6/4 Extra bases

* Jorge Soler, sidelined since mid-May with a right hamstring strain, is rehabbing at the Cubs’ complex in Mesa, Ariz., and GM Jed Hoyer said they hope the outfielder has a chance to talk hitting with the team’s new player-coach, Manny Ramirez. Soler, ranked No. 5 on MLB.com’s list of top 20 Cubs prospects, is doing agility work and hitting in the batting cages. He was not playing in extended Spring Training games. On Wednesday, Ramirez did play, and hit a home run in Tempe. Ramirez was expected to join Triple-A Iowa, possibly by the weekend. The Cubs haven’t asked Ramirez to talk to Soler, but Hoyer hoped the two players would chat.

“I think Manny can help any right-handed hitter for sure,” Hoyer said.

* The Cubs will hold a news conference on Thursday to announce their new radio contract with WBBM-AM 780, effective next year.

* According to Elias, the Cubs’ win Tuesday snapped a 17-game home losing streak when trailing after one inning. That had been tied for the team’s longest such skid in team history, previously done during the 1965-66 and 1974-75 campaigns. Also, Tuesday’s win was the team’s first this season when trailing entering the eighth inning. Last year, the Cubs were 7-76 when trailing entering the eighth inning.

* The First-Year Player Draft will begin at 6 p.m. CT, with the Cubs holding the No. 4 pick. They are expected to make their selection just before 6:30 p.m. The Cubs also have the 45th overall selection in round two. Rounds 3-10 of the draft take place Friday while the event finishes up with rounds 11-40 on Saturday.

The Cubs active roster has 10 players originally selected within the first five rounds of the Draft, including three taken in the first supplemental round (Chris Coghlan by Miami in 2006, Neil Ramirez by Texas in 2007 and Mike Olt by Texas in 2010). Nate Schierholtz and Travis Wood were second round
selections, John Baker and Darwin Barney were fourth round picks, and Jake Arrieta, Justin Grimm and Jeff Samardzija were fifth round selections.

– Carrie Muskat

19 Comments

Jorge Soler and Manny Ramirez talking together and discussing how to hit………………..why do I feel this will end up with bats swinging outside the batting cage!

The next couple days will be kinda fun as we see who the Cubs select in the Draft. Then Management will be busy trying to sign their picks, assign them.
At the same time, they need to concentrate on the trade deadline. Who gets traded and for whom? Scouts are very busy, as well as the IT Department.
Myself I try to keep an open mind on goings on. I have heard from Carrie, Doug, Jhosk, petrey10, K.G. and others. Taking their opinions into consideration, I still feel like Bryant should be promoted to AAA. Prospects were told if they DOMINATE, they will be promoted!
By not promoting the dominating Bryant, what are you telling other prospects?

you are telling them to work on your defense and stop striking out at a 26.6% rate… try to get that figure under 20%… try and not make 10 errors in 58 games. His walks are inflated from being pitched around so he can always work on his pitch selection, which yes he has done well with so far but there is still so much he can work on.

You bring up great points, I especially like the walk and K %’s. I did bring up the errors in another post.
When speaking on the errors, didnt you bring that up when others were trying to defend Barney? Long time ago, I dont remember?
When I look at the errors and K rate, what am I really wanting? Perfection? The guy is leading in every hitting category and dominating at AA. Will he K at every level? I assume he will. Errors, might be time to find another position.
I would definately get him some playing time at 1B, maybe sitting Lars Anderson at AAA will make that club a little better as Bryant gets accustomed to 1B?

FYI, Lars Anderson is on the DL right now. As for playing Bryant at first base in AAA, I don’t really see the point of it. Bryant will not break into the Majors as a first baseman and won’t play the position there at all unless something happens to Rizzo. If you’re going to play him anywhere at AAA, it’s either keep him at third or try the corner outfield spots, the three positions that he’s most likely to play when he makes his MLB debut.

Actually my question was: By not promoting the dominating Bryant, what are you telling other prospects? We all know that Management stated that if you dominate, you get promoted?
Thank you for the Anderson info, I didnt know about him being on the DL. Your statement about not playing Bryant on 1B, you could be correct. Tough decisions are coming with alot of INF prospects knocking at the door. Experience at other positions makes a guy more valuable. Example: Should Bryant learn 1B and he does get to the big leagues. Then knowing everyone could use a day off now & then: You could put Bryant at 1B against the top 5 LH pitchers during the course of the season. Give Rizzo a rest and the team a better chance of beating the top 5 LH pitchers when they face them.
Should Rizzo get hurt, you have a good bat to put at 1B.
Very tough decisons are coming: With Castro, Rizzo in place. Baez, Bryant, Alcantara and even Villanueva knocking at the door. Not forgetting Olt, should he get it and start hitting, there is another factor in the decision making.

I don’t remember the Cubs specifically saying that, but I won’t doubt it. What I also don’t doubt is the Cubs are keeping Bryant informed as to what their plans are with him. If Bryant has any questions at all as to what his status in the organization is, I’m sure the organization has no issues with telling him. Maybe they already have? Maybe they’ve told him we want to see you with a few more at bats, or we want to see how you play in the AA All-Star Game, or we have to make a move ahead of you before we can do anything so just keep on playing and you’ll be promoted soon enough.
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Seriously though, what’s with people thinking the Cubs hate all of their players and want to see them fail just because they can? Yesterday it was Baez’s slump was because the mean old Cubs didn’t put him on the Major League team an he went into an “emotional tailspin” because he’s so fragile. Today it’s the mean old Cubs are lying to Bryant and telling all of their other prospects that it doesn’t really matter how they perform, they won’t move until the Cubs say it’s time to move! Do you all really think that in all the years the front office personnel have worked in baseball, that they never learned how to deal with their own prospects? I’d say that’s probably the first thing they were evaluated on when the new management team came into power.
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I still say there’s no point in playing Bryant at first pace, at least not on a regular basis. Rizzo played in all but two games last year and has played in all but one this year, so he’s not a guy who takes many days off. I’d rather spend time having Bryant get more comfortable at third or the corner outfield positions than prepare him for a position he might only play a couple of times per season. If you need him to fill in at first in a pinch, having him take the occasional grounders and throws at first in practice will probably do just fine. Besides, if Bryant does establish himself at third or in the corner OF positions, you probably wouldn’t move him to play first on the days Rizzo sits. He’ll probably remain at his regular position and you’d have a guy come off the bench to play first. And as for sitting Rizzo against lefites, right now he’s crushing lefties and if he is your everyday first baseman who plays in 160 games a year, you’re not really looking to sit him against lefties anyway.

Doug, good point and I have no doubt they are in communication with Bryant. I read elsewhere today that, they may keep him in AA for a couple weeks, because of the upcoming AA All Star Game. Being a avergare fan, that thought had not crossed my mind.

JJ, yes I really don’t think that errors are as big of a deal as some think they are in here BUT I also think that you should still be working on that part of the game. So do I think the errors will be a huge hinder to Bryant’s value? HECK NO!! The bat he will swing should provide plenty of value to make up for the deficiency with the glove. I also really really really want Bryant to stick at 3B because his value is SO MUCH higher if he can play that position. So by him staying in AA it might help him be able to stick at the 3 bag…. IMO Bryant could play LF for the Cubs right now… no doubt in my mind. BUT his greatest value to this rebuild and team will be if he can play an average-ish defensive 3B.

It would be awesom if Bryant can stay at 3B. My thoughts were & are, that Villanueva may have the better glove at that position. At least thats what I have read.

There will be a few guys that need to go to the OF. Bryant being one of them, Baez more than likely. I think experience at 1B for one or both, would be huge when Rizzo needs rest or against top LH pitching. They both already have INF experience, so would not be difficult for either.
Winter ball, Spring Training or even the AFL would be great for breaking in somewhere in the OF.
Then there is even more INF prospects on the way, naturally not all will make it, but some will.
The next few years will be lots of fun.

heres the scenario I see going down for a Bryant callup…. first thing that will need to take place is either a Baez or Alcantara callup. When that happens you will have a starting spot open in AAA. Bryant at that time will get the nod at 3B in AAA. Moving Villanueva(he has made some starts there in his minor league career) over to 2B. In doing so you will either have Baez at SS in AAA or Alcantara at SS in AAA. If I had to predict I would guess that Alcantara gets the nod before Baez in coming up to the Cubs to play 2B and CF. CF, you may ask??? Yes I truly think Alcantara could be a very servicable CFer or even a super utility type like a Mark DeRosa. All Star? probably not but a nice starter that won’t hinder you with the bat or the glove. The kicker I see is Stephen Bruno…. he is having a great year so far. Has just been a good player at each level. Where do you put this guy? Currently in AA OPSing 864 at 2B… later this year say August and September he is going to be needing a AAA callup…. I would guess it could only happen once Baez is called up BUT Bruno hasn’t really player a great SS in the minors…. just a good 2b/decent 3b.

Exactly, on Bruno. As I said there are other coming up right behind them. We know some will make it, some wont. Bruno is looking very good thus far.
Also good point on Alcantara, can he play CF? Why not try it? Its good to get everyone accustomed to another position.
Kind of like big companies cross training employees, so they can cover for others on vacation or sick leave.
This kind of speculation is fun, at least for me.

I mentioned before that Bruno is one of my favorite under-the-radar prospects the Cubs have (his AA teammate John Andreoli is the other). Bruno can hit and get on base in other ways (not only does he walk, but he’s leading the Southern League with 11 HBP this season), but his problem so far has been fielding and staying on the field. He missed most of last season after having Tommy John Surgery and he’s back on the DL right now (haven’t found any information on his current injury so hopefully it’s nothing serious). As for his fielding, he’s a middle infielder so you’d like for him to be a decent fielder at the least. In order to work on that, he needs to be on the field more, and with his injury history it makes it very difficult for him to improve his glove. I’m rooting for him to make an impact, but he’s got to find a way to stay on the field.

Going with Anderoli, does’nt he play OF? We never speak of OF prospects too much, but what about Silva?
If they put the power bats of Bryant and Baez in the OF, where does it leave these prospects?
It gets more interesting as we go along.

Andreoli is an OF. I just said that he’s been one of my favorite of the under-the-radar guys. He’s not listed as a Top 20 prospect on mlb.com, but he’s fast and he can get on base, so I think he should find his way onto a Major League roster at some point, maybe as a starter or maybe as a backup. As for Silva, he’s still at AA and is only hitting .240 right now, so his stock has probably fallen a bit. As for the Major League OF, I’m still guessing that Baez finds his way to third when it’s all said and done and Bryant gets either RF or LF and Alcantara gets second, but who knows for sure? The good thing about the OF is there are three OF positions and generally there is flexibility between them. It’s entirely possible that the 2017 Cubs will have Bryant, Almora, & Soler from left to right, but it’s also possible that you might have Alcantara in there, or my guy Andreoli, or Jacob Hannemann, or maybe Junior Lake survives the wave of prospects and stays in the OF, or Eloy Jimenez, or someone drafted this year like Comforto, or someone they acquire from someone else between now and then. There’s going to be a lot going on in the organization and we’ll see what comes out of it. i would love to hop in a time machine and take a peak at what the 2017 Cubs look like, but it’s also fun to sit back and watch it all unfold as you go!

Another great point, who comes and who goes?
Management did great with Garza, Dempster trades. Still waiting on the Maholm and Soto trades, but they look good so far. Even a decent prospect for Hairston last year.
If and I say if, Samardizja is traded, what will that bring? Hammel? Kind brings up another subject, any predictions on who might go this year?

Nah. Bryant will be move up soon after the AA All Star game (6/17). And there is no one of the team who will block him. The hand wringing is speculating is a kick to watch, though!

Comforto sounds very interesting to me. High OBP. Lefty. College player, so could go through the system quickly. A good place-setter for Bryant, Rizzo, and Baez.

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