Cubs Hail Szczur, Look to Buy a Vowel

The Cubs will be recalling (AKA "Scrabble") from AAA Iowa tomorrow (Sunday), and so the 25-year old outfielder should be making his MLB debut sometime soon after that.


The speedy Szczur was hitting 261/315/312 with 30/78 BB/K (7% BB rate & 17% K rate) and 30 SB (7 CS) in 116 games (457 PA) at Iowa, but he hit 315/374/339 over his last 30 games (134 PA). He came into the 2014 season with a 285/353/397 slash line with 177/296 BB/K (8% BB rate & 14% K rate) and 90 SB (31 CS) in 375 career minor league games (2137 PA), He is a right-handed hitter, and he can play all three outfield positions, although he mostly hits lead-off and plays CF. He was rated both the Cubs #3 prospect and the fastest runner in the organization by Baseball America in 2012. 

Szczur was selected by the Cubs in the 5th round of the 2010 June draft out of Villanova University, where he was a two-sport star (football and baseball). He was considered a "tough sign" because it was thought that he would likely choose pro football over pro baseball, but the Cubs were able to sign him by giving him a $100K bonus and allowing him to continue to play college football. Szczur is the second player drafted and signed by the Cubs from the 2010 draft to reach the big leagues (41st round pick RHP was the first), although Cubs 2010 33rd round pick RHP (who did not sign) made his MLB debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 19th.   

And Szczur was indeed an outstanding college football player at Villanova, helping to lead the Wildcats to the NCAA FCS National Championship Game in 2010. He was considered a definite NFL prospect at the time, and was a "quadruple-threat" college football player, once scoring four touchdowns in a single game... one rushing, one passing, one receiving, and one on a punt return 

To keep Szczur from going to the NFL Combine in February 2011, the Cubs released him from his original contract and immediately re-signed him to new contract with a substantial bonus equivalent to "1st round money" ($1.5M). Because he was released and then re-signed by the same club, Szczur became eligible for the MLB Rule 5 Draft after that season (two years earlier than he otherwise would have been eligible), and so the Cubs had to place him on their MLB 40-man roster in November 2011 to avoid possibly losing him in the December 2011 Rule 5 Draft. 

Because he was added to an MLB 40-man roster so early in his career, Szczur is eligible for ain 2015. 

Szczur is probably best-remembered as the guy who donated bone marrow to a young leukemia patient in the middle of the 2010 college baseball season, thus derailing his season (and potentially negatively impacting his future career in pro sports), but saving the life of the child. 

 

Comments

Hopefully Alcantara will improve with more time in CF. That E-8 is a play he's got to make.

back to rooting for a higher draft choice

Baez - man, make them throw one strike. Gonna be a tough learning curve to watch at times. Bases loaded, Rizzo on deck. They won't throw him a strike. Use your f'n head ONCE.

I'm wondering if they should show him some "tough love" and move him down in the order. Because if he's hitting 6th or 7th, you are right, he might not see any more strikes. This might force him into taking some walks.

Even an über optimist like me when it comes to prospects is a little worried about his approach up there lately. I know AAA isn't the majors but if he does all the time why would they ever have throw him a strike? The hit he got yesterday was grooved, probably a mistake. I happened to have the Mets broadcast on because the Cubs side had frozen up on my MLB app and Ron Darling was disgusted by the pitch, basically saying, why would you throw something like that to Baez? But really I bet it was a mistake pitch. I'm still hoping that he is just blown away by the ability of these pitchers to throw sliders off the plate so consistently without them going to the backstop. I would be tempted - even tho they don't want to mess with him right now - to order him to not take his bat off his shoulders for 4 ABs. It's not like they have to worry about him going all Hee Seop Choi on them.

Well yesterday's atbat was very poor in many ways and hopefully a great learning opportunity. Bases loaded, down 4 late in the game. One of the leading power bats in the game behind you and you haven't taken a walk as a Major Leaguer. Something's got to give. In this case it was Javy. The first three pitches were low and away and he offered at two of them while popping out. We all know that if he takes those first three pitches MANY good things start to happen. He might see a good pitch 3-0, or he walks in a run and Rizzo bats with less than two out as and representing the lead run. It was just horrendous tunnel vision. They HAVE to give him the take sign if he can't do it himself. That said when he learns to take and starts seeing some fat pitches on hitters counts, well that's hitting intelligence. It was a VERY bad at bat. He bats like a softball player who can't layoff but has been so good it didn't matter...

The weird thing is I did see him have one good at bat, yes, just one, where he seemed to work the count - I don't remember what happened. It made me very hopeful. Haven't seen him do it since and it was quite awhile ago.

looks like he's practicing taking walks today. 2 of them.

more Tommy Birch tweets... Kris Bryant is out of the game. Walking back to the clubhouse with the trainer before the start of the 3rd inning. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports...

Wittenmeyer tweet: Still awaiting official word on Bryant injury. Believed he aggravated minor foot injury from earlier in the week.

Tommy Birch: Cubs confirm that Kris Bryant will get an MRI on Sunday. X-rays on his left big toe were inconclusive. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ND6ZtYsURGo/Ti2SRT4...

Mets get 7 runs on 4 hits, none of which was a HR. Cubs, meanwhile, go 2-10 with RISP. Sigh.

NY Times weighs in on Cub Shortstoppery... http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/sports/base...

Looks like NYT is still practicing pyramid style journalism. It's obvious there's a longer story somewhere, maybe in the print edition.

Carrie [email protected] · Szczur is in New York and will wear No 41.#Cubs. . . . Trying to remove the stank of Justin Germano and Jose Veras.

Szczur is in New York and will wear No 41.#Cubs. ---- I'm hoping Scrabble wanted Ernie Banks number but he's a bit dyslexic (hence all the c's and z's)

I just hope he plays everyday for awhile so we can figure out a good nickname for him.

I don't see Szczur starting over Coghlan, Alcantara, and Ruggs/Sweeney.

Coghlan has been really hot lately but let's see how he does over an extended period. Alcantara is still an unknown commodity. Ruggs and Sweeney are journeymen. So, yeah. I can see him starting over any of them depending on circumstances.

from Nick Cafardo's Sunday article:
There are only three players with double figure homers who have more homers than walks this season: Adam Jones (23 HR/15 BB), Mike Zunino (18/13), and Sean Rodriguez (11/9)
Javy Baez must have missed the list due to smallest sample size (4/0) http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/08/16/...

Shockingly, Corey Patterson never achieved this feat.

I haven't seen the I-Cubs lineup today but it will be interesting to see if Olt goes back to 3B. Also Felix Dubront gets another start.

Olt is at 3B. Mota at 1B, Vitters in LF

Scrabble make his MLB debut...as a pinch runner for Sweeney. Sort of a waste given that Baker was bunting and hit a chopper over the pitcher. Sweeney would have been on 2nd anyway. So his role is being defined as a defensive replacement and pinch runner.

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  • Charlie 2 hours 56 min ago (view)

    Yeah, it seems like I lean more toward overvaluing Bryant than most commenters here. Also, I completely stopped following prospect lists once the Cubs were good again, so I'm out of the loop on Pache especially. I had imagined that the Cubs would be looking more for immediate major league value rather than a projectable prospect, but I guess if you really like Pache you don't mind waiting a couple years.

     

  • K Dub 9 hours 41 min ago (view)

    PHIL: Excellent breakdown, Phil. Thanks. 

    I'm sure you heard. QO value was set at $17.8 million the day after you made your post.

     

  • K Dub 9 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Pache, Wright, Muller and Riley feels light to you, Charlie? I respect your opinion, but I would jump at it. I highly doubt the Braves would do it, though. Were talking 2 years of Bryant at what could be 18 million and 28-30 million in his last year of arbitration. 

    The Cubs would be hurting their chances next year and building for 2021 in a deal like that, but that's rebuilding/retooling in one fell swoop. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

    CHARLIE: Austin Riley is actually a third-baseman but he had to play LF for the Braves in 2019 because he was blocked by Josh Donaldson, and Cristian Pache is considered to be the best defensive centerfielder in the minors and his bat has improved enough over the past year or two to where he is now rated in or just outside the top ten overall prospects in MLB.

    So a package that includes Riley and Pache and one of the Braves young MLB or MLB-ready SP would probably be more than enough to get the Cubs to bite.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 16 hours ago (view)

    Max Fried or Bryse Wilson

     

  • crunch 2 days 17 hours ago (view)

    https://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/27828247/...

    t.skaggs story keeps getting deeper.

    allegations the team knew about skagg's drug abuse (also his family).  teams are required to report this to MLB.

     

  • Charlie 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    Except for the headline, the linked post reads more like a trade hypothetical than a trade rumor. I like the idea of looking at this package as a discussion point for expected return for Bryant. I would say it feels a little light to me. It's deep, with two decent outfield prospects with upside and two OK pitching prospects. But Riley doesn't help the team solve the CF problem right now, so he's either redundant to Bote or sort of a Schwarber replacement. Muller's inflated BB% at AA this year worries me a bit too.

     

  • Cubster 3 days 2 hours ago (view)

    I might have missed something and it's been talked about regarding a KB trade rumor from about 10-9-19. 

    https://apple.news/AJUMyEWodQ2GX1cj1gE4ENQ 

    Braves receive: 3B Kris Bryant 

     

  • crunch 4 days 16 hours ago (view)

    they get 3 guys and the cubs get 1 guy.  sounds like a slam dunk for the angels.  pencil trout in the cubs lineup.  he's got upside.

     

  • Jackstraw 4 days 18 hours ago (view)

    I'd hate to part with both Kemp and Chatwood, but if it will bring that Trout guy back, we could even throw in Almora.

     

  • crunch 4 days 21 hours ago (view)

    the ricketts got a brazillian dollar tax break...they need to trickle that down and flex on the entire league.

    we gonna get grandal, rendon, castellanos, g.cole, strasburg, ryu, a.chapman...maybe sign bumgarner and odorizzi to work the pen.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 21 hours ago (view)

    CHARLIE: If the Cubs trade Quintana and his new club pays 100% of his 2020 salary his new club assumes 100% of his salary AAV liability, but if the Cubs agree to pay a portion of Quintana's 2020 salary as part of the trade, whatever portion of Quintana's 2020 salary that is paid by the Cubs would count against the Cubs 2020 AAV. 

     

  • Charlie 4 days 22 hours ago (view)

    PHIL: Thanks for that Boston context--I hadn't realized the trend there. If the Cubs did decide to pick up Quintana's option and then trade him (assuming the Cubs would not agree to pay part of the contract as part of the trade), do they have to do that by a certain date in order for Quintana's contract not to count against them for the CBT? I haven't been able to find any dates attached to the CBT in a quick internet search.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 23 hours ago (view)

    My presumption in the Cubs declining Jose Quintana's 2020 club option as well as declining the club options on the veteran relievers who have one and non-tendering Addison Russell (and this also applies to Joe Maddon not returning as manager in 2020) is that after the monumental late-September collapse of 2019 on the heels of the 2018 Game #163 and Wild Card game defeats Ricketts will no longer accept the Cubs payroll going over the CBT threshold ($208M AAV in 2020) or extending a manager making $5M a year.   

     

  • crunch 5 days 4 hours ago (view)

    i actually like ATL the team...the fans and the 3+ hours of tommy hawk chawpin' non-stop is beyond annoying before even getting into how messed up it is they're still doing that in 2019.  it's all they do, just that 1 single thing...for hours...

    fans were so upset about not getting foam hatchets pre-game yesterday (that was the club's way to "dial it back") they were busy letting the "PC police" know they're here to chant and chop as loud as they could before the first pitch was even thrown.

    it took about 10 runs to shut them up.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 5 days 18 hours ago (view)

    Damn. Atlanta was the only team in the NL I was hoping would advance. I don’t know what I was hoping in LA vs WAS series. Cataclysmic event? (Side note, I live in the DC area, what a dreadful group of fans. They deserve nothing good ever.)