Now that the trade deadline has been over for more than a week, and life has restored to some sort of normalcy, let’s discuss the elephant in every chat room/message board, “The insider”. Everyone knows of one or has seen one posting as an insider. It is the guy/girl who has the scoop based on their tenuous relationship with someone who is connected to the organization. Don’t take my condescending tone as a message that all of these folks don not have some type of connection—just take it as my skeptical nature not believing a good bit of what I read. This is infinitely important to Cubs fans right now because we are left clamoring for the next big move as Theo and Jed reshuffle the roster again in hopes of making the team competitive.

After time to reflect on the deadline and the weeks leading up to it I decided that I may have fell victim to the internet insider guy. This is the guy who tweets or shows up on message board with the “I’m hearing x is of interest to A, B, C and the Cubs are listening.” To some this may seem like earth shattering news with immediate responses of “who are you hearing in return, what does the package look like, when will it be done?” I’m not trying to sound preachy but the insider guy has done some basic deductive reasoning and for the most part hasn’t committed to anything other than speculation. This is not an insider.

Next you have the guy/gal who take it up a little. This is the one who posts “I am hearing the Cubs are in talks with team X for Cubs player A and they are looking at team X player B plus more.” Wow, he must have an inside source to know all of that information. Matter of fact he must be talking to someone in the room with Theo or Jed as they discuss over the phone with other GMs. This is very unlikely. This again is more of deductive reasoning and speculation. Again nothing is really committed to because, well, if it falls apart there is no harm.
Finally you have the hero of the message board. This is the guy everyone looks to for solid insider information. This is the guy that the message board posters flash the bat signal for. A guy, who in all honesty, gets insider information the runs to an obscure message board to tell all of his friends what he has heard. Take a moment and step back from what you are doing. Yes the guy/gal is probably right every so often. (They also likely point back to this when showing how they are insider). Let’s look at this year’s deadline.

I could have told you Soriano was going to be traded to the Yankees and Garza was going to the Rangers. My only source was the internet. I could have dropped that nugget and picked some prospects from each team that made sense and….BOOOOOOOM…. I am now an insider. Take what you read with a grain of salt and a little bit of a light heart.

There are legitimate sources on the internet who probably do have some tenuous connection to an organization that allows them to hear things others aren’t privy too. I am sure that some of those folks enjoy being clamored over on message boards and websites as legitimate internet hero. As with the factual information that they present it is likely they are often over swept with confidence in presenting their predictions as fact.
Nothing is wrong with the internet inside source guy/girl. Just don’t let yourself get caught in the nonsense and become the unintelligent fan, spitting out vocal garbage like “Did you hear that the Cubs are in talks with the Padres for Chase Headley in exchange for Darwin Barney and Luis Valbuena.” One, no. Two, you don’t want to look like that big of a fool.

My only caution is not to believe everything you read. In fact, take my opinion above with a grain of salt because I don’t know any of these posters personally. They could be Jed and Theo sitting in their office laughing and having fun with the Cubs fans.

Game Notes

  • Who is Donnie Murphy?  Two games.  Three home runs (two of the three run variety).  One go head in the 9th inning.  Move over Supper Joe, Super Sam, and the like…  I present to you Demolishing Donnie.  Coming to a ball field near you.
  • Cubs won on the efforts of  Travis Wood, Junior Lake, and Donnie Murphy.  Wood was dominant only giving up two runs in 6.1 IP.  Junior Lake had another nice day at the plate and continues to be impressive in his game.  Murphy as mentioned above is going to earn some major playing time.
  • Bad news- Thomas Neal left the 7th inning with a dislocated shoulder after a strong throw from left field where he didn’t quite have his feet or a grip.  I had a similar injury in rec league softball.  It was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced.  I was just trying to win a spot on the team too.
  • More Bad News- Dioner Navarro took a monster hit from Chase Utley in the same 7th inning when Utley was trying to score the plate.  Cole Gillespie unleashed a cannon of a throw from right that one hopped in to Navarro’s glove a split second before he was trucked by Utley.  He held on to the ball and got the out but rolled up his right leg underneath him.  It wasn’t a dirty play at all, just good hard baseball.

MLB News

  • Twitter is awesome.  First it was the Rays and Red Sox twitter war now it’s the Braves and Nationals.  The Braves official organization tweet out “Clown move, bro.” after Bryce Harper was enraged from taking when off the hip in his second at bat on Tuesday night.  Then the Nationals released Bryce’s fury with the was the homer the clown move or the 20 year old getting beaned the clown move.  For the record Nationals you don’t get to use the 20 year old excuse anymore.  I could read lips from the broadcast and he was speaking like a grown man… a very mad grown man.
  • Dodgers are playing out of their mind and it appears that they saved Don Mattingly’s job by going 32-8 in their last 40 games.  I would reflect further on that and their payroll but the stat speaks for itself.
  • Tampa still hates their stadium.  Still not having much luck getting out of it.  That is all.

STATE OF THE SYSTEM
Shortstop

by Rob Willer

Top Prospect: Javy Baez

Bio: Javier Baez was the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft getting selected ninth overall in the first round by the Chicago Cubs. Baez has been the Cubs top rated prospect the past two years and will be the first of the big four to reach the majors. The big four includes Jorge Soler (International Free Agent Nine Year Contract), Albert Almora (2012 First Round Pick Sixth Overall) and Kris Bryant the Cubs 2013 First Round Pick who was picked second overall. He has the natural power and raw bat speed to hit for average and power and the defensive tools to be at least average at shortstop. The Cubs probably won’t move him to third until he is a few months away from the majors, but that could be as soon as sometime next year. His first real game action started with Low-A Peoria after some additional time in extended spring training last year he hit .319/.385/.560 in 39 games despite being just 19-years old. Had four doubles, three triples and eight home runs as well as 16 stolen bases.

The Promotion: In 2013, Javy has taken big strides to getting the call to the majors by performing well at two levels this summer. Through his first 76 games at High A Daytona Baez chipped in 17 home-runs and 54 runs batted in while batting .274. The more impressive number is his OPS which combines slugging percentage and on base percentage. Javy’s OPS at Daytona was .873 which used his .338 OBP and his .533 slugging percentage. Things that still worry are his plate discipline that included 78 strikeouts to 21 walks. His plate discipline is getting better but we would still like to see the number of strikeouts go down a little bit as overall across both levels he is striking out at 32% while only walking at 8.5%. After Javy’s gaudy season at Daytona the Cubs called him up to Double A Tennessee where he has spent the rest of the summer up to date. Baez’s season totals for Tennessee include a .273 batting average 11 home-runs and 27 runs batted in only 132 at bats. This reflects highly on his slugging percentage at Tennessee where it’s an unreal .612. Overall his OPS is.945 which exemplifies a great season to an MVP caliber season when your lurking around a 1.000 OPS.

Final Thoughts: Incredibly talented hitter with a potential plus-plus bat in every respect.  Most scouts believe he could hit 25-30 home runs with .290+ batting average. In retrospect, for the 2013 season through 105 games he has already hit 28 home-runs and driven in 84 runs while batting .274. This resembles the exact thoughts of scouts on his incredible bat speed and potential power mentioned above. I have alluded throughout this piece, that Baez’s plate discipline will tell us if he reaches that MVP caliber player scouting potential in the next five years. Only time will tell as Baez looks to start at shortstop for the Iowa Cubs next season and will probably earn an extended look at Spring Training after his already great 2013 minor league campaign. There is a great chance that he makes the switch next year to third base to better harness his arm strength and to shadow his limited range abilities at shortstop.

Sleeper Prospect: Marco Hernandez

Hernandez was signed out of the Dominican Republic and started playing professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs in the Rookie League. As a 17 year old in 2010 Hernandez hit .286 across 255 plate appearances. Those numbers also included 21 doubles and a.736 OPS. Regarded more as a defensive shortstop he proved in 2010 he can hit for average. The jury is still out whether he can consistently hit at the big league level and he has a high ceiling just like Baez but not to that extent. Hernandez then moved on to Boise in 2012 where he hit .286/.310/.416 while also hitting 12 doubles, five homers and four triples. This year Hernandez has played exclusively at the new Low A affiliate for the Cubs the Kane County Cougars. Hernandez is part of probably the best infield lineup the Cubs field throughout the minors that also includes Dan Vogelbach, Gioskar Amaya and Jeimer Candelario. Overall he is still adjusting to the Midwest League only hitting .241 on the season with only 16 extra base hits on the season. If Hernandez can end up being a .250 to .270 hitters throughout the minors I could see him getting a call-up in late 2016 barring any injuries.

Final Thoughts: Hernandez has a chance to be the best all-around shortstop not named Baez in the farm system, but he is still several years away. Look for Hernandez to continue to harness his full potential over the next two to three years. Hernandez probably will get the call-up to Daytona to start next season if he can finish this year at a .260 batting average or better. There seems to be no reason to rush him since he is only 20 years old and would only benefit from the full season at Kane County this year.

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