Cubs Minor League Daily: Playoffs, All Stars, Tebow, and a Cuban Outfielder

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Playoffs, All Stars, Tebow, and a Cuban Outfielder

Chicago Cubs

A former college quarterback who couldn’t stick in the NFL named Tim Tebow, probably more famous now for ESPN’s outlandish overhyping of him than anything he actually accomplished as a professional athlete, decided that he would come back to baseball after a decade long layoff. A large number of teams sent scouts (amateur scouts probably do have some time on their hands this time of year) to watch Tebow perform in a carefully managed and controlled workout. Believe it or not, the results managed to underwhelm my already low expectations.

Per Twitter sources among others (Baseball America has a very good write up) who were there, Tebow’s extreme athleticism did not translate into speed (graded out as average), arm strength (maybe average), or defensive ability in the outfield (suspect at best). He showed some good raw power with a coach lobbing him balls, but then again we’ve seen high school kids hit balls out of stadiums in that scenario. When facing a real pitcher, David Aardsma made him look foolish against some changeups. Aardsma, who hasn’t pitched in the majors in a while, isn’t exactly known for his change up. He’s thrown 64 as a pro and just three in the past six years. Suffice it to say Tebow wasn’t exactly facing Kyle Hendricks out there.

So where does that leave us? Average speed, average arm, and defensive questions tickets him for left field at best, and first base or DH at worst. Not hitting live pitching for a decade puts him at an extreme developmental disadvantage, and it is fair to wonder if he will ever be able to work his way back from that lack of experience. The power could be good (one scout was rumored to drop an 80 on his raw power – doubtful, given that is Stanton territory with little company), but power only applies if the batter can hit the ball. He needs to prove he can hit. It sounds like he would like to go to the Arizona Fall League, but I suspect he would be badly embarrassed by the pitching in that prospect show case (might be true if he takes the offer to play in the Venezuelan Winter League, too). A season of instructional ball is a safer bet, but honestly I think he’d be smarter to sign with an independent league until he’s proven he can hit professional pitching of any level.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Nashville 8, Iowa 2
Rivero turned in another pretty good outing.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 5, Birmingham 3
A three-run eighth was provided by a Happ three-run homer.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 1, Lynchburg 0 in eleven innings.
If you like pitching duels, this was the game for you.

Low A: South Bend Cubs

South Bend had the day off.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Eugene 7, Tri-City 5
Another day, another record for franchise wins in a season.

Rookie: Arizona Cubs
Mariners 4, Cubs 0
The AZL playoffs are one and done, so the Cubs’ season is over.

Other Notes

  • A Cuban outfielder the Cubs could sign has left the island to pursue a major league contract. Jose Adolis Garcia, 24, has the speed and arm to handle center field at the highest level, and he has experience playing professionally in Cuba as well as in high level international competitions. There are some swing and miss concerns with his bat, but we seem to have those same concerns with pretty much every hitter to come out of Cuba these days. The Cubs are loaded with outfield talent right now, so Garcia would be attractive simply from a ‘you can never have too much talent’ standpoint. It will take some time before he is cleared to sign, but he will not be subject to signing restrictions once that clearance arrives.
  • Two Tennessee Smokies, Chesny Young and Victor Caratini, have been named to the Southern League Postseason All-Star team. Young has played all over the diamond this year, and that has allowed Tennessee to keep his excellent contact-driven bat in the lineup. He doesn’t have a ton power or great speed (although he does pick up quite a few steals), but his ability to just hit could carry him to a major league bench role in a few years. Caratini, on the other hand, looks like a near lock to be a very solid backup catcher perhaps as soon as next September. His bat and his glove both look better every time I see them.
  • Myrtle Beach, winners of eight straight, have set a new club record for wins in August at 22.
  • Isaac Paredes, the 17 year old shortstop for Arizona, was noted in a playoff preview article on the Arizona Rookie League. Currently ranked 37th on the Top 40, Paredes is a guy who could start to appear on more ranking lists now that he has some additional visibility. Once he establishes himself against more advanced pitching, he could move up the rankings in a hurry.
  • This summary on Cease is pleasant reading indeed:

Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.