A few Chicago Cubs prospect items …
- Always fun to peruse – emphasis on fun, rather than predictive – the instructional league stats provided by Arizona Phil at TCR. That there is the advanced group, and it looks like Victor Caratini and Chesny Young continued to see the ball well after they finished the year strong at Myrtle Beach. Duane Underwood really cranked up the strikeouts, which makes me wonder a bit what he was working on. Although he missed a chunk of time with an elbow issue this year, Underwood remains among the Cubs’ highest upside starters in the system, and, while you’re not seeing tons of strikeouts yet in the lower minors, that’s partly due to the way the Cubs are bringing him along. The stuff is very, very good.
- Bonus in that TCR post: scroll down to the comments for a long take from Phil on how the Cubs’ development program has changed dramatically in the last few years.
- And speaking of that, this Baseball America piece takes you inside the Cubs’ instructional camp, with a specific discussion of Donnie Dewees’ speed and how he’s trying to utilize it more. Also, some love for Dylan Cease’s stuff.
- Over at BP, Mauricio Rubio looked at the AFL and winter league performances from the weekend, and noted Jeimer Candelario’s potentially big bat (though he’s not sold on the glove at third base). He also discusses some of the lesser-discussed Willson Contreras skills: the requisite athleticism to stay behind the plate, and “borderline elite” baserunning ability.
- Arismendy Alcantara is playing in the Dominican Winter League again this year, and has a few hits (including two doubles) in the early going. It was an extremely rough 2015 for the guy who really broke out in 2013 and 2014. From his ugly start in the bigs in 2015 to his .231/.285/.399 campaign at Iowa, it’s hard to know where Alcantara and the Cubs go from here. He’s turning 24 later this month, so there’s still time, and he does bring defensive and baserunning value. But if he can’t figure out the contact woes against off-speed pitches, he won’t be able to contribute meaningfully in the big leagues. Hopefully he finds success this offseason in the DWL, and can rebound early next year at Iowa, potentially factoring into the Cubs’ bench picture again in the second half of 2016, or developing into a trade chip.
- Although not technically about prospects, BA notes just how young the Cubs’ big league team was this year, and how many teams in recent years compare (surprise: there aren’t many).