Cubs Send Some Talent to Arizona Fall League
According to a Paul Sullivan tweet, the Cubs will send Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt, Chris Carpenter, D.J. LeMahieu and Junior Lake to play for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. Bruce Miles adds that P Jeffrey Beliveau will be added to the taxi squad meaing he's only eligible to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. That seems to be one of the better crews of talent they've sent to Arizona over the years.
This is the second year in a row that Jackson and Carpenter were sent out to play. It's also Cashner's second go-round, although not in successive years, his first visit being after the 2009 season.
You can check historical Arizona Fall League rosters over at Wiklifieid.
While not set in stone, I assume this means Brett Jackson will not get a September call-up and I'll tell you why I'm okay with that after the jump.
First, calling Jackson up means putting him on the 40-man roster, which in and of itself is no big deal because there's plenty of dead weight there. On the other hand, there's some good reason not to do it if you don't have to quite yet and Jackson does not need to be protected this offseason from the Rule 5 draft. On the other hand, there are plenty that do and the new gonna-be-totally-awesome-GM-that-does-everything-I-want-them-to-do might appreciate the roster flexibility with the Rule 5 and possibly signing some free agents.
If that were the only reason, I'd certainly be saying fuck it, let's see what Jackson can do over a month against some major league pitchers. But, we all know Q-Ball is managing to save his job or at least set himself up for another job and that means there's no way he'd trot Jackson out there every day or close to every day. Maybe he'd do it at the expense of Colvin, but certainly not at the expense of the precious veterans that he owes his job too.
Finally, there's some considerations about starting his service time clock for arbitration and free agency. It's not as a big a concern for the Cubs deep pockets, compared to let's say the Rays, but something to consider. Jackson will be playing his age 23 season next year and normal aging patterns say his best years are gonna be 26-30 (different studies, different bell curves, but 26-32 is about a big a stretch as you want to go). So if you're under the predisposition that the Cubs will suck next season(I am not one of those people) and are probably 2-3 years away from being a serious contender, isn't it smart to ensure that one of the better prospects on the team is gonna be around for those years and at the most advantageous cost to the team? Which means Jackson's call-up really shouldn't be any sooner than May or June of next year, presuming he's still hitting the crap out of the ball next season. I don't think the Cubs will learn much about Jackson those first two months that they won't learn the last four.
Food for thought...
Also a good time to bring up my thoughts on Bryan LaHair. He'll most certainly get called up once the AAA season ends and he's named PCL MVP. There's seems to be a swell of support to let him play 1b and bench Pena (or preferably trade him when they had the chance). And if they had moved Pena, that certainly would be my preference. But they didn't, and now I have to think that letting Pena play and likely maintain Type B status on the free agent market may be more valuable. Last time MLBTR put out their reverse-engineered Elias rankings, Pena was near the bottom of Type B status and he'll need to finish out the season at his current levels in all iikelihood to stay there. I don't know if the aforementioned gonna-be-totally-awesome-GM-that-does-everything-I-want-them-to-do will actually offer Pena arbitration, but I assume he or she wouldn't mind having the option. Sucks for LaHair and I'll eat a healthy plate of crow if he ever amounts to anything in the majors, but that probably is the best option for the Cubs organization going forward.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
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.