Did you know that it’s currently cold in the Midwest?
- 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.