Results tagged ‘ Albert Almora ’
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:
No TV today, but there it MLB.com radio.
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)
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
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.
From time to time I like to make a post about a Cubs prospect so you the reader, and fan won’t look stupid if and when they make it to the big club. Well, now this feature has a name, “Who is this guy?” I wanted to use the line from the movie “Major League” but this is a family blog for the most part. Today we learn about Jeimer Candelario, and keep an eye out because there will be many more of these in the near future.
Jeimer was brought into the Cubs organization as a non-drafted free agent on September 29, 2010, he was only seventeen years old at the time of the signing. The switch hitting Candy man has quickly made a name for himself and has left some forgetting that he is still so very young.
Candelario got his professional career underway in 2011 playing in the Dominican Summer league, he played seventy-two games as a seventeen year-old, primarily at third base. The numbers were impressive, Candelario hit .337 with an eye-popping .443 OBP, and a robust OPS of .921, talk about Cubs way. In 305 plate appearances Candelario walked fifty times and only struck out forty-two times, that’s what makes him so desirable to the current organization, grinding at bats. I mentioned his OPS, he racked up sixteen doubles, two triples, and five home runs while driving in fifty-three, again, in seventy-two games.
That performance was enough for the Cubs to send Jeimer to Boise to start the 2012 season with the Hawks in the Northwest League. The Boise Hawks were oh so very close to an outright Championship in 2012 and Jeimer was a big reason why. It was a stiff test for sure as Jeimer was one of the youngest players on the roster at eighteen years old but he more than held his own. The numbers were similar to those that he put up in the Dominican Summer League, but you can see the increase in talent of the opposition across the board. Jeimer’s average dropped to .281 for the season, he had an OBP of .345 and a .741 OPS. Sure those are “big” drops, but not when you put it into context, there was no way he was going to sustain the numbers he put up in the DSL while playing against the talent of the NWL at eighteen years old. Those numbers are excellent, the main difference was the drop in walks, Jeimer walked twenty-six times for Boise compared to fifty in the DSL the year before. The result was more strike outs (55), and a lower average, but it was still a tremendous year.
That brings us to this year, the Cubs sent Jeimer to Kane County to embark on his first full season as a professional ballplayer. Jeimer was doing so as the second youngest player on the team, only Albert Almora is younger. As of today Candelario has played in ninety-six games, that is twenty-four more than he has ever played in one pro season. The increased work load has taken a toll on Jeimer as his numbers are down a bit since the all-star break (.225 average) but if you look closer he is starting to get back into good habits. For the season Jeimer is hitting .251 with a .337 OBP and a .714 OPS, all career lows, but the walks have bounced back and he has become doctor doubles. That is the nickname of Garret Anderson because he was a doubles machine, well Jeimer is starting to grow into that type of hitter. His previous career high in doubles was sixteen in the DSL, he already has twenty-nine with the Cougars.
There is progression across the board from Jeimer, and he is showing why MLB.com ranked him as the 13th best prospect in the system coming into the year. The future is bright for Jeimer, at only nineteen he has proven he can play at the class A level, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him transition to Daytona next year as a twenty year-old, after that anything can happen. I wish Jeimer the best of luck, and give him a follow on twitter (@Jeimer24C), super nice guy that loves to interact with fans.
At the plate - Daytona couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it in this one, but still found enough offense to escape with a win. Ben Carhart was 2-for-5 in the win, he is now hitting .251 on the season. Dustin Geiger has put together a stellar 2013, he was 2-for-4 with a walk in this one and is now hitting .289 on the season. Both Taiwan Easterling and Brad Zapenas had two hits, and a run scored today. Daytona registered nine hits but they were only 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eleven men on base.
On the mound - I was really excited for C.J. Edwards Cubs debut today and he didn’t disappoint. Edwards was nasty going five scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one and striking out eight. The only hit Edwards gave up was of the infield variety, and not one ball made it out of the infield. That wasn’t the only impressive stat from this one as Edwards struck out the first seven hitters he faced, unfortunately he walked away with a no decision. Lendy Castillo took over and was solid going three scoreless innings giving up one run, unearned, on one hit while walking three, and striking out three to earn his first win of the year. Austin Reed worked the ninth for his third save of the year, he allowed one hit and that was it.
- Iowa Cubs: Brad Nelson was 1-for-3 with his second triple of the season, an RBI, and a walk.
- Iowa Cubs: Ty Wright was 3-for-4 with three(!) doubles, an RBI, and a run scored.
- Iowa Cubs: Chang-Yong Lim worked two scoreless innings in relief giving up two hits while striking out two.
- Tennessee Smokies: Javier Baez was 2-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI’s, and two runs scored.
- Tennessee Smokies: Rubi Silva was 2-for-4 with a double, and two outfield assists.
- Kane County Cougars: Albert Almora was 2-for-5 with a run scored, he is now hitting .333 on the season.
- Kane County Cougars: Jeimer Candelario was 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored.
- Kane County Cougars: Rock Shoulders was 2-for-5 with a double, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
- Kane County Cougars: The bullpen; Nathan Dorris, Starling Peralta, and Armando Rivero worked a combined seven scoreless innings giving up three hits while walking four and striking out nine.
- Boise Hawks: Kris Bryant was 1-for-3 with his second home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
- Boise Hawks: Dillon Maples picked up the win going five innings giving up one run on five hits while striking out five. He hasn’t walked a batter in his last two outings.
- Boise Hawks: Corbin Hoffner was solid out of the pen going three scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out two.
- AZL Cubs: Charcer Burks was 2-for-4 with his first double of the season.
Hello reader, wanted to give you a quick update on a change we are making to the minor league reports. Today we debut our new layout which will include one “spotlight game” this game will be much like the reports you are use to. We will break the game down by hitters and pitchers, a full recap so to speak. For the remainder of the minor league games we will provide a line score, and a box score that you can click a link to view. Instead of recapping all six games every night we will detail the top performers at each level. The goal here is to limit the amount of time it takes to recap everything given how many games there are now, but also provide information that you want. Thanks everyone.
At The Plate – This one was a pitchers duel for the majority of the game then things got crazy in the seventh. Iowa scored seven times to take an 8-2 lead, then Albuguerque bounced back with three in the eighth to make it a came before the Cubs shut the door on an 8-5 win. Seven of the nine guys in the starting lineup had hits for Iowa, and as a team the Cubs walked seven times (Cubs way!). Logan Watkins was 1-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, and his eighth stolen base of the season. Donnie Murphy only had one at bat but made the most of it as he was 1-for-1 with his tenth home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored. Anthony Giansanti was 1-for-3 with his third double of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
On The Mound – Guillermo Moscoso got the start for Iowa and struggled with his command but was able to pitch in and out of trouble to pick up his sixth win of the season. Moscoso worked six innings giving up two runs on two hits while walking five (command, see?) and striking out five. Michael Bowden worked a scoreless inning out of the pen, he gave up one hit while striking out two. Casey Coleman struggled in this one as he worked two-thirds of an inning giving up three runs on three hits while walking two and striking out one. Brian Schlitter was solid in picking up his ninth save of the year, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one and striking out two.
- AZL Cubs: Jeffrey Baez went 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.
- Boise Hawks: Shawon Dunston Jr. was 2-for-4 with a triple, and a run scored
- Boise Hawks: 2013 2nd round pick Rob Zastrynzy made his Cubs debut going one scoreless inning while walking one and striking out two.
- Kane County Cougars: Albert Almora was 3-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, and two runs scored.
- Kane County Cougars: Jeimer Candelario was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a walk, and a run scored.
- Daytona Cubs: Pin-Chieh Chen was 2-for-2 with a double, and a walk.
At The Plate – Not much happening for the Cougars at the plate in this one as they were shut out and could only manage three hits the whole night. Albert Almora was 1-for-2 in the loss and also had to leave the game early with an apparent leg/hamstring injury, he briefly stayed in the game but came out the next inning. Marco Hernandez and Carlos Escobar each had one hit, all three Cougars hits were singles.
On The Mound – Jose Rosario got the start and also the loss, his fifth of the season as he was roughed up. Rosario worked five innings giving up five runs on six hits while walking four (not good) and striking out one. Sheldon McDonald was outstanding in relief going three scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out three. Michael Hamann worked one inning out of the pen and got into some trouble before escaping unscathed, he worked one scoreless inning giving up one hit while walking one and striking out one.
At The Plate – Daytona was cruising in this one as they led 6-0 into the bottom of the eighth inning, that’s when thing got uncomfortable. Dunedin put five runs on the board in the bottom of the eighth to get within one, luckily the D-Cubs stopped the bleeding and held on to win 6-5. Zeke DeVoss was productive out of the lead off spot going 3-for-5 with three RBI’s. Ben Carhart continues his solid 2013 as he went 3-for-5 with two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .277 on the season with 38 RBI’s. Bijan Rademacher was 2-for-4 with two doubles, and an RBI, those are his first two doubles since being called up to Daytona (17 AB). Pin-Chieh Chen was 1-for-2 with two walks (Cubs Way!), a triple, and two runs scored.
On The Mound – Pierce Johnson got the start in this one and picked up his first win with Daytona in his third start. Johnson worked five scoreless innings giving up five hits while walking one and striking out five. Austin Reed was solid out of the pen as he worked two scoreless innings giving up one hit and walking one. Jeffrey Lorick doesn’t have many bad games, this was one of them as he worked one inning giving up five runs on four hits while walking one and striking out two. Dayan Diaz took over for Lorick and was barely able to hang on for the save which was the his first of the season. Diaz worked one scoreless inning giving up three hits before escaping some big time trouble.
At The Plate – The Smokies fell behind quickly in this one and could never recover as they were trailing 7-1 by the bottom of the fourth en route to an 8-2 defeat. Not much going offensively but the big news from the day and the game was the debut of Javier Baez, he went 1-for-4 with his first AA home run on his first AA swing of that bat. Christian Villanueva has put together a pretty decent season so far, he was 1-for-4 with his eleventh home run of the year, and his forty-second RBI. Rubi Silva had a solid game going 2-for-4 with two singles, he’s now hitting .264 on the season.
On The Mound – Austin Kirk got the start for the Smokies and had a rough go of it as he suffered his third loss of the season. Kirk worked two innings giving up six runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out two. Yeiper Castillo was outstanding out of the pen going five innings giving up one run on four hits while walking three and striking out four. Kevin Rhoderick struggled with his command again in this one, he worked two innings giving up one run on one hit while walking three (the command thing).
At The Plate – Not a great day all around for Iowa as they lost both ends of the doubleheader to Albuquerque. Logan Watkins was solid in game one going 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a walk, he also made his ninth error of the season. Junior Lake continues his solid 2013 going 1-for-3 with two walks (Cubs Way!) in game one, he’s now hitting .319 on the season. The Cubs worked six walks in game one (good!) however they were 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position (bad!). Game two saw much of the same as the Cubs worked four walks, but could only manage five hits, and were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
On The Mound – Jake Arrieta made his Cubs debut in game one and was only able to work one inning before the rains came. Arrieta struggled with his command as he gave up one run on one hit while walking two and striking out two in his inning of work. Esmailin Caridad took over and also took the loss as he went three innings giving up two runs, one earned, while walking one and striking out two. In game two Barret Loux was outstanding but still wound up on the losing end as the Cubs couldn’t muster any offense. Loux went six innings giving up one run on four hits while walking four and striking out six.
At The Plate – The Hawks were able to pound out ten hits in this one but couldn’t push across any runs except for in the third when they scored three times. Daniel Lockhart had a solid game, minus one error, he was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Yasiel Balaguert was 1-for-3 with a walk, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .272 on the season. Jacob Rogers was the offense in this one as he was 2-for-4 with his third home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored. The Hawks only had five chances with runners in scoring position despite having ten hits, they finished the game going 2-for-5.
On The Mound – James Pugliese was finally roughed up, he worked five innings giving up five runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out six. Scott Frazier was solid out of the pen going two scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one and striking out one. Zack Godley, and Matt Iannazzo each worked a scoreless inning in relief to keep the Hawks in the game during the late innings.
At The Plate – Runs came early and often in this one as Iowa held a 6-5 lead after five innings, they added an insurance run, which they would need en route to a 7-6 victory of Oklahoma City. Solid offensive day for Iowa as eight of the nine guys in the starting lineup had at least one hit and the Cubs were 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Logan Watkins was solid out of the leadoff spot going 2-for-5 with a double, and two RBI’s. Brad Nelson had a huge day going 2-for-4 with two home runs, two RBI’s, and two runs scored. All Junior Lake has done since coming back from injury is hit, he was 1-for-5 with his fifth double of the season, and two runs scored. Ian Stewart has found some magic at the plate as of late, he was 1-for-3 in this one with a double, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.
On The Mound – Yoanner Negrin is still getting stretched out as he makes his transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation; he made his third start of the season last night. Negrin worked five innings giving up five runs on ten hits while walking two and striking out eight, he earned his first win of the season. Casey Coleman continued his brilliance of the pen as he worked three scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one and striking out two. Brian Schlitter worked a rocky ninth as he gave up one run on two hits while striking out one to earn his second save of the season.
At The Plate – Tough loss for Tennessee as they let a 3-0 lead get away in the sixth inning, and wound up losing 4-3 in walk off fashion in the ninth. Arismendy Alcantara continued his stellar 2013 as he went 2-for-4 with a run scored, he’s now hitting .290 on the season. Christian Villanueva also was 2-for-4 with a run scored, unfortunately the Smokies could do nothing with runners in scoring position going 1-for-8. Rafael Lopez had a solid game going 2-for-4 with two doubles, that gives him fourteen on the season, he also had a run scored in the loss.
On The Mound – A.J. Morris got the start for the Smokies and was outstanding going 5.1 innings giving up one run on two hits while striking out four. Zach Rosscup is usually reliable, he was knocked around however as he worked one inning giving up two runs on two hits while walking one and striking out one. Trey McNutt is starting to turn things around, he was solid going 1.2 scoreless innings giving up one hit and striking out two. Kevin Rhoderick continued to struggle and got the loss, he worked two-thirds of an inning giving up one run on one hit while walking one and striking out one.
At The Plate – Javier Baez, that’s all you need to know. These types of games don’t come around too often, in fact what Baez did was only the second time that it has been done in the 94 year history of the Florida State League. Baez was 4-for-4 with FOUR home runs (FOUR!), seven RBI’s (SEVEN), and four runs scored, have a day, kid. The huge night makes Baez’s numbers for the season look that much better, he’s hitting .291 with thirteen homers, and forty-four RBI’s, in a pitchers league. Wow.
On The Mound – Rough go of it for Zach Cates, but he did give Daytona some innings, and picked up his sixth win of the season. Cates worked six innings giving up four runs, three earned, on seven hits while striking out six. Luis Liria was knocked around out of the pen as he worked one inning giving up two runs on two hits while walking three (Not Good), and striking out two. Larry Suarez was tremendous out of the pen going 1.1 scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one. Frank Del Valle worked the final two-thirds of an inning to pick up his fourth save of the year, he walked one and struck out two in the process.
At The Plate - Nothing going right for Kane County lately, and last night was no exception as they fell to Cedar Rapids 6-2. The Cougars could only manage two runs on six hits, but did walk four times, unfortunately they were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Albert Almora was 1-for-4 in the loss with his seventh double of the season, he is now hitting .423 for the year. Rock Shoulders found some hits last night, he was 2-for-4 with his twelfth double of the season, and a run scored. Oliver Zapata was 2-for-3 with a run scored, he now has his average up to .270 on the season.
On The Mound - Pierce Johnson got the start and had one of his worst outings of 2013 as he suffered his fifth loss of the season. Johnson worked 4.2 innings giving up five runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out four. Lendy Castillo took over and did a solid job of keeping the Cougars in it, he worked 3.1 innings giving up one run on three hits while striking out four.
There will come a time soon enough where the Cubs are not picking at the top of the draft, this year is not that time as the Cubs pick number two overall. Picking that high obviously means you suffered through the previous year, but it also means that you should get an impact player and that’s exactly what the Cubs are out to get. This is an exciting time, not just because of the high pick, but because the Cubs are going to add forty some odd young men to their organization, but let’s focus on what they might do with their first pick.
Over the last few weeks we have read quotes, and stories about what the Cubs might do with the number two pick, ultimately only the Cubs really know, but much like last year I think it has a lot to do with what the Astros do with the number one pick. Now last year the Cubs were picking sixth, but I thought that whole draft changed when the Astros went with Carlos Correa at number one as that was a player that many people thought might be on the Cubs radar at six, he went one. After the draft the Cubs were steadfast in their response, “Almora was the guy no matter what, we would have taken him number one.” I like hearing that, the draft should be more about evaluating talent than reacting to what other teams are doing, sure you want to take the best available that high in the draft, but your best available might not be another teams best available. The general consensus is that the Cubs have narrowed their choice down to four guys, let’s take a look at who the Cubs are looking at as well as my predictions.
The Cubs want him, that’s my honest opinion, I think if the Cubs had the number one pick in the draft they would take Appel. Funny thing is, the Cubs had a shot at Appel in last years draft, but Appel slipped, he was once thought of as the number one overall pick last year until his bonus demands scared a number of teams off. Appel eventually went eighth to the Pirates but could not come to terms on a contract so returned to Stanford for his senior season, and here we are again with Appel atop the draft rankings. It’s easy to see why the Cubs like him, he has a plus fastball, and three above average pitches that he can throw for strikes, and projects as a top of the rotation guy. I don’t like saying can’t miss with a pitcher because of arm injuries that are just one pitch away, but he’s as can’t miss as they come.
Via Jonathan Mayo:
Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 7/8 | Slider: 5/6 | Changeup: 5/6 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 5/7
*Players are graded on a 2-8 scale for both present and future tools. 2-3 is well below average, 4 is below average, 5 is average, 6 is above average and 7-8 is plus.
Prediction – Houston doesn’t pass on him twice and takes him at number one overall.
Cubs Chances - Fair, there is no clear-cut number one, and I think if the Astros don’t grab Appel then the Cubs will.
You know, the Cubs need power arms, well here’s a power arm, and then some. Gray has a plus plus fastball which has been clocked at triple digits, not just at the start of games, but late in games. He might not be as polished as Appel, but he has two plus pitches and has a chance to keep developing that change-up into a plus pitch as well. Now the positive adderall test, this has put a seed of doubt into some people’s minds, I wouldn’t say that I am one of them. I don’t think the Cubs are either, if the Cubs want an arm at number two and their best available (Apple, in my opinion) is off the board then they go with Gray.
Via Jonathan Mayo:
Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 7/8 | Slider: 5/6 | Changeup: 4/5 | Control: 4/5 | Overall: 5/6
*Players are graded on a 2-8 scale for both present and future tools. 2-3 is well below average, 4 is below average, 5 is average, 6 is above average and 7-8 is plus.
Prediction - Gray is still on the board at two and the Cubs take him.
Cubs Chances - Great, I think he will be on the board still, and it comes down to if the Cubs think Gray is the best available.
Yes I know that I have a Cubs logo with Bryant as well, here’s why. This front office is very particular with their high first round picks, they prefer bats, specifically college bats. Kris Bryant has rocketed up the draft charts because of his tremendous Junior season at the University of San Diego. Third base is a challenge for the Cubs, not just at the MLB level but at the minor league level as well. Josh Vitters is the cream of the crop in the organization with whispers about Javier Baez being moved there. If the Cubs want to grab a power bat at the hot corner this would be their chance. The only thing that would pull the Cubs away from Bryant would be his swing and miss potential, but some say his power makes up for that.
Via Jonathan Mayo:
Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 4/5 | Power: 5/7 | Run: 4/4 | Arm: 6/6 | Field: 4/5 | Overall: 4/6
*Players are graded on a 2-8 scale for both present and future tools. 2-3 is well below average, 4 is below average, 5 is average, 6 is above average and 7-8 is plus.
Prediction – Assuming the Astros don’t take Bryant at number one, which they could, then I think Bryant lands with Colorado. A word of caution however, if the Astros take Appel the Cubs front office might choose to follow what they have in the past and favor hitting over pitching. All depends on who they Cubs feel is the best available, I don’t think they take Bryant just because he’s a third baseman.
Cubs Chances – Excellent, odds are Bryant will be there, the Cubs would just have to pull the trigger.
This is where things get interesting in my opinion, here’s why. Moran profiles as the “Cubs Way” guy, meaning he is a better overall hitter than Bryant, but odds are he won’t reach the power potential that Bryant will. However, Moran will have professional at bats, do the Cubs trust their scouting and philosophy to take the guy that fits the mold the most? I’m leaning towards no on that one just because I feel that if they are going to take the best available in their eyes, and they will, that will not be Moran. Another wrinkle is that Moran is a left-handed hitting third baseman, I already talked about the need at third base, but the need for a solid left-handed hitting third baseman is almost enough to make a team jump, just don’t think the Cubs will.
Via Jonathan Mayo:
Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 5/6 | Power: 4/5 | Run: 3/3 | Arm: 5/5 | Field: 4/5 | Overall: 4/6
Prediction – The Cubs won’t take Moran, and he will go to the Indians at five after Appel, Bryant, and Gray are off the board and the Twins go with Kohl Stewart or Braden Shipley at number four.
Cubs Chances – Great, I don’t think there is any chance the Astros take Moran, if they go bat with the number one pick they will take Bryant, meaning Moran will be there, but so will Gray and Appel, that’s too much to pass up on to take Moran.
In conclusion, there are four viable options for the Cubs to think about, but it all comes down to who the Astros go with. If the Astros take Appel I think the Cubs will go with Gray. If the Astros take Gray I think the Cubs will go with Appel. If the Astros surprise for the second year in a row and take Bryant then the Cubs take Appel. Bottom line, I don’t think the Cubs pass on one of the college arms that are guaranteed to be there. Now, if the Cubs feel strongly about their scouting and talent evaluation they could pass on Gray and Appel at number two and take the bat given the chance to take a number of quality arms in the second, third, and fourth rounds because they will be there.
MLB DRAFT COVERAGE
The draft begins on June 6th and runs through June 8th, live coverage begins on MLB Network at 5:00 PM CST with an hour-long preview show with the first round scheduled to start at 6:00 PM CST. The first 73 picks will be aired on MLB Network and streamed on MLB.com, that’s the first round, and the supplemental round. Rounds three through ten will be streamed live on MLB.com on June 7th beginning at 11:30 AM CST, and rounds eleven through forty will be streamed live on MLB.com on June 8th beginning at noon CST.
CUBS BONUS POOL
Because of the new collective bargaining agreement teams have to pay attention to how much they can spend over the first ten rounds in the draft. If you want a full rundown on how the bonus pool works I suggest you take a gander at Carrie Muskat’s article about the draft, she does a fine job of breaking it down. Bottom line, the Cubs have the second most money to spend on their top ten rounds, that’s nice.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the Cubs options with the number two pick, and don’t forget to join me for the first round tomorrow as I will be live blogging the first round just like last year. Can’t wait!
At The Plate – After a stretch of some really solid baseball, and wins, the Iowa Cubs have found themselves struggling again. Iowa couldn’t really put anything together in this one; sure they scored three runs on eight hits but were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Dave Sappelt had a solid day going 2-for-4 with his first stolen base, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .276 at Iowa. Brent Lillibridge accounted for part of the offense; he was 1-for-4 with his fifth double of the season, and an RBI in the loss.
On The Mound – Chris Rusin was knocked around a bit in this one, but still managed to get deep into the game, unfortunately he was still hung with his fifth loss of the season. Rusin worked seven innings giving up five runs on twelve hits while striking out four. Michael Bowden was solid, as he was with the big league club for the most part, he worked 1.2 scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one and striking out three. Casey Coleman worked just one-third of an inning in this one, and did it in a scoreless fashion.
At The Plate – Thanks to the weather Daytona only needed seven innings to take care of Brevard County 5-0. The top Cubs prospects are really starting to heat up at the plate; Javier Baez is one of those guys. After a monster day on Saturday Baez had a solid Sunday, he was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored and is now hitting .281 on the season. Ben Carhart had a solid game as well going 2-for-3 with a walk, and two runs scored. Jorge Soler was 1-for-4 with two RBI’s, that gives him thirty on the season, and he is now hitting .294 for the year.
On The Mound – Austin Kirk was all that Daytona needed as he went the distance for a “complete game” victory to improve his record to 6-2 on the season. Kirk worked six scoreless innings giving up five hits while walking three and striking out seven, he lowered his ERA to 4.50 in the victory.
At The Plate – Really nice win for the Cougars who have been struggling as of late, they needed extra innings but they got the job done. Big day from the big names in the Kane County order as the two through four hitters were a combined 8-for-13 with two doubles, a home run, and one RBI. Albert Almora looks to be back to 100% health as he was 3-for-4 with a double, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .475 on the season. Dan Vogelbach had a productive day going 2-for-4 with a double, his eight home run of the season (VIDEO), a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored. Jeimer Canderlario is really coming around as of late, he was 3-for-5 with three singles, he’s now hitting .259 on the season.
On the Mound – The Cougars pitching was outstanding in this one as they shut down a very good Cedar Rapids lineup. Michael Heesch got the start and did not factor in the decision, but was solid and kept Kane County in it. Heesch worked six innings giving up two runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out four. Steve Perakslis was brilliant out of the bullpen going three scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one and striking out three. Eddie Orozco worked a scoreless tenth inning to earn his third win of the season as the Cougars walked off in the bottom half.