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  1. #1161
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSF77 View Post
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    I would be tempted to bump DJ up to 6. His skill set could put him into a eliete lead off role. Solid D with ++ speed. A strong season it would become a forgone conclusion.

    The 3 ahead of him are good roster fillers on a major league roster but you are not seeing any with headliner talent.

    Underwood is another I'm a little shocked they cast aside. He is another with the talent to be a head liner vs fill in type.

    Pretty questionable rankings.
    Underwood has to show some consistent health. He definitely has upside and his stuff is good but injuries and inconsistencies have been his enemy. It will be interesting to see if he stays in the bullpen this year, where he finished last year, or if they give him an opportunity to start again. At this point most indications is that he would be a bullpen piece in MLB but he still could change that.

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  3. #1162
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    Quote Originally Posted by TC in Mississippi View Post
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    Underwood has to show some consistent health. He definitely has upside and his stuff is good but injuries and inconsistencies have been his enemy. It will be interesting to see if he stays in the bullpen this year, where he finished last year, or if they give him an opportunity to start again. At this point most indications is that he would be a bullpen piece in MLB but he still could change that.
    Same thing happened to Edwards and Johnson. Edward's size prevents him becoming a starter. Underwood would have no issues like that.

    I believe they should let him take his lumps as a starter. All of the starters that have at AAA-AA are MOR at best.

  4. #1163
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSF77 View Post
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    Same thing happened to Edwards and Johnson. Edward's size prevents him becoming a starter. Underwood would have no issues like that.

    I believe they should let him take his lumps as a starter. All of the starters that have at AAA-AA are MOR at best.
    Edwards had dynamic stuff but failed to stay healthy where as Underwood is all hype with limited production that hasn't been nearly as good. I mean, he's well behind the Cubs top arms in terms of potential (Cease, de la Cruz, and Clifton all have higher ceilings). I mean, the AAA arms to me are all future mop up/fifth starter types where the future top arms are A level.

  5. #1164
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    https://wayniacnation.com/2017/01/14...rospect-watch/

    TREVOR CLIFTON, RHP Chicago Cubs

    Clifton is one of the best arms in the Cubs farm system. While many thought that 2016 would see Dylan Cease, Pierce Johnson or even Duane Underwood make the biggest jump in the system, you can easily argue that Clifton stole the show.

    The now-21 year old righty was the second pick in the 12th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. He came out of high school in Tennessee with two pitches — a mid-90s fastball and what many felt was a plus-curve in waiting — and a decent frame standing at six-foot-one and 170 pounds. The problem was he struggled with his command.

    Clifton debuted to an unforgettable 6.97 ERA and a 15-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Arizona League. Sure, he was merely 18, having never pitched against professional competition, but it was far from the expectations the Cubs had of him. They worked hard with him on improving mechanics that offseason.

    The results have been staggering.

    In each of the three past seasons, Clifton has seen his walk rate steadily decline (4.43 in 2014, 3.89 in ’15, and a career-best 3.10 last year) as his strikeout rate has risen each season (7.97 in 2014, 8.53 in ‘15, and also a career-best 9.76 last year.) It should come as no surprise that he has become harder to score upon, seeing his FIP drop tremendously from 4.31 in his 2014 campaign to a very impressive 3.05 last season.

    Last season at his highest level of ball, he was outstanding for Myrtle Beach. He finished the season 7-7 with a Carolina League best 2.72 ERA over 23 starts, striking out 129 and walking 41 in 119 innings pitched. Most impressively was how he bounced back from a July rough patch. While it looked as if Clifton was hitting some fatigue in July posting an ugly 5.48 ERA and 1.39 WHIP over five midsummer starts, he hurled his best month of baseball in August.

    Clifton made five starts in August, going at least six innings in each one of them. He finished out a strong season, going 2-0 with a 0.85 ERA and 0.76 WHIP over 31.2 August innings, striking out 34 and walking five. “Under the radar” no more, not only was Clifton the Cubs’ Pitcher of the Year, he earned the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year honors.

    Then, of course, came the playoffs. If Clifton’s August was considered strong, then his first full-season playoffs were off the charts. He made two starts for the Pelicans, going 12 innings — including six shutout in his final performance of the season — striking out eleven and walking just one while allowing one run to score. His two postseason starts closed out the 2016 season for Clifton with ten consecutive quality starts. For the Pelicans, Clifton’s strong postseason led to their second consecutive Carolina League title.

    Clifton should start the season with somewhat of a homecoming, pitching for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies. He’s grown into his teenage frame and is now an intimidating presence on the mound, standing close to six-foot-four and 220, and has really harnessed his fastball and strong secondary offerings (the aforementioned curve and deceiving changeup). While there’s no reason to expect to see Clifton in the bigs in 2017, his annual progression has certainly boosted him as a prime prospect to watch this coming season.

  6. #1165
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanTown View Post
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    Edwards had dynamic stuff but failed to stay healthy where as Underwood is all hype with limited production that hasn't been nearly as good. I mean, he's well behind the Cubs top arms in terms of potential (Cease, de la Cruz, and Clifton all have higher ceilings). I mean, the AAA arms to me are all future mop up/fifth starter types where the future top arms are A level.
    Clifton is looking the TOR part now. With out that July blip he could have been the top arm in the system.

    The thing that is going for him over Cease is his size. Cease is listed nearer to Edwards's size. Clifton has matured to the size that you see out of starters that go 200 innings on a regular basis.

    So if if you like playing a safe bet go with Clifton to make it as a starter.

  7. #1166
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSF77 View Post
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    Clifton is looking the TOR part now.
    Most scouting I've seen suggests he's still only a #3/4 starter.

  8. #1167
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    Quote Originally Posted by beckdawg View Post
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    Most scouting I've seen suggests he's still only a #3/4 starter.
    If that the case now hed be ahead of Lackey and Montgomery for 2017...

    I'm looking at 2017 as an important year for Cubs pitching prospects as far as them stepping up .

    With Lester and Hendricks being the only sure arms returning right now in the rotation, be nice if they could have a couple kids ready to go if their not able to get who they want via trade or FA.

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  9. #1168
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    Quote Originally Posted by chibears55 View Post
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    If that the case now hed be ahead of Lackey and Montgomery for 2017
    Not really. He hasn't pitched above A ball. He's likely 2 years away at the earliest. He had a good year but the previous two he was at 3.98/3.94 ERA/FIP as a 20 year old in A ball and 3.69/4.31 as a 19 year old in A-. Maybe I worded it wrong and you got the wrong impression from what I said. I meant most scouts view his potential to be a #3/4 starter not that he is that right now.

    To be a "top of the rotation" starter you generally have to have at least 2 "plus" pitches which is another way of saying a 60 grade pitch. For example, Cease has a 70 grade fastball and a 60 grade curve. His change up is fringy but those two pitches are good enough to give him a shot at the top of a rotation. Clifton has a 60 grade fastball and a 55 grade curve as well as a 50 grade change up. He's also got 45 grade command. If he had better command you might suggest his stuff played up. For example, Hendricks really only has one plus pitch(change) but his other stuff plays up because his command is great.

    Full disclosure here, I'm largely working off some dated material as most of the places haven't done the re-ranking you generally see during the offseason. I'm obviously not a scout. I'm more into the stats side of things. And seeing he k'd at a 9.76 per 9 rate does make me wonder if they are underrating his stuff. It could be something like he's good at deception rather than just having amazing stuff and that's why he strikes a ton of guys out. With all that being said, BA has put out their top 10 cubs rankings as mentioned previously and had Clifton behind Mark Zagunis and Candelario which sort says they aren't that high on him.

  10. #1169
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    Quote Originally Posted by beckdawg View Post
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    Not really. He hasn't pitched above A ball. He's likely 2 years away at the earliest. He had a good year but the previous two he was at 3.98/3.94 ERA/FIP as a 20 year old in A ball and 3.69/4.31 as a 19 year old in A-. Maybe I worded it wrong and you got the wrong impression from what I said. I meant most scouts view his potential to be a #3/4 starter not that he is that right now..
    No..I knew what you were implying..

    I was just saying if he were to be considered that now, he would be ahead of both Lackey and Montgomery going into ST.

    Why I said 2017 is important for some of these young prospects..
    Cubs are going to have openings next year, and hopefully a couple of these kids can open some eyes this year and put themselves in consideration for 2018.



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  11. #1170
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    This is going to be a huge year for Clifton after his breakout at Myrtle Beach. If he can come close to duplicating that success at AA Tennessee this year people will start reevaluating that MOR ceiling.

  12. #1171
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    He has improved every year and has put on a starter's body over that span.

    That said AA seems to be the make it or brake it league. That should be a telling sign if the excellerate him or stall him.

  13. #1172
    Senior Member DanTown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSF77 View Post
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    Clifton is looking the TOR part now. With out that July blip he could have been the top arm in the system.

    The thing that is going for him over Cease is his size. Cease is listed nearer to Edwards's size. Clifton has matured to the size that you see out of starters that go 200 innings on a regular basis.

    So if if you like playing a safe bet go with Clifton to make it as a starter.
    Cease is 6'2 190 (listed) where as Clifton is 6'1" 170 (listed) where as Edwards is listed as 6'3" 170. I sometimes wonder what the fuck you're talking about.

  14. #1173
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanTown View Post
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    Cease is 6'2 190 (listed) where as Clifton is 6'1" 170 (listed) where as Edwards is listed as 6'3" 170. I sometimes wonder what the fuck you're talking about.
    Old info

    Clifton should start the season with somewhat of a homecoming, pitching for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies. He’s grown into his teenage frame and is now an intimidating presence on the mound, standing close to six-foot-four and 220, and has really harnessed his fastball and strong secondary offerings (the aforementioned curve and deceiving changeup). While there’s no reason to expect to see Clifton in the bigs in 2017, his annual progression has certainly boosted him as a prime prospect to watch this coming season.

    He is 6'4" 220 now. That was his draft size

  15. #1174
    Senior Member CSF77's Avatar
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    I believe Beck did a write up on pitchers under 6'3" on how they end up injured more than not as starters. Edwards has the height but needs to fill into his frame. Cease is needing a growth spurt like Clifton did.

  16. #1175
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    Even MLB.com amended

    Clifton has gotten stronger since turning pro, adding about 40 pounds to his 6-foot-4 frame, and his quick arm delivers consistent 92-94 mph fastballs that have reached as high as 97. He's doing a better job of staying on top of his curveball, which features tight spin and could become a plus pitch. His changeup has improved into at least an average offering that helps him keep left-handers at bay.



    Try reading the reports mkay

  17. #1176
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    I'm going to to try to see Clifton pitch at some point this coming season. The Smokies are here in Jackson playing the Mississippi Braves at the end of April but if he doesn't pitch in that stretch I'll drive to go see him. I've only seen a few video clips so far but this kid, along with Dylan Cease, could very well be a huge part of the Cubs future.

  18. #1177
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    BP released it's cubs stuff.

    BP’s Top 10 Chicago Cubs Prospects:

    Eloy Jimenez, OF
    Ian Happ, 2B/OF
    Albert Almora Jr., OF
    Trevor Clifton, RHP
    Jeimer Candelario, 3B
    Jose Albertos, RHP
    Dylan Cease, RHP
    Oscar De La Cruz, RHP
    Eddy Julio Martinez, OF
    Thomas Hatch, RHP
    In that order. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...rticleid=30977

  19. #1178
    Senior Member CSF77's Avatar
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    You in agreement? I really don't like Almora in prospect status. Even so his skill set is borderline 4th OF D spec if he can't get his OBA around .330.

    I'm feeling we will end up missing what Fowler gave to us vs worrying about any D lackings he had.

  20. #1179
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSF77 View Post
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    You in agreement? I really don't like Almora in prospect status. Even so his skill set is borderline 4th OF D spec if he can't get his OBA around .330.

    I'm feeling we will end up missing what Fowler gave to us vs worrying about any D lackings he had.
    I like Almora a lot frankly. Think you're underselling him. Look at starting CF's right now with good defense. Kevin Keirmaier is a career .258/.313/.425 hitter. He was a top 5 CF last year. Almora hit .277/.308/.455. And the thing is he's a huge character guy and a leader which doesn't weigh into numbers.

    I mean sure if you're expecting Almora to replace Fowler as a lead off hitter you will be disappointed. He's not as good of a hitter as Fowler. But because he's not Fowler doesn't mean he isn't a good player.

    As for the rest of the guys, I think you can make the case for basically anyone 3-10 being higher or lower.

  21. #1180
    Senior Member CSF77's Avatar
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    When I see Almora I see a cap of Starlin Castro with solid D. He seems to be able to hit but Castro had a uncanny ability to be able to turn on pitches that were not in the zone. After his mechanics got muddled from Theo's tinkering things went south.

    Almora seems to have a strong hit tool. But is not adept at working the count.

    To me that is more of a natural thing to a hitter. Aggressive or passive. It is not really something that is learned. It is more like natural instinct.

    Now I believe that a player can polish his natural abilities but to try and change? I'm not sold on that. It feels counter productive and seeing how Castro never really was the same after it is really not a wise choice.

    So that said, he is what he is. If he ends up a .270/.330/.450 hitter it wouldn't shock me. Basically he is bottom of the order there for his glove.

    Still his impact is felt on the field. He will depend on the rest of the line up vs being depended upon. Or a role player vs a star

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