Prospect Notes: Jimenez, Torres, Almora, Encarnacion, Vogelbach, More

eloy jimenezA few prospecting bits to lead you into the weekend …

  • Carrie Muskat says that there are some younger prospects participating in a mini-camp this week, including Jeimer Candelario and Eloy Jimenez. Those guys – and the other lower-level prospects – will also be participating in minor league Spring Training, of course, but I’m sure having the youngsters interact with the big league players and coaching staff when possible is a good development/evaluation tool.
  • The part of that report that really caught my eye was the mention of Jimenez. I’m wondering if this is the first clear signal (there have been suggestions, but not confirmations) that Jimenez – one of last year’s big international signings – will start his Cubs career at rookie ball in Arizona, rather than in the Dominican Summer League. It’s not inconceivable that the Cubs could allow him to participate a bit in Spring Training before sending him to the DSL later in the year, but I’m not sure I’d bet on it at this point. All of this probably applies to fellow big-timer Gleyber Torres, who was signed with Jimenez last year. At just 17, rookie ball be a pretty healthy challenge for Jimenez and Torres. I’m not aware of any international prospects in the Cubs’ system who skipped the DSL or VSL last year to come straight to rookie ball. I know it happens, but it’s rare. Even Miguel Sano, for example, started out in the DSL, and he was believed to be a monster when he signed.
  • BP’s best tools series continues, and they looked “makeup,” that amorphous quality that you want your players to have, but which is hard to define. You probably know which Cubs prospect shows up here – although he didn’t claim the top spot, Albert Almora was right there. If you saw him speak at the Convention, or if you’ve read, well, pretty much anything about him, you know that he’s a high-character, hard-working, teammate-helping kind of guy, and his makeup is expected to allow all of his tools to play up in games. (Francisco Lindor was at the top, and the other two who received mentions were Dylan Bundy and Reese McGuire.)
  • The good news is that Cubs prospect Kevin Encarnacion survived the horrible car accident in the Dominican Republic last month that injured several young players in the Cubs’ system, but the unfortunate news is that he’s still recovering from his injuries. According to a report from Fox10 in Phoenix (h/t CCO), Encarnacion suffered serious burns on his arm, torso and foot, and also suffered other injuries to his throwing arm. Encarnacion, who is recovering in an Arizona burn center, says he’ll play again, but it’s obviously hard to know how long his recovery will take. Encarnacion, a switch-hitting outfielder, broke out last year between Boise and Kane County at age 21, hitting .319/.399/.504 (and skipping over rookie ball in his stateside debut). Hopefully he recovers fully, and can resume his career soon.
  • Baseball America isn’t all that high on Dan Vogelbach, it seems, ranking him only the 10th best first baseman in the minors, in what BA describes as an exceptionally weak crop, at that.
  • Javier Baez shows up at number two on BA’s top 30 shortstop list (but we already knew that, based on the top 100 rankings). More interesting is number 28: Gleyber Torres.
  • Arismendy Alcantara is 6th on the second base list. Seems like these rankings are rolling out throughout the day. (UPDATE: Indeed, they are, as third base just came out, with Kris Bryant at 2, Jeimer Candelario at 18, and Mike Olt at 22. Not bad.)
  • In a chat, Ben Badler guesses that Jeimer Candelario is the Cubs prospect with the best chance of taking a big leap this year. Badler’s thoughts on C.J. Edwards: “An athletic power arm with a plus breaking ball, throws strikes, misses bats, gets ground balls. Everything’s there for him to be a No. 2 starter if it all comes together.” I think that’s probably the highest opinion you’ll see of Edwards among the major gurus.

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

85 responses to “Prospect Notes: Jimenez, Torres, Almora, Encarnacion, Vogelbach, More”

  1. Jon

    In 1998, when we were watching Gary Gaetti lead the Cubs to the playoffs these kids were just babies. How old does that make everyone feel?

    1. Elden14

      Zero old. I didn’t even pick a team to like until Sosa v Mac.

      Obviously I picked Sosa because I live in Cardinal territory and couldn’t be more annoyed listening to everyone gush over “Big Mac”. In retrospect I probably chose the wrong team for health reasons, but here I am!

    2. Idaho Razorback

      Yeah I’m old. Gleybor Torres’ mom was crapping her diapers when I became a Cubs fan.

      1. aaronb

        Transincontinental?

    3. miggy80

      I remember that year. I caught a game vs. SD that year when I was tripping balls and could not get over how much Gaetti looked like my friends dad.

      1. JadeBos

        Ahhh “The Rat” one of the thousands of 3Bs between Santo & Ramirez

        1. Fishin Phil

          Not to be confused with “The Penguin”.

          1. headscratchin

            One of the more apropos nicknames. Watch him walk out to third and that was the ONLY nickname you would ever come up with. Wonder how many other “animals” we’ve had at third during that dearth of third basemen.

            1. miggy80

              Fast fact: The Penguin was my first favorite Cub

    4. Fishin Phil

      I’ve got T-shirts older than these kids.

    5. Joshua Edwards

      I watched it at Pizza Pit in Ames, IA, with some White Sox friends who were rooting for the Giants. Ahhhh…that was one of the best days of fun season. Beer happened.

      1. Fishin Phil

        Is that place still there? I used to get pizza there in 198………

        1. TWC

          198 AD? Or BC?

          1. DarthHater

            AD. The place that was there in 198 BC was awful.

            1. Fishin Phil

              Yes, AD. How old do you think I am???

              1. TWC

                My apologies. Your avi just makes you look so dried up and wooden.

              2. DarthHater

                Since you’re made of wood, we could try Carbon-14 analysis and remove all doubt… :-D

                1. Fishin Phil

                  I was afraid you were gonna saw me in half and count the rings.

                  1. MichiganGoat

                    Nope that is a goat’s job ;)

                  2. DarthHater

                    Didn’t think of that. Dang! My connection to the Dark Side of the Force must be weak today. :-P

                2. MichiganGoat

                  Might as well cut him in half and count the rings ;)

                  1. Fishin Phil

                    Baaaaaahhhh.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      Well it won’t really work because sure all we will find is dirty rot.

                3. headscratchin

                  Carbon 14 dating is only accurate back 48,000-52,000 years or so. Better find another method

                  1. DarthHater

                    Hmmmm, think 198 BC is within that time range, man. ;-)

            2. Joshua Edwards

              I can only vouch for the fact that PizzaPit was still there in 1999 AD. (And has had the same menu since 198 BCE.)

    6. cubsfan08

      98 Cubbies – Ugliest (looking) team ever assembled…and can’t forget Ron Santo / Brant Brown.

    7. dmondi

      I wasn’t even born yet

  2. NorthSideIrish

    3B rankings from BA came out and the Cubs had three on the list. Bryant at #2 (behind Sano), Candelario at #18, and Olt at 22.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/position-by-position-rankings-third-basemen/

    And obviously no Cubs on the catchers list.

  3. NorthSideIrish

    The other half of the Best Makeup article was Best Speed. Cubs didn’t have anyone on that list but they did have a chart showing the average time to 1B by scouting grade. A RH hitter with an 80 speed tool averages around 4.0 seconds Home-to-First, which caught my eye after hearing that Trea Turner was below 3.5 last weekend. Sweet Jesus he is fast…if his bat holds up strong this season he’s going to get a long look at 1.4.

    1. Johnny Chess

      He better have more than just legs. Legs 1st to go. Makes you appreciate Podsednik a bit more.

  4. IA_Colin

    I like starting Eloy at Arizona if he can hang enough to not get totally embarrassed. These players may only be 16-17 but they play a lot of baseball so I don’t think the experience factor is that immense.

    Also I like it in terms of the rule 5 draft. If he can climb at a year per level sort of pace then the Cubs wont have to worry about protecting him when he’s still in A- ball.

  5. Blackhawks1963

    I’m very excited about these teenager signings out of the Dominican. But I must say in this new era of baseball and drug testing I wonder just how many of these raw kids become strong major leaguers someday. I’m not suggesting that past Latin America teens were bound to pop steroids, but the history of those who have graduated off the islands to big league success includes a disproportionate share of guys caught on PEDs.

    So is the dynamic changing with international signings where the probability on hitting on a winner goes down? That’s what I wonder.

    1. TWC

      “I’m not suggesting that past Latin America teens were bound to pop steroids, but the history of those who have graduated off the islands to big league success includes a disproportionate share of guys caught on PEDs.”

      Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

      1. woody

        You would be amazed at what you can buy in the pharmacy in these Latin American countries. When I lived in Panama I could buy my blood pressure and diabetes meds without a prescription. In Costa Rica the Pharmacists do consultations and write scripts based on the symptoms the people have. I spent a couple of months in the DR and it appeared to be the same. The level of poverty in the DR is far below Costa Rica and Panama. A corigated steel shack is normal outside the bigger towns with communal water pump and no sewage. If it weren’t for green plaintains half of that nation would starve.

        1. TWC

          That’s swell.

          What does that have to do w/ B’hawks oxymoronic “I’m not saying they’re all on PEDs, but they’re all on PEDs” comment?

          1. Patrick W.

            I think he was saying that they weren’t predisposed to, but something suggests they did. I don’t think that’s problematic.

            It’s like saying “I don’t think you were born to be a hippie, but you are one hell of a hippie.” :)

            1. TWC

              That’s splitting the hair a little too fine. And I should know. I have a lot of hair.

              1. hansman

                I think you are trying to glue to many hairs together.

                I should know, I build model airplanes.

                1. DarthHater

                  “I think you are trying to glue to many hairs together.

                  I should know, I eat McDonalds hamburgers.”

                  FTFY

                2. headscratchin

                  I’m glad you added that last sentence. I thought maybe your knowledge came from the local hair club…

          2. jp3

            I don’t think he was saying “THEY all use PEDs”, he was saying “they all use peds”, there is a difference

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      You are looking at PEDs as cheating. However, in the morality of people who have to work to survive, *not* taking PEDs is considered lazy. These kids grow up watching adults take any PED that they can if it lets them get in an extra couple of hours work or work when feeling awful.

      1. terencemann

        Taking PEDs is clearly the ultimate sacrifice for your team because it’s your health, reputation and career on the line if you get caught. Right?

      2. aaronb

        The stigma of PED’s are going to shift away in the court of public opinion. Modern science and medicine are going to continue to evolve as time goes by.

        We already see it now in our everyday life. There are anti aging clinics, “The shot nurse”, and Andro T-gel commercials all around us every day.

        It’s going to be more or less the same as advances in surgical medicine. Only it will be safer than traditional steroids (which guys almost never get busted for anymore anyways).

      3. hansman

        Pfft, only because you take the mental PED: CAFFEINE!!!!!

    3. mjhurdle

      humperdinck.jpg

      1. TWC

        Thank you for picking up on that.

  6. woody

    Jimenez could be a monster bat in a few years.

  7. Jason Powers

    Jorge Soler #2 Corner
    Eloy Jimenes #25 Corner
    Corner : C Rating

    Almora #5 – CF
    CF: Grade B+

    No catcher is rated…

  8. waffle

    I love that our minors are looking fat with prospects now. I am a big proponent of having that pipeline of young players pushing towards the bigs. I love the competition and love the flexibility it gives us. It puts us in a good position for consistent competitiveness. Hope we keep drafting/developing well.

  9. NorthSideIrish

    Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney 5m
    Javier Baez after breaking a windshield during BP: “It sucks for the person who parked there. They’re parking too close to the field.”

    New facility needs new warning signs.

    1. TWC

      The car was parked in Tucson.

      1. Jason Powers

        And I’ll be glad when it’s parked in Wrigley Field.

        1. JB88

          I love Baez’s power as much as the next guy, but even his power isn’t enough to leave the state of Arizona … ;)

          1. TWC

            Such pessimism…

          2. Jason Powers

            One can dream….I’ll fly on that plane!

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBUS3vQtDCA

            anything that travels that far outta have a damn stewardess on it.

        2. Napercal

          That would be foul territory. Hopefully it will be parked in Kingman territory on Kenmore.

      2. Joshua Edwards

        Nice.

    2. bbmoney

      That is outstanding stuff from Baez. Outstanding.

    3. DarthHater

      Start boarding up those windows on Waveland!

      1. cubsfan08

        Ummm…that would be an obstructed view!

    4. terencemann

      It’s been the worst week until I read that tweet. It’s worth it now.

    5. willis

      That is a tremendous quote.

      1. Joshua Edwards

        Apparently Olt hit some bombs today too.

        1. Diehardthefirst

          In batting practice in Arizona? Decent high school players could do same

  10. JungleDrew

    So the righthanders list Has CJ Edwards at #14 and Pierce Johnson at #32…. Edwards is ahead of Number 1 overall pick Mark Appel

    1. Jason P

      Edwards is above quite a few big names — Appel, Stroman, Sims, Glassnow, Crick, Sanchez, Stewart.

  11. Jason Powers

    Was watching the LHP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw8WoxruBqE

    Josh Hader – sligging side arm was pretty nasty. As a lefty hitter, those types got your attention. His splits reflected that, so far: .141/ .248/.222. Assuming he doesn’t have a massive arm issue, he’s a BP guy I say. (Time: 1:15)

  12. Jason Powers

    RHP: Aaron Sanchez (1:30): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ic-M5yI_wWg

    Seems a bit of a short armer. His arm is slow and catching up to where his body is. Looks good throwing – if that’s what scouts love.

    Just my two cents.

  13. Jason Powers

    Kevin Gausman telegraphed some pitches with his lead knee: it would not go up as high or in as far into his body as on the offspeed stuff. He needs to work on that – if I can see it.

  14. jcoffey89

    For no reason, I was looking at BP articles from 2009. Here was the Cubs projected lineup for 2013…

    Catcher

    Geovany Soto

    First Base

    Derrek Lee

    Second Base

    Starlin Castro

    Third Base

    Aramis Ramirez

    Shortstop

    Hak-Ju Lee

    Left Field

    Josh Vitters

    Center Field

    Brett Jackson

    Right Field

    Kyler Burke

    No. 1 Starter

    Carlos Zambrano

    No. 2 Starter

    Jay Jackson

    No. 3 Starter

    Chhris Carpenter

    No. 4 Starter

    Ryan Dempster

    No. 5 Starter

    Randy Wells

    Closer

    Andrew Cashner

    1. Jason P

      I don’t know why people even try to project starting lineups 5 years in the future.

      1. Jason P

        Scratch that. I do know why: because people like to read that kind of stuff. But it’s still stupid.

        1. Jason Powers

          Most can’t project their lives 1 year from now… projecting baseball players is like projecting hurricane landfalls three weeks ahead, just as it starts as a Depression off the African coast.

          1. DarthHater

            Q: Why is a Cubs season like a hurricane?

            A: They both start and end with depression.

            1. willis

              Hahaha, that’s great. We should have a joke off some day around here (joke, I said Joke you perves) and share what I’m sure is wonderful material.

              1. cavemancubbie

                There is a lot of joke offs on this list! :)

              2. aaronb

                So that would be called a…….circlejoke?

                1. Xruben31

                  +10

            2. Diehardthefirst

              And Cubs players see the ball as if had only one eye like a hurricane

            3. Jason Powers

              And lots of blowing hard in between…cymbal crash!

    2. jcoffey89

      I was just going through old scouting reports and noticed the projection.

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