Cubs Pitching Prospect C.J. Edwards is Getting a Whole Lot of Love (UPDATE: But Caution)

cj edwardsChicago Cubs pitching prospect C.J. Edwards was already ascending the prospect rankings when the Cubs nabbed him from the Rangers in July as part of the Matt Garza trade. Although he was but a 48th round flyer in the 2011 Draft for the Rangers, Edwards quickly emerged as a quality arm. He’s always been skinny – he’s currently listed at 6’2″ and just 155 pounds – and was probably underrated in part for that reason.

After being drafted by the Rangers, Edwards refined his secondary pitches, and started dominating minor league hitters out of the gate. By the time the Cubs acquired him, Edwards was getting attention as a possible top 100 overall prospect from a few quarters. He’d posted a 1.83 ERA over 93.1 low-A innings with an 11.8 K/9 and a 3.3 BB/9.

And then the Cubs got him. They immediately promoted him to High-A Daytona, where he made six dominating starts, posting a 1.96 ERA, striking out 33 in just 23 innings, and walking only 7 (he also gave up his first professional home run). In the playoffs, although his innings were being watched carefully, he started twice, allowing no runs and just 1 hit and 3 walks in 10 innings. In those 10 innings, he struck out 11.

Against that backdrop, it’s no surprise that Edwards, 22, is getting a whole lot of post-season love. Not only was he named to the All-Star/All-Prospect lists from Baseball America and the executives/scouts polled by Jeff Passan, but he received exceedingly high praise in a couple of recent chats.

Keith Law was asked about Edwards yesterday, and he described the righty as a “potential star,” who is “athletic and does it all very easy.” Although Law cautioned that the weight/durability questions are legitimate, he went so far as to compare Edwards favorably to big-time Mets pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. The latter is further along and has a better fastball, but Edwards has “far better breaking ball.” From the sound of Law’s thoughts, he’s putting Edwards in the same tier of pitching prospects as Syndergaard, who is believed by most to be a clear top 50 prospect.

If that’s high praise from Law, then Baseball America’s John Manuel is effusive.

When asked whether Syndergaard received any player of the year consideration by BA, Manuel says that he did not, instead noting that “I believe the pitchers at the top of our list were Archie Bradley and C.J. Edwards, Bradley for his success at a tender age at a challenging Double-A level, Edwards for sheer dominance. To me those were the best seasons by top pitching prospects.” Manuel goes on to imply that his top three pitching prospects – in all of baseball – are Bradley, Taijuan Walker, and Edwards.


On the Edwards/Syndergaard comparison, specifically, Manuel followed up: “Similar fastballs, Syndergaard probably has a bit better fastball due to the angle he creates to the plate, consistent velo and control, but Edwards at his best has the better curveball and secondary stuff, and he throws plenty hard.”

If, as the scouting reports roll in and post-season analysis is done, Edwards is now considered a top 10 pitching prospect in baseball (to say nothing of top three to five, as implied by Manuel and Law), that’ll place him easily within the top 30 prospects in all of baseball. In other words, he’d be right there in the same range as The Big Four (Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler).

I mean. I don’t even …

UPDATE: BP’s Jason Parks offers his take (in response to this post), at least as far as the Edwards/Syndergaard comparison goes: “Edwards is a nice prospect, but his name doesn’t belong in the same sentence as Syndergaard. Not even close. I really like [Edwards'] arm; very easy and crisp. Both CB/CH flash. But putting a TORP label on him has little merit. Obviously, the body is a concern for me, and it will take a heavy workload to prove durability. I don’t see a 200IP body.”

It’s not hard to see that the range of evaluations on Edwards going into 2014 is probably going to be rather broad. Keep in mind: Syndergaard just reached AA at age 20, and put up a 5.75 K/BB ratio over 54 innings. Kid’s a stud. Being compared unfavorably to him is no insult to Edwards.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

179 responses to “Cubs Pitching Prospect C.J. Edwards is Getting a Whole Lot of Love (UPDATE: But Caution)”

  1. Myles

    2015 man…2015

  2. cubchymyst

    Edwards looks destined to be all over the board in terms of prospect rankings. However, no matter where he ends the trade looks like a steal by the front office.

  3. Aaron

    Could the Rangers just not know what they had? I mean, I couldn’t believe they would trade him for much of anything if they still had him today.

    1. tim815

      Gotta love our pro scouting department.

  4. AdamAE24

    What will hold Edwards back in the prospect rankings is that he doesn’t have the pedigree. These guys who rank players for the draft don’t like to be wrong by 47 rounds. Bad for biz.

    1. mjhurdle

      i agree with this.
      No one knew anything about C J Edwards. hell, the scout that found him got lost trying to find his house.
      he has come out of nowhere, which will naturally cause people to be skeptical.
      Personally, as long as he keeps dominating, i don’t care where they rank him :)

    2. bbmoney

      It’s probably worse for biz to compound their mistakes by continuing to ignore them.

  5. CubFan Paul

    I’ll get excited about Edwards when he gains and sustains 15-20lbs. 155lbs just screams reliever or #5 starter no matter the stuff

    1. Cerambam

      I believe it is Hansman who continually iterates that there is no relationship between durability and size. I’m sure you can make an argument that effectiveness may corrolate, but we already know Edwards is effective.

      Thus, because we KNOW Edwards is effective and has equally as much risk as any player/pitcher to get injured, we can be excited.

      1. C. Steadman

        also, he has great mechanics which help reduce stress on the arm while helping to keep effectiveness longer in a start

        1. mdavis

          agreed, i think maybe instead of focusing on weight, we should focus on athleticism. i’ll take a guy whos skinny but athletic, has good cardio health and pitches with ease than a fat ass 240 pounder who doesnt take great care of his body laboring out there. but we’ll see as he goes along. its exciting that we can even talk about him in a sentence with syndagaard and those types.

      2. CubFan Paul

        “but we already know Edwards is effective”

        “We?” He barely got his feet wet in Daytona. Effective?

      3. Hansman1982

        The study I reference this from is more concerned with pitcher height than weight.

        It’s entirely possible that more weight = more durable or it may mean nothing. After all, taller pitchers don’t generate more ground balls than short pitchers.

        This is what frustrates me most about people holding beliefs about baseball that are untrue. The amount of time I spend learning about advanced stats is so tiny that even a few hours yields tremendous results.

  6. C. Steadman

    can we start to say Big Five and include CJ??

    1. Cerambam

      Big 6 with alcantara

      Then you have olt, johnson, vizcaino and vogs -which could easily beat some other teams top 4 I’d bet.

      1. Mr. B. Patient

        I can’t give Olt and Vizciano that much of a mulligan, so they go to the 10-15 grouping (they can reestablish). I agree with you on Vogs and Johnson, but Candalerio, Villanueva, and Hendricks also deserve top 10 consideration. Blackburn is not far behind.

        1. Rich H

          If Vizciano dominates in the AFL then you will be the only guy that does not put him in the top ten.

  7. DReese

    BIG 5!

  8. KD

    He just turned 22 the other day – he can easily pack on 15 pounds of muscle this offseason and ease alot of durability concerns.

  9. jayrig5

    Syndergaard is a stud. I saw him last season for Lansing, at 19, dominate a pretty well-stocked Fort Wayne lineup. He piggybacked a start and went 4 innings, giving up 3 hits and striking out 6. I’m not a scout of any kind, but I can tell when a team has zero chance to hit a kid, and when I saw his age I was stunned, and immediately became hopeful that the Cubs could somehow get him in a Garza deal with Toronto. This is why I’m not an executive, although my flash judgment in this case turned out to be correct.

    (It would have been nice in this case, of course, but I was also excited when the Cubs picked up Zach Cates in the Rizzo deal, as I’d seen him pitch really well for Fort Wayne. That one hasn’t worked out like I’d hoped.)

    All this being said, I couldn’t be more thrilled that CJ Edwards is even close to that level of pitching prospect.

  10. Kyle

    Remember when we had to argue over whether he or Olt was the best prospect in that deal?

    1. On The Farm

      Crazy thought, Olt could come out and re-establish his value next season and we can debate it again. Ranger fans could be left drooling at what they gave up for Garza and Dempster over the last two seasons. (Not sure who we got in the Geo Soto deal, so not sure if that one will haunt them).

      1. C. Steadman

        was it Jaye Chapman we got for Soto? cant remember either

        1. Mr. B. Patient

          Didn’t we get Barret Loux for Soto?

        2. willis

          Yeah I think Chapman, then because of his injuries didn’t the cubs give him back for Loux?

        3. ssckelley

          No, the Cubs got Chapman from the Braves in the deal for Maholm and Johnson.

          1. willis

            Who was it that the cubs got for Soto then, who then they flipped back for Loux? Wasn’t it injury related?

            1. ssckelley

              The Cubs orginally got Jacob Brigham from the Rangers for Soto. He turned out to be damaged goods so the Rangers swapped him for Loux.

              1. willis

                Bingo, Brigham. Good call ss. I couldn’t think of his name.

          2. C. Steadman

            oh yeah it was the braves

      2. ssckelley

        Cubs ended up with Barret Loux, who if he would only get his walk rate down would be a damn good prospect. He was drafted 6th overall in the 2010 draft and pitched very well at AA Frisco last year but struggled this year at Iowa.

        The Cubs have done a very nice job raiding the Rangers farm system for talent.

      3. cub4life

        Garza – (3B) Olt, (RHP) Edwards, (RHP) Grimm & (RHP) Ramirez
        Dempster – (RHP) Hendricks & (3B) Villenueva
        Soto – (RHP) Bringham (traded back to TEX for (RHP) Loux & player to be named)

        did we get a player to be named for Bringham???

      4. cub2014

        that garza deal just keeps giving; grimm
        throws mid 90′s easy gas and hits 97 when
        he needs to!!!

    2. Cub Style

      Well, it was a stupid argument then, too.

    3. Luke

      Nope. That was never an argument for me. Edwards was the key to the deal; Olt was a throw-in lottery ticket.

  11. David

    If he could easily pack on 15# over the offseason he would have done it already. the kid has been trying to gain weight for 3 ish years now.

    1. On The Farm

      True, but everyone, even professional athletes, metabolisms slow down eventually. I was a twig for most of high school and during my senior track season I gained 10-15 pounds. Similarly I had a friend in college who was never really active, but thin in general, and he put on probably 15-20 pounds his senior year of college. Everyone is different and I would have to imagine eventually it will get easier for him to pack on weight.

  12. Sacko

    another 10 lbs wouldn’t hurt.
    I was 6’4” 168-172lbs (early 70′s) played everything college level never seemed to be week or tired. But I never pitched in the majors either. I don’t think it will be an outstanding problem not with all the modern training that’s available.

  13. ETS

    I posted this before but
    black, edwards and pineyro combined for 28 innings, 0 runs, 27 k’s this postseason. none of them were with the cubs to start the season.

  14. ssckelley

    Can someone help me understand how adding weight helps with stamina?

    1. Sacko

      easy the weight is muscle

      1. Randy

        With that logic, cross country runners would have more stamina if they were built like linebackers… Simply not the case. Endurance has to do with the efficiency in which your muscles utilize oxygen, which is what cardio does for you. The muscle mass theoretically helps protect against wear and tear on the joints, but I don’t know if I subscribe to it necessarily. The added weight of the muscle means added pressure on the joints.

  15. Jackson Scofield

    You missed one tidbit of news from the past 24 hours Brett, the Dominican Professional Baseball League (or Dominican Winter League for whoever does not like the straight translation) held its “Amateur” draft yesterday, and the Cubs submitted four players. Jeimer Candelario went to Aguilas Cibaenas in the first round (6th overall, 6 teams in league), Marco Hernandez to Tigres del Licey in the 3rd round, and Ivan Pineyro and Felix Pena went to Estrellas Orientales in the 8th and 11th rounds, respectively.

    1. C. Steadman

      nice tidbit…I’m excited to see what CAndelario and Pineyro have to offer especially…I like the emergence of Pineyro as a prospect…heres to hoping he can keep the success goin thru the winter

      1. On The Farm

        I am looking forward to Candelario and Pineyro as well. I love how the FO was able to get two good arms for Harriston and Soriano. If Candelario keeps it up he could end up a very good trade piece for when our team is looking to add rather than sell at the deadline.

        1. cubchymyst

          Candelario is a switch hitter. Depending on how everything shakes out he could help balance the line up. Didn’t almost show on Law top 100 last year.

          1. cubchymyst

            Found the article, Law had Candelario listed in his 8 that just missed his top 100.

          2. On The Farm

            Could be, but if the FO is intent on keeping Castro the Cubs could have Olt as a 3B option or one of the three Baez (AAA bound), Villanueva (AAA bound), or Bryant (AA bound). Between those four (even with a Castro trade) I see one of them snapping up the 3B spot. If we are truly in a position to contend by 2015, Candelario would be one of our most attractive trade pieces since he will be AA or better, and as you pointed out a switch hitting 3B.

            1. Mr. B. Patient

              In 2016, Candelario could be a 1st base option.

              1. C. Steadman

                I’ve seen that mentioned before…we are starting to see build up of prospects in the infield..even at first with Rizzo, Vogs, Candy as a potential switch..very good problem to have

                1. On The Farm

                  Sure, but Vogelbach will be at 1B in Daytona with him next year, so in 2015, he will be in AA with Vogelbach still. If we are looking at a 1B option between the two of them right now I would take Vogelbach between the two, his power is already there.

                  1. C. Steadman

                    yeah, and Candy has a gun from 3rd, so switching him would be way premature..i wouldnt mind exploring COF with him at some point too if we get 3B situation nailed down

                2. cubchymyst

                  I have always been opposed to a DH in the NL, but i’m coming around to the idea. I’ve seen some good arguments for it by posters on here. A bonus would be an extra spot for a bat.

                  1. C. Steadman

                    yeah, i’m starting to come around to the idea as well…sad to say, bc i’ll miss wood swinging the wood

            2. cubchymyst

              True, a lot could happen in the next 2 years when a decision on Candelario would be approaching. He is a bigger guy so he might have to move to first at some point but I love his BB% and K%. If he could add some power and stick at 3B he has the potential to be above average.

  16. Blublud

    The Cubs have possibly 6 top 100 position prospects, and possibly 3 pitchers. Theo has done a great. Now it time for some of this to flood the bigs.

    1. David

      There’s no way they have more than 5 position prospects and 2 pitchers. Olt, Vogelbach, and Vizcaino are not top 100 prospects at this time.

    2. ssckelley

      I think the Cubs will have 5 top 100 for sure (including Edwards). But Alcantara, Hendricks, Johnson, and even Olt cannot be that far from top 100 consideration. Vogelbach has little chance at making a top 100 list but he will be in consideration for top 1st base prospect.

      1. On The Farm

        Yeah, Vogelbach literally has to play out of his mind to make a top 100 list at 1B, I think Alcantara is already there for top 100 so I say we get 7 in. Johnson will be in the top 100 by midseason as long as he pitches decent in AA.

        1. cub2014

          most have vogs #2 in all of baseball at 1st base
          whether that gets him in the top 100 maybe not.

          1. ssckelley

            I seen an article last week that had Vogelbach as #1, I forget which one. But the 1st base prospects right now are very weak, Vogs is only being considered as a top 1st base prospect because of his bat. If he gets to AA and he is still hitting well he could get top 100 consideration.

  17. Nate Dawg

    Man, the Cubs have really hauled in a ton of prospects from Texas these last two years. I was just wondering who we got for Soto…

    1. Nate Dawg

      Never mind.

  18. Luke

    I come closer to agreeing with Parks here. I like Edwards, but top three pitching prospect in baseball is way too high.

    I’m not yet convinced he’s the best pitching prospect in the Cubs’ system. That will come down to Edwards and Johnson, but I can make a case for either.

    1. Blublud

      I still have edwards below Johnson. See below.

    2. Cub Fan Dan

      Do Johnson, Edwards, Pineryo, & Black all start in AA next year or are they going to hold any/all back at A+ to start the season?

      1. Luke

        I’ll look into this more over the winter, but right now I expect most of those to finish the year in Tennessee at the very least. I can make a case for all of them starting that high, but I suspect that won’t happen.

        1. Noah

          I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson, Black and Pineyro start the season in Double A. Black spent the whole season in High A, and Johnson and Pineyro both logged over 50 innings there. I have a feeling Edwards will go back to Daytona for a month or two before being sent up to Tennessee.

          1. cms0101

            While the depth shouldn’t keep any of these from moving up to AA, it will be interesting to see how the Cubs will promote and adjust pitchers in Daytona, Tennessee, and Iowa. Just with the shear number of guys that should be in Tennessee or higher, there will be some decisions to be made. It will be interesting to see what happens. I wonder if the Cubs are hoping some of the lesser talent get picked in Rule 5 just to clear some space. It feels like there won’t be much room for depth veterans in Iowa next year. It will be nice to have some actual prospects in AAA to monitor versus someone else’s veteran castoffs.

    3. SenorGato

      I also agree more with Parks than anyone else right now on Edwards. I find this hype to be a little premature, and premature hype is nothing but annoying to me. OTOH, the Cubs could really use it so I’m caught.

      All I ask is all this farm system hype leads to a player this offseason via trade.

  19. Blublud

    The Cubs top 9, in order. All are possible top 100.

    1. Baez
    2. Bryant
    3. Soler
    4. Almora
    5. Johnson
    6. Edwards
    7. Alcantara
    8. Vogelbach
    9. Hendricks

    1. Cub Style

      I’d switch Soler with Almora and Johnson with Edwards.

    2. cub2014

      If Vizcaino or Olt recover plus Lake has
      already moved off the prospects list. So
      that is 12 top rated guys in a year. We have
      come a long way baby!!!! Some were already
      here (Baez,Vogs,Lake,Alcantera) I know.

    3. ssckelley

      My top 10:

      1. Baez
      2. Almora
      3. Bryant
      4. Soler
      5. Edwards
      6. Alcantara
      7. Johnson
      8. Hendricks
      9. Olt
      10. Vogelbach

      With a slew of candidates not far out of this list. The top 4 we can all agree on the players (we can argue rank) but 5-15 gets very messy. Even back in 2002 I cannot remember the Cubs farm system being this strong, the Cubs top 20 has to be the best they have ever had.

      1. cub2014

        lets dont forget vitters except for those 100AB’s
        in chicago he has been a very good hitter. I know
        where does he play? will he stay healthy? he is
        only 23 so the jury is still out. I do think verdict is
        in on Bjax, high strikeout rate caught up with him.

        1. C. Steadman

          i would like vitters as a back up OF in the future, lowers the chance he’ll get hurt since he wont play everyday and a good bat off the bench…we already have a ton of 3B prospects so I think those days are done, especially since he has suspect D there anyways…I could see him platoon with Nate in RF(if he can play the position)

          1. cub2014

            ya scaring thing about top prospects most dont
            succeed. So the obvious theory is, the more you
            have the more successes you will have.

            1. cub2014

              when you talk prospects list, some guys
              dont even make the list but have success
              anyway. Look at Rusin never high rated
              prospect but he has figured out how
              important throwing strikes is. He is probably
              our most consistant starter with Wood. I
              have been trying to write him off but it looks
              like he gets it.

              1. Edwin

                Rusin is currently stranding 82% of runners that reach base. His BABIP is .270. If either of those numbers gets worse, his starts are going to get ugly. He only strikes out 12% of the batters he faces, and walks 8.4%, roughly the same amount that Samardzija walks.

                Unless Rusin takes a pretty big step forward next season, he’s still very much a fringe SP.

                1. cub2014

                  better: SO/9, hits/9, hr/9,
                  slightly higher BB/9 than
                  Buerle’s career numbers.
                  he is a pitch to contact guy.

                  1. cub2014

                    Rusin has a better whip than the cubs
                    starters except Wood. Jackson & Samardizja
                    are the two worst. Rusin whip this year is
                    same as Garza’s career whip.

                    1. Edwin

                      Rusin’s WHIP this year is being helped out by a .270 BABIP.

                      What about Rusin’s FIP?

                  2. Edwin

                    For starters, Mark Buehrle pitched in the AL, which is obviously tougher to pitch in than the NL.

                    Buehrle has a career K% of 15.9, BB% of 5.9, and HR/9 of 1.01. in over 2000 innings. He has a career WHIP of 1.28.

                    Rusin has a career K% of 13.8, BB% of 8.3, and HR/9 of .75. in 89 innings. He has a career WHIP of 1.41.

                    I wouldn’t hold my breath on Rusin sticking in the rotation long term, unless he starts walking fewer batters, and getting a few more K’s.

                    1. Noah

                      Rusin is fine as a second division 5th starter for now, though, even if his peripherals don’t improve much. You’re totally correct, though, that his low BABIP against and high strand rate are helping him a ton right now, both of those are likely to regress to the mean.

                      Considering his groundball tendencies, though, if he is able to get his BB/9 down to the 2.5-2.75 range and his K/9 up to the 5.50-6 range (not easy things to do), I think he’s a guy who could stick in the Majors for several years as a 5th starter/swingman type.

                  3. C. Steadman

                    I think all will agree Rusin’s best case scenario is Mark Buehrle…he has good results in a SSS, I hope the Cubs give him the 5th spot in 2014(depending on FA/trades)

                  4. bbmoney

                    Mark Buehrle has walked 2.0 batters per 9 in his career. Rusin is at 3.2 per nine. That’s not slightly more. That’s a full 60% more than Buehrle.

                    Mark Buehrle has struck out 5.2 batters per 9. Rusin has struck out 5.3 batters per 9 (4.8 this year)….that’s slightly more K’s for Rusin per 9.

                    You’ve got your “slightly’s” in the wrong spot.

              2. ssckelley

                There are players who will not show up on many top 10 lists but could reach the big leagues earlier. You mentioned Vitters, but Villanueva could get a shot at 3rd next year, if Vizcaino can ever get healthy could be in the mix, and we might see Szczur and Ha some time next year as well.

  20. Kyle

    There’s enough lists out there that 250 guys will be top-100 prospects this offseason. We’ll probably have nine of them.

    1. Sinnycal

      A bit of an exaggeration, but yeah, I’m guessing we’ll have 6 consensus top-100 guys who appear on every list, and then 3 guys who will pop up near the bottom of a list or two. Baez, Bryant, Almora, and Soler are mortal locks to appear on every list. Edwards and Alcantara would be very surprising omissions at this point. Johnson will make some lists, maybe Hendricks, and even Olt could be hanging onto a couple with a mulligan for his season on faith. I wouldn’t be too terribly shocked if someone checked Vogelbach’s FSL numbers and snuck him onto a list. So we could have as many as 9-10 guys who make lists, but I’d be surprised to see more than 7 on any single list.

      1. C. Steadman

        even if 5 made it all on one list i’d be happy…since 100 players are on the list obviously, and 30 teams..the average if all systems were equal would be about 20 teams with 3 and 10 teams with four(100/30=3.3) so the Cubs landing 5 on a top 100 list is a solid showing…thats just my train of thought when i see a top 100 list…i would always like to see four cubs prospects on it

        1. ssckelley

          Back in 2002 I believe the Cubs had as many as 7 in the top 100.

        2. On The Farm

          You can thank the south side for having about zero talent in their system for the reason other teams can have more than just three on the list.

      2. Noah

        I wouldn’t be shocked if Johnson joins that crew as a consensus Top 100. But that’s the max. You could see Olt or Vogelbach sneak into the back end of a couple of them, but you’ll have just as many people say that neither got really serious consideration for their Top 100 lists.

        1. Sinnycal

          Johnson could be on most lists, or even all of them. I’m just not as certain about him as I am the others. I could actually see Olt sticking on quite a few lists just because he was so highly rated last year and he has the concussion excuse for his performance. He was still on a midseason top-50 or two, after all, and that was when his peripherals were bottoming out.

    2. itzscott

      A good off season project for someone on this board would be compiling as many of the Top 100 lists as possible to see how many different prospects are considered Top 100 and what that range is.

  21. Chris

    I believe there was another pitcher who had a small frame and was dominant for quite some time….Pedro Martinez. Plus he still has some time to fill out that frame a little.

    1. C. Steadman

      interesting take…i like it, i wonder what pedro weighted at age 22

  22. Edwin

    Hmmm. Looking at Olt’s stats with the Cubs,it looks like he got his K% down to 24.3% (from 33.2% with the Rangers), and his walk rate stayed a very nice 13%. Where he really struggled is his ISO, which went from .209 with the Rangers to .107 with the Cubs.

  23. mjhurdle

    My top 6:
    - Newcastle Summer Ale – has top the list all year with a strong showing this summer
    - Goose Island 312 – quality, know what you are getting time again. Slightly lower ceiling, but with a floor this high, definitely deserves its spot on the list
    - Smithwicks – Another International signing makes a strong showing on the list. Possesses a strong 80 graded drinkability tool, but will need to improve on its flavor in order to acheive it’s true potential.
    - Kraftig Light – Kraftig possesses on one elite tool, but oh what a tool it is. graded at 80 for flavor since it arrived on the scene, what it lacks in drinkability and consistentcy it more than makes up for with its flavor. Time will tell how far one tool can take it, but it has high aspirations.
    - St Pauli’s Girl – Many experts have dismissed this prospect, but due to old-school and sentimental reasons, i still rank it.
    - Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy – Benefited from a historic run during the dogs days of summer when the heat was on, but lately has been tailing off. Still hinging on in the top 10 though

    1. noisesquared

      Whoa – Shandy should not be near the top 10. Does not have the body or strength to be anything more than a role player or set up guy – Top 30 at best.

      1. MichiganGoat

        It shouldn’t even be called a beer and Bells Oberon will easily take its place.

      2. CubsFaninMS

        Have you seen the alcohol content of the Summer Shandy? It’s a ball boy at best!

        1. Cubbie Blues

          9.3 ABV / 77 IBU / 21.5 SG / 14.4 SRM

      3. mjhurdle

        the thing with the Shandy is that you can drink as many as you like on a nice hot day without worrying about over-doing it or dehydrating.
        For a summer brew, it makes my top 10.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          Campside is a great beer for that.

    2. MichiganGoat

      Oh my you really need to start to branch out with your brews these aren’t even in my top 500. Founder’s Devil Dancer stares at those brews like Tidrow stares at people who try to grow a mustache.

      This team would have a tough time making it out of an inning with my brew powerhouses.

      Seriously we need to talk and expand you palate. Cheers

      1. mjhurdle

        To be a brew in my top 10, it has to have the ability to start every game.
        There are beers better, but due to cost/availability, they aren’t are the field enough for me to rank them top 10.

        i have a Global Brewhouse that serves hundreds of types of beers from breweries all over America and the world, but just not able to get there enough to include most of them in my system.

      2. waittilthisyear

        devil dancer is good, buts its only around for one month of the year. delirium tremens is a year-round delight

    3. C. Steadman

      wheres Bud Light and Busch Light??…sorry I’m a fresh college grad…still have the college taste of beer, i do like 312 and Shandy

      1. MichiganGoat

        Oh so much to learn… so much to learn

        1. C. Steadman

          haha i like the beer that goes down easy and easy on the wallet as well…give me a break i’m only 22

          1. willis

            Dude, I’m 35 and I still smash Busch Light. It’s easy drinking, low cal and easy on the wallet. Love that stuff. It’s perfect on a golf course too because it doesn’t weigh you down at all.

            1. C. Steadman

              agreed, Bud Light is my favorite, but a busch 30 rack is great…i’ll still be drinking that stuff when i’m 35, no doubt there

            2. MichiganGoat

              If smash is what you want then there is nothing to discuss about quality brews. I rather have two amazing beers instead of “smashing” six or twelve fermented waters. In the end the cost is the same, the buzz will be the same, but I won’t have a headache afterwards.

              1. Chef Brian

                If someone is discussing “smashing” beers its because they probably can’t stand the taste and are trying to get through it as soon as possible. Those piss water beers are really good for nothing more than a hangover. Goat, the beers you bring up all the time are beers meant to be tasted, not slammed. There is an investment to be made, as these are not cheap beers. Though once you taste them you will know your money was well spent. I choose to take my time and taste my beers, like my food they are meant to be savored and enjoyed.

                1. mjhurdle

                  i wouldn’t say that necessarily.
                  I would not break out any Chimay to enjoy while sitting at Buffalo Wilds watching college football all day, or at a tailgate party.
                  Nor would i break out a Bud Light at a nice restaurant with my wife on our anniversary.
                  To me beer is like dessert.
                  Cheaper beers are the cookies. good, tasty, and i can eat them all day.
                  Really good beers are like a cheesecake. By far better tasting than a cookie, but richer and not ideal for snacking throughout the day.
                  There are times and places for both, in my opinion.

          2. MichiganGoat

            The cost of a sixer of good craft beers is about the same for a 12 pack of crap or a case rotgut shite beer. The question becomes to you want to enjoy a brew or pound them to get drunk. If its the former you’re not ready if its the latter then its time to explore what beer really taste like.

            1. C. Steadman

              i like the 2 for 1 ratio…its not really about getting drunk bc then i’ll just drink Jack n Coke…its more about quantity

              1. On The Farm

                Jack and coke, sounds like a good time. Although in the comforts of my own home I enjoy better whiskey, most of my forgotten nights begin with the phrase “ then I started drinking jack and coke”

                1. C. Steadman

                  my forgotten nights were usually with fireball whiskey straight outta the bottle…cant remember the last time i drank it…literally

              2. bbmoney

                This is sacrilege.

                What are you doing ruining both Jack Daniels and Coke by mixing them together?!?!

              3. cubchymyst

                There are some good whiskey distilleries popping up around the country as well. Tempelton Rye in Iowa is a good one I’ve tried, as is Leopold Bros. in Denver. I’ve been working my way through a bottle of leoplod bros. new york apple whiskey for a couple months now.

                1. On The Farm

                  Templeton is some good stuff, there is also another one that is closer to me in Iowa called Cedar Ridge. I perfer Cedar Ridge to Templeton, but that might just be a me thing.

              4. chrisfchi

                I would rather sip a glass of good scotch or enjoy a craft. After a glass or a few bottles the buzz is there, and as stated above, no headache or gutrot

            2. Coop

              Both classes of beer have their place. When you are playing softball, you need a good ‘Merican beer, such as Coors Light. When you are enjoying a nice dinner with your special lady friend, you need a beer with substance, style, and flavor, such as Three Floyds Zombie Dust.

              Both are winners, in the right situation.

              1. On The Farm

                Agreed, much like the rest of life, its all situational. I have a brother that is always trying to get me to drink his goofy beers he brews at family functions. Sometimes its alright to drink, but most of the time I am there to get smashed and I don’t want to have to worry about going some where special to get good beer, and would rather pick something up at the gas station.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Um does your brother need a goat?

                  1. On The Farm

                    Ha, actually he does brew pretty good stuff (placed a couple beers at the state fair, I think he had one of the better wheat beers there), but he also tends to bring beers with fruit in them to try and appeal to the rest of the family which is usually what turns me off. I really dislike raspberries or lemon beers.

                    1. Cubbie Blues

                      I couldn’t agree with you more on the fruit beers. I can’t stand them.

                    2. On The Farm

                      I will only add lime to beer in Mexico, but usually I get to decide how much I am squeezing into it.

              2. MichiganGoat

                I just want my beverages to have something called taste, sure I’ll still drink the MERICA fermented waters but that only because I don’t want to be rude when someone offers me a beer. Plus if you find your local brewery you are supporting you local economy vs. giving MillerCoors or AB In-Bev your money.

                Drink local… I’m just lucky to have Founders a few miles away, Bells 45 min drive, Shorts a 2 hr drive and 100 over great breweries in between.

                1. kscubfan

                  Just not as lucky as you Goat, Boulevard has some great beers, here in KS. But most of the others are very inconsistent, Stone Brewing out of CA is starting to get beer into my area, and they have been very good. Have you ever tried them?

                  1. noisesquared

                    Stone makes some great beers – Levitation, Arrogant Bastard, Stone IPA. I haven’t had anything from Stone I don’t like (my tastes do run towards the hoppy though), except for the Old Guardian barleywine which is not my thing.

                2. Diesel

                  If you want something with some good taste and can get you messed up pretty good at the same time check out a beer called Old Rasputin. Brewed by North Coast Brewing Company. I have never had anyone tried it and not liked it. My girl friend also says anyone who can’t handle it deserves to lose his balls.

    4. Jono

      Guinness is the best beer. Fact.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Founders CBS, KBS, and many other stouts would seriously tell you no.

        Now if its a slow pour at a true Irish Pub there are few pints better.

        1. Jono

          It is disappointing when bar tenders don’t know how to pour it. It’s like getting a sports car with flat tires.

          1. Jono

            bartenders, I guess

      2. On The Farm

        Mmmm Love me some black and tans when I got to an “Irish” bar. Give me a Black and Blue or a Black Cow (for anyone who drinks Spotted Cow) and I am a happy man.

        1. Sarah

          Another delicious one to try is Guinness with Pyramid’s Apricot beer. It is wonderful and I am not big on fruit beers.

          I also highly recommend Boddingtons and Murphy’s Irish Stout the latter as an alternative to Guinness.

    5. On The Farm

      If Shandy can make the list I am surprised Bud Light Lime didn’t make it too. Yuck (to both)

      1. Cubbie Blues

        If you have to add a lime to a beer to try and make it drinkable, it isn’t a good beer.

        1. mjhurdle

          i agree with this.
          I don’t normally enjoy any flavored beers, and actually do not like any of the other versions of the Shandy making the rounds.
          but something about the Leinenkugels that i like is that it is not overpoweringly lemony or sweet.
          just very light, brisk, really good pulled straight out of a cooler on a 98 degree day and something i dont have to worry about if i get too hot and kill a couple more than i intend to.

          1. SenorGato

            I liked Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy this year. Had it for the first time this summer and enjoyed it, though it didn’t beat out a Hendricks’ gin and tonic for my summer drink.

    6. Rob

      A few other summer beers that I’ll suggest:

      - Shiner’s Ruby Redbird
      - Brooklyn’s Summer Ale
      - Deschutes’ Twilight

  24. Steve

    Unless the National League decides to have a Designated Hitter, Voglebach will never get to perform regularly at the Friendly Confines. His only position is 1st base and Rizzo will be at 1st for years to come. Bring him up to majors now and see if he can handle major league pitching and if so he could be traded to the AL for a young pitching prospect.

    1. Jono

      Why not wait for his develop and see if the NL goes DH? Or maybe use him as a trade piece in the near future while he’s still in the minors? Throwing MLB pitching at him may destroy all his value, not a risk I’d like to see them take

      1. C. Steadman


      2. On The Farm

        Yeah, not sure why letting an A+ ball hitter try and hit MLB level pitching (and placing him on a 40 man too) would make any sense for any organization.

    2. Noah

      Bringing Vogelbach up now is an awful idea in an incredible number of ways. Vogelbach doesn’t have much trade value now because he hasn’t shown that he can be a dominant power hitter in the high level of the minors, and, considering his defensive limitations, he’s a guy who is going to have to hit a ton to carry a big value. His value will go up greatly if he’s mashing in the Southern League in the back half of 2014 or front half of 2015.

      All that a team would be doing by bringing him up to the Majors now is decreasing his value. If he mashes in 60 plate appearances, no team is going to change their assessment of him based on that. If he fails (and odds are extremely high coming straight from High A he’d fall flat on his face against MLB pitching), you’ve started his option clock and made him less valuable since a team would have to (a) keep him on their 40 man roster and (b) use an option for him every year as he continues to progress through the minors.

  25. cubchymyst

    Not sure if this has been posted by anyone yet, (hopefully I don’t steal any of Brett’s thunder) but Baez and Hendricks have officially won the Cubs minor league players and pitcher of the year awards according to

    1. mjhurdle

      Hendricks i get, but how did Baez win over the future HoFer Logan Watkins?!?! :)

    2. On The Farm

      Jeffrey Baez is the player of the year?! I told you this kid was destined for great things!

      1. mjhurdle

        Not Jeffery, they are talking about Joan. duh.

  26. jon

    Past Minor League Player and Pitchers of the year include studs like Babe Watkins, Nick Struck, Bryan LaHair and Jeff Beliveau.

    1. jon

      Here it is actually dating back to 2007 and like my johnson, it’s long and distingshed

      Player: Javier Baez
      Pitcher: Kyle Hendricks [1]

      Player: Logan Watkins
      Pitcher: Nick Struck

      Player: Bryan LaHair
      Pitcher: Jeff Beliveau

      Player: Brandon Guyer
      Pitcher: Chris Archer

      Player: Kyler Burke
      Pitcher: Casey Coleman

      Player: Micah Hoffpauir
      Pitcher: Mitch Atkins

      Player: Geovany Soto
      Pitcher: Kevin Hart

      1. Noah

        This is a good sign of how much the system has improved, though. From 2007 to 2012, only 2 of the winners were anything more than fringe prospects or guys who were too old to be prospects: Soto and Archer. Soto had a good first couple of years of his career before falling victim to a well known truth: catchers often have very short careers. And Archer is currently at least holding his own in Tampa’s rotation.

        Baez is the best offensive prospect on this list by a good margin (considering prospect status at the time the designation of player of the year was made). And Hendricks is the 2nd best pitching prospect, after only Archer.

      2. ssckelley

        Wow, this list made me throw up in my mouth. Kyler Burke was the player of the year and is now a pitcher. With the exception of Watkins, who holds down the bench, none of those players are currently on the Cubs active roster. That just shows how bad the Cubs minor league system has been up to this point.

        1. jon

          I think in previous years, it was simply the Jim Hendry “Atta Boy” award.

        2. On The Farm

          Well throwing up in your mouth might be a bit much. 2007 honorees were a ROY (a guy who still catches in the majors) and a piece that helped bring in Grabow and Gorzelanny. 2009 Casey Coleman still has a chance to be a RP, and has never really possessed overwhelming stuff, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t put together a good minor league season. 2010 group has the oh-so-coveted, wish-we-never-traded-him Chris Archer who looks like he will be a fine SP for Tampa, and Guyer another guy in the Garza deal is actually hitting quite well in AAA for Tampa. 2011 Brian LaHair was still an All-Star, even if he is playing in Asia right now. So while it’s not ideal, think of the guys like Rizzo (put up a monster AAA season in his brief stint) and Castro who never even made the list. Or Samardjiza and Wood, neither of them were Cubs pitchers of the year and they turned into fine MLB pitchers. The point is all how you look at it.

          1. ssckelley

            I hope you did not post that with a straight face.

            Just for comparisons, check out the top minor league guys from the Cardinals over the same period:

            2007 – Colby Rasmus (OF) and P.J. Walters (RHP)
            2008 – Daryl Jones (OF) and Jess Todd (RHP)
            2009 – Allen Craig (LF/1B) and Lance Lynn (RHP)
            2010 – Matt Carpenter (3B) and Shelby Miller (RHP)
            2011 – Matt Adams (1B) and Shelby Miller (RHP)
            2012 – Óscar Taveras (OF) and Seth Manness (RHP)

            Other than 2008 every year they produced quality major league players and there are a few All Stars on that list. The All Star on our list was Bryan LaHair. Archer may end up an all star some day but seeing what the Cubs got for Garza does not make me miss him at all.

      3. Randy

        Much like my johnson, it’s full of high expectations and disappointment

        1. chrisfchi

          I think they have a pill/pump for that.

  27. jon

    If never trade Archer, we never get Garza and then we never trade him for CJ Edwards(* mind!)

  28. CubsFaninMS

    This is how I explain it normally..

    Was several years of control of Chris Archer, Sam Fuld, Hak Ju-Lee, and Robinson Chorino…

    …better than 2.5 years of control of Garza and several years of control of Justin Grimm, Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, and Neil Ramirez.

    It will be several years before we know for certain, but the prospects are great that we acquired very good value for the Garza trades.

  29. cub2014

    someone needs to total up WAR for Garza’s
    two trades. I would say we are well ahead at this
    point. Archer vs Edwards,Ramirez and Grimm
    will have to battle it out from 2014 on.

    1. On The Farm

      So the Rays got .4 (Guyer), 2 (Fuld), -.3 (Chirinos), and 1.3 (Archer) for a grand total of 3.4 WAR.

      Garza gave us a 7 WAR in his time (the break down is 4.9 in 2011, 1.1 in 2012, and I believe he was a 1 in 2013?) he also netted us Zach Cates, Grimm, Olt, Ramirez, and Edwards. So far the Cubs lead by 3.6 WAR. Basically it will come down to Archer vs the Texas trade, and Garza gave us a 3.6 WAR lead on top of that. After all is said and done I think the acquisition of Garza was a good one.

      1. On The Farm

        Sorry it was Rosscup, not Cates (Rizzo deal?) Either way Rosscup is a 0 WAR pitcher to date

      2. ssckelley

        Fuld has produced at -.7 war this season so his overall WAR is 1.3 (using Baseball Reference). But then if you have Fuld then you probably do not get DeJesus who produced a 3.0 WAR. So really Fuld should not even be considered as part of the analysis.

        It is hard to moan about the loss of Archer. If you want to analyze a bad deal for the Cubs go back and look at the one that got us Rich Harden. Even though Harden did help get the Cubs to the playoffs back in 2008 Josh Donaldson would look awfully good in a Cubs uniform at 3rd base.

        1. Edwin

          It looks like all the numbers were done using Fangraphs, where Fuld has 0 WAR this season.

          Garza in Bref has 5.6 WAR. Archer has been worth 2 WAR, Fuld 2.3. So a diff of 1.3.

      3. Edwin

        Garza has also been worth 1.1 WAR for the Rangers so far. I think that would considered, since keeping Garza was an option instead of trading him, if we’re looking at all of the Garza transactions. Garza and Archer are still pitching this season, so that could lower the gap.

        The time value of a win might be worth considering as well. The Rays got instant production from Fuld, and are already starting to get production from Archer. Lee is still a decent prospect, and could start contributing as soon as next year. With Edwards being the main prospect the Cubs got, the Cubs might not see production from the Rangers side of the Garza deal until 2015. Of course, the Cubs got instant production out of Matt Garza as well, so maybe that’s a wash anyways when you compare the Rays Garza trade.

        1. Illini Iceman

          I don’t see how Lee is going to start producing next year considering he lost this whole season of development to injury and wasn’t doing all that well before he got hurt.

  30. ferrets_bueller

    Im excited, but….he has a lot in common, especially build, with another exciting former Cubs farm hand by the name of Juan Cruz.

    1. ssckelley

      I have had the same thoughts, but if that is his floor it is not a bad one. I think Cruz would have had a more successful major league career had they made him a closer. He had a few good seasons pitching out of the bullpen. I was surprised no one signed him this season, he had a decent year for Pittsburgh last year.

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