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AAA Iowa Cubs - what is their purpose


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#1 Tommy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 12:22 PM

I was reading Luke's minor league post today and it got me thinking a few things:

 

1. This FO has said they were going to build our farm system from the bottom up, and it seems that things are going well from that perspective.

2. Luke's article pointed out how we may be looking at 3 first place teams this year: Low A, High A, AA

 

Reflecting on just how bad our minor league system was just 2 years ago, I'd say that this is a great indicator of just how tremendous of a job they've done doing exactly what they said they were going to do.  As someone who lives in the Peoria area, I was able to attend some Low A games in the past on occasion, and can speak firsthand on just how unimpressive they were in person for the last few years.  Not to mention, there were not many names worthy of going to see (there were occasional exceptions, of course.  (i.e. Baez, Golden).

 

So in two years time, it seems that the FO has done exactly what they set out to do: revamp the farm system.  Kane County (without Almora, so far), Daytona, and Tennessee all look like strong contenders.  This leads me to a few questions:

 

1. Can we expect our short season A ball club (Boise) to perform, as well?

2. What can we expect out of Rookie ball in Arizona, and who exactly is going to be on this team?  

This brings me to the question I was really getting to:

3. What is the purpose of the the AAA club?  

     a.  Do we use the AA team as the last stop in many cases for our soon to be major league ready players and use the AAA club as a spot to stash aging minor leaguers and guys with some ML service time (this is what it seems to be right now).  

     b.  Is the AAA club used for utility players and 'backup' type players, and not so much up and coming prospects?

 

I guess I ask this because I always assumed AAA was the last stop for top prospects, but clearly I am far from an expert on minor league baseball (or anything else for that matter).  Just curious if the answer to this question varies by ML team, or if it's consistently used the same way by everyone.  Is this something our FO does differently?  What can we expect in the future from our Iowa team?


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#2 MichiganGoat

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:20 PM

I think AAA the last place you want top prospects spending major time. I seems to be 1-an extended MLB bench where players are stashed 2-a place where prospects make final tweaks after seeing MLB but struggling (ie Rizzo's swing, Vitters defense and approach, and Jackson's swing) and if you're there past a year you're probably done 3- it can also act as an extended DL ie Stewart. And I think you're right for top players it is AA to MLB with maybe a brief stop over at AAA.

I think AA pitching is considered better because AA are typically younger with nastier stuff and those pitchers when successful jump to the MLB quickly.

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#3 Oswego Chris

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:30 PM

That's a pretty good analysis MG...AAA has really become MLB purgatory in the last 10 years or so....that's why Brett Jackson's struggles do not bode well

#4 Luke

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 06:05 PM

1 - Probably, but this depends in part on the draft.

2 - This really depends on the draft.

3 - Yes to both, but Triple A does have it's share of high quality prospects, and just because a guy is there does not mean we should frown on him.  A good prospect can make the jump from Double A to the majors, but if he is blocked, or if he is blocking someone else, or for any of a number of other reasons (including team philosophy) he could wind up in Triple A.

 

Really, we don't know yet how the Cubs will handle Iowa.  There have only been a few major league regular caliber prospects make it that high since Theo and Jed took over.  The fact that they were willing to pile Iowa with a ton of major league 4/5 OF types this year suggests they see Triple A as more of an extension of the major league bench / place to gamble on fringe and bounce back types, but that is by no means certain.  After all, Rizzo spent some time there.  Nor should we start from that and assume that just because, say, Logan Watkins is in Triple A he is seen as nothing but a bench or fringe guy.  That logic does not automatically run both ways.



#5 Katie

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 08:49 PM

Purely from a selfish standpoint, I'm bummed when guys are fast tracked and hardly play at AAA on their way up to the show or completely bypass Des Moines altogether & I don't get to see them here at all.
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#6 Spriggs

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 07:53 AM

One good thing about the new MLB draft rules is that players are signed much quicker and get started right away in the rookie leagues.  Boise should be interesting mainly because of the group of pitchers the Cubs left behind in extended S.T.  I assume McNeil, Lang, Blackburn, Underwood and Conway will see time there.  There may even be a Panigua sighting!

 

The fact that Rizzo played in Iowa doesn't really tell us much about what we can expect from the current FO in terms of how prospects progress through the system.  After all, he'd already seen time in the majors with the Padres and he was undergoing a major revamping of his swing.  And there was that LaHair thing they had to "flush" out.

 

Also, last year, the FO was learning about all the players in the system.  You would hope most of that is over with, but they had to evaluate all their talent (or lack thereof) and figure out what to do with them all pretty quickly. 



#7 npnovak

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 07:58 PM

The Cubs have so many players stashed at Iowa because there aren't many prospects ready to play in AAA.  They're not blocking anyone, so why not try to grab as many waiver-wire guys as possible?



#8 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:03 PM

The Cubs have so many players stashed at Iowa because there aren't many prospects ready to play in AAA.  They're not blocking anyone, so why not try to grab as many waiver-wire guys as possible?


The problem starts with which fringe guy do you drop off the 40 man for the new fringe guy you just grabbed.

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#9 Rated Rookie

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 09:51 AM

Short answer: spare parts shop with a handful of prospects approaching their expiration date. At least at this point in the season. By the ASB is when some of the actual prospects get bumped up there, making it more exciting. This being said, I'm pretty sure that most AAA teams are like that. The PCL is a nice proving ground for young hitting prospects. The parks are essentially built like little league parks, and it's very tempting for guys to want to hit a bomb every tine up. However, it's as far as pitchers it's filled with veteran junk ballers. Facing these guys is a good chance for them to better identify pirches, and hopefully avoid getting overly aggressive at the plate.




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