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Cubs Prospect Notes: Cuts From Camp, Happ, Underwood, Cease, Graduations, More

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

Although the very best thing about Spring Training is finally getting to see baseball again after a cold, baseball-less winter, the second best thing is watching prospects play with the big boys.

Cubs fans probably know that better than most, because they’ve used the past few Springs to get eyes on some of the very best prospects in all of baseball.

Of course, the same is true this year with guys like Eloy Jimenez, Ian Happ, Jeimer Candelario and others taking taking the spotlight from Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and the rest of the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.

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  • That said, six Cubs’ prospects (excluding Happ and Candelario, but including the Cubs top prospect, Jimenez) were sent to Minor League camp yesterday, as expected. The roster now sits at 43, but there are plenty of more cuts to come. It is extremely unlikely that either Candelario or Happ will break camp with the big league team, but both could reach Chicago by the end of the year.
  • And if you missed out on following along with these prospects or just want to know how many of them did, Jim Callis (MLB Pipeline) has your full Cubs’ Camp prospect report. According to Callis, Cubs camp is as flush with prospects as ever, but not all are on the cusp of breaking into the Majors. Happ (1/2 season) and Jimenez (a year) need more time, according to Callis, while Mark Zagunis and Jeimer Candelario are blocked by, well, really good, young players already on the team. For more from Cubs’ camp, including the standouts, breakout candidates, and much more, head over to MLB.com.
  • Although Duane Underwood – the Cubs former top pitching prospect with a questionable future – was cut from camp on Monday, there’s good news brewing. Namely, he’s healthy. After dealing with an elbow strain in 2015 and a forearm strain 2016, the only thing in charge of Underwood’s future now is his own performance. And the most important thing to remember, according to the Cubs, is that pitching (or really, being a prospect at all) isn’t always linear. Underwood, still only 22 years old, has plenty of time to right the ship so to speak, even if this seasons does figure to be especially important. He pitched a clean inning in yesterday’s game against the White Sox.

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  • “I want to see him,” Maddon said of Underwood via CSN Chicago. “This guy is really talented and you get a young player like that – I talk all the time about the levels – he really needs to figure out that he belongs here and he can do this. If he does, that stuff will take off, because his stuff’s that good.” That’s strong, and not necessarily misleading, praise coming from Maddon.
  • Ian Happ (less so) and Albert Almora (more so) are expected to contribute to the Cubs in very meaningful ways this season. Here they are talking about their experiences in Cubs’ camp this year:

  • Both are known as bright, strong-makeup guys – clearly the Cubs’ type. 
  • Dylan Cease is another top Cubs pitching prospect who has a lot of ground to cover (but even more to gain) in 2017. His ceiling is often considered better than any Cubs’ pitching prospect in a decade. At MLB.com, Cease did a Q&A with Jim Callis. He sounds like another smart dude. Give it a read.

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  • And finally, on Thursday, twelve Cubs’ Minor Leaguers graduated from English class and were given the full “graduation” treatment. Each then delivered a speech in english to the rest of the team. And by “the rest of the team” I mean, “the rest of the team”:

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Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.

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