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tyler kolekThe Family and I are taking a little weekend trip to visit some other family, which will probably not affect posting today or this weekend, but it could affect my availability for other stuff. Be advised, and all that.

  • Not that the scouting of potential top draft picks wasn’t already heating up, but Keith Law says the Cubs’ “scouting director” – which could be VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod, or it could be Amateur Scouting Director Matt Dorey – was at high school righty Tyler Kolek’s start last night. We heard last week that the Cubs have been keeping an eye on Kolek, who is regarded as a potential top five pick by just about everyone. High school arms are such a risk at the top of the draft, but the fact is, many of the best pitchers in baseball were drafted and signed as high school pitchers. It’s the risk/upside debate that has raged for years. I like what I see from, and hear about, Kolek, but I’d be hard pressed to be disappointed if the Cubs declined to take him (or high school lefty Brady Aiken) with their top pick, if he’s still on the board at four.
  • Now for the big one: Law also says that both Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were in North Carolina last night to watch ECU righty Jeff Hoffman, in what turned out to be his best start of the year (he struck out 16 over 8 innings, allowing just three hits and one walk (no ER, 117 pitches)). There was a time earlier this year, that Hoffman looked as much as a lock for number two in the draft as NC State lefty Carlos Rodon looked like a lock for number one. As we see just about every year in the draft, those are no longer the case, and the Cubs seem very like to have a shot at Hoffman at number four if they want him. Given the big dogs that are scouting him, I’d say the possibility is at least on the table. Hoffman rose up the ranks with a great summer performance in the Cape Cod League last year, but his performances so far this year haven’t been quite as dominant. Until last night, anyway.
  • Tommy Birch with a variety of updates, including Brett Jackson heading to the disabled list, and Javier Baez fielding grounders today and maybe hitting tomorrow. A chance for a return next week still looks possible. Birch’s piece also includes a lot on Logan Watkins, who is unfortunately getting lost in the shuffle a little bit.
  • Arizona Phil offers an update on Pierce Johnson (in extended Spring Training because of a hamstring injury in Spring Training), who looked ready to go (to Phil) for the second start in a row. Apparently Johnson even touched 97mph at one point during the outing. Presumably, he’ll head to Tennessee as soon as this week, with Jake Arrieta heading to AAA Iowa for his next rehab start. In the same piece, Phil says Jorge Soler is taking live BP at this point (hamstring), but not running or fielding.
  • Howard Megdal with a great piece on Anthony Rizzo, the person. He happens to be a good one.
  • Derek Jeter really can’t imagine what it’s like for Cubs fans, or what it would be like to play for the Cubs (ESPN Chicago), with the lack of competitiveness and championships. How nice for him.

Picture of Tyler Kolek courtesy of BN’er Jim, who is snappy with the camera.

  • IAN

    Were there any Cubs scouting personnel at the LSU/Ole Miss series? There is some great pitching on display, especially in last night’s game.

    LSU’s Aaron Nola looked incredible and he’s a top 10 talent. His counterpart in Ole Miss’s Chris Ellis was also very sharp.

  • Jon

    In 2006 the Detroit Tigers took Andrew Miller with the 6th overall pick in the draft. A year later he was the centerpiece of a trade that brought back Miguel Cabera.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if history could repeat itself a bit here, but with the Cubs and another Marlins young player?

    • Edwin

      Chris Coghlan?

      • Jon

        Let’s say the Marlins take Aiken at #2, and the Cubs take Kolek at #4. Provided his arm doesn’t fall off in a year, if the Cubs approached the Marlins with a Kolek(or whatever arm they draft) Almora package that simply beats any offer the Red can make. By the back second half of 2015 your lineup could be

        3B Bryant
        SS Castro
        2B Baez
        1B Rizzo
        LF Stanton
        CF Lake
        RF Soler
        C Castillo

        Comitt to resigning Shark and another starter

        Shark
        Scherzer/Shields/Masterson
        Wood
        Jackson
        Arrietta/CJ Edwards/Pierce Johnson, etc.

        You are knocking on the door there..

        • Jon

          Who’s with me?
          [img]http://icanhasinternets.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/commthumb3.jpg[/img]

          • GoCubsGo

            I wouldn’t mind switching CJ Edwards for Kolek in this instance. As much as I love the thought of CJ dominating as a starter, a LOT of scouts have questions about his durability. Might as well replace those with a potentially better player with a higher ceiling in Kolek right? Then again CJ’s arm hasn’t fallen off yet and Kolek’s easily could before he is ready.

        • Canadian Cubs Fan

          With Alcantara as a super utility guy (unless he’s part of your package for Stanton) that would be a pretty solid lineup.

          At some point Theo and Jed will have to ship out some of these “potential stars” for an actual one. Stanton wouldn’t be a bad choice either!

          • Jon

            yeah, forgot about him, either he’s a sweetener in the trade, or with a crowed infield maybe he moves to CF to compete with Lake. His OBP in the lineup would be nice.

            • Don Eaddy

              Id rather see Bryant move to the OF and Baez move to 3rd. Then we dont need to trade for Stanton’s corner OF power and we can keep Almora (who I cant imagine us trading). Lake is much more fit for the super utility role in my eyes.

        • IAN

          Good Lord. Edwin Jackson is terrible.

        • Hee Seop Chode

          Is Stanton still a thing? LIke is he to be had for the right offer? Corner outfield power used to be so cheap and easy to find…

          • Jon

            Then they started drug testing…..

        • CubFan Paul

          “Comitt to resigning Shark”

          ?

          SMH

          • Jon

            I know right. The nerve of me suggesting we possibly compete next year.

            • CubFan Paul

              I don’t think you know what “commit” means.

              • Jon

                I know exactly what the fuck it means

                “pledge or bind (a person or an organization) to a certain course or policy”

                Set a goal to keep a young an talented player and pay the market price it require. This would be opposed to traded him which could push the plan to compete back a few years.

                Just stop with your passive aggressive bullshit ok?

                • CubFan Paul

                  I don’t think you know what “commit” means, as in Theo&Co. committed to Samardzija when they offered him a fair market value arbitration extension of 5 years and $55MM

                  • Jon

                    That’s fair….

                    If you look solely from the angle of the FO

                    • JB88

                      How else are you supposed to look at it?

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “angle of the FO”

                      That’s not what fair market value arbitration extension means.

                      5/$55MM is what the Outside Market would pay him too.

                    • Jon

                      And anyways, you completely took a single point and derailed this entire thing. The past is the past, I’m suggesting that they maybe re-evaluate the situation and instead of a trade, look to keep Shark, add another starter in FA and graduate a few bats into the lineup and make an external trade for an impact bat. That is all so continue here and split hairs over the definition of “committ” have at it.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “they maybe re-evaluate the situation and instead of a trade”

                      If re-evaluate means paying more than $55MM for an asset with two years of control then he’s gone in July, imo.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Well at this point, his extension would likely kick in after this year.

                      I’d go up to 5 years and 75 million

                      10 million or so for next years arbitration year and then 16 million for the free agent years

                    • Jon

                      It’s pointless to throw “market value” around in these cases because it isn’t black and white. It’s a grey area. The strategy is to get guys on the cheap by getting them to sacrifice overall $$$$ in exchange for long term security. And it’s not a bad idea as it worked for Castro and Rizzo. Teams do it and there is nothing wrong with it, but you are counting on players sacrifice future $$$$ so no it’s not a defined market. SHark had already got paid and had his financial security so that leverage partially counters the leverage the FO had with the service time control

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “It’s pointless to throw “market value” around in these cases”

                      ?

                      SMH

                    • Jason P

                      “5/$55MM is what the Outside Market would pay him too.”

                      No, it isn’t.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “No, it isn’t.”

                      Care to elaborate Johnny Come Lately?

                  • Brocktoon

                    That’s not fair market

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “That’s not fair market”

                      It is when you factor in service time, ability, age, and stats.

                  • http://bleachernation.com woody

                    5/55 was the Cubs offer? And Homer Bailey got 6/105 from the Reds. At this point I think it’s not important what Shark is worth, because he’ll never be around to sign another contract. I still think the Jays are the most likely team to trde for him as so far that division has been tight and the Jays need an upgrade to compete this year.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      They offered 5/55 with 2 years of control left. You can estimate 5 years for the years in arbitration, 10 years for next year, that gives you 3 years and 15 million per for the free agent years. That isn’t a bad deal at all.

                  • DarthHater

                    [img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7238/13901134276_a13c1a9e74_n.jpg[/img]

        • mjhurdle

          not sure i want to commit that amount of money and prospects to get an injury-plagued power hitter.

          I don’t mind trading the prospects, but if we do I hope it is for something more than a one tool (albeit impressive) hitter than has had knee, shoulder and hamstring problems at a young age.

          • Brocktoon

            “I don’t mind trading prospects as long as the return is better than Giancarlo Stanton” means you mind trading prospects

            • Edwin

              Nobody minds trading prospects, as long as the prospects traded aren’t in the top 5 and the return is a star player from another team.

              • Jon

                The baseball universe where you get a star player in his mid 20’s without a top 5 prospect doesn’t exist.

              • Jon

                Well there was Justin Upton, but, Kevin Towers…….

                • Karl Groucho

                  …is clearly a misunderstood genius.

                  The only sensible place that could have been going.

            • mjhurdle

              no, it means i mind trading prospects if the return is not equal to what we are giving up, and I don’t mind trading them if we get good value in return.

              • Edwin

                I’m thinking you’re underselling Stanton just a bit. He doesn’t turn 25 until November. Over the past 3 seasons he’s still averaged over 500 PA per season, with great power and an OBP over .350. To just write him off as some injury prone corner OF who only hits for power is a little misleading.

                • mjhurdle

                  I might very well be underselling them, but thats what makes it my opinion.
                  It isn’t about hoarding prospects. I would trade Baez + for a Fernandez, or a Sale, or someone similar in a heartbeat.
                  But i don’t like the idea of trading a haul of our top prospects for a guy whose main value is power, and that guy has already had knee surgery, hamstring issues that sidelined him 40+ games, and shoulder/back issues that have caused him to miss time.

                  Dude is a stud right now, but if his injuries keep popping up (especially in places crucial to generating power) and he loses some pop, than he goes from a superstar to a below average player that you emptied your farm for and signed to a large extension (which i assume would happen if the Cubs traded for him).

                  • Karl Groucho

                    That’s interesting, because if anything I might be *more* worried about Fernandez or Sale, even with Stanton’s history. With pitchers flatlining seemingly weekly, emptying the piggy bank on a time bomb would make me more nervous than on Stanton.

                    (I don’t think it’s a coincidence we’re taking the quantity-over-quality approach to pitching with pitchers blowing up left and right. A bottomless supply of pitchers good enough to keep a juggernaut offense in every game is a smart way to avoid the pitfalls of pitcher injuries. Might also be a good way to deal with Wrigley.)

                    • Karl Groucho

                      Which isn’t to say Stanton doesn’t make me nervous; he looks more like Matt Kemp than Jacoby Ellsbury in terms of “injury proneness.” There’s a lot of thought to be put into that concept; fangraphs had an interesting piece on it over the offseason: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/jacoby-ellsbury-and-injury-proneness/

              • Brocktoon

                Who would you consider an equal return?

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  I’m not mj, and not sure if the Soler contract would be ok to the Marlins, but something like Soler, Pierce Johnson, Olt, and a low level throw in or two with high upside sounds about right to me.

                  • Brocktoon

                    *click *dial tone

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      You forget that the Marlins have no leverage here. They either trade Stanton or he walks, there is zero chance he resigns in Miami. Not to mention the fact that starting next year he’s going to start becoming expensive. Don’t know if that gets it done, but I’m not willing to trade Bryant or Baez and probably not Almora for him due to the injuries

                    • Edwin

                      You forget that the Marlins have 28 other teams they can trade with. If the Cubs don’t offer a good package, some other team will. Soler, Johnson, Olt, and a throw in is pretty weak.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      I still think he’s a lock to go to the Red Sox, but I’m just not trading Baez, Bryant, or Almora for Stanton

                  • Jon

                    Well let’s ignore the fact that Soler has been a walking injury the past year, I don’t think Soler’s major league contract would appeal to the Marlins that want cheap, cost controlled young players.

                • mjhurdle

                  Obviously that depends on what the package was.

                  For 2+ of the “Big Four” I would expect established, younger MLB players that are probably about to hit the expensive side of their careers (which is why the team involved would be looking to move them). Someone like Sale, or a hitter like Heyward.

                  I would not want a player that has a long injury history. I think that, if you are giving that much up, you need as much of a sure thing back as possible.

                  • Brocktoon

                    Heyward over Stanton? Heyward hasn’t been on Stanton’s level at the plate since 2010, has 1 less year of team control, and just missed more games last year than Stanton ever has in a single season

                    • mjhurdle

                      Heyward was used to show the type of hitter I would be looking for, not a specific “Heyward instead of Stanton”.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    I hate pretty much everything there is to hate about the Yankees, but I find it really difficult to hate Derrick Jeter. His competitiveness, his on field demeanor. Class act all the way.

    Plus, he’s got quite the roster of leading ladies.

    One of the positives of drafting high school is that their arms haven’t been ravaged by college coaches that don’t care about their future. The negative is that they’re way more unpredictable and further away from helping you at the ML level. Such a tough decision for GM’s!

  • PejaO42

    Glad to see that Watkins has a level head and knows his role. I think that he has a very good chance of being a solid utility guy off the bench for the Cubs in the future. Being able to play all over is something you need off the bench.

  • NorthSideIrish

    I still really hate that the White Sox are drafting right before the Cubs…if Hoffman looks to have regained his stuff, I don’t think he gets past 1.3. But sweeping the Sox last season sure was great.

    • JasonP

      Remember when the White Sox drafted 13th and got Chris Sale, and the Cubs drafted 16th and got Hayden Simpson.

      The ever pessimist Cubs fan in me thinks that this is exactly the kind of thing that will happen in the 2014 draft.

      • Jon

        re: 2010, look at the bright side, at least we didn’t draft Josh Sale. We avoided a ton of bad jokes there….

  • Don Eaddy

    The funny part is that in the years Jeter was drafted and working through the minors, the Yankees were pretty bad (by their standards). So he was actually part of a Cub-like rebuilding process himself.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I see we’re beating the Stanton drum again today. I think in two years time Bryant will surpass Stanton. I like Stanton, but with Rizzo and Baez, Bryant and Soler in the pipeline I just can’t see giving up a guy like Alcanta. To me Olt is expendible. I’m not too familiar with the Marlins lineup, but honestly I just don’t see a deal happening there.

    • PejaO42

      They are starting Casey McGehee at 3rd, who has surprisingly hit well this year (.304/.373/.424)

    • Brocktoon

      Yeah let’s throw in Alberto Cabrera and call it a deal.

  • bonger0493

    I know everyone is different, but how many years does it usually take for one of those “stars” drafted out of highschool to make it to mlb? If everything goes right (pitchers)

    • Edwin

      I’d guess 2-3 years.

  • Thomas

    I think the Cubs would rather trade prospects for pitching seeing as how they might end up with the most power bats in the NL. I don’t see them going after Stanton.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Entering todays game Olt and Valbuena are both hitting .207. Valbuena’s OBP is .361 to Olts .258. Olts slugging numbers are higher, but as things stand now there is plenty of justification for keeping the platoon intact for the moment. I like Olt, but if having him at third is at the expense of having Alcantara in our future lineup then I would like to see Olt as part of the trade for whatever player the FO decides to go after. During those last exibition game Alcantara hit a home run that impressed the hell out of me. He’s like having Bonafacio on steroids. I want to see Baez at third and Bryant in the outfield. I hope that Happy doesn’t intend to play platoon baseball when our top prospects arrive. Moving back to Olt it is too early to make a determination of his value at this time, but considering that good third basemen are scarcer than hens teeth I’m sure that some teams will be interested. I would rather see the team constructed with players that hit for high averages and good OBP, rather than a bunch of guys that hit homers, but have a lot of swing and miss in their game. The Cardinals are a perfect example of that. That is probably what Baez is going to be so we don’t need three or four guys like that in our lineup. Last year was a perfect example when we hit a lot of homers, but couldn’t string together enough base hits to put a crooked number on the board.

    • Jon

      If Mike Olt can’t win a job away from Valbueana he’s not going to bring you anything of relevance in a trade.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        Agreed.

      • Chad

        Not alone, but as part of a package he has value.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “I hope that Happy doesn’t intend to play platoon baseball when our top prospects arrive.”

      It was once considered conventional wisdom to platoon guys (particularly LHB) as a means of “breaking them in” to the big leagues. Now, “conventional wisdom” tends to be an oxymoron – most of the time it should be called mindlessly regurgitated foolishness – but it probably did not do much to hurt players, either.

      (Remember, Casey Stengel platooned Mickey Mantle for a while early in Mantle’s career: Stengel evidently never really believed that switch-hitters could hit well as righties.)

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    A funny thing happened the other day. I set my DVR to record “The Biggest Loser” and when I went to watch it, it was the Cubs game.

    • Spriggs

      I guess you were the real loser then.

    • Edwin

      And what is the deal with homework? I mean, you’re not working on your home!

      • Brocktoon

        I think they should make the entire plane out of he black box material!!!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Why didn’t it record the DBacks game?

  • NorthSideIrish

    Sahadev Sharma ‏@sahadevsharma 5m
    Source confirms Kerry Wood was watching Tyler Kolek for Cubs yesterday. Former Texas high school phenom watching the next big thing.

    Well that’s certainly interesting…

    • Jon

      He was working with him on the towel drill.

      • Brocktoon

        You don’t know what the towel drill is do you.

      • jp3

        Maybe he can teach him that slurve right before the towel drill. His arm will fall off in no time.

  • Ryne Santo

    Jeter was almost nice in his comments about the Cubs and Chicago. When he comes to town, let’s give him a gift basket.

    • Sandberg

      Seemed to me Jeter was answering like a guy who couldn’t care less about the Cubs. As would I in his place.

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