Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cubs Prospects Moving Makes 2014 Exciting

We all know and feel this is a turning corner year for the Chicago Cubs.  Not in respect to wins but in respect to turning the corner to see the actual work Theo and Jed have done through trades and the draft.  The Cubs have a lot of prospects knocking on the door with 3 of the big 4 sitting in AA/AAA which means this season we could and should see some of those prospects make or come close to being called up to the Big Show.  It was until yesterday I realized how important, special, and exciting this year is to be a Cubs fan especially here in Iowa.  Let me show you what I am talking about.


Here is a list of prospects who are not only “likely” to make the jump to the Chicago Cubs but I feel are almost certain to make that jump THIS SEASON:


·         Javier Baez

·         Arismendy Alcantara

·         Kyle Hendricks

·         Arodys Vizcaino

·         Matt Szczur

·         Zac Rosscup


Besides Rosscup that is 5 of the top 20 best prospects in the Cubs organization.  The main question is where do you play all these guys?  Well injuries, trades, and players being DFA will likely solve part of that question for most of the players on this list.  I also give you an example of Mike Olt who could be a part of the future and he is seeing split playing time with Luis Valbuena.  You could see something very similar with the players above.  I by no means think these players would be called up if they were not going to get good solid playing time.  Some may end up in Mike Olt’s position where he has to prove he belongs in the starting lineup every day.  It also helps that players like Baez and Alcantara are likely to see time at 2b, SS, and 3rd base in both the minors and majors so it would give Ricky Renteria a lot of options and chances to get all these players consistent at bats and playing time.


Other players that are less likely to see the jump but still could are Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Christian Villanueva, Eric Jokish, Neil Ramirez, Carlos Pimental, and Logan Watkins.


Now possibly equally exciting is the players that would make the jump for AA Tennessee to AAA Iowa.  Here are those players that will likely make the jump THIS SEASON:


·         C.J. Edwards

·         Ivan Pineyro

·         Pierce Johnson

·         Kris Bryant

·         Jorge Soler


C.J. Edwards has been nothing short of amazing for the Smokies and I think it will be a race between him and Bryant who will be called up to Iowa first.  Mainly because as impressive as Edwards has been on the mound Bryant has been equally impressive at the plate.  Although injuries have slowed Soler I think he is owed too much money not to make the jump to Iowa this year.  Ivan Pineyro looks like a bullpen guy for 2015 so I think he gets the call to Iowa as well.  I have been going back and forth on Pierce but I think he will get the call to Iowa late in 2014.


Other players less likely to make the jump are Dustin Geiger, Anthony Giansanti, Armando Rivero, Corey Black, and Dae-Eun Rhee.


It is quite possible we will see 10 of the Top 20 Chicago Cubs organizational prospects moving to Chicago or Iowa in 2014.  That is enough to get you really excited for the rest of this season and especially for 2015.


Until Next Time…





Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thoughts From Last Nights I-Cubs Game

I attended last night’s windy and cold Iowa Cubs game with some family and friends.  Here is some analysis from seeing several of the Cubs top 20 prospects in action:


·         Kyle Hendricks control is flat out impressive.  I do not think he ever threw a pitch that was completely out of the zone.  Hendricks does not exactly have an “out pitch” or a high velocity fastball but the guy hits his spots on both sides of the plate.  The other thing that is superior to me for a 24 year old pitcher is he works up and down in the zone with ease and seems to calculate every pitch.  That is something you just do not see in a pitcher especially at 24 year old.  He only gave up two base hits and walked two (the ump had a really small zone last night) but that did not impress me as much as how quickly Kyle worked.  Kyle Hendricks is a no non-sense analytical control pitcher who is going to be in Chicago sometime this year.  Mark My Words!  Oh.. and the guy has a tremendous pickoff move which Alex Bucholtz found out.

·         One thing I learned about Javier Baez is that he does not get cheated when swinging the bat which could end up tallying up those Ks pretty quickly.  He also needs to be more selective at the plate and lay off the high heat out of the zone.  He had 3 swings and misses with high heat last night in his 3 ABs.  In the field Baez looked pretty solid at SS.  On this day Baez did not do anything special but his swagger and style completely set him apart from everyone else on the diamond.  He does have superstar written all over him.

·         Matt Szczur impressed me about as much as Hendricks.  Matt has a pretty quick swing and the guy can fly around the bases.  In the first inning he hit the ball on the line over the centerfielders head that made it to the wall which was about 15-20 yard behind him.  Szczur slid into 3rd but he could have gotten their standing up.  In fact I thought we may have seen an inside the park homerun if there is any bobble out by the outfielder.  Szczur has 3 solid hits and should have had 2 SB but the 2ndbase ump blew a safe call at 2nd on an attempted steal by Matt.  While I don’t think Matt will ever be an everyday OF for an MLB team he will be a very productive 4th outfielder in the ML very soon.

·         Christian Villanueva went 0-4 with 3 Ks but watching him in the field is a treat.  The movement he has without the ball, the range, and his arm makes playing 3rd base just look too easy.  The guy is a smooth criminal out there at the hot corner and to me, defensively right now; he can play near gold glove defense at 3rd just from what I have observed in a 9 inning game last night.  Defensively he reminds me a lot of watching Scott Rolen… seriously!

·         Arismendy Alcantara had a good night getting 2 hits including a homer, two runs, an RBI, and a SB.  Him and Baez seem to have a good relationship on and off the diamond.  They were stretching, talking, and playing catch together.  Something I like seeing 2 top 75 prospects do (chemistry man!  CHEMISTY).  As fast as Szczur is I am not sure he can beat Alcantara in a foot race.  Yep he is that fast.  The homer AA hit was a line drive to RF that cleared the high wall by 15-20 feet.  It was a shot and you could tell it was gone just by hearing the sound it made off of the bat.  He was simply awesome last night.


Overall last night was a good night to see the Iowa Cubs.  With guys like AA, Hendricks, and Baez just one step away from Chicago it is easy to get excited about what the future has for the Cubs as a whole.


Until Next Time….