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January 23, 2014
by Jason Parks
Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Cubs list
The Top Ten
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52 comments have been left for this article.
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Your Anger is a Gift. Baez has 80 grade #rage at the plate. Cannot wait to see him in the bigs. Wow.
Love the article, but you might want to check the spelling of Castro's first name.
Chances of Alcantara sticking at SS?
Split duties last season, but the consensus seems to think 2B will be the long term position for Alcantara. Personally, I think he can handle either position defensively; although, he could be considered above-average at second.
I've been waiting for this since the series started, and wasn't disappointed. I realize that not all of these guys are going to pan out, but that's still a lot of talent.
How do we see this infield logjam resolving itself? Long-term, it's too early to figure, but just for April 2014, the Cubs have Darwin Barney, Logan Watkins, Luis Valbuena, Mike Olt and Donnie Murphy for four MLB infield slots (starters at 3B & 2B and two UTIL), and none of them can fall back on a regular job in Iowa, thanks to Baez, Alcantara and Villanueva. I'm fascinated by that dilemma.
So many AAAA players, so few places to put them!
Jasonn, ss there anything to John Andreoli or Dustin Geiger, or are those just minor-league number mirages?
Fringe profiles. They will have to prove it at every level, and even then I might not be a believer until it slaps me in the face.
Thanks. Does Geiger suffer for being in an org where he just can't possibly play 3B, even here in the minors, or does the glove not work there, anyway?
The defensive profile is more 1B
Okay, thanks again. One more question: You talk about Baez getting "tied up" by off-speed stuff. Is he just unable to adjust to soft stuff in, and gets too far ahead of it? Is this a swing-path thing? Is he looking away too often? Just trying to visualize, because we usually hear that phrase with fastballs, but clearly, Baez's bat is too fast to get tied up by velocity.
It's not so much that he is overly aggressive; rather, he just tries to hit every ball out of the park, so he often jumps fastballs and shifts his weight and rotates his hips early in order to launch the bat, and if he guesses wrong, he's unbalanced and struggles to recover.
Got it. That's clear for me. Thank you.
Fantasy staff (i don't want to risk a paragraph from the Swayze Wikipedia Collection):
Could you make a case for Alcantara over Rougned Odor in dynasty leagues? I've been swooning ever since his homer in the futures game...
You absolutely could make a case for it, based on upside/speed. Personally, I'd take the safety of Odor unless it's a particularly shallow league. Then it may be worth taking the shot.
You aren't the only one that homer stuck with. I turned to my friend who went to the game with me after Alcantara hit it and just gave a "whoa." It caught me a bit off guard.
I agree with Bret, but I think I *do* prefer Alcantara to Odor, at least ever so slightly. Both are quality options.
Jason, what are main reasons why you'd take the Twins ahead of the Cubs? Is it the Twins' depth, a better balance of hitting and pitching, or just a toss up? Would you change your mind if you were to rank them again today?
I wouldn't change my mind. I believe the Twins have the better system right now. Cubs have the depth and impact talent to pass them, but as of right now (pre-2014), the Twins are the premier system for me. The reason has nothing to do with balance; rather, its just about talent. They have a ton of talent, both of the superstar variety, high impact variety, and depth that could eventually reach those levels. While its true that the Twins have a good mixture of both arms and bats, I just care about the talent, regardless of the position.
Any hope for Brett Jackson?
Last year, you had Duane Underwood in your top 10. Has your opinion changed at all after seeing him at Boise? Heard that his command was very inconsistent.
Still high on him. He has upside. The system is just much stronger now than last season.
When people have to spend that much time explaining what is wrong with Edwards... there is probably not that much wrong with in the first place. It seems to be a common industry theme. Reminds me a bit of the critiques of Taveras' "violent" swing.
This doesn't make much sense. There is plenty stuff to be critical of in Edwards' profile. If he lacked weakness, he wouldn't have been drafted in the 48th round, or moved as a secondary piece in a rental trade, or even pitching in the minors to begin with. If Edwards didn't have much wrong with him--as you say--why didn't the Cubs put him in the rotation after acquiring him?
Why is anybody in the minor leagues then?
There's something to what you say, but it's apples and oranges. Nobody (that I have seen) is suggesting that Taveras might have to be a half-time player because of his violent swing, in the way that they are suggesting that here are the reasons that Edwards might be better cast as a reliever.
What are the reports on Dillon Maples looking like? I saw him throw at Kane County and he was a mess, but it seemed like he improved in his second go around at Boise. Still a chance he makes an impact a major league level someday?
Dan Vogelbach kind of resembles Chris Davis if Chris Davis let himself go a little bit.
Let himself go A LOT. Vogelbach is #heavy.
Did your hand shake when you put that 80 on Baez?
As Jason has said many times before, if no one was an 80/8, then the scale would stop at 70/7....or something to that effect.
I was referring to a comment from an old episode of Up and In where one of them (thought it was the Professor) said that he's had people tell him that their hands tremble when they're about to put an 80 on some prospect's power. Lots of guys get 70 on their power but 80? It's rare. To see it in a SS is crazy.
It's still not easy for me, even when its justified. It's difficult to assign elite distinctions to things in general, much less prospects that have yet to produce at the major league level.
I would imagine that it's one of the toughest grades to make and have to stand by in the future. Thanks for the reply. #TeamKove
I want to see the infield of Baez, Alcantara, Castro and Rizzo with Soler, Almora and Bryant in the OF with Castillo behind the dish. Can they all arrive at the same time please to supplement Castro, Castillo and Rizzo? That would be a welcome result after these last few years of backsliding.
That's not how this works, though. Remember that. The one thing that's been bad this winter is the lack of sound expectation management in Cubdom. Some of these guys WON'T be average or better MLB regulars. Remember to be thrilled if ONE of Baez and Bryant becomes a superstar, and if ONE of Almora and Soler becomes a star, and if ONE of Johnson and Edwards sticks in the middle of a rotation, and if ONE of Alcantara, Vogelbach, Villanueva, Olt and Candelario becomes an average regular. That's how this works, still.
... and if ONE of Brett Jackson, Junior Lake or Matt Szczur becomes a decent bench player.
Maybe we are running in different circles, but most Cubs fans I see are assuming at least a 50 percent bust rate. Honestly, most of them aren't expecting anything out of Alcantara, Vogelbach, Villanueva, Olt and Candelario.
And with the randomness of baseball, it'll be some of THOSE guys that turn into the stars. Just watch and see...
Sorry for the off topic, but the BP Annual has started shipping!!
Yep. And the BP 101 will be dropping soon.....
hey Jason... please give your thoughts on some of the Cubs 2013 J2's like Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, and Jefferson Mejia... thanks!
Professor, I'm going to NYC this weekend. Is Juan deli stil a destination or is it over run by tourists?
Jason - I saw Vogelbach last summer and was surprised by his hustle and underlying athleticism. Not saying he was Eric Davis out there, but he was no slob, either. A lot of the report on him - and his body type - reminds me of Travis Snider when he was a low level minor leaguer. What separates Vogelbach today from Snider then?
Vogelbach has no chance to play in the outfield, and I'm not sure he could even be below-average at 1B. I haven't seen a lot of athleticism in Vogelbach, at least compared to other professional athletes. He's a very good athlete compared to people that play in beer softball leagues or just average Joes, but at the professional level, its hard to go too high on his overall athletic profile. That said, you don't have to look good in a uniform to hit a baseball, and I think he's going to hit for both average and power. Value is going to be tied to his stick, so he will have to rake to become a first-division type. But I believe in the bat.
Wonder and we forever will (I assume) what the good Professor would say now or wishes he had said then!
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