FanGraphs Top 15 Cubs Prospects for 2012

Prior to the Winter Meetings, FanGraphs released their list of the top 15 prospects in the Cubs’ system. Unlike Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs ranked Javier Baez the top prospect in the Cubs’ organization with Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur, Dillon Maples and Trey McNutt rounding out the top five.

FanGraphs stated the Cubs’ system was tough to rank because outside of the top two prospects the Cubs have about 20-25 players that could have been ranked in the top 15. FanGraphs, like most of the publications, thinks the Cubs system is “loaded with intriguing B-and C-level prospects that could either explode in 2012 or completely fall of the radar.

Here’s how the Cubs’ system stacks up according to FanGraphs

FanGraphs Top 15 Cubs Prospects

1. Javier Baez, SS (NA)
2. Brett Jackson, CF (1)
3. Matt Szczur, OF (NR)
4. Dillon Maples, RHP (NA)
5. Trey McNutt, RHP (2)
6. Dan Vogelbach, 1B (NA)
7. Ben Wells, RHP (NR)
8. Jae-Hoon Ha, OF (NR)
9. Austin Kirk, LHP (NR)
10. Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP (NR)
11. Chris Carpenter, RHP (3)
12. Josh Vitters, 3B (4)
13. Tony Zych, RHP (NR)
14. Welington Castillo, C (NR)
15. Rafael Dolis, RHP (6)
Sleeper – Pin-Chieh Chen, OF (NA)

2011 FanGraphs Ranking in Parenthesis – (NA – not available; NR – not ranked)

Some of the players that just missed FanGraphs list are Junior Lake, Aaron Kurcz, Shawon Dunston, Jr., Zeke DeVoss, Marco Hernandez and Dallas Beeler.

Here are a few of the highlights from FanGraphs’ report of the top 15 Cubs Prospects:

Javier Baez – SS
Baez turned 19 on December 1 and has all of the ingredients to become a top flight MLB shortstop or third baseman according to FanGraphs. Baez needs to make a few tweaks to his approach but could end up as a middle of the order hitter in the big leagues.

Brett Jackson – CF
Jackson could end up beginning 2012 in Triple-A, but what moves the Cubs make over the next two months will have an impact on where Jackson begins the season. As FanGraphs pointed out, Marlon Byrd should not be a roadblock for Jackson if he’s ready to start his big league career after Spring Training.

Jackson played all three outfield spots and projects better as a centerfielder with Gold Glove potential and depending on his development could put up 20-20 seasons offensively.

Matt Szczur – OF
The opinions on Szczur vary quite a bit. He has a lot of raw ability but right now his best tool is his speed. Szczur has the potential to develop into an above-average hitter with just above average power.

Szczur has the chance to develop into at least an average everyday player in the majors and could be ready at some point in 2013.

Dillon Maples – RHP
The 19-year old right hander has a ton of upside but has yet to throw a pitch in pro ball. Maples could begin next season in extended spring training according to FanGraphs then start his pro career in rookie ball in June. Maples has the potential to be a two or three in a big league rotation but is viewed as a long-term project.

Trey McNutt – RHP
McNutt had some fluke injury issues in 2011 but has a number two starter potential if he can round out his repertoire. McNutt should begin the year at Triple-A and could even see time in the majors, possibly as a reliever, next season.

Dan Vogelbach – 1B
Vogelbach has the power potential to develop into a slugging first baseman with and average to below average batting average. The Cubs have to watch his conditioning but with his massive power and limited success in pro ball last year, he could begin the year in Low-A ball.

Ben Wells – RHP
The big right-hander performed well at Short-Season Boise last year and while he’s not a strikeout pitcher, he keeps the ball down and receives a lot of groundball outs. Wells needs a good defense behind him in order to be successful.

Depending on how he starts off next season, the Cubs could move him quickly through the system. Wells could end up as a three or four in a big league rotation.

Jae-Hoon Ha – OF
Ha has consistently hit for average and can play all three outfield positions but does not have the range to play center on a daily basis. Ha has an above-average arm and profiles well as a right fielder but he probably will not hit with enough power to play a corner outfield spot in the majors. Ha likely projects better a fourth outfielder.

FanGraphs thinks Ha could end up in the majors before the end of the 2012 season.

Austin Kirk – LHP
The 21-year old lefty had a solid season and is one of the more underrated prospects in the Cubs’ system. Kirk throws an 87-92 mph fastball, curveball and changeup. Kirk showed outstanding control with a walk rate of 2.26 BB/9.

Kirk has the makings of a number three or four starter depending on the development of his secondary pitches.

Dae-Eun Rhee – RHP
Rhee lost his 2009 season due to Tommy John surgery and after a decent bounce-back in 2010 he returned pretty close to pre-surgery levels last season. Rhee’s strikeout rate went up from 5.51 to 8.25 K/9 and pitched better in the second half of the season.

Rhee has the makings of a number three starter and should be ready for the majors at some point in 2013.

Chris Carpenter – RHP
Carpenter struggled with his command and control last season despite making his big league debut. If he can harness his stuff he could dominate as a high-leverage reliever.

Josh Vitters – 3B/1B
Vitters continues to struggle with pitch recognition and cannot lay off pitcher’s pitches.

Tony Zych – RHP
The Cubs selected Zych in the fourth round of last summer’s draft and is already looking like a steal. Zych throws a low to high 90s fastball and an inconsistent slider. Once he improves his breaking ball he could end up as a high-leverage reliever. A late-2013 big league debut is not out of the question.

Welington Castillo – C
Castillo offers a solid all-around game, both offensively and defensively. There is a good chance Castillo could back-up Geovany Soto in 2012 or could be dealt to a team that views him as an everyday catcher.

Rafael Dolis – RHP
Dolis is another reliever in the Cubs system with high-leverage potential. Dolis throws a mid-to-high 90s fastball and a breaking ball that can look like a slider one day and a curveball the next. Dolis needs to work on his control.

Pin-Chieh Chen – CF
Chen has the potential to develop into a starting centerfielder or a fourth outfielder at the big league level. Speed and defense are his best skills. Chen is a slap hitter who uses the entire field. He hit .300 and was 20-for-26 in stolen base attempts last season in short-season A-ball.

FanGraphs Top 15 Prospects: Chicago Cubs

In the coming weeks, the CCO will take a look back at last season’s top prospect list and release our list of the top prospects in the Cubs’ organization for 2012.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

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  • Dorasaga

    I find it interesting that all three sources rated Welington Castillo quite high. Both fangraphs and prospectus wrote as if Castillo has the ability to start, but Geo Soto blocked him. B.america wrote nothing significantly great about him, but “shown improvement” working with pitchers.

    The fangraphs evaluator was at least honest about the uncertainty out of these prospects. This says it all: PC Chen “has the potential to develop into a starting centerfielder or a fourth outfielder at the big league level.” There’s a big difference between a fourth OF who comes up every 6 games and an everyday CF who might wear down after half a season. The truth is probably lying in between.

    What the Cubs can act and be creative is to trade Soto and play Castillo. They will also need to restock the farm system with infielders that have higher ceilings. I’m not sure what they can do with LaHair and Vitters later this year. Maybe a good trade will help the team more, while either played is still viewed as having more value now than when they play everyday on Wrigley Field.

    It really depends on what happens to the Central Division next year.

  • cubs1967

    ok; 3 of the top 6 listed were drafted last year.  haven’t played a game yet.  they should not even be listed.  how do we know??  really silly.
    plus they are all 5 yrs away….see vitters who is starting 5th minor league season.

    list them separately……..but give me kids who have at least played.

    today’s question:  who else to we gift away to a division rival?? now that marshall at the ripe old age of 29 was traded for LH version of casey coleman.

    110 yrs and counting………..time to start rounding up thanks to the 10 yr team theo plan.

    • Anthony

      don’t get rattled by some silly list from someone who hasn’t seen these players in person over an extended period of time, in person, with the scouting ability to break down delivery and pitching mechanics, tools, swings, etc.

      when these goofy lists come out, they are basically by somebody scouring multiple lists and pumping out another version

      don’t even buy into the BA ones that always begin with “according to our discussions with GM’s and front office people”

    • Ripsnorter1

      One has to agree with you about rating untested players in the Top 15. 

      Javier Baez does have 18 PA so far.  Let’s check his “Top of the Top 15” stats…..

      18 PA…18 AB…5 H…2B…0 BB…4 K…278… 0 HR…

      How about his glove?

      27 chances…6 errors….Okay, so his glove isn’t ready just yet. LOL

      Daniel Vogelbach
      27 PA…24 AB…7 H…3 2B…1 HR….292 BA…542 slug
      And his glove? 26 chances….1 error

      Vitters:Note he’s rated #12 by Fangraphs now. He’s falling…..

      And note how Baez, who hasn’t play even 10 games, is rated higher than Jackson–already. That says something about Jackson.

      • cubtex

        You are really going to make a judgement about a player from 18 AB and 27 fielding chances?

        Let’s slow down a little on trying to make an assumption on a player until he at least plays a full season.

        • Anthony

          maybe after reading 100 boxscores…

          YOU(anyone) personally need to see a player over a period of time to make comments versus regurgitating internet garbage

          good post tex

          • John_CC


        • Ripsnorter1


          You missed the point. Fangraphs made a judgment after only 18 AB and 27 fielding chances. He’s our #1 prospect, right?
          My judgment is that with 6 errors in 27 chances, the glove isn’t fully polished just yet. Don’t you agree? : )

  • Anthony

    another internet cut and paste direct from momma’s basement

    • John_CC

      You’re killing me with the momma’s basement stuff!

  • Ripsnorter1


    “FanGraphs stated the Cubs’ system was tough to rank because outside of the top two prospects the Cubs have about 20-25 players that could have been ranked in the top 15. FanGraphs, like most of the publications, thinks the Cubs system is “loaded with intriguing B-and C-level prospects that could either explode in 2012 or completely fall of the radar.”

    TRANSLATION:Outside of Baez and Jackson, we think that the Cubs have 20-25 players who pitch like Jeff Stevens, or play like Eric Patterson: they are not players who can stay in the Major leagues. Like Lou Pinella said, “Sometimes it is easier to get here than to stay here.” I am hopeful that Theo can transform the Cubs’ MiL system into one that produces star players, ie, everyday ML ballplayers. 

    And remember: that quote applies to Wellington Castillo, too.
    Also note that Clevinger wasn’t listed in the top 15.

    • Anthony

      you put merit in this rag?


  • Anthony

    This may be the right thread for posters who have seen our prospects play in person to provide their observations and opinions. I have seen many of them play while in college and in pro baseball.

    • Coolpdxcubsfan

      IMHO,EVERYONE is entitled to provide their observations and opinions, not just posters that assume some lofty position.

      • Anthony

        an observation means visually experiencing something, then making an interpretation

        so you are saying that when you visually read some verbage on the internet, it provides you with the insight enough to make “an observation”


        • Coolpdxcubsfan

          What I am saying is that no-one died and put you in charge of deciding who should post based on what you think they should say based on where they got their information, which is none of your business.  NOW do you understand??

          • Anthony

            no, all these lists from momma’s basement are worthless

            but you took the bait

  • Aaron

    “The Braves, Cubs and Giants are also interested in utility infielders”….

    Which, as I’ve been saying, makes Theo and Jed look even worse with their Rule 5 decisions and trading LeMahieu for redundancy (ie.-middle relief)

    • Aaron

      They have a LONG way to go to earn my trust….they are NOT off to a good start.

      I could care less if any of you think LeMahieu, Flaherty, and Gonzalez will be busts. Wouldn’t you rather try them, versus the available “utility” guys: Wilson, Cedeno (already been here), Counsell (wasn’t he supposed to be a coach?), and Miles (wow…are you kidding me?!?!?)

      • Ripsnorter1

        Counsel shouldn’t even be in MLB. 

        LeMahieu was voted the player with the best swing in our system last year. 

        • OttawaBob

          …………..I got a beautiful golf swing, doesn’t mean I can play on the tour.

      • OttawaBob

        Aaron,  LeMahieu was up for a cup of coffee last year and last night you mentioned him in the same breathe as Mattingly, Jeter and Boggs right?? really Aaron REALLY!!! Maybe  our young guys aren’t really that good!!! 

    • Tony_Hall

      Why would you take this tweet as truth?

      This is from Jon Heyman, who yesterday just stated that the Cubs are still the front runners for Fielder.

  • PleaseStopLosing

    I know this is a tear down and rebuild we are going through right now and it takes time– but, so far I have found nothing to be excited about with the new regime… All of the trades are netting stop gap players and lousy prospects (if any)… Other than that all they have done is hire their friends to tie wearing positions in the organization. Apparently Theo isn’t just a genius himself– also everyone he has associated with in the past have had his genius rub off on them so therefore we need to hire them all now.

    Just was looking forward to a winter of exciting moves and big splashes and have had nothing but disappointment so far… sorry I’m bitter. I really do hope they can turn things around… Just not enjoying watching us turn a 60 win team into a 40 win team when we aren’t even gaining good prospects and clearly dont have any great prospects in our farm system.

    • cubtex

      Let’s wait to see how this shakes out. I am with you. I have been disappointed with the moves so far….but things can change if they get a huge haul from Garza and some good pieces back from Marmol,Byrd etc.
      This Theo reverence is ridiculous and I try and ignore it….so that is the best approach, None of the moves he has made so far are slam dunks. So far…… the Cubs have signed a .250 hitter for RF, a .150 hitter for 3B, and just traded for a pitcher with a 4.84 ERA. Those are the facts!! Try and ignore all this Theo worship on here and speak your mind.

      • gocubs0001

        Look at Wood’s rookie season stats and minor league stats.  I can see him becoming something between what he did in 2010 and 2011.  Plus, Stewart was hurt.  If he bounces back to the .250 25hr guy he was before, that’s quite respectable for a $10 mil discount from A-Ram.  And let’s face it, Prince isn’t gonna gain us 20 wins by himself to take us to the playoffs in 2012.

      • Gramps

        I ignore all the Theo worship and also ignore all the Theo bashing on this site because it has only been a few months and it is a long off season. I think he has a plan and I am willing to let him do what he has to do to implement it. A plan is a word that has never been in the Cub dictionary. I think the team is in better hands than it has ever been. Don’t give up the faith yet! And it is no time to praise him either. Let’s see the results!

  • Aaron

    Does anybody out there know any other rumors about the Reds prospects coming over?

    If anyone saw my post last night, the only thing I found was supposedly just Wood and Hamilton, then another one (which I think was about like a Cubs fan saying: “let’s trade Nate Samson and Koyie Hill for Jonathan Papelbon”) said Wood, Kevin Coddington, and Travis Webb….the latter two’s stats are downright awful…and they’re old “prospects” to begin with…so if Epstein and Hoyer make THAT deal, then I believe fans should boycott the team.

    • cubtex

      I read the names Travis Webb and Kevin Coddington as well. I hope that is not the case because those 2 are throw in garbage prospects.

      • cubs1967

        looking at the reds top 10 prospects from BA; 3 got traded for latos.  1, morasco wont be in the deal. another, frazier is crap.  we’ve seen him.  i would take stewart over him.  that leaves 5.
         3 are SS; do we really need a SS—i know everyone wants to move a 21 yr old kid, but really, look at the errors robin yount made when he was 19.
        so that leaves 2 pitchers……..

        i’ll bet whatever anyone wants we did not get any of these guys…….

        which only makes the idea of trading a 29 yr old LH who prob can pitch till age 40; they all do; for a LH version of casey coleman that much more sickening.

        god help us when garza gets moved.  he’s way better than joh danks; who just get 65M from that fool on the south side; so to me that cinches G is gone. 

        whatever vegas has odds on the cubs losing 100 i’d go for it now.  it’s gonna get freaking ugly.

        • cubtex

          I would be happy if they get either Corcino or Didi Gregorious. I doubt they will get both but one would suffice with a throw in. If they can aquire Gregorious they might be able to flip either him or Junior Lake with another pitching prospect not named McNutt or Maples to SD for Anthony Rizzo.

      • paulcatanese

        Yeah, but how much will they cost (in dollars) that seems to be the criteria for anyone brought in.:)

  • Tom U

    I know this should go to the previous post, but here are some observations on the minor league coaching assignments:

    1. The assignment of Bill Dancy to infield coordinator frees him up to work with some of the higher profile prospects who need polishing on defense. Among those he can be expected to work with are Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, Arismendy Alcantara, Gioskar Amaya, Jeimer Candelario, Javier Baez, and converting outfielders Rubi Silva and Zeke DeVoss.

    2. Moving Peoria hitting instructor Ricardo Medina to the Dominican Academy may signal the organization is trying to develop several promising offensive players, including 17-year old’s Carlos Penalver, Jeffrey Baez, and John Ortega, as well as 18 year old Delbus Arcila.

    3. Watch for Buddy Bailey, a former catcher, to develop a great staff at Tennessee with holdovers Brooks Raley and Ryan Searle, along with Dae-Eun Rhee, Dallas Beeler, Eric Jokisch, and sleepers Larry Suarez and Aaron Kurcz.

    4. Lastly, don’t be too surprised if well known prospects Jeimer Candelario, Javier Baez, and Dan Vogelbach start out in Peoria, only to move to Boise once their season begins. It’s common for a prospect who may be too advanced for EST and the rookie league to be placed with the single-A team until short-season begins. The organization did this with Ryan Cuneo and Kyung-Min Na last season.

    • Anthony

      Tom, you may be right on the rooks, but is also may end up they all hang in Mesa to compete for Boise, and the cream leapfrog to Peoria.

      After reviewing the ever-changing depth charts, with more to follow with each trade that garners more prospect additions, hard to be sure on initial assignments.

      Possibly, they will be a mixed bag, but otherwise, very interesting to follow.

      Alcantara is a pretty good player, and predict a fast rise. Not sure what they will do with DeVoss and Silva, but your comment seems to be 2B versus the OF. If it ends up that way, wonderful 2B prospect depth, have seen all 3 play in person.

      Vogelbach and his development offensively will be more about approach and consistency to increase frequency of success. Just a guess, but he probably will not get any taller, and hits it about as far as one can already, and physically, no room for growth, in a good way.

      • Tom U

        Anthony, Rubi Silva got 29 starts at second last season, and got a look at shortstop in the Fall Instructional League. Zeke DeVoss played 28 of 36 games at second for Boise. 

        With Brett Jackson, Jae-Hoon Ha, Matt Szczur, Taiwan Easterling. Pin-Chieh Chen, Oliver Zapata, Trey Martin, Jeffrey Baez, and Kelvin Encarnacion, centerfield in the organization is a little stacked.

    • Aaron

      Very astute post, Tom…completely agree with your reasoning.

      The guys you listed I’m most intrigued by are:
      Javier Baez
      Jeffrey Baez

      If guys like Javier Baez, Penalver, DeVoss (if he can improve defense), and Chen (if they move him back to 2B) can take a leap forward this year (meaning, at least 2 of them making it to AA), then the trades/unprotecting of LeMahieu, Flaherty, and Gonzalez might hurt less.

      The fact is, only Vitters, Lake, Kurcz, Suarez, Beeler, and Rhee will be at or above AA to start the season.

      The Cubs need help NOW…Epstein said every opportunity to win should be sacred….getting rid of prospects that are decent and close to contributing at the MLB level is NOT the right move to make.

      • Tom U

        One pitcher I forgot to mention at Tennessee is Jeffry Antigua.

  • Nathan

    I can’t believe all of the hate some you guys express towards the new front office, they have been around for what…like 2 months. The Cubs have been embarrassing for longer than any of us have been alive!! I know we are all restless but c’mon guys you are making it a lose lose situation for anyone who comes in. literally every little thing done is attacked.

    Here are the facts: No one on the Cubs roster has helped the Cubs win a World Series. I like Sean Marshall as much as the next guy, but he has been around for awhile now and the cubs haven’t won with him and other teams are winning without him. Marshall is not gonna be the reason the cubs win a world series. Its time to change the team and build it into a consistent championship contender, something that can’t be done over night. Let’s just wait and see what goes on the next couple years and then rate Theo and Co.

    • cubtex

      If Theo farts….some people on here would run as fast as they can to smell it thinking it would smell like roses. He is a GM who is trying to turn the Cubs around. So far his moves have been less than inspiring,,,,,wouldn’t you agree? I am hoping he kills it on a Garza deal but let’s try and be objective with his moves instead of saying yea this guy hit .250 but it was an off year and he is CAPABLE of hitting .330 and this guy hit .150 with 0 HR’s but he is CAPABLE  of hitting 30 HR’s. Every major leaguer is capable but just because THEO aquired him does it mean it will work out??

      • Nathan

        I’m just saying let’s wait and see what happens…and when I say wait, it could take awhile to really build a dynamic franchise that is feared every year

        • cubtex

          Agreed. I want to rebuild and get back some good prospects. Patience is fine but to have some on here jump for joy like we aquired Andre Dawson for RF and Mike Schmidt for 3B just because Theo aquired them is why some people respond the way they do. We all want the same thing! A winner on the north side1

        • Spoda17

          I agree Nathan, I have been saying that for weeks now…

      • PleaseStopLosing

        If trader Jim had made these exact same moves this offseason there isn’t one person on this website that would be saying “give him time” and “these are capable players of turning things around”…. but your exactly right– since it’s Theo these are all great moves. Good or bad– I wish people were consistent with their opinions of players we trade for or trade away rather than basing it more on who the GM is then what the players have actually done on the field.

        • cubtex

          Exactly…Look back in the Archives and see what was said after the Cubs signed Carlos Pena. I think I was the only one saying look at his track record….and he had a decent year for the Cubs. But now, because Theo is picking up players who are coming off bad years it is genius and a “value” sign. Double standards……. Big Time!

        • Tony_Hall

          JH wouldn’t be making these moves…he would be putting the band-aid back on with duct tape.

        • daverj

          Hendry wouldn’t make these types of moves.  He’d probably sign Fielder for $200 mil over 10 years.

      • paulcatanese

        I hope the people chasing after Theo after that intimate moment have second thoughts, I heard they have switched to single ply toilet paper to cut costs.Not much coverage there.

        • Coolpdxcubsfan

          Rickets would probably capture it and sell it, “Eau de Wrigley”

    • Schwimmer

      Nathan, I totally agree with you.

      I think there is a lot of “mis-directed” anger toward THEO & Company (a lot like what OBAMA is going through.  And, I’m not a big fan of his :).

      Let’s get real!  The CUBS stink.  They’ve stunk up the joint for many years.  You don’t turn around this type of ball club with a few trades.  Or, even in 1 season.   It is a process.

      We CUB fans have been patient far too long.  Yet…the realty is that the club has been poorly managed for too long.  Finally, it appears like we have some smart people “with a track record” for building a winning team.

      If you are a skeptic and a cynic you can say:  “Well…we’ve had other ‘supposedly’ brilliant GMs who’ve failed.”

      Or, you can be an “optimist” (which I am) and say,  “I believe THEO & Company really are different.”  I think they deserve 2 years to show us CUB fans…some significant results…that says they are building an excellent ball club and a World Series contender.

      The other thing to get real about is:

      1.  Team GMs are not stupid.  They don’t want all the mediocre performing players that are on the CUBS.  So, let’s stop fooling ourselves with talk about how they ought to want players like SOTO, BYRD and SORIANO.  ‘Cause they don’t.

      2.  And, even if they do a deal — they are not going to give a lot for average+ players like BYRD.

      3.  They want “top-performing” players.  Especially, if they are going to part with a top player or top prospects.  Otherwise, “fogetta bout it!”

      4.  Some of the comments about how wrong it was to trade MARSHALL…or, we got “hosed” type comments…are way over the top!  We don’t even know “who” the 2 prospects are?

      5.  The reality is that if you are a GM…you are in the “calculated risk” and, “let’s take a chance” business.  And, you know that you have to give up some decent players to trade for other players who…you believe will make a difference on your ball club.

      Only time will tell whether they are right or wrong.

      And, that is what THEO & Company are doing.   It is best to be patient.  Let’s look at what we have in Spring Training.  And, then evaluate whether they’ve done a good job or a bad job.

    • Aaron

      I think that might be a slight mis-characterization of what some of us are thinking. I do not believe that we hate Epstein and company…it’s that I don’t think we realized he was going to be more like Hendry….and less like “Boston Theo”….

      C’mon…you have to admit that the trade of Colvin and LeMahieu for Stewart and Weathers as a bit ridiculous.

      For Stewart alone, Colvin would’ve been fine….truthfully, I think the Rockies should’ve been happy with DeWitt. But LeMahieu for Weathers?!?!? Really?

      Thus far, Theo and Hoyer have gotten rid of:
      Marwin Gonzalez
      Ryan Flaherty
      DJ LeMahieu
      Tyler Colvin
      Sean Marshall (if this trade goes through)

      To compensate for those losses, they got:
      DeJesus=net gain from Colvin
      Bianchi=wash with LeMahieu
      Weathers=net loss, because it was in fact LeMahieu that went for him, and they have PLENTY of middle relief
      Stewart=HUGE net loss from ARAM
      Wood (if the Marshall trade goes through)=net loss (depending on the prospects involved), as Marshall was best lefty reliever in the game

      I’m struggling to find the silver lining in all of this. Combine that with very indicting comments made by Hoyer around the Rule 5, when he said they really liked Gonzalez and Flaherty, and want them back….yet….curiously, they didn’t protect them with ample space on the 40-man. He went on to say that he loved the versatility they provided. THEN, he makes himself look even more idiotic by trading away even more versatility in LeMahieu for a crappy reliever like Weathers who walked 48 batters and struck out 48 batters last year….Yeah…..cuz what the Cubs need more than anything is a guy that throws mid-90’s heat, and can’t hit the broad side of a barn with his pitches.

      If Hoyer and Epstein find takers for Soriano, Byrd, Dempster, and Zambrano, and they get decent returns for them….then, I’ll call them geniuses, and I’ll put my support completely behind them, but right now, I am operating with the mind-set that I better see some results from them that actually make this team better, and they have NOT done that…they’ve actually made the team worse, and this was already an embarrassment of a team to begin with.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I would only disagree with this one thing:

        LeMaheiu is better than Bianchi, imo. 

        Otherwise, excellent post.

      • cardswho

        And also Stewart is NOT a huge loss over Aram.  The power is there to hit 25 HR just like Ramirez and with Rudy his average will be a respectable .280ish probably.  And Stewart is a far better defender.  You need defense to win a WS. 

        • Aaron

          Oh…that’s a real genius remark you just made. That’s like saying Soriano can steal 40 bases next year, because he’s done it before.

          Would you say Colvin will hit 25 hr this year?

          That’s a horrible analogy. A guy that hit .150, 0 hr….ZERO, and 6 RBI last year


          ARAM, .306 avg, .361 OBP, 26 hr, 93 RBI

          ….yeah….that’s a GREAT comparison

        • paulcatanese

          Now you are being humerous.

    • cardswho

      these are probably the same people that expected Obama to fix 8 years of Bush in 2 years. 

      • Aaron

        keep politics to yourself

  • Aaron

    The Rangers released 2006 1st rounder Kasey Kiker…since Theo apparently loves former 1st and 2nd rounders who’ve struggled elsewhere (Stewart, Bianchi, and Weathers, and now Wood)…

    I read a scouting report that said he sits in the low 90’s, but can dial it up to 94 mph when he wants, and sustains velocity deep into games. He has an above average changeup too, and given his stats in the minors…he doesn’t appear to be much different than Travis Wood. He even has a better K/9 rate than Wood…and he’s younger

  • cubs1967

    now that we know the cubs are in full rebuilding mode after trading the best LH RP in baseball for LF version of casey coleman and 2 non-top 10 prospects from a  crappy system;  lets look at the 2012 team based on these ideas we know now.  thanks for not being upfront theo; but the 10 yr plan comment was a good hint.  thanks ricketts for lying about a rebuild; but then again your a wall street CEO; do the math.

    cashner–need to see if his shoulder holds up or future closer
    smardz-one more try now that he had a good yr in the majors
    t wood-
    ??-whoever we get for garza

    rod lopez-long relief-spot SP
    castillo–no way genius team Theo does not try him at majors after selecting him on rule 5; they are too smart to admit failure

    C-soto, castillo or clevenger
    UTIL-baker and bianchi

    OF-Byrd-or some crappy FA if Marlon gets traded; not Crisp

    62-100 I predict

    Garza will be traded becuz at 28; he’ll be 31 before this team is any good; assuming 3 yrs to rebuild; which is fair.
    NO Kerry Wood; crushing.  I think Theo calls him and says; look; go to a winner; we are not even trying; I’m blowing this team up becuz my ego is SO big I think i can do this; so is Jed;s.  You deserve a chance to win somewhere; which is not here.  explains the delay in not signing him.

    2015 can’t get here soon enough.  go Bulls!

    • daverj

      “Best LH RP in baseball” is Johnny Venters by a fair margin.  Marshall is great, but he’s no Venters.

      That said, unless we get at least one Top 15 prospect from the Reds along with Wood, I don’t like the deal for the Cubs.

      If that was the highest offer, I would have preferred to hold on to Marshall and see what we could get in July.

      • cubtex

        Agreed. If they can get either Cocino or Gregorious I think that would be a good trade for the Cubs.

        • Aaron

          Cocino is rumored to be in the deal

          • cubtex


          • cubtex

            Baseball America scouting report on Cocino. He is their #6 prospect.

            Scouting Report:  Corcino elicits frequent comparisons to Johnny Cueto for his stature, appearance, delivery and stuff. WIth a 92-94 mph fastball that touches 96, he throws harder than Cueto did at the same point in his career. Corcino doesn’t generate much downward plane with his fastball, because he lacks height and throws from a three-quarters arm slot. He has tightened his slider, making it an average pitch, and his 84-85 mph changeup is just as effective. He has a very quick arm and throws strikes, but his delivery involves some effort as he spins off the mound after bringing his arm across his body.The Future:  Some scouts believe Corcino’s stuff and feel for pitching will allow him to become a No. 3 starter, while others point to his small stature and his effort-filled delivery and envision him as a back-of-the-rotation option or set-up man. Cueto has become a frontline starter, though he has a better slider. Corcino will make the jump to high Class A in 2012

          • daverj

            If we get Wood and Cocino, then I like this deal for the Cubs.

          • daverj

            Aaron – Where did you see the Cocino rumor?  I can’t find anything indicating he may be in the deal.

          • Aaron

            Reds blog

    • Ripsnorter1

      Your post is all good. Just this question:

      What do we have that will make 2015 a great year?
      My answer: nuthin’.

    • cardswho

      Your post is rediculous.  Where is Zambrano, Dempster at for the Starting pitchers?  where is Soriano at?  don’t tell me that you think they’ll be trading all of them.

      • cubs1967

        all traded or released…come on dude……..
        read between the lines

    • GaryLeeT

      Rebuilding with what? There are no Castros’ in their farm system, and they are not going to get any with a trade. So, make that 6 years if you are talking about rebuilding through the draft. Of course, with tons of payroll coming of this year and next, they could field an entertaining team this year by adding Fielder, Beltran, E.Jackson, and a Saunders. Those guys would not break the bank for a major market team like the Cubs. There is absolutely no reason they can’t carry a payroll of 140 mil+ Why do we have to put up with a product for 5 years, that looks like something the As, Royals or Pirates would put on the field?

      • cubs1967

        cuz ricketts said so and epstein has a big enough ego to think he can do it; even though the red sox had a 93 win team he took over.

        apparently he cannot multtiask; make a good team and build a farm stystem at the same time.

      • daverj

        Because entertaining isn’t good enough … we want a World Series.  Adding Fielder, Beltran, E Jackson and Saunders isn’t going to bring home a World Series.

        • GaryLeeT

          A lot better chance with than without. 90% of W.S. champions win with some home grown talent, AND free agents they have signed. The Cubs don’t get extra draft picks for wearing a chastity belt while waiting for their farm system to produce.

  • paulcatanese

    The Cubs are in an austerity mode right now. A few tips to really get it going.
    1. Get rid of anyone making over 1 mil.
    2.Bring back the uniforms from the fiftys, (they are made of wool) would last longer and takes away the need for jackets.(sure they are in mothballs somehere.
    3. No names on the back of uniforms(fire the seamstress), another savings.
    4.Serve only MacDonalds for the players buffet without fries,(and Ricketts can get those wholesale.
    5.Don’t turn the lights on until the fifth inning, flashlights are cheaper,and the hitters cant see the ball anyway.
    6. Keep screws and tape handy for cracked bats,(one would be amazed how long they would last).
    7. That also works on baseballs used for batting practice.
    8.Serve smaller hot dogs and charge the same, mustard and onion being an extra dollar.
    9.Rookies(if there are any) serve as bat boys. (less money for liabilty insurance.)
    10.No more score cards(no one cares anyway) just pick up any papers lying around outside the park that features the daily lineup.
    11. One batting helmut fits all.
    12.And this is just part of the plan to cut costs,and on the down side, they would have to hire another person to keep track of the savings.
    (unless the players wives want to pitch in on their spare time).

    • paulcatanese

      My post was not intended to display anger, but instead of what I find to be a very humerous and typical Cub happenings. I really am taking all thats being done with a grain of salt and am not looking for miracles.

      • cardswho

        I didn’t even read your post after the “a few tips to really get it going” part.  The Cubs have one of the best Front offices in baseball with brighter minds than you or I.  Let the people do their jobs.  They don’t need your help.

        • paulcatanese

          Got to hand it to you, you’re post was more humerous than mine. I cannot believe you read it any different than I intended it to be.

          • Anthony

            paul, you forgot the bus that breaks down, and railfare discounts

          • Anthony

            and a movie, and free drinks

    • PleaseStopLosing

      If you were from Boston, or knew Theo previously at all, then I am 100% sure he would have already hired you to work for his new regime with ideas like this!

  • daverj

    While I don’t like the Marshall/Wood deal unless we also get a Top 15 prospect back, the sabermetric community seems to think the Cubs got the better of the Marshall/Wood deal (even without any prospects).  Some even say the deal was significantly lopsided in the Cubs favor.  Epstein relies highly on saber analysis so that may explain why he made the trade.

  • daverj

    Rumors out there that Gio Gonzalez to the Nats is close.  Getting back Cole, Peacock, Norris and a 4th prospect would be a nice haul for the A’s.

    Garza would then be the best (by far) available starter remaining.

    • Aaron

      ….are you now changing your tune about how much Garza might be worth?

      If Gio Gonzalez, a FAR more inconsistent pitcher is able to fetch that type of haul, then Garza most definitely be worth a package of: Profar, Ramirez, Perez, and Angel Beltre (though, obviously the Rangers are no longer in the mix….most likely anyway, after the addition of Darvish)

      • daverj

        No, not changing my tune.  Gonzalez has 4 years of control while Garza has 2 more years … that offsets the inconsistency.

        I think Perez, Ramirez, Beltre and another prospect in the 6-10 range would be fair for Garza.  I think that is what I said before as well.  That would be slightly better than the Nats rumored package for Gio.  Profar would have been a non-starter in the Garza talks.

        All that said, you are correct … the Rangers won’t be interested in dealing for Garza now that they will be adding Darvish.

    • Anthony

      nats are pesky bugs and spelled gnats

  • Kmac

    Has there been any information lately about the Cubs signing Joe Saunders?

    • RynoTiger

      based on the moves made so far, my gut tells me that Saunders would be too expensive and not fit in with plans at this point to rebuild, especially with Travis Wood now in the picture. He may be the lefty that we have to settle for in the rotation.

    • PleaseStopLosing

      Why would we sign decent players?

  • Aaron

    So….I guess the hold-up is an extension for Marshall.

    As for prospects….I am VERY annoyed with Keith Law. He claims to know the prospects, but won’t share, because he doesn’t want to be wrong. A reader then asked him again today, and he says:
    “If it turns out to be the two guys I’ve heard, I prefer the Cubs side.
    Neither is a top-tier guy, but I’d rather have five years of Wood than
    one of Marshall anyway, and the two prospects are at least good enough
    to seal this for Chicago in my mind.”

    Normally, I respect Keith Law, but are you kidding me?!?!? A five year old could come up with that response:
    “I know who it is, but I’m not telling….”

    If he really knows…and we know how gossipy reporters can be…don’t you think he would’ve shared those names by now?

    In fact, the rumor about Daniel Corcino and Billy Hamilton being in the deal came from bloggers. Who knows if they’re actually correct, but at least they’re willing to share names.

    From the Reds’ perspective, Corcino is a 5’11” righty that throws mid-90’s heat, and he’s had decent success, but not overwhelming success. They probably doubt that his frame will hold up over time, so this is NOT a big loss for them.

    As for Hamilton, yes, he’s fast, but he’s the switch hitting equivalent of a cross between Gathright and Campana. All 3 of these guys are super fast, but they can’t steal first base. And actually, Gathright and Campana both had higher averages and contact rates than Hamilton has had thus far.

    I would MUCH rather have Henry Rodriguez in this deal, but I highly doubt Jocketty would include both Rodriguez and Corcino…it’s likely one or the other.

    If the Cubs got a lesser prospect, and got Rodriguez over Corcino, I’d call it a win for them. The other downside with Hamilton I forgot to mention was his HORRIBLE defense (39 errors at SS last year).

    Rodriguez has the ability to overtake Stewart at 3B, and he’s played all over the IF, whereas Hamilton has only played 2B and SS.

  • Neil

    From Cincinnati media: Just heard that Marshall arrived at CVG at about 3:15 so it should probably be another few hours till announced

  • Ripsnorter1

    Bleacher Report article….

    Wow. That’s a negative headline. 
    I wonder why those people are always so negative.
    Theo worship is supposed to be required in order to be a real Cubs fan. Anyone who is not worshipping Theo as the Savior–especially here at Christmas time–is a disloyal fan. 


    Don’t drink the Kool-Aid! Reality is a better place to live than blind, empty hope.

    Here’s the link”

    • Neil

      Okay Rip, everyone that reads your posts know you are not happy with the new regime and that is fine, you are entitled your opinion. There is no need to post external links to try to validate your opinion, especially from other bloggers.

      • daverj

        Well said Neil. How does some random guy’s rantings on some website have any credibility.  That article was written by what I would call a “Jim Hendry” Cubs fan.

        Hendry would have done things like (1) let Zambrano go for nothing, (2) sign Fielder to a massive 9 or 10 year contract, and (3) over bid for Darvish.  Cub fans would rejoice for a short period of time!  Then the Cubs would have a few more chances to compete for a division title, but would never have a World Series championship type team.  And then Cub fans would criticize the Fielder and Darvish signings in 2015 when the moves looked pretty stupid in hindsight.

        The Hendry plan didn’t work.  It’s time to try something new.  No more overpriced free agents until we have a very solid team that needs a little extra help to bring home a World Series title.

        This team will be terrible in 2012 and probably 2013 as well.  That might not be a bad thing so long as the right young, cheap pieces are brought in and the Cubs draft well.

        I don’t get how people think Epstein has been operating like Hendry.  You may not like what Epstein has done so far (and that is a fair opinion), but he clearly is not acting like Hendry.  Hendry overpaid for free agent after free agent … there has been none of that this offseason.

        Some fans that criticize Hendry want to go ahead with a plan that is very similar to the things that Hendry would do … Overpay Fielder like Soriano … Overpay for Darvish like Fukudome.

        Here’s the thing about Epstein’s plan … it may work or it may not work, but we won’t know the answer to that question for at least a couple years.

        I realize it’s frustrating that the organization is terrible and the Cubs won’t win a lot of games for a couple seasons, but it is what it is … the place is a mess and it needs to be cleaned up from the bottom to the top.

        • Dorasaga

          God, I love Christmas hype. Free gifts for all!

    • Calicub

      You have to read the BR articles witht the same grain of salt we all read your posts with rip….

      Neil your a gentleman amongst boys. Kudos on all you do.

  • Anthony

    Sounds like a split vote from posters. Half would have preferred the following:

    Extend ARAM 3 years
    Offer Pena a multi-year deal
    Sign Beltran for RF
    Sign Fielder for 10 years at $253M

    Bid $60M ransom for Darvish
    Offer Centipede $75M

    Get JD Drew as a 4th OF, and Crisp for CF

    Then pay the luxury tax, or

    Deal with purging

    2012 crummy FA’s and a few outlier huge deals
    2013 mediocre FA’s, maybe a few contributors

    Only trades can accelerate the process, and it appears Epstein, with an excuse from Epstein’s mother, is signing players in hopes they play well enough to garner trade value for 2013, while also trying to instantly upgrade the minors, well

    Other teams historically in this type predicament played prospects, and even when FA’s were quality(steroid-pumped), they were in markets where they FA’s were out of their budget.

    This is a great opportunity to “create wealth and assets” by exposing new players at the big league level. If they shine, you have options, if they fail, you try the next bunch of prospects.

    If you can hit on a few, wait for better FA’s after 2012-13, buy two years to watch the lower levels where more talent lies currently, and at some point assemble a decent competitive roster.

    Look at the Cleveland Indians model from the late 80’s up until they moved into Jacobs Field in 2004. They slowly made moves, injected prospects, then when the revenue increased from the new stadium, the plugged holes and were off and running. ChiC has the revenues waiting to expend, all in due time.

    Play the Kids

    then play some more of them after

  • Anthony

    (@johnfayman) RT @Strive_Training Just heard Marshall arrived at CVG at about 3:15 so should probably be another few hours till announced about 2 hours ago

    don’t you think by now this guy would have updated us as to whether he peed in the cup yet? geez, awful reporting

  • Neil

    From John Fay: It’s looking like
    there will be no official announcement of the Marshall trade tonight. Didnt get
    for his physical until 3.Likely to be announced tomorrow.

    • Anthony


  • Tony_Hall

    The Cardinals have addressed the Albert Pujols-sized void in their lineup by agreeing to terms with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.  The contract is a two-year, $26MM deal that includes a full no-trade clause.

    • Anthony

      who has the least arthritic knees?

  • Anthony

    We inheriting a mess Jed

    This is something new to us Theo

    Fire up the computer and see what the stats say

    Release him, demote him, release that guy too, try to get that dude

    And if you need a spot for the guy you signed, release a few more!

    Basically, these Ties are in a brand new world, and may end up earning a portion of the ridiculous salaries they were paid, or not?

    isn’t it fun

    Baseball is still see ball, hit ball, catch ball, pitch ball, and score runs.

    Instead, we had a whole thread today about some creepy folks in mommas’s basement rattling the troops about top prospects?

    Well, if they are so good, why are they stuck and jumped over by players everyone is complaining about?(Stew/Bianchi)

    I asked before, and will ask again, how many Cubs minor league players have you seen play personally?

    If you are a boxscore junkie who never attended, don’t even reply.

    Where are the results of the peetest?….lol

    • Gary Tschosik

       I think the interest in the Cubs’ farm system, or lack there of, from the rest of the League, tells you all you need to know about those players’ value.

  • Neil

    Cubs sign Pitcher Manny Corpas to a 1 yr

  • SuzyS

    A lot of back and forth banter going on….fact is, I would not be bothering with this site if Hendry were still GM…I made one game last year….AND that was several days AFTER the news that Hendry was gone.  Last year, I learned to follow the minors and ignore the parent club…I can certainly do that again for a few more years until the direction we’re moving in is more apparent.
    Theo and Company do not get a pass…but the ship is still in the harbor at the start of an around the world cruise.
    I can watch a horrible team if I believe in the Captain…Our old Captain (JH) led the 1588 Spanish Armada to the rocks and much disaster….

    By the way, can anybody tell me if we will ever see Rebel Riding in
    major league Cubbie Blue?

    I just like the moniker….”Rebel Riding to the Rescue”.
    Peace, CCO Faithful.

    • Neil

      Suzy, as always, good to hear from you. Happy Christmas!

  • Aaron

    Now, some dude on Twitter, from CubsDen, is claiming the 2 prospects coming back are OF prospects.

    If that’s the case, then here are a few names for everyone:
    Juan Duran:

    Kyle Waldrop:

    Dave Sappelt:

    Ryan LaMarre:

    Yorman Rodriguez:

    • Dorasaga

      This will define if the trade is “fair” or a “steal.” Reds dude didn’t see how this makes sense for them:

      “Initially, I thought the only way the Sean Marshall trade made sense was
      if the Reds were going to use him as the closer. But the fact that
      Marshall is coming to Cincinnati for a physical might mean the Reds have
      worked out some sort of contract extension.”