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January 2014

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COMMENTS

How Ready Are Some of the Top Cubs Prospects?

Written by , Posted in General

I’ve gotten a few questions in the e-mail box the last week or two so I figured maybe we should answer them. One I didn’t know the answer to as it deals with Spring Training and I’ve never been. Hopefully out community can help.

“What do you think Jed and Theo see in their infield crystal ball for 2015, 2016, etc?  Assuming Baez can handle SS, then Bryant at 3B and Alcantara at 2B? How far away from MLB-ready do you think Alcantara is?”

~ Mike

Thanks for the question, Mike. There is a lot there. Let’s get right to it. Ideally, I think they’d love to see Starlin Castro break out in 2014 and be the guy they invested in as the long term answer in the middle of the infield. Whether or not that involves him at SS or 2B, I’m not too concern. I think 2014 is going to be a crossroads for Castro. If he struggles again, you’re going to see fans and probably the front office begin to lose faith. I still believe he can be fixed and I hope Renteria and his crew is the regime to fix him. Assuming he pans out, I’d pencil him at SS. Third base is a little bit of a mystery as it all depends on what we see from Mike Olt in 2014. If he plays the way they hope then you have him as your every day 3B and put Kris Bryant in the OF. Should Olt flounder then I think you pencil Bryant in at 3B and Javy Baez in at 2B to go with Anthony Rizzo at 1B. That sort of leaves Alcantara on the outside looking in, but it’s a good problem to have.

To answer your second question, I ran across an interesting article on Fan Graphs that talks a look at the top prospects in the system and projects what they would produce based on their current state of development if they were promoted to the opening day roster and played a full season. The tables below are their projections for both the hitters and the pitchers.

As much as people say our pitching in the system is fairly weak, what we do see is that it appears to be further along toward making an impact with the Major League club than the hitters, with all six names on the list projected for positive WAR. I think Alcantara is close to making some impact at the ML level and we’ll probably see him sometime this season.

“Can one of you please clear up the Cubs Spring Training Facility for me. Internet searches are not giving me the clarity I want. Cubs Park is the new digs? Where is this located? What happened to Ho-Ho-Kam? Any hotels near the new park?

Trying to plan a trip and would like answers. Thank in advance.”

~ Doug S.

Doug, I wish I knew. I’ve never been to spring training. I’m going to appeal to the masses here to help you answer this one so look to the comment section.

Got a question for the mailbag? Please submit it to viewfromthebleachers@gmail.com

FOUL TIPS

  • Fan graphs had a Q&A with one of the top pitching prospects in the system, Pierce Johnson. (Source)
  • Billy Joel was announced as a Wrigley Field performer this summer, with a show on July 18th. I’m a Billy Joel fan and I wish I could go to this.

WHAT’S ON JOE’S IPOD?

No comments on yesterday’s selection, so we’ll go for a different genre today. We’ll go a little old school and end the week with some class. One of my favorite songs to dance to at a wedding. Have a great weekend everyone!!!

  • Chuck

    So it appears that 2014 will be another summer of discontent. Yay!

  • Doc Raker

    I don’t know where the new ST facility is in Mesa exactly but I have been to ST many times. Mesa doesn’t have much in the way of hotels or resorts and is not the prettiest city. Scottsdale offers a lot of resort options and one of my favorites is the Scottsdale Resort, a smaller resort with reasonable weekend rates with very comfortable amenities. In Tempe there is the Arizona Grand resort which has a water park that includes a big slide, lazy river, wave pool and some other stuff. The AZ Grand is an all suite resort with reasonable rates for what you get and is a great value especially if you are traveling with kids. There are many resorts in the Phoenix area but I would stay in the Scottsdale or Tempe area which is close to Mesa. Scottsdale has a lot of great shopping and restaurants and is the jewel of the area. Make a reservation for Don and Charlie’s in Scottsdale now. Don and Charlie’s is a great baseball restaurant which has loads of sports artifacts on every inch of the wall. The weather can be a little cool with chances of rain in early March with warmer swim weather later in the month although it has been a warm dry winter so far this year. ST games can be crowded and touristy, for a taste of real ST walk into any one of the complexes and watch the minor leaguers play or work out in the am. You can walk into any of these complexes for free and get right up to the action and talk with the players when they aren’t occupied. That is the real ST in my view. While there will be 1000’s of people at the big league ST game there will be 30 people in the training complex watching the minor leaguers which usually will feature some big leaguers also. Enjoy!

    • Doug S.

      Thanks for the info. More searching tells me that Cubs Park is about 3 miles east of HoHoKam. Doesn’t seem to be hotels around it, so it looks like driving around (dislike) is the only option.

      • Doug S.

        Oops, I meant west.

      • Doc Raker

        Mesa is not pretty. If you stay at the AZ Grand you are 1 mile from the Angels complex which has real easy access into the complex to see the minor leaguers. Maybe the Cubs minors will be playing there when you are there. The Giants complex is in Scottsdale as is the new Rockies Diamondbacks complex. When are you going?

    • Look for the young ‘uns and me in a 70’s Winnebego, a la Cousin Eddie, at the Scottsdale Resort. Looks like you could use a cold one, Doc…

      Since we are at the stage where we need to pack babysitters along on adventures, my dad and I have been working on the logistics of getting to Spring Training next spring. I’ll reach out to you before we finalize anything, but thanks for the heads-up. D

      • Doc Raker

        Right behind the Griswald’s you will be rolling.

    • Look for the young ‘uns and me in a 70’s Winnebego, a la Cousin Eddie, at the Scottsdale Resort. Looks like you could use a cold one, Doc…

      Since we are at the stage where we need to pack babysitters along on adventures, my dad and I have been working on the logistics of getting to Spring Training next spring. I’ll reach out to you before we finalize anything, but thanks for the heads-up. D

  • Noah_I

    Just to join the minor league discussion, I think Steamer is quite conservative with hitting prospects who have not played at Triple A. It’s nice to have a set of numbers to look at, but I wouldn’t give them too much credence.

    With Castro, I think he’s a guy the Cubs have got to stop messing with at this point. He’s a see ball/hit ball guy, with slightly above average power for his position but average at best power for baseball generally, and as such is a 3-4 win ceiling guy. Castro certainly isn’t going anywhere for 2014, in my opinion, although the Cubs COULD look to move him next offseason if: (1) Javier Baez is ready and they think Baez can handle shortstop defensively; (2) Kris Bryant is ready and they think Bryant can handle third base defensively; and (3) Arismendy Alcantara is performing well at 2B. However, I think the more likely scenario is that the Cubs will move Baez to 3B and Bryant to an outfield corner, at least through 2015.

  • Seymour Butts

    The new ST park is at the intersection of the 101 and 202 freeways in NW Mesa. Very easy access from the freeways. I goggled a map a week ago as I will be there in just over a week.

    Hohokam is still there and about 2 miles east of the new facility. Last I heard the A’s were going to go there in 2015.

    here is a link to a facilityrtour:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/chc/mesa/

    Joe, I would be happy to send pictures, a report or 2 on the facility if you would like, let me know how.

  • Mark_from_Toronto

    I was down in Mesa for the Cubs spring training back in 2010 and stayed the Best Western Dobson Ranch which was about a 10 minute drive to the HoHoKam park. The new ballpark is where the old municipal 9 hole golf course used to be (I actually played a quick round there last time), and I think it is now closer to the better hotels/resorts in the Scottsdale since it’s just off the 101 which comes down from Scottsdale. That said, from my experiences down there, the 101 can get pretty backed up at rush hour so plan accordingly as most afternoon games let out around that time.

    • Doug S.

      Ugh, traffic tie ups in the suburbs. There’s got to be more to life.

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        Tell me about it. It’s bad enough that I have to sit in traffic here in Toronto on a daily basis, but seemed so much more frustrating when I was sitting in traffic while on vacation in Arizona.

      • Chuck

        I work from home so the commute is… short.

      • Chuck and I have the exact same commute.

      • Eddie Von White

        Chuck, Lizzie and I have the exact same commute.

      • I’ve been working from home with the smallest of my homegirls for about a month. Bonding time is the best, with non-soggy sandwiches being a close runner-up.

      • Chuck

        I have been wondering where all this extra laundry was coming from…

      • Eddie Von White

        I was wondering why my socks had a crease ironed in them.

      • Chuck

        You’re welcome.

      • That 70’s show

        Do you guys all live in a commune?

      • PLCB3

        A company relocates their headquarters and all of the employees have a shorter commute to work. None of them have moved, and they live in all directions from work. How is it possible after the relocation that everyone’s commute is shorter?

      • Chuck

        I work from home so the commute is… short.

      • Chuck and I have the exact same commute.

      • Eddie Von White

        Chuck, Lizzie and I have the exact same commute.

      • Chuck

        I have been wondering where all this extra laundry was coming from…

      • Eddie Von White

        I was wondering why my socks had a crease ironed in them.

      • Chuck

        You’re welcome.

      • AC0000000

        A company relocates their headquarters and all of the employees have a shorter commute to work. None of them have moved, and they live in all directions from work. How is it possible after the relocation that everyone’s commute is shorter?

    • Doc Raker

      The Dobson Ranch smells like ass. Seymour and the campers stay there so at the end of the week it smells like ass and stale Subway left overs, bad combination.

    • Doc Raker

      The Dobson Ranch smells like ass. Seymour and the campers stay there so at the end of the week it smells like ass and stale Subway left overs, bad combination.