Cubs Bid Farewell to Alfonso Soriano
The age of social media, especially Twitter, has changed the way transactions and rumors are reported. Now, we’re all but sure to hear about so many more deals before they are actually finalized and announced. As of this morning, there has not been a formal announcement on the deal to send Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees, but because it was being reported everywhere as being a sure thing, you see it. In my opinion, this is both good and bad. It’s great because it makes the trade deadline so much fun. I find myself checking Twitter so often for any updates on anything. At the same time, I feel like it has the potential to get hopes up before deals as truly final. We saw this in full effect last year with Ryan Dempster and this off-season with Carlos Marmol. Both trades were reported as being done and both fell through. It is what it is at this point so we have to live with it.
At this point, Soriano is on his way to New York for the series with the Rays that starts tonight. He hopped a plane last night after saying good bye. No word yet on who is coming back in return, but I’ve heard the Cubs are picking up the majority of the remaining money on the contract so that should increase the value of the prospect we receive. A deal should be announced today so I should have an update later. I thought this quote from Sori said it all “I got that kind of money just because the game gave it to me. I love the game and I respect the game. I love what I do.“
There was still a game to play last night and the Cubs offense did everything they could to show solidarity in protesting the Soriano trade by leaving their bats in the dugout each time they came to the plate. As a result, just one run and a series split that could have been a series win.
Junior Lake had another hit in the game and now has 15 hits in his first seven games played, including a hit in each. According to ESPN Stats and Info, that is the third most all time in the first seven games played. Only Bo Hart and my childhood favorite player, Kirby Puckett had more. Next up is a very winnable series with the Giants. If we can take advantage with a win tonight, we can punt the Chris Rusin start on Saturday and close it out with a series win behind Travis Wood on Sunday.
by Rob Willer
The Future Looks Bright
Albert Almora – This young man is the first draftee by the Theo Epstein regime and quite possibly might have the highest ceiling of all the Cubs prospects. Almora was the number six overall pick in the 2012 draft and was taken right out of high school. As an 18 year old he hit .347 in 75 at bats in rookie ball, also contributed a .363 on base percentage and .480 slugging percentage. He then was promoted to Boise to finish out his first season in Short Season A Ball where he still hit .292 in 65 at bats. Early indications show that this man can absolutely hit for contact through his first 351 at bats in the minor leagues he has 113 hits which amounts to a whopping .322 batting average. Those numbers themselves are impressive but for being only 19 years and producing at that high of level provides us with great hope for our future. As the Cubs organization weighs September call-ups to the big league club Almora could earn a call up to Daytona in the coming weeks. Personally he has been just an absolute treat to watch at near by Kane County. Plays the game the right way and gets the job done all you can ask in a young player.
Performance Thursday Night at Kane County: Almora went 4 for 5 with two doubles and raised his batting average to .333 at Kane County.
Dan Vogelbach – Vogelbach is an interesting prospect for the Cubs as they already have Anthony Rizzo at first base for the next seven years after he recently signed his 42 million dollar contract. He like Almora was drafted right out of high school in the 2nd round. After tearing it up at rookie ball he then made the move just like Almora did and moved to Boise. When he arrived at Boise nothing changed he batted .322 also hit 10 home runs and drove in 31 runs. To sum up his 2012 season he put up an impressive 1.051 OPS with 21 home runs and 17 doubles in 245 at-bats last season. Those are all star numbers for a 19 year old kid who if all things go to plan projects as a Matt Adams type. When you think of Matt Adams you think quality hitter and a ton of power with average defense and below average speed. Vogelbach emulates all four of those traits, he will continue to develop this summer at Kane County and we should see him at Daytona by the start of next year.
Performance Thursday Night at Kane County: Vogelbach went 1 for 5 with a double and a run scored. His batting average is still .288 at Kane County.
Javy Baez – One of the most exciting prospects in baseball is 20-year-old Javier Baez. Baez recently got promoted to Double-A, he could be in line for an everyday big league job by next season. He has been getting high remarks from highly respected sites including Baseball America which ranked him as the No. 10 prospect in baseball in Baseball America’s Midseason Top 50 list. What sets Baez apart from others is possess some of the best bat speed in all of minor league baseball.. Baez has incredible power and has shown it between High A Daytona and Double A Tennessee where he has combined to hit 25 home-runs and 72 runs batted in. A September call-up is not out of the question although I see unlikely at this point. Some numbers that worry me though are his 101 strikeouts in 404 at bats which is right at 25 percent between the two levels. If Baez can cut down on the strikeouts to about a 17% rate and improve on his batting average no question he will be up with the Cubs by 2014.
Performance Thursday Night at Tennessee – 2 for 6 with 2 Home Runs and four runs batted in.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Rob_Willer for the latest on minor league news regarding the Cubs organization.