Results tagged ‘ Albert Almora ’

Riding The Bus; Minor League Reports for April 12, 2014

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SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 2014

Iowa 4-12-14

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At the Plate:

For the second straight night the Iowa Cubs went to battle without Javier Baez (sore back), and tonight they found a way to come out on top.  Brett Jackson got an opportunity to lead off, and did a number of good things, he went 1-for-3 with two walks (Cubs Way), an RBI, and was caught stealing.  Arismendy Alcantara was also a part of the offensive attack, he went 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored in the win.  Matt Szczur didn’t start this one but came up with a huge hit in the ninth, a two run single to give the I-Cubs some breathing room.

On the Mound:

Pure domination from Tsuyoshi Wada tonight as he improved to 2-0 on the season.  Wada embarrassed the Cardinals lineup, he worked 6.2 scoreless innings, giving up four hits while walking none, and striking out ten…ten!  Marcus Hatley worked 1.1 scoreless innings out of the pen, and Brian Schlitter, who was sent to Iowa earlier today worked a scoreless frame to close this one out.

Smokies 4-12-14

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At the Plate:

The Smokies brought their bats to this one as they pounded out ten hits en route to scoring five times as the beat the Lookouts 5-1.  Zeke DeVoss was a factor out of the lead-off spot, he went 1-for-3 with a triple, a walk, a stolen base, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Kris Bryant made some noise again tonight, he was 2-for-4 with a double, his third home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.  Rafael Lopez was also a force in this one, he went 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

Ivan Pineyro got the start tonight, and was solid once again as he worked five innings, giving up one run on three hits, while walking one, and striking out four.  Ryan Searle got the win in relief as he was outstanding, Searle worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit, while striking out three.  Frank Batista, and Jeffery Lorick combined to work the last two innings without giving up a run while striking out three.

Daytona 4-12-14

Full Box Score

At the Plate:

A win!  Daytona finally ended the night in the win column thanks to some solid pitching, and some offensive thunder.  It was the Albert Almora show, and what else is new really?  Almora was 2-for-5 with a double, his first home run of the season, three RBI’s, a stolen base, and two runs scored.  Dan Vogelbach joined the fun tonight, he was 1-for-4 with two RBI’s, maybe this will get him going.  Marco Hernandez made things happen from the nine spot as he was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored in the win.

On the Mound:

Rob Zastryzny picked up his first win of the season tonight as he was all over the strike zone.  Zastryzny worked 5.2 strong innings, giving up one run on seven hits, while walking one, and striking out five.  Zach Cates was stellar out of the pen as worked two scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out two.  Stephen Perakslis worked a scoreless ninth to close this one out.  Solid win for Daytona, maybe they will get on a nice roll here.

Kane County 4-12-14

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At the Plate:

A wild win for the Cougars as they almost blew two different four run leads, but they were able to hold on to move their record to 6-3 on the season.  Carlos Penalver did the job from the top of the order tonight as he was 1-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, and three (!) runs scored.  Yasiel Balaguert can carry a team when he gets hot, he’s hot right now, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored, he has ten RBI’s on the season now.  Another guy win ten RBI’s is Jacob Rogers, he went off tonight, he was 2-for-4 with a double, his second home run of the season, four RBI’s, and a run scored.  Not to be left out, David Bote also delivered, he was 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

Dicey, but effective tonight.  Juan Paniagua got the start and struggled with his command, he worked four innings, giving up one run on two hits, while walking four (see?), and striking out six.  Gerardo Concepcion continues to make a comeback this year as he worked two scoreless innings, giving up two hits, while walking one, and striking out two.  Scott Frazier struggled, that right there is an understatement.  Frazier did not register an out, did not give up a hit, but walked all three batters he faced en route to giving up three runs, ouch.  Josh Davis got knocked around a bit, but was decent, he worked two innings, giving up one run on four hits.  Tyler Bremer closed this one out, but it wasn’t without some adventure, he worked one inning, giving up three runs on two hits, while walking one, and striking out two… whew.

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Riding The Bus; Minor League Reports for April 9, 2014

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

 

Iowa 4-9-14

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At The Plate:

A much better day all around for Iowa as they found some offense to go with the solid pitching to beat Nashville 6-1.  Javier Baez seems to be rounding into form at the plate, he was 2-for-4 with a double off the center field wall, and two runs scored.  Josh Vitters was able to return to the lineup today, and he continued his hot hitting, he went 1-for-3 with his second home run of the season, two RBI’s, a walk, and a run scored.  Chris Coghlan also joined the fun as he went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Vitters didn’t have the only home run today, Brett Jackson also went deep, and finished the day 1-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored.

On The Mound:

What an outstanding day for Iowa pitching, collectively they struck out sixteen hitters, and only walked one.  Carlos Pimentel was dominant, he worked six innings, giving up one run on three hits, while walking one, and striking out ten(!).  Zac Rosscup was brilliant out of the pen today, he worked two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit, and striking out four.  Marcus Hatley closed things out with a scoreless inning, he allowed only one hit, and struck out two more.

Kane County 4-9-14

Full Box Score

At The Plate:

Everything looked great for the Cougars in this one until the 8th inning, and that’s when things started to unravel as the Cougars blew a late 4-2 lead and lost 7-4 in ten innings.  Weird box score, the Cougars had eight hits in this one, each of the first eight hitters in the lineup had one hit, odd.  Jacob Rogers was 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.  Shawon Dunston looked to have the game winning hit in this one, a two-run single in the sixth, he finished the day 1-for-4 with two RBI’s.

On The Mound:

Some good things early, some bad things late.  Paul Blackburn made his second start of the season and was solid, he worked five innings, giving up two runs on two hits, while walking two, and striking out four.  James Pugliese was sailing right along through two innings of relief then ran into some trouble in his third inning of work.  Pugliese worked 2.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits, while walking two, and striking out two.  Nathan Dorris was able to come on and get Pugliese out of the jam, he worked the final two-thirds of the eighth without giving up a hit or run.  Jose Arias had a rough go of it today, he worked two innings, giving up four runs, one earned (oops), on three hits while walking one, he blew the save, and took the loss.

Daytona 4-9-14 game one

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At The Plate:

Nothing going right for the Daytona offense as they could only manage four hits in game one as they were shut out.  Albert Almora continued to do his part however, as he was 2-for-3 with two doubles, he’s now hitting .364 on the season.  Marco Hernandez, and Pin-Chieh Chen were the only other D-Cubs to get a hit in the loss.

On The Mound:

Really good outing from Felix Pena in this one, unfortunately he fell to 0-2 on the season, but lowered his ERA to 1.50.  Pena worked six innings, giving up one run on five hits, while walking no one, and striking out five.  Michael Jensen finished this one off as he worked a scoreless inning, giving up two hits, and striking out one.

Daytona 4-9-14 game two

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At The Plate:

Still nothing doing offensively for Daytona, however, they did push four runs across the plate in game two, but only had five hits in the loss.  Pin-Chieh Chen had another solid game, he was 1-for-2 with a double, a run scored, an RBI, and a walk.  Albert Almora continued his own personal hit parade, he was 1-for-3 with a run scored in the second game.  Dan Vogelbach finally connected in this one, he was 1-for-3 with his first home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On The Mound:

The offense finally finds some runs, and the pitching falters, such is the life of a struggling ball club.  Jose Rosario got the start and the loss, he worked five innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on three hits, while walking three, and striking out four.  Starling Peralta really struggled, he was only able to get through one-third of an inning, giving up four runs, two earned (errors!), on three hits, while striking out one.  Andrew McKirahan did a great job keeping the D-Cubs close, he worked 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits, while striking out three.

Tennessee 4-9-14

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At The Plate:

The Smokies found just enough offense in this one as they scored three runs on seven hits to take care of the lookouts.  Stephen Bruno had a solid game, going 2-for-4 with two singles.  Kris Bryant was back in the lineup, and went 1-for-4 with a run scored in the win.  Rafael Lopez was the difference maker as he went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, two RBI’s, and a run scored.

On The Mound:

I love C.J. Edwards nights, the mini flame thrower was on full display tonight and didn’t disappoint.  Edwards worked 5.2 innings, giving up one run on five hits, while walking four, and striking out five, walks drove his pitch count up for sure tonight.  P.J. Francescon was solid once again out of the pen, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, he didn’t give up any hits, struck out two, and took home the win.  Jeff Lorick worked two-thirds of an inning late, giving up one hit, and striking out one.  Armando Rivero was brilliant to close this one out, he worked 1.1 scoreless, hit-less innings, while striking out three to earn his second save of the season.

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Riding the Bus; Minor League Reports for April 7, 2014

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Daytona 4-7-14

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At The Plate:

The bats were making noise in the early going, but the production, and the lead disappeared in this one, as Daytona dropped a close one to Brevard County, 5-4.  Albert Almora is settling into a grove after starting the season slowly, he was 1-for-4 with a run scored in this one, and is now hitting .316 on the season.  Dan Vogelbach is still sluggish with the bat, but had a decent game tonight, he went 1-for-3 with a walk.  One guy who has been locked in at the plate is Jeimer Candelario, he was 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, a run scored, and committed two errors (oops).  The man with the “best name in the minors” had a solid game, Rock Shoulders was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.

On The Mound:

Exciting night for the Cubs organization as Rob Zastryznyy made his Daytona debut tonight, and had moments of brilliance in the no decision.  Zastryzny worked four innings, giving up four runs on six hits, while walking two, and striking out six.  The D-Cubs bullpen was solid once again in this one as the quartet of Yao-Lin Wang, Zach Cates, Arodys Vizcaino, and Austin Reed combined to work five innings only yielding one unearned run which proved to be the difference tonight.

 

Tennessee 4-7-14

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At The Plate:

Another light night at the dish for the Smokies as they fell to Pensacola for the fourth time in five games, 3-2.  Dustin Geiger has had a solid start to 2014, especially in the power department, Geiger was 2-for-4 with his second home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.  Jeudy Valdez was the only other Tennessee player to make a difference with the bat, he went 2-for-3 with a double, and an RBI in the loss.

On The Mound:

It wasn’t a bad night at all for Tennessee pitching, especially out of the bullpen, still not good enough for a win.  Matt Loosen got the start tonight, he worked five innings, giving up three runs on six hits, while walking three and striking out two.  Ryan Searle, Hunter Cervenka, and Tony Zych combined to toss three scoreless, hit-less innings out of the pen, they didn’t even walk anyone, and struck out five.

Iowa 4-7-14

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At The Plate:

Not a whole lot going on for the Iowa hitters, but they made the most of their opportunities and beat Nashville 4-1.  Brett Jackson, who has had a rough start to the season, had a tremendous game.  B-Jax was 2-for-2 with a triple, an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base.  As a team, the Iowa Cubs had four stolen bases in this one, saw an opportunity and exploited it.  Christian Villanueva had the big hit in this one, he was 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On The Mound:

All sorts of good things from the Iowa Cubs staff tonight.  Tsuyoshi Wada started tonight, and took home the win, he worked 6.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits, while walking one, and striking out eight.  Working as the setup man, Neil Ramirez worked 1.1 scoreless innings, he didn’t walk anyone, and struck out two.  Blake Parker worked the ninth for the save, he flirted with danger but got the job done, he worked a scoreless inning, giving up two hits, and striking out two.

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Riding The Bus; Minor League Recaps for April 3, 2014

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Welcome to “Riding the Bus” —  How about that graphic, eh??  We’re excited, as usual, to bring you recaps of every Cubs minor league game, every night.  Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy it.

 

Kane County 4-3-2014

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At The Plate:

The Cougars brought their bats with them in the opener as they pounded Quad Cities pitching to the tune of eight runs on eleven hits.  Jake Hannemann did a nice job out of the lead-off spot tonight, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored.  DH for the evening, Ben Carhart was all over the base paths, Carhart was 1-for-2 with three walks (CUBS WAY!), an RBI, and three runs scored.  Dr. Doubles, I mean, Yasiel Balaguert was locked in tonight, he went 4-for-4 with three doubles, and two RBI’s.  The ninth spot in the order also got a spark tonight, Carlos Penalver went 3-for-3 with a walk, two stolen bases, and a run scored.

On The Mound:

All in all, a pretty solid effort from the Kane County staff tonight.  2012 first round draft pick Paul Blackburn made his single A debut tonight, and it was hit and miss.  Blackburn worked four innings, giving up four runs on nine hits (not so good), while walking none (good), and striking out three.  The pen was tremendous, Nathan Dorris, James Pugliese, and Jose Arias all had scoreless appearances.  Dorris got the win, as he worked two innings giving up one hit, while walking one and striking out three.

Daytona 4-3-2014

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At The Plate:

The Daytona Cubs mirrored the Major League club in this one as they dropped a tough 1-0 game to the Manatees.  The D-Cubs could only manage five hits while getting shut out by a quartet of Brevard County pitchers.  Dan Vogelbach was one of the few Cubs to register a hit, he was 1-for-3 in the loss.  Jeimer Candelario, and Marco Hernandez also finished the night going 1-for-3 with a single.  Gioskar Amaya was seeing the ball the best as he went 2-for-2 with a stolen base, and a walk.

On The Mound:

Nothing but good things from the Daytona staff in this one, unfortunately it wasn’t good enough.  Felix Pena got the opening day start and was great, he worked six innings giving up one run on three hits, while walking one and striking out three.  Zach Cates, and Arodys Vizcaino each worked a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.

Tennessee 4-3-14

Full Box Score

At The Plate:

Grumble, grumble, grumble.  A tough opening day loss for the Smokies as they built a 5-0 lead early, then lost it late.  Zeke DeVoss, a personal favorite, went 2-for-5 out of the lead-off spot with a triple, and an RBI.  Kris Bryant!  Bryant, making his AA debut tonight went 1-for-3 with his first home run of the season, a walk, an RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored.  Fun fact here, Bryant went deep off Reds starter Mat Latos who was making a rehab start, then Bryant swung at a 3-0 pitch later in the game, then Latos hit him, sucks getting torched in AA doesn’t it, Mat?  Jorge Soler was 1-for-1 with a double in this one, he left early, and I think that was the plan ahead of time as he is coming back from a couple of injuries.

On The Mound:

Tough go of it for the Smokies pitching in this one as they seemed to lose their command as a group.  Dae-Eun Rhee got the start and was solid early, then the plate started jumping around on him.  Rhee worked four innings giving up three runs, two earned, on two hits while walking four, and striking out four.  Ryan Searle took over and was actually pretty good, he worked three innings giving up one run on one hit, while walking three, and striking out five.  Tony Zych took the loss in this one as he worked one inning, giving up two runs on five hits, he didn’t walk or strikeout anyone.

Iowa 4-3-2014

Full Box Score

At The Plate:

Not a lot went right tonight for the Iowa Cubs as they had trouble scoring, and keeping Memphis from scoring.  Javier Baez made his triple A debut tonight, going 0-for-3 with a walk, and an error.  A rededicated Josh Vitters has a solid night, he went 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.  Christian Villanueva, the new Iowa third baseman went 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored in the loss.

On The Mound:

Not so good.  Chris Rusin, who just lost out to Carlos Villanueva for the number five start spot in Chicago, struggled.  Rusin worked 3.2 innings, giving up five runs on six hits, while walking four, and striking out two.  Yoanner Negrin was lights out tonight, he worked 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit, walking none, and striking out four, stellar.  Casey Coleman, yes, he’s still here, wasn’t sharp, he worked one inning, giving up five runs, four earned, on four hits while walking two, and striking out one.  Mop up duty belonged to Marcus Hatley, and he did a fine job, working one scoreless innings while striking out two.

Thanks for reading!

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2014 Daytona Cubs Opening Day Roster

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With no Cubs game today, it makes sense to shine a light on the Minor Leagues.  We cover every level of Cubs baseball here on the blog, and recently it has been a lot more fun than writing about the Major League club as the future offers a bit more promise, I think you agree.

The Daytona Cubs open the season this week, Thursday to be exact, here is their opening day roster.  This roster might be tweaked before then, but here is how it stands at the moment.

PITCHERS

PLAYERS TO WATCH

There are a number of intriguing arms that will start their season at Daytona this year, Arodys Vizcaino has to be at the top of that list.  Some might be surprised by seeing his name here, but he is coming back from a long recovery from two different elbow procedures.  Slow and steady wins the race here as the Cubs are very high on Vizcaino, there is no reason to start him any higher.

I’m very excited to Rob Zastryzny starting at Daytona this year, the left-handed starter was the Cubs second round pick last year.  That’s right, this is his first full professional season, and he is starting at high A, that’s something to be excited about.

I enjoyed watching Tayler Scott at Kane County last year, and think that he could start making a name for himself this year.  Scott was a 5th round draft pick of the Cubs in 2011, and has jumped a level each professional season.

CATCHERS

INFIELDERS

OUTFIELDERS

PLAYERS TO WATCH

This is a very exciting roster, and is basically the same group of guys that made Boise so entertaining two years ago, minus a few players here and there.

For an organization with little catching depth, the Cubs boast three solid ones at Daytona.  My favorite backstop has to be Chadd Krist, Krist was drafted in the 9th round of the 2012 draft by the Cubs.  In two professional years, Krist has played at four different levels, and I expect him to play at two more this year.  He finished 2013 at Daytona, and if he displays the same approach this year as he did last year, then Tennessee will be calling.

Where to start in the infield?  Amaya and Candelario are going to be a lot of fun to watch as they continue their ascension in the Cubs system.  Both guys were signed by the Cubs as non-drafted free agents, and both are considered to be top-20 prospects in the Cubs system by MLB.com.

All eyes will be on Dan Vogelbach, and Albert Almora this season, and I don’t think either guy will finish this year at Daytona.  Almora was sidelined for parts of he first two professional seasons, but his production while on the field has been outstanding.  He played all of 2013 at Kane County and finished with a .329 average, and an .842 OPS, he’s heading to Tennessee shortly.  Vogelbach was originally though of as an overweight, monster power designated hitter when he was drafted.  The only thing he has done since then is work hard in order to make his own opportunities.  Since he was drafted, Vogy has lost all sorts of weight which has allowed him to improve his defense, but he hasn’t lost any of the power.  2013 was a big one for Vogelbach, he played at Kane County and Daytona, registering 19 home runs, and  76 RBI’s, he will be in Tennessee at some point this season.

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Wood Dazzles, But Cubs Fall to Indians

3-6-14 line score

The Cubs did a lot of things well today, hitting with runners in scoring position was not one of them.  The Cubs registered nine hits, took five walks, but were a paltry 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and left eleven men on base.  Solid performances up and down the Cubs pitching staff as well, only allowing one run on four hits.

At the Plate:

  • Emilio Bonifacio did well out of the lead off spot today going 2-for-4 with two singles and a stolen base.
  • Anthony Rizzo has had a hot start to the spring, he continued that today as he went 2-for-3 with two singles.  Rizzo is now five for his last seven, and is hitting .500 in Cactus League play.
  • Mike Olt, Logan Watkins, Albert Almora, and Darwin Barney all had one hit in the loss.  Almora got the start in center, and Olt started at third, both went 1-for-3.

On the Mound:

  • Travis Wood was brilliant today, much like he was all of last year.  Wood worked three scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out three.
  • Justin Grimm took the loss as he struggled a bit in the inning he worked.  Grimm gave up one run on two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Hector Rondon, Chang-Yong Lim, Marcus Hatley, and Tommy Hottovy combined to work four scoreless innings, giving up only one hit while walking one, and striking out three (each pitcher tossed one inning).

 

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Spring Fever: Cubs lineup, Broadcast Info for March 6, 2014

The Cubs look to get back into the win column this afternoon after losing an ugly game yesterday to the Rockies.  One of the few bright spots yesterday was Javier Baez, he is not in today’s starting lineup against the Indians.

1. Bonafacio– LF
2. Murphy – 3B
3. Schierholtz – RF
4. Rizzo – DH
5. Cstillo– C
6. Olt – 1B
7. Barney – SS
8. Almora – CF
9. Alcantara – 2B

SP – Travis Wood

It’s almost like Rick Renteria and crew know how badly we want to see most of the top prospects together in the lineup at once and refuses to, but, that’s his job to get everyone ready…. I guess.

No TV today, but there it MLB.com radio.

The snack of the day (Because why not, it’s spring training)!  The always delicious, Star Crunch, enjoy!

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Spring Fever: Cubs lineup, Broadcast Info for March 5, 2014

The Cubs go for their third straight win this afternoon as they take on the Rockies at Cubs Park in Mesa.  Jeff Samardzija will make his second start of the spring looking to build on his strong debut from last week, expect three to four innings for Shark.

1.  Kalish – LF
2.  Valbuena – 3B
3.  Lake – CF
4.  Roberts – 1B
5.  Baez – SS
6.  Kottaras – C
7.  Jackson – RF
8.  Valaika – 2B
9.  McDonald – DH

SP – Samardzija

The Cubs bench looks a little more exciting than the lineup:

  • Baker
  • Lopez
  • Watkins
  • Coghlan
  • Alcantara
  • Flores
  • Cunningham
  • Olt
  • Almora
  • Soler
  • Villanueva
  • Szczur
  • Bryant
  • Vitters

No TV today, but there it MLB.com radio.

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Cubs land 7 players on MLB.com Top 100

Last night MLB Network aired a special to unveil the MLB.com top 100 prospects for 2014, and the Cubs were all over that list.  It was fun listening to the likes of Jim Callis, and Jonathan Mayo gush about how many good, young players the Cubs have waiting in the wings.  A total of seven players graced the list, here is a breakdown of each player, and some analysis.

** Players are graded on a 20-80 scale for future tools — 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average (MLB.com/Prospects rating scale)

Pierce Johnson Top 100

#100 – Right handed pitcher, Pierce Johnson (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

Johnson was drafted in the supplemental round of the 2012 MLB Draft, 43rd overall by the Cubs.  2013 was Johnson’s first full professional season, and it was impressive.  Johnson pitched over two levels and actually found more success with Daytona which was the higher level.  Overall for 2013 Johnson went 11-6 with a 2.74 ERA while starting 21 games and appearing in 23.  In 118.1 innings Johnson only allowed 109 hits, 5 home runs (5!), while walking 43 and striking out 124.  I mentioned more success at Daytona, with the D-Cubs, Johnson worked 48.2 innings allowing only one home run with a sparkling 2.22 ERA.

Arismendy Alcantara Top 100

#89 – 2B/SS, Arismendy Alcantara (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

Alcantara seemingly came out of nowhere in 2013 but in reality the talent has always been there it was just a matter of everything coming together at once.  With a brilliant 2013 season Alcantara cemented his status as the Cubs second baseman of the future, and will probably be seen on the North Side this upcoming season.  Alcantara played all of 2013 with the Smokies at the double A level and really showcased his all around game.  In just under 500 at bats Alcantara hit .271 with a .352 on base percentage and a .451 slugging percentage which was good for an .804 OPS.  Couple those on base numbers with the 31 stolen bases he had and he becomes a legitimate threat at the top of the order.  Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus says that Alcantara reminds him of Jose Reyes-lite, well, that works.

Jorge Soler Top 100

#49 – OF, Jorge Soler (21 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Hit: 55 | Power: 65 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 55 | Overall: 60

Now we start getting into the meat and potatoes of the Cubs prospects, first up Jorge Soler.  I’ve seen Soler play in person a number of times, and he is an impressive specimen.  He looks more like a football player than a baseball player, but he makes it work.    Injuries derailed his 2013 season as he was only able to get 210 at bats with the Daytona Cubs.  Soler produced for the Minor League team of the year as he cracked 8 home runs, and had 35 RBI’s.  Those numbers are down a bit, again he is still adjusting to the professional game, and is only 21.  Jason Parks chimed in on Soler as well saying that his is slow to adjust, is the most likely of Cubs prospects to “miss” which I think makes sense given his raw ability, still a high ceiling though.

CJ Edwards Top 100

#42 – RHP, C.J. Edwards (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 60

Oh, hello CJ Edwards.  That’s right, after an amazing 2013 season, Edwards has vaulted past Jorge Soler on this list.  Baseball Prospectus also had Edwards ranked as the #3 player in the Cubs organization, ahead of Soler, and Albert Almora.  Edwards wasn’t even with the Cubs at this time last year, he was one of four, yes four players acquired from Texas in the Matt Garza deal.  The 2013 season saw Edwards give up one home run, one, just one…. take that Pierce Johnson.  For 2013 Edwards tossed 116.1 innings combined at the high A level for Texas and Chicago, he only gave up 76 hits.  He finished with a 8-2 record and a 1.86 ERA while walking 41 and striking out 155, goodnight!  Jason Parks doesn’t see Edwards with a huge ceiling but Jim Callis said that Edwards could be the top of the rotation guy the Cubs need.

Albert  Almora Top 100

#18 – OF, Albert Almora (19 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Hit: 65 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 75 | Overall: 60

When it’s all said and done Albert Almora might the favorite player of a lot of fans.  While Almora doesn’t have any tools that jump off the page at you (except for his glove I guess) he plays well above them, that’s exactly what Jim Callis said last night.  Almora is a baseball player, run through the wall, do whatever it takes to win, baseball player.  Because of his 100% all the time playing style he suffered a number of injuries in 2013 which kind of disjointed his season.  Almora spent all of 2013 at Kane County but only got 249 at bats due to said injuries, but he made the most of them.  He hit .329 with 17 doubles, four triples, three homers, and 23 RBI’s.  His slash numbers were even more impressive, he had a .379 on base percentage, and a .466 slugging percentage which was good for an .842 OPS.  I think Almora will become more patient at the plate as he gets older but right now he’s fine, he walked 17 times last year and only struck out 30 times, expect to see Almora on the North Side in 2016.

Kris Bryant Top 100

#9 – 3B, Kris Bryant (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 70 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 65

Kris Bryant seems to be on the fast track, one reason is that he is far more advanced than the other Cubs prospects on this list, the other is he mashes the baseball.  Bryant made it to three different levels in just 36 games, that’s ridiculous, he also hit at every level.  Then he went on to the Arizona Fall League and destroyed the ball in earning accolades such as the MVP award.  Bryant had 128 at bats in 2013 not counting the Arizona Fall League and his a combined .336 with 9 home runs, and 32 RBI’s, extrapolate that, good Lord.  Walking is something that Bryant hasn’t done a lot of right now, but it’s hard to argue with the .390 on base percentage, .719 slugging percentage and 1.106 OPS.  The numbers are eye-popping, and the Cubs aren’t shy about moving Bryant wherever he deserves to go, and many believe that could be as early as 2015.  Given Bryant’s defensive ability and bat it’s not out of the question that he moves to right field to keep 3B open for Baez, either way the Cubs will find a spot for that bat.

Javier Baez Top 100

#7 – SS, Javier Baez (21 years old)
Scouting Grades: Hit:
60 | Power: 70 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 50 | Overall: 65

If you’re not excited about Javier Baez, first off, where have you been, secondly, it’s about time you are.  Baez destroy minor league baseball last year at both high A and double A.  There wasn’t a more feared hitter in baseball, in 517 at bats Baez crushed 37 home runs, and had 111 RBI’s with a total of 75 extra-base hits.  He has been burdened with high expectations and all he has done is create new ones which are even higher.  Surveying the top prospect lists for 2014 the number seven ranking is going to be the “worst” for Baez.  Jason Parks slots him at number four but said there really isn’t a good reason why he shouldn’t be number one, that’s in all of baseball.  Many people are expecting Baez to make his Cubs debut this upcoming season, the plan right now is for him to start in triple A as Iowa’s shortstop.  Moving forward, given Baez’s defensive issues he might move to 3B but again, that really has a lot to do with how other players develop as well.

Prospects are just that, a young player that has expectation or is projected to have some sort of impact at the Major League level.  There really is no such thing as a sure thing in this game, and that goes for Cubs prospects as well.  As good as these players are there is no guarantee that any or all of them will make it to the Cubs, and be an impact player like they are projected.  That said, Cubs fans have had little to get excited about recently and this is definitely a list that you can not only get excited about but truly believe that there is some hope in the near future.

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MLB.com Top 100 Prospect List airs Tonight at 9 PM CST

Baez 2014

The Cubs minor league system had a tremendous year in 2013, it was so good that Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) of Baseball Prospectus has vaulted them to the second best system in all of baseball.  Parks continued the Cubs prospect love fest on Twitter saying that Javier Baez could easily land the #1 overall prospect spot, those are big words.

Tonight there should be even more light shined on the Cubs system as MLB Network is airing their top 100 prospects announcement at 9:00 PM CST.  Not only that, but some of the prospects that are on the list will be live tweeting during the broadcast, including Cubs prospects Albert Almora (@Albertalmora), and Kris Bryant (@KrisBryant_23).  As these list’s come out I will be back with a full rundown of who said what, and where the Cubs prospects rank in baseball.  Make sure you tune in tonight and follow Albert and Kris on Twitter tonight, and don’t be surprised if you don’t hear Javier Baez’s name until the top 5.

Here’s a link to the mlb.com story about tonight’s broadcast.

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