In the post-Trade Deadline window before the offseason – and until the Cubs are actually good in August and September and the playoffs are the story – the winding down of the minor league seasons are always one of the most interesting things going on.
- To that end, after playing well at High-A, and then playing well (at least in the power department, though the K/BB stuff is trending in the right directions) at AA, is Javier Baez on his way to Chicago this September? No. Jed Hoyer confirmed that in an interview with Waddle and Silvy, suggesting that the 20-year-old shortstop still needs to work on some things before coming up to the Cubs. Presumably, that will include working on some things next year, perhaps starting out at AA again, with an eventual stop at AAA before coming up to the big team. The fact that there’s no need to put him on the 40-man roster yet, however, is probably among the biggest reasons not to call him up in September. Those 40-man spots are going to be precious this Winter, I expect.
- In the same interview, Hoyer discussed new Cubs third base prospect Mike Olt at length, including the possibility that he – already on the 40-man – could get a look in Chicago in September. He’ll need to turn around his rough season in the next month, though.
- Pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks – low on the scouting hype, high on the performance – has been tearing up AA all year, and could be poised for a promotion. At his start last night, Tennessee manager Buddy Bailey told Michael Wottreng that a promotion for Hendricks was probably “on the horizon.” Indeed, a cursory review of Hendricks’ Twitter (if that’s really him), suggests his friends and family believe he’s already earned the promotion to AAA Iowa. A few starts there to round out his year would make for a mighty successful season for the polished, control pitcher. (Which is not intended as an insult – after all, the guy is also striking out 7.2 per 9 this year.) If he looks good at Iowa, and continues that success into next year, Hendricks is definitely on your radar for mid-2014. If nothing else, Hendricks is far and away the current favorite to win the organization’s Pitcher of the Year honors.
- In case you missed it last night, the Cubs officially inked top Dominican prospect Eloy Jimenez to a $2.8 million deal (plus $250,000 for college), thus officially exploding their international signing pool in the extreme. (That may have always been the plan.) Carrie Muskat with a picture of the excited signee (and proud parents, it appears) here.
- Speaking of the blowing the budget strategy, the Cubs won’t be adding one of the last few remaining top names – Leonardo Molina, who just turned 16 yesterday (thus making him eligible to sign), is signing with the Yankees for $1.4 million. That’s no surprise, as Molina had been linked to the Yankees for a long time – and those arrangements tend to stick.
- John Sickels looks back on his pre-season top 20 Cubs prospect list, which is worth a read. His conclusion: “As with any rebuilding organization, fans are tired of being told to have patience, but the trend line is clearly positive here. The foundation of a terrific lineup has been laid, the Cubs are certainly aware of the need for more pitching to go with it, and they’ve shown no hesitation at all about spending cash on the farm system, even if it means exceeding their allotted international bonus pool and facing penalties.”
- A lengthy profile on Albert Almora.
- Dan Vogelach was named the Cubs’ Player of the Month for July, and Matt Loosen got the Pitcher of the Month honors.