2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

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TomtheBombadil
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2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:32 am

Thinking that a year from now, pitching might be the deeper set of prospects in the system and the strength in that depth will be LHP:

- Steele, Kellogg, Twomey, Paulino, and Sands will all be hitting full season ball as SP.

- 18 YO Wander Cabrera has a shot to come stateside and pitch in Arizona, he was arguably/probably their top DSL or VSL prospect. 19 YO Eugenio Palma and fellow 18 YO Pablo Ochoa might join him.

- 2014 Rule V pick Ariel Ovando was the AZl Cubs' most dominant arm with 33 Ks, 10 Hs, and no HRs allowed in 21 IP after converting from the OF.

-Cubs signed the top 7/2 LHP last year in 6'3" 185 16 YO Brailyn Marquez.

There's a lot of bonus money in that group, and I'd guess it's pretty rare to have 7+ LHSP prospects floating around even the low levels of a system.

Does this mean the Cubs are chasing LHPs? Probably not, but they are harder to find, possibly maybe last longer, probably get more chances/maintain trade value better, and are easier to convert to relief since LHP vs. LHH is the most pitcher friendly matchup in the sport.

----

There's no probably no Kris Bryant or Addison Russel in the bunch, but the Cubs have some cereal positon player tools in the lower minors. OF Jimenez, OF Wilson, corner bat Galindo, OF Dewees, 2B de la Rosa, MIF Monasterio, OF Kwon, C Amaya, UT Perraza, OF Estiwal, and C Matos all have some tools that can get them taken seriously at higher levels. Probably nothing happens, but Kwon could be a thing. He's basically got EJM tools, power/speed guy with a premium frame, but is two-three years younger and a LHH. He won the highly prestigious EXST HR derby in October, a 17 YO just signed two-three months ago out of HS from Korea. Estiwal got Darryl Strawberry comps.

----

I remain more intrigued, for the Cubs, with this part of the minor league affiliates than the full season ones from last year. I'm a big fan of cashing in on the Contreras/Almora/McKinney/Happ/Johnson/Candelario/Underwood group's sucesses with a big trade. Obviously all can't go, but I'd rather the Cubs not sit back there either.

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby David » Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:25 am

DOWN WITH MEGATHREADS
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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby jersey cubs fan » Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:30 am

TomtheBombadil wrote:
There's no probably no Kris Bryant or Addison Russel in the bunch, but the Cubs have some cereal positon player tools in the lower minors.


Is this a typo or annoying baseball speak?
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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby David » Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:35 am

think it's just gato being a weirdo
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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby weis21 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:36 am

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby Castro's Spray Chart » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:54 pm

David wrote:think it's just gato being a weirdo


tss
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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby davell » Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:00 pm

Marquez isn't signed yet.
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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:30 am

I like megathreads.

---

Was wondering why Marquez wasn't listed as signed on Fangraphs. Still seems like a pretty high quantity of possibly prospect relevant LHPs with Steele, Kellogg, Twomey, Paulino, Sands, Cabrera, Palma, Rodriguez, and Ochoa. The highest ceilings are probably in the first 6.

Not that they're done yet, but the strength of the IFAs this year was the position players so far. Some thoughts on the guys signed last summer:

Yonathan Perlaza MIF/UT - Very fast bat, probably a candidate to move to CF as a prospect and maybe LF by the time he's ML ready (if ever). Doesn't have the hands or arm for SS, probably a 2B if anything at all in the IF. As an OF prospect, similar tools but way more raw version of 2015 draftee DJ Wilson. Fast, probably not as fast but fast. Not a tall guy but very strong and generates the bat speed to hit for some power.

Yonathan Estiwal RF/OF - Tools, swing, and frame that can draw names like Strawberry, JD Drew, or even Heyward. Already 6'2"-6'3" with long arms and legs at 16, strong but projectable rather than skinny and hope to throw on weight. Supposed to be a high aptitude guy who performs well in games, showing potential to hit and hit for power. Speed isn't part of his game but could be an average or better baserunner after getting pro strength training and coaching.

Miguel Amaya C- Highest ceiling defensive C in the org and has the frame, but lots of questions about the bat thanks to questions about power. High energy guy. His bonus set a record for a Panamanian player.

Kwang-Min Kwon CF/OF - Huge compared to his teammates and much of the competition in Korea at 6'2" and close to 200 pounds. Power and speed are his tools on offense, looks to make contact at the plate as well. Turns 18 in December, was in Arizona for EXST (no clue if the others were), and should be the first of these guys to play a minor league season in the US. After this signing Paul Weaver, the Cubs' international cross checker, said he could be a top 10 prospect in this system and praised the work ethic and fundamentals of Korean players.

---

I am unusually high on these two groups in the Cubs' system - the LHP and this year's 7/2 bats. Obviously I rave about Kellogg, but Steele and Twomey have quality arms too and Wander Cabrera is probably their best shot at a Eddy Rodriguez/Martin Perez type prospect rise. Amaya is a move in the direction I prefer for catching, high energy and glove first. He's their best shot at a Yadier, though there's no shot of that before the next decade. Estiwal, Kwon, Martinez, and Jimenez have some louder tools than Almora and McKinney, and hopefully add a more exciting dynamic to the system's OF prospects.

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby David » Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:50 pm

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby Transmogrified Tiger » Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:01 pm

It's a fairly...rudimentary formula that's churning out the rankings so it's not something to take too seriously, but it's interesting to me that Almora rates that high for a couple reasons. One is that it's only taking 2015 into account, no previous seasons matter. The other is that all outfielders are given the same value for defense, so despite Almora's abilities that's not part of his high ranking. Again it's not a very robust ranking(for example Almora is at a huge advantage for his age alone with how they're sorting to generate the list), but it's another little tidbit to feed any Almora optimism you might be harboring.

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby North » Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:27 pm

Transmogrified Tiger wrote:It's a fairly...rudimentary formula that's churning out the rankings so it's not something to take too seriously, but it's interesting to me that Almora rates that high for a couple reasons. One is that it's only taking 2015 into account, no previous seasons matter. The other is that all outfielders are given the same value for defense, so despite Almora's abilities that's not part of his high ranking. Again it's not a very robust ranking(for example Almora is at a huge advantage for his age alone with how they're sorting to generate the list), but it's another little tidbit to feed any Almora optimism you might be harboring.


Agree to an extent. Keep in mind no minor league projection systems are robust. This one takes into account perhaps the most variables I've seen. One of the main takeaways from this is that walk rate is not as influential as you'd think, or at least I thought, which is counter-intuitive.

Also, the system did use 2014 data to create a 2014 WAR output of 3.3 That data included a 1ish% BB rate. That's remarkable.

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby craig » Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:00 pm

Posters always criticize for caring about minor-league K's. But I agree with Mitchell's study, that K-rate, however important or unimportant it may be at the big-league level, has significant predictive function for minor-league prospects. If you K a lot against minor-league pitchers, it often gets progressively worse.

Interesting little calculation.

I assume he's using Full-season guys only? I'd have wondered how Eloy's age/size/K-rate would calculate out. I thought his K-rate was pretty acceptable, given the power.

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby craig » Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:02 pm

North wrote:.... One of the main takeaways from this is that walk rate is not as influential as you'd think, or at least I thought, which is counter-intuitive......


Yeah, that's pretty interesting. Rubi Silva, you've still got a chance! :)

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby Hairyducked Idiot » Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:26 pm

North wrote:Agree to an extent. Keep in mind no minor league projection systems are robust. This one takes into account perhaps the most variables I've seen. One of the main takeaways from this is that walk rate is not as influential as you'd think, or at least I thought, which is counter-intuitive.


The connection between minor league walking and MLB walking is kind of weird. It's almost like there's two groups. There's guys who have it translate pretty easily, like Kris Bryant. Then there's other guys who the advanced pitchers just laugh at and dare them to hit strikes, and the walks disappear because the player isn't any sort of threat (I'm struggling to come up with any good examples just because those guys tend to flame out before they reach the majors. Maybe Szczur, who went from walking almost 14% of the time in A+ to half that in the majors).

But it can't be solely related to power, because plenty of low-power guys can still draw walks.

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby Transmogrified Tiger » Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:09 am

Hairyducked Idiot wrote:Then there's other guys who the advanced pitchers just laugh at and dare them to hit strikes, and the walks disappear because the player isn't any sort of threat (I'm struggling to come up with any good examples just because those guys tend to flame out before they reach the majors. Maybe Szczur, who went from walking almost 14% of the time in A+ to half that in the majors).


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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby David » Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:35 am

craig wrote:Posters always criticize for caring about minor-league K's. But I agree with Mitchell's study, that K-rate, however important or unimportant it may be at the big-league level, has significant predictive function for minor-league prospects. If you K a lot against minor-league pitchers, it often gets progressively worse.


I would say that's pretty much not true in the post-Brett Jackson era.

Seriously, though, most of us look at minor league K rates (and, better yet, contact rates) a lot.
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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby craig » Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:20 am

You're right, Dave. Dumb comment by me.

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby Bunts Lick Butts » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:26 pm

Transmogrified Tiger wrote:
Hairyducked Idiot wrote:Then there's other guys who the advanced pitchers just laugh at and dare them to hit strikes, and the walks disappear because the player isn't any sort of threat (I'm struggling to come up with any good examples just because those guys tend to flame out before they reach the majors. Maybe Szczur, who went from walking almost 14% of the time in A+ to half that in the majors).


Theriot


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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby Rob » Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:37 am

Bunts Lick Butts wrote:
Transmogrified Tiger wrote:
Hairyducked Idiot wrote:Then there's other guys who the advanced pitchers just laugh at and dare them to hit strikes, and the walks disappear because the player isn't any sort of threat (I'm struggling to come up with any good examples just because those guys tend to flame out before they reach the majors. Maybe Szczur, who went from walking almost 14% of the time in A+ to half that in the majors).


Theriot


billy hamilton


It happens a lot with speedy guys. I think the first time I remember seeing it was Willy Taveras.


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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby TruffleShuffle » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:28 pm

that may be the worst sales pitch i've ever seen.

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby toonsterwu » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:27 am

This seemed as good a place for a random thought:

I had some spare time this morning and was looking around at prospect lists. Part of it was I wanted to see how systems looked after the rash of big trades that have happened. The 2nd was curiosity on where the Cubs system, not that it really matters, would stand in my mind.

I kept expecting to see a lot of bad/boring systems, since everyone knows that minor league talent is down. I was pleasantly surprised at how many decent systems were out there. I don't know - I just kept expecting to see a lot of really bad systems in terms of lack of talent and/or intrigue, but it didn't feel that way. Now, it is fair to say that the number of really great systems might not be as high as before (really, the only two systems that stood out to me, at a glance, were the Rockies for their overall balance (pitchers vs. positional guys, throughout the system, and upside/floor) and Dodgers (since Seager still qualifies). The number of bad systems seem par for the course - each year, there seems to be 3-5 bad systems, and the Marlins/Angels/Mariners/Tigers would be on most people's worst systems right now.

Anyhow, to make this Cubs related ...

These were the systems I thought the Cubs were clearly better than: Marlins/Angels/Mariners/Tigers/Orioles/Cardinals/White Sox/Giants.
Systems that I think are clearly better than the Cubs right now: Rockies/Dodgers/Twins/Pirates/Phillies/Braves.

Maybe a couple teams could be debated in the above, but in general, I think that's the top and bottom. The rest is a nice big jumble. A couple systems sure surprised - I think the Padres system, post-trade, looks intriguing and has some raw assets. The Brewers system looks really good. The Reds seem better than I anticipated, and same goes for the Yankees.

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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby CubsWin » Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:58 am

toonsterwu wrote:This seemed as good a place for a random thought:

I had some spare time this morning and was looking around at prospect lists. Part of it was I wanted to see how systems looked after the rash of big trades that have happened. The 2nd was curiosity on where the Cubs system, not that it really matters, would stand in my mind.

It's funny. I was doing the exact same thing the other day. And I came to very similar conclusion. I had them around 10th, but my ignorance of the depth guys in other organizations could affect that number in one direction or another.

And depth is the key word when it comes to why I have the Cubs as high as 10th. I'm probably not as bullish as some on Torres. I recognize the historical significance of performing well as an 18-year-old in Low-A, but for me the minors are all about developing and when someone's development stalls or plateaus (or even regresses) in the 2nd half, I get concerned. He may have just gotten tired. This was the most baseball in one season he'd played in his entire life, but because of his last few months, I need to see how he performs in High-A to get bullish on him again.

Conversely, I'm probably more bullish on Almora and Candelario than most and largely for the same reasons. They each showed improvement in the 2nd half indicating to me that they may have figured something out. I'm not sold on that either, though, and will be looking at how each of them perform to start the new year. If Almora starts in AAA, he'll get a grace period from me to adjust to the new level, but if Candelario picks up where he left off in AA, that'll be a strong indicator he truly developed as a prospect.

All of the high-ceiling prospects in the Cubs organization have questions marks. But what's great is that they have a long list of such prospects. The "sure things" like Bryant, Russell and Schwarber have graduated, but if you can't have a sure thing, depth is the next best thing. It increases the chances that one or more of these high-ceiling guys will break out. In no particular order, I place Torres, Contreras, Edwards, Underwood, McKinney, Almora, Cease, Jimenez, Steele, Happ, EJ Martinez and possibly De La Cruz and Clifton in this group. Guys with a slightly lower ceiling include P. Johnson, Zagunis, Dewees, Sands, Young and Vogelbach. Add in DJ Wilson, Bryan Hudson and the influx of IFA talent this year and the list gets even deeper.

The Cubs may have dropped out of the list of elite minor league systems, but if a few of these guys break out, they could be right back in the top 5 in the near future.
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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby David » Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:59 am

I'm not typically a big fan of Blaize's stuff, but I thought this was a good read.

http://www.bleachernation.com/2015/12/1 ... rt-almora/

Looks at Almora's season last year and some swing/stance changes he appears to have made in season.

I did take issue with this...

Second half Almora is a future league average (or maybe a little better) starting center fielder. And, based on the swing changes and resulting surge in production, I think second half Almora is probably the real thing.


If his UPSIDE is league average starter (or even "maybe a little better"), that's not very exciting. Especially after lauding his defense as elite. If that is true, his bat would have to be really crappy (which would be weird after talking up a really good offensive second half) to be a 2 win player. Poor wording at best.
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Re: 2016 Cubs Farm and Prospect Musings

Postby Cubswin11 » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:23 pm

I think Almora's ceiling right now, if the changes are real, is something like a right-handed Gerardo Parra that has the ability to play CF. Which I'd be absolutely thrilled with.
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