Sunday, July 21, 2013

Get Off Theo Epstein's Back

The MLB All-Star snooze fest caused me to look at the state of the National League Central. It is by far the toughest division in the Senior Circuit. The Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds are all in position to make the playoffs. The Brewers have been one of those teams that have disappointed and is looking like a lost year from them. However, the team that caught my eye were those lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs. Yes, they are looking like they are going to have another losing record. And while that does make me happy, Astros fan here, I am impressed at what Theo Epstein and his band of merry men have started in the Windy City.

The farm system for the Cubs right now can be argued that they are in the Top 10 for prospects. Let's start with Javier Baez. He is playing SS right now for the Cubs in the farm system. If he doesn't take over for Starlin Castro, look for him to be moved to 3B. But with the rumors that the Cubs will be looking to move Castro, Baez could be a power hitting SS that hardly nobody has. That makes him a valuable commodity.

Then you have two young outfielders, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora. Soler is a year or two away, but looks like he is a physical specimen that could be in the middle of the Cubs batting order for years to come. Almora is more a contact hitter with some power. He could be plugged into the #2 slot in the future and would be a nice compliment to the power that the Cubs will have. After all, Soriano and DeJesus are in their mid 30's. The younger outfielders that the Cubs have in the Majors aren't exactly tearing the cover off the ball. So there are many opportunities there for these two youngsters that are down on the farm.

The Cubs also have a prospect at each of the corners. Dan Vogelbach is doing his best Prince Fielder impression. He crushes the ball. There isn't many legging out a single for this guy. He is average defensively, but put him in the Friendly confines and watch the power he is going to display. Over at 3B, they have a kid named Christian Villanueva. The kid can field. However, he is a free swinger. If he can get comfortable with tougher pitchers and be selective, there is a future for him because he runs well and has some power.

Finally, the Cubs have some pitching that could fill a couple of holes. Duane Underwood has the ability to pitch in the majors, but the Cubs aren't rushing him right now. He has a real high ceiling and is learning how to pitch. He has a Mid-90's Fastball and a decent Change and Curve. Paul Blackburn is like Underwood without the immensely high ceiling. The mechanics look real good and he is athletic. Arodyz Vizciano has talent, but his injury history makes him more of a prospect for the bullpen where his fastball and slider can do their damage.

In the minors you have highly touted players such as 3B Jeimer Candelario, OF Brett Jackson, and 3B Josh Vitters that we haven't talked about. The minor league system for the Cubs is looking well when the three players mentioned in this paragraph aren't in the Top 5 or 10 of your system.

The Cubs have the position players in the minors that should have solid MLB careers. They are heavily stocked at SS, so some of that talent might be traded away for more solid pitching prospects. Otherwise, the less stocked position for the farm system is pitching. That will come, but for now Theo Epstein has the Cubs on the right track. Even if those fans that sit in the bleachers at Wrigley don't think so. Let the man work his magic, because I can start to see the start of something special for Cubs fans.


Zebster said...

Given Theo's experience, make-up, talent and the positions he holds, I don't expect him to be pressured to change his plan. He is going about it the right way, though there does need to be more pitching.

R.J. said...

And once Matt Garza is traded, the cupboard will be filled with more prospects. I think he'll do well in this trade once it happens, too.