5/14 Veras on Bryant: “He’s unbelievable”

Veteran reliever Jose Veras sounded like a Cubs fan when asked about top prospect Kris Bryant.

“He’s unbelievable,” Veras said Wednesday. “To see him play, to see [Jorge] Soler play, [Stephen] Bruno play. They’re unbelievable players. They know how to play the game.”

Veras watched the youngsters first-hand during a rehab assignment with Double-A Tennessee, which ended Tuesday night. He saw Bryant at his best. The third baseman, who is batting .324, was named the Southern League Hitter of the Week on Monday, and currently leads the league in home runs (11) and RBIs (33). He belted No. 11 on Tuesday.

“He hit a homer and center field was 400 feet away and the wall was 40 feet high, and he hit it over that thing like nothing,” Veras said. “It’s unbelievable the power that he has.”

The Cubs front office has told their prospects that they’ll be promoted if they dominate at their current level. Bryant is definitely dominating.

“He’s having a great year and we have a number of guys on that team playing well,” GM Jed Hoyer said of Bryant. “[Promoting him] is not something we’ve talked about. I think it’s important to know a ballpark you’re going to, who your teammates are. … It’s probably important to have a few ups and downs with the club before we have that discussion.”

Bryant is ranked No. 2 on MLB.com’s list of top 10 Cubs prospects. Javier Baez, listed at No. 1, isn’t having as much success at Triple-A Iowa, and was batting .147 in 27 games with three homers and 11 RBIs. The shortstop batted .264 in spring with five home runs.

“There probably is emotionally a little bit of a let down after you audition, if you will, in Spring Training, and you have the adrenaline, and then go down [to the Minors],” Hoyer said. “I think we’re past that point. He’s in a big slump and he’ll have to figure his way out of it. He’ll be stronger for having gone through this. … Now it’s a matter of Javy figuring out what he needs to do to get through this.”

The Cubs have been strugging offensively. Did Veras try to talk them into letting him bring Bryant up to the big leagues?

“I can’t do that,” Veras said, laughing. “The only thing I did was try to worry about was being healthy and throwing strikes. Everybody loved him, he’s an unbelievable teammate. He’s humble, he’s a leader on the team. He’s an unbelievable player.”

– Carrie Muskat

11 Comments

AA Tennessee is a good place for Veras to stay. Lord knows he has an abundance of issues he needs to work on before returning to the big leagues. We do not need his baggage. We have the worst record in the league now sans him.

Aloha jhosk- I know Veras is probably a short term player for this team unless something miraculous takes place but it is nice to hear him comment about what he is seeing from folks like Bryant as it gives us fans hope for the future. Take care now. Mahalo!

Pingback: Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Almora HRs, Bryant “unbelievable”, but Cubs have not talked about promoting him | Cubs Den

Good post. Thank you.

Interesting how Veras mentioned Stephen Bruno and nobody even commented on him. Drafted in 2012, 7th round, #224 overall as a 3rd Baseman. I think he is playing 2B this year, with an over 400 OBP.
Starting to hear good things from Concepcion, Soler after another stint on the DL.
Catching has been pretty weak Organization wide, or at least looked that way. In 2013 the Cubs Drafted 6 Catchers, two did not sign. Hankins, 11th Round, Brockmeyer, 16th round and Remillard 19th Round, all are doing very well this year. Alamo, signed in the 24th Round, I dont see anything on him.
The Cubs also Drafted 5 Catchers in 2012, two did not sign. Of the three that did, Krist, Escobar and Rymel, all three have started 2014 poorly with the bat. Hoping one will step out with that cannon for an arm, good game calling and a leader back there.

Jasper – I’m with you on Bruno. I’d actually never heard of him, and I check the minor league box scores more religiously than the Cubs ML. I need to pay better attention! Becuase of Baez’s struggles in AAA, I am very wary of any prospect at this point, though.

No need to be Cubs Win. Baez was due for this, the game has been easy for him, maybe he even got caught up in the hype and thought he was going to be a clean Barry Bonds.
He will be ok, better he go through this at AAA, instead of being brought up too fast.

Bruno and his teammate John Andreoli have been my two favorite under-the-radar Cubs prospects over the past couple years. Neither have yet to crack the Top 20 Cubs prospect list on mlb.com, but both seem to have potential to make an impact in the future. To me, Andreoli seems like a better version of Tony Campana. Unlike Campana, Andreoli has demonstrated the ability to take a walk and his defensive numbers aren’t bad either. I’ve only seen a clip or two of him online, so I’m not exactly a professional scout, but he’s stayed consistent at every level he’s played so far. Having played parts of two seasons at AA already, I would expect him to make the jump to AAA at some point this season, and then we’ll see where he goes from there.
As for Bruno, again I’ve only seen a few clips of him online, but it seems like he can hit and draw walks too. His fielding can still use a little work and he doesn’t have a lot of power, but he’s hit at every level he’s been at so far, even winning the NW League batting title in 2012. I know he was hurt last year, but this year he seems healthy and has picked up right where he left off. With Baez, Bryant, Alcantara, Olt, Rizzo, and Castro all on the infield and ahead of Bruno on the orgazational depth chart, it will be interesting to see what happens going forward. But if Bruno keeps hitting as he advances and tightens up his defense, the Cubs will find a spot for him or get some value for him in a trade. And he also could be insurance against one of the higher touted prospects getting hurt or busting at the Major League level. Again, another reason why it’s good to have multiple prospects at the same position and why the draft (which is 3 weeks away by the way) should not be based on what your Major League team currently needs.

All the players you list – Baez, Bryant, Alcantara, Olt, Rizzo, Castro, Bruno – it is going to be interesting to see which are actually Major League-caliber. And then who gets traded. Rizzo is safe, I’m sure. I suspect Bryant will be moved to the outfield (call it a hunch). And I’ve often wondered if either Baez or Castro gets traded; they are free swingers and don’t seem to fit the “grinder” approach that Hoystein says they like. But who knows?

Speaking of the prospects, have you or anyone heard how the 5 players involved in a car accident are doing? I think this was early JAN it was reported, but heard nothing since?

I recollect reading about that accident, Jasper. Please remind me who the individuals were.

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