Archive for the ‘ Prospects ’ Category

Jorge Soler is Real! Debut’s in Arizona Tomorrow

As most of you already know, super prospect Jorge Soler will make his professional Cubs debut in Arizona tomorrow for the AZL Cubs.  As if that lineup needed anymore power!  We will have full coverage of the mythical Soler swinging a real bat in a real game, at least I think it will be a bat, still hoping for a lightning bolt.  Soler will DH tomorrow and bat right behind the red-hot Daniel Vogelbach, that’s quite the one-two punch, best of luck to Mr. Soler.

 

Thanks for reading!
– George

A Look at Josh Vitters

In case you have not noticed Josh Vitters has had a great first half of baseball in Triple-A Iowa.  Vitters was drafted third overall by the Cubs out of Cypress High School in Anaheim California.  Considered to be the most polished high school hitter in the ’07 Draft it has been a little disappointing that he has not made it to the show yet.  However, he is only 22 years old and has hit at every level he has been at, yet to many Cub fans it feels like he has been a bust.  Well, in his first season at Iowa Vitters has been very good, making the All Star team as a reserve.  His offensive numbers say all there is to know about his season thus far as he is hitting .302 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI’s.  He also has an impressive 25 doubles and his OPS is .866.

Yes it has been a very good year for Vitters en route to the Triple-A All Star Game, but I am sure he has his sights set higher this year.  As is the case with any minor leaguer he hopes to make it to the major leagues this year.  With Ian Stewart done for the season and the only one ahead of him being Luis Valbuena it is possible for him to get the call at some point.  Is he in the Cubs future plans?  It is hard to tell, but it is nice to see him put up some pretty good numbers at Iowa.  If he is not in the plans the success he has had should give the Cubs a nice chip to dangle to get a good return in a potential deal.

Josh Vitters will have an impact on the Cubs organization at some point, whether it is as a player or in a possible trade at a later date.  With that said he should be celebrated on quite a first half and hopefully more continued success as the season continues.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Jorge Soler and Cubs Make it Official

Jorge Soler has official signed his nine-year $30 million deal today.  With the signing the Cubs have officially added him to the 40-man roster.  Jed Hoyer said he will start in the minor leagues as a right fielder.  He will report to Mesa, but where he will go after that is yet to be decided.  There is no timetable on how quickly he will move through the system, but one thing is for sure the Cubs have added a top prospect, with big power potential to the club and hopefully in the next couple weeks we can add first round pick Albert Almora into the fold as well.

Thanks for Reading,
Mark

With Rizzo Promotion Imminent, What Are You Expecting?

It’s about that time, and I expect Anthony Rizzo to be called up on Monday or Tuesday of next week, the rumors floating around out there seem to suggest that Rizzo will be up and in the lineup for the Cubs on Tuesday.  Of course, none of this is official, and only the Cubs truly know when they are going to start the Anthony Rizzo era.  But what do you expect as a Cubs fan once he gets to the Major Leagues for the Cubs?

In my opinion the best case scenario would be Rizzo performing much like Bryan LaHair started this season, a solid OBP guy, and a true left-handed power threat.  Rizzo will also provide gold glove caliber defense.   Worst case scenario he struggles much like he did when the Padres called him up last year.  I think the ballpark in San Diego really messed with Rizzo’s head, he launched a ball last year at PetCo and the ball didn’t get out, the look on his face said it all, this park is not a hitters park.  All it takes at Wrigley is for him to get a ball up in the jet stream and the rest could be history. The thing I’m worried about is the Cubs faithful putting too much pressure on this kid to resurrect the Cubs THIS season, folks this year is a lost cause, it has been for quite some time, Rizzo will not change that.  But I’m interested in what your opinion is, what do you think Rizzo will do when he reaches the big leagues with the Cubs?  Sound off in the comments below, and vote!

Thanks for reading, we will keep you up to date on all things Rizzo this upcoming week.
– George

Cubs Sign Matt Iannazzo; Undrafted Pitcher

Matt Iannazzo has inked a deal with the Chicago Cubs.  Iannazzo, a lefty out of the University of Pittsburgh went undrafted in this years first year player draft.  He was awfully good at Pittsburgh during his time there, he had a career ERA of 3.95 in just over 100 innings.  Command seems to be Iannazzo’s strength as he struck out 76 while only walking 22 during his career.  The 22 year-old lefty has reported to Arizona to start working out with the Cubs Arizona league team, expect him to be pushed to Boise soon I would think.  Can never have too many arms, especially left-handed ones, good luck to Matt.

Quotes from Matt,  via Brett at Bleacher Nation.

“It’s kind of a surreal feeling. I don’t think I’ll understand or grasp what I’ve done until after I’m done playing,” Iannazzo told the Stamford Advocate yesterday. “It was a dream come true just to see the contract, let alone to sign my name on it …. I feel blessed in order to accomplish this. At the same time, I was disappointed I didn’t get drafted in the First-Year Player Draft and I have a chip on my shoulder from that.”

Thanks for reading,
– George

Kevin Rhoderick is Dealing, Who is He?

  It is our goal here at Born on Third to educate Cubs fans on the talent that sits at the minor league level.  With the way that Theo Epstein has molded this franchise it’s clear that the goal is to have as much talent as possible come from the draft and the farm system.  Wouldn’t you hate to be that one person that has no idea who just got called up to the Cubs?  It makes you look stupid, so don’t look stupid, and learn about the future of the Chicago Cubs here.  Today we feature Kevin Rhoderick.

  Kevin Rhoderick , or “K-Rod” is a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher from Scottsdale, Arizona.  Rhoderick was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 18th round of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft from Horizon HS (Scottsdale, AZ).  Rhoderick was a stand out at Horizon High for head coach Eric Kisler as he was a three-time all region member and earned all-state honors twice.  Kevin’s senior year was a special one as he was named an All-American as he led his Horizon team to the State Championship where they won it all.  Instead of signing with the Tigers Rhoderick decided to go play baseball for Oregon State University. 

 K-Rod made an immediate impact as a Beaver as he was named to the NCBWA Freshman All-American first team, the Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American team, the Baseball America Freshman All-American Second team, and received All-Pac-10 honorable mention, not bad for a Freshman.  Rhoderick didn’t have the same success he had as a Freshman during his Sophomore season, although he did have strong conference numbers.  Kevin recaptured the magic during his junior year as he once again received All-Pac-1o honorable mention while going 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA with four saves.  After his Junior year the Cubs selected Kevin in the 9th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur draft.

 On April 8, 2011 Rhoderick made his Chicago Cubs professional debut out of the bullpen for the Daytona Cubs.  Rhoderick was stellar out of the pen for the D-Cubs as he tossed 14.1 innings giving up only two earned runs on seven hits.  He was missing bats as well as he registered 19 strike outs over those 14.1 innings.  The Cubs were also impressed with his performance as they promoted Rhoderick to the Double-A Tennessee Smokies at the beginning of May.  The Smokies got much of the same results from Rhoderick as the D-Cubs were enjoying, although Kevin struggled just a bit.  This was to be expected as he was only one month into his professional career and already pitching at Double-A.  Rhoderick’s biggest issue was command, as he walked 37 guys in 57 innings of work.  That was the only issue for K-Rod as he finished the season at Tennessee with a 7-0 record and a 3.47 ERA.  I’m not sure Kevin knows what it feels like to get hit hard, as he only allowed 38 hits in those 57 innings of work.  The final numbers for K-Rod for 2011 were a record of 9-0 with a 3.03 ERA, with 77 strikeouts in 77.1 innings, and he only allowed a total of 45 hits.  After the season baseball america awarded Rhoderick with the “Best Slider” in the system award.

 Kevin started this year in Tennessee, and is still currently pitching for Tennessee in Double-A, but if he continues pitching the way he has he might have a spot in the Iowa Cubs bullpen or even the Chicago Cubs bullpen by September.  Un-hittable might be an understatement when describing Rhoderick’s 2012 season so far.  In 25.2 innings he has only given up two earned runs on 13 hits, he has a 0.70 ERA, and has seven saves.  Beyond impressive right now, what’s more impressive is he seems to be cutting down on the walks as he has only walked 12 guys so far this year compared to 24 strike outs.  In those 25.2 innings he has only given up one home run, in fact over his entire professional career to date (97 innings) he has only given up four home runs, four!  That is a valuable stat for a late inning guy, when he comes in you don’t have to worry about the long ball.

 I’m really excited to see Kevin’s progress this year as I think he has a great shot to help this organization and very soon too.  One of the Cubs biggest weaknesses is organizational pitching depth, and the bullpen has struggled this year as well.  This could be the perfect opportunity for Rhoderick to really get noticed by Cubs brass if he hasn’t already.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Jorge Soler Signing “Imminent” – Cubs Favorites [UPDATE]

It’s been a long drawn out process but it appears that there is finally a light at the end of the Jorge Soler signing tunnel.  The Cubs are hoping that is a good sign and not another missed opportunity.  News broke over the weekend, specifically yesterday that Soler and his representatives were accepting final bids and that a deal could be signed within the next 24-36 hours per Jon Heyman of cbssports.com.  Before that, the New York Post broke a story that Soler would be signed, sealed, and delivered to a team before today, the terms would be for four years and around $20 million up to what Cespedes got ($36 million).  Finally, last night Buster Olney tweeted that a handful of teams were after Soler and that final bids have been submitted, with the Cubs and Yankees at the top, but many teams exec’s feel that the Cubs are the favorites.

So it seems that either today, or at the latest tomorrow we will have some finality to the Soler situation, here’s hoping it’s the Cubs that come out on top, but you always have to be hesitant when the Yankees are involved.  Sure they can offer a lot of money up for Soler,  but so can the Cubs as they have very little money committed to the team after this year.  I will update as soon as I hear something.

[UPDATE] 9:18 AM CST – Your Anon Sports is reporting via Twitter that the Cubs and Yankees are the finalists in the Jorge Soler derby.

[UPDATE 2] 12:28 PM CST – The Dodgers are officially out of the running, and it might have been because of the price going way up.  Soler is the last “bonus baby” before the new CBA kicks in, that means the price might be somewhere near $40 million, but who really knows at this point.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Chicago Cubs Draft Recap…So Far

With how bad the Cubs have been all year and the promise of a bright future, yesterday was like Christmas morning.  Well, I guess it was more like what we might get on Christmas morning 3-5 years from now.  Still an exciting day for fans as right now it’s one of the few things we can get excited about.

The draft kicked off with a surprise as Carlos Correa was selected number one overall by the Houston Astros.  In fact the guy most, if not everyone thought was going number one, Mark Appel, didn’t get selected until number eight by the Pirates.  The concern with Appel is his sign-ablity because he is represented by Boras.  Before the draft started if you would have told me that the Cubs would have a shot at Appel at number six I would have thought you were crazy, but there he was.  The Cubs however went a different direction, and I think the correct one.

Cubs 1st pick, number 6 overall:  Albert Almora

I love the pick, the kid is pure character not to mention an elite talent in the outfield.

Scouting Report from Baseball America..

Albert Almora combines a high school player’s upside with the polish of a college hitter. He’s headed to Chicago after the Cubs selected him sixth overall.

Almora has tools, game instincts and makeup; his lone weakness is his fringe-average speed, which some scouts describe as below-average. Scouts give him 60s across the board otherwise, with some giving him higher grades for his arm strength. His instincts allow him to play center field at a high level; one scout said he was a 40 runner with 80 range and said he played center field like some players do shortstop, being instinctual rather than reactive like almost all outfielders.

Almora has played for team USA six times already, he’s only 18.  I’m very excited to see this kid progress through the system.

Here’s some video of Almora…



Interview with Jonathan Mayo

MLB Netwok’s Piece on Almora (Try not to love this kid)

Cubs 2nd pick, number 43 overall (Supplemental):  Pierce Johnson

Here is Jonathan Mayo’s take on Pierce Johnson…

Johnson was moving quickly up Draft boards, but a forearm strain put that on pause. He came back and threw well, with plenty of time to show everyone he’s fully healthy leading up to the Draft.

Johnson has a good three-pitch mix starting with a fastball that is plus at times, touching 94 mph. He’s more successful when he keeps it down in the zone, which he does when he repeats his delivery well. Johnson throws a hard curve that works as an effective out pitch, missing more bats than he does with the fastball. He doesn’t use the changeup as much, but it has the potential to be at least an average pitch in the future. He throws strikes and competes very well on the mound.

Assuming he’s healthy, Johnson should join a solid group of college starters who could go off the board shortly after the top tier, profiling well as a No. 3-type starter at the highest level.

The Cubs got a quite a bit of value with the 43rd pick overall, and it could turn out to be a great pick if Johnson proves to be healthy.

Pierce Johnson draft video..

Cubs 2nd pick, number 56 overall (Supplemental):  Paul Blackburn

Here is Jonathan Mayo’s take on Paul Blackburn

After a big performance at last summer’s Area Code Games, Blackburn has continued pitching well this spring to keep him firmly on the prospect map.

The NoCal high schooler has a good fastball that hits 92 mph consistently and will touch a tick or two higher on the radar gun at times. His two secondary offerings – a curve and a changeup – both have the chance to be very effective pitches. He’s generally around the strike zone and thanks to his athleticism and sound delivery, his command should only improve with experience.

The Arizona State recruit has some projectability, meaning his already pretty good stuff has room to get even better. That should get him off the board early enough to keep him from heading to Arizona.

Good command and a ton of room to get better, sounds good to me.  The Cubs will be hoping that they grabbed Blackburn early enough to break his commitment to Arizona.

Paul Blackburn draft video…

Round two starts today at 11 AM CST, get ready for more draft coverage as new names will start pouring in very soon.

Thanks for reading!
– George

Baez to Debut Today for Peoria

I’m excited about this, you should be too.  The Chiefs announced that Baez will join the team today, I’m guessing that Baez will be in the starting lineup at short.  The 2011 first round draft pick of the Cubs tore the cover off the ball in extended Spring training and was rewarded with a bump to Peoria instead of going to Boise.  Exciting ballplayer here, we’ll keep you posted on his progress.

Thanks,
– George

Let the Rizzo Madness Begin?? [UPDATE]

Lots of rumors swirling right now, but it sound like Anthony Rizzo could be on his way to Chicago, here are the tweets from Iowa Cubs….

Interpret that how you want, we will keep you up to date with the latest as it happens. Go Cubs!

[UPDATE]  Iowa Cubs now reporting that Rizzo tweaked his wrist on a swing, and is now day-to-day….things cannot get worse for the Cubs, this is absurd.

Thanks,
– George

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