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November 2009

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State of the System: CF & Minor League FA

Written by , Posted in General

Before we take a look at the outfield personnel in the system, here is a breakdown of the guys in our system that were granted free agency in the minor leagues due to Rule 55.

RHP: Vince Perkins (AAA), Jose Pina (Hi A)
LHP: Casey Fossum (AAA)
C: Mark Johnson (AAA)
1B: Matt Craig (AAA)
2B: Luis Rivas (AAA), Bobby Scales (AAA), Nate Spears (AAA)
OF: Doug Deeds (AAA), John-Ford Griffin (AAA), Brad Snyder+ (AAA)

Other Notables: Bobby Brownlie (ATL), Josh Kroeger (CHA), Mark Bellhorn (COL), Tim Raines Jr. (KC), Jason Dubois (NYM), Jerome Williams (OAK), Rocky Cherry (SD), Ryan Freel (TEX), Daryle Ward & Freddie Bynum (WAS)

If you’ve missed the first few editions of the series, here are some links as well as the schedule for the week:

C / 1B / 2B / SS / 3B / CF / LF (Thur) / RF (Fri) / Righty SP (Mon) / Lefty SP (Tuesday)

Contract info for 2010

Kosuke Fukudome – Signed through 2011 with a salary of $13 and $13.5 mil respectively

Reed Johnson – Free Agent

Sam Fuld – Auto Renewal at league minimum

Positional Summary

A look at the system probably needs to be summarized based on the position, considering that most of the OF don’t have the range that allows them to play all three OF spots. We’ll break it down with guys classified based on the table below that qualified at CF.

Age PA R 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
*Fukudome, Kosuke 32 MAJ 603 79 38 5 11 54 6 10 93 112 .259 .375 .421 .796
Johnson, Reed 32 MAJ,L-A 194 25 10 2 4 22 2 1 14 27 .257 .337 .409 .746
*Fuld, Sam 27 AAA,MAJ 485 79 23 11 3 35 25 6 55 34 .287 .370 .414 .784
*Adduci, James 24 AA 534 63 21 4 4 51 35 12 58 76 .300 .377 .388 .765
Guyer, Brandon 23 H-A,AA 510 62 28 5 3 46 30 7 34 67 .282 .339 .385 .724
*Campana, Tony 23 H-A,L-A 531 70 9 3 0 30 66 18 39 84 .284 .336 .315 .651
*Jackson, Brett 20 L-A,SS,ROK 249 50 6 3 8 36 13 2 31 56 .318 .418 .488 .906
#Valdez, Jose 21 SS,L-A 245 30 4 2 0 16 25 8 15 36 .313 .360 .348 .708
*Guzman, Francisco 21 ROK,L-A,SS,H-A 298 58 3 2 0 20 37 10 53 52 .238 .378 .268 .645
*Ramirez, Alvaro 23 ROK 238 40 7 4 2 30 24 7 21 17 .372 .457 .477 .935
#Robles, Gregorio 18 ROK 212 27 4 2 0 12 10 9 18 45 .222 .297 .265 .561
Pestana, Manuel 19 ROK 108 18 3 2 0 6 5 7 9 13 .239 .340 .315 .655
*Gonzalez, Eduardo 17 ROK 7 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 .333 .429 .333 .762

Looking above, I see a guy in Fukudome who is essentially a RF that was forced to play CF and did an acceptable job doing so. Was he outstanding from a fielding standpoint? No, but that’s probably because he’s not a natural CF by nature. Assuming Bradley is slated to be traded, that puts Fukudome back in RF at this point unless the Cubs upgraded that position instead. Judging by the Granderson rumors, it’s safe to say that CF is the priority for Hendry this off-season. While I’m not thrilled about what Fukudome turned into, especially if he ends up playing a corner OF spot, you can’t really say he’s been terrible. We saw a few weeks ago that he outplayed his contract, according to the Fan Graphs value system, each year he has been in the league. (Fan Graphs)

I see a free agent in Reed Johnson that I’d like to have back in the money was right, but who is coming off an injury that took a lot longer to heal than expected, is aging, and wasn’t really all that productive when he was in the game.Remember that we got Johnson off the scrap heap early in 2008 and caught lightning in the bottle all year. I don’t know what he’ll command in free agency this year, but my guess is it’s money we could save in an effort to give a guy like Fuld a shot.

I see a guy in Sammy Fuld who is a fan favorite and can probably fill the role Johnson filled as the 4th outfielder at a cheaper price. He plays hard, is a very disciplined hitter that draws walks and runs the bases well. He’s an intelligent player that knows the game. He’s paid his dues and deserves the shot Johnson has had over the past two years.

I see dead people.

I see a guy in Brett Jackson that excites the crap out of me. Baseball America recently said “More than just a slugger, Jackson is the best athlete in the system. His quick bat and the loft in his swing give him well-above-average raw power. He uses his plus speed well on the bases and in center field, and he also has solid arm strength with good accuracy on his throws. He plays with constant energy.” (Baseball America) These were the things we heard about a can’t miss prospect that missed in Felix Pie and Corey Patterson. You know what they say, third time’s a charm.

I see a guy that can be a future all purpose guy that plays with wreck-less abandon in Brandon Guyer. Arizona Phil mentioned “Guyer has above-average speed, and is an aggressive base-runner and a good base-stealer (he had 30 SB and only 7 CS combined at Daytona and Tennessee in 2009).” (The Cub Reporter)

2010 Free Agents at OF
Scott Boras clients in Bold

Rick Ankiel (30)
Rocco Baldelli (28)
Marlon Byrd (32) – Type B
Mike Cameron (37) – Type B
Endy Chavez (32)
Coco Crisp (30)
Darin Erstad (36)
Jeff Fiorentino (27)
Ryan Freel (34)
Joey Gathright (28)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (34)
Reed Johnson (33)
Andruw Jones (33)
Corey Patterson (30)
Scott Podsednik (34)
DeWayne Wise (32)

  • Dead on with the analysis here. There’s only two or three guys that I’d want to start in CF from the FA wire here. The most intriguing name is outside that group for me, though. How about we upgrade from Reed and bring in Rocco Baldelli if he’d leave the east coast? I know he’s had his injury issues and has to be treated very carefully, but he could be an impact bat off the bench, and he signed cheap last year.

    Jackson looks like he should be in Daytona or Tennessee to start the year. And since he’s 23 on this listing, Ramirez should start the level below that just to see if he’s any count at all.

  • MJ

    Was there just a Mark Bellhorn sighting in this post?

  • Doc Raker

    Oh, Korey Patterson is avaiblable, Yeh, not. If you are excited about Brett Jackson so am I but he looks to be a long way away in rookie ball. I oppose a Grunderson trade, to low a batting average and to many K’s. Sure he has some power but .246 with 160 K’s doesn’t do it. Shades of Korey in Grunderson.

    I like Sam Fuld replacing RJ. I like RJ, but I have good reason to believe he juiced and now that his injury took so long to heal I say stay away.

  • cap’n obvious

    seeing Bobby Brownlie’s name reminds me of a conversation I had with Doc Raker many years ago where after having seeing him pitch live in a college game at Notre Dame, I basically guaranteed him that Brownlie would be as good as Prior one day. I guess I was right. They both suck now. At least Brownlie is still throwing baseball, while Prior is still throwing towels. I used to think that Prior was a huge waste of $10 million. Milton Bradley has changed my perspective on that somewhat.

    Smitty’s guy Podsednik might not be a bad, cost-effective solution to the CF issue. A left/right platoon with Reed J. has the potential to be at least average.

  • MJ

    Pods is a terrible CF, and not much better in LF. If you thought Pierre had a noodle arm….YIKES.

  • CubbieDude

    Joe, Great minds think alike. I absolutely agree with you about Fukudome, Fuld and Johnson.

  • Mastrick

    I’d rather eat prunes, turnip greens and beets than see Corey Patterson in a Cubs uniform again. No Mr. Windmill Swing!

  • Kris

    I like RJ, but I have good reason to believe he juiced and now that his injury took so long to heal I say stay away.

    I smell conspiracy theory in the air today. Or are we all just so jaded that we assume everyone in MLB is juicing?

    I used to think that Prior was a huge waste of $10 million. Milton Bradley has changed my perspective on that somewhat.

    BIG difference between the two: Bradley actually played, which means he automatically contributed loads more than Prior. Bradley will play again. Prior is done.

    I’m curious to see what happens in the outfield this year. I, along with many Cubs fan, tend to like those scrappy players with big heart–like Fuld or Johnson. If they can get the job done–then let’s hang on to them!

    And am I the only one that no longer sees the formatting buttons for the comments. My apologies if my tags don’t work on VFTB.

  • Doc Raker

    I rmemebr the Brownlie conversation. I believe Capn obvious said similar things, or was that Aardsma that the Capn was so wild about, maybe both.

    I think many players took the juice, so anyone who exhibits certain injuries and or poor healing raises my red flag.

  • cap’n obvious

    I might point out that Aardsma had 38 saves for the otherwise (other than Ichiro) mediocre Mariners this season. So I was right about him. He developed into a great major league pitcher. That’s 4 blown saves in 42 opportunities. Marmol, Heilman, and Gregging Gregg combined for 39 saves but BLEW 17 late inning leads. 17!!! 30% of save opportunities blown by there 3. Lets all take a second and take a deep breath and wrap our collective noggins around that one shall we?. So yeah, I’d have rather had Aardsma this year and his 2.52 ERA, OBA of .190 and more than a strikeout per inning. Maybe Seattle actually has a pitching coach with a clue. Oh yeah, and Aardsma cost the Seattle ownership a whopping $419K. Freaking Sherm makes more than that peddling allen wrenches! The Cubs big 3 were paid over 6 Million. Doc Raker’s famous brother doesn’t even make that.

    RESEARCH Doc Raker. Just because Aardsma sucked as a Cub, doesn’t mean I was wrong. You could make the same argument about Joe Carter, Dontrelle Willis, Rafael Palmiero, Dennis Eckersley, etc. FURTHERMORE, Brownlie is back at AAA in the Braves system, where he went 5-2 this season. So I could still be right about him!

    To think about it, those three turds in the bullpen were probably worse on the field for the Cubs than Bradley, for all my hatred of him, and they are more culpable for the Cubs’ craptastic year. I hope that Ricketts reads this blog and fires Hendry for being a hideous slob with severely waning knowlege of baseball talent.

  • Alan Rench

    I deny any association with this “sherm” you mention.

  • Doc Raker

    Capn- I didn’t say you were wrong. I just said I rememeber you liking these guys as propects. That’s all, I was just recalling our conversation. No need to get defensive, your baseball genius is still intact.

    Melee or bust!

  • BuckeyeCub

    Podsednic – No thank you. Not only does he have a noodle for an arm, but Lisa Dergan has destroyed him. That’s why he was injured in 2006 and 2007. Too much activity with her. The same reason I think Woody was hurt in 2007. I don’t think he fell in a hot tub, I think he was doing some extra-curricular activity with her