Javier Baez and his freaky bat speed.

I don't know about you, but the home run derby held little interest for me this year.
The amazing thing happened the day before.

At the All Star Futures Game.
I could go on about how cheesy and just overall bad the actual production was (how many lame interviews can one game have while the game is going on?), but when Javier Baez actually went with the pitch - a curve or some kind of breaking ball - and knocked it out to right center?
That was the first time I'd seen him live, and it was the opposite of Cub Dissappointment.
That really was the future.
And it happens really really fast.
As in freaky bat speed fast.
They were already making stars out of Kris Bryant and his buddy Joey Gallo, which was fun to see.
Bryant is going to be a superstar, even if he struck out twice here.
But Baez delivered just what everyone hoped - a massive dinger that went out in a couple seconds.
I use "awesome" all the time which diminishes it's power.
Baez was awesome in the actual weight of what that word is supposed to mean.


Looks like Cubs signed 35th rounder Jordan Minch as well:


July 18th deadline coming up; 27 guys signed so far.

remember when we parachat the 2008 all star game?

it was the best of times, when Cubs players made the ASG based on the popularity of the team rather than the mercy rule...

kfuk was not only a cubs all-star...but a starter in CF.

few other cubs rounding it out. fun stuff.

this all-star game has more neon colored clothing than every game during the 80s combined.

Castro and Rizzo both K against Doolittle on foul tips. I thought they each had good cuts. Rizzo in keeping with his season so far, had a strike called against him that was about three inches inside.

I think Castro goes to the Yankees or Mets either this month or in the offseason. Probably the Mets unless the Yankees can involve a third team.

Interesting thought.

I guess to do that you'd have to be pretty comfortable that Addison or Baez have shown enough already. I agree that he's likely to go at some point. Not sure I'd want to do it now though.

What would you do at ss for the rest of the season? Alcantara?

I think Castro is looking more and more like the real deal (which is weird to say about a three time all star). He is incredibly young and cheap and at a prime position. I think the Cubs would be selling high on a great, affordable, young star. If a team like the mets were willing to give up their young pitching or if the Yankees really wanted to set up a nice cornerstone replacement for Jeter, then Castro would go ...

I think Barney and AA could cover SS especially with Boni coming back.

I also think it is a slightly risky move as Castro appears to be maturing and the young guns are unproven. That said, I think Addison Russell is as close to a sure thing as there is and with the glut of infielders coming I just think Castro could be had ... and I really like Castro but the shear numbers behind him are staggering.

Prepare to be lynched.....trading 3 time AS, 24 yr old Castro and replacing him for even a second with Darwin F. Barney.

Sheer numbers are awesome. What would the Yankees offer that would be worth it? Mets young pitching maybe, but I dunno. That seems like a huuuuuuge risk to take. I'd rather see Bryant move to the OF...or Baez/Castro at 2B...Alcantara in CF type of a deal than that.

I wouldn't want to trade any star position player for a pitcher. This is the decade of the broken pitcher. Just say no to that. So my question would be do the Yanks have any young outfielders?

I feel like the yanks don't have anything but money. Would have to involve a third team but still don't know if they have chips. Mets would love to have a star shortstop who could actually hit with some pop. Not sure what they have in the system.

At first I was wondering who would move where in the cubs system - but there are just too many. I think addison Russell plays SS, but maybe 2B. Castro Bryant Baez Alcantara Olt Villenueva on and on ... You can't put them all in the OF and 3B. It'll be interesting.

I'm in general agreement with Carlito. I've been very impressed with Castro this season at cleanup, but to me that just means that the stars have aligned nicely for a blockbuster deal, probably involving a couple of other teams and focused, from our point of view, on pitching that will make the Cubs buyers at the trade deadline next year. Next year, in other words, the Cubs can begin to contend.

It's nice to be able to say that a three-time all-star shortstop who is not yet twenty-five is expendable, but it happens to be true. Castro's good offensive numbers this year are ribbies and slugging. Well, Bryant and Baez can drive in runs and slug with Castro any day of the week; and even Alcantara had 69 RBI last year from atop the batting order at Tenn, and his career slugging percentage (.437) is about the same as Castro's this year. That's what we're talking about: Bryant at third, Baez at short and Alcantara at second as soon as Castro can be traded for front-line pitching.

The clincher for me is that Baez, by many accounts, is a more instinctive defender than Castro, whose strong arm helps hide the fact that he still takes unnecessary steps when he throws.

I think Baez is a sure thing, but Addison Russell is a pretty good insurance policy at short. Castro is under contract through 2020 and makes $13 million, total, the next two seasons (2015-16). The stars, as I say, are aligned.

Maybe we shouldn't count our chickens before they hatch.

Or possibly a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (leagues).

Well played sir.

Everyone should just read this from the sidebar: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/dont-worry-about-a-...

A nice summary of this issue of all of these Cubs prospects we are enamored with and why it isn't an issue.

This doesn't apply to us. Our prospects are special.

Hopefully special in a different way than Corey Patterson. Or Mark Pawelek. Or Luke Hagerty.

to be fair....Pawelek and Hagerty never sniffed Double A did they? I mean geez...at least say Chadd Blasko. Lol

Think of this team early 2000s prospects: Hee Seop Choi, Bobby Hill, Ronny Cedeno, 3b ?? (actually Josh Donaldson would have worked out nicely), outfield of Corey Patterson, Kelton and Lou Montanez. Better trade Corey Patterson because there is a logjam of Felix Pie, Nic Jackson and Matt Murton on the way.

Too painful to bring up the pitching staff.

Were Ronny Cedeno or Matt Murton ever highly ranked prospects (in baseball and not just in the Cubs system, I mean)? Donaldson, btw, was a bit later, not that it matters.

More importantly, these players aren't even in the majors yet with the exception of Alcantara. This is like spring training, the time to be unjustifiably hopeful so that our spirits can be crushed later. Let me have this, people. They're all future Hall of Famers.

Very true regarding the rankings of some of those players, just having fun putting together a line-up of failed Cub prospects. Didn't mean to be too much of a wet blanket, just find the angst over where will all these prospects play once they all become successful big leaguers a little premature. The current Royals may be a more reasonable example of the growing pains of transitioning a group of top prospects into MLB team.

I agree with you about the angst and the likelihood of growing pains. While I hold out hope that they will all hit their ceilings, we already know that Baez and Bryant are considered fringe-y at their defensive positions, Russell may get bigger, and Alcantara is not supposed to be a particularly good defender at either middle INF spot. Not exactly a logjam as far as defense goes, even if they all did succeed with their bat.

And this is not so much in response to you, but I think the talk of Castro being unseated as the starting SS is very premature. Not only is he improving at that position, but when he was these kids' age he was already walking to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways at the MLB level while collecting 200 hits a season.

Well, we used to be able to see historical prospect rankings, but Wiklifield seems to be down. I haven't checked it in a while so perhaps Rob already knows its down.

I was talking about middle infielders (Castro, Baez, Alcantara, Russell), who have an easier path to major-league success offensively than do outfielders (Montanez, Jackson, Pie, Murton, etc.).

Comparing the current crop of Cub middle-infield prospects with Bobby Hill and Cedeno--well, there's not much of a comparison. Hill and Cedeno had pedestrian minor-league stories at best. Hill started in an Indy league and did have a good year at Iowa at age 24, but Alcantara was better at Iowa at 22, and better at every level leading up to Iowa. Baez stumbled out of the gate at Iowa this season at age 21, but has partially recovered, and was coming off two excellent seasons at three levels at which he hit 53 home runs. As a prospect, Castro was a "natural" who cranked out hits at just two levels before he was promoted to the majors at 20, where he continued to spray hits until he ran into a manager who asked him to think about what he was doing at the plate.

Based on 500 PAs at A+ last season at age 19, Russell looks like he might be the best of the lot.

You have to compare apples to apples. Choi could play one position in the majors, whereas Baez, Alcantara and Russell could probably play any of six positions. This translates to 30 maximum job openings for Choi versus 180 for a middle infielder with pop, which certainly describes Baez, Alcantara and Russell. Because Patterson had some speed and played a challenging position fairly well, he played in parts of twelve seasons in the bigs. Because Cedeno actually could play short in the majors, he played there for parts of nine seasons.

It's fan-Cubbery (or Cub-fannery) to say, well, Choi didn't make it, so maybe these guys won't either.

Cedeno put up a .355/.403/.518 at AAA in 2005 as a 22-year-old and hitting .300 in 80 at-bats in the majors that year. He was rated the #94 prospect in all of baseball entering 2006.

Bobby Hill started his professional career in AA in 2001 and hit .301/.396/.392 as a 23-year-old, he was rated the #48 prospect in all of baseball entering 2002.

Are they EXACTLY the same as Baez, etc. No, of course not, and if you want to use that as justification to dismiss our words of caution, then fine. But the reality is that the Cubs have had plenty of top prospects of all sorts of positions who have not done as well as we had hoped they would. And again, read the article I linked to, this is not Cub-fannery, because this is not unique to the Cubs. Many of the top prospects in baseball--even shortstops with power and minor league success, yada yada yada--turn out to be busts. Baseball is difficult.

Keep your optimism. I am excited about all of these guys too. But I am not going to go through hypothetical lineups that contain all of them in it at the big league level or have discussions about how we can trade away some of them based on the idea that they will all make it and reach their ceilings.

I said that their minor-league stories were pedestrian because Hill's started late--most college players start playing pro at 20 or 21, Hill was 22--and Cedeno had terrible full seasons at Lansing (A) (.213/.269/.295/.564) and Daytona (A+) (.211/.257/.295/.552). Cedeno was socially promoted both times, and he did better at AA and much better during that half-season at Iowa that you referred to (without indicating that it was a half season).

Hill actually played Indy ball after college at 22. That was pro ball. You said he started playing pro with the Cubs at 23.

Hill was a college and Indy-ball shortstop who obviously didn't project as a SS, so that immediately distinguishes him from Castro, Baez, Alcantara and Russell. In the majors, Pittsburgh played him at second for a couple of seasons and he put up a slash line (.267/.352/.337/.689) that would look good on a gold-glover like Barney but might not cut it for an average defensive 2B. His base-stealing days were over, and he never had much pop (unlike Baez, Alcantara and Russell).

I'm not sure that Hill and Cedeno didn't both fulfill their promise, such as it was. It probably didn't help Cedeno that he was pushed up the ladder without having to accomplish anything in A ball or A+. With the FSL's reputation as a pitcher's league, Daytona is historically a kind of litmus test for Cub hitting prospects. (Ask Albert Almora.) There are currently no touted Cub hitting prospects who didn't succeed there. Cedeno failed that test. Corey Patterson wasn't even sent there. Today, nobody skips Daytona. So there are organizational differences regarding player development--for example, Epstein and Hoyer say that they try to challenge young players such that they experience failure and then find their way back to success--that make these constant invocations of Cedeno, Hill, Patterson and Gary Scott pointless.

Having said all that, I do think it's highly significant that Baez has started taking turns at second base, and I'm therefore less inclined to believe that Castro is on the block.

Your general point here, that athletic middle-infielders don't have to hit as well as outfield and corner INF prospects to reach and stick at the MLB level, is valid, as well as the fact that a SS is more likely to have the skills necessary to switch to another position than is a LF or a 1B (which many have pointed out). Murton would be in MLB still if he was a SS or a CF, or even a good RF, no doubt.

But the point being made, that even top prospects can flounder and have unacknowledged weaknesses exposed by MLB pitching, remains valid.

Not only that, but it's silly to season them in the minors when they could all be helping the big club right now.

This seems extremely unlikely to me until late or after 2015, and that's only if Baez and Russell stay healthy, continue to advance through the minors, occupy 2B and SS, and deals do not materialize for one of those two. Seems more likely to me that some amongst the sheer numbers get traded, as others have suggested.

That's completely what I have been thinking and probably smart. Just had this weird instinct that his value may never be higher and if Theo/McJed are as gutsy as they seem to be, now would be the time. It's just that it would have to be a great haul if course.

Castro seems to have turned a corner this year with regards to maturity, and general badass-ness so you are probably right. We'll see.

Russell at SS..Castro at 2B...Alcantara at CF..Baez at 3B...Bryant in RF.

Nailed it. Lol

Like it, but prefer Bryant in LF and Soler in RF.

Not inconceivable at some point next year: 1. Mendy CF, 2. Russell SS (OK, a stretch), 3. Bryant LF, 4. Rizzo 1B, 5. Baez 3B, 6. Soler RF, 7. Castro 2B, 8. Castillo C. Some pitching, please.....

There will be some attrition due to performance/injury. Here is an article about a study that breaks down success rate of Baseball America's top 100 prospect lists from 1990 to 2003. Even for position players ranked in the top 10 there is a 37% bust rate.


Yeah, this will have a way of working itself out I am sure. Russell has only one full minor league season under his belt. He was 19 years old, hit .269 and struck out 125 times. He's just a prospect right now and his career could turn out a number of ways, including the possibility that he will become a bust. Russel was rated by Baseball America at #7 before the season. Corey Patterson was rated #3 in 2000 and #2 in 2001. You just never know.

You hope that a few of these guys develop into young stars under club control at reasonable costs for the primes of their career of their late 20s. In other words, they become Castro.

I highly doubt they trade Castro for several more potential Castros, most of whom will not become Castro. I think they would only trade him if someone else comes up to the bigs, plays another position, and hits like a stud. Then they can either trade him (Russell/Baez) or trade Castro knowing they can move the other (Russell/Baez) over to take this place.

Corey P-p-p-p-patterson - damn that hurts. Don't do that again without warning. Ouch.

I would find it hard to believe Cubs would spend 3-4 more years waiting for Baez and Russell to develop into something consistent and move Castro at the moment, unless they are completely blown away (like 2 of Wheeler, Harvey or Syndegaard). Seems like they're poised to want to compete next year and beyond.

I will say that if Castro does move off SS, I could see it happening for Russell moreso than Baez.



"Todd Frazier snaps another photo with Derek Jeter, 16 years later"

schwarb in the lineup for daytona tonight...and playing LF.

also, AAA all-star game in 10 minutes on MLB Network

k.hendricks pitches the 3rd+4th

2ip 0h 2bb 2k, 39 pitches

Cubs 2011 3rd round pick OF Zeke DeVoss (U. of Miami) was released. 

DeVoss was drafted as a 2B but was moved to OF after committing 28 errors at 2B at Peoria in 2012. He hit a combined 155/296/232 in 66 games (253 PA) between Tennessee and Daytona in 2014. 

The speedy switch-hitting DeVoss never had much of a "hit tool," but he was an OBP machine (he led the MWL in walks in 2012 and he led the FSL in both walks & HBP in 2013), and he racked up lots of SB in previous seasons, too (16 in just 42 games in his rookie pro season, and then 35 in 2012 and 39 in 2013),  

The Red Sox drafted DeVoss out of Astronaut HS in Titusville, FL, when Theo was Boston GM, but DeVoss did not sign, opting to enroll at "The U." instead.  

Tomorrow is his birthday (he turns 24). 

Happy birthday, son. Good luck finding a job. *sad trombone*

I imagine failed prospects who have a little minor league experience are shoe ins for coaching jobs, not that the pay would be good. But it's something.

Weird Al is a Cardinal fan


CJ Edwards will get back into game action on July 23rd (next Wednesday) in the AZL vs Texas.

During my last live batting practice session, they put the radar gun on me, and I'm back to 94 mph with a good curveball and good change up.

After two starts in Arizona, he's expected to rejoin Tennessee but could finish the season in the bullpen to continue to build his innings with the likelihood he will finish his 2014 season in the Arizona Fall League.



CJ's new weight...

C.J. Edwards can't wait to update his bio.

"Two weeks ago I weighed 170," the 6-foot-2 Edwards said Tuesday between bites of chicken rigatoni with tomato-chipotle cream sauce. "I'd say scratch the 155 (pounds off my listing) and put my real weight in. There's a good chance I could come to the January camp at around 175 to 180 pounds.

In the sidebar. Keith Law has Bryant #1

(Russell #4, Baez #8, Soler #28 in there too with nod to his injuries keeping him from utilizing 'top 10' talent.)

Twitter box says Baez is playing 2B tonight.

And so it begins!!

In regards to the conversations above about trading Starlin, keep in mind that Theo believes that middle infielders can kind of play anywhere. As much as I like to say "bring him up!!", if Soler, Russell, Baez, and Bryant all become successful at the big league level, won't that be practically historic? That kind of thing doesn't happen very often. I kind of think we'll be lucky to see one star emerge out of that group, and if we see two legit stars, it will be a (well deserved) miracle for us long suffering Cubs fans.

I think maybe the old Dodger teams, with Lopes and Cey, etc., may have been largely home grown, but I'm not sure. I'm sure it's been done, but it's really rare.

O & B: A few examples:

The A's developed Reggie Jackson, Rick Monday, Sal Bando, Joe Rudi, George Hendrick, Darrell Evans, Gene Tenace, Rollie Fingers, Chuck Dobson, Catfish Hunter, Jim Nash, Blue Moon Odom, and Vida Blue 1966-69 (but they traded Hendrick to Cleveland and lost Evans in the Rule 5 Draft before they hit the big leagues).      

The SF Giants developed Bobby Bonds, Dave Kingman, George Foster, Gary Matthews Sr, Garry Maddux, Ken Henderson, Bernie Williams, Chris Speier, Steve Ontiveros, Steve Stone, John D'Acquisto, and Ron Bryant 1969-73, but they traded some of the better ones away (that's the problem when there is a glut of outfielders).  

The Dodgers developed Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Ron Cey, Bill Russell, Bobby Valentine (SS moved to OF then traded to Angels for Andy Messersmith), Bill Buckner, Ivan de Jesus (Buckner & de Jesus traded to Cubs for Rick Monday), Tom Paciorek, Von Joshua, Doyle Alexander, Charlie Hough, Rick Rhoden, Geoff Zahn, and Eddie Solomon (Zahn and Solomon traded to Cubs for Burt Hooton) in the early 1970's,    

The main difference between the Giants and Dodgers in the early 1970's is that the Giants made bad trades involving their young players and prospects, while the Dodgers made good ones (thanks in large part to the Cubs!).

The Braves developed Ron Gant, David Justice, Chipper Jones, Ryan Klesko, Javy Lopez, Jason Schmidt, Mark Wohlers, Steve Avery, Kevin Millwood, Melvin Nieves, and Tony Tarasco 1989-93.

Even the Cubs have done something like that a couple or three times in my lifetime, developing Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Lou Brock, and Ken Hubbs circa 1960-62 (Williams and Hubbs won ROY in consecutive seasons), the "Durocher Cubs" developed Oscar Gamble, Rick Reuschel, Burt Hooton, Bill Bonham, and Ray Burris (obviously mainly pitchers) 1969-73, and the "Dallas Green Cubs" developed Shawon Dunston, Mark Grace, Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Martinez, Joe Girardi, Jerome Walton (1989 ROY), Dwight Smith, Jamie Moyer and Greg Maddux 1985-89, and Joe Carter and Mel Hall (both traded for Rick Sutcliffe in 1984)  just before that. 

So it has been done.

And Jim Hendry was at least able to exchange prospects (like Dontrelle Willis, Ricky Nolasco, Josh Donaldson, Chris Archer, Hee-Seop Choi, and Bobby Hill) for young established MLB players and pitchers like Matt Clement, Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, Juan Pierre, Rich Harden, and Matt Garza (all of whom were age 25-28 at the time they were acquired). 

Thanks, Phil, yeah, those were the Dodger teams I was thinking of. My overall point wasn't so much to be a naysayer - it could happen - as to say it's premature to start thinking about trading Starlin. Shortstops can play other positions. I'm seeing the I Cubs Saturday, so I hope they didn't get all their homers out of their system last night.

As critical as I was with Hendry in his later years he still did do a better job with the farm system than a lot of his predecessors. He started off well enough, developed an international pool, but things just sort of went south his last couple years.

The Giants between 1958 and 1962 graduated 4 hall of famers from their minor league system to the majors: Cepeda, McCovey, Perry and Marichal. Felipe Alou, Matty Alou, Jim Davenport and Tom Haller also were promoted from their minor league system during that period. Those guys joined a team that already had Willie Mays.

I don't think any other team has ever produced as many hall of famers in as short a period, not even the Yankees, Cardinals and the Dodgers in 30s and 40s.

They only won 1 pennant, in 1962 (they lost the world series). I've always thought of this as the prime example of even if everything goes right in terms of developing talent, that's no guarantee of winning. The Giants could not get past the Cardinals or the Dodgers most years.

The Giants' farm system continued to produce a ton of talent from 1962 through 1969: e.g., Jim Ray Hart, Jose Cardenal, Jesus Alou, Randy Hundley, Tito Fuentes and Dick Dietz.

Just because I was curious, I took a look at Hall of Famers (despite the flaws in voting/election) and then at their debut team (as a proxy for who developed them). It's imperfect, of course, but gives a sense at which franchises have been the best at developing or producing Hall of Famers.

The overall franchise totals:

Giants - 21
Athletics - 16
Pirates - 15
Cubs - 12
Phillies - 12
Cardinals - 12
Indians - 12
Yankees - 11
Braves - 10
Red Sox - 10
White Sox - 9
Dodgers - 9
Twins/Senators - 8
Tigers - 8
Reds - 8
Orioles/Browns - 7
Padres - 4
Mets - 2
Expos - 2
Brewers - 2
Royals - 1
Defunct 19th Century Teams - 15

Hall of Famers to debut with the Cubs:

Hugh Duffy - 1888
Frank Chance - 1898
Joe Tinker - 1902
Johnny Evers - 1902
Gabby Hartnett - 1922
Billy Herman - 1931
Ernie Banks - 1953
Billy Williams - 1959
Ron Santo - 1960
Lou Brock - 1961
Bruce Sutter - 1976
Greg Maddux - 1986

Now, how about teams that developed multiple hall of Famers in a short period:

White Sox - Schalk, Roush, Faber (1912-1913-1914)

Phillies - Alexander, Rixey, Bancroft (1911-1912-1915)

Indians - Lemon, Doby, Paige (1946-1947-1948--though obviously an odd case given the negro league players debuting)

Indians - Davis, Young, Wallace (1890-1890-1894)

Dodgers - Snider, Robinson, Campanella (1947-1947-1948)

Cubs - Williams, Santo, Brock (1959-1960-1961)

Cubs - Chance, Tinker, Evers (1898-1902-1902)

Athletics - Hunter, Jackson, Fingers (1965-1967-1968)

Giants - Irvin, Mays, Wilhelm (1949-1951-1952)

Yankees - Berra, Ford, Mantle (1946-1950-1951)

Yankees - Dimaggio, Gordon, Rizzuto (1936-1938-1941)

Beyond those groups of three, there were a few even more impressive runs.

The Yankees developed 5 HoFers in 7 years:

Gehrig, Combs, Lazzeri, Dickey, Gomez (1923-1924-1926-1928-1930)

The Cardinals developed 6 in 15 years:

Dizzy Dean - 1930
Joe Medwick - 1932
Johnny Mize - 1936
Enos Slaughter - 1938
Stan Musial - 1941
Red Schoendienst - 1945

Over a 22-year period, the Pirates developed 9 HoFers, and there are a number of solid strings of years within those two decades:

Max Carey - 1910
Dazzy Vance - 1915
Burleigh Grimes - 1916
Pie Traynor - 1920
Kiki Cuyler - 1921
Joe Cronin - 1926
Paul Waner - 1926
Lloyd Waner - 1927
Arky Vaughan - 1932

Of the defunct teams, it is notable that the Troy Trojans provided the professional debut for five future hall of famers in just a two-year period:

Dan Brouthers - 1879
Roger Connor - 1880
Mickey Welch - 1880
Tim Keefe - 1880
Buck Ewing - 1880

And the Louisville Colonels did well in the 1890s too:

Hughie Jennings - 1891
Fred Clarke - 1894
Rube Waddell - 1897
Honus Wagner - 1897

But the two best franchise have to be the Athletics and Giants.

Though a lot of Giants are due to Frankie Frisch packing the Hall with his buddies, it is still an impressive run for the team--over a 14-year period they debuted 10 Hall of Famers:

High Pockets Kelly - 1915
Ross Youngs - 1917
Waite Hoyt - 1918
Frankie Frisch - 1919
Travis Jackson - 1922
Hack Wilson - 1923
Bill Terry - 1923
Freddie Lindstrom - 1924
Mel Ott - 1926
Carl Hubbell - 1928

Then as DCF mentioned, they produced Cepeda, McCovey, Marichal, and Perry in 1958, 1959, 1960, and 1962.

The Athletics produced 6 Hall of Famers in 12 years from 1901-1912:

Eddie Plank - 1901
Chief Bender - 1903
Eddie Collins - 1906
Home Run Baker - 1908
Stan Coveleski - 1912
Herb Pennock - 1912

And then a decade later produced 4 Hall of Famers in just 3 years in what is arguable the most impressive group in history:

Al Simmons - 1923
Jimmie Foxx - 1925
Lefty Grove - 1925
Mickey Cochrane - 1925

Kudos! Great work there!

I'll say. Well done indeed.

I would distinguish the production of teams in the teens, '20s and '30s somewhat due to the fact that there was not, or was not the degree of, affiliation between the minors and the majors that there later came to be.

For example, looking at the A's "cluster" in the '20s, all were not signed by the A's as amateur free agents, but acquired by the A's from independent minor league clubs. Lefty Grove was 25 when he made his major league debut for the A's, and over the previous four seasons had made 154 starts for the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association, posting a 108-36 won-loss mark. Jack Dunn of the Orioles (the same guy who signed Babe Ruth) refused to sell Grove for a major league team for several years (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lefty_Grove). Cochrane had attended college, and then was signed by a PCL team, and then was acquired by the A's. Simmons was acquired from Milwaukee of the AA. Foxx was also acquired from an AA team, but was much younger than the other three and had less minor league seasoning.

What the A's did in the '20s was the way that all MLB teams used to acquire talent. The advent of the farm system did not occur until later. The teams that were the early adopters of such systems, such as the Cardinals, Dodgers and Yankees, enjoyed a significant competitive advantage for many years over the teams that did not, such as the A's and the Cubs. As a result, the A's and Cubs, which had been among the most successful franchises during the first 30-40 years of the 20th century, went through several decades of mediocrity.

This is not to denigrate the A's; to introduce 4 hall of famers into your lineup in 3 years, however you do it, is very impressive. The A's had to outbid other MLB teams to purchase the contracts of these players; what they paid for Grove was a record at the time. But the A's of the '20s did not have a farm system as we understand the same to exist today. They did not sign these players as amateur free agents and did not develop them in minor league affiliates where the A's controlled the teaching of techniques or style of play.

Agreed on all fronts.

But similarly, developing players has changed dramatically since the 1950s to present as well, when you now have a draft, national scouting, restrictions on international signing, etc. Back then, you could just get lucky and see someone you liked and sign them on the spot. Perry was playing semi-pro in Texas, Cepeda flew in from Puerto Rico for a tryout at the advice of a friend and the Giants got lucky he showed up at theirs. McCovey was discovered playing on local playground teams in a segregated neighborhood in Mobile by a former negro league manager who was bird dogging for the Giants. Lot of stuff that doesn't happen much today.

I agree with you.

I think that the Giants in this era had a competitive advantage over some other teams in that they were (i) willing to sign African-American and Latin American players to a greater extent than some other teams, in particular in the American League and (ii) willing to invest in signing talent, from whatever source, to a greater extent than many other teams. For example, the Giants had one of the first players from Japan on their roster in the early '60s.

Those days are over, but I think that the history of both (i) the adoption of farm systems and (ii) the willingness to invest in young players and to seek them out wherever they may be, is that some teams do these things and some teams don't. The ones that do these things have tended to do better than the ones that have not.

The list you put together above is truly an impressive piece of research.

In 1960, there were only 16 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, eight in each league (the last year that would be true). With a 25-man roster limit from May 1st through August 31st, there were only 400 roster spots (not counting players on the Disabled List) for most of the season. (Teams were permitted to carry 28 players on their active roster through April, and up to 40 players after September 1st). By comparison, in 2014 (with 30 teams in operation) there are 750 roster spots available (again, not counting players on the Disabled List) from Opening Day through August 31st.

At the mid-point of the 1960 MLB season (July 1960), 363 of the 400 players playing in MLB (91%) were U. S.-born. Of the 37 players not born in the U. S., 32 were born in Latin America or the Caribbean, and the remaining five were born in Europe or Canada. Of the 32 players born in Latin America or the Caribbean, 27 were of African descent, and five were of European-Spanish descent. NOTE: The five foreign-born players who were not born in Latin America or the Caribbean were Reno Bertoia (Italy), Moe Drabowsky (Poland), Ron Piche (Canada), Bobby Thomson (Scotland), and Elmer Valo (Czechoslovakia).

Of the 363 U. S.-born players active in MLB in July 1960, 36 (10%) were of African descent, and 26 of the 36 were from the American South. Since blacks made-up 10% of the U. S. population in 1960, the percentage of U. S.-born players of African descent playing in the MLB in July 1960 was the exact same percentage as that of U. S.-born blacks living in the U. S. in 1960 (and for the previous 60+ years). So a total of 63 of the 400 players active in MLB as of July 1960 (16%) were of African descent, with 36 (9% of all MLB players) being players of African descent born in the U. S., and 27 (7% of all MLB players) being players of African descent born in Latin America or the Caribbean. (Of the 27 players of African descent born outside the U. S., nine were born in pre-Castro Cuba, five were born in the Dominican Republic, five were born in Puerto Rico, three were born in Panama, two were born in the Bahamas, one was born in Mexico, one was born in Venezuela, and one was born in the Virgin Islands).

Of the 63 players of African descent playing in the MLB in July 1960, 44 (or 70%) were active in the National League (about five-to-six per N. L. club), and 19 (or 30%) were active in the American League (about two-to-three per A. L. club). Of the 63 black players active in July of 1960, 36 (or 57%) played "significant" roles on their teams, and 27 (or 43%) played "less significant" back-up roles. (A "significant role" is defined as one of the eight starting position players, one of the four main starting pitchers, and the top relief pitcher, for a ratio of 12-13 "significant" players to 12-13 "less significant" players on each 25-man roster, or a 50/50 ratio per every 100 players). The ratio of 36 "significant" to 27 "less significant" black players in 1960 equals a ratio of 57/43 per every 100 players, meaning that a black player was less likely to be carried as a "back-up" player than a white player at that time. Or to say it another way, all things being equal, the most talented black players definitely Had jobs, but a white player was more likely to be kept as a "back-up" guy over a similarly “lesser-talented” black player.

below is the list of players of African descent playing in the MLB as of July 1960 (birthplace in parenthesis), with teams listed in the order of most-to-least players of African descent. An asterisk (*) indicates the player played a "significant" role on his team. You will notice a disproportionate number of N. L. teams at the top, and A. L. teams at the bottom. The only American League club that "measured-up" to the N. L. average of five-to-six black players per team was the usually-progressive Washington Senators (soon-to-be the Minnesota Twins), and the only N. L. teams to fail to meet the N. L. standard (average) were the Chicago Cubs and (somewhat surprisingly) the eventual 1960 World Series-champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

1. Felipe Alou, OF (Dominican Republic)
2. * Orlando Cepeda, LF (Puerto Rico)
3. * Sam Jones, P (U. S. - Ohio)
4. * Willie Kirkland, RF (U. S. - Alabama)
5. Juan Marichal, P (Dominican Republic)
6. * Willie Mays, CF (U. S. - Alabama)
7. * Willie McCovey, 1B (U. S. - Alabama)
8. Andre Rodgers, IF-OF (Bahamas)

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (7 out of 25, all seven non-U. S.):
1. * Ruben Amaro, SS (Mexico)
2. Tony Curry, OF (Bahamas)
3. Ruben Gomez, P (Puerto Rico)
4. * Tony Gonzalez, CF (Cuba)
5. * Juan "Pancho" Herrera, 1B (Cuba)
6. Humberto Robinson, P (Panama)
7. * Tony Taylor, 2B (Cuba)
NOTE: Although they had seven black players by July 1960, the Phillies were the last N. L. team to integrate (with infielder John Kennedy, on Opening Day 1958).

MILWAUKEE BRAVES (6 out of 25):
1. * Henry Aaron, RF (U. S. - Alabama)
2. * Billy Bruton, CF (U. S. - Alabama)
3. * Wes Covington, LF (U. S. - North Carolina)
4. Felix Mantilla, IF-OF (Puerto Rico)
5. Lee Maye, OF (U. S. - Alabama )
6. Juan Pizarro, P (Puerto Rico)

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (6 out of 25):
1. George Crowe, 1B (U. S. - Indiana)
2. * Curt Flood, CF (U. S. - Texas)
3. Bob Gibson, P (U. S. - Nebraska)
4. * Julian Javier, 2B (Dominican Republic)
5. Leon Wagner, OF (U. S. - Tennessee)
6. * Bill White, 1B (U. S. - Florida)

CINCINNATI REDS (5 out of 25)
1. Leo Cardenas, SS (Cuba)
2. Elio Chacon, 2B (Venezuela)
3. * Frank Robinson, 1B (U. S. - Texas)
4. Don Newcombe, P (U. S. - New Jersey)
5. * Vada Pinson, CF (U. S. - Tennessee)

LOS ANGELES DODGERS (5 out of 25):
1. * Tommy Davis, RF (U. S. - Brooklyn, NY)
2. * Jim Gilliam, 3B (U. S. - Tennessee)
3. * Charlie Neal, 2B (U. S. - Texas)
4. * John Roseboro, C (U. S. - Ohio)
5. * Maury Wills, SS (U. S. - Washington, DC)

1. * Earl Battey, C (U. S. - Los Angeles, CA)
2. * Julio Becquer, 1B (Cuba)
3. * Lenny Green, CF (U. S. - Michigan)
4. Rudy Hernandez, P (Dominican Republic)
5. * Jose Valdivielso, SS (Cuba)
NOTE: Two other Senators from Latin America--Camilo Pascual, P (Cuba) and Pedro Ramos, P (Cuba)--were of Spanish (not African) descent.

1. Gene Baker, INF (U. S. - Iowa)
2. Joe Christopher, OF (Virgin Islands)
3. * Roberto Clemente, RF (Puerto Rico)
4. Bennie Daniels, P (U. S. - Alabama)

BOSTON RED SOX (3 out of 25)
1. Elijah "Pumpsie" Green, INF (U. S. - Oakland, CA)
2. * Willie Tasby, CF (U. S. - Louisiana)
3. Earl Wilson, P (U. S. - Louisiana)
NOTE: Another Red Sox player was from Latin America--Mike Fornieles, P (Cuba), but he was of Spanish (not African) descent. Also, the Red Sox were the last MLB club to integrate (with "Pumpsie” Green, on July 21, 1959).

CHICAGO CUBS (3 out of 25):
1. * George Altman, LF (U. S. - North Carolina)
2. * Ernie Banks, SS(U. S. - Texas)
3. Lou Johnson, OF (U. S. - Kentucky)
NOTE: Although the Cubs were slower than most other N. L. teams to add black players to their roster, they were the first MLB club to name an individual of African descent to its scouting staff (long-time Kansas City Monarchs manager “Buck” O’Neill, in 1956), and also were the first MLB club to appoint an individual of African descent to its coaching staff (also “Buck” O’Neill, who was a member of the Cubs’ infamous “College of Coaches” 1962-65).

CLEVELAND INDIANS (3 out of 25):
1. Walt Bond, OF (U. S. - Tennessee)
2. * Jim "Mudcat" Grant, P (U. S. - Florida)
3. * Vic Power, 1B (Panama)

DETROIT TIGERS (3 out of 25):
1. Sandy Amoros, OF (Cuba)
2. * Humberto "Chico" Fernandez, SS (Cuba)
3. Ozzie Virgil, INF (Dominican Republic)

(2 out of 25):
1. * Orestes "Minnie" Minoso, LF (Cuba)
2. * Al Smith, RF (U. S. - Missouri)
NOTE: Another White Sox player was from Latin America--Luis Aparicio, SS (Venezuela), but he was of Spanish (not African) descent.

NEW YORK YANKEES (2 out of 25):
1. Elston Howard, C (U. S. - Missouri)
2. * Hector Lopez, LF (Panama)
NOTE: Another Yankee player was from Latin America--Luis Arroyo, P (Puerto Rico), but he was of Spanish (not African) descent.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES (1 out of 25):
1. Bob Boyd, 1B (U. S. - Mississippi)
NOTE: The Baltimore Orioles of 1960-62 never had more than one black player on their roster at any given time. Although it wasn’t for an entire season (like with the 1960 Kansas City A’s--see below), there was a period of two months (July-August) in 1962 when the Orioles had no players of African descent on their 25-man roster. (Outfielder Earl Robinson was with the Orioles for only part of the 1962 season). This was the last time such a situation would occur in MLB, where an MLB club had only white players on its 25-man roster.

NOTE: Technically, the Boston Red Sox were the last MLB club to “integrate” (with “Pumpsie” Green in July 1959), but the Red Sox were not the last team to operate with a roster consisting of only white players for a full season. The Kansas City A’s--who had two or three black players (most notably Harry Simpson, Vic Power, and Hector Lopez) on their roster at any given time throughout most of the 1950’s--played nearly two full seasons (1959-1960) without any black players on their roster, from the day they traded Hector Lopez to the Yankees (May 25, 1959) until Opening Day 1961. What is strange is that just one year later (1962), the Kansas City A's (with baseball “maverick” Charles O. Finley having just purchased the club, and with Hank Bauer as the new manager) suddenly had seven players of African descent (Norm Bass, Ed Charles, and John Wyatt from the U. S., and Manny Jimenez, Orlando Pena, Diego Segui, and Jose Tartabull from Latin America) among their 25 main players, the most of any American League team, and second only to the National League's San Francisco Giants (who had eight) in all of Major League Baseball!

All of the older MLB players of African descent circa 1960 had played in the Negro Leagues and/or in the integrated Latin leagues prior to getting their shot in MLB. The Negro Leagues had been in existence since 1920, and while they were segregated, they also were a ready-made professional sports enterprise (with some of the clubs black-owned) that allowed black athletes to sign professional baseball contacts right out of high school. In the years 1920-1946, there were no major league professional black football leagues or basketball leagues (other than the Harlem Globetrotters) to compete with the Negro Leagues for the most talented black athletes. Even one of the Globetrotters star players (Goose Tatum) played Negro League baseball during the Summer months with the Negro American League’s Indianapolis Clowns. So the Negro Leagues (black baseball) took their pick of the best black athletes in America, and Black American athletic heroes tended to be baseball players, boxers, and track stars, but not football or basketball players.



Not counting OF Monte Irvin (who was acquired by the Cubs from the New York Giants in the post-1955 Rule 5 Draft), all of the black players signed by the Cubs in the 1950's (Ernie Banks, Gene Baker, George Altman, Lou Johnson, and J. C. Hartman) came to the Cubs from the Kansas City Monarchs. So it probably isn't a coincidence that long-time Monarchs player and manager Buck O'Neill was the hired by Cubs owner Phil Wrigley as a scout and then later as a coach.

Actually, PK probably just should have hired O'Neill to run the team. 

O'Neill signed Lou Brock out of Southern University (Brock was also a star running back on the Southern U. football team) and Buck believed Brock was the most-talented baseball player he had seen since Cool Papa Bell. If O'Neill had been Cubs Head Coach (instead of Bob Kennedy) in 1964, the Cubs probably never would have traded Lou Brock.   

What's the source for all of the data?

AZ Phil: I remember Lou Johnson. Didn't he have something odd about one ear?

Anyway, I looked up some info on Sweet Lou and it seems that he was originally signed by the Yankees, was in the Pirate organization in 1955-6 before getting to the Cubs.

Here is the Sweet Lou I remember as a Cub. He was one of the outfielders that the Cubs acquired in their eternal quest to replace Lou Brock (i.e. Johnny Callison, Jim Hickman, Don Young, Adolpho Phillips, etc.)

November 30, 1967: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Chicago Cubs for Paul Popovich and Jim Williams.

and then he was gone:
June 28, 1968: Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Cleveland Indians for Willie Smith.

from Baseball-Reference.com:

Before 1953 Season: Signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent.
Before 1954 Season: Sent from the New York Yankees to Lexington (Mountain States) in an unknown transaction.
Before 1955 Season: Sent from Pampa (West Texas-New Mexico) to the Pittsburgh Pirates in an unknown transaction.
Before 1956 Season: Sent from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Chicago Cubs in an unknown transaction.
April 1, 1961: Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Los Angeles Angels for Jim McAnany.
April 13, 1961: Traded by the Los Angeles Angels to Toronto (International) for Leon Wagner.
November 8, 1961: Obtained by the Milwaukee Braves from Toronto (International) as part of a minor league working agreement.
May 8, 1963: Traded by the Milwaukee Braves with cash to the Detroit Tigers for Chico Fernandez.
April 9, 1964: Traded by the Detroit Tigers with $10,000 to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Larry Sherry.
November 30, 1967: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Chicago Cubs for Paul Popovich and Jim Williams.
June 28, 1968: Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Cleveland Indians for Willie Smith.
April 4, 1969: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the California Angels for Chuck Hinton.


and Wikipedia:

CUBSTER: Lou Johnson was a member of the Cubs when I first became a Cub fan in 1960. He bounced around a lot, but he was an important cog on the 1965-66 Dodger N. L. pennant-winning teams. I don't recall anything odd about his ear, but I do remember he used to clap his hands incessantly after he reached base, or after scoring a run. It seems like a lot of the guys who played for Buck O'Neill in Kansas City were inordinately happy and positive about baseball and life in general.

Johnson was supposed to be the "missing link" for the Durocher Cubs, acquired to play RF (a "black hole" at the time) and provide a productive bat in the order behind Williams-Santo-Banks. But he was an unmitigated bust, and the Cubs were lucky to get a useful player (Willie Smith) back for him. 

BTW, Johnson ("Slick") defintely played for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1955, and then he signed with the Cubs after that season ended. He may have played with other organizations in between his Monarch stints, though. However, it was a violation of MLB rules to option or loan a player to a Negro League team, so the Pirates must have released him before he went back to KC in '55.

Another tidbit regarding Lou Johnson is that he scored the only run in Sandy Koufax's perfect game 1-0 win against the Cubs, 9-9-65.

That changed when Hendley walked Lou Johnson on a three-and-two pitch that could have gone either way. Ron Fairly dropped a sacrifice bunt that Hendley bobbled, leaving his only play at first base. On the first pitch to Jim Lefebvre, Johnson stole third base. The Cubs' catcher Krug threw the ball over Santo's head and into left field, which allowed Johnson to score. The Dodgers had scored a run without an official at-bat or RBI.


Lou Johnson was missing a part of his right ear. I've seen two clippings on the net. One says he lost the part of his ear in a knife fight as a kid. The other says a bit more vaguely that he lost a part of his ear in a town in Oklahoma that doesn't know about trains yet (Milw. Sentinel 8-27-65)


This mlb.com article is really interesting and confirms Az Phil's hand clapping recollection:

"When I got here, people thought I was crazy for clapping my hands when something good happened," said Johnson, now 77 and in his 31st year as a community relations liaison for the Dodgers. "I clapped my hands, because for so many years nobody clapped for me, so I clapped for myself.



One more Lou Johnson item. If you look at all his baseball cards he's posing with his left ear showing.

Except on his 1960 Cubs card. Odd how my brain stored that piece of information for all these years. Brains are funny things.


CUBSTER: It's amazing that you remember Lou Johnson's ear from that baseball card! 

Speaking of baseball cards, I had complete sets of Topps cards 1961-67,  but my mother threw them out while I was away at college. Probably would have helped pay for school, too... 

The Kansas City Monarchs disbanded after the 1955 season, and it was at that time that Buck O'Neill was signed by the Cubs as a scout (he became a member of the College of Coaches in 1962), and the contracts of OF George Altman, OF Lou Johnson, and INF J. C,. Hartman were purchased by the Cubs. The Cubs had previously purchased the contracts of 2B Gene Baker (1949), SS Ernie Banks (1953), and P Bill Dickey (1953) from the Monarchs, and Buck O'Neill and the six players were the only individuals signed or acquired by the Cubs directly from the Negro Leagues.  

I rummaged through one of my closets, and I found the 1955 KC Monarchs roster:

Buck O'Neill

Melvin Duncan
John Gautier
Jim Gilmore
Bill Hill
Marvin Jones
Enrique Maroto
Bob Mitchell
Satchel Paige
Dick Phillips
B. G. Stephens
Don Vaughn

Juan Armenteros
Milton Tiddle

Hank Bayliss
Alfred Cartmill
Willie Forge
J. C. Hartman
Dave Whitney

George Altman
Arthur Bennett
Victor Incera
Lou Johnson
Hank Jones
Joe Patterson
Larry Williams

Satchel Paige returned to the Monarchs for their final season in 1955 after spending seven seasons in "organized" ball, including MLB time with the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Browns.

BTW, for anyone looking to acquire an Ernie Banks Kansas City Monarchs jersey (reproduction), Banks wore #28 (not #14) with the Monarchs.


Speaking of Buck O'Neill and the College of Coaches.

When Leo Durocher was hired by Phil Wrigley after the 1965 season, Leo was asked by a writer at his first press conference if he was going to be the "Head Coach."

Leo dismissed that with a laugh and said, "Hell, no! I AM THE MANAGER!"

So a lot of people thought that was end of the College of Coaches, but it wasn't.

The Cubs continued to use the College of Coaches (with rotating head coaches as managers and roving instructors moving from club to club) at the minor league level even after Leo became manager.

And Buck O'Neill continued to work as a Cubs minor league hitting and first-base (defense) instructor and part-time scout (he scouted and signed Oscar Gamble) into the 1970's.

So while the College of Coaches was a failure (a laughing stock) at the big league level, it actually worked pretty well in the minor leagues, and was a pre-cursor to what you see today in the minor leagues, with roving instructors (now called "coordinators"), post-season Instructional Leagues, and an emphasis on instruction and player development over winning. That was Phil Wrigley's idea. 


Thanks Az Phil! I love this Buck O'Neill related thread.

Speaking of the Lou Johnson trade, I was thinking back about Willie Smith (the player the Cubs got back from the Indians for Lou Johnson), and he was an unusual character. Not only was he a 1B-OF and ace LH PH, he also was a part-time LHRP (he was the rare pitcher-converted-to-position player while a member of the Angels organization), and he was a professional blues singer in the off-season.  

My family and I went out to Southern California to visit my grandmother in the Summer of 1969 (we were there when the Tate-Lobianco murders happened, but I had nothing to do with it), and we saw the Cubs play the Dodgers in L. A. and the Padres in San Diego, and while in San Diego we stayed at the Cubs team hotel. And after one of the games we waited in the lobby (with about a hundred other Cub fans) for the players to return to the hotel, and when they arrived, Willie Smith was dressed like Shaft (and that was before Shaft). I mean he was really cool.


This is very well done.

Bryant solo HR in 2nd, Baez solo HR in 4th (at Round Rock, TX)

Valaika playing SS

ARussell 2-3 with a HR
Soler 1-1 with a 2 run HR
Corey Black pitching 5 IP with one run

Schwarber 2-2 (singles), Vogelbach HR and 3 rbi (a SF too)

Underwood 6 shutout IP (3H) at KC and Fujikawa with a scoreless inning (1 BB)

Holy homerun barrage batman!!!

(Schwarber at a cool .400)

Don't forget Soler's 2 BBs! If he keeps hitting .400 at AA with an OPS over 1.000, how long until they move him up?

Fun stuff -- so many young guys to keep track of!

Don't forget the Cubs also picked up Billy McKinney from Oakland, a center fielder who is no slouch as a prospect, either. He's at Daytona right now, another one to keep an eye on. He's not the slugger the others are, but he's supposed to be a decent hitter.

Christian Viallanueva feels forgotten. :(


Srsly, tho. Comes from the Rangers, where he's blocked by Beltre and Olt. Now he's at the Cubs, where there are so many prospects he's been pushed clear out of the top 10. Seems to me like the type of player who could be fringey starting 3B on a cash-strapped team (in a year or two, with progress at the plate), but that's not gonna be the Cubs.

on the cubs the only thing blocking olt is the gatorade barrel for bench space. he's surpassed the sunflower seeds on the depth chart at least.

"fringey starting 3B on a cash-strapped team"...it seems he's in the right place.

srsly, tho (continued)...agreed that cvial probably is destined to be trade bait or utility 3rd/1st/OF if he sticks with the cubs as expectations currently tip.

Christioan Villanueva: 1 for 4 with a HR for AA Tenn.


epic duel at Round Rock


Baez 2-4, double, HR vs Bryant 2-4, double, HR.

Baez has 2 rbi vs Bryant one.

and Dallas Beeler had 7 shutout innings (3 hits) in the role of Sharon Stone?

Was at Round Rock last night. Baez was a couple of feet shy of a second homer. The double hit off the top of wall down left field line. The Baez homer was a no doubter line drive to dead center, absolutely crushed it, seemed like it was still going up as it hit the roof of the batters eye.

Bryant's homer was towering to right center, double was opposite way down the right field line, believe he finished the night with a sharp single up the middle.

Pretty uneventful night at 2nd for Baez, made the basic plays on the balls hit at him.

Beeler looked sharp but due to all the injuries to the Texas Rangers, the Round Rock Express roster is pretty depleted.

Saw the Cougs in Lansing tonight. Fuji looked great, was able to get it into 90s on velocity. Underwood sat around 94 on the fastball all night. Concepcion was basically unhittable for 3 innings. I saw some great Cubs pitching tonight, although it was on the cool side in Michigan.

Damn! I'm in Ypsilanti ... I shoulda popped over for that game!!!!

(and yes the polar vortex summer version is in effect here in Michigan).

With the Cubs having already renewed their expiring Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Tennessee Smokies through the 2018 season, and with their PDC with Iowa extending through 2016, there are three Cubs PDCs set to expire after the 2014 season: 

Kane County 

(The Cubs own their AZL Cubs, DSL Cubs, and VSL Cubs affilates). 

By all accounts I've heard first-hand, the Cubs are very happy in Kane County, and they are happy in Boise, too, although they have been pushing for a facility upgrade there.

But the Daytona affiliate is another matter. 

Because of the high number or postponed games (rainouts) in the Florida State League (FSL), the Cubs had been making plans to move therir Hi-A affiliate from the FSL to the California League back when Oneri Fleita was the Cubs Player Development Director, but probably because of the change in ownership and the hiring of Theo Epstein & his people, the PDC with Daytona was renewed for another two years in 2012. However, this time I would expect the Cubs to make their move.

Back when Theo was GM of the Boston Red Sox, the BoSox moved their Hi-A affiliate (Sarasota) from the FSL to the Carolina League (Wilmington) and then to the California League (Lancaster), before eventually purchasing an affiliate (Salem, VA) in the Carolina League. While some minor league affiliates are owned outright by MLB clubs (the Braves all of their minor league affilates except one), it is fairly rare. But since Theo was involved in the Red Sox purchase of the Salem club, I think it's plausible that the Cubs will attempt to do the same (if possible).

At present it would appear that there are no plans to expand either the California League or the Carolina League beyond each league's present number of affiliates, so the Cubs would probably be restricted to taking over a Carolina League or California League affilate presently connected with another MLB organization where the PDC is set to expire after this season. The Cubs pushed the Kansas City Royals aside two years ago when the Cubs moved their affiliate in the Midwest League from Peoria to Kane County, so maybe the Cubs will do the same thing in the Carolina League and sign a PDC with the Wilmington club (presently affiliated with KC, but previously affiliated with the Red Siox when Theo was the Sox GM) if they are unble to purchase a Carolina League club outright. 

Another possibility would be for the Cubs to move their Hi-A affiliate temporarily to Lancaster, CA (the same place the Red Sox moved their Hi-A affiliate when they left Wilmington, before eventually purchasing the Salem club), and then try and work out a deal to purchase a Carolina League club in 2016 if they can't get it done this year. (The Houston Astros presently have their Hi-A affiliate in Lancaster, but they are the only Florida Spring Training team with a Hi-A affiliate in the California League, so it would make sense for Houston to move their Hi-A affiliate from the California League to the FSL). 

One other issue the Cubs have with their minor league affiliates is that they probablty could benefit from another short-season team in the U. S. 

Fully 1/3 of the 30 MLB clubs (AZ, HOU, KC, NYM, NYY, PIT, STL, SEA, TB, and TOR) have three short-season affiliates in the U. S., but the Cubs do not. (The Cubs are one of 12 MLB clubs with two affiliates in Latin America). The Cubs presently have about a half-dozen pitchers signed after being selected in last month's Rule 4 Draft who can't be activated because there is no room on the AZL Cubs or Boise rosters (35 player roster limit at AZL Cubs and 30 player roster limit at Boise). With 70+ players on the rosters of their two affiliates in Latin America (DSL Cubs and VSL Cubs), the Cubs have twice the number of players on their two Latin American teams as was the case when they had just the one Latin American affiliate (DSL Cubs) pre-2008, so that some of the players have to be left in the DSL or VSL for an additional year only because there is no room for them on the AZL Cubs roster.

Prior to leaving the Cubs, Player Development Director Oneri Fleita had supposedly proposed that the Cubs add a second team in the AZL (AZL Cubs #2), but the plan was rejected. The Yankees are the only MLB organization with two teams in the same league outside the two Latin American leagues (GCL Yankees #1 and GCL Yankees #2 in the Gulf Coast League - Florida's version of the AZL), so while having two teams from the same organization in the AZL would be a first for the AZL, it really would be no different than the Yanks fielding two teams in the GCL. Like the Cubs, the Yankees have two Latin American teams (DSL Yankees #1 and DSL Yankees #2), and the two Yankee DSL teams (70 players) feed players to their two GCL teams (also 70 players). The Yankees also have a short-season team in the more-advanced New York-Penn short-season league. 

Another option would be for the Cubs to place a short season affiliate in either the Pioneer League (with teams in Montana-Idaho-Colorado-Utah), the Appalachian League (with teams in Virginia-West Virginia-North Carolina-Tennessee), or the New York-Penn League (with teams in New York-Pennsylvania-Ohio-Connecticut-Massachusetts-Vermont), thereby providing a third U. S.-based short season affiliate in addition to Boise and the AZL Cubs. (Bothy the Pioneer League and the Appalachian League are considered "Rookie" leagues like the AZL and GCL, while the NYP league is equivalent to Boise).


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  • Reports this morning that Marlins' pitching ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident - just horrible news.

    Eric S 2 hours 29 min ago view
  • Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs


    Arizona Phil 14 hours 43 min ago view
  • soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*

    crunch 20 hours 1 min ago view
  • Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.

    Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh

    Eric S 20 hours 2 min ago view
  • And...now that runner scores on a single...

    The E-Man 20 hours 14 min ago view
  • So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?

    jacos 20 hours 15 min ago view
  • And right on cue he throws to third with no chance to get runner on 2nd so the batter takes 2nd easily. How long has he been playing baseball??

    The E-Man 20 hours 15 min ago view
  • Man you cannot put Soler out there late in games for Playoffs. Yuch...

    The E-Man 20 hours 23 min ago view
  • Such is the life of a fatted calf...

    JoePepitone 20 hours 36 min ago view
  • fowler with a triple in the 4th...he's a HR away from a "natural" cycle

    crunch 21 hours 9 min ago view
  • ...and contreras takes one off the hand and he's in obvious pain. sigh.

    he's staying in the game, though he's wringing his hand out during breaks in the action. aside from that he seems to have no issue giving signs or tossing back to the pitcher.

    ...and he's batting in the cubs half of the following inning. sweet.

    crunch 21 hours 13 min ago view
  • his collapse started on august 21st this season...so it's a slight improvement.

    but wow, what a collapse since then...only 2 out of 7 can be considered good/decent.

    crunch 21 hours 25 min ago view
  • I'm really going to enjoy watching Hammel watch the playoffs.

    Jackstraw 21 hours 44 min ago view
  • The always combustible Jason Hammel

    jacos 22 hours 4 min ago view
  • Hammel :(

    Charlie 22 hours 5 min ago view
  • That was fun.

    Charlie 1 day 1 hour ago view