Chicago Cubs 2014 Top 20 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
Twitter: @Jaypers413

Every year around this time I like to rank each team’s top overall prospects. My criteria are based on A: Past Performance and B: Future Potential (50% of each per prospect)

Disclaimer: I am not a professional scout, nor did I attend any minor league games this year. These lists are the product of my own research of online scouting reports and statistics, and are compiled purely for entertainment purposes.

Send your questions or feedback to me on twitter @Jaypers413

To qualify for these lists, a prospect must have no more than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues.

CHICAGO CUBS

1. Javier Baez SS


2. Kris Bryant 3B


3. Albert Almora OF


4. CJ Edwards RHP


5. Jorge Soler OF


6. Mike Olt 1B


7. Pierce Johnson RHP


8. Arismendy Alcantara SS


9. Arodys Vizcaino RHP


10. Dan Vogelbach 1B


11. Eloy Jimenez OF


12. Paul Blackburn RHP


13. Kyle Hendricks RHP


14. Christian Villanueva 3B


15. Daury Torrez RHP


16. Erick Leal RHP


17. Trey Masek RHP


18. Dillon Maples RHP


19. Rob Zastryzny LHP


20. Jeimer Candelario 3B

Video of Cubs Prospect Jorge Soler Bat Incident

Our twitter follower @BradleyEmery2 was at last night’s Daytona Cubs vs Clearwater Threshers game in which Chicago Cubs prospect Jorge Soler charged the Clearwater dugout with a bat in hand. He got video of the end of the incident which you can watch below. If you increase to Full Screen. You can see a coach or player take the bat from Soler and run away with it from the pile.

Be sure to follow @BradleyEmery2 on Twitter.

Interview With Chicago Cubs Prospect Dustin Geiger

By Andrew Martin
@HistorianAndrew
BaseballHistorian.Blogspot.com

The Chicago Cubs are known for their World Series futility and having fallen on particularly hard times of late. But better days are ahead, as boy-wonder Theo Epstein was brought in as President and the team has a number of intriguing prospects making their way through the minors. Although not a high draft pick, one of those prospects, Dustin Geiger, is starting to make a name for himself.

Geiger, a third baseman, was taken in the 24th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Cubs out of Merritt Island High School in Florida. He had contemplated attending college, but decided the opportunity to play professional ball was too good to pass up. The right-handed hitter was solid but unspectacular during his first two seasons. Despite battling injuries, he broke out in a major way in 2012, hitting 17 home runs and driving in 53 runs in just 75 games with A-level Peoria. More information on his statistics is available at http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=geiger001dus.

The Cubs still have a big hole at the hot corner, so the 20 year old Geiger may have a great opportunity in front of him if he continues developing at a rapid pace. I recently caught up with Geiger, who just wrapped up his season, and found out a little more about the Cubs prospect.

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?
Derek Jeter. My first major league game was a Marlins/Yankees game in spring training, and I was a big Yankees fan growing up. I loved, and still love, the way he plays the game and is active with his foundation, giving back to others.

How did you know that the Cubs were interested in you?
I had talked with my area scout Lukas McKnight and attended a pre-draft workout in Clearwater, Florida.

Can you describe what your draft day experience was like?
A dream come true. All of my hard work over the years paid off and helped me reach a big goal.

How difficult was the decision to sign with Chicago rather than attending the University of Central Florida?
It was a tough decision for sure. But in the end I chose to sign because of the opportunity that was in front of me, and I didn’t have a crystal ball telling me I would be blessed with another opportunity like it.

Besides the travel, what was the most difficult thing to become accustomed to during your first professional season?
Being away from family and friends. My first season, I was 18 and living 2,000 miles away with a 3 hour time difference.

You had a broken hamate bone earlier this year. Can you describe how that injury and subsequent rehab impacts a ballplayer?
The hamate bone is more a hassle than anything. You don’t need the bone, so they just went in there and took it out. Any player who has been on rehab will tell you they can’t stand it. Watching your teammates head out to the field everyday makes you want to get out there even more and you learn your true love for the game.

Not being a higher draft pick, what drives you to compete with and against other prospects who may be more well known?
My goal to make it to the big leagues. Worrying that someone got drafted higher or signed for more money is negative energy. You can only control so many things and that’s not one of them. I have to give 110% day in and day out to show others, as well as prove to myself that I’m good enough to play in the big leagues and help the Chicago Cubs win a World Series.

Have you noticed anything different organizationally since Theo Epstein was hired?
There’s a lot of positive energy. Everyone is buying into the program to be the last team standing at the end of the season. I’m excited for the future!

Be sure to Check Out Dustin Geiger’s Baseball Cards and follow him on Twitter @D_Geiger

Chicago Cubs 2012 Mid-Season Top 5 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
@Jaypers413

As we are now halfway into the season and the signing deadline for 2012 draft picks has passed, here is my revised list of top 5 prospects in the Chicago Cubs organization.

Remember, a prospect must have fewer than 130 ABs or 50 IP in the Major Leagues to qualify.
(Stats through 7/19/2012)

1) Jorge Soler
Highest Level: 2012 International Free Agent Signing – Has Not Played

2) Javier Baez
Highest Level: Low-A Peoria Chiefs
2012 Stats:
MILB: .333, 6(2B), 4(3B), 8HR, 21RBI, 16SB

3) Albert Almora
Highest Level: 2012 Draft Pick – Has Not Played

4) Jeimer Candelario
Highest Level: Short-A Boise Hawks
2012 Stats:
MILB: .294, 4(2B), 5HR, 22RBI

5) Josh Vitters
Highest Level: AAA Iowa Cubs
2012 Stats:
MILB: .297, 28(2B), 1(3B), 13HR, 52RBI

Send your questions or feedback to J.P. on twitter @Jaypers413

Interview with Chicago Cubs prospect Rock Shoulders

By: Andrew Martin
@historianandrew
BaseballHistorian.Blogspot.com

From Rouglas Odor to Razor Shines, baseball is littered with unique and interesting names. However, there are no current players with a cooler name than Rock Shoulders, a young slugging prospect in the Chicago Cubs’ system.
Roderick “Rock” Shoulders is a big lefty swinging and righty throwing first baseman, who was selected last year in the 25th round of the draft. He had previously been drafted by the Red Sox in 2010, but decided to pass on signing in favor of college. Although many expected he would be drafted higher last year, the Cubs believe they got a steal and reportedly signed him for third round money. After getting into just 8 games last year, Shoulders has just been assigned to short-season Boise in the Northwest League. It is hoped that that he will blossom into a top power hitting prospect under the tutelage of hitting coach Bill Buckner.
Prior to this season Shoulders took some time to chat about his time in baseball. Make sure to monitor his progress through the season and also give him a follow on Twitter @RockBigFly24

Who were your favorite team and player when you were growing up, and why?
My favorite team when I was growing up was the New York Yankees because my dad brought me up always watching their games. I don’t have just one favorite player, I actually have two. Ken Griffey, Jr. was my number one, and Barry Bonds was right there with him.

Why did you decide to not sign with Boston after the 2010 draft?
I just didn’t feel like the offer was right considering I had a full ride scholarship to the State College of Florida (SCF).

Can you describe what your 2011 draft experience was like?
The draft in 2011 was a little bit more laid back for me since I went through it the year before right out of high school. I also had a full ride scholarship to the University of South Florida (USF) after my one year at SCF.

What are your feelings to be part of a Chicago organization in major rebuilding mode with Theo Epstein?
I have really good feeling about Theo coming in because look what he did with Boston, and our organization has a lot of young talent in the system right now.

What is the best piece of baseball advice or instruction you have ever received?
My dad has always told me that “I’m as good as the work I put in.” In other words, while my friends are out having fun during the day, I have to go put in my hours at the gym to get stronger. I have to get to the field to hit, throw and run, and most important, think about the game by putting myself in game situations in my mind now, so when they happen in the game I have already played it out before.

What do you like to do for fun when you aren’t playing baseball?
When I’m not playing baseball I like to go fishing, play PlayStation, clean my vehicle, and spend time with my loved ones.

What specifically are you hoping to improve upon this year?
I want to improve on my speed and quickness so that I can play multiple positions and be great at them, not just average. But I would like to improve on all my skills.

Interview With Chicago Cubs Prospect Shawon Dunston Jr

By: Andrew Martin
@historianandrew
BaseballHistorian.Blogspot.com

Chicago Cubs fans enjoyed the play of mercurial shortstop Shawon Dunston for better than a decade in the 1980s and 1990s. Soon those same fans may think they have deja vu because Dunston’s son, Shawon Jr., has joined the organization and drawn the excitement of many throughout baseball because of his ability and potential at such a young age.
The right-handed throwing and hitting Dunston, Jr. has a build reminiscent of his father, but his position of centerfield shows that he is his own player. He was a star player in high school and set to play collegiately with Vanderbilt, but then the Cubs took him in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB draft. The signing bonus they dangled in front of him was too much and he decided to sign and start his professional career.
Dunston has yet to appear in his first professional game, but is expected to play in short season ball in 2012. If things go well “Dunston” should once again become a familiar name being announced over the loudspeaker at Wrigley Field in the near future. This past off-season, Dunston checked in to discuss his experiences in baseball. You can also follow his progress this season by giving him a follow on Twitter.

How much time did you spend around clubhouses and major league players when you were a kid?
When my dad was playing, quite some time. My dad is a coach with the Giants, so a little bit now as well.

How difficult was it for you to pass up your Vanderbilt scholarship for the Cubs?
Very difficult. The hardest decision I’ve made. It came down to the wire and I got first round money, so I took it.

Did you and your family/friends do anything special to celebrate after you signed with the Cubs?
Not really. I just got a lot of text messages through friends and family when they found out.

What kind of mental preparation have you been given about assuming the life of a minor league player?
It’s a long season and it’s a grind. You are going to have your good days and your bad days.

What are the main attributes of your game?
I’m a very athletic player.

Your dad was legendary for his throwing arm; how daunting was it to play catch with him?
When I was younger I used to be scared to play catch with him, but now it’s not as bad.

Growing up around Barry Bonds, did you pick up any good advice directly from or by watching him?
Yes, people do not realize how hard he works, and the work he put into baseball. Best player I’ve seen, hands down.

Be sure to check out Shawon Jr’s baseball cards. He’s got a whole bunch of cool ones.

Complete Listing Of Chicago Cubs Minor Leaguers On Twitter

Here is a list of Chicago Cubs Minor League Prospects who you can follow on twitter. Please tweet us @MinorLeagueBlog if you know of someone we are missing.

Dallas Beeler — @tunnelman_34
Justin Bour — @bour41
Mike Brenly — @mikebrenly
Michael Burgess — @MLBurg25
Kyler Burke — @burke2312
Chris Carpenter — @CCarp37
Zach Cates — @zcates50
Matt Cerda — @M_Cerdafied
Evan Crawford — @Evan_Maurice
Taylor Davis — @Beanz_TD
Ian Dickson — @dicksoni
Shawon Dunston Jr — @SDUNSTONJR
Brent Ebinger — @BrentEbinger
Ethan Elias — @EthanElias
DJ Fitzgerald — @DJ6eighty
Dustin Fitzgerald @DC_Fitzgerald
Dustin Geiger — @D_Geiger
Anthony Giansanti — @GianSanity
Micah Gibbs — @MicahGibbs
Cam Greathouse — @CamGreathouse
Trevor Gretzky — @TrevorGretzky
Casey Harman — @Charm4BurlVT
Dustin Harrington — @DHarrington_7
Ty’Relle Harris — @Cubs1stN0vR100
Marcus Hatley — @MHatley99
Graham Hicks — @Graham_F_Hicks
Brett Jackson — @Brett_Jacks
Eric Jokisch — @jokisch24
Austin Kirk — @Cpt_Kirk18
Aaron Kurcz — @AaronKurcz
Pierre LePage — @pierrelepage1
Matt Loosen — @mloose33
David Macias — @D1macias
Trey Martin — @T_Martin_26
Brandon May — @B_MAY24
Andrew McKirahan Jr. — @A_McKirahanJr
Tarlandus Mittchell — @TarlandusM
Blake Parker — @BlaekParker
James Pugliese — @Pugs51
Austin Reed — @areed5109
Anthony Rizzo — @TheRizzMan27
Greg Rohan — @GRohanaboat
Zac Rosscup — @ZRosscup
Garrett Schlecht — @garrettschlecht
Tayler Scott — @taylerscottsa
Rock Shoulders — @RockBigFly24
Blair Springfield — @DJ_bsprings
Matt Szczur — @superSZCZ4
Charles Thomas — @Primetime1223
Ronald Torreyes — @ronaldtorreyes
Austin Urban — @Austin_Urban13
Daniel Vogelbach — @VogyVog24
Brett Wallach — @bwallackskies
Logan Watkins — @WatkinsLogan

Ryne Sandberg Still Waiting For Chance To Manage In The Major Leagues While Others With No Experience Get Theirs

Poor Ryne Sandberg (KEY ROOKIE: 1983 Topps), the guy has the dream of being a major league manager, he’s toiled through the minor leagues, successfully, four winning seasons in five years and Baseball America’s 2011 Minor League Manager of the Year Award, and yet the guy still can’t catch a break. Meanwhile Robin Ventura and Mike Matheny, two men with no managerial experience at any level, and lacking Sandberg’s Hall of Fame credentials are ready to embark on their careers as big league skippers, as Sandberg is set to begin his second season as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs affiliate. In the story link below, Sandberg talks about being back in the minors once again, and hirings of Ventura and Matheny. Additionally Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr shares his thoughts on Sandberg as does Cubs infielder Darwin Barney who played three seasons for Sandberg in the Cubs organization. It’s a very good read.

Hall of Famer Sandberg beating bushes hoping for return to majors — Sports Illustrated.com

VIDEO: Guy At Wrigley Field Welcomes Theo Epstein With Repeated Chants Of “Woo Theo, Woo Theo”

The Chicago Daily Herald posted this entertaining video of Theo Epstein walking outside Wrigley Field today. He shakes some hands, signs an autograph, and gets constantly serenaded by a guy in a “Woo Woo” custom Chicago Cubs jersey shouting “Woo Theo, Woo Theo” non stop for the length of the thirty second video. Enjoy.

2012 Chicago Cubs Top 15 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
@Jaypers413 on Twitter
JP’s FreedomCardboard Blog

2012 Chicago Cubs Top 15 Prospect Rankings

Every year at this time I like to rank each team’s top prospects. My criteria is based upon both past performance and future potential to his parent team. This is my ranking of the 2012 Chicago Cubs Top Prospects.

To qualify, a prospect must have fewer than 130 at-bats or 50 innings in MLB

#1 Anthony Rizzo 1B
Born: 8/8/1989
Highest Level Reached: MLB San Diego Padres (Traded From Padres January 2012)
2011 Combined Stats: MINORS: .331, 34(2B), 1(3B), 26HR, 101RBI
MAJORS: .141 (18 hits in 128 at-bats), 8(2B), 1(3B), 1HR, 9RBI

#2 Javier Baez SS
Born: 12/1/1992
Highest Level Reached: Short-A Boise Hawks
2011 Combined Stats: .278, 2(2B), 1RBI (5-18 in 5 pro games; 2011 1st Round Pick)

#3 Brett Jackson OF
Born: 8/2/1988
Highest Level Reached: Triple-A Iowa Cubs
2011 Combined Stats: .274, 23(2B), 5(3B), 20HR, 58RBI, 21SB

#4 Matt Szczur OF
Born: 7/20/1989
Highest Level Reached: High-A Daytona Cubs
2011 Combined Stats: .293, 22(2B), 3(3B), 10HR, 46RBI

#5 Dillon Maples RHP
Born: 5/9/1992
Highest Level Reached: 14th Round Pick 2011 MLB Draft
2011 Combined Stats: Did Not Play In 2011

#6 Jeimer Candelario 3B
Born: 11/24/1993
Highest Level Reached: Rookie League Dominican Summer League Cubs
2011 Combined Stats: .337, 16(2B), 2(3B), 5HR, 53RBI

#7 Josh Vitters 3B
Born: 8/27/1989
Highest Level Reached: Double-A Tennessee Smokies
2011 Combined Stats: .283, 28(2B), 2(3B), 14HR, 81RBI

#8 Dan Vogelbach 1B
Born: 12/17/1992
Highest Level Reached: Rookie League AZL Cubs
2011 Combined Stats: .292, 3(2B), 1HR, 6RBI (7-24 in 6 pro games; 2011 2nd Round Pick)

#9 Pin-Chieh Chen 2B
Born: 7/23/1991
Highest Level Reached: Short-A Boise Hawks
2011 Combined Stats: .301, 14(2B), 4(3B), 2HR, 30RBI

#10 Tony Zych RHP
Born: 8/7/1990
Highest Level Reached: Short-A Boise Hawks
2011 Combined Stats: 0-0, 2.25ERA, 4IP, 2BB, 5K (2011 4th Round Pick)

#11 Ben Wells RHP
Born: 9/10/1992
Highest Level Reached: Short-A Boise Hawks
2011 Combined Stats: 4-4, 4.66ERA, 77.1IP, 19BB, 53K, .265BAA

#12 Trey McNutt RHP
Born: 8/2/1989
Highest Level Reached: Double-A Tennessee Smokies
2011 Combined Stats: 5-6, 4.55ERA, 95IP, 39BB, 65K, .319BAA

#13 Ronald Torreyes 2B
Born: 9/2/1992
Highest Level Reached: Low-A Dayton Dragons (Traded From Reds December 2011)
2011 Combined Stats: .356, 9(2B), 5(3B), 3HR, 41RBI, 12SB

#14 Marco Hernandez SS
Born: 9/6/1992
Highest Level Reached: Rookie League AZL Cubs
2011 Combined Stats: .333, 16(2B), 5(3B), 2HR, 42RBI

#15 Chris Carpenter RHP
Born: 12/26/1985
Highest Level Reached: MLB Chicago Cubs
2011 Combined Stats: MINORS: 3-4, 5.91ERA, 42.2IP, 27BB, 34K, .269BAA
MAJORS: 0-0, 2.79ERA, 9.2IP, 7BB, 8K, .316BAA

Disclaimer – I did not attend any minor league games this year, nor do I claim to have any scouting experience. These lists are the product of my own research of statistics and online scouting reports.