Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 09/24/12

The Devil You Don’t Know

The famous quote reads: “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know”

In what seems like forever to many Cubs’ fans, this quote appeared to be near and dear to the heart of top brass within the organization as they approached the off-season. But in an unusual twist, the front office would consider players from own system as the later rather than the former, openly embracing fringe and discarded players simply because of their Major League experience. This also appeared to be the case in 2012, as the team opened their arms to the likes of Jeff Baker, Adrian Cardenas, Blake DeWitt, Joe Mather, Ian Stewart, and Luis Valbuena while shunning Tyler Colvin, Ryan Flaherty, Marwin Gonzalez, and D.J. LeMahieu. But, rather than a wistful look at what could have been, like Dickens’ ghost of Christmas Future, this serves as a cautionary tale as the fall leagues and the Rule 5 draft approach.

But, as a point of reference, here is a comparison of the four players no longer with the organization against their counterparts still on the Cubs’ roster. All stats are current as of Thursday, September 20:

  • Tyler Colvin, Ryan Flaherty, Marwin Gonzalez, and D.J. LeMahieu: .260, 107 runs scored, 25 home runs, 104 RBI and 12 stolen bases
  • Adrian Cardenas, Joe Mather, Ian Stewart, and Luis Valbuena: .211, 63 runs scored, 14 home runs, 66 RBI and five stolen bases

As you can see, the players lost represent a nearly 35% increase in productivity over those obtained. Using the Pythagorean formula for win-loss record, the increase would provide an eight game bump in the current Pythagorean of 62-87 to 70-79. How that translated to wins and losses on the field are hard to determine, but it would be safe to say the Cubs’ fans would have had to worry less about losing 100 games in 2012.

How the team arrived at their decisions are still matters of speculation, with fingers being pointed at several parties. However, the writing seems to be on the wall that the new front office may have been relying on some faulty internal scouting reports, illustrated by the recent moves in the system. The ousting of several members of the staff, including Vice President Oneri Fleita and Iowa Manager and former Field Coordinator Dave Bialas, has hopefully led to a tightening the organizational structure. How this plays out in the off-season remains to be seen

As for now, management is using the upcoming Arizona Fall League to evaluate two pitchers potentially eligible for this year’s Rule 5 Draft, Dae-Eun Rhee and Nick Struck. They had also planned to look at lefty Zac Rosscup, but some arm concerns has him replaced by Kevin Rhoderick on the Mesa Solar Sox’s roster. Among those on the list include Frank Batista, who has recorded 50 saves over the past two seasons. Other pitchers are top prospect Trey McNutt and emerging starters Starling Peralta and Felix Pena. As far as position players, infielders Greg Rohan, Christian Villanueva, and Logan Watkins are prominent.

Rule 5 Draft eligible players in the Cubs’ system

Jeffry Antigua, LHP
Frank Batista, RHP
Justin Bour, 1B
Michael Brenly, C
Michael Burgess, OF
David Cales, RHP
Esmailin Caridad, RHP
Matt Cerda, INF
Hunter Cervenka, LHP
Evan Crawford, OF
Willengton Cruz, LHP
Antonio Encarnacion, RHP
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Marcus Hatley, RHP
Ty’Relle Harris, RHP
Jay Jackson, RHP
Alvido Jimenez, RHP
Austin Kirk, LHP
Luis Liria, RHP
Jeff Lorick, LHP
David Macias, IF-OF
Nate Maldonado, C
Trey McNutt, RHP
Pedro Medina, RHP
Jose Montesino, INF
A.J. Morris, RHP
Enyelberth Pena, RHP
Felix Pena, RHP
Starling Peralta, RHP
Nelson Perez, OF
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Rebel Ridling, 1B
Greg Rohan, IF-OF
Melvin Rosa, RHP
Jose Rosario, RHP
Zac Rosscup, LHP
Julio Sanchez, RHP
Brian Schlitter, RHP
Ryan Searle, RHP
Matt Spencer, LHP
Nick Struck, RHP
Larry Suarez, RHP
Francisco Turbi, RHP
Christian Villanueva, 3B
Brett Wallach, RHP
Logan Watkins, INF
Casey Weathers, RHP
Rob Whitenack, RHP
Ty Wright, OF

Source – The Cub Reporter

In order to protect these or other players, they will have to be added to the 40-man roster by November 20. That will mean a lot of hard decisions for the Cubs.

Here’s hoping that they have a good definition of the devil they know.

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Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt