Top Prospect Timelines and Other Bullets

kris bryant cubsIn what seems to be a continuous fall and winter refrain, The Little Girl is under the weather and home with me today. I’ve got a ton to write today, so hopefully she will take the carrot of “watch as much TV as you want today and just rest,” and you won’t notice a thing here. Doesn’t she know the GM Meetings start today?

  • For those keen on trying to project the arrival timeline of top prospects, Theo Epstein suggested to Jesse Rogers this weekend that Kris Bryant could follow something like Evan Longoria’s trajectory with the Rays. Longoria, also drafted as a top college bat at third base, reached AA in his first partial minor league season (Bryant reached, and crushed, High-A, but he’s also playing in the AFL, which has a great deal of AA-level competition). He started out at AA the next year, finishing at AAA before making his debut early in the following season. If that’s how Bryant progresses, which is certainly possible, we’d see him reach AAA by the end of 2014. He’d then enter 2015 as a guy we’d be looking to come up after the Cubs secure an extra year of control (i.e., he stays down about a month) or ensure he doesn’t reach Super Two status (he’d have to stay down until some point in July, likely). I wouldn’t rule out a 2014 debut just yet (in the second half), but the Longoria track seems pretty reasonable. And, hey, maybe the Cubs can get Bryant to sign the same kind of amazing, pre-arb deal that Longoria did after being in the big leagues for a week.
  • That there timeline, by the way, is pretty much the same that you’d like to see Jorge Soler take, as well. Javier Baez is likely a year ahead of those two, and Albert Almora is likely a year behind. That would put your hopeful arrival timelines as Baez 2014, Bryant 2015 (maybe 2014), Soler 2015, Almora 2016. (Obligatory caution: these are merely the projected tracks. Injury, ineffectiveness, and other unforeseen developments always pop up. The odds that all four of The Big Four become significant contributors to the Cubs by 2016 – or ever – remain extremely low. Consider this: even if each of the four, individually, has a 75% chance of becoming a solid contributor at the big league level (and I’d argue that’s too high), the odds that all four would reach that level are just 31.6%.)
  • The Cubs recently re-signed a couple of pitchers who would have been minor league free agents, but were re-signed before they got to that window: Dae-Eun Rhee and Eduardo Figueroa. The former was once a top pitching prospect who fell off the radar a bit after a lengthy Tommy John recovery, and the latter is a righty who has quietly and slowly been climbing the ladder in the Cubs’ system since he signed seven years ago as a teenager. Neither is likely to make a future impact, but they’ll probably start the year out at AA as extreme depth. I still remember how good Rhee looked a couple years ago in Spring Training. Just never came together, I guess.
  • Baseball Prospect writes about the “one move” each team in the NL Central could make to become or stay competitive. Because of the conceit, I’ll forgive the fact that there’s probably no “one move” – unless it was a magical single trade for three big bats and two top arms – that makes the Cubs competitive in 2014. The one move selected by BP for the Cubs? Trade for David Price. There certainly remain reasons to do it, but, with 2014 looking more and more like another throw-away season, and with the elite prospects in the system actually looking like future impact talent, adding Price at the expense of one or two of The Big Four and a couple more top 10 prospects increasingly seems like a poor bet.
  • FanGraphs applies game theory to the possible new posting system for Japanese players. It turns out that it might not actually drive posting prices down, as MLB teams hope.
  • A hearty thank you to the veterans out there on Veteran’s Day (and every other day).

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

109 responses to “Top Prospect Timelines and Other Bullets”

  1. Chad

    I work at home too Brett and with the first little one due in just 13 days I’m getting the buddy seat set up by my desk so we can read BN….I mean work together when he or she gets here and mom needs a break.

    1. CubChymyst

      Good luck with that. Just had one about 3 weeks ago and for the first 2 weeks he wanted to be held constantly. It was tough to do anything at home unless my wife had him.

  2. ryanissamson

    I wonder what would happen to the FO if our top prospects didn’t work out in three years and we were still receiving the same guidance about rebuilding.

    I live in Chicago and the negative buzz among fans seems more substantial. The overall mood seems to be boredom instead of anticipation for a few years from now.

    I also wonder if in three years if our prospects don’t work out,, do we stay the course in developing young top prospects or do we try and put together a winning team to get fans interested again.

    1. CubFan Paul

      “the negative buzz among fans seems more substantial. The overall mood seems to be boredom instead of anticipation”

      This is one of the reasons (..tv ratings/negotiations are the others) why I’m expecting a (non expensive) big move this offseason (CarGo, Price, Tulo)

    2. Professor Snarks

      If three of our prospects don’t work out, and in three years the organization is still where it is now, Theo will need to find his gorilla suit. He will be run out of town.

      I would imagine, if you picked in the top 10 in every draft for ten years straight, eventually you’d hit on someone, wouldn’t you.

      Thankfully, my math on the big 4 is a bit more optimistic than Brett’s (shocking, since I’m a bit of a rebuild pessimist). It’s all how you look at it. If you think 75% of any random teams top 4 will make it, you are probably going to be wrong. If you look at any teams top 4 individually , the odds change. From 2001-2010, hitters picked in the Top 10 of the first round, over 75% have been contributors, at least 10% have been stars. All of our guys were top 10 picks, or the equivalent, so I say we get 1 star, 1 above average guy, and 1 guy. Let’s hope for more.

      1. Kyle

        I don’t think it’s unreasonable to hope for 2 or even 3 stars at this point from our four. Not expect, but hope.

        But at this point, we’re in such a hole, I’m not sure that getting 2 or 3 stars from that group will automatically get us the success we hope for.

        1. Professor Snarks

          If I were to guess (hope), it is possible Baez and Bryant can be stars, with a few MVP type seasons for each of them. I think Almora could be very solid. Maybe a 2011 Castro, with plus defense; type player. Soler, well, I agree with your assessment below. he needs a good, full, season in 2014.

          On your second point, I agree we are far away, but 2/3 solid hitters added to an improved Castro/Rizzo duo, could make for a good lineup. Lots of ‘IFs’ there, but at this point, that’s all we got.

      2. CubsFanSaxMan

        I’ve been told many times that prospects are a “crap shoot.”. That being said, I think that the FO and the folks at home would be satisfied with one star and one above average from the group of four. I know that I would take those odds.

        1. ssckelley

          For top 20 recruits it is a little better than a crap shoot, especially for position players.

  3. Professor Snarks

    The author of the article about Price thinks the Cubs could get him without giving away any of the big 4.
    I doubt that. A lot.

  4. Awakeape

    I feel as if we are only going to make one significant move it should be for tanaka. No prospect cost, 25 years old and potential to be frontline starter.

    1. cub2014

      I agree on Tanaka except he will be the hardest to
      get. If you sign Choo and trade for CarGo you have
      to cost controlled guys until 2018 and you only raise
      payroll with these 2 in 2014 of $23m. Choo is 17m
      and Cargo will be 6m more than Schierholtz. I would
      trade Shark,Schierholtz,Rusin and a mid level prospect
      that should get it. If you trade Shark you have to add
      Kazmir & Baker or someone of the like.

      1. Jim

        It doesn’t sound like the FO is willing or able to deal in big money right now. So I don’t see them really going after anyone that would cost them more than what they paid Edwin last year, and maybe not even close to that. I could see them buying low on somebody like Chris Young or Rajai Davis to throw a RH bat into the outfield depth, and maybe one or two low cost pitchers. I really can’t see much more than this being done, outside of a trade … and a trade that brings back prospects not David Price.

    2. CubFan Paul

      “only going to make one significant move it should be for tanaka”

      Where will the money come from? Surely not out of the $105M payroll…

  5. Kyle

    Very realistic timelines. The Longoria timeline for Bryant holds up for a lot of elite college bats drafted high, something like 800-1000 PAs in the minors.

    The guy I’d say most likely to miss his timeline is Soler. He’s about two mediocre months away from the Corey Patterson “When are the results going to match the hype?” Zone.

    1. CubFan Paul

      If I’m Theo&Co, I trade Soler this offseason (CarGo, Price, Tulo, Stanton) before the shine wears off

      1. Eric

        Soler’s contract pretty much guarantees that doesn’t happen.

        1. CubFan Paul

          $22M over seven years is chump change and the kind of contract that the Rays specialize in…

          1. Kyle

            Not for a guy who hasn’t hit above A-ball yet, they don’t. It’s absolutely not chump change for a prospect.

            Plus, if he does succeed, he can opt out into arbitration early, so there’s essentially no chance you’ll ever get good use out of him at those prices. You’ll either pay him that if he’s bad or a lot more if he’s good. That’s exactly the sort of situation the Rays want no part of.

            1. CubFan Paul

              If soler doesn’t debut til 2015 or 2016 he wouldn’t be arbitration eligible til 2018 at the earliest. Sounds like good use to me

              1. Kyle

                It won’t sound like good use for the Rays, for whom getting extremely cheap production is key.

                They can just as easily get a prospect of Soler’s caliber from someone else without the paychecks.

                1. CubFan Paul

                  Always an excuse.

                  I’m quite sure the Rays were in the Soler bidding too, now there’s $8M less in paychecks to write

                  1. bbmoney

                    This is true.

                    But when they were interested in signing him it didn’t involve trading David Price to acquire him. In my opinion, it’s not that the Rays wouldn’t be interested in Soler if the trade was hey you pay the rest of his contract and you can have him. It’s that he doesn’t have a ton of excess value right now where he’s a viable centerpiece in a trade for a really, really good pitcher, which is I think what’s being discussed.

                    1. CubFan Paul

                      Who said Soler had to be the ‘centerpiece’?

                    2. bbmoney

                      Who else are you planning on including in a deal in order to trade Soler “before the shine wears off”?

                    3. CubFan Paul

                      I’m not planning anything but trades are rarely just player for player.

                      Another team may like Soler but may like another prospect of ours much more.

                      Kind of like how some Cubs fans like the 160lb relief pitcher as the centerpiece of the Garza return.

          2. Eric

            Oh I agree completely, I’m just not sure I see the Rays pulling that trigger.

        2. On The Farm

          At least not to those teams in particular. I feel like Soler is trade-able, but not to any team in Florida, Rockies, Minnesota, etc.

    2. preacherman86

      2 things:
      1. CP hype zone saw Patterson be dominant in the minors and reaching the mob young. So soler has work to do to accomplish that.
      2. The dude hit .280ish with good power on a broken freaking leg last year. That’s incredible. He was rusty in the afl which was also a bump up in competition level from where he had ever been before.
      Give the kid a break and see how he comes back. He sorta reminds me of Matt holiday with the bat but with better of defense.

      1. Kyle

        “1. CP hype zone saw Patterson be dominant in the minors and reaching the mob young. So soler has work to do to accomplish that.”

        Patterson’s dominance in the minors stopped in the Midwest League. After that, he kept getting promoted with increasingly less impressive numbers.

        “2. The dude hit .280ish with good power on a broken freaking leg last year. That’s incredible. He was rusty in the afl which was also a bump up in competition level from where he had ever been before.”

        Always an excuse.

        1. Ivy Walls

          interesting drama discussion from those who know so much. ;>}

          I guess my eyes watching him play live in AZ provided greater confidence. As for the Corey stuff, false equivalency on many, many fronts.

          A) Not the same person,
          B) Not the same coaching staff
          C) Not the same executive
          D) Not the same MLB situation
          E) Not the same type of player

          If you want to make comp’s regarding Patterson and Almora or Baez, you got one comp, a top draft pick, but even Patterson had 11 years at the MLB level, he just was not the level of contributor you wanted.

    3. Reality Check

      I agree on Soler. He was signed due to rickets cheap ass ways. puig-cespedes-ryu all made more sense; but were too close to MLB ready. I hope Bryant is ready by sept 2014; baez too(still too many K’s too hope for sooner). I want NO part of waiting on Bryant to avoid super two status; more rickets cheap ass ways. gotta show you’ll spend money and sets a real bad precedent for the other kids.
      soler at best is mid 2015; really could be 2016. he is a foreign kid; lots of adjustments.
      almora is 2016 unless he rakes in 2014.

      all this hype; yet they are all so far away. none may debut in 2014. after 2 years of club record losses; and this year still may not exceed the record JH/Quade tandem handed theo/jed. 2014 could be the most depressing season yet.

      and don’t forget the highest paid cub will be Soriano at 14M; cubs portion. and the highest on the field will be ejax at 11M. No; cubs are out of this year FA class; waiting for 2016.(despite the 25M the cubs are receiving from the tv contracts; thinking that is going to renovations or debt or daddy joe.

      1. CubFan Paul

        “Soriano at 14M”

        It’s $13M. The Yanks paid $6.8M, $1.8M in ’13 and $5M in 2014

        “despite the 25M the cubs are receiving from the tv contracts”

        That rises to $50MILLION in 2014 for all clubs

  6. Eternal Pessimist

    Celine Dion had a $2 Million humidifier placed in her Caesar’s Palace Suite (when she sung at Caesar’s Palace) to keep her vocal cords healthy in the dry Vegas heat. Maybe the Cubs can put the same humidifier in Olts house and the Cubs Clubhouse and Olt will be able to see and hit again!

    1. Ivy Walls

      I don’t think seriously you have any clue what you are talking about. It wasn’t even glib or funny

      1. Eternal Pessimist

        “It wasn’t even glib or funny”

        Your xanax is wearing off…time to reload.

  7. Eric

    Overall I agree with the Prospect Timeline, but I would increase the font size of the question mark next to Bryant. I think this kid is going to force the issue with the bat and make Theo give a hard look by July.

  8. preacherman86

    Shark won’t be the centerpiece. He is in the exact same situation as price but he is a worse pitcher, not a knock on shark but price is elite). The rays aren’t dumping prices talent, they are maximizing his value by reloading their farm before his payday. Shark doesn’t help that process at all

    1. Voice of Reason

      It depends on what the Rays think of Shark. If they trade for him and give him an extension for say… $13 million a year over 8 years then they would lock in a starter that they would presumably be high on.

      In doing that, they would then be able to trade Price for the rookies they would get in return. That would save them about $6 million a year because Price will get the big pay day, they will get the rookies for Price and they will have Shark locked up for a number of years. This is all presuming that they are high on Shark. Shark then could develop into the pitcher that some believe he is capable of becoming and have him at a really good price!

      1. Professor Snarks

        I just can’t see the Rays giving Shark a $100 million contract. I can’t see them locking him up through his age 37 season. Tampa doesn’t operate that way. Yes, avg salary is market value, the years are excessive. Shark hasn’t shown he’s worth it.

        1. cub2014

          Rays would want edwards (and a whole lot
          more) not Shark.

    2. CubFan Paul

      “The rays aren’t dumping prices talent”

      Yes they are. They absolutely cannot afford him. A chunk of his 2013 salary was deferred to 2014 because of that. No way do they pay him his 2014 salary plus the deferred $4M.

      And if I’m Price, I wouldn’t want any of my 2014 salary deferred.

  9. Die hard

    They shouldn’t be called up until having to shave every day

  10. ahoak

    I know you’re just spitballing, but your percentages (optimistic 75% chance for each of the big 4 and 31.6% for all 4 together) – is that for making it to the big leagues period? Or making it to the big leagues with the Cubs? Does it take into account the likelihood of being traded?

    1. MichaelD

      Brett said “solid contributor”, not “making it to the big leagues”. I would guess that they each have a 95% chance of making the big leagues at some point, since they are all position players. The Cubs have had only one 1st round position player not make the big leagues since 1990 (excluding Baez, Bryant and Almora), and it is not like the Cubs picks have been that great. If these guys were pitchers I would put the percentage lower because of the probability of career ending injuries.

  11. Spoda17

    I read many articles every day (as you all do as well), so I am not exactly sure where I read this, but Theo said they are not looking to add free agents to flip them this off season, they are looking for long term pieces… I would be fine if there was very little FA action by the Cubs this off season.

  12. Ivy Walls

    I think you are mixing odds across levels of talent. I understand what you are trying to say, that until rather recently prospect development was a crap shoot in MLB but that trend is beginning to change at least with a few team or systems.

    I think you have to create a new sample size for these new factors: A) Epstein era Top 50 draft choice, (incorporates First Round and Supplemental First Round. A-1 is draft choice in Top Ten. It is a normal regression that with each level of lower picks the odds will increase as to MLB service ascension.

    Then rank odds by rounds and Intl signings versus $$ classes. Soler and Conception would be in their own class, then Jimenez in his class, etc.

    In my mind, the odds are greater for Bryant possibly 9/10 that he reach MLB service, second is Soler 8/10 which will go up and down depending on his injury issues if any arise. Some is based on the contracts signed by each and the other is that they have skill sets that are coveted by MLB and a skill set that is diminishing in MLB. Those are great odds.

    Baez being younger with less experience though with enormous development numbers probably is 7.5/10, while Almora is possibly 5/10 based on his age, injury and distance in levels. These two could gain odds quickly next year where if Baez opens in AAA it will rise to 9/10. Almora can also increase the odds.

    It is the odds down the way that make or break a system like Boston and StL, in Cubs terms it is the Pierce Johnson’s Zaztrynsky (SIC), Skulina’s, Alcantara’s, etc. who come up and develop into important contributors, this is where you use numbers of quantity focused on quality of a system approach where one can increase the odds of development.

    1. Professor Snarks

      Ivy, you bring up a good, and seldom discussed, point. We focus so much on the big 4, we forget we have some other assets, too. In order for the Cubs to become the dynasty Theo envisions, we need some of those guys to be solid contributors, or raise their prospect status to be valuable trade bait. Then you need the younger guys, like Candelario, Vogelbach, or Blackburn to develop into top 100 talent.

      1. Ivy Walls

        Actually I think the Cubs will move a couple 3B, Villaneuva and Vitters because of remaining value and over stock, possibly part of a bigger package that anyone who can read a map can see that Samardzija will be the centerpiece. It could be a block buster like including a SS as well or merely a 2B

        1. wvcubsfan

          I’m very interested to see exactly what a Pierce Johnson’s zaztrynsky is.

  13. Aaron

    Let’s calm down with trading any of our top prospects for a quality pitcher or two. We’ve been this patient with this complete re-build, so let’s not hurry the process and make some dumb mistakes along the way. For example, Chris Archer, potential rookie of the year with the Rays that was included in the Matt Garza deal. How many playoff games did that win us? Time to be patient and follow through with the re-build plan that is already in place.

    1. Professor Snarks

      Agreed.

      However, you can only get impact talent when it’s available. let’s just hope Theo knows when to hold’em, know when to fold’em.

    2. cub2014

      Aaron I agree. The Cubs need a #1 pitcher (they
      dont have one in their system and its very hard to
      go get one) so I think they will pursue Tanaka (odds
      are long on the Cubs winning the bid) but who even
      knows if he is truely a #1.

      Lets fix the top of the lineup (the horrendous OBP)
      If you sign Choo and trade for Cargo you add about
      $25m and you wouldnt loose any top prospects. You
      would probably loose Shark, but I think he can be
      replaced.

      Thats a big start towards competitiveness.

    3. CubFan Paul

      Giving up Archer gave us Grimm, Olt, Ramirez, & Edwards

      1. MichiganGoat

        Yeah trades need to looked at with more depth, if Archer gave us that then we can argue it wasn’t Archer but DeRosa that turned into that return, and we might be move Edwards for something else. The success or failure of a single trade sometimes needs to be viewed over multiple transaction and years.

        1. On The Farm

          I only hope that someday we trade Ramirez, Grimm, or Edwards for more prospects so that someday I can tell my child, “See that guy at (insert position)? The Cubs acquired him because way way way back in the day they traded some dude named Mark DeRosa and it just kept building from there.”

          1. MichiganGoat

            I sense a little sarcasm here but I like looking at how trades sometimes go through six degrees of seperation, let’s just hope that this thread ends with an Mike Trout.

            1. MichiganGoat

              Speaking of how transactions are an interesting storyline look at this 2011 article about how the Soriano signing impacted the Nationals.
              http://www.masnsports.com/the_goessling_game/2011/11/what-if-the-nationals-had-traded-alfonso-soriano.html
              Forgot the Nationals really wanted Garza from the Twins.

              1. MichiganGoat

                My last post on this – Pena and ARam got us Blackburn & Johnson.

            2. On The Farm

              Perhaps a touch, but considering how We got three pitchers, and 3B with bounce back potential, the Cubs could conceivably end up trading one of those guys for future prospects and continue the DeRosa legacy.

              1. DarthHater

                “the DeRosa legacy”

                Worst suspense film ever.

    4. JR

      Your right we need to stay the course. If we were a player or two away I’d say make the trade and get a pitcher like Price. People just need to let this ride out and see what happens.

    5. Ivy Walls

      In many ways some are reacting like characters in beer commercials where what someone does in a living room has some effect on the outcome of the game….an internet form of superstition or something.

      We can project or dream all we want and it has zero impact on the outcome.

  14. Noah_I

    The only way I see Bryant coming up this year is if the Cubs are “in it” in the back half of the season. That could be true for Baez as well, but, barring struggles in the PCL, I kind of doubt the Cubs will hold Baez long enough to do anything affecting his service time (May 2015). A couple of reason: (1) I don’t think the Cubs necessarily want to bring up their two biggest prospects since at least Starlin Castro (and I would argue their two biggest prospects since Mark Prior) at the same time; and (2) I just think that Baez will mash enough in the PCL that he’ll have nothing more to prove in Triple A by the end of July.

    1. Professor Snarks

      I actually think Bryant, if he has a great MiLB season, will see time in September no matter what. so he can get acclimated to the bigs, and be ready to start 2015 in Wrigley. That will make his first full season his age 23 season. That’s not really rushing things.

      As for Baez, I have a feeling his debut will be one of two extremes. he’ll go all ‘Yasiel Puig’ on us, and we’ll be dancing in the streets, or he’ll imitate Rizzo’s San Diego debut and we’ll all overreact to his eminent demise.

      1. On The Farm

        “I actually think Bryant, if he has a great MiLB season, will see time in September no matter what.”

        I am kind of torn on this. I think if Baez even has a good MiLB season he will see time in September for reasons you mentioned, to get acclimated to the bigs sooner. I still don’t know on Bryant. Part of me wants to say he should see time no matter what if he has a great season, but I don’t know if that is the prospect fandom in me. Ideally if Baez could have a couple months in 2014 and Bryant gets some September ABs that would be a huge plus so we don’t have three guys (Baez, Bryant, and Soler) all trying to get acclimated at the same time. That could be just a huge train wreck. If they are all new at the same time I feel like the pressure on them will be greater than if they get promoted one at a time.

        1. EQ76

          ” so we don’t have three guys (Baez, Bryant, and Soler) all trying to get acclimated at the same time. That could be just a huge train wreck.

          two thoughts on this:
          1. I’m not sure there’s much way to avoid these 3 all debuting in the bigs around the same time even if we wait another year on them.
          2. We already are a train-wreck! Might as well be a train-wreck with some hope sprinkled in.

          1. On The Farm

            “We already are a train-wreck! Might as well be a train-wreck with some hope sprinkled in.”

            That worked out so well with the Vitters-Jackson debut. Calling prospects up for the hope/excitement factor is something I think should be avoided.

            Also, I understand these guys are going to be debuting around the same time and that is unavoidable. But, if you can space out the promotions by two three month for each prospect can go a long way.

            1. EQ76

              OTF – wasn’t really arguing with you, more or less trying to be funny. I understand your points, but honestly don’t think there’s much of a chance of these guys not all debuting at the same time. I’m not one of these typical idiot posters on here puking out nonsense. I also don’t really think it’s going to matter that much if they debut together or not.. Maybe one is ready and the other isn’t? I personally think Bryant will be the first promoted, then Baez, then Soler.

              Also, Jackson/Vitters weren’t quite the level of prospect that Bryant/Baez are IMO and the comparison doesn’t really make me feel any different. Some dudes are ready at 19, some at 23.. they’re all different players on different paces.

              1. On The Farm

                Sorry I need to catch up on sleep so I might be missing somethings that might be obvious attempts at humor.

                Maybe I am making out the debuts to be bigger than they are, but I would just rather that they all not come up at the same time (like two September call ups) and spread it out.

          2. Professor Snarks

            There are train wrecks you watch because you don’t what will happen next.

            There are train wrecks you turn away from, because they are just too gruesome.

            The Cubs currently fall in the latter category.

            1. jt

              “There are train wrecks you turn away from”
              –Professor Snarks
              The Braves gave 1651 PA’s to B.J. + Uggla + Simmons in 2013.
              Take a look at the 2013 Indian lineup.
              You don’t need an All Star at every position.

              1. Professor Snarks

                The Braves could pitch, though.
                My reply to the train wreck comment was a poor attempt at a joke. For me, there was nothing really interesting about the 2013 Cubs. They lost close to 100 games. That’s the train wreck I turned away from. If the 2014 Cubs lose close to 100 games, but Baez and Bryant are playing, that’s a train wreck I’ll watch, because I don’t know what will happen next.

    2. Ivy Walls

      There you have it. Be it PCL or simply Baez, who could be so much of the real deal few Cubs fans recognize the real deal. I think Epstein and Hoyer are still in acquisition of talent mode. Rumor just posted on MLB Trade Rumors has it that the Nat’s are sniffing around about Samardzija, this could be a blockbuster where Cubs get some MLB level improved talent, lower some payroll and acquire more talent for the system, possibly include another blocker at the MLB level?

      Nat’s need to shake some things up.

      1. Professor Snarks

        Sometimes, when I’m in my Cubs happy place, I dream about the Nats trading us Bryce Harper, because they are fed up with him.

        Then I wake up.

        1. DarthHater

          Clown dream, bro.

          1. Professor Snarks

            You’re hurtful.
            :-)

            (Do you want to hear about the one where Mike Trout hates the weather in California?)

        2. CubFan Paul

          My happy Cubs place includes Kim Dejesus.

          1. Professor Snarks

            I’m more interested in the minor leagues.
            Google Trey McNutt wife!

            1. DarthHater

              Yea, but she’s a crap shoot. :-P

  15. papad1945

    How old where Trout and Harper. Kept saying Jackson needed more time in the minors. I don’t think he will every see the big leagues. Bring some of these kids up at the beginning of the season.

  16. Jono

    Is it too early to start making a replica world series trophy?

  17. Aaron

    Lets fix the top of the lineup is right. I’ve been a part of 2 championships over my playing career and consider myself of student of the game, even though I’m still a young guy.

    It is amazing the difference a great lead-off hitter can have on a team. I’ve been blessed to have a few of them and let me tell you, not only did they help jump start our offense, but they put tremendous pressure on the other team’s defense.

    1. JR

      Then lets get Choo. Proven leadoff hitter who gets on base, to me its a starting point and plus he will still be apart of the team when the prospects get the call ups

    2. Jono

      +1

      The World Champions arguably had two lead off hitters and beat one of the best pitching staffs in the game. (just looked it up. Cards had ONLY the fifth best team ERA with 3.42. Wow, the Braves had a 3.18 ERA. Damn. I could’ve sworn the Cards were better than 5th, but I didn’t think Atlanta’s staff was THAT good)

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Fielding played a big role there, as the Braves had some outstanding fielding and the Cards had a lot of below average fielding. For example, it is estimated that Simmons alone saved 40 or so runs over an average shortstop: that would have put the Braves ERA up to about 3.35.

        1. Jono

          The dude can field.

  18. Aaron

    Do we have any potential young leadoff hitters in our system that can hit for a decent average, take walks, threat to steal bases, go from 1st to third on a single, etc.? Would prefer this hitter bat left or a switch-hitter and can play a great center field. Perhaps there’s a player in the minors on another team that we could trade for.

    Yes, I’m looking for a young Jacoby Ellsbury.

    1. On The Farm

      Do we have guys with that kind of potential in the system? Of course, I thought they said their 3rd round pick this year remind a ton of people of Jacoby Ellsbury. The problem is that guys with that potential aren’t particularly close to being major league contributors.

      1. Professor Snarks

        Hated that draft choice. Hanneman will probably be 25 before he sniffs Wrigley.

    2. Professor Snarks

      The only guy who might be that type is Alcantara, but he has a lot of ???? to his game. I’d bet, internally at least, Almora is the guy the FO sees as our next leadoff hitter.

    3. DocPeterWimsey

      Really, all you need is the high OBP. The speed obviously does not hurt, but it’s largely gratuitous: SB do not correlate with winning, and going first to third is more an issue of getting good reads and good jumps than it is of raw speed. (Mark Grace was great at going first to third and even first to home, despite drawing unfavorable comparisons to slugs in the speed department.)

      Power actually is more useful at the top: doubles create more runs than do singles + SB, and homers always are good. That might be even more true of NL leadoff hitters than AL ones, as NL leadoff hitters have more PA with bad base runners (especially pitchers) than AL leadoff batters do.

  19. Aaron

    Albert Almora to me looks like a better #2 hitter than lead-off. He’s very aggressive at the plate and doesn’t take many walks. I don’t know much about Alcantara but his 31 stolen bases in AA look good, plus he’s a switch-hitter. He did strike out 125 times in 494 at bats, which is too high. Jacob Hannemann looks interesting, but he’s already 22 and will probably start at A ball next season. With the right coaching, you never know what can happen.

    1. On The Farm

      RE Almora “He’s very aggressive at the plate and doesn’t take many walks”

      Let’s wait until after this season. He wasn’t challenged this year in Kane County, we may see how selective he is when he goes to Daytona and can’t hit everything a pitcher throws at the plate.

  20. Aaron

    On The Farm – Almora is very young so taking walks is something that could be a part of his development, as well as stealing bases. I believe the Cubs are not “waiting until after next season” to see what happens, but are actively guiding his development without micro-managing the process. Almora is an exciting player and could end of being a future MLB ALL-STAR. The kid is a winner.

    1. On The Farm

      Yeah, I am sure the coaching staff knows what they are doing developmentally with him. The thing I was referring to is fans saying that Almora is not good at taking walks. I don’t think that Almora should be labeled as that until we as fans see a larger sample of his minor league work against some better pitching.

      Also, I don’t think the SB numbers will ever really be there for Almora. I just don’t see him as a burner. He plays great defense in CF because he takes great routes and can read the ball of the bat very well. Also, he could end up being a good baserunner, but I don’t think it that the reason he is a good baserunner is because of elite speed, it will be the cause of a high baseball IQ.

  21. Aaron

    Agreed. That’s why I see Almora as a great #2 hitter.

    1. On The Farm

      I am not an expert, but if Baez and Bryant can put up some good numbers or live up to their billing I wouldn’t mind a top four lineup like Almora-Rizzo-Baez-Bryant. Almora won’t give you a lot of HR potential, but he makes good contact and seems like he could get on base, Rizzo showed to be a great XBH this season and then you can have two power guys 3/4. Seems like it would be a great lineup, but I am not the master of lineup analysis this is just me spit balling.

      1. Professor Snarks

        This could make sense. In a perfect world you would then want another lefty behind Bryant, so it depends who that guy would be. If it’s CarGo, I see him 2nd, Rizzo 5th. If it’s Alcantara, he’d also get the 2nd spot. If the NL gets the DH, Rizzo gets 2nd, Vogelbach gets the 5th spot.

        Works for me.

  22. Aaron

    Isn’t it nice to look at the possible lineups with quality hitters to work with. Just image in Soler in the mix as well batting behind Bryant. Notice we don’t have any of the current Cubs in this mix other than Rizzo.

  23. Deez

    Just heard in DC that the Nationals are looking for pitching & targeting Jeff Samardzija. I think we can get a Garza deal for him from the Nationals.

    1. North Side Irish

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