Rumors and trades (well, one trade?) are the order of the day, obviously, but there is still a lot to get into on the Cubs prospect front …
- Among a number of minor league items from Marquee, we get our first update on Ed Howard after his hip surgery earlier this year, via Farm Director Jared Banner: “He’s heading to Arizona next week. He’s walking now and he’ll start his rehab process a little more formally with us at our complex.” Barely two months out from a major hip injury and surgery, I love to hear that Howard is walking around now, and is already ready to go to Arizona to rehab at the Cubs’ facilities. Your dream scenario – in addition to a full recovery where Howard maintains his quick twitch and doesn’t lose the progress he was making at the plate – is that he can get into baseball activities in some way this fall/winter, but that might be too ambitious (we kinda know nothing about the projected timetable here). Otherwise, you’d just look for him to hopefully have a normal Spring Training next year.
- If I told you there was an outfielder at Double-A who going bonkers at the plate, you would assume I was talking about Alexander Canario. And, hey, that would be an accurate description of what he’s doing. But that’s not the guy I’m talking about at this moment. I’m talking about Yonathan Perlaza, the switch-hitting outfielder who is not only raking in July, but is hitting .284/.387/.543/144 wRC+ (14.1% BB, 20.8% K) going all the way back to May 5.
- The 23-year-old former international bonus baby is Rule 5 eligible after this season, and I’d call him one of the many close cases. On the one hand, he’s hitting so well, he can play capable defense around the outfield, and he’s a switch-hitter. On the other hand, a team taking a position player straight from Double-A to the big league roster in the Rule 5 seems sooooo unlikely to work out. Cubs will have a lot of tough choices.
- Oh, but about Canario, here’s what Banner had to say about the absurd stretch of results (Marquee): “He’s just making really good swing decisions,” Banner said. “Whenever he makes contact, he does a ton of damage. He’s really strong and creates a ton of exit velo. He’s just doing a great job. He’s hot as can be right now and he’s trending up. It’s not just a hot streak. He’s doing everything better and better each month and we’re really excited to see that. This is the player we envisioned when we traded for him.”
- Speaking of scorching hot outfielders (there are so many … ), Narciso Crook is back on one:
- Since May 11, Crook is hitting .309/.382/.629/163 wRC+. We talk about wanting to get regular starts in the big leagues for Nelson Velazquez after the Trade Deadline, but I sure would like to see Crook get in there somehow, too. Maybe even ahead of Jackson Frazier.
- At long last, Jake Washer gets the promotion to Double-A after he pulled a Jake Slaughter and suddenly became unstoppable (must be a Jake thing). Richard Gallardo gets the bump to High-A in conjunction:
- Through nearly 200 PAs at High-A, Washer was hitting .300/.365/.606/162 wRC+. There are two big caveats: (1) the strikeout rate is an alarming 27.5%, and (2) he’s already 26. On the latter one, you can soften it a bit by noting that the pandemic year basically aged every prospect a year beyond where you might otherwise expect them, and also, catchers do sometimes develop much later with the bat.
- Slaughter, by the way, is up to 193 plate appearances at Double-A, and he’s still hitting: .319/.420/.594/165 wRC+. At some point, he’s gotta get a look at Triple-A.
- Tough initial outings at Double-A for Jordan Wicks and D.J. Herz, but hey, that’s part of the process, eh? Wicks has mostly been burned by the long ball in his two outings, and Herz got pitch-counted out of the game after just one out. Wonder if he was just a little too amped up, and since we know he’s got that complicated delivery (with some wildness baked in), it probably spiraled a bit. Hopefully he settles in his next one.
- Kinda figured this would be the range of the required bonus on Nazier Mulé – Cubs are big fans of the upside in that arm, clearly:
- And an expectedly over slot deal for Luis Rujano:
- If the Cubs don’t do any more over slot deals among the remaining players, they’d have just about $3 million to spend on second round pick Jackson Ferris. I don’t have any worries there (even if they failed to sign him, they could use the remaining overage – roughly $1.3 million – to entice one of those later round prep arms, and they would get a replacement pick in roughly the same spot next year).
- Overshadowed by the big name in Cristian Hernández and the big results in Moises Ballesteros, don’t forget about last year’s DSL player of the year for the Cubs:
- “High-A is hard, man”:
- Jeremiah Estrada hasn’t really struggled after the bump from High-A to Double-A, and I do wonder if he’s going to see a little time at Iowa before the season is up (he’s Rule 5 eligible):
- Imagine this happening immediately after you signed your top pick, second overall in the draft – feel terrible for Jones:
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