baez almora solerYou may have noticed, but my podcast co-host Sahadev Sharma also does quite a bit of writing. Virtually all of his work is worth highlighting here on BN – dude can write (there’s a reason we hit it off in the first place) – and his latest on a handful of Chicago Cubs prospects is no exception.

In a fair bit of detail over at ESPN Chicago, Sahadev digs into ten of the Cubs’ most-discussed prospects (although he cautions that it’s not a top ten list, it includes guys who are solidly in the top ten conversation): Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara, Dan Vogelbach, Pierce Johnson, C.J. Edwards, Paul Blackburn, and Kyle Hendricks. If you follow Cubs prospects even casually, you’ve probably heard of these guys, and Sahadev’s piece offers additional insight (including bits from scouts and rival executives – an AL scouting director called Bryant “an Adonis”) and statistical analysis.

Here’s a portion of the write-up on Dan Vogelbach, for example:

Vogelbach is known for his power, but it’s his plus hit tool and ability to drive the ball to all fields that makes him a strong offensive talent. By the looks of him, one would assume that Vogelbach would be a pull-happy, strikeout prone lefty, but that’s hardly the case with the burly, Florida native. To go along with his plus raw power, Vogelbach has strong contact ability and is more of a pure hitter than most would imagine ….

There are those who aren’t nearly as high on Vogelbach’s bat. And if a scout isn’t high on his bat, there isn’t much else to like. Scouts who have seen Vogelbach say he has questionable hands in the field, doesn’t position himself well defensively and has little to no range. To continue to progress into the big leagues, Vogelbach is going to have to hit at an above-average level on a consistent basis. Right now, it appears Vogelbach is a DH stuck in a National League system. One scout who wasn’t particularly fond of the bat felt that Vogelbach was heading toward being a “4A” player, “a guy who mashes in Triple-A, but ends up going to Japan.”

Obviously there are many who feel differently, including plenty in the Cubs organization. It’s their hope that Vogelbach takes advantage of the nice weather early on in Daytona and hits his way to Tennessee before the end of the 2014 season.

Good read. Check it out.

  • On The Farm

    Sahadev deserves a ton of credit for how good this article is. God Baez and Bryant look like they are going to be freaks in the MLB.

  • MightyBear

    You know why Sahadev is such a good writer? Because he attended the finest educational institution on the planet and got a quality education.

    Actually I saw these yesterday off his twitter account and they are excellent. Almost as good as Luke. Almost.

    • Funn Dave

      Where did he go to school? Hogwarts?

      • I love marmol

        Ohio state

        • Sahadev Sharma

          Brett went to Ohio State, I went to Illinois and UIC

          • Sahadev Sharma

            Wait, Brett went to Miami, Ohio. I knew that sounded wrong… he lives in Columbus, that’s why I got confused.

            • Brett

              I also went to Ohio State (law school). You were right.

              • Eternal Pessimist

                My wife went to Miami of Ohio…out of control preppiness!!!

                • Cubbie Blues

                  Yes, yes it is.


                • Brett

                  It’s true. I didn’t love that part (I’m a pretty … dressed down kind of guy), but the 3:2 women to men ratio (and general beautifulness of the female population there) helped me nab an out-of-my-league wife.

                  • Funn Dave

                    I went to Lawrence University. It had a pretty good male/female ratio, but it was literally ranked as one of the ugliest campuses in the country. When I moved back to Madison, I was in heaven.

                • Funn Dave

                  I’ve got a cousin who went there before transfering to the University of Michigan. She’s pretty preppy–her uncle owns a very successful car dealership–but Miami of Ohio was too preppy, ever for her. However, I’ve got another friend who went there and loved it. It’s definitely a great school.

          • N.J. Riv

            UIC represent!

  • cubchymyst

    I prefer Sahadev articles on ESPN Chicago to the other cubs writers over there.

    • Cizzle

      And they don’t even give him a picture!

  • Jono

    I bet the NL goes DH at some point. The only question is if it happens by the time VBach is ready to come up. If not, I’d just assume the Cubs would trade him to the AL

    • On The Farm

      I would say the NL has two full seasons to adopt the DH before Vogelbach is ready to be used as an everyday MLB player. I think Vogelbach is a guy that is going to need if not a full season at least 75% of a season worth of PA in AAA. I loved watching him play for Kane County though this year, so hopefully he can remain a Cub.

    • bbmoney

      The other very real question is whether or not he’ll ever be ready to contribute, even as a DH, at the MLB level.

      I like him. I love the approach he’s shown and his patience. But he’s still only played about 3 weeks of ball above low A so it isn’t a foregone conclusion.

  • Cheryl

    I wonder how much of what we read about V is in the preconceived notion. Scouts hear he’s good bat bad defense. I’ve talked to a few people who have said he’ll never wow you on defense but he’s surprisingly nimble around the bag.and has really improved in that area.

    • cms0101

      I don’t think it’s a high percentage of preconceived notion on Vogelbach’s defense. Sure, he is fairly athletic for his size/build. But he’s brutal on defense. He’s gotten better, even in-season this year. But his glove is stiff, he doesn’t scoop balls out of the dirt well, he reacts slowly to balls hit in his direction. I suppose it’s possible that he will improve in all of those areas, but we’ve been hoping for the same things for many years out of Vitters. Now he’s going to be an outfielder. Vogelbach will not have that option. The best we can hope for is he becomes a servicable fielder and continues to hit. If he approaches the upper levels of the system, it will be a nice problem to have a guy like that with no where to put him.

      • On The Farm

        “he reacts slowly to balls hit in his direction”

        I had a small sample size, but this is the thing I noticed most about him.

    • On The Farm

      I am not an expert, but I wasn’t impressed from what I saw of him in Kane County at 1B. I am not saying he was awful, but If Rizzo continues to draw walks at 10%+ rate, hits plenty of HRs, aund contines to play good defense, Vogelbach won’t be able to unseat him that’s for sure.

      • jj

        Although I only saw him play a handful of times, I’d agree about Vogelbach. Best case appears to be he hits so well an AL team trades for him knowing it can always move him to DH.

  • Kyle

    Anyone who acknowledges the early-2000s farm system is A-OK in my book.

    • Jimbotron


      I love what we’re doing in the minors, and I have faith in this group’s scouting ability. That said, when I read I am quite concerned for how much we’re putting into one strategy.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Enjoyed the description of the then 20 year old Zambrano:

        “Zambrano, however, still acts his age. He has displayed poor composure at times during tough outings and has cursed out umpires on several occasions.”

        Once an ass, always …

  • X the Cubs Fan

    Chad (FL)

    Do the Cubs go all out for Tanaka? He will be entering his prime around the time the Cubs are ready to compete. He seems like a perfect fit for what this Front Office likes.

    Bruce Levine
    (1:15 PM)

    From all indications from my baseball contacts, Tanaka is the Cubs’ No. 1 offseason priority

    I Hope So!!!

    • King Jeff

      I didn’t see the tweet, but that would make my winter if the Cubs could land him. It’s good news even just hearing that they have the money to be interested to that level.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        I will be thrilled if they get Tanaka (at the right price, of course, because we know the team is going to have a fairly hard cap on what they spend this offseason). He would bring some real excitement and interest back to the team.

    • King Jeff

      Saw that it was in the chat yesterday, any chance you have a link to the transcript?

  • Jim

    Honestly one of the best reads I’ve seen on ESPN chicago in a while; that fine balance between optimism and reality.

  • Funn Dave

    “dude can write (there’s a reason we hit it off in the first place”

    backhand brag ftw.

  • Funn Dave

    “as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect”

    Haha I’ve never heard it phrased that way but I like that quote.

    • Sahadev Sharma

      I can take no credit for that one. Google TINSTAAPP, it’s been around a while. Just another way of saying what Theo and co have said all along about picking position players at the top of the draft because they succeed at a much higher rate.

  • Spriggs

    Any day now, I expect to hear some Cubbish news about Soler being held out of the Arizona Fall League, and how they are just being cautious…

    • Cubbie Blues


  • jon

    It’s hard to get excited about Albert Almora when his offensive upside is limited to that of Darwin Barney

    • Cubbie Blues

      If that was true, one would think they would have similar numbers in the Minors, which they don’t. In A ball Barney hit 103 wRC+ while Almora at a much younger age hit 137 wRC+.

    • Sahadev Sharma

      His offensive upside is light years ahead of Barney. He may not have big home run power, but he projects to have 50 power and his hit tool is 60+. Both of those are much higher than what Barney provides.

    • bbmoney

      That’s just crazy talk.

    • hansman1982

      Stop thinking Blublud is an advanced scout.

      • jon

        He is. Just ask him.

      • mjhurdle

        thats just not fair Hansman.

        Before writing off BluBlud as an advanced scout, you need to show that other advanced scouts played at a higher level than BluBlud, and thus knew more about the game.
        Gotta show the stats man.

        • hansman1982

          Damnit, I knew I was forgetting something.

    • Blublud

      I love when I can spark a whole conversation that I’m jot even involved in. This just made my fucking day.

  • Diamond Don

    Almora will be a good hitter in the majors. Number on reason, he works his tail off and will not be satisfied with just being an average hitter in the majors. He has the bat speed and plate discipline to be a very good hitter. He will be the starting CF for the Cubs in 2015.

    • Blublud

      I’m pretty this is exactly how every average hitter in baseball feels. Unfortunately, they’re still only average.

      • Starlin Backer

        Saw Almora play several times this summer. The ball jumped hard off his bat and clearly made a sound unique at that level. I think he will hit. However, his lack of speed, especially in CF is a big concern.

  • bill

    i feel like Soler was kind of a disapointment this year with all his injuries and his bizzare behavior that led to him being suspended and his lack of hustle.

  • procjec

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