Minor League Musings

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Regular Show » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:53 am

CaliforniaRaisin wrote:https://www.thecubreporter.com/06222019/cubs-dominican-area-scout-killed-santo-domingo

Cubs Dominican area scout killed


Damn. That really sucks. Scouts in foreign countries really develop a close relationship with the prospects they sign because they meet them at such a young age and usually stay in touch and consider them family.

Hope the Cubs honor him (like Stan Zielinski) and condolences to his family.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Regular Show » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:03 pm



Really looking forward to this.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Regular Show » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:05 pm

Long post incoming on Robel Garcia:

Last fall, Cubs scout Gabe Zappin was in Arizona covering the Cincinnati Reds in the instructional league. On this particular day, a player on Team Italy, the Reds’ opponent that game, grabbed his attention.

“I was basically watching the Reds club and this kid made a really nice diving play in the infield, threw the ball across the diamond and it caught my eye,” Zappin said. “I was like, ‘That was a big-league play right there.’ He stood out physically with his body and then he gets up to the plate and it sounds different off the bat. He hit a ball into the desert off a really good arm and then he came back up and hit one off the center-field fence. So I thought, ‘Boy, who is this kid and what’s he doing here?’”


A native of the Dominican Republic, Garcia had married an Italian woman and had been playing baseball in Italy for five years.

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Now it makes sense why he was playing professionally in Italy lol.

“It was just being in the right place at the right time,” Zappin said. “It could have been very easy for me to look at a 26-year-old who had been in and out of baseball and just pass it up. For whatever reason, I sent an email saying this kid lit me up today and there’s something there.”

The 42-year-old Zappin has been a Cubs area scout for six years and spent 15 years coaching at the collegiate level before joining the organization. He now covers Northern California and was the point man for their last two first-round picks, Nico Hoerner and Ryan Jensen. When he emails his bosses, it doesn’t go to spam.

I'm higher on Ryan Jensen after reading that and this area scout knows his stuff. He did a great job finding this kid.

“It’s real pop,” McLeod said. “The exit velocity is there. There’s been some swing and miss too, but I think he’s got 17 home runs and a ton of base hits. It’s been pretty fun to watch.”


With that in mind, Garcia is now becoming an enticing option for the Cubs at second base. They’d need to open up a 40-man spot for him, but roster maneuvering is less of a concern if it means being able to put the best possible 25-man group together at the big-league level.

“He’s a really intriguing player,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said. “It is an incredible story. He hits the ball really, really hard form both sides of the plate. Gets it in the air a lot, especially left-handed, and he can get around on anybody’s fastball. Those are really good ingredients. It’ll be interesting to see how he does as the league adjusts to him a little bit and challenges him with heavier dose of breaking stuff. He’s got a chance to continue to make adjustments and continue to prove himself. He’s got some versatility to his game, certainly got some power to his game. It’s an intriguing fit for the club down the road.”

As of now, the Cubs know that what Zappin saw that day last fall was legit. Garcia clobbers fastballs.

“In this game with a ton of velo, he’s a guy who can really handle a fastball,” Epstein said. “That’s a good thing to start with.”


You gotta pay attention to a guy who is performing at the level he is and offers the different skills that he has,” Epstein said. “Anyone at the Triple-A level certainly is on the radar screen. We’ve spent a lot of time watching him, evaluating him, talking about him and looking forward to the next phases of his development.




The first scouting reports the Chicago Cubs had on Robel Garcia were from nine years ago, when he was a young infielder playing in the minors with the Cleveland Indians. The scouts who had seen Garcia thought he was struggling to make contact and wasn’t tapping into the power potential he possess.

Well, things have finally clicked for Garcia — with the Cubs.

“He’s completely exceeding everybody’s expectations,” said Alex Suarez, Chicago’s director of international pro scouting/player development. “Obviously, it’s a surprise to the organization that he’s been able to make the adjustment as quickly as he has.”

But to fully tap into the potential, the Cubs and Garcia had some work to do. Transitioning back into affiliated ball wasn't going to be easy. And simultaneously fixing some of his flaws was going to be difficult as well. So Garcia started working with Chris Valaika, Chicago's minor league hitting coordinator.

“Its just been little maintenance things,” Valaika said. "The biggest thing with him is he’s really special. He’s been a natural switch-hitter his whole life, so there’s not a ton of falloff from either side. So, the big thing has been approach and the big part of the field and then just managing the breaking ball. The more you control the zone like that, it forces pitchers back into the zone and the more damage he does.”


Really exciting stuff in both articles on Robel Garcia. Seems like the FO is really high on him and that he'll get the chance to prove himself with the Cubs at some point.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Post Count Padder » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:50 pm

According the the Baseball America transactions page, we released Brad Markey and he was scooped up by the Reds. There was a time I thought he'd be an interesting reliever for us. Oh well.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:50 pm



Really cool interview, Lange's got some good perspective going on:

- Noted he was getting dinked and dunked rather than giving up XBHs at the beginning
- Worked on new fastball grips in ST
- Talks about the differences btw A ball levels and AA so far

------

Big fan of the switch hitter comment on Garcia
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Regular Show » Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:47 pm


Me too :D


For those that don't follow the minors that closely Nico Hoerner is back. Should be up to AA in a few days.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Regular Show » Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:34 pm


Adbert Alzolay and Miguel Amaya are the only Cubs prospects on the roster.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:53 pm

The Durham Bulls have some awesome interns or whatever - saw this in the Futures Game scouting reports piece from MLB.com linked above:

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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:11 am

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs ... the-board/

while Cubs LHP Brailyn Marquez, who is at South Bend, is a logical talent/proximity sub, but he’s have to be shorted a day’s rest (compared to what he’s used to, not based on typical big league rest) to throw that night


Shots fired?!
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:09 pm

I found this tweet from May on Lange that got no play somehow:



Glaser writes for BA

One of the Cubs blogosphere guys tweeted him 92-94 a couple weeks ago so I wanted to see if anyone not a Cubs fan had tweeted something and voila. Velocity bump closer to where he was...a couple post-college game pitches in the slider and changeup...successful transition to AA so far...good stuff
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby OleMissCub » Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:40 am

Wonder if they’ll be promoting Short to Iowa this year. He’s killing it in Tennessee
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:58 am

OleMissCub wrote:Wonder if they’ll be promoting Short to Iowa this year. He’s killing it in Tennessee


Wyatt? He’s long overdue for a promotion.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby OleMissCub » Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:04 am

CaliforniaRaisin wrote:
OleMissCub wrote:Wonder if they’ll be promoting Short to Iowa this year. He’s killing it in Tennessee


Wyatt? He’s long overdue for a promotion.


Yep. Maybe he’ll get it with Maples and Wick being moved up
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:12 am

I am in for some Wyatt Short attention. As a pro after tonight:

171 IP / 8 HRs / 173 Ks / 144 Hs / 56 BBs / 2.4something ERA
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Bear Cub » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:30 am

Robel not in the lineup. Could he be heading for Pitts. this week?
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby TomtheBombadil » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:40 am

TomtheBombadil wrote:I found this tweet from May on Lange that got no play somehow:



Glaser writes for BA

One of the Cubs blogosphere guys tweeted him 92-94 a couple weeks ago so I wanted to see if anyone not a Cubs fan had tweeted something and voila. Velocity bump closer to where he was...a couple post-college game pitches in the slider and changeup...successful transition to AA so far...good stuff


BTW Lange's batted ball profile in High A this year:

51% GB / 27% FB (!, 21% PU!)/ 22% LD (the hole)

It'll be interesting to see how how he's getting outs and what kind of contact he's drawing at AA. He's always been a K + PUs guy, but if he's now getting GBs too with more velocity and more pitches...
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Regular Show » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:21 pm


Once word got out that Hultzen might be throwing for scouts, the Cubs closed a deal with him before others could get a look. Hultzen ended up getting 6 2/3 innings with the Cubs’ Arizona League team and a pair at Triple-A Iowa toward the end of last season. It was a slow process as he got back to full strength and continued to tweak things on the mound.

Late this spring, well after the big-league club had already headed to Chicago, Hultzen created some buzz in Arizona, hitting 97 mph in one-inning bursts with a lower arm slot. Hultzen said the change isn’t something he did consciously, but if it’s happening and it’s working, he’s not about to mess with it. During his Virginia days and when he was healthy early on with the Mariners, Hultzen topped out at 95, maybe hitting 96 occasionally. So this jump in velocity, even in short bursts as a reliever, is just a bonus as he continues his comeback attempt.

“I’m working on things mechanically and I’m a bit more efficient,” Hultzen said. “That’s been a very pleasant surprise because I’ve never really thrown that hard. I can’t pinpoint exactly where it came from. But I think it’s just a culmination of me being further away from surgery, some different therapy techniques and some mechanical adjustments. I’m just trying to be as efficient as possible and it’s kind of resulted in that.”

Not only are Hultzen’s changes more efficient, but they could help him avoid injuries, too.

“It’s a great story,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said. “He’s certainly got the stuff to be in consideration. He did a really nice job in Arizona. We sort of tightened up the down period between outings to see if it was something he could sustain. He pitched every other day for a little bit there. Once he got through that hurdle and still felt great, we decided to get him to Iowa. Kind of skip the normal progression, just get him up to a doorstep away because the stuff is really good. It’s the kind of stuff than can succeed against major-league hitters.”


Good stuff. Nothing really new in the article for people following him closely. He could be a late season addition if he continues dominating at AAA.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Hrubes20 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:16 pm

Regular Show wrote:
Once word got out that Hultzen might be throwing for scouts, the Cubs closed a deal with him before others could get a look. Hultzen ended up getting 6 2/3 innings with the Cubs’ Arizona League team and a pair at Triple-A Iowa toward the end of last season. It was a slow process as he got back to full strength and continued to tweak things on the mound.

Late this spring, well after the big-league club had already headed to Chicago, Hultzen created some buzz in Arizona, hitting 97 mph in one-inning bursts with a lower arm slot. Hultzen said the change isn’t something he did consciously, but if it’s happening and it’s working, he’s not about to mess with it. During his Virginia days and when he was healthy early on with the Mariners, Hultzen topped out at 95, maybe hitting 96 occasionally. So this jump in velocity, even in short bursts as a reliever, is just a bonus as he continues his comeback attempt.

“I’m working on things mechanically and I’m a bit more efficient,” Hultzen said. “That’s been a very pleasant surprise because I’ve never really thrown that hard. I can’t pinpoint exactly where it came from. But I think it’s just a culmination of me being further away from surgery, some different therapy techniques and some mechanical adjustments. I’m just trying to be as efficient as possible and it’s kind of resulted in that.”

Not only are Hultzen’s changes more efficient, but they could help him avoid injuries, too.

“It’s a great story,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said. “He’s certainly got the stuff to be in consideration. He did a really nice job in Arizona. We sort of tightened up the down period between outings to see if it was something he could sustain. He pitched every other day for a little bit there. Once he got through that hurdle and still felt great, we decided to get him to Iowa. Kind of skip the normal progression, just get him up to a doorstep away because the stuff is really good. It’s the kind of stuff than can succeed against major-league hitters.”


Good stuff. Nothing really new in the article for people following him closely. He could be a late season addition if he continues dominating at AAA.


It's been a week since he pitched. I hope he isn't dealing with another injury already.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Tedward » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:21 pm

Hrubes20 wrote:
Regular Show wrote:
Once word got out that Hultzen might be throwing for scouts, the Cubs closed a deal with him before others could get a look. Hultzen ended up getting 6 2/3 innings with the Cubs’ Arizona League team and a pair at Triple-A Iowa toward the end of last season. It was a slow process as he got back to full strength and continued to tweak things on the mound.

Late this spring, well after the big-league club had already headed to Chicago, Hultzen created some buzz in Arizona, hitting 97 mph in one-inning bursts with a lower arm slot. Hultzen said the change isn’t something he did consciously, but if it’s happening and it’s working, he’s not about to mess with it. During his Virginia days and when he was healthy early on with the Mariners, Hultzen topped out at 95, maybe hitting 96 occasionally. So this jump in velocity, even in short bursts as a reliever, is just a bonus as he continues his comeback attempt.

“I’m working on things mechanically and I’m a bit more efficient,” Hultzen said. “That’s been a very pleasant surprise because I’ve never really thrown that hard. I can’t pinpoint exactly where it came from. But I think it’s just a culmination of me being further away from surgery, some different therapy techniques and some mechanical adjustments. I’m just trying to be as efficient as possible and it’s kind of resulted in that.”

Not only are Hultzen’s changes more efficient, but they could help him avoid injuries, too.

“It’s a great story,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said. “He’s certainly got the stuff to be in consideration. He did a really nice job in Arizona. We sort of tightened up the down period between outings to see if it was something he could sustain. He pitched every other day for a little bit there. Once he got through that hurdle and still felt great, we decided to get him to Iowa. Kind of skip the normal progression, just get him up to a doorstep away because the stuff is really good. It’s the kind of stuff than can succeed against major-league hitters.”


Good stuff. Nothing really new in the article for people following him closely. He could be a late season addition if he continues dominating at AAA.


It's been a week since he pitched. I hope he isn't dealing with another injury already.


Believe he’s currently sidelined with a groin injury, but not expected to be serious
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Hrubes20 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:34 pm

Tedward wrote:
Hrubes20 wrote:
Regular Show wrote:



Good stuff. Nothing really new in the article for people following him closely. He could be a late season addition if he continues dominating at AAA.


It's been a week since he pitched. I hope he isn't dealing with another injury already.


Believe he’s currently sidelined with a groin injury, but not expected to be serious


That's great news, all things considered. Thanks.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Bertz » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:48 pm



While it's not exactly the Braves of the past couple years, this is really good. It's also over the last month pushed Underwood and De La Cruz into multi inning reliever roles, where early returns have been strong.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Regular Show » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:56 pm

Bertz wrote:https://twitter.com/cubprospects/status/1147179149154574336?s=19

While it's not exactly the Braves of the past couple years, this is really good. It's also over the last month pushed Underwood and De La Cruz into multi inning reliever roles, where early returns have been strong.


More pitchers need to be pushed onto the reliever track IMO. I think the best outcomes for Lange and Little at this point are becoming relievers, and seeing if their stuff/command improves in shorter outings. Underwood looked okay at times last year, but the command may never be good enough even as a reliever.

The pitching depth is definitely improved, but it's mostly #4 or #5 starter stuff and potential and low-leverage reliever roles for this group. We don't have the high upside stuff of those pitchers in the Braves' system (with Marquez and Thompson being the exceptions).
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby d_money » Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:47 pm

Regular Show wrote:
Bertz wrote:https://twitter.com/cubprospects/status/1147179149154574336?s=19

While it's not exactly the Braves of the past couple years, this is really good. It's also over the last month pushed Underwood and De La Cruz into multi inning reliever roles, where early returns have been strong.


More pitchers need to be pushed onto the reliever track IMO. I think the best outcomes for Lange and Little at this point are becoming relievers, and seeing if their stuff/command improves in shorter outings. Underwood looked okay at times last year, but the command may never be good enough even as a reliever.

The pitching depth is definitely improved, but it's mostly #4 or #5 starter stuff and potential and low-leverage reliever roles for this group. We don't have the high upside stuff of those pitchers in the Braves' system (with Marquez and Thompson being the exceptions).

If after the past few years of focus on pitching via the draft, the farm system can only yield a crop of #4 or #5 at best pitching prospects - who’s head should roll besides McLeod’s? This can’t be their desired outcome.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Bertz » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:04 pm

Regular Show wrote:
Bertz wrote:https://twitter.com/cubprospects/status/1147179149154574336?s=19

While it's not exactly the Braves of the past couple years, this is really good. It's also over the last month pushed Underwood and De La Cruz into multi inning reliever roles, where early returns have been strong.


More pitchers need to be pushed onto the reliever track IMO. I think the best outcomes for Lange and Little at this point are becoming relievers, and seeing if their stuff/command improves in shorter outings. Underwood looked okay at times last year, but the command may never be good enough even as a reliever.

The pitching depth is definitely improved, but it's mostly #4 or #5 starter stuff and potential and low-leverage reliever roles for this group. We don't have the high upside stuff of those pitchers in the Braves' system (with Marquez and Thompson being the exceptions).


I could not disagree more. Pitchers are lottery tickets, today more than ever. Making a guy a reliever significantly lowers the potential payout on any of those tickets. You do eventually hit the point with most guys where you have to change tracks, but generally it's due to health or 40 man implications. Little and Lange are 22 and 23 respectively, and aren't Rule 5 eligible until December of 2020. There's no reason to convert either right now except an overreaction to their draft positions IMO.
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Re: Minor League Musings

Postby Regular Show » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:04 pm

d_money wrote:
Regular Show wrote:
Bertz wrote:https://twitter.com/cubprospects/status/1147179149154574336?s=19

While it's not exactly the Braves of the past couple years, this is really good. It's also over the last month pushed Underwood and De La Cruz into multi inning reliever roles, where early returns have been strong.


More pitchers need to be pushed onto the reliever track IMO. I think the best outcomes for Lange and Little at this point are becoming relievers, and seeing if their stuff/command improves in shorter outings. Underwood looked okay at times last year, but the command may never be good enough even as a reliever.

The pitching depth is definitely improved, but it's mostly #4 or #5 starter stuff and potential and low-leverage reliever roles for this group. We don't have the high upside stuff of those pitchers in the Braves' system (with Marquez and Thompson being the exceptions).

If after the past few years of focus on pitching via the draft, the farm system can only yield a crop of #4 or #5 at best pitching prospects - who’s head should roll besides McLeod’s? This can’t be their desired outcome.


I mean, yeah, the 2017 draft class full of pitchers is looking disappointing, but maybe someone emerges from the group? I've been critical of Jason McLeod for a long time here, but I've given up on the prospect of him ever getting demoted and/or fired...

I've been told that will NEVER happen, but also that Theo & Jed and their families are very close to McLeod and his family. They're good friends and not just professional colleagues. So, yeah I'm kinda pissed. He's not terrible, but I think he is severely overrated as VP of scouting and player development.
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