The Best in the Cubs System

The annual feature in the VineLine, “Fifty Names From The Farm” will be released in February’s issue … but as been the case in recent years, the Cubs’ monthly publication handed out a preview before the Down on the Farm session last weekend.

Here’s a look at the best in the Cubs system … that might just include a few unfamiliar names.

Pitching

Best Command – Casey Coleman (RHP)
Runners up – J.R. Mathes (RHP), Hung-Wen Chen (RHP), Jeff Antigua (LHP)

Best Poise/Make up – Hung-Wen Chen (RHP)
Runners up – Chris Carpenter (RHP), Jeff Antigua (LHP), Casey Coleman (RHP)

Best Athleticism – Jay Jackson (RHP)
Runners up – Andrew Cashner (RHP), Brooks Raley (RHP), Casey Coleman (RHP)

Best Mechanics – Andrew Cashner (RHP)
Runners up – Trey McNutt (RHP), Chris Carpenter (RHP), Casey Coleman (RHP)

Best Durability (tie) – Mitch Atkins (RHP), Hung-Wen Chen (RHP), Casey Coleman (RHP)

Repertoire

Best Fastball - Rafael Dolis (RHP)
Best Curveball – Aaron Shafer (RHP)
Best Change-up – Jeff Antigua (LHP)
Best Slider - Andrew Cashner (RHP)
Best Other – Hung-Wen Chen (RHP)

Ryne Sandberg recently compared Casey Coleman to Greg Maddux. Coleman will be in big league camp this spring.

Hitting

Best Contact Hitter (tie) – Logan Watkins, Hak-Ju Lee
Runner up – Starlin Castro

Best Power Hitter (tie) – Rebel Ridling, Ryan Flaherty

Best Plate Discipline (tie) – Kyler Burke, James Adduci

Best Clutch Hitter – Rebel Ridling
Runners up – Kyler Burke, Starlin Castro

Best Situational Hitter – Rebel Ridling
Runner up – Starlin Castro

Fielding

Best Range

Catcher – Welington Castillo
First Base – Rebel Ridling
Second Base – Logan Watkins
Third Base (tie) – Ryan Flaherty, Jonathan Mota
Shortstop – Starlin Castro
Outfield – Jose Valdez

Best Arm Strength

Catcher – Welington Castillo
First Base – Jovan Rosa
Second Base – Logan Watkins
Third Base – Junior Lake
Shortstop – Starlin Castro
Outfield – Kyler Burke

On Junior Lake, “has the best arm strength of anyone in the organization and maybe baseball.”
On Kyler Burke, “arm is his weapon, and clubs stop running when the ball is hit to him.”

Best Throwing Accuracy

Catcher (tie) – Robinson Chirinos, Steve Clevenger
First Base – Rebel Ridling
Second Base – Marwin Gonzalez
Third Base – Marquez Smith
Shortstop (tie) – Nate Sampson, Hak-Ju Lee
Outfield – Kyler Burke

On Kyler Burke, “Governmental-level assassin. Can one-hop you on the money with the best. Intimidates third base coaches.”

Best Footwork

Catcher – Welington Castillo
First Base – Rebel Ridling
Second Base – Logan Watkins
Third Base (tie) – Ryan Flaherty, Jonathan Mota
Outfield (tie) – Sam Fuld, Brett Jackson, Jose Valdez

Running

Best Raw Speed (tie) – Jose Valdez, Hak-Ju Lee
Runner up – Brandon Guyer

Best Base-Stealing Ability (tie) – Tony Campana, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer
Runner up – Jose Valdez

Best Home-to-First (tie) – Jose Valdez, Hak-Ju Lee
Runner Up - Tony Campana

Best Baserunning Instincts – James Adduci
Runner up – Matt Camp, Brandon Guyer, Hak-Ju Lee

Intangibles

Best Heart/Work Ethic (tie) – James Adduci, Matt Camp
Best Competitiveness (tie) – Brett Jackson, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro
Best Baseball IQ – Darwin Barney

The VineLine editors are predicting D.J. LeMahieu and Hak-Ju Lee to make the biggest splashes in Twenty-Ten.

Several of the position players and pitchers that are the best in the Cubs system will be in big league camp next month.

Casey Coleman, Andrew Cashner, Mitch Atkins (on 40-man roster), J.R. Mathes and Rafael Dolis (on 40-man roster) on the pitching side.

Steve Clevenger, Welington Castillo (on 40-man roster) and Robinson Chirinos behind the plate while Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Brett Jackson, James Adduci (on 40-man roster), Matt Camp and Sam Fuld (on 40-man roster) round out the position players.

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