Cubs Prospect Notes: Recent Transactions Edition

Given how the varied Cubs strikes this previous week all had a connection to the farm system, I needed to leap in with a few of my ideas on the gamers concerned and their impacts on the system general…

  • Prior to the Rule 5 safety deadline, the Cubs acquired Miles Mastrobuoni from the Rays for Alfredo Zarraga, which Brett talked about right here and right here. I preferred Brett’s word on Mastrobuoni’s elevated weight switch presumably resulting in the ability enhance, and I’ll add that he is clearly carried out a superb job including muscle throughout his growth. I do not assume the Cubs will mess with the double toe faucet he makes use of to provoke his swing, however Dustin Kelly and Triple-A hitting coach Griffin Benedict must monitor if he is in a position to sync up and pull Major League high quality velocity with how he makes use of his entrance foot.
  • I watched a month price of Mastrobuoni taking part in within the area, as his defensive versatility is an enormous a part of the commerce, to try to get a really feel for his capabilities with the glove. I puzzled if the skinny choices within the 3B and CF free agent markets might need motivated the commerce, as maybe the Cubs preferred what they noticed at both of these positions. After watching Mastrobuoni, I’m fairly assured that his superb place is second base. He strikes effectively laterally and I actually like how he turns a double play. Conversely, I would not have excessive expectations for a way he’ll grade defensively within the outfield. I noticed quite a few examples of sluggish or incorrect first steps. Mastrobuoni did not play third base a lot in 2022, however that is one spot I feel the Cubs ought to discover with him subsequent season.
  • At first blush, it looks like the precise vary for Mastrobuoni within the prospect rankings will probably be someplace between 18 and 28.
  • I touched on Zarraga just a few occasions this 12 months throughout Five Stars, a participant that broke out throughout Extended Spring Training, dominated in Low-A, after which noticed his season shortened with a damaged hand in High-A. Zarraga’s mixture of low launch top, current velocity, above-average slider and remaining projectability had me feeling good about him. There’s an actual probability the Rays can coach him as much as turn into a Major League set-up man. But even nonetheless, he was within the sixties within the tough draft of my rankings.
  • The cause the Cubs can commerce a 60-something ranked participant for a 20-something ranked participant is as a result of a prospect’s worth within the MLB market does barely drop when they’re added to the 40-man roster, as that may squeeze out others, and they’re pressured to start out utilizing minor league choices. Given how the Tampa Bay Rays had been seen as having MLB’s most important roster crunch, it is not shocking that there was some worth in negotiating with them to assist that drawback.
  • One cause the Cubs had been prepared to commerce Zarraga, and why they solely protected 4 gamers in Rule 5, is that right-handed reduction arms are an actual energy within the system (significantly after a draft the place they solely picked pitchers). Yes, the workforce would possibly lose somebody like Danis Correa or Cam Sanders within the Rule 5 Draft. But there’s optimism in guys like Ben Leeper and Zac Leigh in an analogous spot within the system. While Zarraga is an A-ball arm able to excessive 90s velocity, the Cubs will take a look at guys like Angel Gonzalez, Michael Arias, or Wilber Rodriguez as guys to step into that void. Transactions create alternatives, and depth can step into them.
  • While I do not assume they’re immediately related, I do surprise if the choice to assert Rylan Bannon was barely motivated (even subconsciously!) by a priority that Chase Strumpf is likely to be a man chosen within the Rule 5 Draft. The Cubs’ choices at 2B/3B for Iowa subsequent 12 months are so lengthy: Bannon, Strumpf, Mastrobuoni, Esteban Quiroz, David Bote, Jake Slaughter, Andy Weber, and Levi Jordan.
  • I’ll be curious if the Cubs can have Zach McKinstry ultimately be part of that listing. I imagine a part of the rationale that McKinstry was tendered a contract yesterday was as a result of he’s not but at a degree the place he can elect free company if despatched outright to Triple-A Iowa. So when a free agent signing causes a participant to be Designated for Assignment subsequent month, the Cubs will possible attempt to sneak McKinstry by waivers, and if profitable, they’d have him in Iowa as depth for 2023. This is similar tactic I count on they will discover with Bannon and Alfonso Rivas. I’ll additionally word that this would possibly not work with Mark Leiter Jr, Michael Rucker, or PJ Higgins, all of whom can elect free company if they’re outrighted.
  • The Cubs opted for a distinct route with former high pitching prospect Brailyn Marquez, who was non-tendered after lacking his second consecutive season with a shoulder harm. I believe the Cubs will provide Marquez an above-league common minor league contract, however the ball strikes to Brailyn’s courtroom in whether or not or to not settle for it. I believe there’s some mutual frustration from each the Cubs and Marquez camps on how his growth stalled over the past three years, however on the similar time, the Cubs do have the perfect deal with on the present state of Brailyn’s shoulder and the way finest to maneuver ahead .
  • By the best way, it is undoubtedly bizarre to dunk on folks concerning the finish of the Marquez period. It’s simply unhappy, and a reminder that pitching prospects will break your coronary heart. While the Cubs’ 2022 season within the system did provide some good breakouts and steps ahead, I do not assume it may be thought of an actual profitable season on the farm given the massive variety of (relatively catastrophic) accidents that occurred.
  • I don’t count on any conversations available with Alexander Vizcaino a couple of reunion, as Vizcaino left Spring Training this 12 months and opted to not return. Over the summer season, it appeared that Vizcaino was leaning in direction of retirement, which is just too dangerous given his relatively ridiculous pure skill. But the minor league grind is understandably not for everybody!
  • A reminder that the minor league Rule 5 Draft can be a factor, and whereas we can’t see the Cubs’ listing of protected gamers within the public house, I made a mock one. Remember, if you happen to lose a participant within the minor league part of the draft, there is no guidelines for his new group to retain him, he is simply gone:

Leave a Comment