Tons of prospect stuff to dig into this afternoon …
- Baseball Prospectus’s lead prospect dude/Patrick Swayze enthusiast Jason Parks chatted the other day, and there were some Cubs prospect bits: (1) There is swing and miss potential with Kris Bryant’s bat, and sometimes it is under-discussed, but the power is very real; (2) Parks’ best guess for Bryant is that he ends up a first division right fielder with several All-Star seasons (I’d gladly take that); (3) add Parks to the group in the industry who believe Kyle Hendricks is a future back-end guy at best (to my mind, Hendricks as an effective four or five isn’t the worst outcome in the world); (4) no sense in paraphrasing the love for Javier Baez: “One front office source told me that thinks Baez has hall of fame potential. No don’t go crazy with one projection, but if you really believe in the bat–meaning you think he will reach his offensive projections–35+ home runs is possible, all from a left-side of the diamond home. This is an extreme opinion, but not all that crazy when it comes to potential. Javier Baez could have a very special bat; the hand/eye, the bat speed, the raw strength are elite. If he puts it all together, he could be one of the best players in the game. If he stays healthy and consistent once he achieves that level, the hyperbole and hype of the present won’t seem so crazy.”; (5) the Cubs’ system may have improved the most in baseball over the last year; (6) Parks is reminded of Jose Reyes-lite when he sees Arismendy Alcantara; (7) Jorge Soler has more tools than skills, and is slow to adjust (which makes his tools play down in the game);
- Parks was also on the Score with Wayne Randazzo for an interview, and, among the highlights: (1) Dan Vogelbach could impact the 2015 Cubs team … by way of trade; (2) Albert Almora is a fast-mover and very advanced, and a big league opportunity in 2015 wouldn’t be a surprise; (3) Mike Olt didn’t lose his abilities, it was a down year, and we’ll see what happens; (4) Anthony Rizzo may be a future guy who just relaxes at the plate and the natural ability shines through (as opposed to thinking through everything); (5) neither C.J. Edwards nor Pierce Johnson will change the face of a rotation (but extremely few prospects have that kind of ceiling), and there isn’t an “ace” upside pitching prospect in the Cubs’ system; (6) Parks doesn’t see much upside left for either Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters; and (7) Kris Bryant is the safest bet of the Big Four, Javier Baez has the highest upside, and Jorge Soler is the most likely to fail to reach expectations.
- More still from Parks, who notes that BP’s Cubs list will come out later this week: the young men who will show up as “on the rise” include 3B/C Mark Malave (2011 bonus baby), righty Paul Blackburn (supplemental 1st rounder in 2012), and Rob Zastryzny (2nd rounder in 2013).
- Apropos of this morning’s MLB.com notes on first base and second base, the third base list also came out today, with Kris Bryant in the two spot, just behind Miguel Sano. There’s not much more that can be said about Bryant that hasn’t already been said, but I’ll not that the MLB.com crew seems to believe he’s more likely to be able to stick at third than Sano. He’s a young man who could start at AA next year, and be on the big league roster within a few months. It’s also possible that the Cubs will remain patient, or that he’ll go through an adjustment process in his first full professional season. In either case, he could wind up staying the full year at AA. I don’t think that’s likely, given his polish and upside, but I’m just saying it’s possible. And don’t freak out if that’s what happens.
- Some bits from Tony Andracki on Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Arodys Vizcaino.
- And, to close on something to make you not even know what to say …
Based on recent conversations w/ industry sources, I think ranking Javier Baez #4 overall in MiLB is going to look foolish. Case for #1.
— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) January 21, 2014