has a comprehensive breakdown of everyone in the deal, including a particularly expansive take on C.J. Edwards. Among the comments: “Standing a solid 6-foot-2 and weighing a flimsy ~160 lbs, Edwards has a fluid, whippy delivery and an easy ball release from the hand; his athleticism allows him to stay in his mechanics despite the immature build and awkward length. Right out of the gate Edwards was turning heads, working his fastball in the low-90s with comfort and flashing two promising secondary offerings. Despite making every effort to add weight, Edwards remains quite slim, but he has shown an ability to hold velocity with workload, and has seen the fastball tick up to the 92-95 range, showing the ability to touch even higher.” In other words, although he’s just now arriving at High-A, there are reasons to be exciting about Edwards beyond the eye-popping numbers. It sounds like the stuff and the projection match the numbers, and Edwards could easily be considered a top five pitching prospect in the Cubs’ system immediately (if not top two or three).
  • Baseball America offers its take on the deal, and the write-up on Mike Olt is particularly complimentary: “Don’t read too much into Olt’s overall batting line at Triple-A. He entered the season ranked as the No. 22 prospect in the game, but after struggling out of the gate with vision problems, he redeemed himself by batting .247/.353/.506 with 10 homers in 158 at-bats since returning to Round Rock on June 3. Strikeouts will be a permanent fixture of Olt’s game, but that will be an acceptable tradeoff for his plus power production. He led the Texas League in home runs (28) and slugging (.579) in 2012, but he’s more than just a one-trick pony. Scouts rave about his agility, sure-handedness and arm strength at third base, and he forces pitchers to throw him strikes with a disciplined hitting approach—his strikeout-to-walk ratio was about 2-to-1 since June.” The kind words are probably unsurprising, given that BA is the only major publication (that I’ve see) to keep Olt in its top 50 prospects after a midseason update.
  • Keith Law really likes the deal for the Cubs, saying that even if the Cubs had only received Olt and Edwards, it would have been a strong return for a Garza rental. On Grimm, Law says that the righty needs to work on his changeup – without an effective one, Grimm is a two-pitch pitcher who probably won’t stick as a starter.
  • John Sickels is very high on C.J. Edwards, and suggests he was the best prospect in the deal for the Cubs. That’s unsurprising, given that Sickels ranked Edwards 73 in all of baseball recently, while Mike Olt was unranked. On the balance, though, Sickels liked the deal for both teams.
  • Dave Kaplan’s sources say the Cubs did “extremely well” in landing the package they did. Lots of interesting anonymous quotes in that one.
  • Jonah Keri, writing at Grantland, likes the deal for the Rangers, given their need, though he says that they “relinquished one of the biggest prospect hauls of any deadline deal in years.” Keri says C.J. Edwards is the prize for the Cubs (together with praise) and Mike Olt is the wild card.
  • Grant Brisbee called the deal “fantastic” for the Cubs, and even used it as a predicate to dive into a discussion about how teams might now be giving up too much for rentals. Specifically, I really liked his description of Justin Grimm: “Justin Grimm was in the Rangers’ rotation, and he’s in that void between #6 starter and mid-rotation workhorse. In other words, exactly the kind of pitcher the Cubs should be messing with and the Rangers shouldn’t.” Spot on. The Cubs will be all too happy to let Grimm work on his pitches at AAA, and give him time to emerge as the mid-rotation type that many think he can be.
  • On Olt, Jed Hoyer was very complimentary to the media, and indicated that the Cubs have been trying to acquire him for over a year. There is some speculation floating around the ‘net that the Cubs acquired Olt simply because he was one of the most valuable pieces they could get in a Garza deal from the Rangers, and the Cubs will just try to spin him off for what they really want (more pitching). That’s always possible – assets are assets – but I get the sense that the Cubs really do like Olt, and maybe even think they can do something to cut down on the huge K-rate, which is the only thing holding him back from being a super, super elite prospect right now. If I’m the Cubs, I also like the fact that, at almost 25, if and when Olt does come up for good with the Cubs, they’ll have him dirt cheap through his prime years, even without an extension.
  • BP’s Jason Parks noted that Olt, for him, would slot into the Cubs’ system just outside the top five (the Big Four plus Arismendy Alcantara). More incredibly, after the trade, Parks says there’s a chance that the Cubs might have eight prospects in the top 101 in baseball. The guess is that it’s those six, plus possibly Pierce Johnson and C.J. Edwards, or maybe Dan Vogelbach or Jeimer Candelario or Arodys Vizcaino or Juan Carlos Paniagua or … you know what? This could go on a while. (Eeeeeeee!)
  • Evan Grant reports that the deal might have included infield prospect Rougned Odor (a consensus top 100 type) instead of Justin Grimm, but the Cubs had to settle for the latter when the Rangers raised concerns about Garza’s elbow. That gets a big shrug from me. For one thing, it sounds a little bit like the ex post facto wishcasting you hear after a trade that looks bad, locally, for the Rangers in terms of how much they gave up (fear not, Rangers fans, it could have been worse!). Odor is a better prospect than Grimm, to be sure, but it’s a lot closer than you might think – hell, coming into the season, only Sickels had Odor in the Rangers’ top ten, and all of Sickels, BA and BP had Grimm in the top seven, much higher than Odor. For the Cubs’ needs, Grimm is a near perfect fit, whereas Odor would have been a positional luxury (not that that’s the entire consideration, but you get my point). Further, the only knock on Grimm’s prospect status is the fact that he pitched relatively poorly in the big leagues this year, when he was admittedly rushed into duty. And he wasn’t even that bad, with an xFIP of 4.25 (his .347 BABIP was strikingly high). I’m not saying I would have preferred Grimm over Odor, but I’m not going to say I’m pissed off that things went the way they did, if Grant’s report is accurate.
  • When the Music’s Over

    “Edwards could end up a solid no. 4 starter type, although the body and lack of a true plus secondary offering has some suggesting he would be a better long-term fit out of the bullpen, where the fastball could work in the plus-plus range and the lack of physicality could be marginalized over the course of a season. ”

    I was so much higher on Edwards until I read this blurb from Jason Parks in the same BP article you referenced above.

    • willis

      Yes it’s not the highest of praise. I do think he ends up in the pen as a lights out 8/9 guy. He and Vizcaino, if dude can ever get healthy, will be a strong tandem at the end of games.

    • Kyle

      Doesn’t worry me much. I think he has the potential to be an utterly elite reliever, and I think the “No. X” ‘stuff on starters is overplayed.

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      Well, body type aside, Edwards could also be this guy:http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=martin004ped It turns out Martinez had really good A ball K numbers, then more realistic numbers going forward. Maybe we get those secondary offerings up to snuff… Of course, they will be about 2 years difference, but we can dream can’t we???? [img]http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0908/iconic.dodgers/images/pedro-martinez.jpg[/img]

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        I mean in the minors….HIS MLB numbers are well, astounding….

        • King Jeff

          Pedro also had one of the best changeups in baseball. If Edwards can develop his changeup to be even considered decent, then he’s got a lot better shot at sticking as a starter.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            Absolutely.

            Change ups save arms too. You don’t get hurt throwing change ups. And it gets hitters totally frustrated – because it is so hittable until ,it isn’t , and your all out on that front foot.

            Its all those sliders and curves that f arms up.

            • Edwin

              I think pitchers get hurt no matter what pitch they throw.

              • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                I think otherwise.

                I guess we need a analysis/study or Dr. James Andrews to settle the debate.

                • Crockett

                  As a person who has worked as an orthopedic PA for more than 7 years, I can tell you that absolutely certain pitches put more strain on the elbow/shoulder than others. Purely physics.

                  • Edwin

                    Is that from practical study or medical research done on pitchers and the physics of throwing a pitch, or is it more of a theoretical opinion?

                    • Crockett

                      It’s from computer animation studies. For instance, split finger pitches have the maximum elbow strain while 12-to-6 curves maximize shoulder strain.

                      But realistically, shoulder injuries are typical from overuse, while elbow injuries are because of physical force.

                • Edwin

                  I think a changeup can be a great pitch, but it hasn’t saved Johan Santana’s arm, it hasn’t saved Tim Lincecum, Jason Schmidt, or Rich Harden.

                  I just don’t think there is some silver bullet “don’t throw pitch X” that somehow keeps a pitcher more healthy. I think pitchers need to figure out what works best for their delivery and their body type.

                  • Chad

                    Just because one throws a change up does not mean they don’t throw a curve or a slurve. It’s not the pitch, but the arm angle/position and frequency of said pitch. We can all find examples to prove our point. Some pitchers can throw a slurve all the live long day and never have an issue. It just depends, but the curve/slider/slurve does put more stress on the ligaments due to pure physics as mentioned above.

        • jt

          look closely at Pedro’s hands in that pic. His fingers are huge. He credits those digits with his ability to easily command breaking pitches.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            I guess we better check CJ Edwards’s hands out. See if he has that trait. Big hands mean….big sharp breaking pitches.

    • Crockett

      I find Jason Park’s to be a very poor analyst of prospects. He’s a smart guy, but his writings about prospects, over time, have a pretty poor track record.

      Keith Law and John Sickels both think Edwards has a GREAT chance to be a very good starter if he holds up physically.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Not that they push guys to throw too deep in the minors, but Edwards seems right at the 5-6 inning threshold in his starts.

        Maybe Get him on a diet and training regimen that adds 10-15 lbs of good weight (lean muscle) and see what happens.

        IDK, maybe we should allow nature to go its course. Work on his 2/3rd pitches. If the guy goes to AA and smokes them, it is obvious he’s got something working.

        I just hope the Cubs let him be a STARTER until it is very clear bullpen ace is the his best role. If we can work on him to get 7inning starts, that’s all you need.

        • Crockett

          I think the Cubs have a good track record of letting guys be starters until they absolutely, positively fail at it.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            That’s fair.

            I think I let Park’s thinking creep into my mind there. Oooh, yuck.

            • CubsFaninMS

              If Edwards has one already + pitch and two close to + pitches, he doesn’t sound like a one/two-trick pony relief pitcher. He sounds like a starter. I’m sure he’ll be a starter until proven he’s not up for the task. I’m hoping Vizcaino is our closer of the future… if we ever see him pitch. He’s the new “sasquatch” of the team now that Paniagua is back. Has anyone spotted him?

              • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                I truly hope we get a awesome guy in the rotation by 2016…and Texas feels like they lost out. Gives you a good feeling to be on the upside of the trade, which, I think we are in the long-term.

    • DavidC

      Texas fans said Parks was lower than an anyone on Edwards

    • frank

      Hard to say since he’s so young, but I guess it depends on whether you trust what Jason Parks says over those reports that are certainly more positive.

  • Bigg J

    Since nobody knows who is on the PTBNL list, could even have Odor and Ramierez as it has been mentioned…..wonder who else can be on the list?

    • On The Farm

      I thought Hoyer said all three PTBNL that are in play are pitchers

    • billy

      I could even be a boat!

      • Mr. Brent Kennedy

        You know how we always wanted a boat!

  • JoshO

    Also, based on the comments made by Navarro and other guys after the trade happened, maybe Garza wasn’t quite the teammate we all thought he was. Maybe a bit immature and got on some guys nerves. Who really knows though

    • Ivy Walls

      maybe explains why a great arm is traded three times.

  • Oswego Chris

    It’s really funny how after a prospect comes up, and isn’t lights out right away,some people totally devalue that guy prematurely…look at Grimm…top 5 to 7 in the Rangers system prior to coming up..if we acquired him then people would go ga ga over him…he did have some real quality starts this year..

    • cubchymyst

      Between Grimm and Arrieta the cubs picked up 2 guys who could turn into stables in the rotation or become solid bullpen guys. I think both start next year in AAA to work on their pitches and are possible mid-season call ups.

      • On The Farm

        With the talk that Arrieta could be called up for the double header Brewers game at the end of the month, I hope Arrieta does start one of the games. It would be nice to see how his work has been down at Iowa and if the Cubs like what they see from him maybe he can be inserted in the rotation in September and ready to go for 2014 to give us Samardzjia-Wood-Jackson-Arrieta. Then we can choose from Cabrera, Grimm, resigning Baker, Hendricks, or Rusin.

        • cubchymyst

          I don’t think Hendricks is an option next year, They will see how his stuff plays in AAA against more experience batters first. It wouldn’t surprise me to see another free agent on a Feldmann/Maholm type contract and then Arrienta, Cabrera, Grimm, and Rusin competing for the 5th spot.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Samardzija – Jackson – Wood – Grimm – Arrieta -Villanueva (swing) is plausible next year.

        Very weak no 1 and 2. Back end is more like every other team.

        Maybe the other guys become BP slotted – Rusin, Strop, et. al. In short, the FA market may not be the way to go for any help. Money spent on a position need we like the player’s overall makeup of experience and talent alike.

        FA pitchers seem more risk, less reward, even compared to position guys.

    • MichiganGoat

      Rizzo comes to mind… not sure where his rankings were before his cup-o-joe with SD and then what it was after that but yeah a player busting on their debut really scares away many people.

  • ETS

    Big Four plus Arismendy Alcantara

    I think we need to just call it the big 5 now. Heck, I might put Alcantara ahead of some of the “big 4″.

    • On The Farm

      Like who?

      • ETS

        Well, I was thinking baez but the power numbers are pretty different. I think it’s worth noting that that Alcantara is only a year older than baez and has already dominated AA. That said, I suspect Baez will be dominating AA soon enough.

        Alright, I concede, he is not ahead of any of the big 4, but still he’s a pretty great prospect.

        • On The Farm

          I agree he has earned the right to be mentioned along with the other four, but I think it is too soon to say that he could be put in front of any of Baez, Almora, Bryant, Soler.

        • hansman1982

          I think we can say the Big-4 have brought their Plus-1 to the dance.

      • Mick

        I’d put Alcantara ahead of Soler at this point due to the lack of anyone actually seeing him play for an extended period of time. Also, Alcantara plays a premium position and can leadoff (I’m still searching in our organization who can actually be our leadoff guy). I mean, tell me this doesn’t look like the next Jimmy Rollins.

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      Fab 5 baby! They are unstoppable! Prime time performers! (My Dickie V. impersonation.)

      • Danny Ballgame

        PTPers baby!!!

        • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

          Here’s hoping.

  • Jared

    Brett or Luke,

    Since Ramirez seems to be the ptbnl according to most sources, where would he fit in with our current pitching prospects? Obviously the potential shoulder injury factors in, but how is he currently viewed?

    • MichiganGoat

      IDK but I think he will have to be added to the 40 man since he was drafted in 2007 and playing since 2008. Wouldn’t that make him a Rule 5 candidate?

  • On The Farm

    I think the fact that Theo and Hoyer really worked with Texas is very telling about how much they like Olt. I hope he is as good as advertised and can fix his issues at Iowa. It seems like the two MLB ready guys the Cubs got were thing that Texas didn’t have time to deal with. For example the position crunch with Olt having Beltre at 3B and trying to fix his eye issues. Grimm also seemed like a guy they hope would have worked out better than he did, but getting Garza was more preferable to their current situation. Between Arreita and Grimm Bosio and Johnson will have their work cut out for them. If they can turn around just one of them next year’s Cubs rotation will be dangerous.

    • Jay

      Does anyone have any info on what is up with his vision problems and if it’s been corrected?

      • DarthHater
      • Chris

        If concussion caused problem, might the pressure problem go away with time. If tear duct blocked might surgery be indicated rather than prophylactic Gtts. B.N. surely has a reader opth. or opt. on call to help us out.

      • frank

        I have read where the vision problem has been addressed but didn’t see anything definitive. One story was also that a flaw in his swing was uncovered by teammate Manny Ramirez (yes, that one), and he has been much more productive since.

  • True(ly) Blue

    I’m awed by the trade and the return from the Rangers and I’m not worried about C.J.Edwards’ body type. You only have to look south from Wrigley and see a pretty good skinny pitcher, Chris Sale, who would be welcomed by every big league team.
    Great work, Theo/Jed!

    • On The Farm

      I was thinking along the same lines. He was used in the pen for his first two years and then they stretched him out once he developed all of his pitches. If the Cubs have a playoff worthy team in 2015, I think he could be electric out of the pen, and then hopefully, he could be a starter going forward.

  • Bilbo161

    I think this trade is great. We now have a 3rd baseman for untill someone else comes along. A low end starter / relief arm to meet a re need in next years plans. A potential TOR/closer option down the line. Plus more to be named. The FO is working on the near term and long term at the same time. Very pleasing to see.

    • Chris

      By being un-able to trade Garza last year we essentially had to settle for what you can get for a rental player–I am pleasantly surprised that this may turn out pretty good. That being said Matt is a rental pitcher that could grab world series rings for an organization–Texas has been close lately.

      • CubsFaninMS

        Something interesting to consider:

        Being that Olt was so much more highly valued in 2012, what if Garza didn’t get injured and we traded him to the Rangers before the deadline last year? We could not have landed a better haul of prospects than we did this year, I bet. Luck and supply/demand economics were very much on our side with the Garza trade. We should be pleased.

        • ETS

          We’d have landed perez

          • Austin8466

            You have absolutely no way of knowing that. That is pure fan speculation.

  • Edward

    I have only been following the Cubs prospects closely over the past couple of years (thanks Brett!).

    Has there been a time in recent memory that the Cubs have had so many young promising prospects? I know guys like Felix Pie and Corey Patterson were pretty highly ranked, but I am talking about the overall quality and depth of the system. Is this the strongest the farm system has ever been over the past couple decades? Maybe late 90′s was stronger?

    • Kyle

      From 2001-2003, the Cubs were ranked in the top 3 in Baseball America’s farm system rankings, including No. 1 overall in 2002. That system had tons of depth as well.

      Right now, I’d say we’re a little, tiny smidge deeper than we were in that period, but lacking the top-end stars. Four top-30 guys, or whatever, is nice, but we’re not at the point like we were in 2002 when we had 2 in the top 6 (and still 7 in the top 80).

      • Mr. B. Patient

        I think 2002 was slightly overvalued because our top 2 were pitchers. (Prior and Cruz).
        Both considered #1 starters at the time.

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Hard to believe there is still farm systems better than the cubs with the other teams MLB team in the hunt for october

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I think with Sandoval and Headley becoming free agents in 2015, the Giants and Padres would be likely trade partners if we want to send Olt packing for pitching. I expect Kris Bryant to move up the system quickly, so we may even get an upgrade at the position that year.

  • figgelbert

    The amazing thing is that this trade isn’t over yet.
    If the front office chooses wisely they could land 1,or 2 interesting prospects still.
    I was in that league of people who thought the Cubs were going to have to settle for a meh package.
    I am happy Oakland jumped in and i think forced Texas’ hand

  • TonyP

    Hey, I’m on the Jason parks Twitter Link!!! :-)

  • figgelbert

    i think Jed should push Villanueva to the Red Sox he seems like the perfect fit for them
    AL east tested,starter till Buckholtz gets back,injury insurance as starter and a proven bull pen arm for late Set and the playoffs.
    Sox system is deep.
    He could land a nice 10 -15 prospect from them that would be highly ranked in alot of other systems
    Seems like the perfect fit

  • Ray

    Who were the top guys in 02?

    • On The Farm

      Mark Prior
      Juan Cruz
      Hee Seop Choi
      Dave Kelton
      Bobby Hill
      Carlos Zambrano
      Nic Jackson
      Ben Christensen
      Scott Chiasson
      Luis Montanez

      • Cubman23

        This is why Cub fans are so down on prospects. We’ve had some really terrible luck with some really excellent prospects. Off the top of my head, these guys were all top-10 prospects at some point: Patterson, Cruz, Wood, Prior

        Top-10 prospects, historically, have a better than 50% chance of having an average WAR in the 1.5 – 2.5 range (i.e. an average MLB player) for their career. They have about a 35% chance of having at least a 3.5 WAR average for their career.

        Prior: average WAR 3.1; BUST due to injuries
        Cruz: average WAR <1; BUST
        Patterson: average WAR <1; BUST
        Wood: WAR 1.6; low-end average MLB player

        That's some titanically bad luck there.

    • King Jeff

      Prior, Juan Cruz, Zambrano, Kelton, Hee Sop, Bobby Hill, Nic Jackson, Ben Christenson, Luis Montanez. Lots of talent, but a lot of busts too.

      • willis

        All busts except Z and 2.5ish years of Prior. God he was so good. Still painful thinking of his downturn/injuries.

        • King Jeff

          At least Hee Sop and Bobby Hill were used to bring in ARam, Lofton, and Derek Lee. Which is what I hope this front office is able to do in the next year or two.

          • willis

            Oh yeah dude fir sure…for all the anger spewed towards Hendry, dude completely fleeced the Pirates and Marlins on those two trades. Just great moves.

            • On The Farm

              Not too mention the Pirates trade for Grabow and Gorzo. Did the Pirates get anything out of that deal?

              (Obviously these trades aren’t on the same level, but he still was a run away winner of the deal.)

            • Tobias

              Don’t forget that Hendry was able to turn Hundley into Karros and Grudz.

              • X the Cubs Fan

                And DeRosa brought back Chris Archer, who brought back Garza.

              • ssckelley

                Hendry also turned Jose Hernandez and Bobby Hill into Kenny Lofton and Aramis Ramirez….who Theo/Hoyer turned into Pierce Johnson.

                • ssckelley

                  oops, did not read up….but still turned into Pierce Johnson.

            • Jim L.

              I wouldn’t call it a fleecing as much as being in the right spot at the right time, both the Pirates and Marlins were looking to unload salaries.

        • frank

          Didn’t Cruz have injury issues too? Can’t recall . . .

          • King Jeff

            Yeah, he was another very promising arm that was derailed due to injury. I always sort of lump Cruz and Angel Guzman, except that Cruz had a decent run as a relief pitcher for a few year.

            • ssckelley

              Yeah, he had a decent year last season as well with the Pirates. I do not get why he did not catch on with another team this year, his is still only 34 years old.

            • Chris

              Angel Guzman is now working with our youngsters. Bilingual and very smart guy who saved his money and should be a mlb pitching coach someday.

              • Spriggs

                Is he in Boise now?

                • Chris

                  Angel is at our remodeled Dominican facilities for the summer. D1 and D2 teams and kids sort of come and go with our Mesa rookie team.

                  • Spriggs

                    Cool. I saw him at extended S.T. and wondered what the plans for him were. Really like the dude!

                    • Chris

                      Spriggs. Did you see Bryant? He was here and gone but what did you think of him in the cages? Buckner could be very valuable for him. I just thought his swing was long and loopy–but I do not count for much.

                    • Spriggs

                      Only saw him in the one game at Hohokam… So, I didn’t see enough to really say. From what I did see, I thought his swing looked smooth. Oozing with easy power. Didn’t really see the “loopiness”, but I heard others who agree with you.

                    • Spriggs

                      Yes, Buckner could help, but I don’t see them doing any tinkering until maybe the instructs – if then.

            • TonyP

              He had a 12 year career (not sure if he is officially retired yet)…. He had a nice career but didn’t come close to meeting expectations.

              • cms0101

                The Cubs did Cruz a disservice in 2003, starting Shawn Estes over him most of the season. He had great stuff and needed innings at the big league level. The game against the Astros aside, Estes was a bust. But he was one of Dusty’s guys from the Giants. Then they traded Cruz to the Braves and got a young lefty pitcher that had the yips and had to retire within 3 months. Cruz did have a few good seasons as a setup guy. He got screwed a couple of years ago in free agency when he was ranked as a Type A free agent under the old CBA. I forget what team he finally signed with, but it was a late signing and he just didn’t perform the same after that. He was still throwing low to mid 90′s.

            • frank

              Thanks–I thought he did.

  • Seth N.

    the amazing thing is how FAST they have made our farm system top tier. What was it 5 years ago? Probably bottom 1/3rd. That’s parking a battleship at full speed.

    • Kyle

      It’s not that amazing. Farm system rankings have a ton of movement. You basically turn over the entire system every five years, and the guys who have the biggest impact on the rankings are the closet to the majors (and thus graduating and disappearing from the lists entirely).

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Plus, in theory and fact, you get better with those guys, thus drop your draft pick level, and are less likely to pick a “no doubter” at the top of a draft thereafter. So you get less talent, moving that system ranking.

        And the cycle repeats as you said every 5 years.

        Though we overlook how different teams develop their guys, and how good they are at it. Some teams probably have those 1-2 legendary experts in either pitching, hitting, or even fielding, that make their prospects better, quicker, or at least, less baseline regression.

        Just my opinion.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      The 2011 draft, and crappy teams, helped to. I’m not sure these guys did much better than ‘replacement level GM’s’ would have done.

      • DarthHater

        Sub-replacement level blog comment. :-P

      • Kyle

        I’d say they’ve done better, but not a ton better, than the average GM would do (and that’s partially because the average GM is much better than the average GM 15 year ago).

        If you gave most MLB GMs three years of massive increased amateur spending, high draft picks, and the budget to sign and flip every year with no pressure to win immediately, I imagine most of them would produce an elite farm system.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          Kyle, your second sentence is exactly what I’m talking about.
          The lack of pressure to win has allowed them to do somethings other GM’s can’t.

          I’m happy with where the team is headed, but I’m kind of ‘trust but verify’ type of fan.
          When the ML team becomes elite, I’ll call the FO genius. But not until then.

          • Afinch

            Trust but verify….ugh…you sounded like the director of my company just now. *shudders*

            • Mr. B. Patient

              isn’t that what Reagan said about the Soviet Union?

              *shudders* even more!

        • ssckelley

          But Kyle I think there is a little more to it than just that. Either they are a good judge of talent or they have good baseball people working for them that are able to spot Maholm, Feldman, Gregg, Navarro, Schierholtz, ect. The sign and flip thing only works when you can buy low knowing there might be good trade value later. You are right though in that there are not many GMs that can walk into a major market team and get away with completely gutting it without any recourse to the performance on the field.

  • http://bleachernation DL Huyck

    Prior and Juan Cruz

  • Seth N.

    kyle, every other team is ALSO turning it over every 5 years. Cubs have been aweful for most of my life, thus drafting high, yet have consistently had pretty meh farms systems.

    I stand by impressive.

    • Kyle

      Turning the farm system around is cool.

      Doing it in five years is no big deal. It’s the achievement, not the speed, that should impress you.

      • On The Farm

        I agree, while they have turned it around quickly, the telling thing will be will the guys they pick pan out? Like it or not our big 5 has three guys below AA. The two that are at AA, one is succeeding and the other is expirencing his first real struggle. He has a chance to bounce back, but it doesn’t get easier to transition into the MLB.

        • Kyle

          Obviously Baez needs to tone down the K’s, but the power is insane for a guy his age in his first taste of AA. If he had a decent BABIP, he’d be more than holding his own.

          • On The Farm

            Sure, I just think some of us should temper expectations and not be penciling our top 10 into the lineup for 2016 and complaining how there just aren’t enough spots for all of our studs.

            • willis

              Absolutely right. Thinking that all of these guys will pan out to be awesome is just creating unrealistic expectations that will create more disappointment. It’s fun to watch them develop, and glad to have all of that talent, but termpering expectations is spot on.

            • TonyP

              Couldn’t agree more, there are going to be some ass hurt people when only 1-2 of our top 20 turn into all-star level players…….

              • Chris S.

                Even if that is true, add that to Castro, Rizzo, Wood and Smarjzia with a couple free agent pick-ups and you have a competing team.

                • David

                  Yep. I don’t think anybody is expecting all of these prospects to pan out (I sure hope not) but the volume they have improves the odds of success. I’d be pretty happy with two additional young all stars…and that’s not even to mention the ones who might develop into solid/decent cost controlled regulars without being all stars.

                  • TonyP

                    I think there are plenty of our BN brethren that are expecting a vast majority to pan out….

                    • David

                      As all stars? Highly doubt that.

                      Day dreaming on them is one thing, but I think you’re overstating things by saying they expect it.

                    • DarthHater

                      Perhaps, but what’s a little overstatement, if it provides an opportunity to make an “ass hurt people” comment?

                    • TonyP

                      Maybe I overstated by saying All-Stars…. and I do like to slide in an “ass hurt” comment when I can….

              • TonyP

                Historically speaking what can you expect to get out of a Top 3 Farm? 1 all-star, 3-4 starter caliber position players, a rotation spot or 2, handful of bench and bullpen spots????? Anyone seen an article breaking any of this down?????

                Brett/Luke- Any chance for an article like this in the future?

                Thanks to BN (I found the site when the Theo rumors started flying around) I have paid a lot more attention to the minors than ever before (I guess this is uncharted waters for me). I had never heard of Castro until like a month before he was called up in 2010….

  • http://bleachernation DL Huyck

    David Kelton is the guy I thought would have been a consistent all star, just never happened.

    • ssckelley

      It is funny, a lot of people were fooled by Kelton. Looking back on his career he really only had 1 good season (2001) and he only played 58 games that year.

  • Ray

    My guess is that those players listed were a bit older than the guys we have now that are on top of our current list.

    • Kyle

      Why would you guess that?

    • King Jeff

      Prior, Montanez, and Zambrano were 21, Cruz was 23, Bobby Hill and Chrisenson were 24, Hee Sop was 23, Kelton and Jackson were 22 . So yeah, a little bit older across the board.

  • Ray

    I’m just trying to tell myself that the bad luck has passed us…I have no factual data to back this up, I keep needing more to convince myself these guys won’t be busts like most of the 02 guys were

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    The Cubs were bad most of your life? Were you born after 1984 or 1989 or 2003 or 2007 or 2008? Because they were 1st place those years

    • On The Farm

      Well if he was born in say 1984 that would make him 29 so if the Cubs were only good for the years you mentioned that would be 17% of his life that they were good, so you could make a pretty strong argument that yeah that is MOST of his life..

      • frank

        And if he’s older, that 17% percent can go down real fast.

  • Ivy Walls

    Let us really look at the inventory:
    these players could become impact players in the game

    Top 10? Baez ?
    11 thru 20: (or Baez), Almora, Soler, Bryant(? if gets to Daytona this year)

    Top 21 thru 40: Olt,

    these players could be effective starters/role players

    Top 41 to 75: Alcantara, Vizcaino, P Johnson,

    Top 76 to 100: CJ Edwards, Candelario, Paniagua, Vogelbach, (Lake)

    potential surprises or simply role players and cups of coffee’s

    101-150, Grimm, Arietta, Zastryzny, Blackburn, Hendricks,

    151-200, Maples, Skulina, (Rusin), Hannemann

    201-400: Cabrera, Vitters, Jackson, Szczur, Ha, Wadkins, Hernandez, Conception

    Not included Jimenez, Torres, Moreno, Mejia,

    • Brent

      You are over valuing several of our prospects. I see Baez, Bryant, Almora, and Soler in the 15-35 range. Alcantara in the top 60 or 70. Olt, Johnson, and Edwards in the 80-100 range. With that being said, it is still awesome that we could potentially have 8 guys in the top 100. Until Vizcaino comes back healthy, he won’t be on anybody’s top 100 lists.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Nice list, Ivy.

      Can I suggest 1 change? Split your ‘potential surpises’ group in to :
      1-potential surpises
      2-high upside, but too soon to tell.

      I think guys like Blackburn, Skulina, Rob Z are (hopefully) future Top 100 guys.

    • Noah

      I’d say Bryant and Baez will be in the 11-20 range, Almora and Soler could be in the 15-25 range, Olt and Alcantara both in the 50-65 range, Johnson and Edwards could be 75-100, or could slip out, no one else in Top 100.

      Candelario won’t be in Top 150s, but he’ll be a guy to keep an eye on. Vogelbach won’t make Top 100s, and wouldn’t be in my Top 150, but could slide into some Top 150 lists. Blackburn is probably my best other bet to be in Top 150 lists. Maybe Amaya as well.

      Arrieta and Grimm have too many MLB innings to be considered prospects.

  • Ray

    Born in 84. 2 pitchers made it and we’re very productive for us in the bigs- now all of our top guys are position players. Not sure if that’s good or bad at this point.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Don’t know if it’s good or bad, but position players do have a higher success rate.

  • Ray

    Love the depth

  • MichiganGoat

    I’m seeing on Twitter that Tunney has gone crazy and saying/doing something… can anybody fill us in?

    • MichiganGoat

      look at @DannyEcker timeline to see more… h/t King Jeff

      • MichiganGoat

        According to Ecker – “This is an epic rant. Tunney says he is “totally off script” now.

  • King Jeff

    Danny Ecker ‏@DannyEcker 3m

    This is an epic rant. Tunney says he is “totally off script” now

    Danny Ecker ‏@DannyEcker 6m

    Tunney says he wants “no more head fakes” from Cubs. #wrongsport

    Danny Ecker ‏@DannyEcker 8m

    Tunney: “When these people say on sports talk radio I don’t know about jobs… I know about jobs!”

    Danny Ecker ‏@DannyEcker 9m

    Tunney is yelling now. “You gotta make sure you fulfill your promises!” while looking at Cubs’ Lufrano.

    Danny Ecker ‏@DannyEcker 11m

    Tunney: “We’re not afraid of change. But we want to be respected.”

    Danny Ecker ‏@DannyEcker 14m

    Tunney: “The Tribune did nothing” to invest in the community in the early 80s

    • MichiganGoat

      thx buddy

    • MichiganGoat

      “Tunney: “The Tribune did nothing” to invest in the community in the early 80s”

      So that’s the Rickett’s fault?

    • MichiganGoat

      from @Fspielman – “Tunney says he will be “up their butt everyday” if Cubs don’t honor commitments to Wrigleyville”

      • Jim L.

        This is where the Ricketts have to play by Chicago rules and back someone against Tunney in the next election.

        • TSB

          Nah, just give him an envelope with some green crispy bills; that’s the Chicago way!

  • Jp3

    “We want to be respected”. So you’ll put out but you want us to take you to dinner 1st? How bout mcd’s drive thru, does that count?

    • King Jeff

      Perfect, make sure you go to the one in Lakeview that has the giant egg that totally doesn’t mess with the aesthetics of the neighborhood. [img]http://api.ning.com/files/-vqAr7fnI2hQXwsk8KIl79wWEt1N4VuakCAhzngFsF5ZZ5D603xNQpRaorfkoTj7gj25tHgeFgNPslk3Sp1MOMVYSJZViu2f/McDonaldsGiantEgg4.JPG[/img]

  • cubzforlife

    Nice story in todays Tribune about Edwards. The Rangers had him on a 6000 calorie’s a day diet to put on weight.

    • hansman1982

      Holy hell, what kind of workout regimine/intestinal worm does he have going on?

      • cubchymyst

        Maybe he ate a bad egg salad sandwich and now has worms

        • mjhurdle

          +1 if this was an epic Futurama reference.

      • ncsujuri

        Hans, some of us are just blessed w/ high metabolic rates…or perhaps you just need a few less hamburgers…

      • Drew7

        They called it, “The Hans”.

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