Rambling about the Cubs with Visions of Mesa

After a crazy a week, full of news and groundbreaking signings like those of Trever Miller and Matt Tolbert combined with another eye-opening list of prospects from BA that no one has ever thought of before, it is hard just to catch one’s breath.

Can you sense the sarcasm? Good, because I am laying it on pretty thick.

And as I am typing this, word breaks across the wire that the Cubs landed themselves a 19-year-old Cuban prodigy. I am pretty sure that I had something to with that by typing the opening paragraph at the precise time I did. You are welcome.

And I digress, it has been rather quiet so new prospect lists are a good way to create conversation and discussion and debate. Who is the Cubs best prospect? I have no idea. That is as honest as I can be.

So, let’s shake it up with some ramblings on a Friday. And I sure hope this can create some good banter to get the Super weekend started.

  • Welcome to the Chicago Cubs organization, Gerardo Concepcion!
  • Madonna is the halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl. I prefer Madonna as the entertainment in the thrilling legal feature “Body of Evidence.”
  • FIFTEEN DAYS!!
  • Scotty B. is not having a lot of success this offseason. Outside of Prince, it is just a slew of one-year contracts.
  • I am not upset that Scotty B. is not as successful as usual.
  • Yoenis, Soler, Yoenis, Soler, Yoenis, Soler, can we please get some action going soon?
  • Happy belated Birthday to Mr. Cub!
  • FIFTEEN DAYS!!
  • I think it is clear that I like Tom Ricketts. But I have to keep the love flowing. He is throwing more money into the Dominican, and the Cubs will have the best facility in the country.
  • Hard to knock that in any way, shape or form. This man gets it. This whole thing is moving in a new direction, and it is exciting as hell.
  • I am really looking forward to seeing Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo in Spring Training. My gut tells me B-Jax is ready, and he is just waiting to prove it.
  • Overall though, I am very excited about Matt Szczur the most.
  • What Cubs prospect are you most excited about? Please share with the class.
  • FIFTEEN DAYS!!
  • Baseball America is in love with Baez. That is going out on a limb as far as I’m concerned. Ranking a totally unproven player second in an organization just seems silly.
  • Then again, I am sure the good folks at BA really care about my thoughts.
  • How much money is Garza going to get?
  • I really hope Starlin’s legal troubles are resolved by Spring Training. And if he’s guilty, he should do the time.
  • My point being is that I really would hate to have this hover over the entire team. History shows one person’s problems can have a horrible effect on a group.
  • Derrick Rose is unbelievably good.
  • FIFTEEN DAYS!!
  • When the Cubs new facility opens in Mesa, the team will have two unbelievable practice facilities in two different countries. That is just good stuff.
  • With the increase in international complexes, I would not be surprised to see teams start building bases near the Pacific Rim. Especially based on the results of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
  • For all of you planning on getting to Arizona this spring, that is awesome. Enjoy.
  • Also, I am extremely jealous.
  • I perused the list of non-roster invitees. If any make the 25-man roster, I would bet on Manny Corpas or Alfredo Amezaga. How about you?
  • Again, welcome Gerardo. All the best!
  • FIFTEEN DAYS!!
  • Enjoy your Super Bowl weekend. Next sports stop: SPRING TRAINING!!

Thanks for riding along. We, at the CCO, eagerly await the day’s discussion. It always makes a Friday even better.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey Stengel 

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  • Dorasaga

    Since 2007, I don’t even care about Super Bowl anymore. That was the last year they donned the lions in front of Art Institute with helmets.

    Fourteen Days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That was 14 exclamatory marks. Fourteen.

    The best prospect for the Cubs will always be the one not signed by the Cubs. That keeps everyone happy while speculating–

    Fan A: Oh, I love this and that of a college kid who can do so and so. The organization MUST sign him for 2.5 million.
    Fan B: No, we should trade Garza for minor leaguer X and Y, because that is the right thing for Thoyer to do.
    Fan C: Can I have more cream on my pie?
    Fan A and B: …. Yankee fan.

    Fourteen Days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tony_Hall

    Corpas – I think will start at AAA
    Amezaga – I can see, but only if they trade Dewitt (or just cut him)

    I really don’t think any of the non-roster invitees will make the team out of Spring Training, unless B Jax wins a spot.

    So I’ll go with it – Brett Jackson

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JKQGSH67PHSCQL7OCOLRJHIGY TomO

      Yikes, I forgot Dewiit was still on the 40 man roster!

  • Tony_Hall

    Matt Garza is going to get $7.95M – he overshot his price range by more than the Cubs undershot it.

    I believe they will offer him $9M-$9.5M, as their final offer before the hearing, and he should accept it. 

    But I don’t believe the hearing is about 2012.  I believe his agent overshot his price range to go to arbitration, to see how a team will look at Garza from a critical eye, with their eye on the long term contract he will be signing soon.

    • Smcneil

      I could not have said it better Tony, Garza should settle and be traded or extended. Let’s hope they don’t go to hearing. That would or could be ugly..

  • Tony_Hall

    When I look at the prospects list, I look at a future lineup and that is what I am most excited about.

    1. Matt Szczur CF
    2. Ronald Torreyes 2B
    3. Starlin Castro SS
    4. Anthony Rizzo 1B
    5. Javier Baez 3B
    6. Brett Jackson RF
    7. Josh Vitters LF
    8. Wellington Castillo C

    And for those that always like to come back with, that will never happen…of course this exact lineup will never happen, it might not be Castillo, it could be Clevenger, or Brenly, or even still Soto.  Torreyes may not be the 2B, it could be Devoss or Watkins.  Lake could be the 3B or RF, and Vogelback could be the 1B, etc, etc. 

    That is why we have so many players in the system, and why good teams, get all of the talent they can when available, and draft the best player available, and worry about what to do if 2 players succeed that they had for the same position.  

    • Thebearsays

       Tony, I love that potential lineup…8 guys that few people outside of Chicago have heard of, who might be very well-known in just a few years.

  • The Maven

    With the signing of Gerardo Concepcion, can Rubi Silva still be called “the expensive Cuban”?

    • Dorasaga

      By the way, a little history here… Neil posted the “50 Years” on Concepcion’s shoulder in his last entry:
      http://chicagocubsonline.com/GerardoConcepcion.jpg

      Cuba celebrated its FIFTIETH year of baseball league, since Fidel Castro reinstated a new socialist system for the island. Most professional sports leagues on this world couldn’t even survive two years (Israel’s baseball league, the XFL), albeit 50.

      Anyone walking on the face of earth with 50-years of stuffs must have something, if not all wisdom, for fans to learn. I hope baseball fans can understand where are those “ID cheat” and “politburo” problems, not coming from Cuban baseball. We can then have fun to enjoy the heritage of baseball as a whole.

  • cubs1967

    nice tweet on CCO about international scouts not sure how a 18 yr old throwing 86-90 could get 7M??…………even mark pawlek threw harder than that……..here’s hoping his ERA is not 5.00 in Peoria this summer.

    • Tony_Hall

      Yet if they had said no, to the $7M and another team signed him to $6M for 4 years, you and others would be saying, can’t they do something, only $6M for this young lefty who has hit 92 MPH and he’s only 18!

    • Jeff

      I guess if there was a second coming of Greg Maddux you would say he is crap because he can’t top 90 on the old radar gun.  Today everything is about the speed of the fastball.  What is wrong with soft throwers?  Maddux, Perry, Niekro, etc. would have problems getting drafted today.  I would take a soft thrower with excellent control over a 100mph guy who cant find home plate.

  • Anthony

    Just because he is Cuban?

    When the NCAA changed to BBCOR metal in 2011, many 19 year old college pitchers posted sub 3.00 ERA’s, and the ones a tad older who got drafted signed for much less, even plane tickets.

    This kid, in an inferior league(Cuban), as an 85-92 velocity, more mid-80’s working, versus max, gets millions of dollars posting an ERA higher against wood bats, while the US kid gets a few thousand in chump change, and an opportunity with a minor league uniform contract.

    There are thousands of soft-tossin LHP’s in college ball, none are Cuban, so it must be the mystique that romances the baseball decision-makers with these offshore players?

    • Dorasaga

      I mentioned Davenport and conversion of quality before. The Cuban league is single-A. That’s a tad better than college-ball, won’t you agree?

      • Anthony

        No sir, I would not.

        In 2011, Division 1 against BBCOR metal bats, 185 pitchers had an ERA at 3.00 or way below.

        85 mph is 85 mph, in high school, in Cuba, and at the college level, and, at the Pro level.

        Many have compared D1 baseball to High A, and there are a few from these 185 pitchers from 2011 that got a nice bonus, like Bauer, Cole, Hultzen as power pitchers, but most didn’t get $7M

        Even the INTL scouting community are saying this was a huge overpay.

        Not against the signing, just against the guaranteed cost paid(MLB deal), just like I wouldn’t give the Centipede huge dollars either.

        As mentioned before, I am more attuned to the college game. I have seen many games, many players, and follow them in Pro baseball. I look for certain things in performances, I look at matchups. I look for how a hitter does aginst the best pitchers, not their overall stats, and vice-versa.

        By looking inside the numbers, how a player performs mano.y.mano, in the clutch is a good indicator of future performance because both the pitcher and hitter will probably run into each other again down the road in Pro baseball, or at least, will have many more batlles with the best of the best.

        This is also why I giggle at prospect lists, especially the high schoolers because they haven’t experienced these challenges yet, haven’t done the grind yet, have no clue of time management yet, haven’t played with a confused body clock yet, motel beds, long bus rides sleeping in a seat, etc etc.

        • Dorasaga

          I never said $7M guaranteed PLUS a Major League roster (40-man) are not flagging red, but we yet need to know how many years the Cuban free-agent was signed. If it’s 6 years, then we might be talking 950k per year and a 1.3M signing bonus. That’s about right for a young, unproven free-agent.

          I won’t call this “overpay” until I see the details. Your international scouting friends might want to check the market first.

          I followed a lot of international players and how they performed into pro.league. I’m not a pro., but my fan-bias is always there. I really want to see through the content of things. I guess our different understanding of this game guarantees us to not agree if college-ball is single-A. I watched the college World Series in 2007 and 2008, on TV. I wasn’t as impressed as the Cuban National Team that I saw between 2004-2010, in person and on TV.

          If those who are the best of Cuba were single-A, then no way the best teams from Division I are single A. Not even close. The 2006 WBC attested my viewpoint. Those Cubans could square the best of MLB, though the latter was under spring-training condition (not to their best).

          One thing I’m sure–I would not define the “right” or “wrong” of pro.ball as you are trying to. Good luck on persuading more Cubs fans.

          • Anthony

            I mentioned I look for matchups in college ball as an indicator of how a player may fare in pro baseball.

            Just using D1 baseball, even though several players get to pro ball from D2/3/JUCO/NAIA, there are about 3000-4000 draft-eligibles from D1 each year, about 600 get selected, or about 15%.

            D1 baseball players that enter that level of baseball come from 1/2 of 1 percent of all graduating high school seniors each season. This group is pretty elite company, and from these, the small amount that get a pro opportunity becomes even more elite.

            Many very good players opt for college versus pro for several reasons, talent not being one. You have to be really overwhelmed with life-chainging monies or just simply hate the work needed to succeed academically to forego being a collegiate student-athlete.

            The trade-off. You get erroneously labeled “too old” to be a prospect, and the college guys start at a huge disadvantage based on ill-perceptions and biased thinking.

            A LHP who works in the 86-89 range with stuff is a very common commodity in college baseball, and they don’t get a $7M contract that often, regardless of its duration.

            They get a few thousand and a plane ticket. This signing is an overpay from a baseball standpoint. A plus 3.00 ERA against A ball players, as the Cubans have been compared to, with wood bats could very well translate to at least a 4.50 ERA against D1 hitters with a metal bat, and there are hundreds of those type pitchers in college baseball who don’t even get a chance, let alone 7 million dollars.

            This is a classic, “must be better than our guys since he is Cuban” signing.

          • Dorasaga

            I see where these ramblings came from. Tony already replied you previously, but to the feel of annoyance. You defend every single point of yours, and I encourage you to organize and make your opinions louder; influence more people. Try to change MLB and how they deal with international free agents, if that serves your purposes.

            You have some mis-understanding against foreign leagues. How can you translate a 60-game season of US D1 to 120-game of Cuban baseball? (The numbers are my rounding, not meant to be accurate enough.) How can you dictate the market? Why was Tazawa, a Theo signee, placed on AA while he came off the “Industrial League” of Japan (amateur)?

            By the way, the Cuban league adopted wooden bat before the turn of century to fit the IBAF rules. IBAF is the international body that organizes tournaments and promotes baseball worldwide. You might see the World University Games in Korea three years from now.

            Tell me about what’s good with baseball? The Cubans at least sent their best teams, each year, to make a show for European, South American, Australian, and the Greater Asian audiences. Where were the MLB teams? Only where the big monies and baseball-rich are, not where they need promotion and to attract new audiences.

    • gary3411

      The reason is because MLB teams do not have to use up a draft pick on an international guy, AND every team can bid on them. Both of those huge factors do not occur in the First-Year-Player Draft. If Concepcion entered the draft you are correct he would not have gotten 7 million. Maybe he’d be a late first rounder and gotten just over a million or something, but those are 2 huge factors to look at. PLUS the fact that this is the last chance to bid on international players before a limit is enforced with the new CBA, so teams are willing to use their last chance to outbid others for young talent. This is why we signed Concepcion for 7 million dollars, and why Soler and Cespedes will get massive paydays as well by somebody.

      Yes, the US born players are at a disadvantage when it comes down to pure dollars because of the draft, but that will become more leveled now with the international signing budgets being enforced.

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    Happy Friday everyone

    I’m excited for Vitters. Im with the group who understands he’s straight out of HS and has several years of minor league ball under his belt. Sure, he may not have blown up minor league pitching. Sure, A and AA competition can sometimes translate to some D1 programs. My point is I’m excited to see where Vitters will be at in his development seeing that he would essentially be in his final year of college.

    • Anthony

      Its very difficult to pinpoint D1 equivalency versus the minor leagues, thats why I mentioned matchups are better to look at versus overall college production/stats.

      Nobody knows what Vitters would have done in college ball versus signing and starting Pro out of high school, but one thing is certain. The draft bonus affords the player 24/7/365 to live and breath baseball, development, etc.

      No classes to attend, no study periods, no NCAA mandated practice days, no need for working to make a buck, etc., so that bring me to this statement.

      He should be better. He should be bigger and stronger, yet, it appears he isn’t. Folks have said college players entering Pro baseball all should hit the ground running and be immediate successes. Very Untrue, as for the reasons mentioned being a student-athlete, student being FIRST.

      As much as I don’t care about goofy prospect lists and fake scouting reports from baseball sites, especially BA, they at least post decent interviews, and this is a good one from a student-athlete, and is indicative of many college players, especially those called Senior signs.

      http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/college/season-preview/2012/2612898.html

      There are many baseball benefits in college. You get to compete, you work to win as a team versus being an independent contractor in Pro baseball, and you mature, learn time management, responsibility, and perspective.

      Scouts say Baez has fast hands, and hopefully it translates to success, but scouts say this every year on many young kids, and many fail. Scouts also say there is a tad of arrogance, and a sense of entitlement in the kid, i.e lack of maturity, big fish in a little pond, hasn’t failed yet, so people want to crown him King after a couple professional games and past competition against other high schoolers and a few showcases.

      His story will be one to watch. I am currently more interested in the 2011 college guys we drafted, and to a lesser extent, the 2010 ones also.

      Instead, using 1B as an example, we all read LaHair, until Rizzo is ready, and that leads to Vogelbach, while everyone in between is ignored. Go back and look how players like Bour, R.Jones, Ridling, Cuneo have produced. Prett darn good, but Vogelbach is your future Prince, c’mon man, that is simply nuts. What are you gonna say if Paul Hoilman hits 30 HR’s in 2012?

      Will you jump on his bandwagon, or dismiss by saying, “Oh, it was in A ball against inferior pitching” How ridiculous.

      So why get excited about a 19 year old pitcher at such a huge dollar cost? I’m not.

      • WidespreadHisPanic

        Well said.

        I’m excited about LaHair too. Ridling, Bour – they just don’t get the respect they deserve. And im eager to see how the college guys from the past couple drafts are developing too.