Baseball America provided a mid-season update on the Cubs organization last week, and while the majority of it requires a subscription (a very worthwhile subscription, I might add), the projected 2019 lineup is free for all the world to see.
It looks a lot like the Cubs 2016 lineup could have been, and like the 2017 lineup probably will be more than once. Put Baez at second, Contreras behind the plate, and flank Almora with Schwarber and Heyward in the outfield and you can probably guess the rest. The fact that the Cubs have such a potent pack of young talent that is already in the majors is a tremendous benefit to the organization both now and for the rest of the decade.
On the pitching side, BA projects that Jake Arrieta will still be around in 2019, and that Lester and Hendricks will join him in fronting a rotation that is completed by Dylan Cease and Oscar De La Cruz. As far as pitching prospects in the organization go, those two are the creme of the current crop … although Bryan Hudson might argue for inclusion in that class.
- Trevor Cahill: 2.2 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 K. 57 pitches on this rehab start.
- Giovanni Soto: 2 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K
- John Andreoli: 2 for 5, 3B, SB
- Dan Vogelbach: 4 for 5, HR. That’s home run number sixteen, and you can watch it below. Vogelbach has been the subject of rumors lately, so the more he rakes, the better.
- Jeimer Candelario: 1 for 4, 2B, BB
- Taylor Davis: 2 for 4, 3B, BB
- Kristopher Negron: 2 for 5
- Paul Blackburn: 6 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 3 BB, 7 K. When looking at upper leveling pitching, don’t overlook this guy.
- Ben Carhart: 2 for 4
- Carlos Penalver: 1 for 3, 2B
- Trey Martin: 1 for 3, 2B
- Jonathan Martinez: 6 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K
- Daury Torrez: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Charcer Burks: 3 for 6, 2B
- Gleyber Torres: 4 for 5, 2 2B, 3B, BB
- Yasiel Balaguert: 2 for 6, 2 2B
- Jeffrey Baez: 4 for 4, 2B, 2 BB, SB
- Erick Castillo: 1 for 5, 2B
- Oscar De La Cruz: 4 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K. A start like that was worth the wait.
- M.T. Minacci: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3K
- Mark Malave: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- Robert Garcia: 2 for 4, 2B
- Chris Pieters: 2 for 4, 2 SB
- Jack Leathersich: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Junior Marte: 3 IP, 2 H, 7 K
- Jose Leidenz: 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Dakota Mekkes: 1 IP, 2 K. The Cubs’ highly-touted 10th round pick in 2016 made his pro debut.
- Marc Huberman: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Luis Aquino: 2 IP, 5 K
- Luis Ayala: 2 for 4
- Isaac Paredes: 1 for 4, 2B
- Kevin Zamudio: 1 for 2, 2B, BB
- The highlights of the subscription portion of the Baseball America article include some very positive comments on Trevor Clifton. The 6’4″ right hander has added about fifty pounds to his frame since he was drafted, and work on his stuff has now resulted in a significantly improved curve and change up. Factor in his mid-90s fastball that he is consistently throwing for strikes, and Clifton is looking more and more like a quality number three starter candidate with number two upside.
- Rob Zastryzny comes in for some praise as well. He continues to fly under the radar, but I would not be shocked if he proves to be the first pitcher developed entirely under the Epstein administration to make it to Chicago. I also wouldn’t be shocked if he winds up in the rotation as soon as next season.
- Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler should be rehabbing with Iowa today. Iowa has a great stadium and cheap tickets. Those two sets of facts, when combined, should be sending any of you in the Iowa area off to check out ticket availability. I’ll be silently envious half a continent away.
- And that Vogelbach homer, with a classic pitcher reaction: