Baseball Prospectus Top 11 Cubs' Prospects

    ''5-Star Prospects''

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Starlin Castro

    ''4-Star Prospects''
  3. Hak-Ju Lee
  4. Brett Jackson

    ''3-Star Prospects''
  5. Andrew Cashner
  6. Jay Jackson
  7. Chris Carpenter
  8. Chris Archer
  9. Kyler Burke
  10. Ryan Flaherty
  11. John Gaub

Kevin Goldstein puts Chris Huseby, Logan Watkins, Dae-Eun Rhee and Darwin Barney as 12-15. You can see past lists at Wiklified.

Most prospecters seemed to have soured a bit on Vitters, but Goldstein gives him a break for his disappointing season in Hi-A due to a hand injury, citing much better numbers against better pitchers in the AFL. Goldstein says his defense has improved and then gushes about his swing.

Vitters' swing is among the sweetest in the minors. It's smooth, powerful, gets into the hitting zone quickly, and stays there a long time. His plate coverage is off the charts, and he's as comfortable turning on an inside fastball as he is driving an outside breaking ball to the opposite field.

Goldstein also notes that Vitters plate coverage can also be a negative as he doesn't draw a lot of walks.

And although he puts Castro as a 5-star prospect, he has these words of warning.

While most believe that Castro will be an above-average big-league shortstop, he doesn't have the tools for true impact potential. His line-drive swing and contact-oriented approach offers little power or projection for much more, while he's also a free swinger who rarely walks. Several scouts noted below-average running times to first base, and his range is affected by it, possibly leading to a move to second base down the road.

I'm not going to reproduce all of BP's premium content, but here are some other highlights.

  • Folks within the organization see a Hak-Ju Lee at short, Castro at 2b infield with them batting 1-2 in the lineup.
  • Raves about Brett Jackson's 5-tools being good enough to be a early first round pick, but cautions about his swing-and-miss hitting.
  • Sees Cashner, Jackson, Carpenter all on the same path to either middle of the road starter or more dominant late-inning bullpen pieces.
  • Seems everyone sees Flaherty as a second basemen.
  • Gaub relies more on deception than stuff.

Otherwise, a big step forward for the organization and says they'll move way up in the overall rankings.

Comments

So, do we see Castro and Lee simultaneously at AA for a significant stretch next year?

And why is Lee a 4-star prospect and Castro a 5-star prospect if Lee is the true shortstop with elite speed and more plate discipline? Is it just that Lee hasn't played at as many levels? And if Castro doesn't have the potential of an impact player, why is he a 5-star prospect?

Good to hear that sort of gushing about Vitter's swing though. I think [hope] that his plate discipline will come around as he faces more challenging pitchers. Am I right in assuming he starts next season in Daytona with the possibility of a promotion to Tennessee if he performs? That would put his optimistic ETA at September 2011, right?

And how far are each of Jackson, Cashner, and Carpenter from contributing to the big league club? I guess those last two questions are mostly for AZ Phil.

he's no matt antonelli...

So, do we see Castro and Lee simultaneously at AA for a significant stretch next year?

Lee is going to start at Daytona or Peoria and it's possible that Castro may never see AA again.

I s it just that Lee hasn't played at as many levels?

That and Lee's defense is less proven.

Am I right in assuming he starts next season in Daytona with the possibility of a promotion to Tennessee if he performs? That would put his optimistic ETA at September 2011, right?

Optimistic is that he starts at Tennessee at finishes the year in Chicago. High A or AA will probably depend on how well ST goes for him.

Is it possible moving one to second base?

I heard a rumor that Castro might move to second base, eventually. Yuniesky Betancourt would be signed to play SS., and Lee would be traded to the Orioles for Jim Johnson. This is supposed to happen next offseason.

Occasionally, rumors of what will happen tomorrow have a 10% chance to be true. Rumors of what trades might be made a year from now are just plain silly.

I'm pretty sure this is a credible source, dude. I heard it from a guy that's dating this chick that's related to one of the scouts for the Indians. Apparently, this scout is really close friends with the wife of some guy that's seeing the sister of someone in Cubs front office. Soooo, yeah, it's pretty solid.

I'm already sick of Betancourt. Why does Hendry like such sucky players?

Nah, I'll corroborate that. Sounds legit.

not to speak for Goldstein, but I think he was just saying that don't expect those Hanley and Jeter projections you may have heard about Castro and while fundamentally strong, Lee has better defensive tools.

Unlike BA, don't think BP does their ratings strictly based on ceiling...

they do go loopy every once in a while and project a guy based on tools alone...like matt ant, a tools scout's wet dream in 07/08.

Don't hate on Matt. I plan on making him my 18th round selection in the TCR fantasy baseball draft.

I think that Castro is considered the better prospect because they think that Lee will have little to no power, and Castro will have a little.

As far as Vitters is concerned, I hope that they start him in Daytona, but I am afraid that if he has a decent spring, they will move him to Tennessee.

granted it was only a month, but he didn't have a lot of problems against AFL pitchers, starting him off in Double A probably won't hurt him.

Submitted by Charlie on Sun, 01/24/2010 - 5:25pm.
So, do we see Castro and Lee simultaneously at AA for a significant stretch next year?

And why is Lee a 4-star prospect and Castro a 5-star prospect if Lee is the true shortstop with elite speed and more plate discipline? Is it just that Lee hasn't played at as many levels? And if Castro doesn't have the potential of an impact player, why is he a 5-star prospect?

Good to hear that sort of gushing about Vitter's swing though. I think [hope] that his plate discipline will come around as he faces more challenging pitchers. Am I right in assuming he starts next season in Daytona with the possibility of a promotion to Tennessee if he performs? That would put his optimistic ETA at September 2011, right?

And how far are each of Jackson, Cashner, and Carpenter from contributing to the big league club? I guess those last two questions are mostly for AZ Phil.

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

CHARLIE: I would say Andrew Cashner is closest to being MLB-ready. He showed in the AFL that he can get the better hitting prospects out. The main issue with Cashner is whether he will be a rotation starter or a reliever (8th inning set-up man or closer) at the big league level, because if he is used as a reliever he could be ready right away. If he continues to be developed as a starter, he probably won't be ready until 2011.

Cashner was (arguably) the #1 closer in college baseball at TCU in 2008, and the Cubs used him as a closer at Daytona in the FSL playoffs in September 2008 (where he was "lights out"). But then the Cubs moved him to the starting rotation at Daytona (and later Tennessee) in 2009 to get him more innings and to force him to develop and use his "secondary" stuff, and he continued to be a starter in the AFL post-2009, although he still throws too many pitches per inning because he doesn't throw strikes consistently. His best pitches are a 98 MPH four-seam fastball (96 MPH when he starts) and a killer hard-slider, but as a starter he has added a change-up (still very much a "work-in-progress") in addition to his two "out" pitches (but again, he adds about 2 MPH to his fastball when he knows he is going to throw just one inning and "let's it all hang-out"). So it might be better to have him stick with his dynamite fastball/slider combo and use him exclusively as a late-inning reliever.

Jay Jackson more fits the profile of a rotation starter, with a full-array of plus pitches and the stamina to go deep into games. He is also a good hitter and an athletic defender (he played CF at Furman on days he wasn't pitching) which probably would be more of an advantage if he starts than if he is used out of the bullpen. Jackson could be ready to pitch as a rotation starter in MLB sometime in 2010. He is (in my opinion) the Cubs #1 starting pitcher prospect (while Cashner is the Cubs #1 closer prospect).

Chris Carpenter is probably about a half-season behind Jackson and Cashner, but he should be ready to contend for a spot in the Cubs starting rotation sometime in 2011, although he might end up in the bullpen when he reaches MLB.

The thing to remember about Cashner, Jackson, and Carpenter (and this is true for Starlin Castro, too) is that if any of them are brought up to the big leagues in 2010 and then get optioned back to the minors sometime later in the season, they will get four minor league options, because Cashner, Jackson, and Carpenter (and Castro) have completed only one "full season" through the 2009 season. So the Cubs shouldn't hesitate to bring Cashner, Jackson, Carpenter, and/or Castro up to the big leagues this season if one or more of them earns a ticket to The Show and the Cubs believe they are ready to help the big club.

fwiw, apparently Goldstein's system is to have a certain number of 5,4,3,2, star players, and Castro made it for that reason only.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

Would you add their ages, please? Prospects sometimes suffer because they haven't stopped growing. And then there's Sam Fuld...

Arbitrary ranking system, but if you just add Stars, the Cubs are tied for 4th of the teams released so far.

Team Total 11th
Rays 45 3
Rangers 40 3
A's 40 3
Cubs 39 3
Indians 39 3
Red Sox 39 3
Braves 39 2
Twins 39 2
Angels 38 3
Royals 37 2
Tigers 37 2
Yankees 36 3
Jays 36 2
Orioles 36 2
Mariners 35 3
White Sox 33 2
Dbacks 31 2

what's your second number denote?

I thought 5 star prospects...but no

Number of stars for the 11th rated prospect, I think.

Yep sorry. It's implied that in that case the 12th prospect, too could be a 3 star player, though I'd surely trade the Braves top 12 for ours, because of the presence of Heyward.

can make the Super Bowl there has to be hope for the Cubs.

Good to see he is courting that necessary fourth OF and veteran reliever.

He couldn't make any trades or signings last weekend anyway. It was SoxFest and the Cubs wouldn't dream of doing anything that draws media attention away from the Sox during their fan convention. It owuld be considered the height of PR rudeness.

Sorry if this is 3/44. But here's Hak-Ju Lee singing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0stmK3oCdg

nice find

in something that I probably only care about, the archives by writer has been fixed finally and should be adding an RSS feed for each writer soon, so you can skip my boring shit if you're just here for AZ Phil.

Rob,

When is the site search going to be available again?

~shrug~

I was testing something out on Friday and seemed to have killed it. I'll see what I can do.

is back and in the upper left thanks to us losing our best advertiser ~sigh~

couple of extra options now as well

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 2 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 11 min 51 sec ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 54 min 39 sec ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 5 hours 39 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 5 hours 40 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 15 hours 22 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 18 hours 20 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 18 hours 32 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 18 hours 41 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 18 hours 46 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 19 hours 4 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 19 hours 41 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 19 hours 58 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 20 hours 32 sec ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 20 hours 18 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 20 hours 25 min ago view