Kris Bryant Wins All the Awards

First, Bryant takes home the minor league HR crown over his buddy Joey Gallo...for that he got a trophy and $200 per home run. Then USA Today named him the minor league player of the year, thanks in part to that HR crown and an eye-poppin 325/438/661 slash line with 78 total extra-base hits in less than 600 PA's between AA and AAA. And then Baseball America placed him on their 2014 Minor League All-Star team. It's been a helluva nice run for fans with Alcantara, Hendricks, Baez and Soler coming up, but the two best are very likely still awaiting their phone call and bus ticket.

So while 2015 looks like a year of hope instead of despair, the end of 2014 has been a pleasant surprise. The Cubs have played .500 ball over their last 100 games and there's little reason to believe they won't be able to at least match that next season and hopefully surpass it. I have to believe they're firmly entrenched in the spoiler role for the remaining games and as the "team no one wants to play." It would be even more fun if Anthony Rizzo wasn't out for a good time (possibly the rest of the season) or however long Castro will be out, but seeing what the kids can do without the pressure of September is going to make this last month of games fun to follow.

- In minor league news, Daytona trashed Dunedin last night 11-1, Vogelbach and Schwarber hit home runs and the team combined for 7 extra-base hits. Rob Zastryzny went 6 innings, giving up just a run on 4 K's, 1 BB and 5 hits. Boise lost their opener to Hillsboro though, 5-2, thanks in large part to 4 errors. Jake Stinnett started and went 5 innings with 8 K's, 0 BB's, 2 H and just one unearned run. Alex Tomasovich had the lone extra-base hit, a home run, but also contributed one of the errors that lead to one of Hillsboro's runs. All 3 playoff teams go tonight, Daytona goes with Tayler Scott, Kane County throws out Jen-Ho Tseng and Boise begins with Jeremy Null.


Daytona lineup

8 Hannemann 4 Amaya DH Schwarber 3 Vogelbach 7 Rademacher 9 McKinney 2 Contreras 5 Darvill 6 Hernandez P Scott

.."the two best..." . Bryant and Russell?

Clearly, although Schwarber is a hot start of 2015 away from working himself into that conversation.

I would think so. Even if Schwarber can make it as a catcher, he'll very likely be well below average defensively there. Bryant and Russell will be top 10 prospects in the game, maybe top 5(Bryant might be #1). Schwarber is probably gonna be in the 30s or 40s.

High ankle sprain for Castro, out for season most likely

I wonder how this impacts Baez. I would kind of like him to get more time at second.

Edit: Looks like Hoyer says that Baez will play SS the rest of the way. I guess they know best.

maybe a familiar defensive position will help his bat...

'If Castro’s the shortstop next April and Baez is the potential/projected second baseman, why not keep Baez working at second the last month and play Arismendy Alcantara, another natural shortstop, there?

“It’s a fair question, but we’ll put Javy at short,” Hoyer said, explaining that it’s about assuring depth going forward.'

Alcantara needs work in the outfield way more than Baez needs work at 2B. That should be clear to everyone by now.

Has anyone else's BS alarm gone off?

I believe Baez is being showcased for a trade this off season.
When they got Russell (more of a Theo guy) they brought up Baez (Hendry guy). He hits some exciting homeruns, stupid teams line up to get him. And the Cubs would have been one of them five years ago.

It was like when they brought up Brett Jackson, show the fans hey here it the shit we are dealing with from previous regime so shut up while we rebuild.

It wouldn't surprise me to see them trade a shortstop this offseason, but it seems that Castro is the one most likely to return value. Baez and Russell have great potential, but too many unknowns. That said, I believe they keep them all and will wait to see how the first half plays out.

I think Theo/Jed are either strictly business or cold-blooded, depending on how you want to put it. I don't think they care if a guy is theirs or Hendry's. I think they have a value decided for everybody and if they can get more value coming back than going out they make the deal. If some other GM has a hard-on for Baez and wants to overpay, he'll be gone. If other GMs balk and try to sell Theo on Baez's struggles so far to try and get him for less than he's worth, he'll stay.

^^^this x1000

I wouldn't be surprised a bit to see Castro traded this off season.

I believe Baez is being showcased for a trade this off season.
When they got Russell (more of a Theo guy) they brought up Baez (Hendry guy). He hits some exciting homeruns, stupid teams line up to get him. And the Cubs would have been one of them five years ago.

It was like when they brought up Brett Jackson, show the fans hey here it the shit we are dealing with from previous regime so shut up while we rebuild.

so the plan was to showcase Baez's faults to make it more palatable to Cubs fans when they trade him?

You and your logic.

Yes it's far fetched, but it makes perfect sense to sound minds like myself.

We're back in the protected draft pick hunt?

6-man rotation the rest of the way

After Jake Arrieta's start Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs will go with Kyle Hendricks followed by Tsuyoshi Wada, Felix Doubront, Travis Wood and Jacob Turner. Then, they'll repeat that cycle until further notice.

Then, they'll repeat that cycle until further notice.
Stuck on spin cycle. Or is this rinse?

Kyle Hendricks win NL Rookie of the Month, ex-Cub Josh Harrison is player of the month.

KC lineup...does Olt have to bring his birth certificate with him?

Lineup: Dunston LF, Zagunis DH, Olt 3B, Balaguert RF, Rogers 1B, Brockmeyer C, Lockhart 2B, Penalver SS, Martin CF, Tseng RHP.

Olt is the only one who can grow a playoff beard.

He'd fit right in on the Hawks. None of them hit either.

Death by a thousand paper cuts...

Daytona scores 8 runs on 10 hits...8 singles

1st: 1B, 1B, K by Schwarber, sac fly by Vogelbach, 3-run HR by Radenmacher, K

2nd: 2B, K, 5 singles in a row, K, 1B, K

Dunedin has cut it to 8-4 through 5 IP, rain on its way allegedly

KC up 2-0 through 2 and a half innings, 6 singles so far including one by Old Man Olt.

Olt is not allowed to hit singles.

They should impose some sort of backyard wiffle-ball style handicap on Olt. Like he has to call his shot every AB or something.

I've never really paid attention before, but there is just all kinds of swagger in Valaika's stance and load up tonight. Check the HR replay.

Garza will react well to all this.

This inning is ecstasy.

68 is badass.

Showing all of Garza's reactions to this on tv.

The Brewers fielding and decision making looks very familiar.

Well for this game, Garza has a legitimate claim that the Cubs cost him a victory.

/Eat it

I wouldn't mind seeing the Cubs offer Garza a contract when his current contract expires- They could use a decent batting practice pitcher.

But they really need a lefthanded one.


But is Garza's right hand really his dominant hand? I mean, really? Look at him out there.

his beard is too distracting or is it a merkin?

Olt 3 run HR, Candelario in... Not sure why. Rentaria seen calling the KC dugout?

Hahaha. Genius.

It's an interesting situation. They sent him there to get his hitting eye back before returning to the majors, not to be a difference maker in a low-A playoff series. Get him out of there before it turns into beanball.

Exactly, I know his presence definitely pissed some fans off. I'm hoping that's all it is of course. Not any soreness etc. no reason to believe otherwise I suppose.

Probably just being careful with him because sitting on a major league bench is tough on the hammies.

[Johnny Carson voice] "I did not know that."

Holy shit did they just turn a sweet 3-6-1 dp.

Might have to get parrot chat back up next april.

I second that.

The fact that individual game scenarios are again being discussed in TCR comment threads is the strongest sign that die-hard fan's interest hit its low point and is on its way back.

k.hendricks gets amazing movement on his changeup...especially for a guy with such good control of it.

You mean Phoenix Sun coach Jeff Hornacek

2006 USA Today Minor League Player of the year- Matt Garza.

1988 USA Today Minor League Player of the year- Mike Harkey

2015 USA Today Minor League Player of the Year - Addison Russell.

missing two ex-cubs from that list

It might be Kris Bryant again.

... And somewhere Kris Bryant's head explodes...

Yeah this is what bugs me about the 'service time' era. I feel like players don't have as good of a chance of acquiring hall of fame / lifetime numbers in that it's not a level playing field with the past. A modern player may lose anywhere from a half season to two seasons of MLB time just so the club can retain affordability.

And BTW I don't blame owners agents or players entirely but it's definitely an issue. I think I may have mentioned this before and been shot down but you know for a pitcher to get 300 wins or batter 3000 hits etc., every game matters.

Well, the game changes all the time. In the distant past players could be blocked by a star but kept in the minors by their club and never have a chance to move in a Rule 5 or become a free agent, and thus not acquire good lifetime numbers either.

I truly believe that the Cubs' handling of Kris Bryant will directly lead to rules changes in the next CBA.


One way to do it would be to have a club retain control over a player for nine seasons (for players who are 21 or older on the June 5th prior to signing their first contract), ten seasons (for players who are 17, 18, 19, or 20 on the June 5th prior to signing their first contract), or eleven seasons for players who are 15 or 16 on the June 5th prior to signing their first contract and who are "Signed for Future Service" (first contract is for the next season after signing).  

The number of seasons would include the season when the player signs his first contract, even if the player does not play that season, and it would not matter when the player is called up to MLB. 

If a player is not on an MLB 40-man roster after his 7th pro season (or 8th season for players who were originally Signed for Future Service), he would be a minor league 6YFA (just as is the case now).

A couple of examples: 

1. Kris Bryant signs after being selected as a 21-year old college junior in the 2013 Rule 4 Draft, so he will be a free-agent post-2021, regardless of when he is called up to MLB. If he is called up in September 2014 and never goes back to the minors, the Cubs would retain club control for seven full MLB seasons 2015-21 (plus a month in 2014), and he would be eligible for salary arbitration for the first time post-2017 (just as he would now). Once he has completed six full seasons (after the 2020 season), the Cubs would have to extend him a "Qualifying Offer" (a one-year guaranteed contract with a salary equivalent to the average salary of the 125 highest-paid MLB players the previous season) to keep him under club control in 2021. Unlike a Qualifying Offer extended to an Article XX-B FA, a player like Bryant would have to accept the Qualifying Offer in 2021 if it is extended (so the 2021 season would essentially be a "club option," albeit for a very high salary TBD). Then he would be an Article XX-B FA post 2021 (at age 29), and only at that time would he have the right to decline a Qualifying Offer and be a Article XX-B  FA, with the right to sign with any club.

2. Dan Vogelbach signs as an 18-year old after being selected out of HS in the 2011 Rule 4 Draft, so he will be a free-agent post-2020. He is added to the Cubs 40-man roster post-2015 (when he will be first-time eligible for the Rule 5 Draft), and then he is optioned to Iowa in 2016, 2017, and 2018 because he is blocked by Anthony Rizzo. So then he will be out of Minor League Options in Spring Training 2019. If he turns out to be any good, he'd be traded by that time, but whether he remains in MLB in 2019-20 with the Cubs (or another MLB club) or is outrighted to the minors out of Spring Training 2019, he would be an Article XX-B free-agent no later than post-2020 at the age of 28 (unless he were to sign a contract extension prior to that time), and he would be a minor league 6YFA post-2019 if he is outrighted to the minors in 2019.   

3. Gleyber Torres signs as a 16-year old International Free-Agent at the beginning of the International Signing Period in July 2013. He is "Signed for Future Service" (first season on the field will be 2014). He is added to the Cubs 40-man roster post-2017 (when he is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first-time), and he is optioned to the minors in 2018 (because he is blocked by Castro, Baez, or Russell). But then he gets called up to MLB to stay when he is traded in a deadline deal in July 2018. So then he is the every day SS for his new team for the rest of 2018, and all of 2019, 2020, 2021 (eligible for salary arbitration post-2021), 2022 (eligible for salary arbitration again), and 2023. And then he is a FA post-2023 at the age of 27 (presuming he hasn't signed a contract extension prior to that time). 
In addition, if a club extends a Qualifying Offer to a player eligible to be an Article XX-B free-agent and the player declines and ultimately signs with another club, the player's former club receives a Rule 4 Draft compensation pick betwen the 1st & 2nd round (just as it does now), but the club that signs the player does not lose a draft pick.  


there's certainly some interesting ideas tying it up to age, but I doubt owners/teams would be too thrilled about a system that lets most players become free agents at age 27 or 28, or have to pay some $15M or way more just to keep them in their prime years. There's gonna have to be some give and take to make it work.

Interesting thoughts though for sure...

Also, doubtful the idea of the qualifying offer will survive the next round of CBA negotiations. No one seems to like it...

I would try to create a system of arbitration where both the club and the player risk a year of control- the club risks losing a year of control if they keep the player down too long and the player risks losing a year of control if they frivolously file for "promotion arbitration". I'm sure, like, nobody in baseball would probably like this idea, but that's what I would do.

FWIW, Giancarlo Stanton is eligible to be an Article XX-B FA post-2016 at age 27. Also, if Starlin Castro hadn't signed his contract extention he would have been eligible to be an Article XX-B FA post-2016 at age 26, and if Anthony Rizzo hadn't signed his contract extention he would have been eligible to be an Article XX-B FA post-2018 at age 29.

I find it interesting that, in this era of all the new stats and focus on OBP and OPS and such, the HOF discussions still focus on # of hits and # of HRs (and # of wins for pitchers). Perhaps they are just trying to keep it simple enough for Joe Morgan to understand.

Thats a great point BB. I suppose it's easier to discuss that.
300 wins is going to have to be adjusted. There are plenty of pitchers in the HOF without 300 wins. that's just the automatic entry total.

the Hall of Fame is still a cumulative career honor, otherwise Ron Santo would have made it a long time ago for his peak years.

300 wins though should be adjusted, doesn't make sense with 5-man rotations, well wins in general don't make sense with specialized bullpens and complete games nearly as common as no-hitters.

Be interesting what the new milestones should be...

Don't think you will see another 300 winner again.

Unless a Maddux like pitcher comes along, no need for power so no need for PED's and pitch for over 20 years.

18. Felix Hernandez (10, 28) 124

out side chance

Maybe WAR would be better stat accumulation?

have to do it over Murray Chass's dead body...

Felix and Kershaw could do it, but odds still quite against them. Maybe David Price...

it's gonna be tough, less innings pitched, less complete games that ensure a decision and so on...and with the emphasis of strikeout pitchers, most likely as you mentioned, guys that don't have 20 year careers, at least not without a few surgeries.

However, they make an exception for the truly exceptional such as Koufax -- only 165 wins, but twice he had a WHIP under 0.9.

Same for Gale Sayers in the NFL HOF -- only over 1,000 yards twice in his career.

Wonder if this would still hold today?

Albert Belle

Yeah, Hall of Fame voters have never been consistent with how they deal with players with shortened careers.

Player A: 1783 games, 2304 hits, 414 2B, 57 3B, 207 HR, 1071 R, 1085 RBI, 134 SB, 318/360/477, 6 Gold Gloves, 10X All-Star, Finished in the Top 5 of MVP voting three times (2nd, 3rd, 3rd), career war = 50.9

Player B: 1785 games, 2153 hits, 442 2B, 20 3B, 222 HR, 1007 R, 1099 RBI, 14 SB, 307/358/471, 8 Gold Gloves, 6X All-Star, Finished in the Top 5 of MVP voting three times (1st, 2nd, 5th), career war = 42.2

Their cumulative and rate stats are almost identical. Player A was clearly a bit better. He had more speed (SB and triples), played a premium position (CF), and also had two World Series rings. He also had a bit more sustained excellence. Player B played 1B, only played in 5 post-season games, and tailed off at the end of his career due to injury. But Player B also played in the largest market and was a key face of baseball for several years.

Player A is Kirby Puckett who sailed into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot with 82.1% of the vote.

Player B is Don Mattingly who started at 28.2% on his first ballot and fell precipitously down to just 8.2% on his 14th ballot this past year.

Now, I am not saying they were equal or that Puckett should be out or that Mattingly should be in. Puckett is about the 20-25th best CF in history and his career ended abruptly due to glaucoma. Mattingly is about the 30-35th best 1B in history and he was on the DL a lot the last few years due to a bad back and then chose to retire (and in later interviews he has suggested it was more about being around for his kids than the back issues). But, I don't understand the night and day between such similar players in voting. I would have expected either Puckett to linger around the 50% mark for several years until voters convinced themselves he deserved to be in, or Mattingly to receive 40% and a real debate about his candidacy. Instead, one gets an automatic ticket and the other had no shot from the beginning. It's odd.

And I still don't understand Thurmon Munson. ROY, MVP, Gold Glove catcher, 7X All-Star, 2 World Series Rings, and his career WAR of 45.9 ranks him 15th all-time at catcher and when he retired he was 9th! And he was killed suddenly at age 32 during his 11th season. Roy Campanella had a 10-year career at catcher with a career 34.2 WAR that was prematurely ended due to an automobile accident. He started his ballot at 57.2% and was elected 5 years later. Munson began at 15% and never got about even 10% again until he fell off the ballot 15 years later.

Obviously Yankees players can never catch a break with the media.

That's one of the odd things. Everyone always talks about the Yankees and the media love, but then why does it disappear in those two cases? Seems like those are prime cases where we would see a bump.

Kirby Puckett and Roy Campanella both had their careers tragically cut short with a lot of press surrounding the reasons why. Campanella also had his entry into baseball delayed because of the color barrier, as he was already an established Negro League player at the time Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Mattingly didn't have that same kind of "career tragically and abruptly cut short" kind of narrative attached to him.

Munson did have that tragic narrative, however. Maybe the voters thought of him as a member of the Hall of the Very Good? I dunno. I was a teenaged NL (Cubs) fan at the time, so I don't have a memory of how dominant he was perceived to be in the AL during the time he played.

can't say I studied much up on Munson, but he seems to have the numbers and the narrative, that's an odd one.

Mattingly vs. Puckett pretty much comes down to position I think and Puckett's far more tragic narrative.

Good stuff though...thanks.

Repeat from previous comments - NFL season starts Thursday night when Green Bay gets embarrassed on national TV.

Since there are plenty of NFL fans here, I thought I would open a pick-em league to anyone who wants to join. Confidence points, no spread, drop lowest weeks' score. No pay to join, just for fun. Invite your mom, too.
Yahoo League ID: 45717
Password: letsplay2


Bullpen work -- damn!

Grimm, Ramirez, Strop & Rondon -- nicely done, Theo.

all of them were 95-98 on the Wrigley radar gun last night

add Vizcaino to that mix at some point

You have six innings or so to beat the Cubs on most days. With Vizcaino next year that will only solidify that situation.

Don't forget about Armando Rivero, either. Cubs have young power pen arms like whoa.

I didn't forget about him! I swear! But I couldn't remember his name. I can't remember half the prospects names these days. There's too many good ones in the system now.

Frankly, I don't even see the point of ranking the cubs young bullpen arms amongst prospects. Jedstein have created the illusion of an endless supply, so I'm always just like, whatever, why not callup the next 98 MPH fastball and divebomb slider?

BP on Vizcaino...

Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Cubs
Scouting Take: He hasn’t thrown a major-league pitch since 2011 and he had two setbacks during his journey back from Tommy John. He flashed triple digits in spring training but he works in the 94-96 velocity band. He projects as a high-leverage reliever at this point and will snap off some good breaking balls in tandem with his plus-plus fastball. Vizcaino fights his mechanics sometimes and loses the zone sometimes. He’ll have to work on that to maximize his potential and be a guy who can pitch in the ninth. —Mauricio Rubio

Fantasy Take: Vizcaino won’t provide too much value this season. Hector Rondon has done a good job as Cubs closer, Neil Ramirez is an able backup should Rondon get injured, Pedro Strop is likely next in line and so forth and so forth. There are a lot of bodies in front of Vizcaino. He’ll get a look for the closer job next year, as he has the type of arm that lends itself well to high-leverage situations. —Mauricio Rubio

Will Neil Ramirez be a starter next year to make room for Vizcaino and Rivero in the bullpen? Is it wrong to be messing with Ramirez success? Is it time to consider moving Travis Wood?

Just a guess but here is that scenario projected out: Free Agent signing (Lester), Arrieta, Hendricks, Turner, Ramirez. Lefty options: Doubront/Wood. With Wada, Strailey, Beeler, Jokish as injury filling possibilities.

Try us tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel...

It was funny seeing Gorzo pitching for the Brew on Tuesday night. Outrageously low WHIP. Its interesting seeing his career arc and remembering his stint on the North Side.

I wouldn't mind seeing TWood get traded for something decent. I have a feeling we have seen the best we have seen right now and he may be destined for the bullpen at sometime in the near future. Or as a pinch hitter. Of course Arbitration is looming for Wood anyway...

Speaking of ex-Cubs, I can't believe Aramis is still getting it done in Milwaukee. Dude's been in the league since 1998, and he's still sporting a really solid OPS+ with some decent glove-work from what I've seen (very, very little). As excited as I am about the Cubs' crop of youngsters, I sometimes miss the salad days of '03 - '04, and can't believe he's still going strong.

Good ole Aram, underrated all time Cub great.

For us Cubs' fans, having watched the parade of bozos at 3B prior to ARam, I think he deserves a plaque or something.

I want a statue that we can all symbolically/gratefully reverse chalupa as we enter Wrigley.


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

    Eric S 19 min 11 sec ago view
  • Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs


    Arizona Phil 12 hours 33 min ago view
  • soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*

    crunch 17 hours 51 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 17 hours 52 min ago view
  • that runner scores on a single...

    The E-Man 18 hours 3 min ago view
  • So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?

    jacos 18 hours 5 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 18 hours 5 min ago view
  • Man you cannot put Soler out there late in games for Playoffs. Yuch...

    The E-Man 18 hours 12 min ago view
  • Such is the life of a fatted calf...

    JoePepitone 18 hours 26 min ago view
  • fowler with a triple in the 4th...he's a HR away from a "natural" cycle

    crunch 18 hours 59 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 19 hours 3 min ago view
  • his collapse started on august 21st this it's a slight improvement.

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

    crunch 19 hours 15 min ago view
  • I'm really going to enjoy watching Hammel watch the playoffs.

    Jackstraw 19 hours 33 min ago view
  • The always combustible Jason Hammel

    jacos 19 hours 54 min ago view
  • Hammel :(

    Charlie 19 hours 55 min ago view
  • That was fun.

    Charlie 22 hours 55 min ago view