View From The Bleachers

August 13, 2013

Cuban Invasion Continues, Bryant Promoted, Tseng Signed

Filed under: Featured,General,Minor League — Sean Powell @ 7:33 am

In news that I think is only tangential to the Cubs, yet another Cuban über-prospect, 26-year-old Jose Abreu, has apparently escaped Cuba has plans to defect, and will subsequently break the bank of some MLB team. Check out his stats from the last three years:

2010-2011: .453/.597/.986 (37 HRs in 77 games)

2011-2012: .394/.542/.837

2012-2013: .382/.535/.735

Kids playing Wiffle Ball in the back yard think those numbers are ridiculous. Here’s a link to a Grantland story in which Jonah Keri says he “might be the best hitter in the world.”

He even compares Abreu to, gulp, Miguel Cabrera. Abreu is huge (6’2” 260 lbs.), and is, by all accounts, a 1B/DH-only type (his glove is apparently well below average). That’s the main reason that I don’t see the Cubs going all out for him (and going all out is going to be what it will take to sign him).  We have a good, young, 1B signed long-term, and I don’t think a team can afford to have a defensive liability at first base, even if he is a great hitter. If the FO had some insight that the NL was on the verge of adopting the DH, I think we’d have a different story. It would be an exiting move, though, and I wouldn’t be disappointed in the least if the Cubs made a serious run at the guy. Either way, with his numbers, and the recent success of fellow Cubans Puig and Cespedes, Abreu is going to demand HUGE dollars.

We’re in the deep doldrums period with the major league club right now, but there’s actually a few interesting things going on with the organization.

I was about to write a blurb about the rumors of the looming promotion of Kris Bryant. Well, as you’ve probably heard, Bryant was just promoted from Boise to Class High-A Daytona. Several writers had speculated that he would skip Low-A Kane County, and that turned out to be what occurred. Bryant was absolutely destroying the Northwest League, so I really like the move. However, I am concerned about the amount of rain-outs in Daytona. I really hope Bryant can get enough consistent at-bats to keep his rapid development rolling.

In news that has been rumored for a few weeks, the Cubs officially announced the signing of Taiwanese pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng ($1.625 million signing bonus). Tseng, a veteran of the World Baseball Classic, is 6’1”, 200 lbs. and features a 4-pitch mix with a 95-mph fastball. He was ranked 23rd on BAs international prospects list, making Tseng the 4th Cubs signee this year ranked in the top 23.

There’s not much to say here. Mat Latos dominated the Cubs, who were shutout for third straight game at home – the first time that has happened since 1924. Travis Wood pitched well again…but he might as well have given up 100 runs, since he got exactly zero run support. Also, Aroldis Chapman throws baseballs really fast.

STATE OF THE SYSTEM
Center Field

by Rob Willer

Top Prospect: Albert Almora

Bio: The Cubs number one pick in 2012, outfielder Albert Almora projects to be a Cubs star one day soon. Signed when he was only 18, he’s a couple of years away from full development, but he’s already got most scouts checking up on his progression from high school. Its crazy to think that Almora is only 19 years old but you wouldn’t notice it on the field for how well he shows leadership and poise. Almora was the Cubs’ first round draft pick going sixth overall in the 2012 draft becoming Theo Epstein’s first draft pick.

2012 Season: He’s a good athlete with off the charts instincts and mental makeup. Almora started off his Cubs career at Rookie Ball in 2012 where you guessed hit over .300. Almora hit .321/.331/.464 to be exact over 145 at bats across Rookie Ball and Short Season A Boise while scoring 27 runs. It seems the only thing in his development that hasn’t come is the power in relation to home-runs where he only had two homers on the season. For now we’ll take his production and ability to get on base over the home-runs and tendency to strikeout.

Projection: Almora has good pitch recognition skills, so that should eventually translate into an ability to grind out ABs and take walks. Most scouts have him pegged as hitting .300 as an everyday center-fielder in the major leagues. The projections of home-runs varies but in my mind I would say 15 home-runs would be a solid estimate when he finally gets the call to the big league club sometime in 2016.

2013 Season: Almora has played at Kane County for all of this year after recovering from his injury early on in the season. Through 61 games Almora has 82 hits in 249 at bats which is good for a .329 batting average. Some other key numbers to remember are his 17 doubles, four triples and his .842 OPS. Overall Almora has done everything the Cubs’ have asked since returning from injury. Recently Almora went on the seven day disabled list with a groin injury which is probably the only reason he is still at Kane County. In my mind I believe he gets the call-up to Daytona by the end of the month baring any setbacks from the groin injury.

Sleeper Prospect: Trey Martin

Bio: Trey Martin, 19, signed an over-slot contract in 2011 as a 13th round draft pick out of a Georgia high school. Martin played the 2011 campaign at Rookie Ball where he turned in a decent season .243/.289/.357 with only four extra base hits in 76 at bats. After playing the 2011 campaign at Rookie Ball he reported back there to start the 2012 season. Looking at his vast improvement at Rookie Ball in the 2012 season it looks like the Cubs did the right thing by sending him back there to start the season. He finished his Rookie Ball campaign with a line of .448/.515/.690 through seven games going 13 for 29 with six extra base hits. Finally Martin made the move to Boise Idaho to join the Boise Hawks where he would play the rest of the season (57 games) with a line of .270/.318/.377 including 12 extra base hits and six steals in 11 attempts.

2013 Season:  Martin batted .200 in 11 games with Class A Kane County this year, but the 13th-round pick in 2011 injured his left shoulder, and needed surgery. He began the year 20th on the top 20 in the MLB.com ratings of the Cubs system. Since Almora is due for a call-up very soon Martin should get the regular at bats in center unless the Cubs move Oliver Zapata there. Martin most definitely will start the season again at Kane County after playing in only 11 games this year. Hopefully his shoulder will heal in time for spring training and he can return to his pre-injury status of projecting to be a very solid major league outfielder with above average defense. Stay Tuned as the Outfield Projections conclude with Left Field tomorrow morning.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:
Share

Sean Powell is a music education professor currently based in Texas. He started following the Cubs in the 1985 season, growing up on WGN after-school broadcasts. He has two dogs named Clark and Sheffield. Connect with Sean on Twitter @powell_sean or E-mail.

  • Holden Clark

    Great articles both Sean and Rob. Sean I agree its a take or leave it deal. Anthony Rizzo is young, cost-controlled, and an exciting player. He still has a lot to figure out but he works hard so there is that. I would only like to see this move if there was even an inkling of a possibility Rizzo could play a corner outfield position but as we saw when LaHair was around and his big body got moved to the outfield there is probably no hope there. Especially since Rizzo has elite defense at first (I know people will disagree with me here). Of all the prospects Almora seems the most levelheaded and determined. He is polished and looks like he will move fast. Only issue is he has been an injury bug. I hope he can shake that.

  • Perry

    Abreau’s lack of defense seems to be holding us back. But lets not forget the other side of the spectrum: Darwin Barney. He’s got the glove, but not the bat (other than his pair of clutch hits this weekend in St. Louis). Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Barney fan, but before you totally rule out Abreau, don’t forget that the highest average we have on our team is Schierholtz’s .271, (for anyone with more than 300 AB’s). But then again, we’re already dealing with a situation like this with Dan Voglebach (who was just promoted to Daytona yesterday).
    I don’t see the DH coming anytime soon to the NL, and I sure hope it stays like that; but we’re amoung the last in the league in avg. with runners in scoring posistion. I know we have all of these prospects coming up in the next 2 years, but Abreau, or somelike like Abreau, could ultimately help us out somehow, someway. Even if the Cubs ultimately don’t end up seriously pursuing Abreau, they could always help run up his asking price in the market.

  • PLCB3

    Do Cuban defectors count towards the limits on international spending?

  • Chuck

    My take on Abreu is that you never pass on the opportunity to add elite talent to your farm system. Ever. At worst, you have a young trade chip that you can cash in for MLB caliber players at a position of need. If he turns out to be much better than Rizzo, then you move Rizzo. I don’t think the Cubs have any players that I would deem untouchable from a trade perspective. Castro is the closest if he can remember how to hit and not take hitting pointers from Shawon Dunston.

  • Eddie Von White

    I think you meant to say: “In news that I think is only tangential to the Cubans…”

  • Eddie Von White

    Not until the embargo is lifted

  • Sean Powell

    I tend to agree, and I would like to see the Cubs go after him…I just don’t think they will. They will probably put in a bid just so they can tell the fans that they tried.

  • Joe Aiello

    Vogelbach was also promoted to Daytona. Congrats to both.

  • Dan

    Great day on the farm.

  • Doc Raker

    Can Thed write off the Cuban cigars as a business expense?

  • Doc Raker

    Look for Jose Abreau to be over paid as visions of Puig dance in GM’s heads.

  • PLCB3

    Seriously. The hype is getting absurd. Last night on SC and BBTN, they were stumping for him as NL MVP.

  • PLCB3

    Speaking of Cuba, today is Fidel’s 87th birthday. How that man is still alive I don’t understand. He smokes, he drinks, and he eats a lot of pork.

  • Chuck

    Not to mention being an armed revolutionary and the target of uncounted CIA assassination attempts.

    Pork is my meat of choice. I love bacon, pork chops, ribs, ham, and pulled pork. Good stuff.

  • Chuck

    The DH is an abomination that strips most strategy from the game.

  • PLCB3

    638 attempts. There was a movie about it called 638 ways to Kill Castro. I’ve always wondered, why hasn’t the government for Cutler’s assistance. Jay Cutler is, after all, an expert on overthrows.

  • Doug S.

    Question.
    While you see a certain amount of back and forth between AAA and the bigs, does that also hold true for the lower levels? Or is it more of a one-way make or break?
    Thanks.

  • PLCB3

    It also protects pitchers from suffering batting related injuries and teams losing a good pitcher because of it. You ace comes up to bat, gets hit by pitch and breaks his hand. You just lost your best arm for 2 months.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    That is the age listed on his birth certificate, but Castro is actually 114.

  • PLCB3

    I don’t think Fidel likes any of that. The national dish of Cuba is Masitas de Puerco. So delicious. It’s fried pork chunks. You marinate pork chunks in a mixture of garlic, olive oil, onion, and sour orange juice, and then you fry it with onions for half an hour. So good. Served with lime, black beans, white rice (I substitute brown rice), and fried plantains.

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/MASAS-DE-PUERCO-FRITAS-CUBAN-FRIED-PORK-CHUNKS-50186748

  • Jedi

    Well then let’s put it on a tee so that we don’t lose any players to a HBP for months.

  • Jedi

    Someone warn the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants in Daytona…

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    I’d f with that. A half hour seems like severe overkill thought…

  • Seymour Butts

    Well goody for Bryant. Boise is the visiting team here in my neck of the woods this weekend. I was looking forward to seeing him here.

  • PLCB3

    Dear Cubs, please move Bryant back to Boise so Mr. Butts can see him play this weekend. After Mr. Butts has seen him play, feel free to send him to Daytona.

  • Seymour Butts

    would be nullified by the new appearance of injuries from tripping over the tee on the way to first.

  • PLCB3

    No, you need the half hour because the meat is thick, and pork has to be cooked well done. I cook it 45 minutes to be safe, and you have to let all the water boil away. Once the water is gone, it should take no more than 5-7 minutes to get the pork browned and crispy.

  • PLCB3

    Even more puzzling. If he goes another 30 days, he will have lived for a million hours.

  • Jedi

    So let’s have the pitcher stand opposite the hitter and soft toss the pitches in there – that’ll solve the TJ surgery epidemic too.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    Considering that Dan is from Ft. Myers, I would believe that Daytona is already aware of Dan’s talents.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    Bruce Levin is trying to put him in left field for the Cubs.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    But it would increase the likelyhood of line drives, and we do not want to go into the vagaries of those.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    Looks like you’ll be seeing fewer butts, Gretsky was just promoted to Kane County.

  • PLCB3

    You realize Florida is a big state. Fort Meyers is 250 miles from Daytona Beach

  • PLCB3

    On behalf of Mr. Butts, I request that the Cubs leave Gretsky at Boise until the weekend is over so Mr. Butts has the pleasure of watching him play

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    You realize that Dan is a big boy and could eat the lower half of that state.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Eliminating either the field of play or batted balls would help there, Jerry.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    You guys didn’t do a lot of frying at Dominos, huh?

  • PLCB3

    I haven’t worked there for 3 years. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Jedi

    Baseball without vagarious line drives isn’t baseball.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I would hate to see how CAPS boils water.

  • Joe Aiello

    It’s not valid unless Bruce Levine says it. That Bruce Leven joker is an imposter.

  • Joe Aiello

    You see a lot of promotion / demotion. I get roster move e-mails almost every other day

  • PLCB3

    Did you even read the recipe? I have made it before, it’s very easy. I boil water the way most people do.

  • Eddie Von White

    Not until the embargo is lifted.

  • Eddie Von White

    Wiffle ball is the answer.

  • Eddie Von White

    It’s not that you don’t have use for math; it’s that you don’t put math to good use.

  • PLCB3

    Buy them from Canada. Eh!

  • PLCB3

    Just like Obama has no use for the Constitution

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    fat : fried :: water : boiled

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I’m in!

  • PLCB3

    You cook it in a pot instead of a frying pan. Once the water has boiled off, it’s left cooking in the oil

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Liz and I would take offense to this cooking style. You’re going to want to shallow fry the marinated pork to create a sear, remove it, sweat your onions and de-glaze the pan to develop your flavors. Re-add pork and simmer until done…140 is plenty for lean pork and it will be tender due to the sear. If you want more of a stew consistency, add your liquid during the simmer phase.

  • PLCB3

    How about you make it following the instructions on that recipe? Once you do, you will understand what I am talking about

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Recipes are for suckers.

  • PLCB3

    Well that is how Masitas de Puerco is made. I’ve asked the workers at Cuban restaurants if the recipe I found online was accurate, they said yes.

  • Eddie Von White

    You realize the lower half of that state is shaped like a hot dog.

  • PLCB3

    Homer pointed that out to all of us 13 years ago when he called Florida America’s Wang. Lake Michigan also looks like Florida

  • http://elizababble.com/ Lizzie

    Amen!

  • PLCB3

    Did you even read the recipe?

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I read what you wrote and even I with very limited cooking skills know that if you fry something for a half hour all that will be left is the chared embers once the greese fire is put out.

  • Jedi

    I think you’re all being a little rough on CAPS. The recipe very clearly said DO NOT OVERCOOK. I know that CAPS would keep a watchful eye, pull up Google results of ways that his meal might accidentally overcook, and definitely not get distracted by something entirely insignificant (like anything Dusty Baker does). Don’t let them get you down CAPS.

  • PLCB3

    You’re right. I would not let myself get distracted watching highlights of Dusty being too busy watching the game to see his 4-year old son escape from the dugout and almost get run over at home. I would be in the kitchen, tending to the stove, having a timer, while I was preparing something else.

  • http://elizababble.com/ Lizzie

    Yes. I don’t comment on things I don’t read.

  • PLCB3

    Well then you should have also read my comment that I showed the recipe to the staff at a few Cuban restaurants, all of whom said the recipe was accurate.

  • http://elizababble.com/ Lizzie

    I know you will find this hard to believe, but just because you say something doesn’t mean I have to agree with it. I’m free to cook however I like, with or without the benefit of your instructions. Shocking, I know.

  • PLCB3

    Well then make it the way you want, but it won’t turn out the way it is supposed to for that.

    http://www.laspalmascubanrestaurant.com/test-comida_files/masitas-de-puerco.jpg

  • Eddie Von White

    Make sure you keep all the frying pan handles pointing in.

  • Eddie Von White

    Who?

  • Doc Raker

    ESPN is a bunch of propaganda whores.

  • PLCB3

    They’re really Goofy, and sometimes I think they live on Pluto

  • Doc Raker

    Or Space Mountain.

  • Mark_from_Toronto

    As the Canadian on here, I feel the need to correct your spelling as it should be Gretzky with a z not an s.

  • PLCB3

    I was thinking Splash Mountain.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    And that’s mullet with two Ls.

  • A W in NYC

    You realize that it resembles a limp wiener more than a hot dog.

  • Seymour Butts

    You know, author of the Iliad.

  • Seymour Butts

    Point them toward the floor, like Florida.

Powered by WordPress