Minor League Free Agents

Preparing for the 2012 Apocalypse

According to the Mayan calendar, the Cubs will win the World Series in 2012, causing an apocalypse about six weeks later.

So since it's getting late, here's a look ahead at what the Cubs roster might look like in about six months, and what the player payroll obligations will be going into the historic 2012 season.

This does not address potential free-agents the Cubs might pursue or players the Cubs might target in a trade, although it should give you some idea of how much the Cubs might have available to spend for free-agents.

Not Necessarily a Minor Matter

There is a tendency for fans to write-off older players in the minor leagues. But throughout the history of baseball there have been many players labeled “4-A guy” or "career AAA player” who became successful front-line players after being given a chance. And that's still true today, as many minor league players buried in the bush leagues long for the serendipity of being in the right place at the right time.

Cubs Make First Trade of Off-Season

Trader Jim put a buzz through the GM meetings by pulling off the first trade of the week....RHP minor league pitcher Matt Avery has been sent to the Washington Nationals for LHP minor leauge pitcher Ryan Buchter. Avery was drafted in the 9th round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Virginia and played three years with their 3rd basemen, Ryan Zimmerman. Avery started off well in the organization with solid partial seasons in the Rookie League, Peoria and Daytona but has flatlined in AA in both 2007 and 2008 with ERA's above 4 and peripheral numbers that suggest he won't ever amount to a major leaguer.

Buchter was drafted in the 33rd round out of high school in 2005 by the Nationals and is just 21 years old. He's only pitched 70 innings of pro ball since then and the ERA isn't much, but he has maintained a K/9 rate above 9 which is always a good sign. The wonderful wide world of the web hasn't turned up a scouting report for me though.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, AJackson, Castro, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.