Andrew Cashner Could Begin Throwing This Weekend

Posted by Matt Clapp | 6/30/2011 02:44:00 AM |

On April 5th, Cubs right-hander Andrew Cashner allowed just one earned run and two hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks, in his first career major league start.

Since then? He's been on the disabled list, thanks to a strained right rotator cuff, and has understandably had fans fearing that he's headed down a Kerry Wood/Mark Prior-esque path.

Well, the hope is that Cashner will receive some good news today from Dr. Stephen Gryzlo, which could have him begin a throwing program by this weekend, and put him on a path to pitch again for the Cubs this season:

Cashner – the former first-round pick the Cubs are betting will become a frontline starter – returned to the dugout on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. He had been working out hard at the team’s rehab complex in Arizona and says that he’s up to 215 pounds now.

Cashner will be examined by Dr. Stephen Gryzlo on Thursday, and if everything checks out he could begin a throwing program as soon as this weekend. He hasn’t thrown since the middle of May and is expected to travel with the team next week.

“I’m quite confident he’ll be back pitching this year,” general manager Jim Hendry said. “But I’m not going to put any kind of time frame on it. We’ll do what’s best for him and his future.”

The Cubs will be extremely cautious with Cashner, and let's face it, this season is lost. But, it would greatly help their offseason plans if he can get at least a few starts in before this season ends, and show that he can be a part of the 2012 rotation.

Whatever the case, I think we can trust(well I hope at least) that the Cubs will have a better fallback plan this time around than James Russell/Casey Coleman/Doug Davis/Rodrigo Lopez.

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Rant Of The Week: Tony Campana

Posted by Matt Clapp | 6/29/2011 10:32:00 PM | ,

Introducing what we plan on being a new weekly feature here at The Friendly Blogfines... The "Rant of the Week". Like you, we get quite angry about the Cubs, so it's nice to let our rage out here and there. Feel free to rant away in the comments, even if it's ripping on us, rather than what we're ripping on.

Tony Campana... yeah he was a refreshing sight to see for Cubs fans in his first few games, as having players being able to consistently steal bases and run like the wind is a foreign concept to us.

But, I really can't take this shit anymore. I mean, for fucksakes, could the dude have any more of a Sally ass arm? His throws go about 14 feet, and then roll into the infield at a Molina brother pace.

Tonight, Quade brings in Campana for defensive purposes in the ninth inning. I'm immediately thinking, "Quade, are you out of your goddamn mind?" Well, we already know the answer to that, but seriously, Campana has the worst arm I've ever seen from a major league, or even, shit, high school outfielder.

Then on top of making the expected crappy throws(the one he threw home to try to cut down the tying run was his worst throw yet, which is saying something), Campana plays a Pat Burrell single into a double with no outs in the top of the ninth, up one run, because he tries to dive thirty fucking feet instead of just taking a route to hold Burrell to a single. Later in the inning, he gets to a flyball, dives for it(not even sure he had to), and it clanks right off his gigantic outfielder's glove. On and on. This is in one fucking inning where HE'S the defensive replacement.

Look, I love the dude's speed, but unless he's the 25th man on a playoff-contending team and is used strictly for his speed(like a Tom Goodwin type), he shouldn't be in the major leagues right now. He has absolutely zero power(just two extra-base hits in 66 at bats), and he has only a .314 on-base percentage. If you're not going to hit for ANY power, at least get on base. Just four walks in 72 plate appearances? He should be trying to walk as much as possible, since his one terrific asset is his speed. He will turn most walks into doubles or triples.

Anyway, if Campana could show some patience and get on base at a .350+ clip, then yes, he has value and would be a great leadoff man, but he's not that guy yet. A 5'8", 165-pound dude that averages three more strikeouts than walks is not going to cut it at this level.

I know he'll be down in Iowa for sure when Marlon Byrd comes back over the next couple of weeks, but it should be much sooner than that. Get him down there now, and preach patience at the plate to him(which knowing the Cubs, will not happen).

It would also be nice if his arm strength could be improved, but I think "Juan Pierre" is unfortunately the highest level he's capable of reaching in that regard.

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Kerry Wood Is On Twitter

Posted by Matt Clapp | 6/29/2011 07:54:00 PM | ,

Just wanted to pass along the news that Kerry Wood is now on Twitter. So give him a follow:


Welp, see ya later.

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A day after allowing 10 earned runs, 12 hits, and three walks in just over four innings pitched against the Giants, Doug Davis was released by the Cubs.

The 35-year-old left-hander 1-7 with a 6.50 ERA in nine starts, and it's possible(maybe even likely) that he's thrown his last pitch in the major leagues. If so, he'll finish with a career record of 92-108, and a 4.44 ERA(which would be quite a bit better if not for his 6.50 ERA this season and his 7.51 ERA last season for the Brewers).

Davis was released to make room for second baseman Darwin Barney, who was on the disabled list for the last two weeks+ due to a sprained right knee, an injury suffered when diving into home plate to win a game. He went five for 14 at the plate with a home run in his Triple-A rehab stint, and should immediately return to his starting role at second base, as well as man the #2 spot in the Cubs' lineup.

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The Cubs' performance in game one of their doubleheader yesterday against the Giants was absolutely pathetic, and the nightcap wasn't much better.

But really, game one was bad. The offense had a very nice performance(which they've done frequently), putting up seven runs, and chasing out Ryan Vogelsong(who'd had the best ERA in MLB since April 18th) after five innings.

But again, the starting pitching didn't give the Cubs a fair chance to win, as Doug Davis gave up 10 earned runs and 12 hits over 4 1/3 innings, reminding us why he was out of baseball when the Cubs signed him in-season.

And again, Quade left the starting pitcher in too long. Yes, it was the first game of the doubleheader and Rodrigo Lopez was every bit as likely to get shelled in game two, but Quade basically gave up in the fifth inning of a winnable game, leaving Davis out there to toss 82-mph meatballs.

Anyway, the bullpen still gave up a few more runs, and Soriano had a very, well, Soriano-esque dropped line drive to cap off the embarrassing loss.

Although, I am actually happy about a home run John Grabow gave up to Miguel Tejada in the ninth inning. That's because of a fan's throw back to the field from the bleachers:

Totally looked straight out of Rookie of the Year. Come on Hendry, sign this Henry Rowengartner-like dude NOW. He sure as hell couldn't be worse than Doug Davis or Rodrigo Lopez. I already know that he at least has much more velocity than each of them.

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Another delightful day to be a Cubs fan. As you may have heard, the Cubs started a 4 game set with the World Series defending Giants today with a day-night double header at Wrigley. I gotta admit, I wasn't exactly optimistic considering the Cubs had Doug Davis and Rodrigo Lopez set to take the mound in games 1 and 2 respectively. However, the Giants are atrocious offensively and with the Cubs hitting the ball as well as they have all season, I had hopes for at least a split. Unfortunately those hopes were dashed pretty quickly.

It was immediately apparent early on in game 1 that Doug Davis had absolutely nothing on the mound today. The Giants hitters who had been struggling mightily at the plate recently were just teeing off on him. Davis gave up a 3 spot in the 1st and another one in the 3rd. He was able to escape damage in the 2nd and 4th but was still giving up hard hit balls over and over. Heading into the 5th he had surrendered 6 runs on 9 hits already. I was thinking to myself that surely he had to have a short leash, with the offense clicking and the game still within reach. Sandoval and Burrell led off the 5th with back to back singles and then Bill Hall drew a walk. Of course I was now thinking, ok, this HAS to be it for Davis, he has to come out now. The next sentence out of Len Kasper's mouth was "Still nobody up in the Cubs pen." Sigh..... I guess I should have known better. This is not the first time this season Cubs Manager Mike Quade has punted game 1 of a double header to save his bullpen for game 2. It has been all too common a theme this year and not just in double headers. Quade is always looking to get that one last inning or one last hitter from his league worst starting rotation.

Of course the next batter singled sharply off Davis, the 12th hit off him in 4+ innings, allowing their 7th run to score. While Carpenter warmed in the pen, Davis then faced Giants pitcher, Ryan Vogelsong and retired him on strikes. Rookie Chris Carpenter then finally came in the game and allowed all 3 inherited runners from Davis to score, leaving Davis with a line of 4.1 IP 12 H and 10 ER. By then of course the game was well over. Quade used the bottom of his pen to finish off the game keeping his best bullpen guys for game 2. Along came game 2 and another terrible starting pitcher on the hill for the Cubs. Quade had said pre-game he wanted to get 80-85 pitches out of Rodrigo Lopez.

Fast Forward to the Top of the 5th inning. Lopez had gotten through 4 innings on 80 pitches and the Cubs had the lead 2-1. With a mid-double header call-up, the Cubs had 4 pitchers who had not yet thrown a pitch on the day and Quade had gotten his 80 pitches. I figured Lopez would either be done or on a very short leash. Wrong again. He started the 5th again with no one up in the Cubs bullpen. It took 3 more hits, 5 more batters and 16 more pitches before he would be lifted from the game, putting him near 100 pitches for the game and way over Quade's pre-game estimate. John Grabow (one of the 3 guys who had already pitched) came in, allowed all inherited runners to score and once again the game was over. The Giants major league worst offense coming in, scored 19 runs and racked up 30 hits against the Cubs pathetic excuse for a pitching staff. The Cubs rotation is so bad, its not only the worst in the league, but is on pace to be one of the worst in Cubs team history.

Surely with that piss poor rotation getting knocked around day after the day, the Cubs highly touted and statistically excellent back of the pen has to have been overworked this season right? Actually its just the opposite. With the Cubs now nearing the halfway point of the season, Marmol and his 2.55 ERA is on pace to throw around 71 innings this year, which would be his lowest total since 2007. Stud lefty setup-man Sean Marshall is on pace to throw around 72 innings, which would be his lowest total since 2008, when he missed nearly two months with an injury. The story with Kerry Wood was pretty much the same, with him on pace for less than 60 innings when he went on the DL a couple weeks ago with a blister.

Mike Quade has seemingly made his #1 priority this season to save his late inning bullpen guys for games with leads. I can't even count how many times in close late games he has put John Grabow or Marcos Mateo or some other crappy pitcher in the game in late innings while his big 3 in the bullpen sat on their hands. And every time he actually gets a solid pitching performance from a starter he is never happy with the 6 innings he gets and he pushes the pitcher until they finally implode.

So as we head into July this week, The Cubs sit at 32-48, playoff hopes and really the hope of even a decent season are now gone. The Cubs would have to play at a .600 winning percentage the rest of the season to even get to .500 (for comparison, only one team in the bigs currently has a winning percentage that high). For all intents and purposes the season is now over, but Quade can rest easy..... at least Marmol and Marshall and fresh.

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Our "Random Retro Cubs" series is back. This time we take a look at Cubs' utility man of the 80s and 90s, Chico Walker.

Years Played: 1980-1993

Teams Played For: Boston Red Sox (1980-1984), Chicago Cubs (1985-1987, 1991-1992), California Angels (1988), New York Mets (1992-1993)

Positions: Left Field (88 games) Right Field (42 games), Center Field (66 games), Third Base (122 games), Second Base (74 Games)

Bats/Throws: Switch/Right.

Career Line: .246 AVG, 150 R, 299 H, 17 HR, 116 RBI, 67SB, .305 OBP, .329 SLG, .634 OPS.

Best Cubs Season: 1991 - .257 AVG, 51 R, 96 H, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 13 SB, 33 BB, 57 K, .315 OBP, .337 SLG, .652 OPS.

Fun Facts: Walker was signed as a free agent by the Cubs on 3 separate occasions despite dismal stats. Walker was a favorite of Jim Frey who was both his manager and later his general manager while Walker was a part of the Cubs organization.

Walker still holds a record for the most at bats in a single pro baseball game. He recorded 14 ABs in a game for the Pawtucket Red Sox in the early 1980s. The game lasted 33 innings.

Chico is the Uncle of former professional Basketball player Antoine Walker.

My Take: My memories of Chico Walker are almost exclusively of his second stint with the Cubs in 1991-1992. I was still very young during his first stint, and didn't really become a big Cubs fan til 1988, when he had moved on.

My best and most vivid memory of Chico is of a game I watched while home sick from church. My family always went to church on Sundays and when I was younger, if I was sick, my mom would stay home with me and make sure I stayed in bed with no TV. That Summer My mom had mentioned in passing that once I was in 4th grade if I was sick, she would have me stay home from school or church alone from then on. It was too big of a hassle to stay home with me and I was now old enough. Well that September, I wasted no time in taking advantage. I planned a day, I knew I could watch the Cubs on WGN.

The game was against the Expos. The team I hated most back then. They were the team the Cubs battled for the East division title back in 1989 and for a while after that, they were my most hated team. Chico batted leadoff that day and hit 2 long home runs in his first 2 at bats of the game. I remember jumping up and down, running around my living room, having the time of my life while supposedly being sick. That is one Cubs memory that has always stuck. Researching it now, I see the Cubs actually ended up losing the game, which I didn't remember. The game took place September 15, 1991.

Years later, I bought a Chico Walker autographed baseball card from a baseball card booth at a mall in Las Vegas..... pretty sure it's still laying around here somewhere. Chico will always have his place in my Cubs memories.

Chico Walker's Baseball Reference page.

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Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 12, Brewers 7 (Bleacher Nation)

Cubs See Historic Drop In Ticket Demand (The Daily Herald)

With Yankees In Town, Let Zambrano Speculation Begin (ESPN Chicago)

Would Braves Bite On Kosuke? (A Hundred Next Years)

Minor League Wrap (Bleed Cubbie Blue)

And From Me... Here's The Moneyball Trailer (Sharapova's Thigh)

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At just 21, Starlin Castro is sure to improve pretty much every aspect of his game in the coming years. That's quite a scary thought for the rest of the league, when you consider that he was 10th in the National League in batting average last year(.300), and is 10th again this year(.312).

While most of the talk about Castro's likely improvements are about his power at the plate and defense, you don't hear much about how he could get better as a base-stealer. And from just last season to this season, he's already made huge strides in that department.

Last season, Castro stole 10 bases, but was caught eight times. This season, he's already stolen eight bases, and has not been caught once.

It's not all that surprising, because Castro has terrific speed which he puts on display when he legs out a triple. Running around the bases has never been a problem for him. Stealing bases is an art though. It's about getting a good jump, knowing how big of a lead you can get on a pitcher(of course the base coach usually helps in that regard), picking the right count to run on if you go on your own, etc. Clearly, Castro has made adjustments in those areas, and the jumps he's getting are noticeably better than they were last year.

The Cubs are currently last in the majors in stolen bases this season(19), and were tied for last with the Giants last season(55). So it would be nice if Castro could turn into a 25+ base-stealer in the future, and the Cubs could actually use speed to create some runs, rather than waiting around for the three-run homer.

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In news that is going to anger most of Cubs nation, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said today that he has 100% confidence in general manager Jim Hendry, and that Hendry's job is safe:
Ricketts says Hendry's job safe. Feels "comfortable" with Hendry and confident in his ability to take us forward"

Ricketts on hendry: "100 percent confidence"

Now, obviously Ricketts isn't going to tell the media, "Oh, I'm firing this guy", or speak in really any negative tone whatsoever in regards to the current general manager in the middle of the season, so don't put too much into this right now. But, for those of us that think the Cubs could use a new direction in the front office, the "100 percent confidence" talk about Hendry isn't exactly music to our ears.

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In 2010, Angel Guzman had right shoulder surgery and missed the entire season for the Cubs. Injuries have always been an issue for the right-hander, and it's a shame because he's extremely talented. And we saw that talent on full display in 2009, when he put together a 2.95 ERA in 61 innings out of the bullpen.

Well, this past offseason, the Cubs signed Guzman to a minor league deal, and he took a major step in his hopes of returning to the big leagues tonight. Guzman started for the Peoria Chiefs(Cubs' Class-A affiliate) tonight, and pitched two perfect innings. He also struck out two batters.

The Cubs will be very careful with Guzman, especially since their playoff hopes are pretty much lost already. Ideally, he rehabs for a bit in the minors, and gets some big league innings under his belt before the season ends. And most importantly, stays healthy while doing so.

If all of that can happen, the Cubs will surely have him in their bullpen plans for the 2012 season.

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By now you've likely heard that the Cubs selected Trevor Gretzky, the son of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Trevor, a 6'4", 180-pound first baseman out of Oaks Christian High School in California, committed last year to playing college baseball at San Diego State University, a team managed by Tony Gwynn. Most have expected him to go through with that commitment, and play a couple seasons of college ball before re-entering the draft.

But in an interview with ESPN Radio 1000's "The Waddle and Silvy Show" today, Wayne made it sound like there's a decent chance that Trevor could sign with the Cubs rather than go to college:
"I think for every child it's different," Gretzky said. "For some kids the college route is the right way to go, and for other kids, turning professional is the right way to go.
"We'll sit down here as a family, talk about the pros and cons of each direction. But it's pretty tough for two parents, one [Janet Jones] who turned pro as a 17-year-old dancer, and started her professional career, and a father who turned pro at 17 to pursue a hockey career ... pretty tough for us to talk about how great college would be when we both turned pro at such a young age. But he's a little bit different than we are, and he's a good student."

Trevor's friendship with Christian Yelich, who was the Florida Marlins' first pick last season, also could influence his decision. Yelich is playing Class A ball for Carolina.

"I know Christian talked highly about how much fun he's having and how much he's enjoying playing 'A' ball," Gretzky said. "So I think he's going to weigh his options, and I don't think he's leaning either way. I think he likes both scenarios right now and is excited about both possibilities.
"But the Cubs organization is one of the best organizations in baseball. They've been really good to him the last couple of days, and I know he's excited to sit down and talk to the Cubs next week."
That doesn't mean Trevor Gretzky has ruled out attending college.
"Right now he's more excited about the Cubs scenario, because that's a little bit more fresh in his mind, and he's a typical 18-year-old," he said. "But San Diego State and Tony Gwynn have been great to him all season long, and I know he likes their school and organization."
Source: ESPN Chicago

And the Cubs really seem to like Trevor, as you can tell by scouting director Tim Wilken's comments to the Toronto Sun:
“He’s really talented, a good low ball hitter,” said Wilken, the former Jays scouting director. “He’s a lot taller than Wayne, about 6-foot-4 1/2, 180. He’ll probably wind up being 210 pounds.”

Wilken said Gretzky was a “step above an average runner” and while Gretzky was a DH and played first base in high school, he took ground balls at third during the workout.

“I wouldn’t hold him to a position, he could play third, first or right, we’ll let him tell us with his actions where he’s best suited.”

Gretzky hit “five or six balls out” of the minor league complex which is “not a 330 cookie-cutter field, it’s 370 down the line, he hit a couple over a 20-foot screen atop the fence,” Wilken said.
For most amateur baseball players in Trevor's situation, money is going to play a big factor in whether or not to sign. But you'd think that's not the priority for the son of the greatest hockey player of all-time, as their family is surely in damn good shape financially. So even if the Cubs offer him "over slot" money, it's possible that won't make the difference.

The deadline for MLB draft picks to sign is August 15th.

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Tonight, the Cubs selected high school shortstop Javier Baez with the ninth overall selection in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Baez, an 18-year-old from Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, is projected to be a third baseman in the future, as he'll surely add on to his 6'1", 205-pound frame.

Here's some more on Baez from various sources, and I'll follow with my own thoughts:

On the scouting scale, Wilken says he sees 60-70 hitting, close to 70 power, 55-60 running and a 70 arm. They've seen him play short, third and catch but Wilken said they'd find out from Baez where he'd end up. Felt he was one of the two best hitters in the draft. Says he has two swings, letting it out at times but having a good two-strike approach. Said he and scouts sat with the kid and they like the makeup: "astute, confident; he doesn't mince words."

He hit .771 (64-for-83), with 22 home runs, 20 doubles and six triples in his senior year. He stole 28 bases, walked 32 times and struck out three times in leading his school to the National Association of Christian Athletics championship.
Baez was recommended by Cubs area scout Tom Clark.

"Javier has a tremendously live bat, is versatile in the field and we are happy to welcome him to the Cubs organization," said Tim Wilken, Cubs' director of amateur and professional scouting. "He has a great arm and is a smart baserunner in tune with the game.

"Our scouts got to know Javier and are impressed by his makeup. We saw him catch, play third base and play shortstop. He's a quiet and thoughtful young man off the field who lets his game speak for itself on the field."
Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers

Baez is a high-ceiling prospect who has drawn comparisons to Gary Sheffield and Hanley Ramirez.

There were no unexpected developments influencing the Cubs’ pick. The eight players taken before Baez had been ranked as the top eight by Baseball America’s Jim Callis. That left scouting director Tim Wilken to choose between three college players – Texas right-hander Taylor Jungmann, Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray and Connecticut outfielder George Springer -- or a high-schooler he felt had a higher ceiling. Baez was the talent he liked the most.
Here’s Baseball America’s scouting report on Baez:

"Baez matched up with fellow Puerto Rican native and Florida prep shortstop Francisco Lindor in February in the season's most heavily scouted high school game, with as many as 100 scouts on hand. Baez and Lindor have more contrasts than similarities, though. Where Lindor is smooth and lauded for his makeup, Baez is explosive and scouts generally pan his makeup. He lives with his high school coach (who is also his legal guardian), though his mother remains in the picture. His bat is too good to ignore, though, and offensively he has few peers in this year's draft. He has the fastest bat in the draft, and while he has a dead-pull approach at times, he has the bat speed to let balls get deep in the zone. Baez has plus raw power as well, which may serve him well if he has to move to third base. He has the defensive tools to stay at short until he outgrows it, as at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, he doesn't have much range to spare. He has plenty of arm for either position. His tools fit the catcher profile, but his makeup does not. He plays with energy, but it's not always positive, and he turns off some scouts with emotional outbursts and an off-field demeanor some describe as aloof. He's committed to Jacksonville."

Fellow Floridian Francisco Lindor will likely go off the board first, but Baez may not be that far behind. That's largely because of his bat. He gets his money's worth at the plate, and the ball jumps off his bat thanks to excellent bat speed. He doesn't have the best plate discipline, but he should be an above-average hitter in the future. He's got good power, especially to the pull side.

He's an average runner who won't be a basestealer, but he's OK when under way. Defensively, he likely won't be able to remain at shortstop, with some thinking he'll make a good third baseman at the next level. He's got the arm and good hands for it, and the lack of range at short won't be an issue.

It also looks like he'll have the bat for the corner spot, and that kind of potential production will likely allow him to be selected as early as the first half of the first round.
Baseball America's Jim Callis

Best bat speed in draft. Typical high-upside Tim Wilken pick

Baez was seen as potentially going anywhere from 7-15. Probably has the fastest bat in the draft, just lightning fast. As far as Castro goes, don't worry about it, Baez probably isn't a shortstop long term.
ESPN's Jim Bowden(Former MLB GM)

Jim Bowden: Cubs with the 9th pick have take Javier Baez SS from Arlington Country Day.....again best player on the board.....they left alot of pitcher on the board....but this kid is special....can really friggin hit.....lightning electric bat.....might move to 3B but great pick here

Baez has a gun for an arm....another plus plus bad speed draft by Cubs
ESPN's Keith Law In An ESPN.Com Chat Today

Jonathan (DC)

Javier baez put up insane numbers in high school. Quick mover and max homeruns you think he could hit?

Klaw (2:43 PM)

They played a really sketchy schedule, though. High school numbers make college numbers look definitive. Not a quick mover to me but 30+ HR power easy.
YouTube Videos

My Take:

Considering players such as Anthony Rendon, Bubba Starling, and Archie Bradley were already off the board when the Cubs selected, I'm a big fan of this pick. The Cubs' farm system is very deep, but it lacks prospects that on the surface look like they have All-Star potential. In the above excerpts(and in the videos), we can see that Baez is certainly capable of being a very good one: Best bat speed in the draft, 30+ home run power potential, Hanley Ramirez and Gary Sheffield comparisons, etc.

One of the main concerns people have with Baez is that he has an overaggressive approach at the plate, but I wouldn't put too much into that right now. I mean, look at his high school numbers(in the Cubs.Com excerpt above). He had 48 extra-base hits in 83 at bats, and struck out just three times. Of course he's going to be swinging a lot; his coach would probably hate him if he didn't swing whenever he got a pitch to hit. It's possible that his habits carried over to games against better competition in the summer or showcase events, but I think it's much too early to conclude that he's an "overaggressive hitter".

Anyway, yeah, I really like the pick, and it's exciting to think about what the Cubs' left side infield could look like in a few years if Baez and Starlin Castro reach anywhere near the potential they're capable of.

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