cubs azl spring training logoEven in the offseason amid the swirl of rumors, there’s plenty to discuss on the prospecting side …

  • Baseball America’s new top ten Cubs prospect list came out last week if you missed it, and then it was followed by a prospect chat with John Manuel. You’ll want to give it a read for the full flavor, but among the thoughts: (1) on the apparent drop of Billy McKinney in the rankings despite continued good production at a higher level – it kind of sounds like the post-season scouting reports (of which there are more than mid-season) questioned the athleticism and the tweener role; (2) at least one report out of Arizona on Pierce Johnson “wasn’t pretty”; (3) folks seem to agree that Eddy Julio Martinez is a great athlete, but no one really knows what the bat will look like (if that’s true, he becomes an enormous boom or bust type); (4) Manuel calls Willson Contreras’s one-year prospect ascension one of the biggest he can remember in 15 years (so don’t feel bad if you weren’t on him coming into this past season – I certainly wasn’t, and he was also Rule 5 eligible last December); (5) among the less-heralded “control” pitchers (my description, not Manuel’s), Manuel prefers Daury Torrez to Jeremy Null, and Null to Ryan Williams; (6) Oscar De La Cruz gets lots, and lots of love. There’s really so, so much more in there, so dig in.
  • Cubs Senior VP of Player Development and Amateur Scouting Jason McLeod was on Inside the Clubhouse, and there was so much to digest. The CCO has a transcript, and you’ll definitely want to check it out. Among the pitching names McLeod mentions unprompted: Duane Underwood, Jen-Ho Tseng, Justin Steele, Carson Sands, Dylan Cease, and Oscar De La Cruz.
  • McLeod also praised Willson Contreras heavily, and, although his AFL season ended early with a hamstring injury, there’s a great pre-injury profile you can read here.
  • Cubs lefty pitching prospect Rob Zastryzny had his best outing of the AFL this past week, and this profile gets into both how he’s doing in the AFL and how a foot injury cost him three separate times this past season.
  • Arizona Phil writes about a handful of Cubs minor leaguers who are Cubs minor leaguers no more – that is to say, they have become free agents. Carlos Pimentel and Blake Parker are among the names you likely recognize, and Felix Pena, in particular, would have¬†drawn plenty of interest as a minor league free agent after his strikeout rate exploded at AA in 2015, but BA reports that the Cubs have re-signed him. The other would-have-been free agents who signed contracts with the Cubs, per Arizona Phil:¬†Frank Batista, Willson Contreras, Ryan Dent, Jose Rosario, and Logan Watkins.

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