Even 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.