Prospecting: Jackson and Vitters Make Some Lists
Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com's minor league guy is running a list of top 10 prospects for each position in the minors leading up to his top 50 minor league prospects that will air on Tuesday on the MLB network. It appears he's gone through everything but the pitchers so far and two Cubs can be found - Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters.
Vitters #7 out of all minor league third basemen:
Chicago pushed Vitters up to Double-A when it had a hole to fill, and while he didn't put up good numbers at all, the organization was pleased with how he prepared and dealt with the adversity. He still has the great swing, bat speed and raw power that made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 Draft. He hasn't been so great at making adjustments and doesn't draw walks at all. He's not great defensively, but has a good arm and should be able to stay at the hot corner. The 2011 season could be a big one for Vitters.
Jackson #6 out of all minor league outfielders:
Taken in the first round in 2009, Jackson jumped on the fast track by making it to Double-A in his first full season. While his individual tools may not grade out as plus, he can do a little bit of everything. He hit 12 homers and stole 30 bases last year, and there should be more power coming. While he strikes out a lot, he'll also draw some walks and he's capable of playing all over the outfield. With Brandon Guyer gone, Jackson could be the first outfielder the Cubs call up from the Minors
when the need arises.
I imagine Trey McNutt would be the only pitcher that could make the top pitchers and I don't think we'll see him there. For all the love of Hak-Ju Lee - and I do like him myself - he didn't even crack the top 10 shortstops.
Also, the Cubs will pick 9th next year in the first round of the draft.
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?