Prospect Notes: Jimenez, Candelario, Zagunis, Almora, More

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Prospect Notes: Jimenez, Candelario, Zagunis, Almora, More

Chicago Cubs

cubs azl spring training logoYour latest round of notes involving Chicago Cubs prospects, including a huge breakdown of a number of expected minor league assignments …

  • Let’s do that right up front, actually. Ashley Marshall is an MLB writer and photographer who spent some time with Cubs execs in advance of a minor league Cubs preview, which should be hitting on March 31. In advance of that, Marshall shared approximately one billion interesting things about Cubs prospects on Twitter – far too many to embed here. So, your first step is to go to Marshall’s Twitter page, and scroll through the many Cubs-related bits. It’s a bounty.
  • Among the notes with some of my thoughts: (1) Despite playing at rookie ball last year, there’s a chance that Eloy Jimenez breaks camp with full-season Low-A South Bend (together with Gleyber Torres, who will be there). Jimenez, just 18, was beset by injuries last year, but is a physical specimen – if his bat can handle a really serious test at Sought Bend, then, man, watch out; (2) the Cubs are still deciding whether C.J. Edwards will be at AA to open the year or AAA; (3) Kyle Schwarber will start at AA (confirmed by Theo Epstein during last night’s broadcast), as will Albert Almora; (4) Mark Zagunis is expected to start at High-A Myrtle Beach, and could see a lot of time in the outfield (because he came in as a catcher, but with so much athleticism, I take that move to mean that the Cubs are really high on his bat, and don’t want to slow him down to make him strictly a catcher); (5) Billy McKinney could be at Myrtle Beach or Tennessee; and (6) Gioskar Amaya is now officially a catcher, and will start the year at South Bend. There’s quite a bit more in there, so give Marshall a look and a follow.
  • And one embedded tweet, because it’s awesome:

  • A couple Cubs prospects showed up in the latest BP writeup from back field observations. Tucker Blair said that Jeimer Candelario’s swing “has improved,” and he’s got the ability to spread the ball around. Blair also noted Eloy Jimenez’s “loud contact,” which, having seen him, myself, in relation to the other players in camp – yes, there’s a difference.
  • A profile on the “Core Four”* member who doesn’t get much play these days, Albert Almora. There’s a lot of discussion, and quotes from Almora, about his process of working through too much aggressiveness at the plate. Almora thinks that it just didn’t sink in for him last year, as he struggled to adjust to the approach the Cubs were urging (swing only if a pitch is really, truly drivable early in the count). But now, he thinks he’s got it, and it is “phenomenal.” Here’s hoping. That seems to be how it played out for Starlin Castro – a very similar player at the plate – in 2013 and then 2014 when he was tasked with making these kinds of changes. Maybe that means Almora really will break out offensively this year. And, boy, if he does? With that glove in center field?
  • Bernie Pleskoff with a take on a number of near-to-the-majors or in-the-majors Cubs prospects.

*(Apparently the reference here, or my intentions for it, are lost on some. “Core Four” was the name given to Almora, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, and Kris Bryant during a brief window of time when they were the big four prospects in the Cubs’ system (I preferred the less sing-songy “Big Four”). The Cubs even used that term themselves. I am referencing that as an allusion to the fact that things are very different now, partly because Almora isn’t thought of that way anymore. But maybe he will be again.)

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.