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#26 SenorGato

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 02:42 PM

Oh and pitchers and catchers is 6 days away. 6!
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#27 SenorGato

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:48 PM

I know everyone is excited to find out that the Cubs had 4 top 100 and one guy just outside the top 100 for Keith Law:


Baez:

Baez might have the best bat speed in the minors, and he certainly has the angriest swing, often reminiscent of John Belushi’s samurai character from “Saturday Night Live.” (Of course, when Baez was born, Belushi had been dead for a decade, so perhaps I need a more contemporary reference.)
His hands are explosive, and the bat speed is so good that he’s already got plus-plus raw power and can drive the ball out to the opposite field like he’s tying his shoes. He’s also one of the least patient hitters in the minors, approaching each pitch in fourth gear, swinging and missing because he doesn’t shorten up or otherwise adjust his swing to the situation. In the field, he’s quieted doubts about his ability to stay at shortstop; he has the agility and instincts for it, as well as a plus arm, so the only major issue is whether he eventually outgrows the position.

He’s one of the highest-beta prospects on this list — he could be a 30-homer shortstop, or he could stall out in Double-A because pitchers exploit him and he can’t adjust. I’m willing, for now, to bet on the former.



Almora:

The joke in scouting circles last spring was that Cubs President Theo Epstein didn’t just want to draft Almora, he wanted to adopt him. Almora is a natural center fielder who has outstanding instincts, especially when reading the ball off the bat, so even though he’s an average runner he plays with plus range and has an above-average arm.
Almora starts his swing with a high leg kick but gets his foot down in time, with a very steady, controlled swing that has plenty of hip rotation for power without sacrificing his ability to square up the ball for solid contact. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and doesn’t swing and miss much, even with the wood bat. His lack of patience in his pro debut (two walks in 145 plate appearances) was something of a surprise, although he might have just wanted to fit in with all of the Cubs’ other hitting prospects.

His ceiling is as a high-average hitter with plus defense in center and 20 home runs, although he’s going to have to show he can take a pitch now and then to get there.



I still find it funny how many people really hang on those two walks in rookie ball as if that’s going to carry over. I’ll eat three THOUSAND kittens over the course of the next 100 years if he puts up 2% walk rate next year. Might be my favorite prospect in all of baseball, and will definitely have it once Taveras gets called up.

Soler:


Soler signed before the new CBA rules on enriching owners at the expense of impoverished Latin American kids went into effect, signing with the Cubs for a $6 million bonus and $24 million in salary over nine years, although he can opt out of the deal if he becomes eligible for salary arbitration.

He’s a wiry, athletic outfielder with explosive hands at the plate, starting them high and deep but getting them moving so quickly that he has no trouble catching up to good velocity. He doesn’t look like a typical power hitter, but he’s got the quick-twitch muscles to be able to rotate the bat through the zone and drive the ball out to left-center like an older or more physical player would. On defense, he might be playable in center for now but the Cubs have him in right, which would be his long-term position regardless.

Soler only played 34 games last summer after signing, but it’s a point in his favor that he struck out just 19 times even though he hadn’t faced live pitching on a regular basis in nearly two years. At just 21 this year, he should be able to get to Double-A with the upside of an above-average regular in right who should peak in the 25-30 home run range.


Vizcaino:




Vizcaino entered 2012 with a partial ligament tear in his right elbow, and in March he underwent surgery to repair it, ending his season before it began, although he did find himself part of a midyear trade from the Braves to the Cubs in exchange for Paul Maholm.

When healthy, Vizcaino has electric stuff, a top-of-the-rotation arsenal with a lightning-quick arm, needing work on command and refinement on his changeup a little further to reach that potential -- and, of course, to stay healthy.

Before the surgery, Vizcaino would work at 92-96 as a starter and hit 98 when he worked in relief for Atlanta late in 2011. The pitch doesn't sink but does have late life up in the zone. He has a hard curveball that works at near-slider velocity with hard two-plane break and good depth. The changeup has good arm speed, and improving it is a question of feel, something he'll get with reps. His arm works well aside from a lack of extension out front, and he gets on top of the ball enough to get that depth on the breaking ball.

The Cubs will likely bring him back slowly this year, so if he appears in the majors at all in 2013, I'd speculate that it would be in relief, with a rotation spot by mid-2014 a more realistic goal.


Candelario:




He's an offensive third baseman with great rhythm at the plate and a smooth swing, showing just enough to make you think he can stay at third base. I'd just like to see the offensive skill set translate into a little more performance before buying in all the way, because the defense will never be a plus. If you squint, you might see a Pablo Sandoval future here.


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#28 HeavyFog

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:13 PM

I think the Cubs could be a pleasant surprise this year.  Go Cubbies!


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#29 SenorGato

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:33 AM

The Cubs have been reading the sh*t ton of posts SenorGato makes instead of having some kind of life:
 

Manager Dale Sveum said Baez, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee, will play at shortstop and second base in spring training games.

 

http://fantasynews.c...628/javier-baez

 

RH Robbie Cano biiiiiitches. 


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#30 NJ

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 05:33 PM

We might have the literal home run with this guy, Catman. I'm hoping they stick him in the Midwest League by me so I can catch a bunch of plate appearances for $6 before his ante goes up large.  
 
                                                     Cubs rightly impressed by Soler
022513-MLB-Soler-Power-PI-AA_20130225105
Outfielder Jorge Soler is in his first Cubs spring training camp.
 
kenRosenthal_20091212214730_0_0.JPG
 
 
 
MESA, AR

Veteran outfielder Darnell McDonald calls him “King James.” As in LeBron James. As in the former hoops prodigy turned NBA legend.

So, to the Chicago Cubs official who asked me with a smile, “Don’t crank up the hype machine too far,” I can offer only one possible response:

 

 

 

Your own players are doing the cranking!

“He’s legit, a physical specimen, impressive bat speed — and a rocket arm, too,” outfielder Scott Hairston says.

And left fielder Alfonso Soriano, who knows something about phenoms — remember his two homers and MVP performance in the 1999 Futures Game at Fenway Park? — sounds equally excited.

“He’s going to be something,” Soriano says.

The player in question, outfielder Jorge Soler, turns 21 on Monday. Recently, club president Theo Epstein said to one of the Cubs’ veterans, “Not bad for a 20-year-old, huh?”

Twenty?” the player replied. “I thought he was 25!”

Soler looks the part at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. The surprising thing is, he acts the part, too, displaying uncommon maturity — not just with his offensive approach, but also his defense and baserunning.

 

 

We’re talking about a kid who didn’t play a game between the 2010 World Junior Championships and his debut in the Cubs’ system last summer, a gap of approximately two years.

During that time, Soler defected from Cuba, established residency in Haiti and received clearance from the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, enabling him to sign with a major-league club.

The Cubs went all-in on him, eager to land a major foreign talent before new restrictions on international spending took effect. Their winning bid for Soler — $30 million over nine years — was a record for a 20-year-old.

At the time, the Cubs had seen Soler only at junior international tournaments and at their own academy in the Dominican Republic. But if Soler, a right-handed hitter, becomes the next Giancarlo Stanton, the deal actually could prove a bargain. A major bargain.

Soler, outfielder Alberto Almora, right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and of course, first baseman Anthony Rizzo – all possess impact talent, and all have entered the organization in the approximately 16 months since the Epstein/Jed Hoyer regime took control.

Slowly but surely, the Cubs are coming around.

 

The success of Rizzo last season gave the rebuilding program immediate credibility. Cubs fans, though, are rightly wary of any top prospect, given the organization’s history with the Corey Pattersons of the world.

Soler’s professional resume consists of only 149 plate appearances between rookie ball and low A (and, ahem, a .338 batting average, .398 on-base percentage and .513 slugging average in 88 plate appearances at low A). He will start the season at a higher level of A ball, and his ETA as a regular at Wrigley Field, if everything goes well, is probably no earlier than 2015.

Until then, all the usual caveats about prospects apply. Still, the Cubs can’t help but like what they see.

Last Thursday, Soler hit a home run in the first at-bat of his first intrasquad game off the Cubs’ minor-league pitcher of the year, Nick Struck. But it was his second at-bat that the Cubs’ coaches are still talking about. Soler got down 0-2 in the count and then laid off some tough pitches, working a walk.

“He’s disciplined beyond his age,” Cubs hitting coach James Rowson says. “He’s kind of ahead of the game. He’s out there taking aggressive hacks. But he’s swinging at good pitches, laying off some tough breaking balls early in camp. He’s exciting, fun to watch.”

In his first Cactus League game on Saturday, Soler hit a hard ground ball down the third-base line for an RBI double. His swing looks somewhat familiar; he has adopted Soriano as a mentor — and Soriano’s bat waggle as part of the timing mechanism in his load.

Soler, though, could develop into a more patient hitter and better defender than Soriano ever was.

The Cubs were aware of Soler’s plate discipline; he drew walks and showed a feel for the strike zone even as a young amateur. But they didn’t realize they were getting a player who is so dedicated to developing his all-around game.

 

.

 

“What has been really impressive, all last year and so far in camp, is how into defense and baserunning he is,” Epstein says. “He shows a really good first step in the outfield, takes good routes and has a plus arm with a lot of accuracy and carry. He also has showed a real interest in stolen bases. He was almost perfect last year (12 for 13).”

The great ones play with an edge. Soler displays that type of confidence, too.

“You joke with him, ‘Are you afraid to steal third?’ And he laughs at you,” says Dave McKay, the Cubs’ first base coach and outfield instructor. “He’s not afraid to play.”

The Cubs actually tried Soler in center field last fall in the Instructional League, and he handled himself well, Epstein says. Almora, however, is the center fielder of the future. Soler’s long-term position is right.

“The way he moves, catches the ball, it’s just like a veteran guy,” McKay says. “And he does the right things. He comes up, his throws are low, hard, accurate, straight. He doesn’t overthrow.”

To think, everything is new to Soler. As Epstein points out, this is the kid’s first spring training, his first time in the US in February. Yet, he impresses the Cubs not only with his poise but also his personality.

I’m trying not to crank up the hype machine, I really am. But if the Cubs’ people can’t help themselves, why should I?

“He has a chance to be a beast,” Rowson says. “This guy is a monster.”

 

Edited by NJ, 25 February 2013 - 05:36 PM.

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#31 SenorGato

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:24 PM

It looks like his forearm muscles has forearm muscles. Kinda reminds me of myself if I was that size and had that level of physical conditioning.


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#32 JetPotato

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:44 PM

The real dilemma the Cubs have this year is do you sit back and enjoy the glory of another Gold Glove season in left field from Alfonso Soriano, or to you try to trade him to the Orioles for Dylan Bundy and draft picks?


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#33 SenorGato

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 01:06 PM

ROTFL even the attempts to troll are as garbage as the attempts to drop some
knowledge. Tyler Austin is not Dylan Bundy dummy. He's not even Jonathan Schoop.
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#34 NJ

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 04:50 PM

The real dilemma the Cubs have this year is do you sit back and enjoy the glory of another Gold Glove season in left field from Alfonso Soriano, or to you try to trade him to the Orioles for Dylan Bundy and draft picks?

I'd rather let him hop around out there as we rebuild and hit 30+ out and knock in a hundred plus. How many of your OF's do that? Oh yeah - the one you want to trade - but he's got a broken arm. 


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#35 JetPotato

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:52 AM

ROTFL even the attempts to troll are as garbage as the attempts to drop some
knowledge. Tyler Austin is not Dylan Bundy dummy. He's not even Jonathan Schoop.

 

You're not very bright, are you?

 

Oh right.  I'm talking to the pizza delivery guy who gets pissed at people that don't tip for terrible service.


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#36 SenorGato

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:10 PM

Oooooh got me back in 2006. I'll tell him to be offended.
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#37 SenorGato

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:55 PM

I just turned on the game. Samardzija is cruising into the 7th. Castro and Rizzo get their own thread.

 

This should be an interesting year for individual players, but overall I'm thinking 70-92. 


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#38 NJ

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 10:03 AM

Here we go again ... for some reason (probably the brutal winter grinding my brain to mush) I have optimism going into 2014. 

Certainly not to make the play-off's this season, but to see some real progress with TheoBall and realistically look at being competitive within the next couple of campaigns.

We have 7 of the top 100 prospects (5 of the top 50) in the bigs with an 8th in Mike Olt who was bumped off list after a beaning gave him temporary blurred vision last season.

Pitching is still near atrocious but with the exception of Jackson we haven't thrown any money away on FA's before everything else is soup.

Still woeful in the catcher slot - but everything else is starting to shape up. 


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#39 Jetlife33

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 01:14 PM

Here we go again ... for some reason (probably the brutal winter grinding my brain to mush) I have optimism going into 2014.
Certainly not to make the play-off's this season, but to see some real progress with TheoBall and realistically look at being competitive within the next couple of campaigns.
We have 7 of the top 100 prospects (5 of the top 50) in the bigs with an 8th in Mike Olt who was bumped off list after a beaning gave him temporary blurred vision last season.
Pitching is still near atrocious but with the exception of Jackson we haven't thrown any money away on FA's before everything else is soup.
Still woeful in the catcher slot - but everything else is starting to shape up.

Cubs fans have every right to be excited about their club. Young talented players are going to make their mark in the next couple of years. 2014 although will most likely not produce a playoff team, could be very exciting for Cubbies fans especially in September with Sep. call ups. Good luck! Coming from a Yanks fan.

EDIT: And I hope Castro turns it around for you guys, too much talent not to.

Edited by Jetlife33, 06 March 2014 - 01:16 PM.

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#40 NJ

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 03:45 PM

Cubs fans have every right to be excited about their club. Young talented players are going to make their mark in the next couple of years. 2014 although will most likely not produce a playoff team, could be very exciting for Cubbies fans especially in September with Sep. call ups. Good luck! Coming from a Yanks fan.

EDIT: And I hope Castro turns it around for you guys, too much talent not to.

Thanks for the well wishes, bro. There's actually 4 long time posters here that are cursed with Cubs/Jets masochism.

On Castro - hoping last year was a combination sophomore jinx and also him really feeling the pressure to produce offense - as no one else was. 


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#41 Jetlife33

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:02 PM

Thanks for the well wishes, bro. There's actually 4 long time posters here that are cursed with Cubs/Jets masochism.
On Castro - hoping last year was a combination sophomore jinx and also him really feeling the pressure to produce offense - as no one else was.


No problem, if anyone deserves to be excited about their team it's Cubbies fans. Good luck this year.
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#42 SenorGato

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 02:44 PM

Bah, mere months away from at least one of Baez or Bryant. The power injection either could/should/will give the lineup is badly needed. 

 

Oh and after a couple of years where my fellow Cubs fans mostly told me I was crazy - Javier Baez to 2B is picking up steam. Castro obviously needs to get his act back together but I have been looking forward to those two manning the MIF since 2012. 

 

What else...Oh, they need to be able to land Tyler Beede this year. 


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#43 NJ

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 05:48 AM

Bah, mere months away from at least one of Baez or Bryant. The power injection either could/should/will give the lineup is badly needed. 

 

Oh and after a couple of years where my fellow Cubs fans mostly told me I was crazy - Javier Baez to 2B is picking up steam. Castro obviously needs to get his act back together but I have been looking forward to those two manning the MIF since 2012. 

 

What else...Oh, they need to be able to land Tyler Beede this year. 

Think of Olt at the hot corner with good vision combined with your suggested MIF and Rizzo finding some plate consistency at 1st. Stick Bryant out in left and have any one of 3 high potential rooks with Nate in the OF. Go buy some pitching and 2016 is looking pretty ok.


Edited by NJ, 19 March 2014 - 05:49 AM.

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#44 The Troll

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 01:38 PM

Here we go again ... for some reason (probably the brutal winter grinding my brain to mush) I have optimism going into 2014. 

Certainly not to make the play-off's this season, but to see some real progress with TheoBall and realistically look at being competitive within the next couple of campaigns.

We have 7 of the top 100 prospects (5 of the top 50) in the bigs with an 8th in Mike Olt who was bumped off list after a beaning gave him temporary blurred vision last season.

Pitching is still near atrocious but with the exception of Jackson we haven't thrown any money away on FA's before everything else is soup.

Still woeful in the catcher slot - but everything else is starting to shape up. 

I'm kinda with you and I'm not sure why. I don't expect the playoffs, I don't even really expect a legit run at .500. I think it's because the time is really nearing. This is the last season the Cubs go into before the future HAPPENS. I expect Baez to make his debut at some point this season. Perhaps in September, Bryant or some of the others will join him. You know what blows my ******* mind? We get to add the fourth pick in the draft to our already insane farm. Assuming we get the best available pitcher, our future rotation starts to take shape as well. With Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, Castro, Soler, Alcantara, Olt, and Almora, our lineup already has the potential to be lethal in the future. If you can pencil in Wood/Edwards/4th pick into the future rotation, there's no holes in this team that can't be fixed via aggressive free agency. Add a front line starter about 2016 once the entire farm is here. For the first time in my life, I think the Cubs will actually win one before we all ******* die.


Edited by The Troll, 20 March 2014 - 01:39 PM.

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#45 SenorGato

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 04:22 PM

With Justin Masterson, James Shields, and Matt Scherzer seeming as if they might hit FA (right now in March) the pitching could get a necessary injection of talent from FA. Any of those guys would be quality pickups, though the Scherzer rumor - he turned down 24 per year or something - is disheartening. I love Masterson's arm, probably the hardest throwing sinkerballing starter. 

 

Anyway, I'm pretty positive about this year. I think we're going to get good stuff out of the bullpen, I'm optimistic about the right side of the infield...oh but that OF. I like Sweeney in the OF and Schierholtz/Ruggiano should be a good platoon, but the OF is almost as talent hungry as the pitching is right now.

 

The SP is mediocre as ****, but it's a quantity of mediocrities this year. Way better depth than in recent years, I think. 

 

I'm very unsure about Castro. 


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#46 Matt39

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:58 AM

BkT9XAxCYAAuDdF.jpg

 

nice job guys


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#47 NJ

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 02:16 PM

BkT9XAxCYAAuDdF.jpg

 

nice job guys

Uniform differences are not even on the list of issues ...


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#48 SenorGato

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 01:33 AM

Uniform differences are not even on the list of issues ...

 

I just take solace in knowing that the world will never be the same gain when one of Baez/Bryant turns into a franchise anchor. That and the new Godzilla PLUS the Raid 2, which I only vaguely knew was going to happen.


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#49 NJ

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 11:32 AM

I just take solace in knowing that the world will never be the same gain when one of Baez/Bryant turns into a franchise anchor. That and the new Godzilla PLUS the Raid 2, which I only vaguely knew was going to happen.

I think we hit big on both of them ... and Soler. If only half of the other high rated prospects are average - we're playing post season again.  


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