Baseball America released their top 10 prospects from the Chicago Cubs farm system which sort of culminates the prospect ranking season. Most lists exclude players who played enough to qualify for Rookie of the Year honors, thus the Cubs system becomes a bit difficult to analyze since players like Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol and Juan Mateo would all probably get top 10 mentions (or close to it) but are disregarded although they'll most certainly start their seasons in the minors. Each list has their way own of weighing the players and if known, I'll give it a brief mention. To the lists:
Criteria: Stress tools and ceiling over stats, speak to a lot of scouts, can be guilty of relying on reputation over substance on occassion.
1. Felix Pie
2. Donald Veal
3. Tyler Colvin
4. Jeff Samardzija
5. Sean Gallagher
6. Eric Patterson
7. Scott Moore
8. Ryan Harvey
9. Chris Huseby
10. Mark Pawelek
11. Juan Mateo
12. Brian Dopirak
13. Jae-kuk Ryu
14. Mark Reed
15. Drew Rundle
16. Rocky Cherry
17. Geovany Soto
18. Billy Petrick
19. Dylan Johnston
20. Josh Lansford
21. Sammy Baez
22. Chris Robinson
23. Mark Holliman
24. Jake Fox
25. Larry Suarez
26. Rocky Roquet
27. Sam Fuld
28. Scott Taylor
29. Mitch Atkins
30. Mike Fontentot What They Say: Not much, I guess you have to pay to join the chat to get analysis. What I Say: Mark Reed, Geovany Soto and Mike Fontentot make appearances which are all very odd. I want Fontenot to succeed as much as the next guy but his own team won't even put him on their 40-man roster, he wasn't selected in the Rule V draft by any other team and he didn't even get a spring training invite. They also seem rather low on Pawelek. Baseball Prospectus Top 10
Criteria: Once upon a time it was all stat-based (or at least it seemed so), but since hiring Kevin Goldstein to be their minor league guy, I think he actually bothers to watch some of these guys and certainly talks to a scout or two.
None Very Good Prospects
1. Donald Veal
2. Felix Pie
3. Sean Gallagher
4. Eric Patterson
5. Tyler Colvin
6. Mark Pawelek
7. Jeff Samardzija
8. Chris Huseby
9. Scott Moore
10. Ryan Harvey
What They Say: The Cubs system ain't what it used to be, and it's not because they graduated a lot of players to the big leagues. Unfortunately, what was seen as one of the most pitching-rich systems in baseball has yielded few results, and homemade hitters have been hard to come by.
What I Say: The same top 10 as Baseball America (big shock, Goldstein use to work there) although in a slightly different order. Goldstein's claim on Eric Patterson is that he's a "Fundamentally sound defender with dependable hands and arm". Arizona Phil respectufully disagrees Mr. Goldstein, I think a duel to the death is in order.
Criteria: Who knows?
1. Felix Pie
2. Donald Veal
3. Sean Gallagher
4. Tyler Colvin
5. Eric Patterson
6. Jeff Samardzija
7. Mark Pawelek
8. Ryan Harvey
9. Andrew Rundle (aka Drew Rundle)
10. Scott Moore
What They Say: Absolutely Nothing. It's just a list with no explanations.
What I Say: Really, Drew Rundle at 9th? A line of 230/376/373 in the Arizona Rookie League shouldn't get you a top 10 spot, no matter what tools you may possess.
Criteria: It's a cool looking site and the author(s) seem to have a very statistical approach using something called the OPES system. On the other hand, the one guy claims to be a former scout and pals with John Sickels. They also seem to ignore the rookie disqualifications that most lists use.
1. Rich Hill (A-)
2. Jacob Fox (B+)
3. Scott Moore (B)
4. Donald Veal (B-)
5. Felix Pie (B-)
6. Angel Guzman (B-)
7. Jae-kuk Ryu (B-)
8. Eric Patterson (B-)
9. Sean Gallagher (C+)
10. Robinson Chirinos (C+)
What They Say: Nothing, it's also just a list.
What I Say: I'd love to hear their thoughts on Robinson Chirinos.
Criteria: I have yet to pick up a copy of his annual prospect book (which I really should do), but he did spend some time as Bill James's assistant so he definitely has a mind for statistics. That being said he actually makes it a point to watch every single team and player I believe over the course of the season which is an impressive amount of traveling.
1 . Felix Pie (B+)
2. Donald Veal (B+)
3. Eric Patterson (B+)
4. Sean Gallagher (B)
5. Mark Pawelek (B)
6. Jeff Samardzija (B-)
7. Tyler Colvin (B-)
8. Jae-kuk Ryu (B-)
9. Scott Moore (C+)
10. Ryan Theriot (C+)
11. Juan Mateo (C+)
12. Adam Harben (C+)
13. Mitch Atkins (C+)
14. Jake Fox (C+)
15. Chris Huseby (C)
16. Jose Ceda (C)
17. Ryan Harvey (C)
18. Clay Rapada (C)
19. Rocky Cherry (C)
20. Chris Shaver (C)
What They Say: The Cubs In One Sentence: This system has some quality at the top, but it thins out very quickly.
What I Say: No major bones of contention on my part, glad to see he's not as high on Colvin as I am.
Criteria: Very similar to Baseball America in emphasizing tools and ceiling. Very intimate with the Cubs personal though so they get a lot of inside info from their coaches and staff, which should help on matters of makeup and such not.
1. Felix Pie
2. Donald Veal
3. Mark Pawelek
4. Eric Patterson
5. Sean Gallagher/Jeff Samardzija
6. Tyler Colvin
7. Scott Moore
8. Ryan Harvey
9. Jae-kuk Ryu
10. Clay Rapada
11. Brian Dopirak
12. Chris Shaver
13. Jake Fox
14. Randy Wells
15. Mitch Atkins
16. Adam Harben
17. Billy Petrick
18. Carmen Pignatiello
19. Rocky Cherry
20. Chris Walker/Casey Mcgehee
21. Jose Ceda
22. Mark Holliman
23. Grant Johnson
24. Sam Fuld
25. J.R. Mathes
26. Michael Phelps
27. Mark Reed
28. Michael Cooper
29. Steve Clevenger
30. Matt Camp
31. Scott Taylor
32. Jeremy Papelbon
33. Micah Hoffpauir
34. Dylan Johnston
35. Ryan Norwood
36. Josh Lansford
37. Matt Avery
38. Tim Layden
39. Ruzz Canzler
40. Joe Simokaitis
41. Billy Muldowney
42. Bobby Brownlie
43. Chris Huseby
44. Chris Robinson
45. Justin Rayborn
46. Jake Muyco
47. Thomas Atlee
48. Justin Berg
49. Jesse Estrada
50. Paul Schappert
What They Say: ...if the Cubs and manager Lou Piniella want to cast out the many demons that have haunted the North Side over the years and embark on a new tradition for years to come, the successful and long-lasting development of a five-tool talent such as Felix Pie would be a good way to start.
What I Say: As good a list as any, and probably a lot more accurate on what the Cubs feel about their players than any other list.
Rob G's Top 15 List Criteria:
Other than what I can catch on a free feed once in awhile, it's pretty much based on what I read and the numbers, but I read a lot. I'm sure Arizona Phil will be along with his own ideas as well. I'm ignoring the rookie of the year qualifications though, my cutoff being likely destined for the minors this season and haven't played a full season of major league ball yet.
1. Felix Pie He's been young for every league he's played in, already has the defensive chops and most importantly has gotten better with each promotion, i.e he's NOT Corey Patterson. He may never be the superstar we're all hoping for, but I would be shocked if he's not a solid everyday major leaguer for a long time.
2. Angel Guzman The forgotten man in the Cubs system but his stuff is electric. His big problem in the majors was dancing around the plate early in the count and falling behind hitters and then grooving a fastball on a 3-1 or 3-0 count to avoid the walk. A tactic that I'm sure worked in the minors, but we'll get you killed in the majors, although I appreciate the desire not to walk the hitter. Once he figures out how to get ahead of the hitters or rely on his offspeed stuff later in the count, we'll see the Angel we've been promised over the years.
3. Mark Pawelek Mark my words, this kid will be better than Donald Veal. He's being knocked on most lists only because he came into camp out of shape last season and still put up good numbers in a half season of ball in which the organiztion had him working on only 2-3 of his 5 pitch repetoire.
4. Donald Veal Everyone loves this kid, so I might as well too. He sounds like a sharp fella though with good stuff that just needs to find more consistent control.
5. Sean Gallagher A rise in velocity and good command on his breaking stuff got the scouts drooling last year, but he did struggle in his promotion to AA.
6. Sean Marshall I'm still amazed he got anyone out in the majors last year after (once again with feeling) only 10 starts above Hi-A ball. The kid commands three pitches pretty well and knows how to mix them up. A 6-7" frame makes me think he could even add a few muppah's (mph's) on that fastball before it's all said and done.
7. Eric Patterson I guess I should be higher on him, but he seems to strike out a lot for a guy with nothing more than gap power. Gap power to me says lots of flyball outs in the majors that were dropping for doubles and triples in the minors. The second half of AA season wasn't all that impressive and makes me worry that the Patterson's inherited the "inability to adjust" gene.
8. Scott Moore I go back and forth on Moore all the time, I like the power, I like the walks but his glovework is sketchy and the K's will just rise as he goes up through the system. He's also a man without a position because third base is covered for the next five years or so. That being said, he's a good guy to have around the upper levels in case of an injury at a corner spot.
9. Clay Rapada This is what AAA pitching coach Alan Dunn had to say about Rapada and his somewhat funky 3/4 lefty delivery:
"Suddenly, you throw this guy and his delivery in the middle and it’s almost like when you face a knuckleball pitcher. It throws everything out of whack for the hitters."
10. Juan Mateo Anyone with that kind of K:BB ratio (3.34 for his minor league career) gets my attention and if the Cardinals see something in him, there's probably something there.
11. Jae-kuk Ryu The changeup is the great equalizer in baseball and Ryu throws a good one. Ryu wants to start, but he seems like he could excel in the swingman role.
12. Jeff Samardzija Visions of Kyle Farnsworth dancing in my head. Not only because he looks like he'd be able to take down a Reds pitcher if a brawl breaks out, but the girls of Wrigleyville will never be safe again.
13. Tyler Colvin See Eric Patterson about the gap power. I'm also not sure how a line of 275/318/457 for a kid out of college in short season A-ball gets anyone that excited. He did manage a better line against lefties [304/348/658] than righties [263/305/416], which seems rare for a left-handed hitter. Some think he'll grow into a 20, possibly 30 homer threat and end up at one of the corners. At best, he seems like a solid major leaguer, but doubtful he'll ever be a superstar.
14. Rocky Cherry Honestly, I'm just rooting for him because of his name. Him and Samardzija could make a lethal duo at the Wrigleyville bar scene.
15. Carlos Marmol I don't like the kid, there I said it. The word is his "stuff" is great, but he got out of enough high-wire acts last year to make Houdini proud. Personally I'd trade him for the first warm body that could help the team and let some other team go through the growing pains.
I sort of approach these lists as nothing more than a guideline, the difference between #8 and #6 doesn't matter a whole lot, neither does the difference between #8 and #15 probably. In the end, it just gives people something to argue about and cheap programming for VH-1 and the E! network.
Tomorrow we have a Q&A with Inside the Ivy's Steve Holley talking about Scout.com and their take on the farm system. Depending on his schedule tomorrow, he may have some time to answer your questions as well in the comments, but don't hold me to that quite yet.
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
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