Cubs Prospect Notes: More Pitchers for Instructs, Rivas Flexibility, International Performance, More | Bleacher Nation

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Cubs Prospect Notes: More Pitchers for Instructs, Rivas Flexibility, International Performance, More

Chicago Cubs

Cubs prospects continue to get after it in Arizona and the Dominican Republic in instructional ball, and a handful of others are playing internationally.

Some of the latest from around the Cubs prospect space, including more pitchers officially joining the Instructional League:

There’s something systematic going on here with the Cubs, as McAvene (3rd), Clarke (4th), Burgmann (5th), and Herz (8th) were all top ten pitching picks for the Cubs in the 2019 draft, with the first three hard-throwers coming out of college. If I had to guess, the Cubs were doing a particular pitching program with these guys over the course of the summer – their first full summer as pros – and then transitioned them, together, to the Instructional League roster at the same time to get them a few competitive appearances each. When you have only so many organized games to go around, you have to be systematic.

Speaking of instructs, Arizona Phil at The Cub Reporter is where you’re going to see the only limited reports (why this isn’t something the Cubs and Marquee want to try to have some fun with, I don’t really understand). So thanks to Phil and TCR for giving us SOMETHING to discuss:

I also like to see Alfonso Rivas getting more time in the outfield to open up some bench opportunities for him in the future. The first baseman the Cubs acquired from the A’s last offseason in the Tony Kemp trade, Rivas has been a guy who projected to have a usable MLB bat, but probably not as a starter at first base. And, particularly in an organization with Anthony Rizzo, a first-base-only guy without a super-elite bat is of pretty limited value. But the Cubs acquired Rivas for a reason, presumably knowing full well that they’d like him to see more time in the outfield to see if he can handle a little versatility.

I really wish we’d gotten a year of his at bats to see if the improvement he showed over the course of 2019 would carry forward. Hopefully not too much was lost over this past year – in the limited sample of stats we have from instructs, Rivas seems to be hitting just fine this fall.

Looking ahead, Todd at Cubs Central considers Cubs prospects who may skip a level after the pandemic lost season:

It’s not just that a year has gone by and some guys will have seen enough development time to justify “skipping” a level from 2019 to 2021, but it’s also the fact that no short-season Low-A leagues anymore will reduce the ability to have a landing spot for the younger players who might not quite be ready for full-season Low-A. That, in turn, will mean that many of those guys could just start out right away in full-season ball, pushing others up to High-A, and so on and so forth.

That said, we still have to wait to know the precise contours of the minor league system before we can even think about who plays where … and that assumes there are normal minor league seasons next year, which is far from a certainty.

Internationally, some guys to check out:

We talked about Eddy Julio Martinez’s hot start in Mexico this weekend, but how about Juan Gamez? Recall, he was the signing out of Mexico (former Twins prospect) who was surprisingly included on the Alternate Site roster thanks to his exceptional sinker. Looks like he still has that pitch. Gamez is Rule 5 eligible this year, though it’s pretty hard to predict whether he’d be selected on the basis of his performance in Mexico since he didn’t get a look with the Cubs in 2020 despite their bullpen size and shuffling.

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.