NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby Little Slide Rooter » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:57 pm

1. Eloy
2. Happ
3. Candelerio
4. Cease
5. DeLaCruz
6. Paredes
7. DeWees
8. Zagunis
9. EJM
10.Caratini
11. Moreno
12. Zaz
13-whatever: put Sands, Steele, Williams, Tseng, Underwood, Mitchell, Wilson, Hatch, Twomey, Mekkes, Kellogg, Clifton, and some other dudes in a brown paper bag, shake it well, and take your pick.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby TruffleShuffle » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:17 pm

1. eloy
2-25. who cares, we just won the freaking world series.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby toonsterwu » Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:37 am

This offseason is more exciting than last offseason. There's the obvious - the World Series ... but I'm far more intrigued with where the system is this offseason compared to when it entered last offseason, from a prospect perspective. Simply put, there's more ceiling to be excited about (and specifically, pitching), but I think, compared to where the system was a year ago, there is a better blend of ceiling/floor in the upper levels as well.

I'm sure if I thought long and hard, I could come up with a recent Cubs grouping of arms that excites as much as Cease/de la Cruz/Albertos do (and I'm loathe to not include Clifton in that grouping, but much as I like him, his ceiling is just that tiny tick below). I mean ... 2003 was a good, deep group of arms, but the ceiling is tough to compare. To be honest, I think that trio of guys, ceiling wise, is near the top for any trio in a system in the minors (the one trio that comes to mind and tops the list, for me, is Giolito/Lopez/Fedde. The Braves have insane depth, but ceiling wise ... I'd take our trio over any trio you can come up with in their system. Brewers come to mind, with Hader/Ortiz/Bickford.) Add in Clifton to that mix ... and the fact that we'll need some young arms sooner than later ... and it's exciting. Sure, there's probably as high a chance that their best value is as a trade asset, but it's exciting.

Eloy offers us monstrous intrigue, and there's enough upper level guys that look like they can contribute positionally (Zagunis/Candelario/Caratini) or be positive trade assets. I mean, I was probably higher than most on Zagunis last offseason ... and now that he's performed in the higher levels ... I still say that if you just looked at Zagunis' attributes and forgot the name for a moment (potentially strong defensive OF, great approach/discipline, has some gap power), you'd think him to be a far more intriguing asset than most view him to be (now, there are some questions on that swing, unless something changed that I wasn't paying attention to). For the first time in a long time, our MI depth looks fairly thin, but Paredes is there, although I'm still sort of wait and see on what he becomes. The system entering last offseason, simply put, was not as exciting as it seems now, IMO.

If I had to stab at a top 10 ...

1. Eloy - Happ bothers me, and Eloy's ceiling is really that big.

2. Happ - I don't particularly love Happ, but I think he settles down in AA in 2017 and is knocking on the door as another multi-position guy for Maddon by year's end. Anyhow, the arms are too far away.
3. Cease - Ceiling is huge, but far away. Was tempted to go with Cease over Happ.
4. de la Cruz - The strong run, albeit SSS, at SB, and his ceiling, has me intrigued to see if he can follow up on it in 2017 and perhaps see AA at some point. I see Tom's point, and I guess we'll have to wait and see how de la Cruz's FB plays as he moves up, but I think at this stage,nothing's really changed in how I view his ceiling.

5. Zagunis - I started Zagunis really high last offseason as well (higher than this) and eventually talked him down a bit ... but again ... strip away the name, and the attributes are that of a solid OF prospect who has reached the upper levels far faster than anyone really thought.
6. Clifton - Really hard to deny what a wonderful year he had in MB. I still sort of waffle on him as a future rotation asset, so am very curious how his stuff plays in AA.
7. Candelario - I really like him, but it was such a up and down season for him. Still, youth, offensive upside, defensive improvement is on his side. Clearly tops the list of possible mid-season trade asset to fill position of need, so really hoping he gets off to a huge start.

8. Hudson - I somewhat overlooked him earlier, but he was always a work in progress, and so far ... nothing has been that alarming to jump off the upside.
9. Albertos - somewhat cautious, but yeah, the reports did seem that good. Once upon a time, Jen-Ho Tseng hit upper 90's as well. Now, different situation, as this was done stateside, but really want to see more before I get that excited.
10. Paredes - If I got that excited over Marco Hernandez reports from Arizona way back in the day ... then I should be intrigued enough with Paredes now (and I am ... far better system now). I was tempted to go Jose Paulino here. Was actually pondering DJ Wilson here briefly. Thought about Hatch as well.

____

Last year, I thought the system was more in that 15-22 range. We're in the era where really good or really bad systems (depending on the state of the major league team) will occur more, but this feels like, at a quick glance, a borderline top 10 system depending on how you view the ceiling. Considering the immense losses, the young ML squad, and the lower drafting positions, that's awesome.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby CubsWin » Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:43 am

Tim wrote:For this prospect ranking season, I'd like to use the prospect ranking page I built for the front end.

I propose that we do several rounds of voting, each round lasting a week. Between each round, we can argue the merits of our choices, lobby to have people moved up or down in the rankings, etc. Each person can vote multiple times each week, but only each person's final vote each week will count in the rankings.

1) does this process sound good or should we do it in the more traditional way?
2) what changes / enhancements should be made to the rankings page and the analysis page before we get kicked off? I know I'll need to add support to the analysis page for "Ranking by week"

There aren't nearly as many blue chip prospects as in years past, but there is still some good talent in the system. It should be fun!

Fun set up, Tim. Looking forward to see how this week's final list looks.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby TomtheBombadil » Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:16 pm

toonsterwu wrote:The Braves have insane depth, but ceiling wise


I'd take the percieved ceiling of any of Newcomb, Allard, Anderson, Muller, and Wentz over the perceieved ceiling of any Cubs arm prospect. Right off the bat all three in this system have missed all or most of a season to an elbow or shoulder issue, a nice way to put a dent into ceiling.

8. Hudson - I somewhat overlooked him earlier, but he was always a work in progress, and so far ... nothing has been that alarming to jump off the upside.


The 41/41 K:BB in 58 IP in a pitcher's park isn't alarming? Even the 4 HRs...What are the ceilings of de la Cruz and Hudson?
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby Guancous » Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:10 pm

John Sickels asked for input on his Cubs list at Minor League Ball: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/11/ ... discussion
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby TomtheBombadil » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:52 am

Guancous wrote:John Sickels asked for input on his Cubs list at Minor League Ball: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/11/ ... discussion


I have a real gem in there full of hot hot takes.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby toonsterwu » Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:09 am

TomtheBombadil wrote:
toonsterwu wrote:The Braves have insane depth, but ceiling wise


I'd take the percieved ceiling of any of Newcomb, Allard, Anderson, Muller, and Wentz over the perceieved ceiling of any Cubs arm prospect. Right off the bat all three in this system have missed all or most of a season to an elbow or shoulder issue, a nice way to put a dent into ceiling.

8. Hudson - I somewhat overlooked him earlier, but he was always a work in progress, and so far ... nothing has been that alarming to jump off the upside.


The 41/41 K:BB in 58 IP in a pitcher's park isn't alarming? Even the 4 HRs...What are the ceilings of de la Cruz and Hudson?


On the Braves - fair enough. Everyone will view it differently. I really don't love the ceilings of some of the Braves arms. If we expand it out to 5 or more arms, sure. But I like the ceilings of Cease/de la Cruz/Albertos stacked up against any threesome of that system. Obviously, ceiling in of itself has very little meaning, as you note about injuries. My point wasn't necessarily to say that any of these guys will make it (as I noted, at the end of the day, could be that the most value that these guys bring is trade value), just that the ceiling of those three guys is, IMO, that high.

As for Hudson, and I could be wrong, but I think I might've been the low man on him last offseason ... but what did folks expect? A lanky, 6'8" breaking ball reliant kid was going to be a work in progress. I'll probably flip him and Albertos, as that makes zero sense looking at it now (I think Albertos' ceiling is higher), and may move guys a spot or two here and there ... but I'm not terribly alarmed on much about Hudson as of now. If he doesn't show improvement this year? That'd be a slightly different story.

I was very strong last offseason that I thought de la Cruz's profile was that of a potential TOR type arm, but with a little more volatility in what he could potentially become, and with the solid run at SB, I still view him that way. Hudson's ceiling ... I'd probably put it at a notch above mid-rotation arm, depending on how his fastball consistency/changeup development goes.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby craig » Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:52 pm

toonsterwu wrote: ...As for Hudson, and I could be wrong, but I think I might've been the low man on him last offseason ... but what did folks expect? A lanky, 6'8" breaking ball reliant kid was going to be a work in progress. .....


Hey, toonster, thanks for the input. Fun to see your optimism and enthusiasm!

I expected (and hoped) for more velocity out of Hudson. The nature of a HS projection guy is that he gets faster.

I was disappointed that there was no evidence that happened, and instead that the actual guy this past season appeared to be slower than what the draft summer, fall instrux, and spring camp reports had suggested. Hopefully he adds a bunch this season.

If you go 2-3 years into your career and no added velocity has come yet, then it's probably not going to.
Last edited by craig on Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby davell » Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:39 pm

Hudson regressed by what we've seen out of BA this past season. Supposedly, he had a very solid Instructs.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby Hrubes20 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:31 pm

TomtheBombadil wrote:
toonsterwu wrote:The Braves have insane depth, but ceiling wise


I'd take the percieved ceiling of any of Newcomb, Allard, Anderson, Muller, and Wentz over the perceieved ceiling of any Cubs arm prospect. Right off the bat all three in this system have missed all or most of a season to an elbow or shoulder issue, a nice way to put a dent into ceiling.

8. Hudson - I somewhat overlooked him earlier, but he was always a work in progress, and so far ... nothing has been that alarming to jump off the upside.


The 41/41 K:BB in 58 IP in a pitcher's park isn't alarming? Even the 4 HRs...What are the ceilings of de la Cruz and Hudson?


I'm with you on Hudson. That was truly as horrific of a year as you could have while still staying healthy. Can only hope they had him working on something very specific that was causing the walks and hard contact.

This is one of the most difficult Cubs farms I've ever ranked in the offseason.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby toonsterwu » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:58 pm

Okay, color me mildly surprised. Let's leave rankings aside for a moment - I'm mildly curious why everyone is so down on Bryan Hudson, enough so that I feel like I might end up being the high man on him after feeling like I was the low man on him last winter (based on recollection, I think I had him lumped with Steele). I certainly didn't follow things as closely this year, so maybe I missed something.

This is what I'm looking at (after a very quick perusal of Hudson articles to see if I missed anything) -

a) The Hudson drafted, IIRC, was a tall, lanky athlete whose fastball sat in that 86-89 range. There were a couple reports of the FB topping out in the 90's, but when the majority of reports were in one range, I tend to think that's where he sat. He had a plus curve, basically your typical high school change (could throw it but it wasn't much). There were clear mechanical issues he needed to work on, along with command.

b) I know this is his 2nd year in the system, but it was his age 19 season, still very young and still physically maturing. I know a couple reports popped up in instructs of him in what, 90-93 range, but keep in mind the workload/opportunity that the kids have in instructs. Several years back, one of the Latin arms ... maybe it was Wellington Cruz or Luis Liria ... had his fastball jump in instructs because of workload and usage, only for those numbers to settle down. Last report I saw in the summer had him in that 88-91 range, which would seem to show some firming up of the fastball. By most accounts, that curve is still there. There was an article on milb late in the year about Hudson working through his mechanics and taking that to the field, and there was another article about him trying to use the change more.

____

I don't think his ceiling is particularly off the walls crazy good. I think best case scenario is a notch above mid-rotation, but he has more of the makings of your typical "mid-rotation" lefty ceiling, which is obviously rather valuable. He's also such a tall hurler, and these guys take time to develop, particularly when they are that young. He is, by most accounts, still physically maturing. I may be rationalizing a bit ... but I just don't see the necessity to be hugely concerned yet. Can it be said that 2017 is a big year for him? Sure, age 20, likely full season ball, he's gotta show improved mechanical consistency, which would hopefully lead to improved command. I'm just not ready to be hugely disappointed.

If any of the above is wrong, particularly about what he is now ... okay. I stand corrected. That said, the Cubs were high on the athletic Hudson, and while I didn't particularly love the throwing of money towards Hudson at the time, I just don't see significant cause for concern yet when all the warning signs for slow development were out there.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby Donzo » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:54 pm

This is a transition year for the system. In the last two years, it graduated a lot of top talent and it just lost a top 10 - 20 prospect (probably higher after the AFL), in a late season trade. Time to regroup.

The good news is it appears there's quite a bit of developing talent in the lower levels. We'll see how it shakes out.

1. Eloy: Clearly the top prospect. Probably has the highest ceiling in the system and the best chance to approach it.

2. Happ: The only top prospect above A ball. His skillset is excellent, but with that glaring weakness with strikeouts.

3. Candelario: I don't know what to make of him. For some reason, I'm thinking he' an AAAA player... No particular reason why. Hope I'm wrong.

After that, it really is a bunch developing prospects. Next year will clear this up... Myself, I like Clifton more than most. I like how he ended so strong in high-A at a young age, 20/21, and has been healthy. I see his stuff eventually developing and translating to success in higher levels.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby TomtheBombadil » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:06 am

Hrubes20 wrote:I'm with you on Hudson. That was truly as horrific of a year as you could have while still staying healthy. Can only hope they had him working on something very specific that was causing the walks and hard contact.

This is one of the most difficult Cubs farms I've ever ranked in the offseason.


Yeah, and I went in as someone who already was not a Hudson fan. He's healthy and young with plenty to work with, but so far as a pro both his performance and fastball command have legit sucked.

The obvious Cubs guys he will get compared to are Hill and Marshall, curveballing lefties who took a little while to get their feet on the ground as pros. Problem there is that those guys at least made hitters swing and miss anyway early on. Hudson's fastball lacks both velocity and command, so he has not been a problem for short season hitters.

Donzo, I am liking that first sentence in the Happ comment. I never thought about it that way, but he is. I might agree on Candelario because he lacks power and premium bat speed. There's definitely a part of me that feels I will give him three because it's easiest to.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby CubsWin » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:15 am

Donzo wrote:This is a transition year for the system. In the last two years, it graduated a lot of top talent and it just lost a top 10 - 20 prospect (probably higher after the AFL), in a late season trade. Time to regroup.

Great to see some new posters in the minor league forum!

Yeah, it's good to know there's at least one stud in the system in Jimenez. The big league club is stocked so there's ample time to build the next coming waves.

Think of it, the Cubs added Contreras, Edwards, Almora and Zastryzny last season and all performed well. On top of that, they turned Vogelbach and Blackburn into a long term asset in Montgomery. The year before it was Bryant, Russell and Schwarber, and 2014 saw Hendricks, Soler and Baez make their debuts. Come on. That's not fair.

It will be a while before there's another 3-4 man wave of talent the likes of those guys, but the cupboard's far from bare. Candelario is knocking on the door but there's simply no room at the inn. If keeps hitting in AAA like he did last year (.333/.417/.542 in about 300 PAs), that 23-year-old, switching-hitting 3B with improved defense (by the latest reports) will make a solid trade chip. Next up would be Zagunis, Happ, Clifton, Caratini and possibly Underwood if he can turn things around and stay healthy. That's not a bad group of prospects in AAA & AA.

But it's the high-ceiling guys at the lower levels that will be fun to watch develop in this time of regrouping, as you called it. De La Cruz, Paulino and Eddy Martinez will all be 22 by opening day, but Jimenez, Cease, Paredes, Albertos, Wilson, Hudson, Sepulveda, Moreno, Assad, Palma, Marquez, Ocampo, Carrera, Ademan, Sierra, Amaya, Perlaza, Morel, O. Nunez, Garcia and Narea are all currently 20 years old or younger, in most cases much younger and all worth following.

This should be fun...
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby craig » Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:56 pm

CubsWin wrote:....Think of it, the Cubs added Contreras, Edwards, Almora and Zastryzny last season and all performed well. On top of that, they turned Vogelbach and Blackburn into a long term asset in Montgomery. The year before it was Bryant, Russell and Schwarber, and 2014 saw Hendricks, Soler and Baez make their debuts. Come on. That's not fair.

It will be a while before there's another 3-4 man wave of talent the likes of those guys, but the cupboard's far from bare. .....


Nice post, Win. Helpful (for me at least) to keep some perspective.

An amazing thing has been that so many of the graduates have been good. When we had all these top prospects a couple of years ago, I would often tell myself "Yeah, but you know prospects fall off; you know a lot of these guys won't actually work out for whatever reason." But here we are, and almost everybody IS working out variably well, even guys like Vogelbach and Zastryzny; and a Contreras is working out WAY better than I ever imagined. A guy like Hendricks is working out WAY better than any of us thought to dream.

The only guy who's kinda disappointed has been Soler. And that's me being disappointed with a .769 OPS and OPS+ 105, with lots of space to do much better in future.

Maybe the hit-rate has been pure luck/coincidence. But the astonishing hit-rate with our prospects may speak to the Cubs Way? Perhaps we'll continue to have unexpected success with prospects? Maybe our development process really is that good, and the types of guys that they bring into the system are that coachable and improve-able? Obviously it won't be the same when our top picks are in the 30's versus in the top 2-4-6-10 range. But if they can frequently get the best out of the talent they've got, it could be pretty nice.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby CubsWin » Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:30 pm

craig wrote:Maybe the hit-rate has been pure luck/coincidence. But the astonishing hit-rate with our prospects may speak to the Cubs Way? Perhaps we'll continue to have unexpected success with prospects? Maybe our development process really is that good, and the types of guys that they bring into the system are that coachable and improve-able? Obviously it won't be the same when our top picks are in the 30's versus in the top 2-4-6-10 range. But if they can frequently get the best out of the talent they've got, it could be pretty nice.

For me, the hit-rate with the Cubs prospects of late is more due to well above average instruction, philosophy (Cubs Way) and scouting. There's a reason why Jason McLeod is so highly sought after. It also has a lot to do with the higher draft picks they've had though we've seen guys like Zastryzny and Contreras really turn things around in their development so there's evidence of instruction/scouting with them, certainly. Baez is another piece of evidence supporting instruction and philosophy. I strongly believe he's not the player he is today under the previous front office.

There's more reason than ever to be hopeful for currently under-performing guys like Underwood or Hudson or Steele to turn things around and for top prospects with some doubts like Happ, Clifton, Candelario to continue to progress. Baez and Almora have developed at slower rates than some of their college drafted teammates, but they haven't plateaued at all. The philosophy and instruction continues on at the major league level which is doubly encouraging.

Probably due to the decades of following Cubs prospects under several previous regimes, I'd come to believe that the attrition rate for prospects was a hard-and-fast rule, but Jason McLeod and the rest of the scouting and development staff have changed my mind. This group is simply better than most of the rest of the league.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby Donzo » Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:39 pm

TomtheBombadil wrote:Donzo, I am liking that first sentence in the Happ comment. I never thought about it that way, but he is. I might agree on Candelario because he lacks power and premium bat speed. There's definitely a part of me that feels I will give him three because it's easiest to.


Yeah, it is what it is. With so many graduations, it's time to regroup. But, obviously, some other non elite prospects will help this year.

Zastryzny could be huge this year if continues what he showed last year and I very well could be selling Candelario short. I saw him play last year and he looked overmatched to me, like almost all young rookies would in a July call up. As you specifically pointed out, I just don't see the tools/talent of a regular MLB player, like I do with Jimenez and Happ.

Saying that, what do I know?!? I thought Kelton and Vitters were gonna be stars, so it's a plus for Candelario that I don't think all that much of him- 8-) ... A guy I talk to about prospects loves Candelario. He said when he's comfortable, his bat speed is a plus. Here's a videohe sent me- this takes some talent.

Canelarion homers off of Bumgarner
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby Donzo » Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:43 pm

CubsWin wrote:Great to see some new posters in the minor league forum!

Yeah, it's good to know there's at least one stud in the system in Jimenez. The big league club is stocked so there's ample time to build the next coming waves.



I wouldn't call me new, I'm recycled...

I think following the minors will be fun this year, a lot of guys to keep an eye on.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby Donzo » Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:57 pm

Link to Cubs top 20 from Sickles: Cubs Top 20 from Jon Sickels (SB Nation)

Clifton ahead of Happ- interesting...
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby craig » Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:55 am

Sickels still includes Underwood at #9.
He also still includes Almora; has Almora, who may very well be the Cubs primary CF next year, at #5, behind Clifton and Happ.

I'll be curious to see the comments and discussion as those go forward.

He includes Hedges in his top-20: mentions his heavy sinker being as high as 94. Will be interesting to get a little more scouting on some of the less well-reported guys.
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Re: NSB Cubs Top 25 Prospects 2017

Postby TomtheBombadil » Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:57 am

Donzo wrote:Yeah, it is what it is. With so many graduations, it's time to regroup. But, obviously, some other non elite prospects will help this year.

Zastryzny could be huge this year if continues what he showed last year and I very well could be selling Candelario short. I saw him play last year and he looked overmatched to me, like almost all young rookies would in a July call up. As you specifically pointed out, I just don't see the tools/talent of a regular MLB player, like I do with Jimenez and Happ.

Saying that, what do I know?!? I thought Kelton and Vitters were gonna be stars, so it's a plus for Candelario that I don't think all that much of him- 8-) ... A guy I talk to about prospects loves Candelario. He said when he's comfortable, his bat speed is a plus. Here's a videohe sent me- this takes some talent.

Canelarion homers off of Bumgarner


My thing with Candelario is less that he has ML tools, rather he doesn't have any standout tool, is more periphs, profile, and potential than outright performance, and is blocked by someone he is not beating. There might be an average or a little better starting 3B in there, but not for this team. He can be some team's near ML ready lottery ticket this winter.
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