Cubs Farm System And Prospects Discussion Thread

beckdawg

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A couple of names to bookmark for later that were mentioned in BA's write up on the cubs IFA class...

Prior to July 2, during the end of the 2018-19 signing period, the Cubs also gave six-figure deals to a couple of Cuban players. One of them, Cristian More, is an 18-year-old center fielder who got $400,000 in March. More played in the Dominican Summer League and hit .252/.326/.268 in 31 games with 13 stolen bases in 19 attempts. Speed is More's best too. He's not that big (5-foot-9, 165 pounds) but he's a 70 runner with good defensive instincts and an average arm in center field. He's a lefthanded spray hitter whose defense is ahead of his bat.

That month the Cubs also paid $250,000 for Felix Stevens, a 20-year-old corner outfielder from Cuba. Stevens is a physical specimen at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds and fairly athletic for his size, running a tick above-average underway with plus or better raw power. He has a big arm as well. When he was working out for teams in the Dominican Republic, Stevens even pitched and reached 95 mph off the mound, so pitching could still be a backup option if hitting doesn't work out. Stevens batted .280/.386/.491 with six home runs in 51 games in the DSL this past summer, with 26 walks and 62 strikeouts, with a lot of those swings and misses coming against breaking pitches.

While the Cubs put most of their pool money toward Quintero, Made and Altuve, there are a couple sleepers in the class generating some attention. One is 17-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Luis Maza, whose father by the same name played 45 big league games with the Dodgers in 2008. Maza (5-foot-10, 150 pounds) can play shortstop or second base with a pair of 55 tools in his speed and arm strength. He's a line-drive hitter from the left side with doubles power and good instincts for the game.

Another sleeper is 19-year-old righthander Edgar Mercedes, who signed for $10,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He's an extremely tall and slender 6-foot-8, 175 pounds with a fastball that has already reached 97 mph. It's a big fastball already and he could eventually throw triple digits once he puts weight on his body. It's an uncomfortable at-bat for hitters with his velocity and long limbs flying at them.
 

Jssanto

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Bill James projection for Kris Bryant in 2015: 152 games, 33 homers, 105 runs, 75 RBIs, 18 stolen bases and an .864 OPS. Yes please.

Javier Baez? 214 strikeouts with a .242 average, .754 OPS, 32 home runs and 23 stolen bases.

I'll take that too.
Did you mean 2020 predictions?
I think we need better batting averages for Baez than .240. Also for Schwarber, Hayward.
 

Jssanto

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Javier will be playing Winter Ball in Puerto Rico, and John Mallee will be there working with him in the 4-5 games a week that he will be playing. Let's see what he can do to help his mechanics. We may be surprised.
Would love to be surprised. Anyone else down there?
 

CSF77

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Cubs main prospects to watch.

Alozay. He should be in competition for Hamels rotation spot. It really comes down to if he is durable enough vs talented enough.

Abbott to a lesser degree. He is projected as a back of the rotation type. But should be at Iowa and a phone call away.

Marquez ended up in A+. He is the only prospect that has ace quality offerings. I expect him in Tenn.

Davis:. Best hitting prospect in the system. He should be in A+.

Amaya catcher at Tenn. Top 100 prospect. Over all package.

Horner. Good chance that he starts at 2B on the Cubs. The fact that they cut Russell pretty much suggests that they saw enough to green lite him.
 

Jack Lantern

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Sorry, I am new. Why are some of these dates years ago?

The only constant all these years is Theo Epstein's front office can't draft or develop pitching so they are relegated to signing has beens like Craig Kimbrel and unloading high end prospects for mid line starters like Quintana.
 

beckdawg

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Yeah like they can't develop bucholtz or lester or Hendricks or the slew of guys they have at A+ and AA this past year.
 

beckdawg

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lol, this dude is el stupido, derp derp.
Insightful retort. Fact of the matter is saying Theo can't develop pitching is just outright wrong. I'll even give you the benefit of the doubt that your actual argument is this front office has been inconsistent. That's a fair argument. And the cubs certainly need to do a better job of developing pitching which is why they literally have added an additional pitching coach at every level who's job is to use bioinfomatic tech to develop players more than just old school coaching.

Additionally, this entirely ignores the strides they have made the past 2 years. The cubs have added a number of guys who project as very interesting mid-back rotation starters. Casual fans don't pay enough attention but I'll say it right now, by july the cubs will have a number of interesting names pitching wise on their top 30 type list. I'm not some amazing scout. I just pay attention. If I need to prove my point, go look back around this time last year in this thread. I was saying at the time that Brennen Davis is the prospect I was most excited about and after a big year he's quickly becoming a name to watch.

Now sure other than maybe Marquez the cubs lack elite elite pitching prospect but that has less to do with development and more to do with resource allotment. Here's the highest slot value pitchers the cubs have drafted since 2014. I'd go back to 2012 when they started but I don't have a handy resource to track signing bonuses past 2014.

Brendon Little - $2.2 mil
Ryan Jensen - $2 mil
Alex Lange - $1.93 mil
Dylan Cease - $1.5 mil
Carson Sands - $1.1 mil
Bryan Hudson - $1.1 mil
Justin Steele - $1 mil
Jake Stinnett - $1 mil
Jeremiah Estrada - $1 mil
Cory Abbott - $901.9k
Kohl Franklin - $540k
Thomas Hatch - $537.9k
Keegan Thompson - $511.9k
Tyson Miller - $500k
Michael McAvene - $500k
Davidjohn Herz - $500k

Thing worth noting here is that $1 mil in draft bonus isn't really much. For example, one of the highest rated pitching prospects now is MacKenzie Gore who received $6.7 million. Casey Mize got $7.5. Nate Pearson got $2.45 mil. Forrest Whitley got $3.148 mil. Micheal Kopech got $1.5 mil. Brendan McKay got $7 mil. Matthew Liberatore got $3.5. So to sit here and say they haven't developed pitching is just ignoring the fact that you very rarely see anyone under $1.5 mil in top pitching prospect lists.

When you add that in with the fact that developing pitching by itself is a high attrition endeavor you get what the cubs got. But there's names on that list that will be MLB starters. Cease clearly turned out well. Abbott and Miller had fantastic years at AA last year. Keegan Thompson looked good before getting hurt last year. Kohl Franklin is looking like a steal though still has a long ways to go.

Cubs additionally haven't spent all that much until just recently in IFA on starters. Marquez ironically was one. I believe they spent $600k on him. They spent $1 mil on Richard Gallardo who looks like he could be pretty good. Only other starter I remember getting big money from them was Jose Albertos though that was kind of cheating because IIRC that was a year where they were in the penalty and the way the system at the time worked it only counted what you pay the player. Cubs got around that by giving him like $300k and his team got 3x that so he cost like $1.2 mil but cubs didn't go over the limit.

Long story short, this lack of development is more about making a conscious choice to spend money on hitting and less on pitching. There's 2 years that wasn't the case. In 2017, they made a concerted effort to bring in pitching. Of that list above they brought in Little, Lange, Abbott, Thompson and Estrada. The other year was in 2014 where they brought in Stinnett, Sands, Steele and Cease though I would point out that Stinnett was an under slot signing used to save money for the big 3 high school arms. And of those two years Cease and Steele from 2014 and at the very least Abbott Miller and Thompson look quite likely to be MLB starters at some point.
 

beckdawg

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Looks like the cubs are likely to sign the best IFA next july.

Cristian Hernandez, SS, Dominican Republic
More: Video, Video, Video
If there's an international draft in 2020, Hernandez would be a strong candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick. If not, the Cubs are expected to sign Hernandez, a 15-year-old who trains in the Mejia Top 10 program, for a bonus of more than $3 million. With a lot of space left to fill out his 6-foot-1, 165-pound frame, Hernandez has big power, a fast bat and advanced swing mechanics from the right side. Hernandez's most eye-catching abilities are in the batter's box, but he's also a plus runner who looks like he should be able to stay at shortstop.
 

CubsFaninMN

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Insightful retort. Fact of the matter is saying Theo can't develop pitching is just outright wrong. I'll even give you the benefit of the doubt that your actual argument is this front office has been inconsistent. That's a fair argument. And the cubs certainly need to do a better job of developing pitching which is why they literally have added an additional pitching coach at every level who's job is to use bioinfomatic tech to develop players more than just old school coaching.

Additionally, this entirely ignores the strides they have made the past 2 years. The cubs have added a number of guys who project as very interesting mid-back rotation starters. Casual fans don't pay enough attention but I'll say it right now, by july the cubs will have a number of interesting names pitching wise on their top 30 type list. I'm not some amazing scout. I just pay attention. If I need to prove my point, go look back around this time last year in this thread. I was saying at the time that Brennen Davis is the prospect I was most excited about and after a big year he's quickly becoming a name to watch.

Now sure other than maybe Marquez the cubs lack elite elite pitching prospect but that has less to do with development and more to do with resource allotment. Here's the highest slot value pitchers the cubs have drafted since 2014. I'd go back to 2012 when they started but I don't have a handy resource to track signing bonuses past 2014.

Brendon Little - $2.2 mil
Ryan Jensen - $2 mil
Alex Lange - $1.93 mil
Dylan Cease - $1.5 mil
Carson Sands - $1.1 mil
Bryan Hudson - $1.1 mil
Justin Steele - $1 mil
Jake Stinnett - $1 mil
Jeremiah Estrada - $1 mil
Cory Abbott - $901.9k
Kohl Franklin - $540k
Thomas Hatch - $537.9k
Keegan Thompson - $511.9k
Tyson Miller - $500k
Michael McAvene - $500k
Davidjohn Herz - $500k

Thing worth noting here is that $1 mil in draft bonus isn't really much. For example, one of the highest rated pitching prospects now is MacKenzie Gore who received $6.7 million. Casey Mize got $7.5. Nate Pearson got $2.45 mil. Forrest Whitley got $3.148 mil. Micheal Kopech got $1.5 mil. Brendan McKay got $7 mil. Matthew Liberatore got $3.5. So to sit here and say they haven't developed pitching is just ignoring the fact that you very rarely see anyone under $1.5 mil in top pitching prospect lists.

When you add that in with the fact that developing pitching by itself is a high attrition endeavor you get what the cubs got. But there's names on that list that will be MLB starters. Cease clearly turned out well. Abbott and Miller had fantastic years at AA last year. Keegan Thompson looked good before getting hurt last year. Kohl Franklin is looking like a steal though still has a long ways to go.

Cubs additionally haven't spent all that much until just recently in IFA on starters. Marquez ironically was one. I believe they spent $600k on him. They spent $1 mil on Richard Gallardo who looks like he could be pretty good. Only other starter I remember getting big money from them was Jose Albertos though that was kind of cheating because IIRC that was a year where they were in the penalty and the way the system at the time worked it only counted what you pay the player. Cubs got around that by giving him like $300k and his team got 3x that so he cost like $1.2 mil but cubs didn't go over the limit.

Long story short, this lack of development is more about making a conscious choice to spend money on hitting and less on pitching. There's 2 years that wasn't the case. In 2017, they made a concerted effort to bring in pitching. Of that list above they brought in Little, Lange, Abbott, Thompson and Estrada. The other year was in 2014 where they brought in Stinnett, Sands, Steele and Cease though I would point out that Stinnett was an under slot signing used to save money for the big 3 high school arms. And of those two years Cease and Steele from 2014 and at the very least Abbott Miller and Thompson look quite likely to be MLB starters at some point.

Thanks for an actually insightful response to an undeserved and uninformed dig.

And you make a really good point, beck -- a much smaller percentage of pitchers drafted get to the big leagues than any other position on the team. And most all pitching prospects are such crapshoots that they end up getting shuffled around between at least two teams' farm systems before even getting a shot at the majors.

I'd like to see the numbers on how many regular MLB starting pitchers -- not just September call-ups or short-term injury replacements -- were drafted by the teams they pitched for last year. Just say starters, keep it simple. I bet it's a very small percentage.

I guess my point is that most clubs don't really develop their own pitching, from draft to big league mound. They trade for established MLB-level pitching and sign such as free agents, for the most part, occasionally acquiring a gem in trade or as a Rule 5 pickup. Even looking at minor league arms acquired every year, in trade and minor league free agency, that percentage that gets up to the majors is small.

Pitching is just difficult to develop, most pitchers that get to AAA have shown a ceiling in the majors at some point in their development and then just never reach that level, and so are mostly overvalued as trade chips by teams desperate for pitching. But yeah, please, tell me how many of the Astros starting staff they drafted, or the Yankees, or the Cardinals. Hell, a lot of you weren't even born yet, but I bet you didn't know the Cardinals traded for Adam Wainwright back in 2003? Doesn't matter how long he's been with his current club, the Cardinals didn't develop him...

-Doug
 

JP Hochbaum

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Baseball America Rankings:
37. Marquez
40. Hoerner
94. Davis

Amaya didn't crack top 100, but I think it is fair to say the system is much better than the last few years. I expect a BeckDawg write up pronto.
 

zack54attack

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Baseball America Rankings:
37. Marquez
40. Hoerner
94. Davis

Amaya didn't crack top 100, but I think it is fair to say the system is much better than the last few years. I expect a BeckDawg write up pronto.

Interesting. Amaya had to be fringe Top 100 then. Thought he was higher than Davis at least.
 

SilenceS

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Interesting. Amaya had to be fringe Top 100 then. Thought he was higher than Davis at least.
Ehh, sometimes these rankings are superficial. Amya had a bad first half with the bat but last two months. The stick was doing well.
 

zack54attack

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MLB Pipeline's Top 100:

Miguel Amaya - 95
Brennen Davis - 78
Brailyn Marquez - 68
Nico Hoerner - 51
 

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