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javier baez aflYesterday, we looked at the 140-character version of Baseball Prospectus’s Jason Park’s visit to Cubs Park, and today he offers up a more robust take over at BP. Eyes on scouting reports of Javier Baez, Albert Almora, and Kris Bryant from a smart dude like Parks? Yes please.

  • On Almora, Parks appears to have been very impressed with Almora’s pull-side power and hip rotation. Both would allow Almora to hit for more power than he might otherwise be projected for (Parks says Almora looks stronger this year, too). If Almora could add a little more pop to his game, watch out.
  • Parks goes into some depth analyzing Bryant’s swing, which is a fairly involved thing, given Bryant’s size. The upshot is that Parks really likes the way Bryant uses his body fluidly, and believes Bryant’s raw power is going to play in games. A snippet on one of Bryant’s in-game at bats: “Most young hitters—playing in the main stadium against quality arms—will come up to the plate hacking, looking to drive the ball and make the most of the playing time, but Bryant came to the plate with a plan and executed that plan, even if he did go down on strikes. It was a good at-bat from a very good young hitter, and if that is the way he’s going to approach the game, Cubs fans could be in for a real treat as early as this season. This kid is going to hit and he’s going to hit very soon.”
  • Naturally, the most effusive praise came from the Baez analysis. Parks believes that Baez has the best all-around ceiling in the minors, and compares his pre-swing waggle to that of (you guessed it) Gary Sheffield. “It’s not something you would teach, and unless you are special it’s not something that will work. But Baez is special. It’s a beautiful stroke once he lets it loose, and despite the noise and the wrap, the hands are elite and he sends the bat through the zone on an elevated line-drive plane.” The best Parksian description of Baez: “Baez has the best bat speed I’ve seen since I started evaluating talent at the minor-league level, and it might be some of the best bat speed I’ve seen period. It’s violent—no doubt—and I’m not always sold that he can control the bat after he triggers. But when he unsheathes that weapon and it finds the ball, the cowhide screams in what I believe to be both ecstasy and agony.”
  • Perhaps the only downside Parks offered was that, because of Baez’s frame and powerful lower-half, you could see him filling out in a way up top that will make shortstop unrealistic down the road. Even still, Parks is confident that Baez can play shortstop (well) right now.
  • Read the full piece for much more on each prospect, as well as some scouting bits on other top prospects around the game. And then remember that Parks wasn’t even there yesterday for Baez’s huge opposite field bomb.
  • JB88

    *Drool*

    And I’m not sure what I’m drooling over more, the paczki’s sitting on my office counter for Fat Tuesday or the prospect porn that Parks is writing …

  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

    The “Almora is Darwin Barney 2.0″ comments are going to look foolish.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      “Are going to”? As in future tense? Because I was under the impression they already were looking foolish!

    • C. Steadman

      Haha oh blublud

    • Greenroom

      Who could of said that? The “Killer B’s” are coming.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Never say that again. Shame on you.

        • Greenroom

          Reminded me of pro wrestling. I’m confused?

          • C. Steadman

            Astros coined it, plus almora, soler and alcantara would be upset at being left out

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            “The “Killer B’s”…”

            I think my dislike of that satement comes from the Yankees prospects. (and I’m just messing around with ya)

            • Greenroom

              “I was totally out of my element.” Donnie

      • C. Steadman

        Blublud said it, its a little of a misquote and was said before the AFL but he compared them none -the-less

        • Greenroom

          gotcha. thanks.

    • ssckelley

      They always did look foolish. You should never judge a 19 year old prospect as you never know how they are going to turn out. I have been saying this all along that I believe Almora has the highest floor of all the Cubs prospects.

    • blublud

      I’m sticking to it. Almora and Barney are similar players. Great defensively. They both rely on a lot of singles and have decent contact ability(Barney is probably better at making contact), and will not hit for much power. I don’t buy the Almora will hit 20 HR one day. 10-15 maybe. And if his defense isn’t as advertise, which reports have been questioning lately because of how slow he is, even though its still listed as great, then he all of a sudden isn’t all that great.

      Also, if Baez, Almora and Bryant come along, not to mention Soler is also ahead of him, and the team turns around, than we may never see Almora in a MLB Cubs uniform, as he could become trade bait for a proven pitcher or MLB player.

      Also, Barney is a big leaguer. Until Almora gets there, which I’m sure he will, he can only hope to have Barney’s success. But then again, that goes for any prospect.

      • blublud

        That should be Baez, Alcantara and Bryant.

      • Soda Popinski

        It’s time to schedule your trollinoscopy.

        • blublud

          Troll. I been here consistently for almost 4 years. I don’t troll, I just speak my opinion. Calling me a troll is sort of like trolling, Soda stupidity.

          • Soda Popinski

            Sorry, blublud. I’m new-ish. But, dang… I mean, you’re saying you really believe that? Why?

      • blublud

        Also, the Almora is a better than Baez statements looks absolutely stupid. Funny how a year ago, I was on the Baez is one of the best prospect in the game and best on the team bandwagon all by myself. My has this wagon got crowded.

        • C. Steadman

          You cant claim you were the only one on that bandwagon….every prospect evaluator had baez as the cubs top prospect and most cub fans would have agreed…its where you compare almora to barney that ur all alone on that wagon

          • blublud

            So a good up the middle, defensive player with GG upside, has a high singles game, a high contact rate and a lack of power, but who has a good, patient approach at the plate does not compare to Barney, then name someone who he compares to. Even when I compared him to Barney, I said he would “probably”, because it not certain, be the better player.

            Also, I was fighting everyone from Hans, to Doc, and the rest of the insider club who have their silly metrics about Baez from the end of 2012 all the way through the middle of last year about Baez being the best. They all said Almora or Soler, Luke had Soler as the best. So I wasn’t all by myself, but there wasn’t many, I was definitely the number one guy here stating Baez was by far and away better.

            Baez has a chance to be a Super Star, Almpra has a chance to be a good player. Totally different kind of prospect.

            • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

              Silly metrics like K rate and BB rate? I guess they do require advanced math.

              “Baez has a chance to be a Super Star, Almpra has a chance to be a good player. Totally different kind of prospect.”

              You are fighting ghosts.

              • ssckelley

                I have to admit while I am laughing my ass off right now I do admire Blub for sticking to his guns on this one. Even though he is completely wrong.

                You sure did stir up a hornets nest Hans…….nice job! :D

                • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                  I figured a comment or two, MAX. But this is just crazy.

                  Shit.

              • blublud

                As an Industrial Engineer, I’m sure I have more advanced math and stastitics knowledge than you, or at least most people. ;)

                I just don’t think the ones in baseball make a lot of sense.

                • Jon

                  When do we start measuring penis size?

                  • blublud

                    I’m black, I would win that one. ;)

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      Heh!!! :)

                • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                  You didn’t engineer anything in Des Moines, did you? HA

                  But you are right, AVG, W/L and RBIs don’t make a lot of sense.

                  • blublud

                    W/L and RBI’s I agree with mostly, but I don’t discount Average as much as you. It very important if used properly.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      BA alone really does not have any “proper” uses as it is still is an amalgam of different outcomes with different heritabilities. You need to break it down into singles rate and XBH rate.

                      That written, these days it is not too difficult to use LD% and well-hit-ball%’s, and once those become really easy to use, then those should supersede BA completely.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      I only discount it if you use it by itself. ISOp and ISOd are useful and need AVG. (Although, if you took the time to actually calculate the BB% and XBH% you would have something more useful.)

                      Also, I will use AVG and Wins as a tool to describe a player such as Almora is a .300 hitter (great contact ability) or Verlander is a 20-win pitcher (one of the best in the league).

                      RBIs, however, are useless.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      “That written, these days it is not too difficult to use LD% and well-hit-ball%’s, and once those become really easy to use, then those should supersede BA completely.”

                      Very soon we will have ball-off-the-bat speed and angle to use that will even render LD% less useful.

                    • blublud

                      If 2 guys have the same OBP, the the guy with the higher BA, if the difference is significant and not just 5 points or so, is going to be more valuable almost all the time. If the guy with a lower average has much more power, he can be more valuable, but that’s about it.

                    • Norm

                      “If 2 guys have the same OBP, the the guy with the higher BA, if the difference is significant and not just 5 points or so, is going to be more valuable almost all the time. If the guy with a lower average has much more power, he can be more valuable, but that’s about it.”

                      Not enough information say the guy with the higher average is going to be more valuable if OBP’s are equal…even if they have the same power (are saying same SLG or same ISO?)

                      A .300/.350 might be living off a .400 BABIP.
                      A .250/.350 might have a .250 BABIP.

                      While the .280/.350 guy would likely be more valuable that season, GOING FORWARD and TRUE TALENT speaking, the lower AVG guy might be a better player.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      heh, not only is a 0.005 difference in BA not significant at (say) 600 ABs, a 0.05 difference is just barely significant at 600 ABs.

                      The culprit in this variation is (usually) singles rates: XBH rates typically have lower error bars because the deviations from expectations become lower as rates become lower. (Going from 10% to 5% is dropping a rate in half, whereas going from 30% to 25% is decreasing a rate by 1/6th: and it’s the 1/Xth that has the most linear correlation with expected frequencies.)

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      You took the words right out of my mouth doc (mustof read my book)

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Well, I do read a lot of books!

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      “If 2 guys have the same OBP, the the guy with the higher BA, if the difference is significant and not just 5 points or so, is going to be more valuable almost all the time.”

                      2013 Brego Blanco and Nick Swisher are my 30 second proof this isn’t true.

                      2013 Ryan Zimmerman and Jed Lowrie

                      2013 Evan Longoria and Starling Marte

                      2013 Brandon Moss, Chris Denorfia and Austin Jackson

                      2013 Coco Crisp and Michael Young

                      2013 Desmond Jennings and Justin Smoak

                      It appears there is no correlation between having a better BA and having a better wOBA if OBP is equal.

            • C. Steadman

              Where you getting this high singles rate from? Almoras iso is right around average to above average and barneys rates as poor or awful…do u not understand iso? You cant label almora a single hitter…a barney comparison is lazy, I’d compare him to austin jackson minus a few SB

              • blublud

                I wish y’all would stop comparing him to fast people. ;)

                • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                  Well, we wish you would stop comparing him to not-good-at-hitting-the-ball-with-much-authority people

                • C. Steadman

                  I see the smile and know you’re playing along but jacksons career slash of 278/344/416 is where I see almora, not barneys 246/294/336…I think jackson comparison is better

                  • blublud

                    I see Almora more of 280/310/390/700 guy. Great guy to have if he’s competing for GG, but if he slips defensively, a guy who becomes expendable.

                    • C. Steadman

                      You do know that only amounts to a 3% bb rate? He hasn’t displayed a good bb rate yet bc he’s so good at making contact but im willing to bet he does better than 3%

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      If I am reading this right, you expect Almora to have a sub-5% BB rate (less than 50% isoD)?

                      If he’s hitting .280 and in the bigs he is going to OBP somewhere around .330-.340.

                      and his isoP will be higher than .110

                    • blublud

                      I disagree. I dont think Almora will ever walk much. 5-6% will be his ceiling.

                    • blublud

                      Also Steadman, thats higher than a 3% walk rate.

                    • C. Steadman

                      Might want to check ur math industrial engineer…over a full season of 600ab to hit 280/310 he needs to get 168 hits and 19bb which is 312 obp(disclaimer: not using hbp or sacrifices bc theyre random, plus theyd lower bb rate anyways proving my point more) that is 619 plate appearances giving him a 3.1% bb rate

                    • bbmoney

                      168 hits and 19 walks in 619 PAs (600 ABs + 19 BBs) only gets you to a .302 OBP. It looks like you’re calculating that .312 OBP with ABs instead of PAs.

                      168 hits in 600 ABs = .280. If we’re ignoring HBP or sacrificies you’d need 27 walks to get to a .310 OBP (195 / 627 = .310). Or a 4.31% BB rate.

                      I have no real opinion on the matter, the math just wasn’t working.

                    • C. Steadman

                      yeah i just looked at my formula(still had the excel open, slow day at work) and I calculated OBP without adding the BB in the denominator as well…guess i’ve been learning well as an Accountant, just fudge the numbers in my favor :) still doubt Almora will ever post a 4.3% or lower BB%

                    • blublud

                      Steadman just Wow. My Engineering math is clearly better than your non Engineering math.

                      Actually, if we going by what the MLB would consider a .310 OBP, then he would need 168 hits in 600 at-bats and 26 BB. That would give him a 4.15 walk rate, and a .3099 BA which MLB would consider 310. Considering his minor league walk rate is 4%, and if you did the math correctly, you would be able to see I built my opinion on that slashline base off of his actual numbers. Why people have these mythical expectations of Almora is mind boggling.

                    • C. Steadman

                      yes I admitted to forgetting to add the BB in the denominator also, human error…but saying Almora will post a BB% better than 4% isn’t “mythical expectations”…its a realistic possibility

                    • blublud

                      Yes its possible. But he has had 600 at-bats to increase his walk rate. He had done so marginally. He will not hit.300 on a consistent basis in the MLB. .280 is his projection. So even if he puts up a 6% walk rate, about the highest you’ll probably see, then he could put up a .320 OBP. Improved, but not by much. In order to put up a .345 OBP with that BA, he would need a 9% walk rate, and he hasn’t come close to showing an ability to do that.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          Last year it was a debate between Soler and Baez in ST.

          I think what you are referencing is my insistence that Almora was more likely to have success in the bigs than Baez, which given their base skill sets that had been proven at the time, wasn’t that far off.

          Now, since then, Baez Baez’d all over AA and I am more comfortable with Baez having at least a decent career in the bigs.

        • CubChymyst

          Last year I was higher on Almora then Baez and I certain I wasn’t the only one. So his comment is correct. I still see Almora as a player with a higher floor than Baez, but Baez did a lot last season in AA and his ceiling is so high I now view him as the higher prospect of the two.

          • C. Steadman

            No it wasnt, he said he was the only one thinking baez>almora which was/is false

            • CubChymyst

              Probably should of been clear, his comment that some people had Almora higher than Baez was true. I’m fairly certain wasn’t the only Baez supporter.

              • C. Steadman

                Ah gotcha and I agree with you on that, but yeah the only baez supporter comment he made riled me up bc I have always thought baez>almora>soler….but I think bryant>all the rest

        • ssckelley

          Aw come on Blub, that Baez bandwagon has been full of Cub fans since he was drafted don’t act like you were the one who discovered him. The non Cub fans that are jumping on are the ones who are putting Baez in the limelight.

          • blublud

            I fighting was almost everyone here last year. There were a few one my side, but most of the regulars were fighting me.

            • ssckelley

              Nah, I think it was mainly me I was very vocal. I have always been higher on Almora than Baez as while I agree Baez has the higher ceiling the SO rate still concerns me. I think Almora defensively can play every day at the MLB level right now, and so far the signs are showing he can hit as well.

              But I have to admit seeing the ball jump off the end of Baez’s bat the way it did yesterday had me drooling.

              • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                NO, I WAS HIGHER ON ALMORA THAN BAEZ!!!!!!!!!!

            • C. Steadman

              Im sorry I didnt join till 2013 trade deadline or else I would’ve fought along side you as a baez>almora supporter…

              • ssckelley

                You might agree that Baez is the better prospect over Almora but I doubt you would have “fought” along side Blub. He is pretty much a 1 man wrecking crew in his opinions. If you need proof just read through all of these comments that started with a little joke.

                • C. Steadman

                  idk, i probably wouldve used the Almora-Barney comparision to prove Baez is better :)

                  • ssckelley

                    Well hell in that case you and Blub will make one heck of a tag team.

                • blublud

                  Sskelley, do you think I’m no laughing and enjoying myself. I believe what I say, and say what I believe, but maybe you guys take me to literal. I’m actually a guy who jokes and laugh maybe to much.

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

                    So all this was a joke? Fantastic.

                    • blublud

                      Of course not. But I think you guys think I being mad, or upset when I post. I respect everyone’s opinion, even though I feel different. But 99% of the stuff we debate is opinion, and none us are every going to be right on everything. It conversation and entertainment. That what we should take this as. It like the barbershop on line.

                  • ssckelley

                    Gawd I hope so! You know no matter what happens you will always be remembered as that guy who compared Almora to Darwin Barney.

                    You’re famous! :D

                    • blublud

                      I shook the Campania fanatic label for the Almora/Barney guy label, I shake that label at some point, I’m sure.

                    • ssckelley

                      I must not have been around much when you were on the Campana kick. But I can personally guarantee you will not shake this one. I think you will need both Hans and I to disappear to make that happen.

                    • half_full_beer_mug

                      Don’t be so easy on yourself Blu, you’ll always be a Campy’s camper to me.

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

                      Um your still the Campana nutcase in book buddy

                    • blublud

                      Kelley, my name was different. I had my real name on here, but my boss at the time, who actually helped my co worker hacked my BN post, and is a Red Sox fan, one time asked me to change it because I represented the company outside of work also.

                    • ssckelley

                      Yeah there is a fine line between business and sports affiliations and I think it is ridicules. I work in sales and some of my best and closest customers root for other teams. Yet on the other hand I literally have had people kick me out of their office because they are fans of a rival. So I am careful to tell people who I root for until after I’ve gotten to know them.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              I’m still not sold on Baez: I think that his K rate is going to be a huge hindrance to his success in MLB.

              • blublud

                I think his K rate has started out high and decrease at every stop. The problem is he hasn’t been at a level long enough for it to bottom out. I do think he’ll K a lot, but it’s not unthinkable that he could be a 7% BB rate and 25% K rate with a .275 average and 40 HR.

              • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                Provided that the level of power that he provided at AA this year is real (I doubt it is…his HR on batted balls would have placed him 2nd overall in the bigs and 3% higher than everyone else who wasn’t Chris Davis), even if he K’d 35% of the time, it would still, theoretically, be possibly for him to post a .850 OPS.

                This would require him to post a league-averageish BB rate of 8% and maintain a 12% HR rate on batted balls. Assuming I ran the numbers right (I probably didn’t).

      • C. Steadman

        Their power is not comparable at all….look at their ISO and SLG and then come back here…almoras worst iso was 133 in his first stint in rookie ball…barneys BEST was 119(not counting his stints with less than 25 PA)…

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Almora already has better power than Barney did in the low minors…and he is 3 years younger.

        “Also, Barney is a big leaguer. Until Almora gets there, which I’m sure he will, he can only hope to have Barney’s success.”

        Way to walk that line back a bit.

      • JB88

        I stopped reading at Barney “is probably better at making contact.”

        That’s some straight up stubborn thinking right there.

        • blublud

          You do know Barney has one of the highest contact rates in all of the major leagues.

          • jp3

            Lot if swinging bunts I guess

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            He is really good at making contact.

            You could say they have a similar profile except that Almora generates more power and will therefore have a better chance of hitting XBH which will cause his OBP and SLG to be higher than Barney.

            But you are hell bent on Almora being a clone of Barney just with worse defense.

            • blublud

              I said similar makeup. But makeup/profile. Apples/Apples

          • C. Steadman

            Just bc barney strike out rate is low doesnt mean he’s better at making contact…where the ball goes is a part of contact…weak groundouts get a low k rate but wouldn’t put that in a good contact category

            • blublud

              Ah, contact is contact. I’m not talking SO, but more swing and miss. Barney very rarely swings and misses.

              • jp3

                Jason parks said his next favorite thing to watching baez’sswing is watching Barney rifle groundouts to SS and 2B during BP… Just kidding, Parks didn’t say that though I’m sure he used Barney’s time in the cage to take a leak or stretch. I like Barney but he’s a defensive replacement on a good team, let’s not act like he’s been an all star because of his ability to hit fungos to the infielders.

                • Eternal Pessimist

                  Barney has some sweet pop-up contact…stop selling him short!

          • JB88

            You and I differ on how we define “contact.” Not striking out is great (though, at the same stage and while 3 years younger, Almora’s K% is still better than Barney’s in the same league (with Almora batting nearly 60 points higher and having about 100 points in OPS over Barney), but Barney is a terrible hitter and there is frankly no comparison between Barney and Almora as hitters.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              …there is almost no comparison between Barney and…anyone. Sure hope they park him at SS for the remainder of ST where he could show some good value for a trade.

      • Bilbo161

        Its not about the defense though its true they both excel defensively. Its about that stick. Almora’s hit tool is outrageous. Power is TBD. There is no real comparison between the two when you consider that hit tool and the whole package. Sorry you have to live with that history now. Of course they had to bring that up so now everyone will remember when the pudding is ready. :-)

        • blublud

          If you know me, I never run from anything I say.

          Also, Almora stick is decent to good. I would never call his hit stick outrageous.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Hmm, I seem to recall some comments you made about Trout last year that you subsequently retracted…. :-)

            • blublud

              Doc, what, that Trout was not better than Cabrera. I never said he sucked, but he is no where near the player Cabrera is. I always said Trout was great. Please tell me what I supposedly said last year.

              • Norm

                “I never said he sucked, but he is no where near the player Cabrera is.”
                well, that is just asinine.
                At least say “Hitter” instead of player. It would still be wrong, but at least its a bit less asinine.

              • C. Steadman

                Actually mike trout did better in his first 3 seasons with the bat than miggy did his first three…both were 22 at the end of their 3rd. So “no where near” is a pretty bold statement

                • BT

                  “Bold” is a polite way to put it.

                  • blublud

                    Miguel Cabrera had almost 100 pts of OPS on Trout last year.

                    An ISO of .288 to 234

                    Out slugged him .636 to .557

                    BB/K of .96 to .81

                    5% less SO rate

                    Higher LD rate

                    I can keep going.

                    Call me saying Cabrera is a better than Trout with the stick a Bold statement is just dumb.

                    • Rebuilding

                      So you completely discount defense, positional value and base running?

                    • blublud

                      Comparing defense to offense is assinine. A great defensive player and bad hitter, Darwin Barney, who may have been the best defender in baseball the last 2 years, is no where near as valuable as a great offensive bad defensive players, Miguel Cabrera, who has been the best offensive player in baseball the last 2 years. Cabrera’s 100 pt OPS advantage give him a lot of room on defense.

                • blublud

                  I’m not talking about when they were both 22, I’m talking just the last 2 MVP races. A 22 year old Cabrera is no where near the player that the current Cabrera is. Trout may eventually be better. But right now, he is not the ball player, or more specifically, the hitter that Cabrera is.

                  • Norm

                    Trout is the better player.
                    And not far off from hitter either.

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    Then it comes down to the value of Trout’s ability to play something other than 1B/3B (and there is some question as to Miggy’s ability to play 3B).

                    Which is something I know you don’t believe in so I’m not sure why I am wasting any time on this.

                    • blublud

                      According to WAR, they both sucked on defense last year. They both lost WAR on defense. Trout only had a higher WAR because position is accounted for in oWAR, despite people saying it isn’t. Thats the only way to explain how Cabrera is better in almost every offensive category, but yet has a lower oWAR.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      Cabrera sucked worse than Trout on defense.

                      Also, when you bash WAR you forget what the R stands for which makes what position they can play, important.

                      DANGIT, why do I keep wasting time on this with you?

                    • blublud

                      OK. Fine. That means he more valuable for his position, but not necessarily better. It mean he provides more relative to his position, but not necessarily more overall. Which doesn’t make him better overall.

                  • C. Steadman

                    I agree, what miggy has done with the bat the past two seasons is amazing, but overall better player I would point in trouts direction…better hitter is miggy

                    • bbmoney

                      I agree with this. Trout > Cabrera.

                      BUT Cabrera is the better hitter. Trout is just much better everywhere else (defense, baserunning, etc.)

          • aaronb

            This hit tool isn’t what will hold him back. His poor plate discipline, lack of power projection, and possibly having to play corner OF if he loses a step are the apparent flaws.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Guys with poor pitch recognition are diagnosed by high K:BB ratios, not simply low BB rates. Almora’s stats diagnose a guy who swings mostly at pitches he can hit AND has a wide range of pitches that he can hit.

              Now, whether Almora will sustain this at higher levels remains to be seen: but that is a completely different issue.

            • JB88

              Poor plate discipline? I guess I have a hard time saying a guy has poor plate discipline when he sports an 11% K rate.

              • blublud

                JB88, a guy with bad plate discipline, but great contact ability, like Vlad Guerrero can still sport a low k rate. If it was above the toe or below the eye, Vlad swung, but he the amazing ability to make contact.

                • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                  The problem with guys with great contact ability is that pitchers have a hard time throwing enough pitches past them that they cannot hit so we don’t know what their “true” plate discipline would be if they didn’t have gigantic red zones.

                • Jon

                  ah, this myth grows in every day, in his prime Vlad sported walk rates of 9.0(2000) 8.9(2001) 11.8(2002) 13.5(2003) 7.6(2004) 10.3(2005)…

              • aaronb

                Neifi Perez put up a 9% K rate over his MLB career. He accomplished that along with an Almora like 4.2% walk rate.

                Do people ever think of Neifi as having exceptional plate discipline?

                • JCubs79

                  Dude, you clearly haven’t seen Almora play in person. His plate discipline is good now and only going to get better. His pitch recognition is good and will only get better with experience. He swings at pitches in the zone that he can hit. That’s how discipline works.

                  • Jon

                    Almora probably wasn’t being challenged enough at low A last year. It’s tough to ask a guy to take walks when he can easily handle anything thrown his way.

                    I’m assuming if not for his injuries he would have made high A. He could probably start at AA now and if he doesn’t he will be there by mid summer.

                  • aaronb

                    His walk rates are worse than Tyler Colvin and Josh Vitters were at similar levels. You have to understand where there is going to be some skepticism.

                    • Jon

                      Which seasons specifically? Both of their BB% are all over the map in the minors and vary on levels.

                    • Mike Moody

                      You may want to re-check your sources.

                      Almora last year had 17 bb in 272 PA as a 19-yo in A ball, a 6.3% walk rate.

                      Vitters as a 19-yo in A ball had 7 bb in 288 PA for a 2.4% walk rate.

                      Colvin was drafted as a college player, so his first season was as a 20 year old and he skipped A ball, but as a 21-yo in Daytona, he had 10 walks in 262 PAs for a 3.8% walk rate.

            • blublud

              Also, I don’t think Anything will hold Almora back. I think he’s a good prospect, and think he’ll certainly reach the majors. I just think he’s a good player and thats it. Not great, and definitely not a star. Just a good, solid, above average starter who will be a regular for 10+ years.

            • Mike Moody

              Your fear of him losing a step is a little misplaced here. His defense is due not to overwhelming speed (which he doesn’t have) but exceptional reads off the bat and good routes to the balls. Those tools don’t lend themselves to “losing a step.”

              The poor plate discipline argument is also problematic. He was 19 when he put up his most recent numbers. He’s still maturing and, at this point, he can hit pretty much everything so might as well swing. If he continues to have low walk rates in the upper minors and that corresponds with a shrinking batting average, then — and only then — is it time to worry.

              He probably has the second highest floor of all the Cubs big prospects (Kris Bryant has the highest).

              • blublud

                His range is starting to be questioned this time around because of his speed, or lack there of.

  • ssckelley

    Parks is awesome, in reading his analysis it is obvious he really knows the game. But one thing I would like to point out about Sheffield is he never struck out a ton in the minors (130 K’s in 1473 PA) nor was his K rate very high in the majors. So while the waggle worked for Sheffield do you try to tone it down with Baez with the idea it will help him make more contact?

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      Taking the wiggle away from Baez isn’t going to get him to strike out less or take more walks.

      Baez just lacks that skill. If the wiggle helps his bat speed and his bat speed is what gives him HR power, you keep it and live with the fact he is going to strike out way too often and walk way too little.

      • ssckelley

        You think that the waggle helps Baez’s bat speed? I have watched that swing from yesterday over and over, I do not see where waggling the bat is helping anything.

        But it is something to consider, I definitely do not want to see anybody screw this kid up either.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          I doubt it is helping, but I don’t think it is hurting. For everytime his bat starts in the wrong place, there is going to be a time where it starts in a better place than if he didn’t have it.

          If it isn’t hindering him and he is more comfortable with it…eh.

          • itzscott

            Jeeze, This guy is the #2 or #3 prospect in all of baseball. He’s murdered the ball wherever he’s been and has murdered the ball last year in ST and now again this year.

            If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it!

            Time to move on to some other prospect that needs our help.

            • ssckelley

              Go make a list of all the players that struck out 30% of the time in the minors that went on to have long careers in MLB. That list is pretty damn small.

              • ssckelley

                Oh, I should mention I tried to research this myself to rebuttal someone on here (I forget who, my memory is bad) and I struggled to find anyone. About a year ago I was trying to argue against the stat nerds about Baez’s SO rate and I had a hard time finding good examples to prove them wrong. Perhaps Baez is the guy to break all the molds.

                • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                  It is really scary (or at least as scary as this stuff can be) as to how many of the MLB high-K guys didn’t have worrisome K rates in the minors.

                  Even Mark Reynolds was better in the minors than Baez.

              • JB88

                Given how fast Baez has moved through each league he’s been in, it is really hard for me to have a good sense what his K% really is. I’m sure it is high (like 25% high), but what I don’t know is if it is really 30% high.

                His K% has always been above 20%, but the 28.8% in AA was easily the highest it has been in his MiLB career.

                Season Team G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BsR Off Def WAR
                2011 Cubs (R) 3 12 0 2 0 2 0.0 % 16.7 % .167 .400 .333 .333 .500 .370 112
                2011 Cubs (A-) 2 6 0 0 1 0 0.0 % 33.3 % .000 .250 .167 .167 .167 .157 -10
                2012 Solar Sox (R) 14 60 4 9 16 3 3.3 % 23.3 % .246 .205 .211 .250 .456 .311 75
                2012 Cubs (A) 57 235 12 41 33 20 3.8 % 20.4 % .263 .378 .333 .383 .596 .432 170
                2012 Cubs (A+) 23 86 4 9 13 4 5.8 % 24.4 % .213 .200 .188 .244 .400 .288 76
                2013 Cubs (A+) 76 337 17 59 57 12 6.2 % 23.1 % .261 .310 .274 .338 .535 .391 145
                2013 Cubs (AA) 54 240 20 39 54 8 7.9 % 28.8 % .344 .333 .294 .346 .638 .435 180

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  There are very few guys in MLB who had anything like Javier’s AA K-rates for one simple reason: it’s very hard to K that often and be productive, and K-rates almost always increase as guys progress. (The Red Queen does not always stand still!)

                  The few who did are the guys that whiff around 30% of the time in MLB. This is a case where we should assume that Javier is going to whiff that often until we see otherwise: because we’ll be seeing something very unusual if we see otherwise.

                  • JB88

                    What’s still hard to know is whether that 28.8% K rate is artificially inflated due to small sample size. I mean remember that Baez only had 240 ABs at AA. What does his K rate look like at 300 ABs, 350 ABs?

                    For example, if you were to break his AA season into chunks it tells an interesting story.

                    Baez came up on 7/6. In the first month of games between 7/6 and 8/6, his K rate was 28.03% (37 Ks in 132 PAs). Between 8/7 and the end of the regular season his K rate was 22.35 (19 Ks in 85 PAs).

                    The most concerning chunk, however, is the last chunk. During the playoffs, Baez’s K rate was a whopping 37.5% (15 Ks in 40 PAs).

                    The story his second month of AA tells isn’t a bad one. And it historically aligns with his K rate his 2012 season between A and A+ ball and is similar to his K rate at A+ ball in 2013.

                    You hope that the rate in the playoffs is just a crazy small sample size outlier.

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    K and BB rates begin to normalize at 40 PA; however, the moar is better philosophy applies.

                    The question becomes, what K and BB rates are the outlier, 28, 22 or 37? Considering that his K-rate before AA was somewhere between 22 and 24% and that prospects, typically, increase their K rate as they progress through the levels that would make the 22% unlikely. Seeing that 37% is the smallest sample size (and that he likely was facing excellent pitching) it would be unlikely as well.

                    28% seems a touch high but I think it is the most likely indicator of his true talent level and what we could, most likely, expect this year.

                    If he has a 28% K rate in AAA, then we shouldn’t be surprised if we see a 30% K rate in the majors.

                    Now, if his minor league K rates were skewed by an overly agressive approach, then it is plausible his true K rate (assuming his approach has been modified permanently and any regression to an overly aggressive approach will be quickly identified and corrected) is in the low-20’s, which would put him only a touch over average and very acceptable for a hitter with his power.

                    • JB88

                      I think you might be able to add the age factor to this as well, seeing as how he has been young for every level. I don’t think you can fully discount his short times at any level (not saying you are), but I am awfully curious to know what his K rate might look like in extended PAs at a single level.

                      An interesting but 100% insignificant note, Baez has only K’d once in 9 ABs so far this spring training.

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        I’d like to see the wiggle removed. But don’t force anything. Wait till he struggles, and then introduce it. I doubt a teenager who does everything well is going to be able to listen to the idea that he has a bad swing. So it can wait until he struggles. But I think a lesson can be learned from a former Cub slugger.

        But for all the talk of PEDs, one things I don’t here commentators talking about at all was the radical change in stance and approach that Sammy Sosa made in 1998. He shortened that swing, cut out all the extra motion, and trusted his strength. Sammy may have used PEDs, but PEDs alone didn’t take him from 36 to 66 HRs. Sammy could always hit bombs. That reworked swing allowed him to square up pitches, drive the ball to all fields, take his time. AND Sammy learned to lay off pitches a lot better at a late point in his career. I remember him swinging at every ball in the dirt in his younger days. By 1998, it seemed like he swung at 1/3 of those. You can teach old dogs new tricks, and maybe it’s a lesson Baez can learn before he’s able to enjoy an Old Style.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The bat wiggle has nothing to do with the difference between Sheffield’s and Baez’s miLB numbers. The difference is that Sheffield “knew” whether the pitch was in his hit zone when it was 10′ from the pitcher’s hand in a relatively high proportion of pitches, whereas Baez “knows” whether the pitch is in his hit zone when it is 10′ from the pitcher’s hand in a much lower proportion of pitches.

      The upshot is that cutting down on the wiggle won’t do anything to help Javier make more contact when his primary contact issue is swinging at pitches he cannot hit. (If it does have an effect, then it would be like streamlining an SUV to improve gas mileage: i.e., you’d turn a gas-guzzler into a gas-guzzler.)

  • CubsFaninMS

    What’s really sad to see is that, CLEARLY, Bryant and Baez are already better than most position players on the Cubs roster (most likely all of them). You can’t help but chuckle when your minor leaguers are stealing the show in Spring Training. And then this Walter Ibatta character. Who in the world is he? Never heard of this dude… and I’ve been observing the minor league stats carefuly and visiting Bleacher Nation for multiple years. On the Baez praise, I still think Bryant has the better overall makeup to be a long-term All Star MLB player… but with comments like what Sparks is making I’m beginning to believe differently. “Effusive praise” would certainly apply. Hopefully we will see Mr. Baez very soon during the regular season.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Baez needs to work on making contact, cutting down his K rate and, most importantly, settling in at a defensive position on the field. I for one which the Cubs would keep him at shortstop (assuming they are comfortable with his long-range defensive projection) and seek to move Starlin Castro at the trade deadline for pitching.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        To increase Baez’s contact rate, you would have to alter his swing. If you alter that swing, then you almost certainly take away that incredible power but you do not almost certainly increase his contact rate.

        As for a position, that really isn’t too important right now. We have too many examples of guys playing SS or CF in miLB and then moving to another position very shortly before (or even when) joining an MLB roster to worry about it being a huge problem. It certainly should be at the bottom of our concerns about Javier: he probably will quickly become adequate (or better) at 2B or 3B.

        • JB88

          I think improving his pitch recognition will improve his contact rate as well. At least it will cut down on him swinging at a pitcher’s pitches, instead of targeting a pitcher’s mistakes.

        • MattM

          I think Baez is a classic case of a young player who does not recognize his bat speed yet. Once he learns to actually wait longer on a pitch he will have better pitch recognition just from that.

          He lets the pitch get deeper into the zone than he is now his walk rate goes up.

          • MattM

            That’s exactly what Sammy learned later in his career. Trust the bat speed and wait longer on the pitch. He was awesome because of that and it had nothing to do with PEDs.

            • MattM

              In 01 and 02 Sammy’s strike out rate was only 21% which I would say is pretty damned good for the production he gave….

              • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                In 01 and 02, Sosa was still 4 and 5 percentage points above average for K rates. Today that would put him at a 24 and 25 percent K rate (the average K rate today is almost 20% vs 16-17% back then).

                • MattM

                  If its 25% or under and he puts up 50 he’s like Sammy I don’t have a problem with it, and neither would you…

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    I doubt he could consistently put up 50+ homers while sporting a 25%+ K rate.

                    Then again, I never did state that I wouldn’t like that. He’d be a very useful player if he kept up that kind of power production.

                    • MattM

                      I see what you are saying about the percentage points, but how do we know Sosa would still be 4-5% over average?

                      You are talking close to 200 Ks….. I don’t see that….

                      With his swing speed I could see Baez putting up 35-45 HRs per year.

                    • MattM

                      Video of Baez’s swing v. Sheffield’s swing….

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

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            How many players displayed a BB/K ratio significantly better when they reached the pros then when they were in the minors?

            Cubs fans should be expecting Mark Reynolds with Baez. Terrific power, but he’s gonna K 200 times a season. (The only problem with that comp is that Reynolds had a MUCH better BB rate in the minors).

            Baez is boldly going where no prospect has gone before.

            • DarthHater

              “Cubs fans should be expecting Mark Reynolds with Baez.”
              [img]http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view1/1297473/not-listening-dumb-and-dumber-o.gif[/img]

            • Noah_I

              I’d bet it’s actually more common than you think for elite high school prospects in particular. Mike Trout’s BB/K ratio was better now than it was in either Double A or Triple A. Bryce Harper’s is essentially equivalent, maybe a little better now than it was in the minors.

              I just think that with the players who progress through the minors so quickly (Baez will be a Major Leaguer at age 21 or 22, whereas Reynolds was a college draftee who made the Majors at closer to 24), that comparisons to guys who were closer to their prime when drafted tend to be dubious.

              Honestly, my guess with Baez is that he settles in striking out at 23% of the time, and that the walks will go up as pitchers become less willing to attack him in the zone. The one question for him is going to be pitch recognition, and we’ll see where that goes.

              • blublud

                I agree with this 100%. I have been saying this for a while now.

              • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                My main question with Baez is what are his TRUE talent levels.

                Right now, I’d say somewhere around 7/24 which would put him below avg BB and above average K.

                Both of which would be markedly worse than Harper and Trout.

                Also, this says something about Baez’s ability to lay off those pitches that will be thrown out of the zone in the bigs. If he doesn’t have the innate ability to tell if a pitch is a ball or a strike (as evidenced by his weak BB rate), he will get eaten alive by pitchers who can put a ball, consistently, a couple inches out of his red zone.

                • Eternal Pessimist

                  I suspect after the first pitcher gets his head taken off by a Baez line-drive no one will pitch to him again and his walk-rate will go up to 100%

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Actually, Trout’s K rates are higher in MLB than they were in the minors, and his K:BB ratio (1.64:1) has been higher than in all years but AA. Basically, his BB numbers have been pretty static since rookie ball, but a hypothesis of a slowly increasing K-rate per level actually is just at the point where we’d call it significant: about one player in 20 would show this trend just by chance alone.

                As for Javier drawing more walks after pitcher realize that they cannot throw him strikes, well, it’s not 1990 anymore. Every pitcher’s smartphone will have a heat chart for Javier telling them to throw it out of the zone because he’ll chase it.

                Back in 1997, Steve Stone pointed out that it was true that pitchers threw Sammy Sosa non-strikes because they were not afraid to walk him. He then stated that it wasn’t that they were not afraid of the walk (the question was in reference to whether protection for Sosa would help), but that they were not afraid that Sosa would lay off of bad pitches. If you wanted to get Sosa out, then throw him non-strikes. (Sosa suddenly stopped swinging at non-strikes the next year: but he also showed a pitch-recognition/swing shift exceeding that of any other player in the last couple of decades. Don’t count on seeing it twice!)

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Oh, and Harper also has not shown an improvement in his K:BB ratios in MLB. Like Trout, his BB rate basically has been static, while his K rate has shown a slight uptick. The difference is that Harper’s sample sizes are so small for most minor league levels (he had 300+ PA in only one level!) that you cannot reject the idea of constant BB and K rates, and thus a constant K:BB ratio of about 1.7:1.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Almora is my favorite prospect in a deep system. Reminds me of Jacoby Ellsbury, albeit without the top end base stealing ability. Almora does everything well…flat out hits, has extra base power, can run, is very good defensively and can throw.

    I could take 10 years plus of a Ellsbury clone in CF for the Cubs.

    • blublud

      Did you say Almora can run. Wow, so I guess Vogelbach can run also, huh.

      • jp3

        I think he said everything BUT run top end speed.

      • Noah_I

        The difference between Almora’s fringe average speed (so 45ish on the 20-80 scale) and Vogelbach’s plodding speed (30 at best) is very significant.

  • Kyle

    There’s a lot of good stuff in there, but the writing could stand to be toned down a bit.

    Here’s the phrase that stood out at me: “a potential role 8 player at the major-league level”

    That’s damn high praise.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      It doesn’t get much higher.

  • itzscott

    WOW !

    Always good to read stuff like this from a non-Cub fan perspective.

    Holding these guys back for an extra year of control is counterproductive if these prospects are ready right now.

    • Chad

      It is the first week of spring training. Do you really think they have shown enough or competed against the toughest competition to show they s ‘re ready?

      • itzscott

        In theory, I agree that it’s still early….

        Interesting comment above from someone that observed these prospects are out-playing the guys that are supposedly ahead of them.

        If they continue to shine to the end of ST, then what do you say??

        • Kyle

          “Good spring guys, keep it up in your minor-league assignments.”

          • jp3

            Yeah, they still need work but you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit we’re working with right now on the big league club. I think they’re still a little raw but at least have will have some good days mixed in with the bad. While our current players are mixed from bad-mediocre, which is nice.

          • jp3

            But yes Kyle I totally agree with you that that will be the company line Bryant and Baez get before heading down to their respective clubs.

    • Head and Heart

      I actually think that extra year of control is extremely productive. For several reasons. They likely aren’t ready now anyway. Not going to compete this year or likely next year either. But in 4, 5 and 6 years time? Could be a loaded team with plenty of young players producing and still under team control. Plus that control makes them even more valuable in the trade market.

      • itzscott

        So you’re looking to flip them already instead of viewing them as long term core components??

        • Head and Heart

          Flip them? Who said that? Long term core components can also be trade-able assets at the same time. It isn’t one or the other. And if the Cubs are competitive in 3 years time with Bryant and Baez as key pieces in that team I think it would be fantastic to have as many years of control left at that point as possible. No need to waste that on a lost season. The more control we have the better.

          Wouldn’t it be amazing, in say 2017, to have a contending team with young cornerstone players that still have 2-3 years of team control left? Wouldn’t that set us up to be a perennial contender with shrewd contract extensions, trades and continued strong drafts?

  • Soda Popinski

    The only thing I noticed in yesterday’s game was Baez’s below-average to mediocre bat speed. :D

    • Darth Ivy

      Javier “slowhand” Baez

    • Lou Brown

      For a second there, I though die hard had changed his moniker. But after seeing that over the shoulder catch after ranging out to left filed, Baez if clearly a DH.

  • Soda Popinski

    I’m about 2 years in to following prospects closely. Can anyone think of a major league team where several high end prospects became impact players for their big club at around the same time? Let’s just dream and say the big four all pan out to become perennial all stars… are there some examples of something like it happening before?

    • Edwin

      The Brewers had Fielder, Braun, Weeks, Hart, Gallardo, and JJ Hardy all up at a somewhat similar time period.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      (Jeter, Posada, Rivera & Pettite) all debuted for the Yanks in 1995, and all were regulars by 1997.

      The Rays had much of their core (Shields, Upton, Price, Longoria, Zobrist) appear within a 2.5 year span in 2006-2008.

      Of course, the scary thing is how little those systems have done since! The Yanks basically have had Cano plus some frustratingly OK pitchers (Joba & Hughes). The Rays have had Jennings. There is no “debt” in these sort of things, but it sometimes feels like it.

      • aaronb

        Angels had Edmonds, Salmon and JT Snow all within a year of each other. We had Grace, Maddux, Moyer, Palmeiro, Dave Martinez, Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith all come up within a 2 year period.

        Imagine if we had kept that core together?

        • Sandberg

          You can thank Cindy Sandberg.

          • Jon

            So Rafyf banged his wife , it happens, couldn’t they have just moved him to the outfield?

            • Sandberg

              So did Martinez

            • aaronb

              Dave Martinez did too.

              Frey shipped em both out to placate Ryno.

          • aaronb

            I know,

            Still a real shame. Especially since it crippled the Cubs and Ryno STILL walked away from the game a short time later. Jim Frey was a complete disaster as a GM.

      • Mike Moody

        The Red Sox and the Cardinals have done an excellent job of keeping the treadmill turning, though, so it is definitely possible.

  • Blackhawks1963

    The best thing to happen for the Cubs will be in 3 or 4 years when we are contemplating the encroaching dilemma of signing Baez, Bryant and Almora to contracts all in excess of $200 M plus.

    • Soda Popinski

      I can’t tell if you’re being acerbic.

      • Blackhawks1963

        I’m being excited. Though I still have some nagging doubts on Baez, there is no denying the extreme promise of the triumvirate that is Baez, Bryant and Almora.

        • Soda Popinski

          Me, too, man. Fun to think about.

  • C. Steadman

    Oliver 2014 projections for baez have him as the 4th best SS (WAR) behind tulo, hanley, and simmons….I know its just projections and theres a <1% chance of it happening this year but it made me smile and I had to share

  • another JP

    This message board is a perfect example why a guy like Baez could make it Chicago out of ST. I know he only has 54 games above A ball, but when he does something everyone talks about it. When he takes BP In the minors other teams players what him. That’s the kind of talent people pay money to watch, and Lord knows the Cubs need some star power on their team.

    Pujols had zero games above A ball when St. Louis called him up. Now his contact rate was much better than JB, but Baez has many more PAs and it appears his approach at the plate has improved. The only thing keeping off the major league team right now is his service clock.

    • cubsfan1594

      They get an extra year of control over him if they wait until June so he definitey won’t make the team until that time

      • Kyle

        To get the extra year of control, they just have to wait a few weeks.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          I think it is 11 days but most teams use late-April early-May to not be such an obvious ass about it.

      • JB88

        If they wait until June, he avoids Super 2 status. All they have to do is wait a few weeks to gain another year of service time.

        • aaronb

          As people continue to use the delay. The date of super 2 eligibility continues to creep back into the season.

          Fangraphs projects it into July going forward.

          http://www.fangraphs.com/library/business/super-two/

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          So far, in the Cubs only example where it really mattered, they didn’t care about Super-2, only the extra year of control.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      “Pujols had zero games above A ball when St. Louis called him up.”

      Except for those 24 games he had above A ball, you mean.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I do love the human ability to look at a normal curve, grab a point from so far out in the extreme that you cannot see the curve any more: and then use that as a “sensible” comparison.

        • Greenroom

          I call that “my dad says so, science”. Drives me crazy the first few weeks of courses.

      • another JP

        Well as long as you’re being technical about it Pujols actually had 3 games above A ball. That was in AAA, and the other 21 games were in A+…which is still A ball. If you’re going to count those you also need to count the 99 games Baez played in Daytona.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          I am.

          Pujols was a really weird player…limited success in the minors, limited playing time in the minors and then BOOM, one of the best players of recent memory.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            I am being obtuse.

          • blublud

            Thats what steroids do for you.

            • C. Steadman

              9.8 k% and 12.5 bb% over his career is definitely all steriods…

              • blublud

                Steroids do improve awareness, focus and instincts.

                But I’m sure steroids had something to do with those 2300+ hits, 500+ doubles and nearly 500 HR.

                • C. Steadman

                  slippery slope assuming Pujols did steriods…

                  • blublud

                    I ski. I love slippery slopes.

                • bbmoney

                  No you’re not. Unless you are in fact Albert Pujols, or injected him personally.

                  Otherwise you’re not even sure he used, let alone that it helped.

                  • blublud

                    Right, I’m also not sure that Jody Arias killed her boyfriend, that Bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11, I’m not sure if Lebron’s 61 last night was real or an act or anything else.

                    Also, as big a Lebron fan as I am, I wouldn’t put it past him that he is on roles. If he was, I’d never cheer for him again. There is yet to be any smoke, but there is smoke on Pujols, and a guy, Jack Clark, who was sure Pujols used until he was threatened.

                    • C. Steadman

                      threatened with a lawsuit, so he dropped the case bc had no evidence…

                    • bbmoney

                      That entire post is just hilarious.

                    • C. Steadman

                      here’s some lebron smoke

                      http://www.sportsgrid.com/nba/lebron-james-steroids-peds-ryan-braun-alex-rodriguez/

                      there’s going to be smoke on all great players…there will be that one reporter/radio guy that wants attention so the quickest way is to take the biggest name in a sport and attach “roids” or “juicer” to it…theres zero evidence for Lebron or Pujols which is why theres no suspension and nothing beyond one person stating it

                    • blublud

                      Right. If was threatened with a lawsuit, I personally wouldn’t care, I wouldn’t stop saying it. But most people will, right or wrong.

                    • blublud

                      Stead man, I don’t call that smoke, that’s jibberish. Smoke is a reporter, or a person, who stands behind there name, like Jack Clark did, and a states something, even if the retract it later for reason. Some mythical characters saying some isn’t smoke. Its at most a wet match.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      “Right. If was threatened with a lawsuit, I personally wouldn’t care, I wouldn’t stop saying it.”

                      Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

                      Although, since you are of such high moral standards, I am sure you wouldn’t claim it unless you had proof that would hold up in court. Evidence that would absolve you of any libal or slander.

                      Right now the only reasonable thing we can take from that idiots claim for Pujols is that he had no proof and ran with a cockamamy story for publicity.

                      (With that said, it wouldn’t shock me if Pujols was proven to have taken steroids but I don’t believe he did)

                    • Jason P

                      There’s evidence Bin Laden was involved in 911.
                      There is no evidence Pujols took steroids.

                    • blublud

                      If I say something, I stand behind it. A law suit will not make me change my stance.

                    • Jon

                      There is how, evidence, Pujols lied about his age

                    • blublud

                      Jason P, the point was that BBmoney said if I didn’t see it personally, or do it myself, it didn’t happen. I was just being funny by saying I didn’t see or participate in those things, but I know they happened.

                    • Jason P

                      But what I’m saying is your example isn’t applicable. There are some things we can say will or did occur even without seeing them because there is a reasonable degree of evidence supporting that they did.

                      I can say with certainty that dinosaurs existed because there’s evidence that says they did. You can’t say Pujols took steroids with any degree of factuality because there’s nothing to support it.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Hmmm, if you call .314/.378/.543 “limited success,” then I pity your kid when he/she brings home report cards that are only all A’s!

            • JB88

              I’m thinking he means durational, not necessarily that his stats constituted “limited success”.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Well, then, one report card with straight A’s then! :-)

                • blublud

                  Actually, my son is 13, will be in high school next year and has only made less than an A on one report in his life, and that was after he got a concussion playing basketball last January. If you make less than an A, you are not doing what you supposed to. So one report card with all A’s should not be celebrated, it should be expected.

                  Maybe that why I’m so hard on prospect.

    • FFP

      “when he does something everyone talks about it. When he takes BP In the minors other teams’ players watch him. That’s the kind of talent people pay money to watch, and Lord knows the Cubs need some star power on their team.”

      I enjoy the heck out of these write ups, too. But, our ‘talking’ and ‘watching’ and even ‘buying’ are examples of “noise”. As informed fans we need to filter that a bit (OK, after a fist pump) and listen instead for the “signal”– and it is in there! Also, no amount of need at the major league level magically turns a 19 year old 22.

  • josh ruiter

    I freakin love that quote on Baez connecting with “cowhide”. “ecstasy and agony”!!!!! That is as awesome an explanation could ever be I feel like for how a ball explodes off a bat.

  • BenRoethig

    Very good news coming from Parks, but with prospects expectations have to be tempered. The jump from the minors to the majors is the biggest in professional sports.

  • David

    Most applicable to Almora… but I kinda hope that our prospects are not “homer happy”. By that, I mean Baez/ Bryant’s power will come naturally – I hope they focus on driving the ball/ being a gap hitter. As for Almora, only a slight exaggeration, but I would be fine with him hitting .310, on base % of .380, 20 stolen and ZERO homers per year for his career. If he does that, he’s gonna score 120 runs a game.

    • blublud

      Wow. Almora will never OBP .380, though he could hit .310 in a given season. He will never steal 20 bases in the bigs and he will probably never hit zero HR. I give him about the same chance to hit zero as I give him to hit 30.

      But a 700 OBP, GG CF is very valuable with or without 20 SB.

      • blublud

        Wow. A 700 OBP anything is other worldly. I meant OPS.

      • C. Steadman

        Wow almora would never obp 700 :)

  • bpaoni

    “But when he unsheathes that weapon and it finds the ball, the cowhide screams in what I believe to be both ecstasy and agony.”

    This literally made me lol, that’s good sports writing right there!

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