Minor League Musings

TomtheBombadil
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:52 pm

Any word on a potential Arizona Fall League, and what it will look like if it happens? Expanded rosters? Maybe more top prospects than normal?

Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve been told a Fall League is unlikely. Instructs will happen with lots of team-by-team flexibility as to how they’re done, but MLB seems unlikely to pay to have an AFL since it’s not going to generate revenue.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:47 pm

https://www.milb.com/news/the-road-to-t ... guel-amaya

Though none of Amaya’s individual tools seem overwhelming, he’s above average in everything but speed -- hardly a concern for a 230-pound catcher. With Myrtle Beach in 2019, he cut his strikeout rate to 16.8 percent and lifted his walk rate to 13.2 percent. His 11 homers with the Pelicans may not seem like a lot, but only 16 players in the pitcher-friendly Carolina League hit more. The total package is compelling: MLB Pipeline thinks he could develop into a .260 hitter with 15 to 20 homers a year and quality defense behind the plate. Any team in the league would love to have that.

...

Amaya made a strong impression in his first Major League Spring Training earlier this year, despite going just 4-for-25 in 13 Cactus League games. Cubs starter Willson Contreras, who has taken the youngster under his wing, has found Amaya an eager student.

“Every time we have the opportunity to talk, he listens,” Contreras told the Chicago Tribune. “And that’s one of the things l like about him: He listens and can learn from seeing us.”

Chicago manager David Ross, a former catcher himself, also had nothing but praise for the 21-year-old.

“His presence behind the plate is really clean and I like his setup,” Ross told MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez in March. “He’s a leader back there. He’s got great hands for a catcher. He seems to be connecting with Contreras and asking the right questions, yet still staying quiet as a rookie should.”

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The Cubs control Contreras through the 2022 season, and switch-hitting Victor Caratini has proven himself a more than adequate backup in the Windy City, so there remains a question of opportunity for Amaya, the club's No. 3 prospect. If Chicago chooses to trade him, he could provide a valuable return. Despite losing the chance to develop in Minor League play this year, he looks to be Major League-ready in 2021.


Second time someone's mentioned Amaya at 220+ pounds...Good stuff on his part
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Re: Minor League Musings

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CubinNY » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:14 pm

CaliforniaRaisin wrote:https://twitter.com/cubscentral08/status/1305708854861328386?s=21

we need the unlike button for this post.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:52 pm

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:33 am

https://www.mlb.com/news/top-prospects- ... e-coverage

Each Team’s Top Prospect not at the Alternate Site

Cubs: Ed Howard, SS (No. 4)
The best true shortstop in the 2020 Draft, Howard became the first Illinois prep position player taken in the first round since Jayson Werth in 1997 and signed with his hometown team for $3,745,500 as the 16th overall choice. He's in Chicago getting live at-bats with a group of local professional and college players as he prepares to report to the Cubs' instructional league program in Mesa, Ariz., at the end of the month.


Not sure if that’s formal confirmation of when Cubs will have instructs.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:01 am

More Ed Howard:

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby The Logan » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:25 pm

Pirates top prospect Oneil Cruz was the drunk driver in an accident that killed 3 people in the Dominican a few nights ago.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:06 am

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:16 am

Uhh: https://www.thecubreporter.com/comment/ ... ent-268258

Cubs AA Tennessee Pitching Coach Charlie Haeger is wanted for the murder of his ex-girlfriend in Scottsdale.

Ex-girlfriend's roommate heard shots fired from bedroom and then saw Haeger leave room and flee scene. His car was later found abandoned in Flagstaff.


https://sports.yahoo.com/amphtml/charle ... ssion=true

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:48 pm



Davis is the most exciting position player in the Cubs' system, a former basketball star turned potential 30-30 center fielder. But because he injured his right index finger twice last year, the 2018 second-round choice hadn't accumulated many at-bats (234) or had to deal with many struggles during his first two pro seasons.

That changed at Chicago's alternative training site in South Bend, Ind., home of its low Class A affiliate. Davis, MLB's No. 72 overall prospect, hasn't played above that level, so most of the pitchers in Cubs camp were more experienced than him. After he had initial success, they adapted and it took him a while to figure out how to counterattack.

"It was a great opportunity for Brennen," Chicago farm director Matt Dorey said. "In the middle part of camp, our advanced pitchers knew his weaknesses and had the ability to exploit them. He had a two-week run where he was getting beat up. For the first time in his career, he faced adversity. That's exactly where growth happens.

"It was tough for Brennen to process it at first, but he was able to take a step back and make adjustments. We were proud of his ability to reassess where he was and utilize data and video. He got punched in the face and responded very well. He made some mechanical tweaks because he got defensive and was pushing his swing a little bit, starting to chase a little bit. He got back to his swing and approach and was making more contact and better decisions."


"Burl has a special, special arm," Dorey said. "We brought him in to get him acclimated and to surround him with a professional environment. He has the ability to move relatively quickly through our Minor League system and we wanted him to be around some veteran pitchers. It was an opportunity to learn from them and jump-start his development as a professional.

"We focused on his delivery, strength and conditioning, pitch design and usage, pitch efficiency and consistent carry on his fastball. His stuff is really nasty. He messed around with a slider, so we took a look at that too. He also likes his changeup but doesn't use it much."


At 20, Davis was the youngest player in Schaumburg. In addition to getting roughly 150 at-bats against more advanced pitchers, he also refined his batting-cage routine and worked with strength and conditioning coaches to continue to add muscle to his 6-foot-4 frame.


Hot take: Next year Davis becomes the best Cubs prospect in a half decade+, debuts

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Richard Gallardo and Miller Chacon sent food and water supplies to Venezuela after major flooding early last month

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Trading with the Yankees for Isiah Gilliam and moving him to 1B would be fun. He's more Carlos Pena than Anthony Rizzo in ceiling but is also a switch hitter with some fun skills on offense that might break out if moved out of the OF to 1B full time. Despite not hitting for average in the minors, I think he has a shot to thanks to some patience and lots of power potential. Maybe he gets released in the MiL purge this offseason?
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:16 pm

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/keeping-up- ... prospects/

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs didn’t have much prospect action in the big leagues until late in the year, when Adbert Alzolay returned from the alternate site with a new slider and Brailyn Marquez made his big league debut. I’m leaving a relief projection on Marquez, so he’ll be toward the back of the Top 100 this offseason. Big league starters are very often more athletic and have better touch and feel than Marquez does, and they’re not usually as full-framed at age 21 as he is. The Cubs are among the worst franchises at updating their players’ public measurables and have him listed at a laughable 6-foot-4, 185 pounds.

Alzolay’s two late-September starts — with a new slider in tow — went very well. This is the fourth time in three years that Alzolay has displayed a seismic shift in pitch usage. A fastball/curveball guy in the minors, he threw many more changeups than I anticipated during his 2019 debut stint, then went back to the curveball to start 2020 before adding the slider late this year. Amid those changes, Alzolay’s general profile has remained the same: He has a big arm and can spin a swing-and-miss breaking ball, but may not have the command to start.


---

First big move of the offseason:



He's playing Winter ball in Mexico on the same team as Eddy Martinez. I think he's interesting for a couple reasons: throws a hard sinker and he only started pitching full time in the pros at 23 after being drafted as a catcher

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:36 am

TomtheBombadil wrote:https://blogs.fangraphs.com/keeping-up-with-the-nl-centrals-prospects/


Eric Longenhagen also updated his board: Brennen Davis is now the 45th best prospect, Miguel Amaya 57 and Brailyn Márquez 108. At 45+ FV, Ed Howard IV and Adbert Alzolay would be in his top 163 overall.

Nice to see some familiar names in box scores. If you see the responses to Bryan Smith’s tweet, it sounds like José Albertos might have gotten hurt after his one batter.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:31 am

^^ Balls if Albertos got hurt. I saw Prospect Live had Brennen Davis at 24 in some kind of fantasy prospect re-rank...Seems like the pandemic slowed him down since he seems to be moving up anyway

Longenhagen mentioned something else interesting:

Lately, the quest for better placement of pitchers on the Future Value continuum has included a re-examination of relievers, especially those I’d perhaps previously undervalued because of their age and/or injury histories. Remember that Future Value maps the 20-80 scale to WAR production during pre-free agency years, and a relative lack of innings means relievers are penalized by this methodology. But the Nick Anderson and Pete Fairbanks trades saw the Rays ship players who were Top 100 prospects at the time away in exchange for one relief pitcher who was nearly 30 years old and another who was well into his mid-20s and had already had two Tommy Johns. The Rangers/Brewers Alex Claudio deal illustrated how a competitive club might value a big league-ready reliever, even one of the middle-innings variety, relative to a draft pick who often results in a 45 or 40+ FV prospect.

I don’t assume that every team thinks that way but those deals were instructive to me. This, plus ongoing changes to pitcher usage, indicate that I need to make some WAR-independent adjustments to better fit relievers in among the other prospects. It suggests that years of team control are a much more significant consideration for teams than either the idea that older players are at risk of hitting their decline phase sooner — perhaps at any moment — and/or that their injury histories made them riskier in a way that impacted where they fit on the FV continuum. The 2020 crop of Brewers rookies presents several cases like these, which I’m approaching with this in mind. Before I get to the players, here’s a reminder of where I place imminent relief roles on the FV scale. Keep in mind most elite closers, like Aroldis Chapman and Liam Hendriks, are failed starters and probably fall higher on a Top 100 prospects list projected as one:


The Cubs dipped their toes in with Jason Adam, who missed two seasons TJ I assume, and I wonder if they'll be even more confident in this approach having had success...With Darvish's rebound maybe they should feel good about pre-injured SP depth, I see Scott Harris in SF went out and got Anthony Banda (recent TJ) from the Rays

If I had to name one pitcher I like who falls under this criteria...off the top of my head...Jeff Hoffman with the Rockies
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:36 pm

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:38 pm

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:59 pm



Easy call is he won't make it but I continue to be intrigued by this Gamez. Seems like an interesting mix of: former catcher, recent convert, has a signature pitch, throws really hard

https://www.marqueesportsnetwork.com/ov ... outh-bend/

Reports have pointed to Gámez’s 2019 in the Mexican League, where he threw 96-100 mph, as the reason for the Cubs interest and his eventual signing this offseason. Although he hasn’t had too much on-paper success in his three seasons out of college, his sinker has continually generated an eye-popping ground-ball rate. The pitch is reminiscent of the tailing movement Kyle Hendricks achieves on his sinker but with more velocity.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Mon Oct 26, 2020 5:20 pm

https://www.mlb.com/news/brewers-instru ... gue-report

Zavier Warren (3rd round, 2020) were both drafted as catchers even though neither caught regularly in college. Though targeted primarily for their natural hitting ability, the Brewers also felt that both players possessed the requisite athleticism and physical tools needed to move behind the plate, viewing it as opportunity to maximize their offensive value. The early returns on Dillard, who spent the summer at the alternate training site, have been positive, and the club feels similarly based on what they’ve seen from Warren this fall.

“Beyond being a good switch-hitter, he seems like someone who can stick back there,” said Flanagan. “We’ll need to be patient with him, but he’s been really impressive so far.”


I wanted to draft this guy bad, he was one of the better college prospects in the 2020 draft as I see things with a futureproof profile as a switch hitter with up the middle defensive potential, contact, plate discipline, enough power, and a long track record of hitting including the CCBL. The Brewers moving him to catcher is pretty brilliant whether he sticks or not: it both dances around him likely not being a pro SS even in whatever is left of the minors, getting his earliest pro PAs at the toughest possible position he might be able to handle, and keeps him out of the 2B Prospect Trap. The 2B prospect trap is that projections, forecasts, and even real life people tend to not favor 2B prospects who actually primarily played 2B in the minors or as amateurs.

With the MiLs being cut down, it'll be interesting to see how the Brewers develop him at catcher and think the willingness to go outside the box to max his ceiling makes the Brewers a better organizational fit. All I'm asking he become is Zobrist 2.0 now featuring catching with the thinking being that catcher is to prospect Warren as SS was to prospect Zobrist. Notably Zobrist wasn't a productive MLer until 27, took his first pro PA at 23, ML at 25. Maybe moving to catcher especially gives Warren's bat a similar timeline despite being drafted at 21 instead of 23? Whatever, I'll be checking it out, still would love to poach Isiah Gilliam from the Yankees somehow

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BTW Jordan Nwogu, who the Cubs took *over* Warren in the 3rd has plenty going on. He's a size/speed guy at 6'3" 230 with 30 SBs in 125 NCAA games played, was the best hitter on a CWS finalist, was playing mostly CF for them this Spring, didn't really have strikeout issues (16% in his last 371 NCAA PAs), took walks, hit 20 HRs (525 NCAA PAs), avoided the double play, earned an *academic* scholarship and had to walk on, engineering major, might have played football in college...Seems like prospect who fits the future NFL Draft-esque setup to prospecting before it officially arrives by decree

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Also maybe both of those 3rd round picks, along with Ed Howard, hint at where the Cubs are headed philosophically on position players: putting more emphasis on defense, size, and athleticism if given the option. Howard was arguably the best defensive player in the the 2020 draft and is already like 6'2" 190, Nwogu was playing CF for a CWS contender at 6'3" 230+ to open the year, Warren was moved off of SS immediately (granted to catcher) *and* had the most Cubs-ish resume of them all with the whole NCAA SS + CCBL thing
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:16 pm

Reminder that while Dakota Mekkes didn't make the MLs this year, he *did* make the 60...NCAA + pro line:

265 IP / 10(!!!!!) HRs / 367(!!!) Ks / 167(!!) Hs

PCL (keep in mind the league offense was insane even for the PCL in 2019 especially):

80.1 IP / 7 HRs / 106 Ks / 71 Hs / 4.46 ERA (league average basically 5.5 in 2019, still better than the league's less crazy 2018 during which he posted a sub-2 ERA in 30+ innings allowing just 1 HR)

He's a valuable 26 this offseason and next year: ML ready, all years of control, multiple option years....
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:38 pm

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:23 pm

Speaking of MiL FAs, the full initial list:

https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories ... ee-agents/

I don't know what the MiLs will look like next year but Trey Supak (Brewers) and Sam McWilliams (Rays) are a couple pitchers that seem interesting enough. Jarrett Parker (COF, Mets), Rossell Herrera (Yankees), and Michael Gettys (CF, Padres) are a couple OFs who could add some upper MiL depth, Gettys seems like one of the more appealing MiL FAs because he's pretty young, can play CF, and hit HRs. Herrera switch hits and has played for the Reds and Royals recently. Tzu Wei Lin is a glove first SS/MIF
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:17 pm




Forrest Wall is also a free agent and seems intriguing.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Sat Nov 07, 2020 6:25 pm

Wander Franco has an 80 hit tool for BA's updated top 10 prospects in the Rays' system:

Baseball American wrote:Hit: 80. Power: 60. Run: 50. Field: 50. Arm: 55.

The Rays played him at second base and third base at the alternate site to help prepare for the possibility he could break into the majors at another spot. He has the tools to be an above-average or even plus defender at second or third.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:27 pm



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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:07 am

MLB Pipeline: Here's the state of the Cubs' farm system

BEST TOOLS

Hit: Alfonso Rivas
Power: Brennen Davis
Run: Zach Davis
Arm: Ethan Hearn
Field: Ed Howard
Best athlete: Brennen Davis

Fastball: Brailyn Marquez
Curveball: Burl Carraway
Slider: Justin Steele
Changeup: Kohl Franklin
Control: Keegan Thompson

HOW THE TOP 30 WAS BUILT

Draft: 20
International: 9
Trade: 1

The lone player on our Cubs Top 30 not originally signed by the club is the sweet-swinging Rivas, who was acquired from the Athletics in January in exchange for Tony Kemp.

TOP 30 BY POSITION

C: 3
1B: 1
2B: 1
3B: 1
SS: 3
OF: 3
LHP: 6
RHP: 12

Though they have struggled to develop pitchers, the Cubs tied the Astros for the most on a Top 30 list (18) among all organizations. Chicago's total of three outfielders is the second-fewest, ranking ahead of only the Blue Jays (two).
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