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cj edwards daytona cubsAnother day, another top Chicago Cubs prospect list. Sometimes, things are repetitive and they annoy you. Repeated Cubs prospect lists are not are not such things.

FanGraphs, by way of Marc Hulet, has released its top 15 Cubs prospect list, which lands as follows:

1. Javier Baez, SS
2. Kris Bryant, 3B
3. Albert Almora, CF
4. Jorge Soler, OF
5. Arismendy Alcantara, SS/2B
6. Pierce Johnson, RHP
7. C.J. Edwards, RHP
8. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
9. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
10. Kyle Hendricks, RHP
11. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
12. Christian Villanueva, 3B
13. Duane Underwood, RHP
14. Eloy Jimenez, OF
15. Neil Ramirez, RHP

Hulet’s piece includes a blurb on each player, which makes for interesting background info. Among the notable bits from the ranking: Hulet is much lower on C.J. Edwards than most (unless he’s got Pierce Johnson and Arismendy Alcantara as top 50 prospects in the game), and it sounds like the knock is the one we hear regularly: slender frame casts doubt on durability as a starter.

Eloy Jimenez pops up once again, about which I’ll remain skeptical until he actually plays some stateside ball (which could be a year or more away). Kyle Hendricks cracks the top ten, and Duane Underwood is just outside the top ten. Hulet is preferring the legacy arms over the recently-drafted guys, as we saw yesterday in Chris Crawford’s list. Part of that is probably the rankers’ backgrounds, but it’s interesting.

And, once again, Neil Ramirez pops up in those mid-teens. I dig it.

  • CubFan Paul

    “slender frame casts doubt on durability as a starter”

    He has no energy as a starter now

  • NorthSideIrish

    FanGraphs also posted an interview with Pierce Johnson…good stuff on the changes he’s made since coming into the organization. Sounds like Storm Davis and Ron Villone have helped him a ton.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/qa-pierce-johnson-chicago-cubs-pitching-prospect/

  • Webb

    I’m curious – and perhaps our friend Jason Parks has the answer – if there is a statistical or measured direct correlation between a pitcher’s BMI (height/weight ratio, or slenderness) and their durability or fatigue. Could the concerns about Edwards’ abilities to remain a starter be ingrained in the assumption that bigger men are stronger and get hurt less? Is this assumption a measured fact? I’m thinking back to all the ideas scouts had about players before the Moneyball era, and more specifically the line in the movie about the “ugly girlfriend”.

    • CubFan Paul

      Edwards was a Ranger, meaning Parks has seen him throw A LOT, and has inside-Ranger info on him.

      • Webb

        I think that’s why Parks is the best person to ask. Projection is a combination of art and science. My question is, what does the science say about slender pitchers? Have all pitchers with a BMI <20 flamed out as starters? Have any? Parks has been asked about, and stated repeatedly that he loves the arm action, the athleticism and the delivery. So if the last question is his weight, then my question is why question his weight. Do we know enough about skinny people throwing a leather ball overhand to say they can't do it more than fat people? That's not a challenge per se, but I think it'd make for an awesome Fangraphs piece (speaking of).

        • CubFan Paul

          I’m quite sure there’s a Baseball Prospectus piece on that

          • Webb

            Is that an assumption?

            • CubFan Paul

              BP does have a search bar

              • terencemann

                On a podcast after the trade, Parks said that Edwards has been trying everything he can to gain weight for years but it isn’t coming. He has the same concerns about him as everybody else but I bet he’s a little higher on him than Hulet (given the Ranger connection)

                • CubFan Paul

                  Yeah, I heard that, Blublud didn’t. But we’re lying because there’s no link.

                  • blublud

                    I have stated for a long that Johnson is a better pitcher the Edwards and therefor should be rated higher. There are some guys the agree and some who don’t. The point is, from the scouts to us blog posters, its all our opinion. You state things as if they are fact, and then don’t provide any links to back it up.

                    At least when I’m asked, I provide a link. Ands that’s even if itmakes me look stupid because iI completely misinterpreted it.

        • Edwin

          I think David Gassko did some work on that stuff for The Hardball Times.

          http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/does-size-matter-part-6/

          From his conclusion, if I’m reading it right, is that while size does matter, and that typically “fat” pitchers fair better than “skinny” pitchers, overall it’s not as big a deal. It’s something to be considered, but most of the time not a deal breaker.

          • Edwin

            That being said, in part 5, it does sound like “thin” pitchers have a lower “survival” rate.

            http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/does-size-matter-part-5/

            • Webb

              Thanks Edwin! I tried searching BP’s archives and only came up with usage correlations.

            • hansman

              Money line:

              “It’s clear that height has no real effect on whether or not a pitcher can shape a long career for himself, but weight certainly does. “

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Almost certainly not. The idea that bigger pitchers are more durable almost certainly comes from the tendency for bigger people to have greater endurance in some (but not all!) sorts aerobic exercise than do smaller people. However, pitching endurance is about withstanding anaerobic exercise: and frame simply will not be important for that.

      At any rate, a lot of slim pitchers have eaten up a lot of innings, and a lot of big pitchers have become relievers because their arms get tired too quickly.

  • Johnny Chess

    Wow Olt Vitters Etc… are out What a difference a year makes!

  • Johnny Chess

    Does Lake still qualify as a prospect?

    • JCubs79

      No.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No. He’d be in the 8 to 15 range to most, I’d think, if he did.

  • BD

    I am also staying skeptical, but it is nice to see Jimenez pop up on multiple lists. Not just one person who’s going out on a limb.

  • CubChymyst

    Wasn’t there talk about Jimenez starting state side this year?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      There was talk, but I’m not sure how far it went beyond that.

      • Noah_I

        Although I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jimenez skip the Arizona Rookie League in 2015. In other words, Dominican Summer League this year, extended spring training to start 2015, then straight to Boise.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    This list looks much better than the Crawford list. I like that Alcantara is a top five pick. As for Edwards I think maybe they are making too much of his slender frame. When I was a kid we had a guy in school like that. He was a starting QB in football. In intermural boxing he knocked guys out that looked like they could kill him. And in track he set the state record for the mile. I think with Edwards the movement on his pitches is the key. Seeing what he did last year the movement has to have been there. I believe he will be pitching in AA for the Smokies to start the season. If he is lights out there who knows when we might see him.

    • Norm

      How’d that guy do in the professional ranks against the top 1% of the world?

    • Napercal

      I understand the concerns about Edwards frame and all. So he might not look great getting off of the us? Who cares. The great thing about baseball is that you don’t have to look like a star to be a star. I’m not calling Edwards a star yet. Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez certainly didn’t have the “build” of front-line starters. One’s in the HOF and the other will be soon. Mark Prior had perfect mechanics and could never get injured. Oops. Evaluating athletic talent is the most imperfect science there is. Edwards has excelled and dominated a at every level thus far. In my book, he’s number 1 starter material until he demonstrates otherwise.

      • BenRoethig

        I would agree with you, but CJ averaged around 4-2/3rds per start last year while dominating. Granted he’s still in A-ball, but he’ll need another 2-3 seasons in the minors just to build up endurance. If its because of pitch count, they can correct his approach. If its because he starts to tire and loose effectiveness after 80 pitches or so, that’s not so good for his chances to become a frontline starter.

  • dreese

    Vogelbach could be an average fielder? I have never heard that but I hope so.

    CJ has the same ceiling as Johnson? not sure about that. maybe he is really sure CJ will be a reliever.

    could Alcantara really be better than Castro? Or does this guy just not think Castro and Rizzo will never bounce back?

  • BWA

    Is Grimm no longer a prospect, or is he just not as good as Ramirez? What range would he rank in our prospect lists?

    • cubzfan

      Grimm has 112 major league innings pitched.

  • CubsFaninMS

    In the very least, C.J. Edwards has a relatively strong chance of being a light’s-out closer for us in a couple of years. If Edwards or Vizcaino cannot make it as a starter, can you imagine Edwards for Innings 7 & 8 and Vizcaino to close it out in the 9th? That’s exciting to think about. Edwards certainly has the upper hand on being a potential starter with Vizcaino’s injury concerns.

  • cubzfan

    I like Johnson slightly over Edwards, too. I think CJ is closer to the majors, but Pierce has more room for improvement, and has one or two great major league seasons in him.

  • potvin48

    I’m just curious how that Matt Garza trade will look in 10 years. There’s a poll on the Rangers site on ESPN that shows 45% of the people think the Rangers got the better of that trade. 43% say the Cubs, and 12% chickened out and said neither. I still can’t believe the haul we got for 2 months of Matt Garza, especially considering the Rangers didn’t even make the playoffs last year.

    • cms0101

      Short of zero of the required players spending a full season at the major league level, the Cubs clearly “won” the deal. The Rangers let him walk away and won’t even get a draft pick. If Olt becomes a utility guy, and Edwards a long reliever, the Cubs still win.

      • cms0101

        acquired players, not required…

    • Noah_I

      Yeah, I think that trade was a clear win for the Cubs. According to FanGraphs, Garza gave the Rangers 1.3 wins of value. I’m quite confident that the combination of Edwards, Olt, Grimm and Ramirez will give the Cubs a lot more than that.

      The question to me is still who won the Cubs/Rays trade, and that will come down to how the two big prospects in that trade (Archer and Lee) perform compared to how the guys the Cubs got for Garza perform. Of course, this could go on into infinity, because if Olt performs well, the Cubs could then spin him into prospects when Baez or Bryant are ready.

      • willis

        Another thing to factor in the “who did better” debate from the cubs’ side is that there have been whispers that the FO didn’t like Garza on this team. That was kept rather quiet and I’m sure that helped bring this package back…but knowing the cubs were ready to drop this guy and still brought in a decent haul…good stuff.

    • Cubsin

      Ranger fans must not be the sharpest spoons in the drawer. They gave up four good young players trying to reach the postseason and failed. They won’t even get a comp pick for Garza.

      • potvin48

        I supposed it’s fair to state that those votes were probably taken right after the trade. I’d like to see a poll with that same question now :)

      • Jason P

        Well to be fair, there aren’t too many sharp spoons :)

  • Jason P

    A few strange throwaway lines from the article — “(Vogelbach) should be ready to assume the Cubs starting first base gig in late 2015 or early 2016 — assuming he can wrestle the starting gig away from the enigmatic Anthony Rizzo.” It seems kind of strange to “assume” a prospect in single-A will be able to wrestle away a job away from someone in Rizzo who was arguably above average in his first full season in the bigs.

    There was also a line about Alcantara displacing Castro and “sending him packing”.

    • JB88

      Yeah, I don’t think Hulet is a big fan of either Rizzo or Castro or the American version of offense or defense …

  • Edwin

    Hulet seems a bit high on Hendricks compared to other prospect rankings/scouting reports. Innings eating 4th starter with a couple seasons as a #3? That seems a pretty steep projection.

  • itzscott

    If anybody has the resources and inclination it would be interesting to see a side by side of the past 2 years FanGraphs prospect list next to this year.

    • another JP

      Last year Fangraphs had top 15 of 1.Baez 2.Almora 3.Soler 4.Maples 5.Vogelbach 6.Vizcaino 7.BJax 8.Szczur 9.Villanueva 10.Vitters 11.Hernandez 12.Candelario 13.Lake 14.Underwood 15.Martin. In 2012 the top 15 was 1.Baez 2.BJax 3.Szczur 4.Maples 5.McNutt 6.Vogelbach 7.Wells 8.Ha 9.Kirk 10.Rhee 11.Carpenter 12.Vitters 13.Zych 14.W. Castillo 15.Dolis. Javy and Vogs are only holdovers from two years ago still on the top 15 with only Castillo and Lake graduating to Chicago.

  • terencemann

    It’s tough to accept that Soler and Almora might only sniff AA this season. It puts them inline for a call-up in mid-late 2015 but you always hope something will allow them to move faster.

    • terencemann

      E: I guess he does say that Soler should spend the bulk of this season in AA which makes me feel better.

      • Danny Ballgame

        I would assume that, if healthy and productive, both play a majority of their time at Tennessee next year

        • blublud

          I say each half/half. Almora Daytona/Tennessee and Soler Tennessee/ Iowa. The may actually get promoted at the same time. Moving Soler to Iowa to make room for Almora at Tennessee.

          • Danny Ballgame

            I really wasn’t expecting Soler to get too much time in AAA this year. Simply due to his lack of playing that much baseball over the last few years and the FO’s insistence that nobody will be rushed. It is fun to think that he could be manning a corner OF spot at Wrigley early in 2015.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    What I am witing to see is if Baez and Bryant can continue to dominate like they did last year. If Baez goes balistic in AAA and puts up 20+ homers and 50+ RBI’s by mid-season it is going to be hard for the FO to not bring him up. The fans will be persistant in wanting to see him. I am hoping that Baez reports to camp in good shape after a winter of rest. As for Bryant if he is hitting over .300 and making a mockery of AA pitching that would be great. Maybe he’ll crush it in AA and go mid-season to AAA and get the call in September. Alot of people are hoping to see both of those guys in June, but I don’t think that is going to happen.

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