A handful of prospect-related bits to share …
- As we’ve noted, it’s been a rough, weird start for Javier Baez at AAA Iowa. No one is really losing confidence in the top prospect, especially not after less than a week’s worth of games. He’s got some adjusting to do, but that’s why he’s at AAA in the first place – to see pitchers who can really try to gameplan him, and who can execute that low-and-away breaking stuff. As for his ejection this weekend (and the subsequent jawing that took place in the dugout), Theo Epstein took a moment to address the issue, calling it a development and learning experience (Cubs.com). Epstein also emphasized that it’s a good thing for guys like Baez to struggle in the minors, because then they learn to adjust and overcome. As we’ve seen so many times when drilling into the numbers, guys are going to have terrible results for very long stretches, even if they’re doing everything right. That’s just baseball. So, while, yes, Baez has to adjust his approach in some respects, he’s also just got to know that the results will come if he’s doing everything he can control. Not every cold stretch is the product of being a crappy ballplayer.
- Jorge Soler is still on the disabled list at AA Tennessee after his hamstring issue flared up on the first at bat of the year. The hamstring bothered Soler in Spring Training, and Epstein told Cubs.com that, although he didn’t technically re-injure the hamstring, “it obviously hasn’t healed all the way.” I’m sure the Cubs are kicking themselves for not just starting him on the DL to begin the season in the first place, but, hopefully, that’s all this is. That is to say, if he didn’t really re-injure the thing, then maybe this is just the acknowledgement that he still needed a little time to get ready for the season. One thing is for sure: Soler can’t afford to miss significant time this year with an injury, and he also can’t afford to play the whole season with a bothersome hamstring. Take a couple weeks, knock it out now, and play healthy the rest of the year. That’s the hope.
- The CCO reports that Duane Underwood, who was held back in Mesa with some forearm issues, is ready to join Kane County. That means his forearm issues were decidedly unserious, and it’ll be great to have him back in action. Underwood, the Cubs’ second rounder in 2012, has a great arm, but needs lots of refinement. He underwhelmed last year in short season ball, so this year is a big test for the 19-year-old righty.
- Speaking of the Kane County rotation, it’s already packed with pitching prospects – Paul Blackburn, Jen-Ho Tseng, Daury Torrez, Tyler Skulina, and Juan Paniagua – so they will either have to go to a six-man rotation, or start doing some piggy-backing. I suppose they could also consider testing someone like Skulina at Daytona (his 2013 college draft-mate Rob Zastryzny is already there), but only if he’s ready. An overcrowded Low-A rotation is a good problem to have.
- Released Cubs pitching prospect Nick Struck has caught on with the Dodgers’ organization.
- You didn’t miss Luke’s Top 40 Cubs prospect list last week, did you? If so, correct that oversight now.