Some fun and/or interesting prospect bits for your day …
- FanGraphs is out with its midseason top 25 list, which proudly hangs the number one tag on Kris Bryant, who jumps up from number six preseason. Addison Russell is fourth, up from eighth – in a direct swap of those numbers with Javier Baez. Those are the only three that make the top 25, which obviously is no bad news, as they’ve kind of become (to pundits, at least) a top three within the Cubs’ top seven. FanGraphs excluded anyone currently in the bigs, so that is why we don’t see Arismendy Alcantara (the author indicated in the comments that Alcantara would have been near 25).
- Mauricio Rubio saw Kyle Schwarber at Kane County just before he was promoted to Daytona, and offered his thoughts at BP on Schwarber at and behind the plate. Here’s a bit on what he said about the latter: “Schwarber sets up low in his crouch and stays quiet, creating a comfortable target for the pitcher. His framing skills could use some work, as he stabs at offerings. He has surprising mobility back there with good lateral movement on block attempts. I’ve noticed that he gets loose fundamentally late in games. He has an average arm and I did get a pop time in the 1.9 range but ultimately the catching skills are fringe and can improve. I don’t think the cost is worth delaying the bat.” In other words, there’s sufficient upside in the bat that you would risk losing some of that by taking the necessary time to develop the catching skills at an appropriate level/pace.
- Peter Gammons offers his observations from the Futures Game, including that he’s heard Javier Baez is a different guy since Manny Ramirez arrived in Iowa, and Kris Bryant “loves the outfield.” I’m actually not so sure about those, particularly the second one, but, hey, there they are.
- Ever wonder which team has the best-performing offensive prospects from the 2013 draft by OPS? Of course you did: because it’s the Cubs.
- Fun local reads on Cubs outfield prospect Charcer Burks (one of those 2013 picks) and on relief prospect James Pugliese. Burks, 19, is hitting .321/.361/.482 in rookie ball this year, and Pugliese, 21, is posting a 1.22 ERA over 44.1 innings at Kane County, striking out 50 and walking 9. Consider them among the deep, deep well of interesting Cubs prospects about whom you don’t always hear a lot.
- A couple weeks ago (i.e., pre-Alcantara promotion), Jim Callis chose the AAA Iowa Cubs as having the best lineup in the minor leagues.
- In his final two starts before the All-Star break – and after he’d seen all of his rotation buddies get a look-see in Chicago – Eric Jokisch was absolutely incredible: 14 innings, 1 earned run, 5 hits, 1 walk, and 18 strikeouts. On the year, the soon-to-be 25-year-old lefty has a 3.94 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 22.2% K rate and a 5.1% walk rate over 114 innings in his first go-around at AAA.
- So far, relief prospect Armando Rivero keeps doing at AAA what he’s been doing at every level below: 11 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 3 BB, and 16 Ks.