Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 09/09/13

The post-season continued for three of the Cubs’ affiliates and Monday will be a big day down on the farm. The Smokies forced a deciding game five by winning back-to-back games over the Barons on Saturday and Sunday. In the Northwest League, the Boise Hawks and the Vancouver Canadians square off for a ring on Monday night after splitting the first two games of the best of three series.

The D-Cubs dropped the third game of the FSL Championship series on Sunday and C.J. Edwards will take the hill in game four on Monday with Daytona leading the best of five series, two games to one. Daytona took a 2-0 lead in the eighth inning on Sunday but gave up a run in the eighth, the first run surrendered by D-Cubs’ pitching in 43 innings in the post-season. Play resumed in the eighth inning after a one hour, 33 minute rain delay and the Stone Crabs walked off the D-Cubs and sent the series to a fourth game.

With the conclusion of the minor league season, it is time to hand out a few post-season awards beginning with the Short-Season Player and Pitcher of the Years. Along with full playoff coverage of the Tennessee Smokies, Daytona Cubs and Boise Hawks, here is the latest from Down on the Farm.

Last year the CCO started naming separate pitchers and players of the year for short-season and full-season players in the Cubs’ system and we will continue that this year. Short-season players were defined by those who were assigned to Short Season-A Boise, the AZL Cubs, the Dominican Summer League, and players who were unable to begin the year with a full-season minor league team.

Short Season Player of the Year – Kris Bryant, 3B

As far as short season players go, Kris Bryant comes up on the short end as he only appeared in 36 games due to a lengthy contract negotiation. However, being the second overall pick brings a lot of expectations. Bryant delivered on those expectations, and then some.

A three-year starter at the University of San Diego after being a high school All-American, Bryant led the nation with 31 home runs in his junior season, batting .329 with 62 RBI. For that, Bryant won both the Dick Howser Trophy and the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s best college baseball player. Drafted by the Cubs with the second overall pick, a prolonged negotiation kept Bryant from signing until July 12 and he missed the opening of both the rookie league and Short-Season A ball.

After not playing baseball since June 2, Bryant was sent to Arizona to shake off the rust in the rookie league. There seemed to be plenty of rust as Bryant managed only one hit and made three errors in two games. Nevertheless, Bryant was shipped off to Short-Season A Boise where he looked like a completely different player. Bryant blasted a home run in his second at bat and hit .354/.416/.692 with eight doubles, one triple, four home runs and 16 RBI for a 1.108 OPS in 18 games as the Hawks went 10-8 over that span.

Bryant was then skipped to High–A Daytona rather than spending any time at Low-A Kane County. As in his debut with Boise, Bryant homered in his first game with the D-Cubs and went on to hit .333/.387/.719 with five doubles, one triple, five homers and 14 RBI for a 1.106 OPS in 16 games. For the regular season, Bryant was a composite .336/.390/.688/1.078 with 14 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 32 RBI. After booting three balls in rookie league, Bryant committed only three more errors the rest of the way and fielded .955 for Boise and .975 for Daytona. When asked about Bryant’s ability to stick at third base, Theo Epstein recently said that Bryant is solid at third base and has a chance to stay there, but has a lot of work to do, especially going to his left.

Bryant did have some competition for this award. Outfielder Kevin Encarnacion became the second straight Cubs prospect to lead the Northwest League in hitting. Encarnacion hit .355/.431/.566 with nine doubles, one triple, eight home runs and 30 RBI with a .997 OPS for Boise. Infielder/catcher Roney Alcala came within three home runs of winning the Venezuelan Summer League triple-crown as he hit .353/.386/.544/.930 with 15 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 49 RBI in 64 games.

Short-Season Co-Pitchers of the Year – RHP James Pugliese, RHP Corbin Hoffner, RHP Michael Hamann

In discussing the Short Season Pitcher of the Year award, three candidates were so close that we decided to give it to all three, and interestingly enough, the three pitchers served in three different roles this season … a starter, a middle reliever, and a closer.

James Pugliese just turned 21 years old on August 12. The Cubs selected Pugliese in the 18th round of the 2011 draft and he was 2-2 with a 4.62 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 38 innings in rookie ball with 32 strikeouts and 12 walks. However, Short-Season A proved to be a challenge for Pugliese last season. Pugliese was 1-5 with a 5.37 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP in 60.1 innings with 51 strikeouts and 22 walks. A mechanical adjustment in the off-season meant Pugliese would start his season with the Boise Hawks. Pugliese took repeating the level in stride and the adjustments produced results. Pugliese lowered his ERA to 2.32, but more importantly he threw strikes. Pugliese managed more than a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio (59 strikeouts, 14 walks) in 76 innings with a 1.08 WHIP (55 hits, 16 earned runs allowed). Pugliese had the expected learning curve after he was promoted to Low-A Kane County late in August. Pugliese allowed 12 earned runs in 14 innings while striking out 12 and walking only two batters. The exposure should have Pugliese primed for a big season as the leader of the 2014 Cougars’ starting staff.

Twenty-year old Corbin Hoffner (July 30) came to the Cubs organization in the 14th round of the 2012 draft. Hoffner showed a lot of promise while pitching only 12 innings in the rookie league last season. He struck out 13 batters, walked four and posted a 0.71 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP. Hoffner moved up to Boise this season and the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Hoffner proved to be a workhorse. Hoffner completed 46.2 innings in 16 relief appearances and the right-hander allowed only nine earned runs while striking out 42 and walking 13 (0.90 WHIP). Hoffner looks to join what appears to be a deep bullpen for Kane County next season, and may get first crack at being their closer.

After being selected in the 16th round of the 2012 draft out the University of Toledo, Michael Hamann’s 2012 season was over almost before it began. Michael Hamann struck out two in an inning of work for the AZL Cubs and was shipped off to Boise. Hamann struck out six and allowed seven earned runs in 10.2 innings. However, he suffered a severe ankle sprain and was shut down for the remainder of the season and most of the off-season. Hamann worked his way back slowly in 2013 and the 22-year old was back in Boise where he served as their closer and did not allow an earned run in 7.2 innings. Hamann struck out nine and recorded three saves in six games. Hamann was quickly promoted to Kane County due the Cougars need for a closer. Despite being with the Cougars for over two months, Hamann’s chances were limited due to Kane County’s inability to provide save opportunities. Hamann appeared in only 16 games and struck out 17 batters while walking seven in 21.2 innings (2.49 ERA, 1.20 WHIP). Hamann finished 15 games and picked up four saves. The right hander’s overall 1.84 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and better than 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio (26 strikeouts, eight walks) has him poised to compete for the closer role at High–A Daytona next season.

Thursday: The CCO’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year

Short-Season A – Boise Hawks

(W) For the second straight year, Boise advanced to the Northwest League title series after sweeping Salem-Keizer 11-7 on Wednesday. The Hawks used their league leading offense and deep pitching staff to outlast the Volcanoes. Kevin Encarnacion (3-for-5 with a RBI) led off the game with a single and advanced to third after Danny Lockhart (3-for-6 with a RBI) reached on an error. Jacob Rogers (1-for-1 with a RBI) drew a one out walk to load the bases, and a double by Justin Marra (2-for-5 with four RBI) plated both Encarnacion and Lockhart. After Salem-Keizer answered with three runs in the second, the Hawks flexed their offensive muscle in the third. Lockhart singled, Rogers walked, and both scored on Justin Marra’s second double of the game. A double by Rony Rodriguez (1-for-3 with a RBI) plated Marra, while a single by David Bote (2-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Rodriguez. Bote took second on the throw to the plate, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly. Encarnacion started the fourth with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly. Boise capped their scoring in the fifth after Bote singled and Lance Rymel walked. Encarnacion drove in both Bote and Rymel with a single and then scored on a base hit by Lockhart.

Duane Underwood was as shaky as you would expect from a 19-year old starting his first playoff game. Underwood allowed three earned runs in 1.1 innings. Loiger Padron went 2.2 innings and gave up an earned run and struck out two batters. Corbin Hoffner followed with similar results and allowed an earned run in 2.2 innings but Hoffner struck out five in the process. Tyler Bremer allowed Salem-Keizer to creep back into the game as he surrendered two earned runs in 1.1 innings with three strikeouts. But veteran Eddie Orozco slammed the door with two strikeouts in the ninth to preserve the victory.

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(W) Boise moved to within a game of clinching the Northwest League championship on Friday as they shut out Vancouver 5-0. Dillon Maples worked out of several jams but was able to hold the Canadians scoreless for six innings while striking out seven batters. Matt Iannazzo, reassigned from Kane County, picked up two strikeouts in an inning of work. Zach Godley also fanned two as he worked 1.2 innings.

Both teams were a little edgy going into a rematch of last year’s championship. Boise coach Bill Buckner as well as a player and coach from Vancouver were ejected. The bad blood started in the third inning after Carlos Penalver (1-for-3) led off with a triple and Lance Rymel (1-for-2 with a home run) was hit by a pitch. Northwest League batting champion Kevin Encarnacion was given a called third strike when he failed to return to the batter’s box upon the home plate umpire’s prompting. Buckner was ejected for arguing the call and Penalver scored on a groundout. It stayed 1-0 until the sixth inning when Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) singled with two out and Jacob Rogers was hit by a pitch. A single by Rony Rodriguez (3-for-4 with a RBI) scored Balaguert, while a double from David Bote (1-for-4 with two RBI) plated Rogers and Rodriguez. The Hawks added to their total in the seventh when Lance Rymel blasted a solo home run.

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(L) Boise dropped game two of the Northwest League championship 4-2 to Vancouver on Sunday.

The Hawks tied the game at one in the second inning after David Bote (1-for-3 with a RBI and a walk) reached with a two-out single and scored on a double from Jordan Hankins (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI). The Hawks’ pen could not keep the Canadians off the board. Corbin Hoffner gave up three runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout in 1.2 innings in relief of Paul Blackburn.

Boise cut the Canadians lead to 4-2 in the eighth after Jesse Hodges (1-for-2 with a double and a run scored) hit for Sam Wilson and doubled. Hodges advanced to third on a balk and scored on a Danny Lockhart (1-for-4 with a RBI) single. But after Rony Rodriguez and Justin Marra walked to load the bases, David Bote struck out swinging to end the inning.

Paul Blackburn started the game and gave up one run on three hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in five innings.

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Michael Wagner is scheduled to start Monday night’s game for the Hawks. And with the series tied at one, the winner of game three on Monday night is the Northwest League Champs.

High Class–A – Daytona Cubs

(W) Daytona flirted with closing out their divisional series in style on Wednesday as the D-Cubs shut out Dunedin 4-0. Daytona’s pitching staff came close to no-hitting the Blue Jays for the third time this season. C.J. Edwards struck out eight and allowed only one baserunner on a walk in five innings. Ryan Searle continued the dominance but gave up two hits in the ninth. Searle notched five strikeouts in four innings.

The scoring for Daytona started in the second after Kris Bryant (3-for-3 with two RBI) was hit by a pitch and scored on a double from Wes Darvill (2-for-4 with a RBI). Pin-Chieh Chen walked to lead off the third and advanced to third base on a throwing error on a single by Zeke DeVoss (1-for-3). Bryant drove in both runners with a double. Darvill singled with one out and scored on a double by Elliot Soto (1-for-4 with a RBI) in the fourth inning.

(W) The Daytona Cubs opened the Florida State League Championships on Thursday with the same dominance that they showed in the divisional series and beat Charlotte 5-0. Pierce Johnson continued the trend established by starters Corey Black and C.J. Edwards and struck out six of the Stone Crabs in five innings. Jeffrey Lorick picked up a strikeout through three innings. Zach Cates made the ninth interesting after he walked the bases loaded with two out before recording his second strikeout to end the ballgame.

Once again, the D-Cubs jumped out ahead early after Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-5 with three RBI) singled to lead off the game, moved to third on a double by Zeke DeVoss (2-for-2), and scored on a groundout. Anthony Giansanti started the second inning with a double. Wes Darvill (1-for-4) reached on a dropped third strike and Elliot Soto walked. Chen then laced a double to left that cleared the bases. Daytona added a run in the fourth after DeVoss walked and scored on a double from Dustin Geiger (2-for-4 with two RBI).

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(W) Daytona moved to within a game of clinching the Florida State League championship on Saturday as they shut out Charlotte 2-0. Ivan Pineyro became the fourth straight Daytona starter to pitch five or more scoreless innings while striking out at least five batters. Pineyro fanned seven in seven innings. After a quick eighth inning, Frank Del Valle had some trouble setting down the side in the ninth. Del Valle allowed the tying runner to get in scoring position before working his way out of the jam for the save.

Saturday was a pitcher’s duel but the D-Cubs were able to scratch out a run in the first after Dustin Geiger (1-for-4) singled and scored on a double by Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with a RBI). Daytona added an insurance run in the seventh after Kris Bryant (1-for-4) led off with a double and scored on a double from Chadd Krist (2-for-3 with a RBI).

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(L) Daytona had a chance to wrap up the championship on Sunday but after a long rain delay in the eighth inning, the D-Cubs lost 3-2 on a walk-off single by Jonathan Quinonez off Zach Cates in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Charlotte Stone Crabs scored all three of their runs in the eighth and ninth innings after Corey Black tossed six-plus innings of shutout ball to start the game. Black allowed only one hit with two walks and two strikeouts. Jeffrey Lorick served up a solo homer to Jonathan Quinonez in the eighth, the first run allowed by D-Cubs’ pitching in 43 post-season innings.

Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with a RBI) and Chadd Krist (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) drove in Daytona’s two runs and Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) scored the second run on Krist’s double in the seventh. Pin-Chieh Chen (3-for-4 with a run scored) and Zeke DeVoss (1-for-2 with a walk) set the table but the D-Cubs went 1-for-5 with RISP in the loss.

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C.J. Edwards takes the ball on Monday night with the D-Cubs up 2-1 in the best of five championship series.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies

(L) Tennessee came up short in their opening divisional playoff game on Thursday and lost 3-1 to Birmingham. Nick Struck was tapped to start the series and allowed three earned runs while striking out three in five innings. Yeiper Castillo, A.J. Morris and Tony Zych each contributed a scoreless inning. The Smokies’ only run came in the fifth inning, Rubi Silva (1-for-3 with a home run) launched a solo home run.

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(L) The Smokies placed themselves in a 0-2 hole when they lost 7-1 to Birmingham on Friday. Dae-Eun Rhee got the starting nod but was hampered by errors from Rafael Lopez and Javier Baez. Rhee allowed five runs (two earned) and struck out two batters in 4.1 innings. P.J. Francescon gave up another two earned runs in 2.1 innings. Hunter Cervenka and Armando Rivero each tossed 0.2 scoreless innings. Tennessee managed only a consolation run in the ninth when Rubi Silva singled and scored on a double by John Andreoli.

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(W) With their backs to the wall, Tennessee came out swinging on Saturday and defeated Birmingham 9-2. The Smokies jumped out to an early lead thanks to Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). Baez crushed a two-run homer in the first with Matt Szczur (2-for-4, RBI) on board. With the Smokies up 2-1, Tennessee got some breathing room in the fifth after John Andreoli (2-for-4, two RBI) doubled and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly. The Smokies broke the game open in the eighth when Szczur led off with a single and scored after one out base hits by Baez and Justin Bour (1-for-3 and RBI). A single by Christian Villanueva (2-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Baez. Rubi Silva was intentionally walked. Jonathan Mota was hit by a pitch to force in Bour, and a double from Andreoli cleared the bases.

Starter Eric Jokisch was up to the task of keeping the Barons in check. Jokisch allowed two earned runs and struck out four in 7.2 innings. Armando Rivero recorded the final out in the eighth, while Frank Batista worked around a hit and a walk in the ninth.

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(W) The Smokies forced a fifth and deciding game in the North Division Championship series with a 10-7 victory over the Birmingham Barons on Sunday afternoon. Sunday was a total team effort that went down to the last out.

The Smokies tied the game at two in the third inning on a two-run single by Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with two RBI). Taylor Davis (2-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored) and Matt Szczur (1-for-3 with a double, three RBI and a walk) scored on the play. The Smokies scored three runs in the fourth on a single by Jonathan Mota (2-for-3 with a triple, three RBI and three runs scored) and a two-run double by Matt Szczur.

After the Barons cut the Smokies lead to 5-4 in the sixth, the Smokies scored two in the sixth and three more in the bottom of the eighth. But the Barons scored three runs in the top of the ninth off of P.J. Francescon and Buddy Bailey had to summon Frank Batista to close it out with a runner on and the Smokies clinging to a three run lead. Batista retired Cody Puckett on a grounder to Javier Baez for the final out.

Rubi Silva (4-for-4 with three runs scored) and John Andreoli (0-for-2 with a walk, a sac bunt and a run scored) contributed to the victory while the big bats went hitless. Javier Baez (0-for-5) and Justin Bour (0-for-4) were a combined 0-for-9 on Sunday.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs sent RHP Michael Bowden and OF Cole Gillespie outright to the Iowa Cubs; assigned LHP Matt Iannazzo to the Boise Hawks from the Kane County Cougars.

The Boise Hawks activated LHP Kyle Shepherd from the 7-Day disabled list.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Theboardrider

    What’s the story with Encarnacion? I don’t hear him included when we discuss the future. With his stats perhaps he should be in that discusion. What does everyone think about him? Tom, Tim, Neil, Ray, Tony? Anybody else? Should we consider this guy a potential starter in Chicago in a few years?

    • Tom U

      Boardrider, Ecarnacion is someone who got lost a little in the transition from one regime to another.

      He probably should have been at his present level last season, but the upheaval in the farm system held him back.

      Encarnacion is a switch hitter who has plus speed and is a plus defender. He has emerging power, and may move up quickly next season as he has some Single-A experience.

      • Banjowilly

        Nice job, Tom. My untrained eye tells me the same thing. In the games I saw, he just looked better than the other players on the field. I hope he moves up and does well. The future looks bright. How many more under the radar guys are out there? I guess time will tell. Bottom line is the farm is looking good. Thanks for all you do…don’t know how you do it, but you do a great job updating the farm for us.

  • Theboardrider

    We have some serious starting pitching at the A level. Black, Edwards, Pinyero, Blackburn, Johnson, Searle. The distant future is loaded with potential rotation guys. Maybe even a couple #1’s. edwards for sure looks capable.

    • 07GreyDigger

      This team finally has some starting pitching in the minors. How long has it been? 5-6 years?

      • coachdon

        Just to throw a little caution out there: a couple years ago we had a few real good looking prospects as well; Archer who is doing well but with another team, McNutt who went from throwing 97 and being almost dominant to being a middle reliever at AA, and Whitenack who had TJ surgery and is struggling in A ball and is probably close to out of baseball. Not to mention Dolis and Cabrera who have been close to the bigs for several years but have never gotten consistent enough to stick. I hope all those young guys make it but it just shows that you never know who will eventually put it all together.

        • 07GreyDigger

          That’s 100% true. But don’t forget the quality of players before the current regime. We were told they were great, but were they? I’m intrigued by these guys, but I’ll hold my excitement until these guys show up on national lists.

          • coachdon

            Just like we are being told this crop of prospects are great. But are they or is it propaganda? I hope they prove to be as good as the sales pitch because I would like to watch a winner at some point.

          • 07GreyDigger

            That’s why I said you have to see how these prospects are viewed on a national level. Guys like Bryant, Almora and Baez are drooled over by publications like Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America. You can assume these guys are the real deal.

          • daverj

            You can add Soler to the list of guys you mentioned that Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America like. With respect to the pitchers, I expect that Edwards will make it into the back-end of the Top 100 for some of the publications. Vizcaino has a chance to make them, but probably won’t given his injury history. Johnson probably need another half-season of success before he makes the national lists.

          • DWalker

            Everyone who was a little objective, could see there was a bit of a reach on ranking many of the cubs upper prospects compared to other clubs. Admittedly some also had national ranking, but there were only a few of those. Unfortunately, even most of those turned out to be a stretch. I was starting to question if the lack of depth and hype of the cubs system influenced some of those lists more than they should have. B. Jackson for instance kept rising in the lists, but it was already starting to be apparent he had a major flaw in his swing. I look at the farm system 2 years ago, and I look at it now. To me, its a totally different system, with top prospects that really look like legit top prospects whose big flaws is their depth in the system and it doesn’t fall off after the first 3 to 5 guys to C prospects. Not everyone will make it, I expect a few high profile names on the list to falter, but there is now some serious and legitimate talent far down the list. If anything, there are a lot of guys, who after reading Toms updates, are under hyped by this FO. It may be they are taking some of the pressure off these guys, or they are just under the radar to the media, but you have to admit, there are some very interesting guys in this system you don’t hear about outside these reports and a few of the really in depth system reviews.

          • coachdon

            Do you not think that the current regime is out hyping these kids big time? Of course they are because it’s the only thing they have to hang their hat on, with the big league club being so bad. Since all of these lists are totally subjective, one wonders if the Epstein aura doesn’t get him and his projects a bit more favorable reviews. Like I said I hope they all make it big because I’d like to see a young winning team in a couple years, but hype is still hype, no matter who’s doing it.

          • cubtex

            True. The absolute main reason on why the farm system is considerably better today is from drafting so high because the major league team has sucked so bad for 4 straight years. Look at the Pirates and Astros farm an example. It is not hard to build a good farm system if you are drafting in the top 5 every year.

          • SuzyS

            You still have to draft smart and have some luck (re injuries etc.).
            Cubtex, Where you and I usually disagree fundamentally is you believe we can both build the farm system and put a winning mlb team on the field at the same time.
            Considering how bereft of talent the Cubs were (across the board) I belief that Theo and Co. took the only smart course open to them to actually build a winner.
            2 models to follow are:
            1) In your own back yard, the Rangers…and what they did after they got rid of Arod…they built the system until they were ready to compete.
            2) The Atlanta Braves…they were absolutely terrible for years and years until Turner bought them…at that point, they not only built a terrific milb system but had the money to hold onto their stars once the system was contributing. (Before Turner, they were similar to the Pirates or Royals…not wealthy enough to hold onto their own talent…or even smart enough to draft well.

            I firmly believe that Theo & Co. (with Ricketts blessings), have rebuilt the Cubs organization (includes scouting/data Info/facilities/management etc) into a truly competitive organization which will begin to show benefits at the major league level in the next few years.

            That being said, there are still going to be growing pains…and we are still in the talent acquisition mode.

            I, for one, believe the Cubs should pull out all the stops to go after possible TOR talent like Tanaka from Japan.

            Other than pitching, I’m really happy that Hoyer publicly admitted the weakness the organization has at catcher.

            Hoyer said that the Cubs will address that in the next 2 seasons…and I’ll hold him to it.

            Soon, very soon, we should be done with the “acquire them to flip them” strategy.

            It is almost time to start acquiring talent solely to keep them and see results on the field.

            That will be progress.

          • cubtex

            This is year 4 with top 10 picks.

          • SuzyS

            Your point???

          • cubtex

            Compete on MLB side. Ridiculous they aren’t fielding a better team

          • SuzyS

            Why can’t you understand that the Cubs were handicapped by immovable non-performing gigantic contracts…with very little talent in the minor leagues and an organization that was modeled for doing business in the 1940’s.
            How do you get out of it?
            You build a new organization from the ground up…which is what we are doing.
            If the Cubs continued to throw $$$$ at the major league level…we would end up at being a .500 ballclub with a low talent minor league system.

            When you build something to last… you start with the foundation…Once you have that…you can build all the frills you want.

            We are almost there…not quite…but almost.

          • SuzyS

            CoachDon…hype is ok…as long as it is somewhat based in reality.

            What I mean is this…perceived value may be turned into true value…if traded to other teams correctly.

        • cubtex

          good points. Even Chris Archer has been figured out a little. His last 2 starts were not good. He was great in July but once teams see a guy and scouts get scouting reports on players….the adjustment period begins. Don’t forget about Andrew Cashner either. He would have been good to have held onto(imo)

          • 07GreyDigger

            Hindsight is 20/20 when it comes to Cashner. I’m glad he’s having a good season, but he was a promising injury prone pitcher who they traded for a potentially solid power bat. You can’t fault them for that trade. He’s still a promising injury prone pitcher and until he shakes that label, this trade to me is still a push.

          • cubtex

            I disagree on a push. A TOR starter who is controlled like Cashner is more valuable than a serviceable and unspectacular 1st baseman.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            I accidentally up voted this. He’s still arb eligible because he’s an average starter that’s injury prone.

          • Neil

            Not if he breaks down. Let’s see how Rizzo performs next year before handing out the labels.

          • cubtex

            Even if Rizzo performs slightly better, he plays 1B. He is not elite. Cashner has a special arm and of course he needs to stay healthy but the Padres have done a great job this year of spacing out his starts to limit his innings. Cubs will regret trading Cashner.

          • Neil

            Again, let’s see how he performs next season. I never said that Rizzo is elite or projects that way. I said to wait until after next season before handing out labels. A trade is supposed to work out well for both teams, maybe this one will.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        have to go back to the Wood & Prior minor league era.

    • John_CC

      “A” ball is a long long way from paradise. I too am glad to see the quality arms down there but projecting future pitchers when they are that far off is tough at best.

      I’m gonna wait till a full season of AA to even begin to hope for anything at the ML level.

      The Cubs really need to make serious bid for Tanaka.

  • coachdon

    And on a completely different subject, I see the lineup for today. Apparently the braintrust has absolutely no love for the Watkins kid. He may as well pack his bags because if he can’t see the field on this team at this time, when will he ever? I have never been a huge proponent of his as I thought some here overhyped him just because he wasn’t Barney, but give the kid a chance to show you whether he can or can’t play.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Bravo sir. They did this to Vitters too. How are you going to know what you have with a young guy unless you play him? It’s deplorable. Barney can play great defense, but shown this year he can’t hit. His batting gets worse and worse. What do we need to see that we haven’t?

      • coachdon

        The thing about Barney that frustrates me is that I think the kid has good hand eye coordination and baseball smarts. But he has the worst swing I’ve ever seen on a Major Leaguer. Most of his swings he scoops at the ball and finishes very high like a golf swing. Never, ever going to work well for anybody much less a little dude. When he gets a line drive hit to right field, he finishes a lot lower because he has come down through the baseball, not scooping at it. I can’t believe they don’t make him change this but maybe he just can’t do it correctly. Or maybe the coaching sucks, I don’t know…

        • 07GreyDigger

          If you can see it, the whole league has seen it because his average has dropped three consecutive years. They should have dumped him last year when they could of. He’s a utility guy at best

          • SuzyS

            GreyDigger, IMO when Barney first came up…I thought he would make a nice bench player.
            Nothing has really changed my mind since…except he would be a lousy pinch hitter….:-)

      • Neil

        Please keep in mind, some of last year was Vitters as well. He needs to take control of his career. Last year he had not to that point.

    • Tony_Hall

      You don’t think they watched him all year? He would be home by now if he wasn’t called up, so I have to believe he is still benefiting from being around the major league players and coaches. Sometimes taking a step back and watching can help a player out as well.

      Personally, I would like to see him play, but I also feel he is most likely a utility type and they already know that. He will start the year in Iowa next year almost for sure.

      • cubtex

        So you are saying that just because he is most likely a utility type that and they know that that he shouldn’t get an opportunity to play? Isn’t that what was said about Junior Lake? I’ll answer that last question for you…..Yes.

        • Tony_Hall

          If you are going to ask and answer the questions, then just reply to yourself.

          He isn’t getting an opportunity to play, because Barney is not going anywhere right now. Lake is getting his opportunity, because he will be counted on from the beginning next year. Lake’s, “utility” role will be at a a minimum as the RH platoon partner. Watkins could be the LH platoon partner to Barney, but it it obvious they are not considering that for the beginning of next year.

          • cubtex

            So Lake was counted on to start next year before he had any success at the MLB level? I doubt you even believe that but you will defend it so have at it:)

          • Tony_Hall

            No, but he has the opportunity to start with no one in the OF blocking him.

            You don’t always have to look for an argument?

    • SuzyS

      I tend to agree with you. At this stage, Watkins should be getting more playing time…Although our pitching staff may prefer Barney’s defense.

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