Cubs Protect 5 from Rule 5 Draft
The Cubs added pitchers John Gaub, Blake Parker and Rafael Dolis along with catcher Welington Castillo and OF James Adduci to their 40-man roster. All five were eligible to be selected in the upcoming Rule 5 draft and the deadline was today to add them. Arizona Phil has been keeping track of this on the right sidebar of course. He had Matt Camp on his short list of players he thought the Cubs would protect - rather than Adduci - but he got the other four.
Besides Camp, I would guess that Steve Clevenger, Alessandro Maestri, Thomas Diamond, J.R.Mathes or Greg Reinhard might draw a little interest.
AZ PHIL: 21-year old RHP Rafael Dolis gets four minor league options because he has spent only one "full season" on a major league or full season minor league team's active list through the 2009 season. He wowed the scouts in his last outing at Instructs last month with a fastball clocked in the upper 90's that touched 100, and he probably would have been the 1st pick in the Rule 5 Draft if he hadn't been added to the 40. Dolis has battled elbow and shoulder problems for much of his career (he was signed by the Cubs as a hot-shot fire-ballin' 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic during the International Signing Period in 2005), spending all or parts of the 2006-08 seasons on the DL, and so 2009 was the first year he has pitched injury-free, and was also his first official "full season." While he has a power arm, he also has control issues, as he walked 53 and hit seven batters in 99 IP at Daytona in 2009. Because of his still-limited professional game experience and command issues, he is still a bit of a project. He was a rotation starter at Daytona, but he projects as an MLB one-inning power-reliever.
22-year old Welington Castillo was signed as a 17-year old out of the Dominican Republic in December 2004, and has been the Cubs #1 catching prospect for the last couple of years. He got an NRI to Spring Training with the big club in both 2008 and 2009. He threw out an organization-high 44% of opposing base-stealers in 2009, cut his passed balls in half. and reduced his errors, too, but he struggled at the plate during the first half of the season at AA Tennessee. He then caught-fire in July, August, and September (319/357/519 post-ASB). Castillo is still VERY raw (he can get lazy with his receiving and he tends to make too many unnecessary throws trying to pick runners off base), but if he continues to progress, he could be a "Flying Molina Brothers"-type frontline MLB catcher by 2011 or 2012.
24-year old LHP John Gaub was one of three pitchers the Cubs acquired from Cleveland for Mark DeRosa last December (RHPs Jeff Stevens and Chris Archer were the other two). Gaub was a top pitching prospect and a possible eventual 1st round pick when he was throwing 96 MPH at the University of Minnesota, but then his career was derailed when he underwent shoulder surgery during his junior year. Despite the surgery, the Indians selected him in the 21st round of the 2006 draft, with the understanding that he would spend the rest of 2006 and most of 2007 rehabbing at the Indians minor league facility. He resumed pitching late in the '07 season, before finally getting a full season under his belt in 2008 at Lake County (MWL), where he struck out 100 in just 64 IP. The Cubs assigned him to AA to start the 2009 season, before giving him a mid-season promotion to AAA Iowa. (Gaub struck out 80 in just 60 IP combined between Tennessee and Iowa in 2009, with a 1.15 WHIP and a 2.25 ERA). He then was assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL post-2009, where he had trouble throwing strikes. He now throws a 93 MPH fastball and a hard-breaking slider, and probably projects as an MLB LOOGY.
24-year old lefty-swinging & throwing OF-1B James Adduci is the son of ex-MLB 1B-OF Jim Adduci (STL-MIL-PHI 1983-89), and attended Evergreen Park HS in southwest suburban Chicago. He was the PTBNL in the Todd Wellemeyer trade with Florida back in 2006. (Originally the Cubs got RHP Lincoln Holdzkom and LHP Zack McCormack for Wellemeyer, but McCormack had suffered what turned out to be career-ending arm injury prior to the trade and was returned to the Marlins as "damaged goods," and so the Cubs were given the summer to scout the Marlins system for a replacement player, who turned out to be Adduci). He is a tall & lanky kid (6'3 185), but he has almost no power. He has developed a nice, compact line-drive stroke over the past couple of years, however (hitting 290/380/365 at Daytona in 2008, then 300/377/388 at Tennessee in 2009), and has morphed into a patient hitter who takes a fairly high number of walks. He is a fast runner and an excellent base-stealer, too (26 SB at Daytona in 2008, then 35 SB at Tennessee in 2009), He was a 1st baseman in HS and in his first three seasons of pro ball with the Marlins, but the Cubs moved him to the outfield to take advantage of his athleticism and plus-arm. He can play all three OF positions, as well as 1st base. He projects as an MLB 4th OF-1B-LHPH-PR.
24-year old RHP Blake Parker was drafted by the Cubs as a power-hitting C-3B-1B out of the University of Arkansas back in 2006 (16th round), but was converted to pitcher at Extended Spring Training in May 2007 after hitting a combined 224/325/367 at Mesa and Peoria in '06. He had been the clean-up hitter and top run producer for the EXST Cubs in 2007, and the other players at Fitch Park at the time were shocked to learn that Parker had been moved to pitcher, because it happened the day after he hit a GW grand slam HR. He had been a pitcher in HS, however, and one of the pitching coaches at EXST at that time (I believe it was then-Boise pitching coach Tom Pratt) saw Parker throw a 93 MPH fastball and a hard-breaking slider off the mound as a lark, and told him he should consider a move to pitcher. Parker said he was willing to give it a try, and he's been rocketing up through the Cubs system ever since. He was the closer at Tennessee and at Iowa in 2009 (combined 25 saves, 2.70 ERA, and 1.25 WHIP), and he also was the primary closer for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL post-2009, but he probably projects as an MLB middle-reliever.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.
For some reason