Some Friday afternoon fun (well, mostly) …
- Peter Gammons spoke with a handful of GMs, managers, scouts, etc. about a variety of Spring Training issues at the close of the fake baseball season, and one of the topics on which he polled them was “Were there any young players you watched and said, ‘this guy has a chance to be a star?'” Although you don’t find a Cubs prospect until you reach number four, you see three Cubs names by the time you reach number seven. The three named shouldn’t surprise you – Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Albert Almora – and it’s just more praise for the Cubs’ elite positional prospects. Remember when a similar grouping of anonymous execs/scouts told Jon Morosi that the Cubs had the best collection of prospects in the AFL, too? That didn’t even include Baez.
- No Jorge Soler on the list, by the way. But he remains in my Big Four, at least through this year. I think he turns a lot of heads this year – ones that started to turn away last year.
- Gammons did the same thing with pitching prospects, but you’ll be unsurprised to learn that no Cubs made the list. The best of the Cubs’ pitching prospects were mostly on the back fields, so they weren’t seen by the kind of wide swath of executives necessary to make this kind of list. Also, frankly, the ten guys on the list are *elite*. Cubs don’t have any of those yet.
- The Baseball Prospectus crew was at the Cubs’ backfields again this week, churning out some scouting reports that you can read here. The players reviewed were Javy Baez, Albert Almora, Christian Villanueva, Junior Lake, and Lendy Castillo. Although one of those names sticks out, the review wasn’t too bad, all things considered. Here’s a portion on Castillo: “Athletic righty with reliever profile; worked 94-95 and touched 96 with the fastball; pitch showed above-average life to the arm side …. overall command was fringe-average; middle-relief profile; role 4; lively fastball will play at highest level but slider wasn’t a plus offering.” Given that most don’t consider Castillo a part of the Cubs’ future anymore after his ugly stint as their Rule 5 pick a couple years ago, that scouting take right there establishes him as a possible middle reliever in the big leagues. That’s a win.
- On to the higher praise, and we’ll go with Junior Lake, since it’s something different (although he’s not really a true prospect at this point): “I’m not suggesting he can alter his approach, but if you allow yourself the opportunity to dream (take drugs if necessary), Lake has the tools to hit 30-plus bombs in a season, steal 30-plus bases, and be a weapon on the defensive side of the ball. Will this happen? I would bet against it. But we live in a world where this is possible—based on the physical evidence of the player, and if the present rawness in his game can find its way to a flame and mature a bit, Junior Lake could be a player to build around instead of a player to bust on.” Don’t even get me started on the impact to the Cubs if Lake somehow blossoms as that minimally-possible 30/30 type player.
- Cubs top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards admits he was nervous to make his Cactus League debut this week, but he received words of encouragement from his manager, his prospect friends, and the man catching his pitches. (CSN Chicago) That Patrick Mooney piece adds the money quote from Edwards, as far as future projections are concerned: having just stepped off of the scale, Edwards says he’s up to 165 pounds. Keep it coming, String Bean Slinger.
- A little more from Edwards on his start. Here’s what he says his catcher, now-Cubs-back-up John Baker told him when he came out of the game (Sun-Times): “His exact words were, ‘Hey, you did a hell of a job, man,'” Edwards said, “and he said, ‘Hey, look, your stuff will play in this league. You’ve got a bright future ahead. You just stay with it.'” I like that about Edwards, and I like that about Baker.
- Farewell Reggie Golden, the Cubs’ second round pick from 2010, who has been released. He blew out his knee at the outset of the 2012 season, and he never quite recovered. It’s a shame, because there was a lot of physical projection there.
- A fun read from MiLB.com on Jeimer Candelario, Mike Olt, Javier Baez and a few others. A note, though, MiLB: “Prospect Primer” is taken, or at least squatted on …
- A couple tweets from Jason Parks just because: