Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/27/11

Iowa is on a tear, with Tyler Colvin and Fernando Perez leading the way; winning five straight against some of the Pacific Coast League’s best teams. Tennessee is struggling to find their rhythm offensively, while Logan Watkins has found his in Daytona. Peoria has stumbled out of the box to start the second half of the season, and new stars are emerging in Boise. Plus, Matt Szczur will represent the Cubs organization in the XM Radio Future’s Game.

All of this, and more, in this week’s Down on the Farm Report.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (5-4)
Ben Wells had his second quality start, pitching 4.1 innings and allowing an earned run while striking out three, as Boise defeated Tri-City in its home opener 3-2 on Wednesday. Wells’ piggyback starter, Juan Rosario, went 3.2 innings allowing an earned run, got credit for the win. Bryce Shafer blanked the Dust Devils for his first save.

Pin-Chieh Chen continued his tear, with a five-game hitting streak. Chen was 2-for-4 Wednesday night. Paul Hoilman was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, while Ben Klafczynski was also 2-for-3 with a run-scoring triple. Hoilman also turned a nifty 3-6 double play with shortstop Wes Darvill.

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Sometimes, the life of a starting pitcher in the low minor leagues just isn’t fair. Yao-Lin Wang struck out four and allowed only one earned run in his four innings. He then watched the rest of the pitching staff cough up six runs as Boise lost to Tri-City 7-2 on Thursday. Pin-Chieh Chen extended his hitting streak to six games, and was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Dustin Harrington was 2-for-3.

After squandering a 5-0 lead in fourth innings, the Boise Hawks came back to defeat Tri-City 10-6 on Friday. Starting pitcher Austin Reed was cruising through three innings, but allowed six earned runs in the fourth. Jin-Yeong Kim bailed Reed out with 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. Bryce Shafer went the last 1.2 innings, striking out three for his second save.

Paul Hoilman was the big bat for Boise, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. Ben Klafczynski was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. Wes Darvill was 2-for-2 with three runs scored, while Chad Noble and Kenny Socorro were 2-for-3 each. Pin-Chieh Chen extended his hitting streak to seven games.

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Wes Darvill and Brad Zapenas swapped positions on Saturday, and it seemed to pay off offensively as Boise ended up pulling away from the Spokane Indians to a 10-4 victory. Darvill, starting at second, reached base in all four plate appearances, including going 3-for-3 with a double, RBI, and three runs scored. Zapenas moved to shortstop, was 2-for-4 with a stolen base and two RBI. Yaniel Cabeza was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI, while Wilson Contreras was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI.

Lefty Willengton Cruz started and allowed three earned runs in four innings, striking out three batters. Hector Mayora was the piggyback starter, and allowed an earned run while striking out two in his three innings. Yilver Sanchez mopped up the final two innings.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (33-39)
In their first game back from the All-Star break, the Peoria offense looked promising as they scored two runs in the first inning. However, that’s all they would score as the Chiefs dropped a 6-2 loss to Kane County on Friday. The lone offensive highlight was Richard Jones’ 2-for-4 with an RBI effort. Austin Kirk struggled for the second straight outing, allowing four earned runs while striking out five batters.

Starter Eric Jokisch but the Chiefs behind the eight-ball Saturday night, letting in two runs in the first inning, Jokisch would end up surrendering nine earned runs in 3.1 innings, as Peoria lost to Kane County 11-5. PJ Francescon made his Single-A debut and allowed an earned run in an inning of work. Greg Rohan continues to be the offensive leader for the Chiefs, hitting 3-for-5 for the evening.

High Class-A Daytona Cubs (49-24)
Just assigned back to Daytona from Tennessee, Juan Serrano looked a little unprepared for his first start, as the D-Cubs lost to Clearwater 6-5 on Thursday. Serrano allowed four earned runs, including three home runs, in four innings. Aaron Kurcz came on in relief and allowed two earned runs in two innings while striking out five batters. David Macias and Logan Watkins each had multi-hit games, while Luis Flores drove in two runs.

Evan Crawford shook the D-Cubs out of their post-All-Star game doldrums by blasting a leadoff home run, as Daytona defeated Clearwater 5-2 on Friday. Crawford was would go 2-for-5 for the evening. Red-hot hitting Logan Watkins was 2-for-4, while Jae-Hoon Ha drove in two runs.

Starter Brett Wallach had one of his better outings, allowing two runs (one earned) with three punch-outs in 4.1 innings. Jeffry Antigua relieved Wallach and struck out five in 2.1 scoreless innings. Marcus Hatley continued the scoreless streak for 1.1 innings, while Frank Batista closed it out for his fifteenth save.

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Logan Watkins led the way, as the D-Cubs came from behind to close out their series against Clearwater with a 4-1 victory on Saturday. Watkins, who struggled at the beginning of the season, has hit at a .419 clip over the past month. Against the Threshers, Watkins was 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. Evan Crawford was also 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Michael Burgess was 2-for-5.

On the rehab trail, Angel Guzman pitched two innings to start the game, allowing an earned run. Eduardo Figueroa came in relief and blanked Clearwater for 3.2 innings, striking out four batters. Jordan Latham continued the trend for 2.1 innings; while Frank Batista picked up his sixteenth save while striking out three in an inning of work.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (44-29)
In the first game back from All-Star break, Tennessee activated Trey McNutt for the start on Thursday. McNutt clearly wasn’t ready, as he only pitched to five batters, walking four and allowing two earned runs without recording an out. Four other pitchers took the hill, including Matt Spencer mopping up, as the Smokies lost 7-0 to Birmingham. Steve Clevenger was 3-for-4 with a double, while Ryan Flaherty was 2-for-4.

Brooks Raley pitched his best game of the season, but needed a come from behind effort from the Tennessee offense and the Smokies defeated Birmingham 4-3 on Friday. Raley has his longest outing, going seven innings and allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out four batters. Kevin Rhoderick came on and blanked the Barons for an inning, striking out two batters. Rafael Dolis also went scoreless for his eighth save.

No Smokie really stood out offensively, but Nelson Perez delivered a two-run homer to get Tennessee on the board. Matt Spencer was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

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Tennessee’s second half offensive struggles continued, as the Smokies managed only seven hits in a fourteen inning loss to Birmingham on Saturday, 2-1. Tennessee wasted a stellar effort by Nick Struck, who went six innings with only an unearned run, while striking out five batters. Manager Brian Harper then burned though five relievers in trying to secure the victory, only to have outfielder Nelson Perez give up the winning run in his first professional pitching appearance. Ryan Flaherty and Matt Spencer were the only Smokies to collect more than one hit.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (35-42)
In the second half of a double-header on Wednesday, Iowa rode some hot bats to an 8-5 victory over Memphis. Tyler Colvin led the way, going 2-for-4 with a home run, stolen base, and three RBI. Fernando Perez was 3-for-4 with a double. Bobby Scales was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, while Chris Robinson was 2-for-3 with two doubles. Scott Moore was also 2-for-3.

Jay Jackson continues to struggle, allowing five earned runs while striking out five in six innings. Jackson did help himself with an RBI single. John Gaub pitched a scoreless seventh for his third save.

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Tyler Colvin had a monster night, as the I-Cubs defeated Memphis 7-3 on Thursday. Colvin was 3-for-4 with his second home run in as many nights, and four RBI. Ty Wright joined Colvin with three hits, going 3-for-5, while Bobby Scales was 2-for-4 with two doubles.

Robert Coello was brought back up from Tennessee and allowed only an earned run in five innings. Marco Carrillo allowed two earned runs while striking out two in 2.2 innings, picking up a hold. Marcos Mateo threw a scoreless 1.1 innings for his second save.

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The I-Cubs came from behind in a strange game, as they bested the Memphis Redbirds 5-3 on Friday. Strange because their leading hitter for the evening, Fernando Perez at 2-for-4, neither scored nor drove in a run. Strange because Bryan LaHair and Welington Castillo blasted solo homers, but those were the duo’s only hits. And strange because pitcher Jay Jackson, in a pinch-hitting role, delivered a two-run single.

Alberto Cabrera started and gave up three earned runs in five innings, while striking out seven batters. Justin Berg relieved and went scoreless for an inning for his third win. Scott Maine pitched the final three scoreless innings, striking out six for his eighth save.

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Iowa stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to top the Albuquerque Isotopes 4-3 on Saturday. Ramon Ortiz continues to be a workhorse, allowing three earned runs in six innings while striking out seven batters. Blake Parker chipped in another three strikeouts, as he held the ‘Topes scoreless for two innings. John Gaub earned his fourth save.

Ty Wright was the stand out in an evening of somewhat undistinguished performances. Wright was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Jonathan Mota was also 1-for-3 with an RBI, while Brad Snyder was 1-for-2 with an RBI. Darwin Barney was 1-for-3 in a rehab assignment.

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News and Notes
The Iowa Cubs activated RHP Justin Berg and placed RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx on the 7 day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Robert Coello was assigned to Iowa from Tennessee. Iowa activated RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx from the 7 day disabled list and RHP Justin Berg was assigned to Tennessee from Iowa. Tennessee activated RHP Trey McNutt from the 7 day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Esmailin Caridad was assigned to Tennessee from Iowa.

Right-handed pitcher Juan Serrano was assigned to Daytona from Tennessee. Outfielder Rubi Silva was assigned to Peoria from Daytona. Right-handed pitcher PJ Francescon was assigned to Peoria from the AZL Cubs. The Boise Hawks released OF DJ Fitzgerald. Catcher Jose Guevara was assigned to Boise from the disabled list; SS Kenny Soccoro was assigned to Boise from the AZL Cubs. Infielder-Outfielder Vismeldy Bieneme and C Carlos Romero were assigned to the AZL Cubs from Boise. Jeff Stevens was assigned to Tennessee from Iowa.

Matt Szczur will represent the Cubs organization in the XM Radio Futures Game during All-Star weekend (each organization receives a maximum of two players). The game will be held on Sunday afternoon, July 10 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Top Prospect Watch

  • Michael Burgess (OF) – .193, .295 OBP, .669 OPS, 14 Doubles, Triple, 9 HR, 40 RBI, 9 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 0-0, 2.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 K, 4 BB, 2.00 WHIP (Chicago Cubs)
  • Micah Gibbs (C) – .263, .398 OBP, .714 OPS, 5 Doubles, HR, 11 RBI, Stolen Base, 22% Caught Stealing (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Reggie Golden (OF) – .276, .382 OBP, .821 OPS, Double, 2 Triples, 2 RBI, Stolen Base (Boise Hawks)
  • Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .285, .321 OBP, .781 OPS, 13 Doubles, 2 Triples, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases, 8 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Brett Jackson (OF) – .265, .386 OBP, .845OPS, 8 Doubles, 3 Triples, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 13 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies)
  • D.J. LeMahieu (IF) – .273, .273 OBP, .576 OPS, Double, RBI (Chicago Cubs)
  • Trey McNutt (RHP) – 1-3, 3.19 ERA, 36.2 IP, 13 ER, 22 K, 13 BB, 1.39 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Hayden Simpson (RHP) – 1-4, 5.33 ERA, 54.0 IP, 32 ER, 44 K, 24 BB 1.56 WHIP (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .318, .373 OBP, .821 OPS, 12 Doubles, Triple, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 16 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) -.284, .322 OBP, .776 OPS, 17 Doubles, 7 HR, 33 RBI, 3 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)

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Quote of the Day

"The more reasons you have for achieving your goal, the more determined you will become." - Brian Tracy

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  • Dorasaga

    Curious, what is the general concensus on Rafael Dolis now as a closer? Are scouts still high on him? His stats… make me wary, and he’s occupying a spot on the 40-man. Scott Maine is on the 40-man roster as well; I’ll be interested to see him a trade-bait with Soriano or Fukudome end of July.

    • Tom U

      Dolis became the closer after Tennessee closer David Cales went down for the season with arm surgery and Blake Parker was promoted to Triple-A. 

      Dolis is still considered to have explosive “stuff” and a fastball that tops out in the high 90’s. However, control has always been an issue. 

      While he seems to have the make-up to be a closer, he hasn’t dominated. The second half of the season will go a long way to determining his future in this role.

      • paulcatanese

        Well I hope he gets it together,kind of reminds me of Carpenter who I hope can stick. Never hurts to have that kind of arm. It probably will take time,but a live arm like that, got to keep going with it as long as they can.

      • Dorasaga

        Thanks, Tom. I guess Paul here said it best: gotta keep his stuff a long way. The closer role will save his arm for a bit longer, I suppose. I don’t know how he was trained before signed with the Cubs, before age 18.

        I’m reading Patrick’s profile of Rafael Dolis, published May 5, 2010. I don’t know why scouts think he’ll fare better as a top reliever, but wonder if stamina and control have been his issue since his day 1 in the pro. It’s been three and half seasons since he was converted and played (minus one recovery year after Tommy John).

    • paulcatanese

      check back on the previous post the correct link is there from Neil.

  • Anthony

    Would like to see Bour moved to TENN, Szczur, Jones and Rohan to Daytona. That may allow Hoilman and Klafczynski to move to Peoria for 1B and RF and keep Boise youthful with more 19-20 year olds playing together.

    Hoilman and Klafczynski may end up draft steals if they produce as expected. Way too early, need at least 200-250 plate appearances, but so far I like what I see from them. Both have some all-american honors in the past and are record holders in their respective college programs. Hoilman is a classic bomber and a good overall hitter while Klafczynski is a good pole-2-pole hitter who can hit some HR’s also.

    Keeping Chen, Na, and Golden together looks to be the current plan based on a recent article. Chen needs time to convert to CF, Na needs plate work, and there is no rush on Golden. All 3 would only be entering their college sophomore years if they were student-athletes.

    • Aaron

      Anthony….that’s what I was saying about Klafczynski in my draft report. I believed he’d be the “sleeper pick” of the Cubs draft. He had a very consistent college career, and didn’t get a whole lot of publicity.

      And while I also believe Hoilman is an excellent player, he got far more publicity for winning home run derbies, etc., and hitting about 20 hr per year in college.

      The thing I didn’t know about Hoilman was that he was going to be so patient in pro ball. He has a .333/.533/.667 slash line so far with 4 doubles, 2 hr, 11 RBI, and 14 walks vs 10 K’s in 45 plate appearances…..now, granted, the 10 K’s are kind of ugly in just 45 plate appearances (10 games), but the 14 walks are pretty impressive. 

      Na is a non-factor in my opinion. Chen supposedly is a Hak-Ju Lee clone, even though he moved from middle IF to CF this year. Na doesn’t really stand out in any category, and will likely be out of the system after next year….at least in my opinion. The problem, however, with both of them, is that they have almost zero extra base power, so it’ll be important that both of them, and especially Chen, stick around for “Camp Colvin” this offseason, and put on some muscle.

      As for Golden….he’s reportedly been struggling for the first time in his life at the plate, and he hasn’t dealt with it that well. First of all, he showed up to camp extremely overweight, to the tune of about 30 lbs heavier than last year, and it was NOT muscle weight. So he was behind the other prospects at that point. But he’s always been known as a max effort swing guy, and that hurts his contact rate. He hasn’t improved on that with 5 walks vs 11 K’s in just 9 games at Boise thus far, and he struggled even worse in EXST with that aspect of his game.

      I was really high on Golden after the draft last year, and while he’s still very young at 19 years old, he has shown absolutely NOTHING in his 13 game pro career thus far (4 games last year before going down with hamstring injury). In those 13 games, he has the following line: .277/.370/.404, 13 hits, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 0 hr, 4 RBI, 2 SB, 6 walks vs 18 K’s in 54 plate appearances

      It’s still just 13 games, mind you, but the reports I’ve read out of EXST this year, as well as his stats from Boise suggest a player that has an awful lot of work to do, and might not be taking things as seriously as he should. When you give an 18 year old close to $1 million to sign his first pro contract, that’s the risk you take with maturity level.

      Let’s hope he puts it together, as he has a very explosive bat.

      • Anthony

        Some info on Ben. Took a huge hit to his draft stock in 2009. A former college teammate told me he played the entire year with some nagging minor injuries, including his time in the summer with Bourne on the Cape.

        The .224 BA didn’t help due to a slow start at the Cape, but he finished the 2nd half of that season hitting better. He actually won the NECBL HR Derby the following summer while with Keene. You can see that entire video on the NECBL website archives. The Perfect Game folks said this prior to the draft:

        Simpson:”Klafczynski hit .367-10-62 as an undrafted junior, very comparable to his 2011 season totals, but scouts say he is a different player this season because he finally learned to apply his vast assortment of tools in a positive way. Klafczynski has a big right-field arm, and impressive speed and power.

        Ebert:”He’s an aggressive and well built left-handed hitter that physically resembles Larry Walker and Jay Bruce. He’s not afraid to swing early in the count if he sees a pitch he likes, and can put a charge in the ball. He has done a better job during his college career improving his plate discipline, but may be looking to dispel questions about his overall power potential by taking such aggressive hacks.

        He moves alright in the outfield, with average speed for a corner outfielder and a good throwing arm. He gunned down a runner in this game at home, the potential tying run, in the bottom of the eighth. He then proceeded to hit a solo shot the opposite way down the left field line in the top of the ninth, showing his power to all fields. The ball really jumped off of his bat in that at-bat, and he had a few others in which he made strong contact.”

        Some info on Hoilman:

        Paul also struggled at the Cape in 2010 with a BA of .206, but to be honest, many good hitters struggle there, and 100 at bats or so isn’t a true timeline to gauge a hitter. But, both of these hitters went from using the old BESR metal bats to wood right away. This past season, the BESR newer bats appear to expedite the transition back to wood. Cape league pitching is the best of the best each season, some say equivalent to Adv A pitching.

        Again, a summer season is short, and here are some solid hitters who recently struggled at the Cape the past couple seasons:

        BA Vollmuth
        Matt Skole
        Dan Paolini
        Elliot Soto
        Jason Esposito
        Tony Plagman
        Derek Dietrich
        Michael Olt
        Alex Dickerson

        just to name a few.

        I enjoy watching players who are “grinders”. Rarely pasted all over Baseball America, no dazzling feats that get publicity, but when you measure it all out at season’s end, you end up asking yourself, “where did those numbers come from”?

    • Redlarczykg

      As far as hope for the future (as though there could be after 100 years),
      lefty reliever,  Jeffrey Beliveau (era .086)  and righty Kevin Rhoderick (era 1.50) in Tenn, should be promoted to AAA or the bigs.

      Beliveau has in 42 in. just 25 hits and 52 so / 10 w
      Rhoderick has in 42 in. just  20 hits and 50 so / 18 w

      Also, get anything for Pena at 1st and give LaHair a chance.  Why not!
      Pena shouldn’t be back next year and you never know when an old rookie finally can cut it in the bigs.
       

  • Denny Hittme

    Josh Vitters may have a problem.  He was hit in the head with a pitch Friday vs Birmingham.  The impact knocked his helmet off, he was removed from the game at that point and has not returned since. Team has not commented on status.   

  • Redlarczykg

    Time to get real about Brett (Corey/Tyler) Jackson.  Batting .259 with 7 homers at AA.

    • Aaron

      Agreed…something clearly isn’t right. Both Jackson and Vitters have been plagued by injuries during their short careers, and their development has suffered because of it.

      It’s not like either of them are bad players, or aren’t true “top prospects”, as injuries have clearly taken their toll.

      I believe Jackson has been on the DL this year with thumb and oblique injuries. Vitters is now on the shelf with a concussion most likely…..and has been on the DL in the past with a hand injury, among others.

      I wouldn’t give up on either of them at this point though. Let them finish out the year where they’re currently at in AA, then put them in the AZFL and see how they hit against top competition. Granted, it wouldn’t be their first time in the AZFL, but they need that after missing time this year.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        Hey Aaron any update on draft pick signings?

        • Aaron

          LOL….I was just about to post that for everyone…..

          and, no, there are no signings to report, other than the Cuban defectors, LHP De Valle and OF Eliecer Bonne. 

          So far, the Cubs have signed nearly all of the true seniors in the draft (though keep in mind that some players are listed incorrectly, as my battery-mate in college found out the hard way, being listed as a senior when he really was a junior). The only remaining seniors left to sign are Taiwan Easterling, the FSU wide receiver that still has eligibility left in football and Steven Maxwell (I have absolutely no idea why the 5th year senior hasn’t signed yet. He’s 23 years old for crying out loud)

          The Cubs also recently signed another undrafted free agent in 1B Ryan Durrence, who has had an excellent start to his pro career. 

          The ONLY underclassmen the Cubs have signed thus far are Pugeliese (JUCO freshman) and Zapenas and Weismann (College Juniors). 

          To say the draft signings have been pathetic would be an understatement. Meanwhile, the Rays and Cardinals have signed over half of their draft picks. Most teams right now are averaging around 20 signed picks. 

          The Cubs? 12 signed picks!!!! And 9 of the 12 are college seniors (with 2 remaining in Easterling and Maxwell yet to sign). That should tell you all you need to know about their intentions in the draft. 

          Ricketts’ statement about spending more money on the draft this year than in year’s past was nothing more than a smoke screen meant to appease the fan base. He has absolutely NO intentions of doing so.

          Today is June 27th, and the Cubs have exactly 12 picks signed……TWELVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! While other teams like the Yankees and O’s are right with the Cubs in that regard, I have far more faith and trust in the Yankees brass than I’ll ever have with the Cubs brass.

          Thus far, 6 of the top 33 picks have signed in the first round; 10 of 27 in the supplemental; 9 of 30 in the second round; 8 of 30 in the third round; 10 of 30 in the fourth round; 9 of 30 in the 5th round; 11 of 30 in the 6th round; 15 of 30 in the 7th round; 14 of 30 in the 8th round; 18 of 30 in the 9th round; 12 of 30 in the 10th round

          ……so you can see with the Cubs signing ZERO picks above the 16th round, just how poorly they stack up against the rest of the league.

          I am not as optimistic as some readers might be on here with the Cubs signing even 40% of their picks (meaning 20)…Think about this for a second….It has now been almost a month since the draft, and the deadline is fast approaching in August. It’ll be here before anyone knows it. A lot of these guys will be moving their belongings back to school (if juniors or JUCO guys), or getting acclimated to college life (if HS seniors). Thus, the Cubs actually have almost exactly one month to sign the rest of their draft. Usually, it’s only first rounders that will sign close to the deadline in August, because of that very fact…..It’s very difficult to convince a guy selected in the latter part of the draft to forego college if they are offered under $100-200k signing bonus once they have everything set with classes, living arrangements, etc.

          I have personal experience with this, as several of my teammates went through that process in college. And something that doesn’t get much publicity is college coaches having a tremendous amount of sway in the players returning to school (or coming to school to begin with as HS seniors or JUCO transfers). The reason for that, is college coaching is very cut-throat, and their careers depend a lot on the draft, and how it effects both their recruiting classes and their current team. In fact, it’s one of the toughest sports to coach for that reason. 

          Anyway, if the Cubs don’t sign at least Baez, Vogelbach, Scott, and one of the top arms like Jacquez, Urban, etc., then I’ve lost any faith at all (the little I still had) in this franchise, and will begin to look for another team to root for instead until they get their sh$t together. (which might not ever happen under the Ricketts ownership)

  • Bryan

    This is what continues to reinforce Quade as a crappy manager, and potentially the worst in Cub history.  He calls out Castro for a singular play, yet never (in the press) talks about all the laziness and fundamental screw ups from the likes of Soriano, Hill, and Ramirez. 

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0627-cubs-brite–20110626,0,3406635.story

    • paulcatanese

      Bryan,speaking of Quade. Check the lineup for today. While Fuko is a good leadoff hitter, Castro is not a good three hitter, and Campana is in the two spot. I cannot understand it,Quade puts two players in a position to fail,once again. Castro has his worst numbers in the three spot. Fuko has some of his best numbers in the three spot, and Campana is totaly negated in the two spot. If Quade is to use Campana near the top of the lineup,he must lead off, period. It does no good to have someone in front of him. Castro’s best numbers are in the two spot. Should be Campana, Castro and Fukodome 1-2-3. I dont get this guy at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

    With us just getting done with KC and seeing how smart baseball people in charge of the organization can change how a team is viewed, I thought it was a good time to look at what they are doing in KC that has gotten everyone’s interest peaked. By now we all should know the names that has these guys looking like the team to beat in a few years. Now we need to have an honest discussion of what it took to get there. I know that KC is far from a finished product but there is definitely a shot being a contender for a long time. I found an article on Baseball America that really sheds light on where the Cubs as an organization went wrong and what KC is so far doing right.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/minors/season-preview/2011/2611429.html

    The first thing that caught my attention was :

    When Do You Bring Prospects Up?

    “You can’t take a bunch of young guys up to the big league level and
    have them struggle together. The (Miguel) Cabrera’s of the world are so
    unusual. He was batting cleanup in the big leagues at 19. He’s a phenom.
    If you bring up too many young guys, bring up together. If you bring up
    too many guys who haven’t gone through the stresses of the big leagues,
    it retards their development. You can’t bring up five positional
    prospects at the same time.”

    This what Detroit tried to do about 10 years ago and man was it ugly.

    Dave Dombrowski

    Tigers general manager

    “I think you separate the men from the boys at Double-A. But when you
    have a kid who is really good in rookie ball or Class A you start
    projecting in your head. The kids who will be impact big league players
    you see it right away. For everyone else Double-A is the first real
    tough testing ground. You certainly have things in your mind like this
    will be our shortstop in four years. And you hope you’re right more
    times than you’re not.”

    Dave Dombrowski like him or not is a smart smart baseball guy. He understands that Double-A is the most crucial step in making the majors and being able to handle the work load.

    John Boles
    (former Marlins/Expos farm director and Marlins manager, currently special assistant to the GM for the Mariners)

    “There is a small amount of development that can only take place in the
    big leagues. Finding that balance of where that last 10 percent of his
    development comes in that has to come together in the big leagues can be
    tricky.”

    This is the reason I was and am for DJ going back to Triple-A to work when Barney gets back. He needs everyday at bats and to get some of the work in that just can not be done sitting on the bench.

    J.J. Picollo

    Royals assistant general manager

    (At Triple-A you’ll face) guys can pitch backwards, forwards, you’ll
    face power stuff and soft stuff. That’s why we try not to jump (hitters)
    from Double-A to the big leagues.”

    That is kind of lost in our current Organization. That is also why you see so many of our young guys looking so lost at the plate with the sharp breaking stuff. They have no experience with guys that can and do rely on that type of movement. Double A arms are better and more explosive but the variety of players that throw breaking stuff for strikes is just not there in Double-A.

    John Boles

    (Former Marlins/Expos farm director and Marlins manager, currently special assistant to the GM for the Mariners)

    It’s Not Easy

    “If you are considered an elite farm system where most of your prospects
    are pitchers, that’s a double-edged sword. Things happen to pitchers.
    There is a great attrition rate for pitchers. If you’re heavy on the
    pitching side, that can go wrong real quick.”

    We are seeing that right now with the rash of injuries of our pitchers at all levels. We have some great arms in the system but we have to start getting our position players to the same level. The idea that you develop pitching and trade for hitting is and always had been flawed.

    John Mirabelli

    Indians assistant general manager

    “When I became the farm director in Kansas City (general manager) John
    Schuerholz asked me. Do you know what your job is? I said, ‘sure it’s to
    get guys to the big leagues.’ He told me, ‘I want one guy to help us
    win at the major league level every year. Just one.’ First year it may
    have been David Cone, second year Kevin Seitzer. If you get one or two
    guys a year to really make a significant impact on the major league
    club, you’re doing what you should be doing.”

    This is the absolute truth. where the Cubs have ran trouble is that they have developed like that year in and year out. We have an influx of youth every 5 years or so but then when those guys are not prepared our over valued we end up stuck with another FA bat or one sided trade to get the piece we need.

    This is just the Quotes from the article that I thought were most relevant to our current situation. The entire article is a great read and gives you a real Scouting guys incite.

    • guest

      Richard,

      I agree with most of what your saying but im struggling to even find the influx of youth your talking about as far back as i can remember the cubs have always filled out their everyday lineup with players that were brought in.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        Theriot, Hill, Pie, there are a number of other cases. It wasn’t that we did not bring up youth. It was that we brought them up before they were ready or never put them in a situation to succeed. A lot of the “talent” we have brought up over the last 10 years were more of a joke than a prospect. We really killed the development of some of our pitchers with the way they have been used.

    • cubtex

      One thing that helps is that the Royals have sucked for several years in a row! Take a look at where they have drafted since 2007…… 2, 3, 12, 4 and 5th this year… To compare the Cubs since 07…..3,(Vitters) 19, 31, 16, and 9 this year. That is quite a difference!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        I agree totally but was looking at the development side of it. The KC margin for error is smaller in that area because they do not have the money to spend money for mistakes. The same argument can be made for TB Rays but they seem to have solid grasp of what needs to be done as well.

        • cubtex

          I agree with everything you are saying. A great many of the Cubs prospects have been overhyped. Pie, Sean Gallagher, Jake Fox etc. I think the same will be said about Chris Archer. I am more on the same page as to not rush prospects and to bring them up to give them the best opportunity to succeed. I am referring to top prospects…..Vitters, Brett Jackson and before them Starlin Castro.. The Brad Snyders, Lou Montanez, Tony Campana’s should be brought up as fill ins for injury and not required to play everyday. That is where I differ with Aaron and others.. Those players are not your future. Why play them everyday and sacrifice showcasing veterans for trade? Is Fuko, DeWitt, Baker etc more valuable playing or sitting? The answer is pretty obvious.

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments.