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Member Since 12 Aug 2013
Offline Last Active Apr 18 2014 01:30 PM

#53351 So, positives?

Posted by jkppkj on 21 August 2013 - 12:38 PM

Its been a tough year, so positives are tough to really talk about on the major league club.  To please to topic, I'll start with the small things.


Nate Scheirholtz.  Gotta be honest, thought this guy was a bottom feeding, lifetime bench player at best.  I'll call him a nice surprise.


Kevin Gregg's hot streak.  Now he looks shitty, but his 15+ great appearances is something to see in a positive light on a likely 95-100 loss team.


Soriano--oh wait...


Junior Lake's little run.  Cooled off then picked up again the other day.


Sadly that's about it.  I thought about Travis Wood, but he's been so average lately.  Overall starting pitching?  I guess that can be a positive.


Otherwise, I agree with Salami regarding the current direction of the team.  I have absolutely ZERO problem with restocking the farm system and building a nice little core there.  I have a gigantic problem with the 3rd highest revenue generating team intentionally tanking seasons for the sake of putting all the eggs in the farm system basket--and the McDonalds and Hotel-to-be.


I get a lot of fans are excited about the farm players like Baez, Bryant, Soler, Pierce, Almora, CJ Edwards, Vogelbomb, etc.; I am for the ones who make it and stick around. But we all gotta remember some things here.  Not every prospect makes it, in fact we should consider ourselves lucky if 2-3 of these guys make it.  Hello--Kansas City Royals with Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakis, Luke Hoechevar, Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, and right now, looks like SS prospect Christian Colon is about to join them.  Need more examples?  I'll be happy to show it.


What would I have done?  Well--there's no guarantee it'd be a playoff team, but I would never have traded Cashner for Rizzo, signed Prince Fielder, CJ Wilson, and Nick Swisher for starters.  


Its easy to play revisionist historian here, but I sincerely dont give a shit if the Daytona Cubs win the championship, because that banner wont fly in Wrigley.  I want to see the team now win.  


I understand the building process, I just dont like it because I know the team will lose and understand that prospects are essentially lottery tickets.  When you win, you win big.  But you're going to lose a lot more than you win with prospects.  My highest hopes are for Baez, Bryant, Pierce Johnson and CJ Edwards......but even then I'm half-empty until I see them in the bigs.


It's just as easy to cite prospects who've made as those who haven't.  There are some rose-colored glasses folks who think that Almora, Baez, Rizzo, Lake, Bryant, Soler etc will all be All-Stars during the 2015 World Series run, but I think they are the exception not the rule.


There is real value in the farm system at the moment, whether it ends up busting, developing or being traded for value remains to be seen.


At this point I think Cashner for Rizzo is pretty uninspiring on both sides.  Cashner has a lot of velocity, but putting up a near 4.00 ERA while pitching mostly at Petco Park in close to 200 innings is nothing exciting, he's performed a bit below average.  Rizzo is really slumping and there is plenty of reason to be concerned about his hitting, click here for a piece that is particularly depressing about his hitting. I'd say both have shown flashes, neither have wowed.  I'd give a slight edge to Cashner at this point.


I think Travis Wood has been a nice positive, but not in a "there's a cornerstone of the rotation" sort of way, but rather as a solid middle of the rotation guy.  There is a good amount of organizational depth for starters too, and some credit is due to Epstein/Hoyer on that front in light of the fact that in the season before they took over Doug Davis, Rodrigo Lopez, and Ramon Ortiz had to be brought of a cryogenic storage to fill out the rotation.  


I agree that signing Fielder would have been very nice, and having Cashner in the rotation instead of Rusin would bring a whole lot more confidence and upside than Rusin.  


This offseason will tell us a lot about what this organization wants to do.  The roster lacks bonafide impact players, and I'd like to see them acquire one or two.  


I'm curious who Salami would like to see signed.  Cano? Ellsbury? Choo? McCann? Abreu? Pence? Santana? Beltran? Garza?


I'm in favor of pursuing Pence, Abreu, McCann, Ellsbury and Choo.  Obviously there would be no reason to sign them all, but each would upgrade the roster. 


I'm sure folks will give the Abreu doesn't fit with Rizzo, and Ellsbury or Choo would block Almora/Soler, and why McCann when Castillo looks like a solid option.  All of the "blocked" prospects and incompatible pieces are not proven impact players.  If any of those guys can be had a reasonable price they should be signed.  Having a surplus of talent with value is not a problem that I find particularly concerning.

#52808 Fun with Prospect Rankings

Posted by jkppkj on 12 August 2013 - 05:33 PM

So, I think it's clear the only thing that it's possible to be excited about for the Cubs this season is the improvement of how the minor league talent is rated.  


With that said, it's not hard to come up with a pessimistic statement like:


"Great, we've got 5 of the top 100 prospects, so possibly we could be putting players out on the field in 3 years who are as good as Felix Pie, Kevin Orie, Corey Patterson, Hee-Sop Choi, and Brooks Kieshnick"


Right now MLB.com has 5 Cubs prospects listed in their top 100, and while I don't think they'll all end up being All-Stars, I can't bring myself to live in a world where they all end up being Kevin Orie or Felix Pie.


So, I wondered, what if instead of thinking how bad it could be, what can I find out about what 5 top 100 prospects tend to turn into?


I started with the rankings from MLB.com for their top 100 and took a look on baseballcube to see what the group of players ranked at those spots looks like from recent history.  The teams in parentheses are the organization the prospect was with that year.


*Sorry the editor was showing a table here that I cut and pasted from word, for now it's a list by ranking following the order shown.




2013 mlb.com







Javier Baez

Carlos Santana – C (MIN)

Neftali Feliz – P (TEX)

David Price – P (TB)

Andrew Miller – P (DET)



Albert Almora

Casey Kelly – P (BOS)

Eric Homser – 1B (KC)

Nick Adenhart – P (LAA)

Clayton Kershaw – P (LAD)



Jorge Soler

Michael Taylor – OF (OAK)

Jarrod Parker – P (ARI)

Adam Miller – P (CLE)

Colby Rasmus – OF (STL)



Kris Bryant

Mike Montgomery – P (KC)

Aaron Hicks – OF (MIN)

Reid Brignac – SS (TB)

Adam Lind – 1B (TOR)



Mike Olt

Kyle Gibson – P (MIN)

Dayan Viciedo – OF (CWS)

Neil Walker – 2B (PIT)

Erick Aybar – SS (LAA)



This is, of course, all highly unscientific and proves nothing.  However, I think it provides a better frame of reference for what might be as opposed to memories of Felix Pie.


Besides proving that I have way too much time on hands, here are a couple of my observations:


2007 -


Andrew Miller is an interesting case.  He's been fairly effective out of the pen for Boston the last two seasons (3.04 ERA in 71 IP) who is now on the 60 day DL.  He's not exactly something to build a franchise around but he was however, part of the trade that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit, and that is the value that the Tigers were able to leverage out of him as a prospect.  I certainly wouldn't say that I expect the Cubs to be able to package one or a couple of theses prospects into a trade that will net the best hitter in the game, but having a lot of good prospects allows a team to go out and make those big trades.


As a group the guys from 2007 would make for quite a nice core, in terms of bWAR they add up to 12.4 this year (Aybar 1.0, Lind 0.9, Rasmus 3.8, Kershaw 6.2, Miller 0.5) and collectively have already compiled a Cy Young (Kershaw), Gold Glove (Aybar) and Silver Slugger (Lind).


2008 -


Adam Miller is in the Yankees system at 28 years of age, still waiting for his first cup of coffee.  Brignac is a .221 hitter in 763 ABs across 6 seasons with the Yankees, Rays and Rockies.  And we'll never know what Nick Adenhart could have been.  Price is obviously a perennial Cy Young candidate and Walker is a reliable but not stellar option at second.  I think a yield of one superstar and a solid position player is not bad at all, even with the three "busts"


2009 -


As a group is interesting, what you have is Feliz trying to come back from a major injury, and 4 young guys getting regular playing time who aren't necessarily disappointing, but none of whom is exactly tearing it up.  As a group they could be a nice young nucleus to try and build from.




Now we get to where the jury is definitely still out on guys.  Casey Kelley was traded by the Red Sox to the Padres as part of the Adrian Gonzalez deal and is not pitching this year after Tommy John surgery, Mike Montgomery is pitching for Tampa's AAA affiliate and has numbers that don't look impressive, he was on top 100 prospect lists at the start of '10. '11, and '12 but not this year.   Kyle Gibson has made 8 starts this year for the Twins with a 6.43 ERA.  MIchael Taylor is 27 and has a .135 batting average in 74 MLB at bats, so it might be time to call him a bust.  Finally, we have Carlos Santana who's pretty good hitting catcher.  This may be the least encouraging, but least relevant group to look at as all of the Cubs top prospects are position players and we're talking about 3 pitchers here.




Out of the position players I would say more than half of them have "made it" in the bigs.


My thinking is that 2-3 of these guys will be solid or impact players for the Cubs, my money would be on Baez and Almora.

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