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Just how bad was the farm system ten years ago?


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#1 fromthemitten

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:46 PM

I came across a souvenir program that I picked up from a game I went to when I was still in High School 10 years ago.  Among features hyping Hee Seop Choi, Bobby Hill, Corey Patterson, and others who had recently made it to the big league team was a list of the top ten prospects in the minors.  What followed was a list that perfectly shows why the organization had to rely on expensive acquisitions like Lee, Soriano, Ramirez, etc instead of producing our own players.

 

The list is as followers:

 

#1 - RHP Francis Beltran (signed out of the Dominican Republic)

2002 - 2-2 2.59 ERA 23 saves in AA

MLB Stats - 3-2 5.69 ERA in 67 pitching appearances.

What happened?  Despite a shaky bullpen in 2004 that cost them some key games down the stretch, Beltran was the biggest piece the Cubs sent to Les Expos in the massive four team trade that netted the Cubs Nomar Garciaparra, so you really can't complain that they turned their top prospect into what they thought would be a healthy star shortstop.  Especially considering Beltran made only 11 appearances for Montreal before blowing his elbow out.  He hasn't appeared in the majors since 2008 and has been out of baseball since 2011.

Who could we have avoided signing to a massive contract if he had panned out? Latroy Hawkins, Kevin Gregg 1.0.

 

#2 - IF/OF David Kelton (2nd round draft pick in 1998.  #45th overall prospect in 2002)

2002 - .261/.332/.462 20 HR 17 Errors committed in AA

MLB Stats - .136/.136/.227 in 22 AB

What happened?  David Kelton was Josh Vitters before Josh Vitters.  A relatively high draft pick with a solid bat but poor glove at 3B.  After mangling 1B in AA, Kelton moved into the outfield, but he didn't hit for enough power in the offensively tuned PCL to justify his poor glove and was out of the Cubs organization by 2005.

Who could we have avoided signing to a massive contract if he had panned out?  Jeromy Burnitz.  Jacques Jones.  Ultimately Milton Bradley.

 

#3 RHP Angel Guzman (signed out of Venezuela #47th overall prospect in 2003)

2002 - 11-4 2.19 ERA 123 K over 156 innings between two levels of A-ball

MLB Stats - 3-10 4.82 ERA over 88 appearances (14 starts)

What happened?  A fantastic pitching talent (many preferred him over his countryman Big Z) who saw his career derailed by a multitude of injuries.  You can't really blame the Cubs for this one panning out.  Had one great season as a setup man in 2009, which would be his last season in the majors.

Who could we have avoided signing to a massive contract if he had panned out?  Jason Marquis.

 

#4. CF Nic Jackson (3rd round draft pick in 2000. #100 prospect in 2003)

2002 - .290/.329/.443 in 32 games at AA

MLB Stats - N/A

What happened?  Like Guzman, injuries.  Jackson missed most of 2002 after team doctors misdiagnosed a shin fracture and he never really made up for missed time.  He put up a .699 OPS in AAA in 2003 and tore his rotator cuff in 2004 and never made it to the show.  He has been playing in independent leagues recently.

Who could we have avoided signing to a massive contract if he had panned out? Juan Pierre, Marlon Byrd.

 

#5 LHP Andrew Sisco (2nd round draft pick in 2001.  #53 prospect in 2003)

2002 - 7-2 2.43 ERA 101 K in 77 innings in low A ball

MLB Stats - 3-9 5.18 ERA over 35 appearances.

What happened?  The program compared Andy Sisco favorably to Randy Johnson.  The Cubs surprisingly left Sisco unprotected in the 2004 Rule 5 draft and the Royals selected him and kept him in the bullpen where he looked like a wise choice (3.11 ERA in 67 appearances), but he never replicated his success and bounced around the minors after being dealt to the White Sox.  He currently pitches in China.

Who could we have avoided signing to a massive contract if he had panned out?  Scott Eyre.

 

I'll do the second half tomorrow.  It's not pretty either.



#2 hansman1982

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 09:22 PM

It wasn't so much that we spent on Lee, Ramirez, Soriano, etc... But that we had NOoNE to replace them after they left.

Even today with our "deep" system, it's a bunch of "well, there are worse guys you could hope to have". I just want the old draft system back with theo at the helm...we'd be spending $30M there alone.

#3 Spencer

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 10:08 PM

Thanks for sharing this. It's depressing, but interesting.



#4 Alex S.

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 04:04 AM

I'd really like to know if there's a study or some other informative site somewhere that discusses player development in MLB organizations.  I mean the Cubs have to be among the worst for the past ten years at least, but what exactly goes into changing that?  Is it better scouting?  Is there something minor league coaches are failing at?



#5 Rick Vaughn 99

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 05:37 AM

I remember being so stoked on Bobby Hill, C-Pat, Choi, Montanez and Kelton. I was in high school and knew that these guys would give me an awesome 10 years. A rotation of Wood, Prior, Zambrano, Guzman, and Sisco/Juan Cruz/Hagerty/Ryu/Christensen. Beltran closing. It was going to be great.


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#6 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 06:26 AM

I'd really like to know if there's a study or some other informative site somewhere that discusses player development in MLB organizations.  I mean the Cubs have to be among the worst for the past ten years at least, but what exactly goes into changing that?  Is it better scouting?  Is there something minor league coaches are failing at?

The Cubs minor league system has been overhauled pretty much since Theo came in. That doesn't say much about where it was before. They brought in new pitching and hitting coaches, The Cubs Way and video cameras linking the FO with the minor league games. I think it is pretty safe to say that the system was crap before and is now in the process of being overhauled.


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#7 fromthemitten

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 03:24 AM

6-10 include a couple first round draft picks who fizzled out and arguably the most successful player on this list.

 

#6. LHP Luke Hagerty (1st round supplemental pick in 2002)

2002 - 5-3 1.12 ERA 50 Ks in 48 innings in low A ball

MLB Stats - NA

What happened?  The other pitcher from Ball State picked high in the 2002 draft.  While Bullington at least made it to the Majors (briefly) before getting to Japan, Hagerty couldn't even make it out of A-ball due to injuries.  He blew his arm out during 2003 ST and never was the same.  That's life!

Who we could have avoided signing to a massive contract if he had panned out?  Ted Lilly.

 

#7. 2B-SS Luis Montanez (no. 3 overall pick in 2000 no 73 prospect in 2002)

2002 - .265/.333/.335 89 K 44 BB in high A Daytona

MLB Stats - .223/.258/.328 54 K 12 BB in 323 ABs

What happened?  Montanez committed 96 errors at short over his first three pro seasons and was moved to second base in 2002.  His piss poor defense, coupled with a high strikeout/low walk rate made Montanez another high pick bust with the Cubs.  He was eventually released by the team and picked up by the Orioles before getting a second chance with the Cubs  in 2011 where he played piss poor outfield to go along with his piss poor hitting.  Seeing his piss poor numbers makes me worried for a guy like Javier Baez who is exhibiting a similarly piss poor K/BB ratio.

Who we could have avoided signing to a massive contract if he had actually panned out? Todd Walker.

 

#8. CF Felix Pie (signed out of the Dominican Republic #72 overall prospect in 2003)

2002 - .314/.379/.558 between rookie and low A ball

MLB Stats - .249/.298/.374 in 1,051 PA

What happened?  Pie was a child in 2002, yet had scouts drooling with his hit/speed tools.  Honestly, I'd say out of this entire list he wound up to be the most hyped... and the most disappointing out of these prospects even though he far and away had the most "successful" MLB career (meaning that his great tools got him the most at-bats despite his shit performance).  The Cubs soured on him pretty quick and sent him for Garrett Olson (who was traded for Aaron Heilman) and Pie joined Corey Patterson as toolsy Cubs outfielders who sucked and were traded to Baltimore and sucked there too. For a while, it looked like he would at least be 4th outfielder, but last I heard he was a member of the Long Island Ducks where he is more likely to get punched out by Big Z than get a call to the majors.  His career was derailed by a high strikeout rate and general lack of plate discipline/power.

Who we could have avoided signing to a massive contract if he had panned out: David DeJesus.

 

#9. LHP Felix Sanchez (signed out of the DR)

2002 - 6-6 4.15 ERA 101 K in 119 IP

MLB - 10.80 ERA in 1.1 IP

What happened? My first reaction upon seeing Sanchez on this list: who?  I had heard of all the other guys because they were all either hyped or at the very least consistent performers in the minors.  I guess Sanchez must have had lively stuff because his numbers in the minors were nothing spectacular.  I guess this could just be an indication of how awful their system was that this guy was on the list.  He wound up being traded to the Tigers for nothing and only made three major league appearances.

Who we could have avoided signing if he had panned out: Who cares?  This guy blows.

 

#10. LHP Steve Smyth (4th round draft pick in 1999)

2002 - 1-3 9.35 ERA in 8 MLB appearances (7 starts) 7-6 4.24 ERA in AA and AAA

MLB - See above.

What happened?  Another sign of the shit farm system at the time, Smyth was even then considered a marginal prospect and his only notable MLB moment was giving up Barry Bonds' 599th home run when he was pressed into service because, wow, that rotation in 2002 was AWFUL.  I'm only surprised that he didn't stick as a LOOGY.  Was eventually traded to the Braves with Juan Cruz for a bucket of baseballs and a couple scrubs.  Never made it to baseball other than those 8 appearances in 2002.

Who we could have avoided signing if he had panned out? John Gaub.

 

 

And that's the list.  Mondo depresso



#8 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 06:44 AM

I saw Pie earlier this year. He is playing for AAA Indianapolis Indians. He still looked over matched against Daisuke Matsuzaka who happened to be pitching for the visiting team (I forget who it was). He still is pretty fast though. Pie is currently sporting a hefty .235 OBP for the Indians. Again that is his OBP for AAA when he is 28 years old. Seriously, what did they see in this guy?


"It's not the dress that makes you look fat, it's the fat that makes you look fat." - Al Bundy

 

"Ow" - Dylan Bundy


#9 fromthemitten

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 01:28 PM

Ah, you're right he was with the Ducks last season.  Crazy enough, Pie hit for the cycle in 2009.



#10 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:30 PM

Ah, you're right he was with the Ducks last season.  Crazy enough, Pie hit for the cycle in 2009.


A story about the sun and a dogs ass comes to mind with that one.

"It's not the dress that makes you look fat, it's the fat that makes you look fat." - Al Bundy

 

"Ow" - Dylan Bundy


#11 fromthemitten

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 10:34 PM

Honestly out of most of these guys I'm most disappointed by Guzman's injuries.  His stuff was electric.



#12 ced landrum

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 10:32 AM

 

 

#2 - IF/OF David Kelton (2nd round draft pick in 1998.  #45th overall prospect in 2002)

2002 - .261/.332/.462 20 HR 17 Errors committed in AA

MLB Stats - .136/.136/.227 in 22 AB

What happened?  David Kelton was Josh Vitters before Josh Vitters.  A relatively high draft pick with a solid bat but poor glove at 3B.  After mangling 1B in AA, Kelton moved into the outfield, but he didn't hit for enough power in the offensively tuned PCL to justify his poor glove and was out of the Cubs organization by 2005.

Who could we have avoided signing to a massive contract if he had panned out?  Jeromy Burnitz.  Jacques Jones.  Ultimately Milton Bradley.

 

Kelton was moved off of third at first because of a shoulder issue, not because of poor play.  He played 1st that year in AA. The next year he moved back to first, but never felt comfortable there because of the shoulder and asked to be moved off the bag. 

 

He was a bit like Vitters, good athlete for the most part, great swing(2 of the sweetest I have seen), never as much power as you expect.  Kelton actually could be patient though.  



#13 fromthemitten

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:30 PM

He had a .887 fielding percentage in the minors at third.  The shoulder issue may have contributed to it, but that's not going to slide even in the minors.






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