Baseball America Top Ten Cubs Prospects List

Baseball America released its annual Cubs Top Ten Prospects list today. BA doesn't consider MLB service time when rating prospects, but it does hold to the 130 AB and 50 IP rookie limit, making Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, and Carlos Marmol ineligible for the list this time around. BA did provide somewhat detailed scouting reports on each of the Cubs Top Ten prospects, but since it's available only by subscription, I will not provide that additional information here. TOP 10 PROSPECTS: 1. Josh Vitters, 3B 2. Geovany Soto, C 3. Tyler Colvin, OF 4. Jose Ceda, RHP 5. Sean Gallagher, RHP 6. Donald Veal, LHP 7. Josh Donaldson, C 8. Jeff Samardzija, RHP 9. Tony Thomas, 2B 10. Kevin Hart, RHP BEST TOOLS Best Hitter for Average - Tony Thomas Best Power Hitter - Josh Vitters Best Strike-Zone Discipline - Sam Fuld Fastest Baserunner - Leon Johnson Best Athlete - Tyler Colvin Best Fastball - Jose Ceda Best Curveball - Casey Lambert Best Slider - Alessandro Maestri Best Changeup - James Russell Best Control - Mark Holliman Best Defensive Catcher - Welington Castillo Best Defensive Infielder - Josh Lansford Best Infield Arm - Josh Lansford Best Defensive Outfielder - Sam Fuld Best Outfield Arm - Kyler Burke PROJECTED 2011 LINEUP Catcher - Geovany Soto First Base - Derrek Lee Second Base - Tony Thomas Third Base - Aramis Ramirez Shortstop - Ronny Cedeno Left Field - Alfonso Soriano Center Field - Felix Pie Right Field - Tyler Colvin No. 1 Starter - Carlos Zambrano No. 2 Starter - Rich Hill No. 3 Starter - Sean Gallagher No. 4 Starter - Ted Lilly No. 5 Starter - Donald Veal Closer - Carlos Marmol
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Comments

No Brian Dopirak or Ryan Harvey?

i will give 500:1 odds that ronny cedeno will not be the cubs starting SS in 2011. i know what they're trying to do with these projections but that one's still entertaining.

So Vitters is our best prospect, but Ramirez is entrenched at third. Does that mean Vitters is pretty much mandated to be trade bait?

Harry — November 19, 2007 @ 11:08 am
So Vitters is our best prospect, but Ramirez is entrenched at third. Does that mean Vitters is pretty much mandated to be trade bait?

=======================

HARRY: Aramis Ramirez can be a free-agent after the 2010 season (player option) or after the 2011 season (mutual option with buy-out), so if Josh Vitters were to develop into a top MLB 3B prospect in the next three or four years, there probably will be a spot for him at 3B in Wrigley Field in 2011, or 2012 at the latest.

AZ Phil: Where do you see Vitters and Donaldson starting next year?

Is Patterson not eligable? I didn't think he was up that long. Or, did he fall off the radar. I know they do the top thirty prospects for their book and they have an afternoon chat planned, so his name may come up.

Green Lantern — November 19, 2007 @ 11:07 am
i will give 500:1 odds that ronny cedeno will not be the cubs starting SS in 2011. i know what they’re trying to do with these projections but that one’s still entertaining.

==========================

GREEN LANTERN: BA is just taking the players the Cubs have in their organization right now, and projecting ahead five years. If you do that, Ronny Cedeno probably would be the most-likely Cubs SS at that time. BA doesn't project free-agent signings or anything like that.

What they probably should do, however, is project five years ahead (to 2011) without including players who are eligible to be free-agents by that time. If you do that, then D-Lee (FA after 2010), Lilly (also FA after 2010), and Ramirez (player option to be FA after 2010) wouldn't be on the list.

At times, the defining of prospects baffles me. Vitters, who bumped along to the tune of 6 hits in 51 at bats, striking out more than he reached base via hits and walks, it our number one prospect.

While Soto who did really well in both the minors and the bigs is our number two. Of course he was warts of his own, but if I had to choose one to have, I'd choose the guy who has produced. I'd choose Donaldson. I'd choose Thomas.

I guess Vitters must look pretty good in a uniform and can hit BP fastballs a long way to deserve that spot.

Also, no Patterson? Is that strange or expected?

TJ — November 19, 2007 @ 11:18 am
Is Patterson not eligable? I didn’t think he was up that long. Or, did he fall off the radar. I know they do the top thirty prospects for their book and they have an afternoon chat planned, so his name may come up.

=========================

TJ: As far as BA is concerned, Eric Patterson was eligible for the list, but didn't make the cut.

E-Pat moving from 2B to OF this past season was probably considered a bad thing by BA, although I still have him in my Top 10 because he projects as a plus-offensive MLB player (#1 or #2 hitter) no matter where he plays.

No credit to ND, ROB?

Garland traded to Anaheim for OCabrera, via AM1000.

BT — November 19, 2007 @ 11:14 am
AZ Phil: Where do you see Vitters and Donaldson starting next year?

======================

BT: Based on what I saw of them this past season, I would say Donaldson will start the 2008 season at Peoria, and Vitters will start the 2008 season at EXST and then go to Boise in June.

I was VERY impressed by Josh Donaldson (I rate him as the Cubs #1 prospect), but I was far less-impressed by what I saw of Vitters (I rated Vitters #10), although Vitters' struggles at AZL Cubs and Boise was almost certainly more a matter of rust than suckitude (he hadn't played any baseball for a couple of months before he signed in August).

I also saw a lot of Vitters in the AZ Instructional League, and he looked much better there, although he is a slug at 3B, has below-average speed, and didn't the display the power BA claims he is supposed to have. He has a very quick bat, but it's more of a line-drive stroke right now.

Josh Donaldson has the most-power of any player in the Cubs system (I would project him as a future Paul Konerko, complete with an eventual move to 1B). And Geovany Soto, Jake Fox, Ryan Harvey, Kyler Burke, Ty Wright, Cliff Andersen, Nelson Perez, and Jovan Rosa all display more raw power than Vitters does right now, too. But Vitters just turned 18 in August, so he's still maturing physically and could develop power later.

I bet you are going to get a bunch of odd googlers coming to this article with a title like "Bareball America"!

Sickels Top 21 with grades...

http://www.minorleagueball.com/story/2007/11/...

1. Vitters B+
2. Soto B+
3. Gallagher B
4. E-Pat B
5. Colvin B
6. Donaldson B
7. Veal B-
8. Samardzija B-
9. Ceda B-
10. Tony Thomas B-
11. Petrick C+
12. Hart C+
13. Fuld C+
14. Fox C+
15. Maestri C+
16. Clevenger C+
17. Mitch Atkins C
18. Holliman C
19. Craig C
20. Suarez C
21. Acosta C

Sickels grades...

Grade A prospects are the elite. They have a good chance of becoming stars or superstars. Almost all Grade A prospects develop into major league regulars, if injuries or other problems don't intervene. Note that is a major "if" in some cases.

Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.

Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don't make it at all.

so, Angels think Aybar is ready for SS?

SP
Escobar, Lackey, Santana, Weaver, Garland

nice...

Nice dumb trade for Sox.

MadTown — November 19, 2007 @ 11:19 am
At times, the defining of prospects baffles me. Vitters, who bumped along to the tune of 6 hits in 51 at bats, striking out more than he reached base via hits and walks, it our number one prospect.

While Soto who did really well in both the minors and the bigs is our number two. Of course he was warts of his own, but if I had to choose one to have, I’d choose the guy who has produced. I’d choose Donaldson. I’d choose Thomas.

I guess Vitters must look pretty good in a uniform and can hit BP fastballs a long way to deserve that spot.

Also, no Patterson? Is that strange or expected?

===============

MAD TOWN: One of the main problems with Top 10 Prospects lists is that I believe comparing pitchers to position players, and AA/AAA guys to players and pitchers at Daytona/Peoria/Boise/AZL/DSL/VSL, is like comparing apples and oranges.

When looking at a player or pitcher at EXST or Boise or Peoria, "raw tools," "potential," "ceiling," and projection are more relevant. But once a player gets to AA and AAA, then DOING IT ON THE FIELD becomes more important than potential and ceiling.

For instance, Geovany Soto (finally) got it done on the field this year, but it took him three full seasons of AAA to get there. Some consider his age (he'll be 25 on Opening Day) and his three seasons in AAA as a negative thing, but the bottom line is he got it done on the field at AAA in '07 and hit the ground running when he got recalled in September.

Likewise, some experts reject or downgrade Sam Fuld's MVP performance in the AFL because he will be 26 on Opening Day 2008, but the fact is he has only three seasons of professional experience (and he missed large chunks of two of those seasons with injuries). Like Soto, Fuld has continued to progress and get better, and (most importantly) he is getting it done on the field.

Kevin Hart will be 25 on Opening Day 2008 and was never more than a middling prospect in the Orioles organization, but Cubs AA Tennessee pitching coach Dennis Llewallyn (the best pitching coach in the Cubs organization, in my opinion) taught Hart a cutter and changed his mechanics early in 2007 such that he added a couple of MPH to his fastball, and he ended up getting a promotion to AAA Iowa and then to Chicago by the end of the season.

Age is way, WAY overrated. As long as a player or pitcher is continuing to progress, he can be considered a prospect, maybe even a top prospect (like Soto). It's the guys who stall-out and reach a plateau who cease to progress, and these are the ones who become career AA players or so-called "4-A" (career AAA) players or pitchers. But Soto, Fuld, and Hart are not yet at that point. They ARE prospects, and I have each of them in my Top 10.

Nice trade Kenny Williams.

Idiot.

AZ Phil,

I (as have many) notice that Eric Patterson is not on the list, seemingly because of his defense/no defined position. You've stated already that his talent projects at the MLB level as a 1 or 2 hitter. If the Cubs are unable to fill in the CF/RF position via trade or FA, would Patterson be a reasonable fill this season? And since I know you feel strongly about Fuld being available next season as an OF, would he be a better option? Your opinion and hard work are, as always, much appreciated.

I really like what Cabrera brings to the South Side in terms of the lineup, the D and the clubhouse. I guess the only question is, who's going to pitch and where is he coming from? If KW has a plan for that (probably not) it's a good trade for the Sox.

AZ Phil,

Re: your #18, I couldn't agree more with getting it done vs. 'tools'. I've been reading BA's lists for years and I'll take your insights into the Cubs minor league prospects over a Jim Callis anyday. What I want to hear is actual on-site evaluation based on numerous games/pitches/at bats. BA will give you very little of that and instead rely on conversations with ML managers, scouts, etc. That's how you get Veal as a #5 starter in 2011 instead of relief pitcher where you more realistically project him.

Didn't the Sox just sign Uribe for too much money?

Now Uribe is going to make WAY too much money to be a backup.

bigpappawes — November 19, 2007 @ 12:23 pm
AZ Phil,

I (as have many) notice that Eric Patterson is not on the list, seemingly because of his defense/no defined position. You’ve stated already that his talent projects at the MLB level as a 1 or 2 hitter. If the Cubs are unable to fill in the CF/RF position via trade or FA, would Patterson be a reasonable fill this season? And since I know you feel strongly about Fuld being available next season as an OF, would he be a better option? Your opinion and hard work are, as always, much appreciated.

===============================

BIG PAPPA: In my opinion, both Eric Patterson and Sam Fuld are ready to be every day MLB players right now. And unlike Felix Pie, neither would have to be platooned because both hit LHP OK.

Because both E-Pat and Fuld are capable of hitting #2 in the order, the main question about E-Pat would be if he can play CF (and he still needs to prove that he can). If he can, then I would say that (barring a trade for a CF), the real competition for the Cubs #1 CF job in Spring Training will actually be between Fuld and Patterson, rather than between Fuld and Pie.

Lest you think Felix Pie is a flop, I believe he just needs another year of AAA (he has one minor league option left) where he can work on his approach versus LHP. It took Geovany Soto THREE FULL SEASONS at AAA to become the player he is now, and so I don't think it's unreasonable or a put-down to expect Pie to spend another year at Iowa to work on his approach versus LHP.

What does trouble me about Pie's future with the Cubs isn't that he probably needs another year of AAA, but that it sounds like the Cubs are trying to shorten his swing and make him more of a "Punch+Judy" hitter. And I believe that is a HUGE mistake.

Pie IS coachable (organization baserunning & outfield instructor Bob Dernier has worked with Pie extensively, to where he has become a superior defender in the outfield and a much better base-stealer), but his natural swing is more of a power stroke than a slap+run, and the Cubs would be wasting his XBH power potential by changing that.

Pie probably will never have a real high OBP and he will strike a bit too much (making him probably a #6 or #7 hitter), but I believe if the Cubs would just allow him to be himself at the plate, that he will ring-up 30+ doubles, 10+ triples, and 20+ home runs every year, while playing a Gold Glove CF (or RF).

Levine mentioned Uribe might be moved to second base.

It was a salary dump, Garland is a FA after next year.

Kenny obviously doesn't recall what won him the WS in 2005.

once the scout.com and BP lists come out, I'll do my tour of prospect lists again fwiw...

Lowell to RSox for 3/37.5 is close..

Blue Jays showing interest in Barrettt...

I posted my Top 20 Cubs prospects list over at Road to Wrigley about six weeks ago (before the start of the AFL season). So although I had Sam Fuld rated #8 and Gallagher rated #7 six weeks ago, after watching them play in the AFL, I would go with Donaldson-Ceda-Gallagher-Colvin-Soto-Fuld-Patterson-Hart-Thomas-Vitters #1-10 if I made this list now:

===========================

JF — October 5, 2007 @ 10:11 am
AZ -

Want to provide a top ten list yourself? Always interested in your opinions as well.

===================================

JF: I will use the Baseball America criteria for eligibility (less than 50 aggregate career MLB IP or less than 130 aggregate career MLB ABs, but not concerned with MLB ST):

1. Josh Donaldson, C
2. Jose Ceda, RHRP
3. Tyler Colvin, OF
4. Geovany Soto, C
5. Eric Patterson, OF
6. Kevin Hart, RHP
7. Sean Gallagher, RHP
8. Sam Fuld, OF
9. Tony Thomas, 2B
10. Josh Vitters, 3B
11. Jake Fox, OF
12. Chris Huseby, RHP
13. Donald Veal, LHP
14. Mark Holliman, RHP
15. Rocky Roquet, RHP
16. Welington Castillo, C
17. Leon Johnson, OF
18. Robert Hernandez, RHP
19. Alberto Cabrera, RHP
20. Cliff Andersen, OF

The Top 10:

Donaldson has the most power of any player in the Cubs minor league system and is a future Paul Konerko,

Ceda is another Lee Smith– he is a freakin’beast–and will be a dominating closer,

Colvin might not walk much but will be a 30/30 man,

Soto will be a solid MLB catcher with plus-power,

E-Pat will be an outstanding MLB top-of-the-order offensive player and should be able to play CF,

Hart added a couple of MPH to his fastball in ST 2007 and with that cutter he has he should be a fine MLB rotation starter (even as soon as 2008),

Gallagher has plus-stuff and will also be a solid MLB rotation starter (probably by 2009),

Fuld could play CF every-day and hit lead-off for a half-dozen MLB clubs right now,

Thomas is a right-handed hitting version of Eric Patterson but is more aggressive and animated.

Josh Vitters has outstanding bat speed.

11-20:

I still like Fox’s raw power and can see him being a platoon corner OF or back-up C-1B-LF-RF-RHPH in the big leagues,

Huseby is developing into a stud rotation starter but is still at a very low level in the pipeline and needs to prove himself at Peoria next season,

Veal throws too many pitches-per-inning to be a rotation starter but I believe he would make an excellent late-innng reliever (set-up man or closer),

Holliman should eventually be an MLB back-end of the rotation starter or (more likely) a solid MLB middle-reliever.

Roquet throws a 97 MPH fastball and 83 MPH slider and could be a future closer or 8th inning set-up guy

W. Castillo is VERY raw but he has an outstanding arm and solid bat and looks like he can develop into a front-line MLB catcher (in the mold of the Flying Molina Brothers)

Leon Johnson is a fine lead-off hitter (he has plus-speed and is an outstanding base-stealer, he can bunt, and he will take a walk, he should be able to hit 8-10 HR, and he’s also an EXCELLENT defender with a plus-arm),

Hernandez has tremendous poise for an 18-year old and has the arsenal of pitches required of a future MLB rotation starter,

Cabrera has a plus fastball and slider but had a sore shoulder at the end of the ‘07 season.

Andersen could be another Jim Edmonds if he can cut-down his K-rate.

========================================

But I would prefer to organize my Top 20 this way:

GROUP 1 (Top 5 AA/AAA position players)
1. Tyler Colvin, OF
2. Geovany Soto, C
3. Sam Fuld, OF
4. Eric Patterson, OF
5. Jake Fox, OF-1B-C

GROUP 2 (Top 5 AA/AAA pitchers)
1. Sean Gallagher (rotation starter)
2. Kevin Hart (starter or reliever)
3. Donald Veal (as a reliever)
4. Mark Holliman (#5 starter or middle-relief)
5. Rocky Roquet (set-up man)
NOTE: And Jeff Samardzija doesn't crack my list until he can show at least a passabbly-adequate slider and/or change to go with his power-sinker.

GROUP 3 (Class "A" position players)
1. Josh Donaldson, C
2. Tony Thomas, 2B
3, Josh Vitters, 3B
4. Welington Castillo, C
5. Leon Johnson, OF

GROUP 4 (Class "A" pitchers)
1. Jose Ceda (closer)
2. Chris Huseby (rotation starter)
3. Robert Hernandez (rotation starter)
4. Alberto Cabrera (starter or reliever - TBD)
5. Dae-Eun Rhee (has outstanding splitter - probably will project as reliever)

Garland sucks. He's the highest paid fourth starter in baseball. Williams got a gold glovish ss, who can hit some and cash. It was a good trade, though he probably wished he had done it before he re-upped Uribe.

Let's see how Vitters does with a full ST of baseball and on the same regimine as his peers before declaring him a bust. Five Wilkens picks in BA's top 10... not sure if that speaks to his skill or the paucity of prospects before he arrived.

Why not do a Marshall for Orlando Cabrera deal? We get an upgrade at SS and the WSox get a SP...

thought that was a good trade for both teams...

Garland is Mr. League Average Innings Eater, but that works well for a team that has 3+ starters already and one with tons of talent in Santana.

WSox were hunting for a shortstop, yeah they picked up Uribe's option but he sucks. When an opportunity arises to improve, you don't pass it up just because you made a mistake in the first place (You listening Hendry)?

I'm sure they'll be able to move Uribe at some point if needed, otherwise a nice backup, granted expensive.

Not sure the Cubs had anybody to give up like Garland unfortunately but Cabrera would be a nice SS upgrade. Garland's perceived value is higher than his actual value, so don't start bringing up Marquis.

Cabrera isnt really an upgrade from Theriot with the bat. Cedeno COULD be a Cabrera clone if he finally puts it all together. His #s at AAA are on par with any SS in Minor league ball since 2005.

Maybe we go after Uribe? Is he Japaneese or lefthanded?

Cabrera isnt really an upgrade from Theriot with the bat.

Huh?

Why not do a Marshall for Orlando Cabrera deal? We get an upgrade at SS and the WSox get a SP…

Seems the White Sox wanted a shortstop and had a starter to spare, hence the trade.

AL MVP vote..

Arod (26 of 28 first place votes)
Magglio (could have been in Cubbie blue stripes)
Vlad
Ortiz
Lowell
Posada
Victor Martinez
Ichiro
Carlos Pena
Granderson
Jeter

Not so sure they had a starter to spare, fwiw. But certainly they didn't acquire Cabrera just to deal him for a Marshall-type.

I wonder if Garland was a pre-emptive step toward one of Anaheim's young guns going to Miami.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/cabreor01...

http://www.baseball-reference.com/t/theriry01...

30-50 difference in OPS, but consider the age/cost difference, along with the inevitable mid 30s SS decline. If you are going to splash into the market. Do it with a Tejada type upgrade. Renteria would have been best

Lame... the two who gave Mags first place votes were both Michigan reporters.

How anyone could justify not giving the award to A-Rod is beyond me...

well if you want to say he's not worth it, fine, but Cabrera's definitely an upgrade over Theriot offensively and defensively.

Two Cabrera's would have been just too confusing for the Angels I guess.

"At times, the defining of prospects baffles me. Vitters, who bumped along to the tune of 6 hits in 51 at bats, striking out more than he reached base via hits and walks, it our number one prospect."

Vitters, the 17 year old kid with fourteen games worth of pro experience? Yeah, I would ignore those 51 at bats.

new prospects are better than the old ones...

I think Pawelek was #1 the year after he was drafted as well. I'm sure Harvey was one or two the year after he was drafted.

It's way too early to judge on Vitters though, he won't even be worth mentioning for the majors for 3-4 years and that's if he progresses quickly.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/11/19/obit...

I hope this doesn't coincide with our own Mr. Whipple...

I was actually suprised that Ordonez didn't do better. The AL writers have been willfully resistant to handing on the MVP award to the OPS winner. Last year they gave it to probably the 7th best player in the league, and then there was the whole Ichiro debacle.

OPS doesn't win you MVPs. Never has never will. Batting average, home runs and RBIs do and will always. If Arod won the coveted OPS title this year, it was a coincidence.

WSCR 'The Score' reporting latest Cubs rumor of a 3-way with Washington and Boston. Cubs would get Ryan Church and J.D. Drew while sending Marshall, Dempster, Murton, and Cedeno off.

If that was really true, who wouldn't pull the trigger on that now?

Oh god, they're reporting that?

http://www.prosportsdaily.com/forums/showthre...

It was posted a few days ago on some other forums and a blog and I couldn't stop laughing...

Cubs: Church/Drew
Nats: Crisp, Murton, Dempster
RSox: Marshall, Kearns, Cedeno, Ohman

no idea how that makes sense for the Red Sox

#46 is a great trade. Do it now if your posting Jim

Hi Chad,

Have you ever heard of this guy?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/bondsba01...

2 batting titles, 2 HR titles and 1 RBI title and 7 MVP's.

*i will give 500:1 odds that ronny cedeno will not be the cubs starting SS in 2011*

He's certainly going to have trouble finding playing room in the vaunted "Kelton-Harris-Hill-Choi" infield that has been reigning since some pundit like this guy annointed it as the future a few years back.

Not like they'd have gotten much work behind the 5 ace-rotation of Prior, Christensen, Ryu, Guzman and Wood.

Your odds aren't steep enough, really.

if they were trying to get in on Miguel Cabrera, it would almost make some sense for the Red Sox. Save a few bucks on Drew/Kearns, probably package Bucholz or Lester or both in a Cabrera trade (hence getting Marshall back). But sounds like Lowell is being resigned, I doubt they're moving Youk, Ellsbury would likely have to be in a Cabrera deal, so you wouldn't want to deal Crisp then and they have a DH.

If it's being "held up", it's because Theo Epstein finally sobered up after the WS celebration.

Maybe it's Santana, not MCab, which makes a lot more sense with these pieces, assuming Marshall would be one trade chip for Boston.

check out that draft class.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?year...

On an unrelated note. The cubs blew their pick that year.

Twins would probably want Crisp in a deal and Johan still not available. Twins just made a decent offer (5/93)...

And if Johan is suddenly available, Cubs better be holding on to their prospects to make their own run.

The cubs blew their pick that year.

Then three years later, so did Cindy Sandberg.

Palmeiro had won the SEC AAA crown in 1984, and most considered him the better prospect compared to Clark but he slumped a bit that year.

That's roughly Zambrano money. Minnesota had better plan on throwing in at least 1,000 lakes to make that offer stick. Unless he really wants to be there, but really, why?

Cubs GM not smart enough to trade for best pitcher in baseball. That's all.

to speculate on a Johan trade....

Hill, Pie, Marshall or Gallagher & at least one more of:

E-Pat, Cedeno, Colvin, Murton, Veal, Roquet or Ceda?

Maybe 2 off that list..

If the Twins wanted to keep him out of the AL (let's hope), I'd think Dodgers and Mets could offer more.

That’s roughly Zambrano money. Minnesota had better plan on throwing in at least 1,000 lakes to make that offer stick. Unless he really wants to be there, but really, why?

well it's a starting offer, if Johan wants to stay in Minnesota he knows he'll have to take less than what he'd get on the open market. If he just wants the money, he won't get it from Minnesota.

The only way I could see it going down is if Santana states he won't negotiate an extension and is dedicated to testing free agency. That'll knock a lot of teams out of the race. Then maybe Hendry has the most guts to leverage the future for one guy. (Historically, how often has that worked?)

If the Cubs can't win a $ race, I don't see our farm system out-trading a lot of the other teams that might want Johan.

Generally a guy is going to take a discount to sign a year early. TJS or Rotator cuff surgery will knock that cost down substantially if it occurs this year. Look a Kerry Wood after 2003. He signed for 3/38 and hasnt been healty since. If he didnt sign on earlier for a slight discount. He wouldnt have ever touched the money he did.

Bonds for MVP had nothing to do with OPS. I never said that you had to lead the league in those categories.

"I’ve been reading BA’s lists for years and I’ll take your insights into the Cubs minor league prospects over a Jim Callis anyday."

unlike a lot of lists, BA combines performance with scouting info from a variety of sources (not just the team who holds him.)

no prospect list is complete, but 'tools' and 'ceiling' play a huge part of BA's lists more so than many other's lists. they talk to the coaches/scouts who watched him from many sides. i'll take it over those lists put out by some who only sit down with a set of stats that dont care how they got those #s.

btw...the most important part of the BA rankings to me is found in the "best tools" part of their evaluations.

that's a great starting point to know where your strengths start.

you know player A is one of the best at 1-2+ things...you can then concentrate, as a fan tracking a player, at how he's developing his "other" parts of his game. when you notice improvements you can go from there.

did Callis say anything interesting in his chat btw? (if anyone has a subscription)...

it only took BA 4 years to take Harvey out of their top 10...

Their insight is amazing...

(just kidding around...)

harvey is one of the most powerful power hitter the cubs have had in a long time.

...unfortunately its all fastball power and batting practice power...but wow, you should see this guy take pre-game hacks. no, he wasnt bo jackson, but he definately showed unreal power for his age.

like more than a few of his peers through the years, though, he couldnt translate the tool into the "real world" of games often enough.

Cards signed Jason Larue

Dewon Brazelton and John Wasdin to minor league deals...

The morale of the story is:

Ballplayer first, Tools second, makes you a better scouting organization than Tools first, Ballplayer second. One day the Cubs will learn this.

Perhaps they did if you check out their last two drafts, they have a fair amount of ballplayers in Donaldson, Thomas, Wright, Guyer, Barney, Camp, Lansford, Hardman, Smith and Wyatt, probably others I forgot.

"The morale of the story is:

Ballplayer first, Tools second, makes you a better scouting organization than Tools first, Ballplayer second. "

the day we see 18-22 year old fresh drafted kids coming to the majors ready to play within 0-1 seasons it might make sense.

this is a game where players are made on the pro level. very few get to the bigs in under 3-5 years.

there are so very few "slam dunks". all you got is tools to draft on. most have never seen any talent worth playing against until they play in cape code or area code games, and that's a very short season of organized play.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/press_releas...

Cubs pre-season schedule...

First game is Feb 28th vs the Giants...

Only one schedule off day on March 17th...

2 scheduled split squad games...

the Cardinals swapping backup catchers LaRue for Bennett is a good thing from our side of the division, Bennett has been a Cub killer, don't know why, probably a random thing but...

vs. Cubs: .286 .365 .451 (in 105 AB's)

career overall: .242 .303 .327

You can't teach tools. You can teach a kid to be a 'ball player'. And that does include teaching plate discipline and defense.

Chad says:

November 19th, 2007 at 4:24 pm

You can’t teach tools. You can teach a kid to be a ‘ball player’. And that does include teaching plate discipline and defense.
......................................................................................

That is up for debate. Plate discipline is more about reaction time, Hand-eye coordination, and on your feet snap judgements, and eye sight. Stevie Wonder can attest to us all that they are not learnable skills.

"Lame… the two who gave Mags first place votes were both Michigan reporters.

How anyone could justify not giving the award to A-Rod is beyond me…"

Dave, it reminds of '67 when Yaz won the Triple Crown and led Boston to the penannt ... and one genius writer thought the MVP was the Twins' Cesar Tovar.

No way aaron. These kids don't get drafted to play professional baseball without those basic skills. If you don't have excellent hand eye coordination, reaction time and on your feet snap judgement you won't get picked.

Now, of course, some kids will be better at identifying balls a strikes but anybody can get better at it with practice. It's all about what instructors tell them in their first years. And I will grant you that a 22 year old post college pick is less malleable than a 17 year old right out of college. But, from the time you get to the minor leagues, if you are being yelled at to take pitches and coax walks you will. Conversely if you are told to 'be aggressive up there' and 'don't clog the bases' you'll swing away.

You can’t teach tools. You can teach a kid to be a ‘ball player’. And that does include teaching plate discipline and defense.

What's a "ball player"? If you mean "good makeup" then I couldn't disagree more. If you mean things like "good defense" or "good plate discipline" then I'd also disagree. The right answer is....all of these things. Drafting still comes down to evaluating a player's ceiling and thereby his true value. If you peg that correctly you can draft a bevy of good players in every draft. If you value one thing too much over others, you end up with the Blue Jays (all college players with good stats) at one end of the spectrum or the Royals (all makeup) at the other.

Despite his hands being tied with limited high round picks in the last two drafts, I'd have to laud Mr. Wilkens for giving us a ton of depth and perhaps even two or three starters from that lot. Assuming we don't sign a Type A or B free agent this year, which looks like the case, I'm excited to see what Wilkens can do with picks in all rounds and another good crop of talent coming up in the draft.

Now if we could only get someone to bite on Jason Kendall before the deadline and give us an extra pick!

I think there are scouting directors who think they can teach those skills to youngsters. However in most cases, you are what you are. Traditionally a middle infielder who hacked away stayed just that. Neifi Perez was Neifi Perez in 96...2001.....07. Granted that the steroid era did occasionally give us a Brady Anderson or a Jay Bell who inexplicably blew up out of nowhere. Now that testing is in place however. Those will be exceptions as opposed to the rule.

I do think Wilken has done a good job drafting. It seems that taking Bats with the early picks in the draft, and getting signability HS/Juco and Latin Pitchers is the most prudent approach to maximizing your Scouting resources.

I could see the Nats wanting Cedeno, Murton and Marshall. Maybe Dempster if you consider him a cheap, veteran starter...

I could see where Boston would want to dump Drew.

I could see where Boston might want Dempster and/or Cedeno. Not so much Kearns.

I could see the Cubs wanting Church and Drew.

It has some merit for sure but it seems to hinging on a 4th team or another deal...

As for our prospects, if Colvin is our legitimate best propsect-and I put faith in Phil's assessment, why isn't he slated for rightfield 2008? Is the elbow injury?

My two cents on the White Sox trade: I have a great deal of admiration for Garland. He throws strikes and is very durable. Pretty much gives you a chance every start. By the same token, Cabrerra is a damn good shortstop both offensively and defensively. I think its a good trade by both teams. The White Sox will probably use the 3M they saved and shore up their bullpen.

I'd say that Ryan Dempster for Juan Uribe (almost matching salaries) would be a good deal for both the Cubs and the White Sox.

anything that brings Juan Uribe into a Cubs uniform would be a bad deal...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7466954

Kemp, LaRoche and Kershaw the latest rumor for Cabrera...actually that seems like the same rumor.

I hope this doesn’t coincide with our own Mr. Whipple…

The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

But let's pause for a fluffy soft moment of silence for my namesake.

name change coming?

"The Recently Departed Mr. Whipple"

"Mr. Whipple Lives On"..

"R.I.P. Mr. Whipple"

Bedard to the Dodgers for Kemp and another prospect is being discussed by those two teams.

And yeah, Juan Uribe has no place on the Cubs, that's gross. I see him starting at 2b for the Sux next year.

How about Mr. R.I.P.ple?

Uribe?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Defense - C
Hitting for power - F
Hitting for contact - F

Jojame:
Why not do a Marshall for Orlando Cabrera deal? We get an upgrade at SS and the WSox get a SP…

Marshall & Murton are both chronically over-rated in Cub's circles and I think even by Cub's brass. It's probably why they are still Cub's. No one wants them for the Cub's asking price.

Blech.

uribe's one of the stronger power hitting SS's and a prety strong defender.

a free swinger...f'sure.

and his running has slowed tremendously...not like he was ever a speed demon, but he's been slower on the basepaths.

name change coming?

“The Recently Departed Mr. Whipple”

“Mr. Whipple Lives On”..

“R.I.P. Mr. Whipple”

X-Whipple

crunch:
uribe’s one of the stronger power hitting SS’s and a prety strong defender.

His swing is ridiculous. If the Cub's get Uribe, by the end of next year, everyone will be trying to figure out how to get rid of him and talking about how getting rid of him will be "addition by subtraction".

Instead, let's see some fundamentally sounds ball players. Derosa was a pretty good start.

If I'm running the Cub's I do whatever I can to get David DeJesus. After last year's stats you have to figure 1- a Felix Pie and take your pick would get the trade done, and 2- DeJesus is due for a rebound year.

"Uribe "a prety strong defender"

Did you see any Sox games last year?

The guy was lost.

i said nothing about getting uribe.

i just said he's a free swinger who's got pop and plays good D...and losing a touch of his speed.

yeah, his swing is ridiculous.

i'd take him over theriot, fwiw...not like its much competition, though...both are "below average" out of what you'd want out of a position player even if its not so bad when compared to the position they play.

hopefully, no one will have to debate whether they'd want him over theriot and the whole thing stays off the table. theriot and uribe, to me, are the type of guys you keep around on the cheap if you happen to have them...not guys you go out and actively look to obtain for a fulltime position.

Also, according to the Houston Chronicle, the new Astros second baseman...

http://blogs.chron.com/sportsjustice/archives...

Kazuo Matsui! Thank you baby Jesus.

that's rey mysterio jr. fwiw...very tallented little lucho.

"sr" is his uncle, not father, btw.

and contrary to his tattoo...he's american ;p

He's American in the sense that he was born in the states, but his parents are both Mexican.

Thank you Astros.

We've got Wood and Fukudome on the radar and a lot of cash. What is Hendry's plan now that Matsui is not an option?

there is no option unless trade...lefty/speed option was best addressed at 2nd/SS and in CF they're gonna go with "internal options" supposedly.

seems cedeno may stick around instead of becoming trade bait, though...

is cedeno NOT playing winterball for the first time since he was like 18 this offseason?

Damn! I wanted Kaz.

Loss of Matsui could reduce the Cubs' recruiting help for Fuku, IF he was interested in coming here - which I am not expecting.

We have no track record for Japanese players here.

I am not optimistic about the addition of the Nippon "stars".

We'll see...

No Fuku, no Jones, no Crawford (unless we give up Hill)..... is anyone happy with Murton taking RF over?

I know that is not the "plan," and I know it is only Nov. 19, but I'm not optimistic in our other options at this point.

wow...suntimes is linking the $$ saved in the garlard trade to the potential signing of t.hunter.

nice player, but wow...he's gonna cost cuz of this market.

Dear Jimbo,

Please DO NOT go after Juan Uribe. He was easily the worst player in the AL last year. Combining his 234/284/394/678 line with his bat and 17 errors and .828 zone rating in the field.

I think if Jimbo offers the cash Fuku will come.

well he sure has enough of it if he had 3-4m marked for matsui and cleared up another 4m or so moving j.jones.

Double good news for Teroit tonight, it looks like he gets to keep his job and his SB will most likely increase in 08:

http://blogs.jsonline.com/brewers/archive/200...

Just because we are not getting Matsui does not reduce our chances of signing Fukudome. It is about money, not about players that you already had. The Red Sox signed Matsuzaka before Okajima.

that link is about brewers looking at kendall...

and what is theriot doing to increase his SB chances?

does he have a perm green light now or something?

crunch:
i’d take him over theriot, fwiw…not like its much competition, though…both are “below average” out of what you’d want out of a position player even if its not so bad when compared to the position they play.

That's fair, but I'd like to see the Cub's aim higher.

there's just little to nothing to be had at SS...there was renteria, but DET targeted him quick and with an impressive package.

tejada could be had in trade, but even BAL is reluctantly playing him at SS and his move to 3rd/1st/OF cant be too far away with how he's played there the past couple years.

theriot/cedeno/infante works for me...not like there's much better out there.

I'm just pleased as punch we didn't sign Matt Suhey. Although, he's a helluva a lot better fullback than Cedric the non-Entertainer ever will dream of being.

OLD AND BLUE - the "joke" is OLD already! Geez...

"Double good news for Teroit tonight..."

Why the Brewer's blog link? Some connection with Kendall you are trying to point out? I don't get it.

I can't help myself.

I keep trying to stop, but I can't.

The point was that Kendall sucks at throwing out baserunners, thus Theriot will steal more.

I think.

Kenall playing for the Brewers = more stolen bases for all the Cubs players.

Matsui signing with the A-holes = Theriot still has claim to starters job at short.

Double good news for Theriot.

Oh yeah, crunch and Chad. Keep drafting the Earl Cunninghamns and Corey Pattersons of the world over the John Olerud's and Frank Thomases.

"Oh yeah, crunch and Chad. Keep drafting the Earl Cunninghamns and Corey Pattersons of the world over the John Olerud’s and Frank Thomases."

I'm a GM?

neat.

hey real neal, why dont you make like a joke book and burn some rubber!

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHA!

god, i rule.

good trade for Kenny Williams.
OC is the best defensive SS in baseball---and is more energetic than Ozzy---in a POSITIVE way.
The angels must be crazy - Garland is a poor man's 40 year old version of Greg Maddux.

the killer thing to me is the angels paid $$ to the wsox to take a 9m o.cab for a 12m garland. how much loot, dunno...

First of all, no rumor about Dempster for Uribe-just a "what if" brainstorm by me. Secondly, I consider Uribe just a drop behind Khalil Greene. It becomes a question of "would you rather?"

Would you rather trade Marshall and an outfielder and a prospect to get Greene (if possible) or would rather dump Dempster's $5M and get a major league shortstop?

I do feel that Lou is fairly compelled to use DeRosa and Theriot in their intended role-off the bench/spot starters. Uribe becomes a non-issue if you get a rightfielder that hits 5th-and produces!

I personally think that is the kind of deal Williams would go for. Dempster could be a cheap starter (1/2 the price of Garland, shouldn't produce 1/2 the results however, and is worse case bullpen help. If he frees up Uribe, Williams can get a low cost 2nd baseman and spend more on bullpen and outfield help. The Sox play moneyball. The Cubs don't have to, but do have a budget.

If we end up having to dump Uribe was it less of a risk than thinking Dempster would crack our rotation and be successful? If we had to dump demp I think people would say we got some decent production for his three year deal-especially adding the yr we got for a million. Let's face it, you have to eat at least one salary a year, you just don't always know who it will be...

Uribe managed to hit 20 HR's last year and post a 394 SLG, I didn't even know that was possible.

new post up on Kaz and Kendall rumors....

Hunter and Wsox could be done by the end of the week supposedly as well.

Are you kidding me Neal? Thomas slugged .801 his senior year. That guy was a born slugger. He was no diamond in the rough. He had 83 RBIs in 206 at bats. That was a no brainer.

And that draft sucked. We didn't have shot at Thomas and the only player that I wish the Cubs did pick in that first round was Mo Vaughn. The rest all pretty much either became average/replaceable players or crap.

Not to mention that was at the height of the Cubs making terrible picks over money. It wasn't until Kerry Wood that they showed that they took the draft seriously.

"That was a no brainer."

He was drafted behind 6 other guys. All of those scouting directors know more about baseball than you do, Chad (using your own argument). That means, that you have no brain?

Vaugh aside there were two RoY's and handfull of all-star players drafted after Cunningham. The fact that you wouldn't want guys like Knoblauch, Charles Johnson, Neagle, Bagwell, Erickson, Klesko, Snow, Salmon, Olerud, Nevin, Eldred, Mayne and Greene in your organization is... baffling to say the least.

is anyone happy with Murton taking RF over?

Yes.

Although, he’s a helluva a lot better fullback than Cedric the non-Entertainer ever will dream of being.

Since when is Cedric a fullback?

So I saw another Tejada mention, and I got to thinking, anyone pay attention to the Bulls? Anyone know how worthwhile the Ben Wallace signing has been, especially this season?

Tejada's the same thing. Do not want.

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