Cubs Prospect Notes: Howard, Quintero, Hearn, Instructs, Rule 5, Minor League Re-Signings, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Howard, Quintero, Hearn, Instructs, Rule 5, Minor League Re-Signings, More

Chicago Cubs

Got a variety of Chicago Cubs prospect and minor league notes to offer up today …

•   MLB Pipeline and Jim Callis had a check-in with the prospects at Instructional League for the Cubs:

•   Among others there, it’s the first real organized baseball activity in the organization for last year’s/this year’s top IFA signing, catcher Ronnier Quintero, where he’s working alongside Ethan Hearn, who was the top prep catcher in the 2019 draft:

A year ago, Chicago landed both the best high school catcher in the Draft (Ethan Hearn, a sixth-rounder who signed for $950,000) and the top backstop on the international market (Ronnier Quintero, who inked for $2.9 million out of Venezuela). They haven’t been on the field much yet; Hearn played just 23 games last summer after turning pro and Quintero hasn’t made his debut.

Hearn is more advanced than Quintero because he’s two years older and had access to facilities to get more work done during the layoff this summer. The Cubs have liked what they’ve seen from their young catchers in Mesa.

“Hearn has been great,” Dorey said. “He came in in really good shape, very strong and he’s always been athletic. He’s taking good at-bats, receiving really well and has quieted down behind the plate.

“Ronnier has a really sweet swing. We’ve backed him off from a lot of game action because we’ve had him on a throwing program because he hasn’t played a lot of competitive baseball since last summer.”

•   Dorey says that this year’s top pick Ed Howard is now looking a whole lot stronger than when he was being scouted (that tracks with some of the video we’ve seen of Howard looking beefed up from this summer). Outfield prospect Cole Roederer comes in for some love, and Dorey says the key has been getting him not to sell out for pull-side power. (More or less exactly what Bryan identified back in January as the big need for Roederer.)

•   Also, Callis confirms in there that top pitching prospects Kohl Franklin, Ryan Jensen, and Burl Carraway (to name three) did go to Arizona to get in work, even if they didn’t officially participate in Instructional League games. Lot more good stuff in there from MLB Pipeline.

•   Using Arizona Phil’s Instructional League box scores at TCR, FullCountTommy on Twitter has been tabulating stats for the prospects there. To be sure, Phil’s stats are not precise, and we’re talking about INSTRUCTIONAL LEAGUE. There’s really only a bit of fun that you can have with these, rather than absolutely taking away firm info. So, for what little it’s worth, the guys who’ve really been raking: 2019 second rounder Chase Strumpf, 2020 undrafted free agent Matt Mervis (would’ve been drafted in a normal draft), first base prospect Alfonso Rivas, former bonus baby Yonathan Perlaza, and 2020 third rounder Jordan Nwogu.

•   Bryan combining some minor league free agent news into a rough depth chart:

•   Among Jonathan Mayo’s recent inbox answers, he shared his perspective on the Rule 5 Draft this year, and how it could be surprisingly light, rather than active:

But even finding big league contributors, the long reliever or the utility guy, requires having scouted those players. Remember, when you take a guy in the Rule 5 Draft, he has to stick on your big league roster or get offered back to the original team. So having recent reports on players is kind of crucial.

That, obviously, is not possible now since there was no Minor League Baseball in 2020. Perhaps there’s some shared video from alternate sites and a few weeks of scouting at instructs this fall, but that’s it. How many teams are going to take the chance on adding a big league player without much data? The flip side of this is how teams are going to decide on whether to protect a player, but at least they have a closer relationship with each player than other teams trying to evaluate options.

There were 11 players taken in the Major League phase of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft. I’m not going to speak for MLB Pipeline as a whole, but I’m pretty sure most of us would take the under in terms of how many players get selected in this year’s edition.

•   I trust Mayo’s research on this, and it’s not like the $100,000 fee to make a pick is nothing. You just wonder, though, with teams crunched on their budgets, might many of them love to pick up guys on the cheap whom they “have” to keep on the big league roster? I guess we’ll see. The deadline to roster guys to protect them from the Rule 5 is November 20, and the Cubs don’t have as many tough decisions as years past.

•   Juan Gamez continues to turn heads in Mexico:

•   Gamez has a truly extreme sinker, and thus doesn’t strike anyone out, but has also been pretty impossible to hit in Mexico.

•   Some pictures to enjoy:

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.