There is a lot to get into from the Cubs prospect world today …
- A profile at FanGraphs on Matt Mervis, talking about how power – for him – is a byproduct of being a good hitter and doing the other things he wants to do (make contact, hit the ball hard). You’re going to love this quote, even if just for funsies:
“I try to be simple,” Mervis said when asked about his mechanics. “I have a pretty balanced stance with my hands in front of my shoulder. I kind of model my stance off of Rizzo and [Kyle] Schwarber when they were with the Cubs. With my swing, I just think ‘flat’ and try to be in the zone for a long time. Obviously, while I think flat, it’s not actually straight across the zone — it’s got a little tilt — but again, I don’t think about it too much. I just take my natural swing and try to drive the baseball.”
- I don’t necessarily see much Rizzo or Schwarber in Mervis’s swing but it’s fun that he’s modeled his stance after them, because there have been times when those two had a very similar stances (Schwarber has tweaked his a whole lot over the years). Maybe it’s a pre-swing setup that works well for big and strong lefties (Mervis is more physically like Rizzo than Schwarber), and I DEFINITELY think Mervis could do a lot worse than modeling his approach after Anthony Rizzo. (A bit ironic, given this morning’s discussion that bringing back Rizzo in free agency would probably block Mervis.)
- Alexander Canario has been playing center field for his team in the Dominican Republic:
- There’s not a great view of it because the focus is the batter, but the center fielder in this clip is also Canario:
- We don’t get to highlight the good stuff without noting the bad, so I expect that was probably a bad decision to dive. Good to learn, I suppose. You will probably also note in the first clip that Canario’s first several steps are back, on a ball that winds up being extremely shallow. I don’t think there’s a whole lot you can learn from two clips – at least not compared to the fact that these are highly competitive professional leagues, and Canario’s team clearly feels he is their best option in center field – but it’s something to check out.
- For what it’s worth, the prevailing scouting wisdom coming into this past season was the Canario was playable in center field, but that his best long-term position would probably be right field (the same description is often applied to Brennen Davis). I’m sticking to my perspective that, if a Cubs outfield prospect comes up in the early part of 2023 to contribute in center field – either because there’s an injury, or because the Cubs have a mere place-holding glove-first guy in center – it’s most likely to be Canario.
- Keith Law held a chat after his recent prospecting notes from the Arizona Fall League, and although everyone’s focus was understandably his mixed comments on Matt Mervis, this question and reply was far more interesting for other reasons:
addoeh: Being compared to Daniel Vogelbach only sounds bad if you think you have Anthony Rizzo 2.0.
Keith Law: Agreed. It was also very strange to get that kind of reaction about a prospect in a system that’s loaded with guys who are top 100 prospects or banging on the door – PCA, Triantos, Alcantara, Made, etc. It’s not like it’s Mervis or nothing over there.
- Right there. The last name. Kevin Made. What an interesting name to include with the fringe top 100 types in the Cubs’ system (Law was later asked to confirm that he meant Made and not, for example, Cristian Hernández, and he confirmed he meant Made). I think we all really like Made around here, and the fact that he was a 19-year-old plus-glove shortstop who made it to High-A clearly speaks to his ability. But that’s definitely the first time I’ve seen “near top 100” mentioned.
- Made, you’ll recall, wound up hitting extremely well at Low-A Myrtle Beach by the end of his stint there, but really struggled at High-A South Bend: .162/.267/.246/49 wRC+. He was taking walks and wasn’t striking out, but the contact quality was simply not there. I think he’s going to need – among other things – more physicality to succeed at the higher levels, and, hey, he only just turned 20 last month. So there’s still time for that.
- Always love seeing the visual updates from Rich out in Arizona (and he’s got the scoop that Cole Roederer is going to go play winter ball in Australia!):
- It’s fun to see future Chicago Cubs prospect Derniche Valdez already donning the Cubbie blue:
- Valdez is “expected” to be part of the Cubs’ upcoming loaded IFA class in January, and before you get worried about him preemptively wearing the attire, keep in mind that it’s pretty common among young players. They just wear big league gear sometimes. It doesn’t HAVE to mean anything nefarious.