Prospect Notes: Edwards, Vogelbach, Shoulders, All-Stars, Promotions

A handful of items as we await Jorge Soler’s and Albert Almora’s new level debuts today …

  • C.J. Edwards is back! Well, he’s pitching in competitive games, at least. After missing a few months with (non-structural) shoulder issues, Edwards took the mound last night for the AZL Cubs in Mesa, throwing two innings, allowing no runs, one hit, one walk, and striking out two. Most importantly, he felt good:
  • Hopefully we’ll see Edwards back at AA Tennessee for at least a few outings at the end of the year. From there, the Cubs have hinted that he’s a candidate for the Arizona Fall League – usually not the place to find top pitching prospects, but when you’ve got a guy who could use some innings against high-level competition, that’s where you look.
  • A profile on Dan Vogelbach, who went deep twice yesterday, and who continues to adjust to the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. After a slow start, Vogelbach is hitting .272/.359/.433, which is actually quite good for the FSL (.365 wOBA, 129 wRC+). His 11.5% BB rate and 16.5% K rate are excellent, and, since May 24 (totally arbitrary endpoint, but whatever), he’s at .294/.388/.515. In sum, at 21, Vogelbach is very much still on the prospect radar. A guy like him, with a future at first base or DH has to hit like the dickens to stay relevant. So far, so good.
  • Speaking of 1B/DH prospects at High-A Daytona who have to hit like the dickens to stay relevant, Rock Shoulders came in for some praise at BP earlier this week. The take: “Shoulders has struggled in the Florida State League this season against pitchers with a more advanced plan to attack the holes in his swing. Still, the power is very much intact, and his home run on Monday got out of the park before Shoulders had even left the batter’s box. He’s patient and looks for his pitch to hit, but he can be exploited on the inner half and struggles with decent breaking stuff once he’s behind in the count. He’s also not a left fielder, though he’s playing there some of the time. A massively built human being with some of the strongest legs I’ve ever seen, Shoulders will have to make adjustments quickly to continue to get at-bats in a stacked Cubs farm system, but his power potential remains enticing.” On the year, Shoulders, 22, is hitting .220/.324/.388 with a 13.5% BB rate … but a 30.7% K rate. That ain’t gonna fly.
  • You already knew it, but BA wrote it up and made a video: Kris Bryant has overtaken Javier Baez as the Cubs’ top prospect.
  • The Boise Hawks got six Northwest League All-Stars: outfielders Jeffrey Baez and Rashad Crawford, catchers Justin Marra and Mark Zagunis, infielder Danny Canela, and pitcher Trevor Clifton. That’s a lot of All-Stars, but given the size of the league, that’s actually about average. But cool nonetheless.
  • In case you missed the outfielder promotion cascade that happened, it saw Jorge Soler bumped up to AAA, Albert Almora taking Soler’s place at AA, Jacob Hannemann taking Almora’s place at High-A, Jeffrey Baez taking Hannemann’s place at Low-A, and Charcer Burks taking Baez’s place at Short-Season Low-A.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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