2011 Iowa Cubs Futurama

The Iowa Cubs 2011 season is officially over.


Here is the I-Cubs roster as of today, and the post-2011 status of the players:


(CLICK ON PLAYER'S NAME FOR 2011 STATS)


IOWA CUBS (25)


* throws or bats left
# bats both


PITCHERS (13):
Justin Berg
COMMENT: 40-man roster - out of minor league options in 2012 - likely post-2011 outright - if outrighted can be minor league FA
Austin Bibens-Dirkx
COMMENT: Can be minor league FA post-2011 unless signed thru 2012, otherwise eligible for December 2011 Rule 5 Draft
Alberto Cabrera
COMMENT: 40-man roster
Chris Carpenter
COMMENT: 40-man roster
Robert Coello
COMMENT: Minor league FA if not added to 40-man roster by 4th day following conclusion of World Series
* John Gaub
COMMENT: 40-man roster
Jay Jackson
COMMENT: Eligible for December 2011 Rule 5 Draft if not added to 40-man roster by 11/20
* Scott Maine
COMMENT: 40-man roster
Blake Parker
COMMENT: Eligible for December 2011 Rule 5 Draft if not added to 40-man roster by 11/20
* Chris Rusin
COMMENT: Not eligible for Rule 5 Draft until December 2012
Kyle Smit
COMMENT: 40-man roster - likely outright - if outrighted cannot be minor league FA until post-2012
Carlton Smith
COMMENT: Minor league FA if not added to 40-man roster by 4th day following conclusion of World Series
Nick Struck
COMMENT: Not eligible for Rule 5 Draft until December 2012


CATCHERS (3):
Welington Castillo
COMMENT: 40-man roster
Mario Mercedes
COMMENT: Minor league FA if not added to 40-man roster by 4th day following conclusion of World Series
Chris Robinson
COMMENT: Minor league FA if not added to 40-man roster by 4th day following conclusion of World Series


INFIELDERS (5):
* Ryan Flaherty
COMMENT: Eligible for December 2011 Rule 5 Draft if not added to 40-man roster by 11/20
# Marwin Gonzalez
COMMENT: Eligible for December 2011 Rule 5 Draft if not added to 40-man roster by 11/20
D. J. LeMahieu
COMMENT: 40-man roster
* Scott Moore
COMMENT: Minor league FA if not added to 40-man roster by 4th day following conclusion of World Series
Marquez Smith
COMMENT: Eligible for December 2011 Rule 5 Draft if not added to 40-man roster by 11/20


OUTFIELDERS (4):
* Brett Jackson
COMMENT: Not eligible for Rule 5 Draft until December 2012
Luis Montanez
COMMENT: 40-man roster - likely post-2011 outright - if outrighted can be minor league FA
* Brad Snyder
COMMENT: Article XX-D minor league FA if not added to 40-man roster by the conclusion of the MLB regular season
(Snyder was outrighted this season after having been previously outrighted in career, and he accepted the outright assignment rather than becoming a FA immediately, thereby deferring his right to be a FA until end of MLB regular season)
* Matt Spencer
COMMENT: Eligible for December 2011 Rule 5 Draft if not added to 40-man roster by 11/20

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Comments

Phill - a question about Mesa prospects.

Between Hernandez and Amaya, who is the better second base prospect? And among them and Zapata, who do you feel is the better overall prospect?

Do you know if any of the DR players, such as Candelario, will be invited to the instructional league this fall?

Submitted by DavidP on Mon, 09/05/2011 - 3:37pm.
Phill - a question about Mesa prospects.

Between Hernandez and Amaya, who is the better second base prospect? And among them and Zapata, who do you feel is the better overall prospect?

Do you know if any of the DR players, such as Candelario, will be invited to the instructional league this fall?

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

DAVID P: I haven't seen the Cubs Instructional League roster yet.

Between Marco Hernandez and Gioskar Amaya, Hernandez is the better defender, whether it be at SS, 2B, or 3B. Because his arm is a bit below-average, Hernandez probably will eventually move to 2B as an everyday player, although he can play SS-2B-3B if he ends up a utility infielder. Amaya's best defensive position is 3B, but he is below-average there. Amaya will go as far as his bat takes him.

So Amaya is the better pure hitter of the two.

Hernandez is as good hitter a hitter as Amaya (with HR pop that Amaya lacks) from the left side, but is a slap-hitter when he bats RH. (Note that Hernandez is listed as a LH hitter in all the stat lists, but he actually is a switch-hitter and has been since 2010 AZ Instructs).

Oliver Zapata is a much more patient hitter than either Amaya or Hernandez when he hits lead-off (he takes the job VERY seriously) and he is also a faster runner, but he is not in the same class as Amaya or Hernandez (LH) as far as hitting in concerned. Zapata is also a below-average defensive OF with an above-average arm. His best defensive position is CF because of his range, but he needs a lot of work on his routes and fielding (he has stone hands). BTW, Zapata has a round bowling-ball physique (like a young Kirby Puckett), but he runs well.

The AZL Cubs were at their best this season when Zapata-Amaya-Hernandez hit 1-2-3. What they needed was power hitters 4-5, but by the time they arrived (talking about Shoulders and Vogelbach), Zapata and his sky-high OBP were in Boise.

I think it's somewhat likely that Robert Coello will be added back to the Cubs 40-man roster prior to the deadline for adding minor league free-agents (4th day following conclusion of WS), if not sooner.

Coello was virtually unhittable after being moved to the I-Cubs bullpen in July, and I doubt that the Cubs would want to let him just walk away as a FA without first giving him a look out of the bullpen.

Blake Parker had a real nice run out the Iowa bullpen after getting moved back up to AAA from AA, but unlike Coello, Parker can't be a minor league FA post-2011, so there is not as much pressure to add him to the 40. Parker could get selected in the December 2011 Rule 5 Draft, though.

If they're going to add Coello...why not put him on the roster now...DFA Ortiz, and see what he's got now?

Because that would be too logical. They should DFA Koyie Hill now and see what Castillo and Clevenger have as 2nd and 3rd catcher options next year.

Agreed with Clevenger and Castillo too....
Again....too logical..

pretty sure they know what they have in castillo...i could live with either guy being the backup catcher, but castillo's arm is so much better...more power, too.

soto's made some nice strides with his arm this year, though he's not some defensive whiz all of a sudden. they're still testing him like they started to last year, but he's showing more with his arm even when he doesn't get the out call. .he's looking like he could be a legit C option for a while rather than all that 1st base talk that was breaking out in years past.

Perhaps? I'd like Castillo to have more than 34 atbats in MLB before I decide what he is...

i wonder what castillo's offseason playing plans are...if he has any.

he had another year of health bang-ups...maybe they want him to stay in baseball shape til year's end, but not expect a callup unless injury hits.

Castillo needs to be able to run without a limp first

AZ PHIL:

How are the defectors doing?

Other than from you on occasion, I don't hear much about the Cubs Cuban prospects.

Any of them MLB caliber?

Submitted by The E-Man on Mon, 09/05/2011 - 9:18pm.
AZ PHIL:

How are the defectors doing?

Other than from you on occasion, I don't hear much about the Cubs Cuban prospects.

Any of them MLB caliber?

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

E-MAN: Of the older guys (all are 27), OF Smaily Borges is a player-coach at Peoria, INF Rafael Valdes (also at Peoria) looks to be an organizational player/utility infielder who is moved to the affiliate where he's most needed, and RHP Yoannis Negrin (recently promoted from Peoria to Daytona) is probably destined for middle-relief. Valdes (Pinar del Rio) and Negrin (Matanzas) spent several seasons in the Serie Nacional (the Cuban major league) and both are polished professionals, albeit with limitations. Valdes also played for Team Cuba in some international tournaments.

23-year old RHP Juan Yasser Serrano pitched in the Serie Nacional for Villa Clara prior to defecting and has progressed along since signing with the Cubs in April 2009 (Boise in 2010 and Peoria & Daytona this season), and while he has pitched OK, he probably projects as a a middle-reliever at AA/AAA. Whether he has the stuff needed to make it to the big leagues and stay there is the question.

24-year old OFs Mayke Reyes and Eliecer Bonne played in the DSL this season and had very good years, but they are too old for that league and will need to come to the U. S. next season and hit the ground running. Both will likely be given opportunities to make the Daytona Cubs Opening Day roster, but they will have to out-play other OF candidates to do that, and even if one or both do start the 2012 season in Daytona, struggling is not an option. Bonne played in the Serie Nacional for Santiago de Cuba prior to signing with the Cubs.

But 21-year old LHP Frank Del Valle and 22-year old OF-2B Rubi Silva appear to be legitimate prospects. Both will be attending AZ Instructs.

22-year old C Yaniel Cabezas is at Boise and is one of the two catchers there, but he has struggled at the plate after doing very well offensively at Extended Spring Training. He will probably be at AZ Instructs, too.

Del Valle, Silva, and Cabezas played for the Cuban Junior National Team when they were teenagers (Silva and Cabezas also played for Havana in Serie Nacional when they were only 19), so they have more natural talent and almost certainly received more and better coaching prior to defecting than did the others.

What's your take on Silva's power potential and approach? I keep hearing that Silva shows surprising pop (I'm assuming they mean relatively, as no one is expecting plus-power) in BP, but it hasn't translated yet.

I like Del Valle. I believe you made a comp to Antigua once upon a time, perhaps more due to physical resemblance (from what I recall). Interesting arm, but his secondary stuff will really have to develop to push him ahead of other arms.

Did you get any read on the injuries to Rosscup and Hicks this year, both of whom were having solid seasons (of the two, still more intrigued with Hicks potential)? I don't recall reading too much about them in your articles, but I assumed they were there in Arizona at some point, considering the lengths of their injuries and the rehab.

Submitted by toonsterwu on Tue, 09/06/2011 - 6:50pm.
What's your take on Silva's power potential and approach? I keep hearing that Silva shows surprising pop (I'm assuming they mean relatively, as no one is expecting plus-power) in BP, but it hasn't translated yet.

I like Del Valle. I believe you made a comp to Antigua once upon a time, perhaps more due to physical resemblance (from what I recall). Interesting arm, but his secondary stuff will really have to develop to push him ahead of other arms.

Did you get any read on the injuries to Rosscup and Hicks this year, both of whom were having solid seasons (of the two, still more intrigued with Hicks potential)? I don't recall reading too much about them in your articles, but I assumed they were there in Arizona at some point, considering the lengths of their injuries and the rehab.

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

TOONSTER: When I saw Rubi Silva take BP and play in games at Minor League Camp, I did not see HR power. He does have good bat-speed, though, so adjusting the tilt in his swing and learning to turn on the ball could rather suddenly see him start to hit some HR. (Of course the same can be said for D. J. LeMahieu). Silva kind of reminds me of a LH version of Matt Szczur (except Silva has a lot more baseball experience), and Szczur started to launch some dingers once he got the hang of it, so I guess Silva could, too.

Both Frank Del Valle and Jeffry Antigua are decent prospects, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if both make it to the big leagues.

Del Valle throws a solid low-90's fastball and a nasty slider (and he has a nifty pick-off move, too), and right now he probably projects as a very good LOOGY. He reminds me a lot of Felix Heredia.

After struggling in Minor League Camp and at Peoria in April-May and eventually getting demoted to Extended Spring Training (he supposedly had a "mechanical" issue), Antigua has really put it together at Daytona. (He actually got himself straightened out very quickly once he arrived at Fitch Park after getting sent down from Peoria, which is why the Cubs wasted no time jumping him to Daytona when he was ready to leave Mesa).

Antigua is a bit taller than Del Valle and throws more downhill, his heater is a tick faster, he has outstanding control (he can consistently throw his fastball, his breaking ball, and his change-up for strikes), and he stays strong deep into games. In that sense Antigua (who is actually slightly younger than Del Valle) is more advanced and has a higher ceiling, because he projects as a starting pitcher. (Del Valle could eventually get there, too, but Antigua is there right now).

In fact, if you were to ask me which Cub minor league pitcher is poised to have a McNutt/Whitenack type of break-out season in 2012, I would say Jeffry Antigua (at Tennessee). It's also not inconceivable that Antigua could get added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline, because although he does project as an MLB starting pitcher, he could be used as a reliever (if necessary), and he is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft (for the first time) this December.

I don't know what was wrong with Zac Rosscup (he went back-and-forth to the DL a couple or three times in May-June and then did not throw again), but Graham Hicks developed a sore shoulder at Peoria sometime in early July. Hicks was able to rehab at Fitch Park in August (throwing bullpen sessions and sim games) and even felt well enough to make a couple of starts last month for the AZL Cubs (and he looked OK, too), but then he was shut-down again. Hopefully it was just precautionary, but of course you never know.

Thanks for the reply.

I'd be rather surprised if Antigua isn't added to the 40. There certainly are a lot of guys eligible that have some intrigue to them.

The way I look at it, there are three guys that have to be added: Matt Szczur, Josh Vitters, and Dae-Eun Rhee (the way he pitched down the stretch, plus reports that his change is back, is just too tempting, along with the fact that he was consistently working 6).

Then, there's a bunch that I like, but the numbers game is going to make for some tough choices. Considering Antigua is arguably our top lefty arm (either him or Willengton for me, not sure how you view it), I think he has to be in there. Even if Ryan Flaherty never develops into a regular, I would think he would have to be there as well. Despite the number of upper level lefties, the way Jeff Beliveau dominated makes it seem likely he would get picked.

That's already 6 guys, and I don't recall a year where we put on a lot more than that. Clevenger, Jay Jackson, Junior Lake, Marcus Hatley (and to a lesser extent, Marwin Gonzalez, Rebel Ridling, Ryan Searle, Marquez Smith, Larry Suarez, Kyler Burke, and Blake Parker) all hold intrigue. I want Clevenger to stick around, but if the organization opts to sign a veteran catcher to compete with Wellington Castillo (here's hoping it's not Koyie), I could understand it. Lake and Hatley seem to be guys that the current Fleita regime are high enough on (particularly, Lake's potential), considering they have prime AFL slots. Jay Jackson is a guy I like, but his slider seems too inconsistent to think he's anything more than an end of the rotation guy, so I'm not sure he's a guy you absolutely have to protect (particularly since Casey Coleman/Chris Rusin will be in AAA to provide "ready" rotation arms). The other guys probably have warts that are too big. I like what Kyler's done this year quite a bit, but you can't really protect a guy like that, even if he has power lefty potential.

Then, there's guys like Brett Jackson (who could earn a spot), and as you noted above, Robert Coello.

It's going to be interesting how some of the decisions break. What's your current feel on the situation as it pertains to minor leaguers that could get added to the 40?

I think its crazy to expose Junior Lake to the rule 5 draft so that we can protect Matt Szczur. Surely the next GM will be wiser than that?

You're projecting a lot of demand for AA third basemen with 19:109 BB/K ratios and limited power in the Rule V draft this year?

Lake plays a more demanding position, is a level higher and is putting up better numbers at that higher level than Szczur. He's also a full year younger.

Third base is lower on the defensive spectrum than center field.

Lake has 1850 PA's compared to 596 for Szczur, who didn't need to repeat High A before he got promoted after putting up a sterling .336 OBA.

No one is going to take Lake in the draft.

Szczur has been through four levels in a little more than a year. It took Lake three years to do the same thing.

What do you imagine a team would do with Lake if they drafted him?

Well since he plays 2nd, Short and third. I imagine he could probably stick as a utility guy if he gets picked.

Not sure what 4 levels we are talking about with Szczur? He's a college product and in A ball? He's also been a sub .700 OPSer in A ball.

I like the kid, I think he MAY be able to fit a marginal role in the bigs. I just don't see what all the hype is about an outfielder who doesn't have power and doesn't get on base?

It's a grand conspiracy, all the scouting contacts Baseball America has have it out to get you.

Rookie, SS A, Low A, High A - that's four levels.

The reason you look at a player's age as a rough barometer, is because generally it tells you how much EXPERIENCE the player has. Lake, has been playing baseball as his #1 sport, probably since he was eight years old. He's probably had 1500 more PA's in his life than a guy who played it has a hobby while he played football. He's been a professional baseball player, essentially since he was 14 years old, and he's one level ahead of a guy who has been a professional baseball player for a year.

Szczur is a big strong kid with the speed and the arm to be a true centerfielder in the major leagues and he's holding his own at high A, with MUCH LESS EXPERIENCE THAN THE VAST MAJORITY OF HIS COMPETITION.

He also has a .350 OBP for his career, major league average OBP this year is .320, so when you say "He doesnt' get on base" are you worried too much about a small sample of PA's since his promotion, or just ignorant?

You know who doesnt' get on base, and who isn't going to be trusted playing a premium defensive position in MLB?

But if you aren't interested in getting on base, hitting for power, base running, and playing defense, then yes, Junior Lake is the better prospect.

His OPS in A-Ball this year is 758 (last year about 800) how does that come to "sub 700" in your mind, by the way?

I say he doesn't get on base because I don't think he is a sure bet to hit .320 in the Bigs.

If you have to hit .320 to get on base 35% of the time, that isn't a plus attribute.

I'm not saying the kid will never be useful. I'm saying that lots of fans are severely over rating how much of a prospect he is. Largely because this Cubs system as a whole is somewhere between poor and awful.

Well, there are some thigns to like about Szczur. He should be a plus defensive CF. In many systems, he'd be the top guy defensively in CF, but the Cubs have one or two guys below that may be better overall defensive guys (but may not make it up the ladders, Kyung-Min Na comes to mind). The reports I've heard on Ha's glove may make a Ha/Szczur debate on defensive ability close, but Szczur projects better (to stay in CF).

He has a good hit tool. Whether or not it's plus is a fair question.

The approach isn't bad. The 2% walk rate in Daytona has gotten some folks worried. I'm not sure we should be reading too much into his A+ numbers (and same goes for his A numbers this year, which helped him pick up steam), but when I saw him, this wasn't a guy who was hacking away. Didn't see much of him in Daytona, so I'm not sure what happened there.

I think he's a solid-good prospect, and whether or not he is a good, or better, prospect will come down to how much power devleopment occurs.

As for the system, I think it's going to be in the bottom third for most rankings (although I don't think it'll be bottom 5, but that matters little), but I'll be honest - I'm more excited about this bottom third ranked system than I am about the one that grabbed an astounding 8 ranking from BA pre-Garza deal (and finished middle of the pack post-Garza deal. We finally have some legitimate upside to look at in the lower levels, due to Ricketts spending in the last 2 draft/international cycles. Whether or not these are the right guys, whether or not they will develop, only time will tell, but it is exciting, particularly since there are some intriguing arms. Our arm depth is still fairly solid, and now we have some young positional guys to look at and follow.

Out of curiousity, I haven't seen many Cubs fans that are knowledgeable on the system over-rate Szczur that badly, so I'm curious to what extent guys are overrating Szczur (that is, what are these expectations that would cause you to think they are overrating him). I think a lot of Cubs fans find Law's comparison of Szczur to Pierre a bit ... odd (more due to the power numbers at a comparable age, and not that Law doesn't have some legitimate critiques about hsi swing). To be honest, the only place I feel like the hype on Szczur has gone too far ahead is with Baseball America, and I haven't kept up with any recent commentary of theirs on Szczur to have a good feel.

Contractually, Szczur has to be added.

While there are legitimate questions about Szczur's power, he should, at the very least, be a plus centerfielder with a solid to plus hit tool.

I'm not too keen on Lake personally. He has the tools, but I don't see his bat ever being more than pedestrian due to his aggressive approach, and defensively, much as I've tried to defend the notion of him sticking at short, seeing him this year, I think there's next to no chance he's there long term. Now, due to the way the system is stacked, there really isn't anyone to force time away from him at short, so he may be there another year or two.

All that said, my hunch is that Lake is added, but here's another question - do we NEED to protect him? Is this a guy that can stick the year in the bigs? I'm not so sure about that, barring an injury allowing them to stash him away. He's not a utility guy that will provide a good glove off the bench. He's not a guy who will provide good pop off the bench now (and his swing needs consistent AB's to have a shot). I don't know if I buy him sticking on a roster for the full year barring some injury shenanigans, but again, hunch is he gets added. For me personally, Szczur, Vitters, Rhee, Antigua, Flaherty have to be added before him, and Beliveau has been too good to not be added.

Seems like AzPhil thinks a lot of guys are going to be added. Going to be interesting to see what the new GM thinks of the solid, but not great, talent at the top of the system.

Lake may never be an ML hitter, but physically--size, arm, power, speed--he's a monster. If you thought he would not develop as a hitter, you could trade him, I suppose, but to give him away for $50K makes no sense.

He'll be on display with Tennessee in a playoff environment for another week or so and then with the Mesa Solar Sox, so we'll see what he does.

Contractually Szczur doesn't NEED to be added. He just becomes exposed to rule 5 if he does.

I think the chances of someone taking a sub .700 in A-Ball outfielder and keeping him on the 25 man roster is slim.

fair enough. You are right. He doesn't need to be added, but it's too risky to expose a guy like that to Rule 5. I'd argue that he'd have a better chance of sticking on a 25 man than Lake. Szczur can be utilized as a pinch runner, defensive replacement next year, if he gets plucked.

Wrong Phil--but Coello would be near the top of my list. His numbers since 7/7, when he moved to the pen at Iowa:

33.2 inn, 17 h, 10 bb, 44 k, 4.40 k/bb, 4.54 h/9, 11.76 k/9, 0.80 whip.

I would add Lake to your first six (Szczur, Vitters, Rhee, Antigua, Flaherty, Beliveau) and then add four pitchers: Jackson, Searle, Suarez, Coello. (It's not that difficult to find eleven imposters on the current 40-man.)

Clevenger and Smith have survived Rule 5 before. Ridling won't be drafted, nor will Parker (getting old) or Burke, who has only pitched at Boise.

Edit: I forgot Hatley. I like him, too, so I guess I'm up to twelve.

Clevenger, I believe, will take Hill's roster spot and his role on the team. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jay Jackson left off the of the 40 man roster, nor would I be surprised to see a team select him in the draft.

Searle and Suarez seem borderline to me personally (to be added, but that's me and I'm armchair-ing it). Searle's improved, but his pedestrian control still makes me think he's middle relief, and not a late inning guy (and I don't buy him as a starter). If we're going to add Searle, then why wouldn't we add Parker, who's got better pen stuff, IMO. I guess if we buy Searle as a starter, okay, but I don't really. Do you?

Suarez is a tough call. I like Hatley's stuff better, and I can't imagine we'd stuff a guy so raw. I have a hard time seeing Suarez stick for a year in the majors, but even if he does, it's a new regime, so they might not feel as tied to the money spent on him already.

Suarez is 6'4, 245. AZ Phil has referred to him as a Carlos Zambrano clone, in terms of being a horse (durable), I guess. Promoted twice this year, Suarez had more strikeouts (46) than innings (43.2) against only 13 walks. He's 21. If the Cubs expose him, there's a good chance they lose him.

Searle is unlikely to be claimed, I guess, but if someone likes him--he was a decent starter at AA--he's only 22.

Parker is 26. Doesn't every team have its own Blake Parkers?

A few things to keep in mind when deciding whether to add a player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft to the 40-man roster are:

1. Does the player have the talent to eventually be an MLB player, and what is his ceiling?

2. If the player does get selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, how likely is it that he will be able to remain on the drafting club's MLB 25-man roster (Active List) for an entire season (or for at least 90 days if he spends time on the DL)? Fact is, the majority of players who are selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft are returned. I would say Clevenger, Beliveau, Flaherty, J. Jackson, and M. Gonzalez (all have "mastered" AA and have at least one full year of AA and/or AAA experience) are likely to be able to contribute to an MLB club in 2012, while (for example) Vitters, Szczur, Antigua, Lake, Hatley, Suarez, and Searle probably are not.

3. How far along is the player? How old is he, and how much minor league experience does he have? Most teams will not select a player in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft unless the player is ready to perform some useful ancillary function at the big league level (LOOGY, long-reliever, pinch-runnner, late-inning defensive replacement, etc). Clevenger (back-up C-1B-3B-LHPH), Beliveau (LOOGY), J. Jackson (long-reliever), M. Gonzalez (supersub), and Flaherty (LH platoon IF-OF) would probably be useful on an MLB 25-man roster in 2012.

3. If the player is added to an MLB 40-man roster, how many minor league option years would the player have? If added to the 40-man roster now, will the player run out of minor league options before he can establish himself as an MLB player? For example, Szczur will get four minor league league options if he is added to the 40-man roster post-2011, while Vitters, Lake, Rhee, Antigua, et al only will get three.

Bottom line is, it is better to risk losing a player in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, than it is to add a player to the 40-man roster too soon and then find that you have to place him on Outright Waivers to open up a slot on the 40-man roster later (this is how the Cubs lost Casey McGehee).

There is better than a 50/50 chance that a player who is selected in the Major League Phase Rule 5 Draft will be returned, while a player who is added to a 40-man roster and then later claimed off Outright Waivers is gone for good.

As a result, the Cubs might feel that they would rather risk losing Vitters, Rhee, Antigua, Szczur, Lake, Hatley, Searle, Suarez, et al, in the Rule 5 Draft now, with the likelihood that even if drafted they will get the player back, than add the player to the 40-man roster too soon and risk losing the player off Outright Waivers later.

It is also possible that Szczur was told that he would be added to the Cubs 40-man roster post-201l when he agreed to give-up football & signed a new contract in March.

BTW, the last time the Cubs added a player to the 40-man roster who had no experience at AA or AAA was post-2009, when RHP Rafael Dolis was added to the 40. But Dolis had wowed scouts in the last game of the AZ Instructional League (topping out at 100 MPH), and there was credible information that Dolis was defintely going to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Also, Dolis qualified for four minor league option years if added to the 40-man roster post-2009, which made it easier to roster him at that time. (Although Dolis was optioned to the minors in both 2010 and 2011, he still has two minor league options left).

Submitted by toonsterwu on Wed, 09/07/2011 - 7:00pm.
Thanks for the reply.

I'd be rather surprised if Antigua isn't added to the 40. There certainly are a lot of guys eligible that have some intrigue to them.

The way I look at it, there are three guys that have to be added: Matt Szczur, Josh Vitters, and Dae-Eun Rhee (the way he pitched down the stretch, plus reports that his change is back, is just too tempting, along with the fact that he was consistently working 6).

Then, there's a bunch that I like, but the numbers game is going to make for some tough choices. Considering Antigua is arguably our top lefty arm (either him or Willengton for me, not sure how you view it), I think he has to be in there. Even if Ryan Flaherty never develops into a regular, I would think he would have to be there as well. Despite the number of upper level lefties, the way Jeff Beliveau dominated makes it seem likely he would get picked.

That's already 6 guys, and I don't recall a year where we put on a lot more than that. Clevenger, Jay Jackson, Junior Lake, Marcus Hatley (and to a lesser extent, Marwin Gonzalez, Rebel Ridling, Ryan Searle, Marquez Smith, Larry Suarez, Kyler Burke, and Blake Parker) all hold intrigue. I want Clevenger to stick around, but if the organization opts to sign a veteran catcher to compete with Wellington Castillo (here's hoping it's not Koyie), I could understand it. Lake and Hatley seem to be guys that the current Fleita regime are high enough on (particularly, Lake's potential), considering they have prime AFL slots. Jay Jackson is a guy I like, but his slider seems too inconsistent to think he's anything more than an end of the rotation guy, so I'm not sure he's a guy you absolutely have to protect (particularly since Casey Coleman/Chris Rusin will be in AAA to provide "ready" rotation arms). The other guys probably have warts that are too big. I like what Kyler's done this year quite a bit, but you can't really protect a guy like that, even if he has power lefty potential.

Then, there's guys like Brett Jackson (who could earn a spot), and as you noted above, Robert Coello.

It's going to be interesting how some of the decisions break. What's your current feel on the situation as it pertains to minor leaguers that could get added to the 40?

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

TOONSTER: I think the roster in the coming days and weeks will go something like this:

1. Carlos Zambrano will be reinstateed from the Disqualified List on Monday 9/12 (and will be told to stay home). 40-man roster will then be full.

2. C-1B Steve Clevenger will be added to the 40-man roster & called up as soon as Tennessee is done. Marcos Mateo will then be transfered to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for Clevenger.

3. After the season, Brian Schlitter and Marcos Mateo will be reinstated from the 60-day DL, and then Mateo, Schlitter, Justin Berg, Esmailin Caridad, Kyle Smit, and Lou Montanez will be outrighted (if not claimed off waivers).

Four slots are now open.

BTW, Berg, Mateo, and Montanez can be minor league FA post-2011 if outrighted, while Caridad, Schlitter, and Smit cannot.

4. Robert Coello will be added to the 40-man roster prior to the end of the World Series (because he can be a minor league FA if he is not added to the 40-man roster by the 4th day following the conclusion of the WS).

Three slots are now open.

5. Cubs will exercise 2012 club option on Aramis Ramirez by the deadline for making that move (whenever that is). Roster stays the same.

6. John Grabow, Reed Johnson, Rodrigo Lopez, Ramon Ortiz, Carlos Pena, and Kerry Wood, and possibly Aramis Ramirez and/or Ryan Dempster (but only if they opt out) become MLB Article XX-B free-agents after the conclusion of the World Series.

Even if Ramirez and Dempster exercise their 2012 contract options and return, at least six more slots will become available (Grabow, Johnson, Lopez, Ortiz, Pena, and Wood), added to the three already open.

That makes at least nine slots open (or ten or even 11 if Ramirez and/or Dempster decline their player options).

6. Jeffry Antigua, Jeff Beliveau, Jay Jackson, Dae-Eun Rhee, Ryan Flaherty, Marwin Gonzalez, Jeff Vitters, and Matt Szczur will be added to the 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline. (BTW, Szczur will get four minor league options).

At least one slot will still be open (or two or even three slots if Ramirez and/or Dempster opt out).

7. Carlos Pena and Kerry Wood (and Ramirez and Dempster if they opt out) will be offered salary arbitration on 11/23. They would have until 11/30 to accept or decline. If Pena and Wood both accept salary arbitration and if both Ramireza and Dempster opt to return to Cubs in 2012.

8. Koyie Hill will be non-tendered on 12/2. Roster is full (but only if both Wood and Pena accept salary arbitration and both Ramirez and Dempster opt to return), or there could be as many as four slots open if Pena, Wood, Ramirez and Dempster are gone.

To open up one or two roster slots for signing free-agents, Jeff Baker and/or Blake DeWitt might also be non-tendered on 12/2 (both are eligible for salary arbitration).

Also, it is possible that Carlos Zambrano could get released during the off-season (perhaps sooner rather than later). Or he might be back in 2012. Probably depends on the desires of the new GM.

The GM will also hire a new manager and coaching staff (although Rudy Jaramillo will be back as hitting coach because of his contract).

And finally, Brett Jackson will almost certainly get an NRI to ST and be given a genuine chance to win the starting CF (and lead-off hitter) job.

Vitters won't be added to the roster?

Submitted by Koyies Bansaw on Wed, 09/07/2011 - 10:39pm.
Vitters won't be added to the roster?

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

K-SAW: Vitters should have been on the list. I have made the correction. Thanks for catching that.

Here are the 35 Rule 5 Draft eligibles if the Cubs add Antigua, Beliveau, Clevenger, Flaherty, M. Gonzalez, J. Jackson, Rhee, Szczur, and Vitters to the 40-man roster, and outright Berg, Caridad, Mateo, Montanez, Schlitter, and Smit. (Berg, Mateo, and Montanez can be minor league FA if outrighted):

Abner Abreu, OF
Smaily Borges, OF
Michael Brenly, C
Justin Bristow, RHP
Michael Burgess, OF
Kyler Burke, LHP (ex-OF)
David Cales, RHP
Matt Camp, IF-OF (on RESTRICTED LIST - PED)
Esmailin Caridad, RHP
Hung-Wen Chen, RHP
Manolin DeLeon, RHP
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Luis Flores, C (on RESTRICTED LIST - PED)
Yohan Gonzalez, RHP
Gian Guzman, INF-RHP
Marcus Hatley, RHP
Junior Lake, INF
Blake Lalli, 1B-C
Jordan Latham, RHP
David Macias, IF-OF
Oswaldo Martinez, RHP
Craig Muschko, RHP (on RESTRICTED LIST)
Jon Nagel, RHP
Jake Opitz, INF
Blake Parker, RHP
Nelson Perez, OF
Ramon Reyes, RHP
Rebel Ridling, 1B
Carlos Romero, C
Nate Samson, INF
Brian Schlitter, RHP
Ryan Searle, RHP
Kyle Smit, RHP
Marquez Smith, INF
Matt Spencer, 1B-OF
Larry Suarez, RHP
Jose Tineo, RHP
Ty Wright, OF

NOTE: A player on this list is not eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft if he is added to an MLB 40-man roster by 11/20.

Also, any free-agent signed to a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection.

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

And here are the 20 players eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2011 if Coello is added to the 40-man roster and Berg, Mateo, and Montanez are outrighted:

ARTICLE XX-D MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2011:
Brad Snyder, OF
NOTE: Snyder can be a FA immediately after conclusion of MLB Regular season.

RULE 55 MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2011:

SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FA:
Jim Adduci, OF
Justin Berg, RHP
Marco Carrillo, RHP
Angel Guzman, RHP
Dylan Johnston, RHP
Marcos Mateo, RHP
Mario Mercedes, C
Lou Montanez, OF
Scott Moore, INF
Jonathon Mota, INF
Chris Robinson, C
Carlton Smith, RHP
Alvaro Sosa, RHP
Jeff Stevens, RHP
John Urick, 1B
NOTE: The 15 players listed above can be Rule 55 "Six-Year Minor League Free-Agents" if not added to 40-man roster by 4th day following conclusion of World Series.

PREVIOUSLY RELEASED:
Adrian Aviles, LHP
Dan Berlind, RHP
Austin Bibens-Dirkx, RHP
Carlos Figueroa, INF
NOTE: The four "previously released" players listed above can be Rule 55 minor league FA unless they were signed beyond the 2011 season when they signed with the Cubs.

I could certainly see that chain of events happening. Rather than go through, I'll ask you on two quick things right now

Jay Jackson - I like Jay. I used to really like him, but with the slider coming and going, the love is a bit less now. That said, you seem pretty sure he'll get added. Obviously, with a new regime, everything's up in the air, but I'm wondering why you feel so confident that way. He seems borderline to me. The one tangential note to make is this - next year in AAA, we should have three guys in the rotation that have some prospect value (Chris Rusin, Casey Coleman, and Nick Struck). I hope Jay sticks, but the need doesn't seem to be as high.

Marwin Gonzalez - I like Gonzalez. If there's ever a AAA guy that could be considered a deep sleeper, he'd be it. Do you think he can stick in the bigs in 2012, though? We've seen capable guys with similar profiles to Marwin (the one I remember most is Diory Hernandez with the Braves a few years back) go un-selected. Marwin isn't a top shelf defensive guy, but certainly, he has defensive versatility.

Seems like an awful lot of guys to keep around. I don't mind it, hope you are right. I'm also not so confident Clevenger will be added now. Have you heard differently? I know the folks in Tennessee were high on his defensive improvement reportedly, but are they going to make that transaction when Clevenger might not get more than a game right now?

Submitted by toonsterwu on Thu, 09/08/2011 - 10:59pm.

I could certainly see that chain of events happening. Rather than go through, I'll ask you on two quick things right now

Jay Jackson - I like Jay. I used to really like him, but with the slider coming and going, the love is a bit less now. That said, you seem pretty sure he'll get added. Obviously, with a new regime, everything's up in the air, but I'm wondering why you feel so confident that way. He seems borderline to me. The one tangential note to make is this - next year in AAA, we should have three guys in the rotation that have some prospect value (Chris Rusin, Casey Coleman, and Nick Struck). I hope Jay sticks, but the need doesn't seem to be as high.

Marwin Gonzalez - I like Gonzalez. If there's ever a AAA guy that could be considered a deep sleeper, he'd be it. Do you think he can stick in the bigs in 2012, though? We've seen capable guys with similar profiles to Marwin (the one I remember most is Diory Hernandez with the Braves a few years back) go un-selected. Marwin isn't a top shelf defensive guy, but certainly, he has defensive versatility.

Seems like an awful lot of guys to keep around. I don't mind it, hope you are right. I'm also not so confident Clevenger will be added now. Have you heard differently? I know the folks in Tennessee were high on his defensive improvement reportedly, but are they going to make that transaction when Clevenger might not get more than a game right now?

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

TOONSTER: I understand your concerns about Jay Jackson, but he finished strong--24 IP, 25 H, 6 R (6 ER), 7 BB, 24 K--over his last four starts, including an 11 K performance (in just six innings) in his next-to-last start. He also gave up no home runs over his last six starts (covering 47 IP), and was 3rd among Cubs minor leaguers in 2011 in both IP & GS. And he has been a rotation starter in the PCL at age 22 (in 2010) and 23 (2011). Plus he is a good-hitting pitcher (giving him added value as an N. L. starting pitcher). I just can't see the Cubs leaving J-Jax exposed in the Rule 5 Draft.

As you know, Marwin Gonzalez is one of the most-versatile players in the Cubs organization (he can play anywhere in the IF and OF), and he has developed a lot as a hitter over the past year, going back to the Venezuelan Winter League last off-season when he hit 324/412/419 (he was 2nd in the VWL in runs scored, 3rd in RBI, 4th in B-AVG, 5th in OBP, and 6th in doubles). He followed that by hitting a combined 288/343/400 between AA Tennessee and AAA Iowa in 2011, at the age of 22. He consistently strikes out only once in about every nine or ten PA, and he runs OK (although he is not a burner). Gonzalez is the type of player (a young, switch-hitting, versatile super-sub with a decent bat & AAA experience) who would be a good candidate to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and I just don't think the Cubs will take a chance that he will get selected.

I believe it was mentioned somewhere in the Chicago media that Steve Clevenger and Rafael Dolis will get called-up when Tennessee is done, which seems likely since Welington Castillo is out with a hamstring injury, and the Cubs usually add a 3rd catcher in September.

I know you know this, but for other readers not as familiar with him, Clevenger is a former middle-infielder who was converted to catcher at AZ Instructs 2007, and while he is still learning the art of catching, he has made strides defensively over the past couple of years, and he does project as a left-handed hitting MLB back-up catcher who can also play some 1B and 3B.

Clevenger has a nice short line-drive stroke and (like Gonzalez) he doesn't strike out much (he also hits RH & LH pitching equally well), and while he has been stuck at AA for much of the past couple of seasons after spending most of the 2009 season at AAA Iowa, that's only because the Cubs wanted both Clevenger & W. Castillo to be #1 catchers, and they wanted Castillo (who projects as a starting catcher at the MLB level) to get as much experience ASAP against AAA pitching. But when Clevenger has had a chance to play at AAA, he has done fine (304/350/392 in 93 career AAA games & 348 PA). So he should be MLB ready right now.

hey, if you are still checking this thread, got a question for you azphil. Do you think it's possible that Clevenger's ceiling might be a tad ... under-hyped/rated? Now, I think he's probably a backup catcher, but if his defense is solid to a tick above average, and he's making good contact ... I can think of a few MLB starting catchers that don't seem to have a profile that is as good as that. Prior to this year, I wouldn't even have pondered the idea of Clevenger as a starter, but if the defensive improvements are as solid as has been suggested (and I am a not a great judge of catchers defensive potential from watching them, still think Chun-hsiu Chen is fairly solid defensively, but all the reports still are lukewarm), then that profile looks ... alright.

Submitted by toonsterwu on Tue, 09/13/2011 - 12:59pm.
hey, if you are still checking this thread, got a question for you azphil. Do you think it's possible that Clevenger's ceiling might be a tad ... under-hyped/rated? Now, I think he's probably a backup catcher, but if his defense is solid to a tick above average, and he's making good contact ... I can think of a few MLB starting catchers that don't seem to have a profile that is as good as that. Prior to this year, I wouldn't even have pondered the idea of Clevenger as a starter, but if the defensive improvements are as solid as has been suggested (and I am a not a great judge of catchers defensive potential from watching them, still think Chun-hsiu Chen is fairly solid defensively, but all the reports still are lukewarm), then that profile looks ... alright.

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

TOONSTER: It's possible that Steve Clevenger could eventually be a #1 catcher at the MLB level, but I kind of doubt it will happen.

Although Clevenger's defense has improved, it's still probably not good enough to get regular playing time. Defensively speaking, his best attribute is what he brings to the game from the neck up. If anything, I think there might now be a tendency to maybe give him too much credit for his defense, when the first or last words should probably be "for a converted infielder..."

That said, he is a good hitter with a short, compact stroke that allows him to go deep into the count without risking a strikeout. He is the type of hitter who should be able to stay sharp with irregular playing time, and he should be a good LH PH, too.

BTW, I do believe that Clevenger will likely be the Cubs back-up catcher next season, because Welington Castillo probably needs another year at AAA to refine his game so that he can be a #1 catcher at the big league level, and I doubt that Koyie Hill will be retained.

I see that Angel Guzman has been demoted to Boise. Is there an injury?

Submitted by Hagsag on Tue, 09/06/2011 - 5:25am.
I see that Angel Guzman has been demoted to Boise. Is there an injury?

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

HAGSAG: I suspect both Jeffrey Lorick and Angel Guzman were assigned to the Boise Reserve List to open two slots on the Daytona roster. (Boise has a 35-man Reserve List with 30 players on the Active List). The players would not actually physically go to Boise. They did that earlier in the year with Jordan Latham.

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