With Javier Baez on the way, perhaps it’s time to check in on some of the other, non-big-league-bound prospects in the Chicago Cubs’ organization …
- He’s had a nice run for a little while now, which earned Juan Paniagua a promotion to High-A Daytona. It’s been a rough road for the Cubs’ top international signing back in 2012, with visa issues, command issues, and a slog to move up the ladder. He gets some love from MiLB.com after a recent excellent start for the Daytona Cubs, and he remains an arm to watch. Yes, he’s already 24, and yes he’s had significant control problems. But it’s a live arm, and he doesn’t have much professional experience just yet. Maybe he winds up a reliever, but there’s upside to dream on.
- Speaking of the Daytona Cubs’ rotation, Tyler Skulina recently received a promotion to High-A, where he’ll likely pitch in short innings as his season winds down and the Cubs limit his innings. In his first full professional year, Skulina posted a 3.21 ERA over 89.2 innings at Kane County, though the K/BB (68/35) was not what you’d want to see from a college arm in Low-A. He remains an arm to watch, but he might not be the guy to pop from the crew of college arms the Cubs took high in the draft last year. In fact, none of the Zastryzny-Skulina-Masek-Frazier group has broken out in the way you hoped at least one would this year. Zastryzny has probably been the best, pitching all year at High-A – a tough assignment in his first full professional year – with so-so results and scouting reports, but solid peripherals. Each of Zastryzny and Skulina remain very much on the prospect radar for 2015, however.
- Speaking of less-heralded pitching prospects to watch, Eric Jokisch keeps pitching well, quietly, at AAA Iowa. His FIP is down to 3.35, his K% is 22.1% and his BB% is just 5.6%. No, he doesn’t have middle-of-the-rotation upside, but if it weren’t for the presence of guys like Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada, and then “name” guys like Dan Straily and Felix Doubront, Jokisch is probably the guy we’re talking about as the next “hey, he could be a pretty nice 4/5 in the big leagues” guy.
- Some Baseball America love for Addison Russell and Gleyber Torres. And Baseball Prospects offers some love for Marco Hernandez. ALL THE SHORTSTOPS.
- Speaking of that BP piece, it’s got mini scouting reports on Hernandez (he’s a young shortstop at High-A, who looks to be a “plus-plus” defensive shortstop), Duane Underwood (“The raw ingredients are there for Underwood to succeed but he’s going to have to work on fastball command first and foremost; everything else will play up if he can locate his fastball effectively.”), and Shawon Dunston, Jr. (“Overall, Dunston does not have an impact profile, but he has put himself firmly on the prospect radar. Even though there isn’t much power potential, as the hit tool manifests, there’s the possibility he becomes a solid extra outfielder.”).
- And then more eyes on from BP, including Kyle Schwarber (there are reasons to dream on him as a part-time catcher), Dan Vogelbach (potential to be an impact DH (which is a mixed compliment, but a strong one offensively), Billy McKinney (just lots and lots of compliments for the bat), Rob Zastryzny (not bad, but needs to improve his off-speed offerings), and Rock Shoulders (huge power potential, but serious pitch recognition issues).
- A nice profile from the Tribune on Kane County pitcher Duane Underwood.
- A series of fun prospect interviews down at Daytona from Jim Kress (who advises me that he is 6’5″, which explains why these guys look so tiny all of a sudden).
- So many complimentary things about Jorge Soler and his impending big league readiness (Tribune).
- If you read enough of the minor league stuff around here, chances are you’re familiar with BN’er Dylan Heuer, who is a badass photographer. This week, he’s offering us a deal where if you buy $25 worth of pictures, and use the code “BleacherNation”, you’ll get 20% off. Want to adorn your walls with Javy or Jorge or Kris or Arismendy? This is your chance (including this amazing picture, a crisper-looking version of the one in this post).