Scott Boras Thinks Cubs Should Call-Up Kris Bryant and News from Down on the Farm

The Cubs front office has said time and time again this season that the team did not see a scenario in which Kris Bryant makes his big league debut this year. Bryant is having an excellent season and has put up big time numbers for Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. Bryant is still four days away from the one-year anniversary of his first professional game.

Kris Bryant is knocking on the door, one which could open mid to late April of 2015 if he continues to check those boxes off his player development plan. But his agent, Scott Boras thinks Kris Bryant should be called up this season.

Scott Boras told the Tribune, “This is a business operation, and I think Kris is aware of hit. In many, many situations, on most clubs, Kris Bryant would be in the big leagues because they’re preparing him to play in the big leagues next year. Why not bring him up in September, let him get his feet wet, get that out of the way, and let him hit. Certainly his talent has put him in a position where a lot of clubs would consider him to be someone they would put on their Opening Day roster.”

Theo Epstein declined to comment on Boras’ statement to the Tribune.

Kris Bryant knows he has work to do in the field and at the plate. Bryant talked about his approach, what he’s been working on offensively and defensively and the possibility of a position change down the line during an interview on MLB Network Radio/XM Radio before the Futures Game.

PrintBryant is willing to play whatever position is best for the Cubs and helps his team win games. Bryant told Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on Inside Pitch, “Whatever helps my team win. Right now I am working as hard as I can to play a good third base. I think this year I’ve taken a huge stride forward with the position and just being more consistent over there. But if they came up to me and wanted me to play right field or left field or wherever they want me to play, just as long as I am in the lineup and helping my team win, I am all for it.”

And despite the big numbers he’s put up in less than a full year in a pro ball, Bryant has to work on refining his approach at the plate. “I think just being more consistent when I get that pitch to hit and hitting it hard,” Bryant said. “I think sometimes this year I’ve fouled some good pitches off that I should have hit. I think it boils down to being more focused at the plate. I also think not chasing pitches, here and there which is natural when you have guys with nasty sliders, but that’s going to kind of refine my approach to not really do it as much.”

“In terms of defense, I’m 6-foot-6, so just working on staying low to the ground and working on my side to side agility I think that would really help me playing third base.”

Jed Hoyer discussed the season Kris Bryant has had and how he has succeeded at every level. Hoyer admitted the front office has pushed him rather hard during an interview on MLB Network Radio with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette (Power Alley) after the trade with Oakland.

“We’ve really pushed him. Last year we skipped him over Low-A ball and put him in High-A for the playoffs in Daytona. We really expected that at the end of a long season he’s going to struggle, and he didn’t struggle,” Hoyer said. “And then we decided to put him in the Fall League and we felt like that was probably going to be a good push for him and probably the first time he’s going to struggle and he ended up winning the MVP. So we’ve been kind of pushing this guy ahead and he’s been answering every challenge.”

Billy McKinney

During an interview with Matt Spiegel and Peggy Kusinski on 670 The Score after the trade with Oakland, Jed Hoyer discussed Billy McKinney and admitted the Cubs hoped he would slip in the 2013 draft so they could take him in the second round. The Cubs see him as a right fielder for now, especially with Albert Almora in center and the recently promoted Kyle Schwarber in left field.

“Billy McKinney will probably play right field for us. We liked him a lot in the draft,” Hoyer said. “He was a guy we knew we weren’t going to take No. 2 overall and we knew there was no chance he would get back to that next pick and that was something we were really disappointed in because we did like him a lot in the draft. He’s got a really good swing. Oakland pushed him fast. They pushed him to High-A ball when most guys would have started out much lower than that and he’s really held his own. I think it is an impressive year for a 19-year old in High-A ball. He’s competed well. He’s strikeout to walk ratio has been good. He’s shown some power. We’re excited to get him. I think he is underappreciated in this deal because of the focus on Russell, but he’s a guy who was a first rounder 13 months ago.”

Addison Russell

Smokies’ play-by-play man Mick Gillispie spoke with the recently acquired Addison Russell. Entering play Thursday, Russell was 6-for-31 since the trade with a double, a walk and eight strikeouts. Russell admitted he was really surprised when he found out he’d been traded.

Addison Russell, like many of the players in the farm system, said he would move positions if the Cubs asked him to and he thinks he would be able to make an adjustment.

 

Jed Hoyer talked about what the Cubs liked about Addison Russell after the trade on MLB Network Radio.

“It seems like we always ran into him in the fall. After the draft he played in the Instructional League against our team and last year it was really nice, he was on the same Fall League team with Bryant, Soler and Almora and so whenever we were out there we saw him play a lot,” Hoyer told Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette. “I think the biggest thing with us for Russell is that we feel like he is a very balanced player. He controls the strike zone for a young kid. He’s got bat speed. He’s got athleticism and he looks like the game is pretty slow for him and he’s in control of his actions on the field. He’s always engaged with every pitch and the more we scouted him the more we liked him. I think he’s a guy that really grows on you as you watch him play more and more. There is a reason the A’s have been aggressive. They put this guy at 19 years old in High-A and he performed and he’s performing in Double-A at age 20 and when you look around baseball that doesn’t happen all the time. Not a lot of 20-year olds are playing shortstop in Double-A and we do think he has a really good game clock and he sort of precocious that way and we think he’s a guy that can potentially move quickly.”

In 21 games at the Double-A level this season, the 20-year old Russell is hitting .278/.360/.392 with four doubles, a triple, a home run, nine walks and 16 strikeouts for a .752 OPS.

Minor News and Notes

Arodys Vizcaino and Armando Rivero could be game-changers in the Cubs pen according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. The stat line points to Vizcaino struggling at Iowa, but according to Tony Andracki, Vizcaino has been working on “refining his mechanics” since he was promoted to Iowa. Vizcaino is on the 40-man roster and could be called up to the big leagues this season. Rivero was in big league camp in the spring and has had a good season (5-1 in 34 games with a 1.58 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP) with the Smokies and I-Cubs. Rivero is not on the 40-man roster.

ESPN Chicago caught up with Kyle Schwarber just before he found out he was being promoted to High-A Daytona.

Jesse Rogers thinks the ovation for the Cubs farm system should be put on hold.

FanGraphs took a look at a crowd that doesn’t exist for the Cubs.

Even though Albert Almora did not participate in the Futures Game, it did not keep scouts from raving about him according to a report from Jim Bowden. Scouts that Bowden spoke with project Almora as a future All-Star.

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  • DWalker

    Of COURSE Boras wants his next cash cow to get started. get one year of control down and much closer to another big payday.

  • texcubnut

    Hey Scott Bore-us, butt out.The Cubs will decide what’s best for the organization, not individuals. Kris Bryant will get his taste soon enough.

    • Larry Schwimmer

      If there is an agent in sports I detest, it’s Scott Boras. He’s a manipulator that is skillful at taking advantage of naive or desperate GMs. If you’re a player, he’s your guy. But if you’re a fan you want to be fair to players and team owners. He is so transparent in his efforts to serve only his player’s interest at the expense of team owners and fans (who pay higher ticket prices). That’s fine if you’re a player, but disgusting to me as a fan.

      If Bryant is the “real deal,” we all know he’s going to cost the CUBS $15 to $20 million per season on some type of long term deal in the future. Why on earth would the CUBS give up 1 year of control (and conceivable $15 to $20 million) just to start the clock earlier with a talented minor leaguer who still has work to do on his defense?

      The best thing about Scott Boras’ self-serving comments is that they demonstrate to followers of the game that he’s not to be listened to or trusted.

      There are very few other agents who make such irresponsible public statements.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I think saying he serves his clients is generous. Boras is all about Boras. No more, no less. And he doesn’t know the meaning of the word enough.

  • Tom U

    One wonders whether Boras has someone in his office calculating, on a daily basis, how much money he is losing by Bryant having to play in the minors.

  • John_CC

    Agreed. Though I’ve never considered Borass to be prudent or classy this is just really bad form. If he wants to speak out about the MLB Super Two status and how holding back players for no other reason but starting their career clock, then fine. That is his business, but talking teams how to manage and develop players is not.

  • mo42392

    Boras comments shock absolutely no one, surprised he didn’t say them 2 days after Bryant was drafted.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Boras is a good agent for a player I suppose. He definitely will fight for whats in his best interest an that usually helps his clients. There have been some times when his tactics have backfired but nee often than not he gets his money. He strikes me as the ultimate Bob Sugar.

    Jesse Rogers article says pretty much what some people say on here everyday. That’s the first journalistic analysis I’ve seen that said that, although I’m sure there is more out there.

    Can’t wait for next season to see some of these guys come up.

    Didn’t realize how young McKinney was. He probably has been pushed a little hard. But at the lower level it may be good for him in the end. I love the sound of he, Almora and Schwarber in the outfield. But whats great is that’s just one of a half dozen different combinations that could pan out. Thank goodness the days of relying on one or two guys to arrive and star are over.

  • GaryLeeT

    I am no fan of Boras, but Bryant has nothing left to prove in AAA. It’s purely a waste of his time to continue playing there.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Was thinking about our last two big position prospects, Pie and Patterson. Looking at their minors stats, I don’t see what the big deal ever was about Patterson. It looks to me that his numbers, if he were a prospect now, wouldn’t even allow him to crack our current top 10. Maybe not 15.

    Pie’s were better, but still weren’t incredbile. He had some very good OBP stats but nothin else jumps out. And he was very inconsistent in the minors. He probably would be right around 10 if he were a prospect now.

    Hindsight being 20/20, I don’t see why we ever viewed these guys as “cant miss.” They appear to me, at best, to have been big fish in a very small pond.

    With the rise of analytics and sabermeteics, scouts are much better now at predicting future success than 10 or 15 years ago. Not that it’s anything like an exact science, but it’s gotten much better.

    • BillyFinT

      Marketing. Cubs PR. Chicago National League Ball Club had the smallest front office in baseball, but they sure weren’t lacking sales that fed us fans with those crap they pull out of their bottom!!

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        True. And as fans were so much more informed today than even five years ago. All these professional, independent scouting services. I think a lot of that came about with Theo, Beane and Moneyball. Now the masses knew what the focus was and that they were looking for trends in numbers to predict success and not just using an old-timers “gut feeling.” Not that those old-timers don’t know what their doing and that a gut feeling doesn’t still carry value. It does. But for the masses, a lot of the guesswork has been aided by sabermeteics. Say what you will about it but there’s never been a more accurate predictor of success than it. And in more than one level, a prospect, a teams chances. Smart, numbers people broke the code. One of the most impactful changes to the game this century. And IMO, for the better.

        • paulcatanese

          Good post, but I still don’t like sabermetrics, even with the good points that you mention.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Thank you Paul. As I typed it I thought of you and hoped you wouldn’t take it the wrong way. I absolutely think there’s a place for the way baseball was scouted for 100 years. But for laymen and fans, Sabermetrics helps. Even for some pro scouts and GM’s and everyone it can be a tool. But there are still plenty of guys that just know baseball and can judge things that don’t show up in a stat sheet.

          • Tony_H

            I don’t get how you don’t like sabermetrics?

            All sabermetrics do is dig into stats deeper, to answer more questions.

            Basically if you were scouting a team and you knew player A was better than player B, but they had both hit 290 with 10 HR’s and had 45 RBI’s. You would want to dig deeper into those numbers to see the why and how. If you come to find out that Player B has a BABIP of 389, while Player A has a more realistic and sustainable 304, you would be able to explain to someone why Player B’s stats are so good so far.

            It also gives credit for players that do the little things. All the things that people like from ballplayers, but traditional stats don’t give any credit. This is one where I think you would love that there is now a way for those players to get credit.

    • Henry

      Thanks Rider! I have been saying that for years!!! Our system was so desolate in the past. Every year it was one guy we were always pinning our hopes on. that one guy always became larger than life. Then we would bring him up and POOF! The player would quickly disappear. The nice thing about our system now is the inventory. It is not just one guy. Also the guys we are talking about are actually putting up numbers! Still no guarantee of success but a better position to be in.

  • triple

    If Mr. Boras wants to actually be in charge of these type of decisions, he should quit his job and start interviewing for a GM position with a MLB team. He has no business speaking out on this matter whatsoever. I really hope that Kris Bryant is embarrassed by his comments and reconsiders his use of that SoB in the future. Just read an interview the other day where Bryant noted different things he’s still working on and learning in AAA, and it didn’t seem like he’s chomping at the bit to get that big paycheck a year early. He comes across as a kid who is patient and loves to just play they game, and knows that his time will come soon enough.

    • Denver Mike

      I think that is the agent’s job though, to do the lobbying and make the headlines, so that the player can keep giving the stock answers and appear humble.

  • Jeff Wilson

    The extra year of control is very valuable. Think about this, a rising star gets the call in September, plays some games, and helps the team somewhat. Wait a year, bring them up in the spring, and essentially you added the year on the back end, when they are say 28 years old, and by then they are hitting 50 bombs a year winning you the pennant, all for the same price that you would have paid them for that September cup of coffee.

    • Tony_H

      I don’t get how more people don’t get this. If we were in a pennant race or that extra month or two next year we think is the difference in making the playoffs in 2015, then go for it. But, that is not the case right now and waiting is the smart move.

      The rules need to change….again. But it is the PA fault that we are where we are now.

      • Denver Mike

        Unfortunately, many people don’t read the facts and then form an opinion. They form their opinion, and then search for anything that will support it.

        • Jeff Wilson

          I have to admit, I’m giddy as he11 to see the new guys as much as the next guy! But we’ve waited this long, 1 more year isn’t going to hurt us!

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    Boras needs to shut his hole.