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  • Scary stuff out of the Dominican Republic, where three Cubs prospects were involved in a serious car accident, according to multiple reports. Shortstop Frandy De La Rosa, pitcher Jefferson Mejia, and pitcher Jose Zapata were hospitalized, and a Cubs official told Carrie Muskat that they were held overnight at the hospital for observation. Muskat further reports that a Dominican source says none of the players was seriously injured, which is pretty amazing if you look at the picture Muskat posted.
    • You may recall that De La Rosa, 17, was the Cubs’ second bonus baby in the 2012 international class behind Juan Paniagua. Although he didn’t do much in the Dominican Summer League last year (he had just turned 17, and appeared in only 11 games), the Cubs thought well enough of De La Rosa to have him over to the States for some time in the Instructional League this Fall.
    • Jefferson Mejia was one of the Cubs’ many big signees this past Summer, receiving $850,000, but was not ranked on the top international prospect lists because he’d signed a previous contract and had some age issues. That’s a huge bonus for an international pitcher, so Mejia, 19, is a pitching prospect to watch.
    • Jose Zapata is a 20-year-old righty who pitched for the Cubs in the Dominican Summer League last year. Beyond that, I don’t have anything. He must not have been a bonus baby type signing – which doesn’t necessarily mean anything, long-term – so he has not been on our radar until now. Hopefully all three of these kids are fine, and resume pursuing their dream as soon as possible.
    • I don’t speak Spanish, so I lean on Google Translate when it comes to local reports, which is only of so much value. Two of them appear to indicate that five players were injured in the accident (here and here), but only two injuries were “major” – Zapata, and another player who is called Erne Encarnacion (age 16) by one report, and Kevin Encarnacion (age 22) in another. The latter is a legit prospect who played for Boise and Kane County last year, while the former is not someone I can find. I don’t really want to go much further than this, because I can’t personally confirm anything, and the reports are inconsistent and confusing. We will probably hear more about this in the coming days.
  • In a genius bit of marketing, John Sickels yesterday released the grade breakdown of his top Cubs prospects, a day (or so) in advance of him actually releasing the list. That way, we get to have fun speculating and building buzz. So … let’s speculate and build buzz. Sickels says the Cubs have two A prospects, one A- prospect, two B+ prospects, two B prospects, five B- prospects, nine C+ prospects, and 16 C prospects. For reference, in 2011, the Cubs had zero A level prospects, two B+ (Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt – obligatory prospect reminder), two B, and three B-. Things have changed. Prospects – even the best ones – are not locks, as you can see. But you want to have as many high-quality bullets in the chamber as possible.
  • Carrie Muskat answers questions, including notes on the Cubs’ uniforms for 2014, which will include quite a bit of variety, given the 100th anniversary celebration for Wrigley Field.
  • Want to see some pictures that will make you hate the cold even more and pine for warmth? The Chicago Tribune is ready to troll you with Spring Training pictures.
  • arta

    hope the best for the kids.

  • Forlines

    Wow…Hopefully everyone involved in the accident came out ok, regardless of what team they play for. That picture would make you think otherwise.

  • davidc

    My buddy was part of the Giants minor leaguer crash a few weeks ago. Scary stuff.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I don’t get worked up over sabergeek prospect rankings, but Sickels is generally good at his craft. My guesses…

    A prospects – Baez, Bryant
    A- prospect – Almora
    B+ prospects – Edwards, Soler
    B prospects – Alcantara, Johnson
    B- prospects – Blackburn, Candelerio, Villenueva, Vizcaino, Vogelbach

    • BWA

      If say this list is spot on except That the b- prospects could include quite a few other guys depending who he likes best. I’m curious to see how he likes guys in last years draft like zastryzny and hannaman

  • Blackhawks1963

    Hypothetical….

    If Cincinnati is genuinely interested in trading Homer Bailey and if they would consider a trade in-division, then would you consider a Starlin Castro for Bailey swap?

    I would. Definitely so. It might not be a straight swap and include a few peripheral other pieces, but I would make this trade. And I think Cincinnati might be strongly inclined as well. They need another bat, they need a right-handed bat, they have pitching depth and they have a weakness at shortstop.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sweet Jesus …

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        This, with a smh and facepalm

        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          Ha, this just made my morning…

    • bbmoney

      Not a chance. 1 year of control on Bailey before he hits FA, and even if you can extend him it’s not going to be cheap.

      • dumbledoresacubsfan

        Yea, I have an irrational love for Homer Bailey and want him in a Cubs uniform very badly–but not for a 1 year Castro trade.

        Let’s wait til FA and hope Cincinnati can’t extend him–then drop dollars on him. Next year’s pitcher FA looks promising–if most of them don’t wind up extending.

    • hansman

      If by a few peripheral pieces you mean some significant prospects, sure.

  • cubzfan23

    Yea scary looking accident. Very fortunate they are okay. Best wishes!

  • jh03

    They’re lucky they aren’t dead.. holy shit.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Has anyone heard anything about BJackson this winter. He really looks like the whole deal when he makes contact..when he makes contact. I can’t figure what they were doing with him last time he was up but he struck out alot…looking. Great defense, speed, arm and great contact when he does. Hard to see him coming off bench to strike out. Does he get more time in 3A?

  • VittersStartingLF

    I think they start Jackson in AAA and give him a chance later in the year. Also, how about Alcantara and Johnson for Bailey (only if we can extend him now). That would give the Reds a young SS and SP plus it may push Smardja into wanting to resign.

  • cubs123456789

    I was just in the Dominican Republic. The people there drive crazys. They swerve in and out of traffic. Go on red lights. I never saw one cop on the road.

  • mikelach13

    If that is truly the car the young men were in, they are all lucky to be alive. Hopefully they are all well and can continue to pusue their baseball dreams.

    Interested in Sickels list, mostly because it’s freezing cold out, I’m home sick, and reading prospecty goodness may make me feel better.

    • CubFan Paul

      “If that is truly the car the young men were in, they are all lucky to be alive”

      Or they committed arson to burn the evidence.

      • hansman

        They didn’t commit arson, that was Soler. He happened to be in the neighborhood and they figured with his attitude problems he’d be up for it.

        • CubFan Paul

          He has crazy belly fire.

          • hansman

            Well, that would be explainable if it was Campana in the area but we all know that Soler is a slacker and just doesn’t have the belly fire needed to do that.

            Mmm…I wonder if there were any other 5th OF/6th IF white dudes in the area…

            • CubFan Paul

              They were chasing Fontenot.

              • hansman

                Bingo. To get away from Soler he shot a beam of concentrated Belly Fire at them and it ignited the car and then they hit the other car.

                I think that covers it.

                • CubFan Paul

                  Hans, we should stop.

                  We’re speculated about felonies.

      • bbmoney

        What? Why is a random comment like that even necessary?

        I realize you’re not saying that’s what happened, but it’s just poor form unless you’ve got something suggesting that.

        • CubFan Paul

          Hall Monitor much?

          • bbmoney

            Yeah, I don’t think unfounded speculation about felonies is ever a good idea or funny if that’s what you were going for.

            So yeah, I’ll say something.

            • hansman

              It’s not a felony to burn your car. It’s only a felony (and is it even that, seems to me that it wouldn’t be that severe) if they would try to claim it for insurance purposes.

              • On The Farm

                I would assume it would also be a felony if you were trying to destroy evidence.

            • ari gold

              BB who pissed in your cherios this morning?

  • Soda Popinski

    Translated the first article:

    “5 Cubs prospects were injured in an [automobile] accident at kilometer 22.5 on Las Americas Highway [yesterday] morning.

    Two [jeeps] were involved in the crash, [both of them flipping] and one caught on fire.

    Vigilanteinformativo.net, the first to report the accident, said that the Dario Contreras hospital only released two of the most serious injuries: Jose Zapata (20 years old) and Ernie Encarnacion (16 years old).

    The others weren’t listed because they had minor injuries. [These prospects] were signed last year, and one of them included Frandy de la Rosa. Zapata received injuries to the head and was moved from Dario Contreras was transported to Cedimat and Encarnacion was moved to the burns unit of Luis Alberto Aybar due to second and third degree burns.

    The vehicles involved were a 2008 Ford Ranger and a Toyota Runner, and ran off the highway and flipped after the crash.

    • Soda Popinski

      Sorry, Dario Contreras is the hospital name. In the second to last paragraph I made it look like he was a person involved.

      • CubFan Paul

        I wonder if they were racing/goofing off.

        • Soda Popinski

          The first report didn’t say. My guess is probably.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I saw in a report that they were on their way to the Cubs facility, so I doubt it. Seems unfair to speculate, in any case.

            • CubFan Paul

              “so I doubt it. Seems unfair to speculate”

              Because cars routinely flip and burn?

              • Soda Popinski

                One of my good friends died in a car accident this year on his way home from a job interview. Witnesses say he crossed the center line and hit an 18 wheeler head on. No sign of foul play in his case, and his car looked worse.

            • Soda Popinski

              There’s definitely no evidence of it. Just an initial gut feeling. For what it’s worth, poop also starts out as an initial gut feeling.

            • hansman

              A bunch of under 21 year olds wreck two cars on a highway? I think it’s fair to speculate that happened.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                I think you’re confusing probability with propriety.

                • hansman

                  So, and I am not being obtuse here, are you saying it’s wrong to discuss that as a cause?

  • mindofstan

    Both reports Brett linked to reference Vigilante Informativo dot net as their primary source for information on the accident, and while the second link – Diario Libre – brings up 22-year-old OF Kevin Encarnacion, I really think it’s a typo on their part. The original report refers to the pitcher Erne Encarnacion, who sustained second and third degree burns.

    The other guys, including De La Rosa, came out with small cuts and scratches. I have a bit of a prospect crush on Jefferson Mejia because of his size and recent added mass which has pushed his velocity into the mid-to-low 90s. He also came out unharmed.

    On all other accounts, it seems like Kevin Encarnacion wasn’t even on the scene. For those who didn’t know, Encarnacion just won the batting title in the Northwest League (Boise) hitting .355, so yeah, he’s someone to keep an eye on.

    If it means anything, last night as my father listened to highlights of the DWL tournament z101digital (A huge radio station in DR) spoke on the matter. They confirmed that nobody had any serious injuries.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Whoa – it’s Stan, dropping a comment!

      • jh03

        Yeah, I thought that was against his rules or something. Plus, he doesn’t have a picture, so his comment doesn’t count.

        • mindofstan

          I figured it was about time I step out of Twitter and joined the community.

          • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com Tommy (TC)

            Welcome, Stan!

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            Nice to see you on here buddy

            • SweetJamesJones

              Yeayahhhh!! If you arent follwing Stan on twitter Cubs fans, then you are MISSING out. Great baseball mind!

  • http://BN Sacko

    It might be easier to speculate what they were up to as that is why insurance rated are 2xs as much for that age.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    What the hell, is Puig giving driving lessons down there?

  • On The Farm

    “Did you know that it’s currently cold in the Midwest?”

    So it’s 16 degrees in Atlanta today (arguable sold their soul to the devil in the 90s)

    Yesterday it was below zero in St. Louis (definitely sold their soul to the devil, I mean that’s like where the dude lives now)

    Does this confirm that hell has frozen over and the Cubs can finally win a world series?

    (Sorry if I am late on the joke)

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