This series will look at prospects and show whether they are worth an investment on your fantasy team. Every owner knows that the secret to a strong minors system is knowing who to throw away and knowing who to keep. Each player featured in this series will be given one of the following recommendations:
- Hold ’em : If you own this prospect, hang tight. While times may seem rough, the talent is worth holding onto and/or monitoring.
- Fold ’em : If you own this prospect, now is the time to sell while they may still have some name value.
- Walk Away: This prospect is not worth paying attention to in your league.
- Run: Get to the waiver wire immediately and put a claim in for this prospect.
The Chicago Cubs set the baseball world abuzz with the promotion of Javier Baez yesterday. Baez is an exciting talent that I, along with millions of others, expect great things from. The Cubs system holds a wealth of exciting prospects, and while they’ve promoted one of their best, there are plenty more coming down the pipeline. I will attempt to look deeper into this system and hopefully identify some prospects that need to be gambled on in your dynasty league. I am not including Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler or Albert Almora in this discussion as they are all Top 50 prospects at this time. As these players move up, who will step up into their places as potentially some of the finest prospects in the game? If these players aren’t in your league’s database, you should consider moving next year to Fantrax!
If you are interested in any other team, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to accommodate.
C. Kyle Schwarber: One of the most advanced college bats in the 2014 draft, Schwarber has moved quickly through the ranks, landing in High A Daytona and doing exactly what he should be: mashing. Schwarber combines plus power with the ability to control the strike zone. He’s catching and playing the outfield, and while the bat will play either way, as a catcher he could be special fantasy-wise. Whichever way it goes, this is a prospect that needs to be rostered. Run.
C. Victor Caratini: The newest addition to this corps, this switch-hitting catcher has good plate discipline and some nice gap power. Just 20 years old, this former third baseman has progressed enough defensively behind the plate to significantly increase his stock this year. Hold ‘Em.
1B: Dan Vogelbach: This left-handed hitting first baseman combines excellent power to all fields with very good plate discipline. A very big man, Vogelbach will struggle to keep up average defense at first, but it’s power you pay for in fantasy. You only have to look to the south side to see the impact a power hitting first baseman can make. Run.
Video courtesy of In The Shadows of Wrigley:
2B: Gioskar Amaya: 21-year-old Amaya, playing in Daytona, hits for a good average and gets on base at a very good clip (.385). He strikes out too much for a player with little power though. While Amaya may end up a solid player, I don’t think he warrants a lot of attention for fantasy teams. Walk Away.
3B: Jeimer Candelario: Playing alongside Caratini in Kane County, 20-year-old Candelario struggled in his brief stint in Daytona this year. In what was supposed to be a breakout season, 2014 has been disappointing, at least statistically. Still young, Candelario has developing power to go with his solid approach from both sides of the plate. Since July 1, he’s hitting .271/.306/.500. Hold ‘Em.
3B: Wladimir Galindo: 17-year-old out of Venezuela was signed by the Cubs in December and is enjoying some success in the VSL. A big man, Galindo has plenty of power projection and reports are good that he can stick at third base. I know very little about Galindo, but I’m following him pretty closely. Hold ‘Em.
SS: Gleyber Torres: Along with Eloy Jimenez, these are two of the top international signings of 2013. Torres, just 17, is playing in Mesa of the AZL and showing off his hit tools to the tune of .287/.383/.407. Much more important is that he’s adjusted well state-side, and looks likely to handle shortstop. The Cubs don’t need any more SS prospects, but Torres is on the road to becoming a top SS prospect down the line. Run.
SS: Frandy De La Rosa: 18-year-old shortstop from Dominican Republic was signed for $700,000 in 2012 by the Cubs. The switch-hitter has good contact skills with some gap power. Frandy is a long way away, but there is some potential here for an impact bat at a weak position for fantasy purposes. Hold ‘Em.
Video courtesy of Steve Fiorindo (he’s one of the best. Check out his site)
OF: Eloy Jimenez: I talked about Jimenez last week. Run.
OF: Jeffrey Baez: No relation to Javier, Jeffrey Baez brings a ton of speed to the table and has also shown some pop in the bat this year. The strikeouts are a concern, but at just 20 years of age, there’s a chance the discipline improves. Baez was signed in 2010 out of Venezuela for $350,000 and with the developing power could be an interesting power/speed guy. Hold ‘Em.
OF: Billy McKinney: The “other guy” in the Addison Russell/Jeff Samrdzija trade, McKinney was a first round pick by the A’s in 2013 out of high school. Now, just 19, McKinney is performing well in Daytona against much older competition. A sweet left-handed swing, McKinney should be a good average and on base guy, while his new home should do nothing but help with his power numbers. McKinney is a big piece of a trade that is going to be talked about for years to come. Run.
Video again from Big League Futures:
SP: C.J. Edwards: 22-year-old right-hander returned to AA Tennessee on Saturday after spend the summer recovering from shoulder inflammation, striking out 5 in 3.1 innings of work. When healthy he can throw low-mid 90s heat with an excellent curve. Edwards at 6’2″, 155lbs already had durability concerns, and this year’s injury doesn’t help shake those worries. Saturday’s outing was a step in the right direction. Hold ‘Em.
SP: Pierce Johnson: Johnson has dealt with leg injuries most of the season, perhaps causing some of his control issues this year (15.5% BB rate in AA). He had no issues on Sunday, pitching a two hitter, losing his no-hit bid in the 6th to Reds pitching prospect Robert Stephenson. With a good fastball/curve combination, Johnson projects as a mid-rotation arm. Hold ‘Em.
SP: Jen-Ho Tseng: Tseng is dominating A ball at just 19 years old after being signed last year to a $1.6 million deal by the Cubs. With excellent command and a fastball that can approach 94mph, Tseng is moving up the prospect ranks. He also flashes a very good curve and change-up. One could argue Tseng is the top pitching prospect in the system, though for fantasy purposes I’d slide him behind Edwards for now. Hold ‘Em.
SP: Rob Zastryzny: Drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft, Zastryzny has a mid 90s fastball and a very good change-up. He’s missing a lot of bats this year in High A Daytona, with a 22% K rate and just a 7% BB rate. The big left hander hails from Edmonton Alberta, and projects as another mid rotation arm for the Cubs. Hold ‘Em.
SP: Jefferson Mejia: Another signing from the 2013 international draft, Mejia agreed with the Cubs for $850,000. The big right-hander stands at 6’7″, weighing 220 lbs at just 20 years of age. With a high 90s fastball and already a promising change-up and curve, Mejia is someone to watch as he moves though the ranks. Hold ‘Em.
SP: Trevor Clifton: Just 19 years old pitching in Low A Boise, Clifton stands 6’4″ and can reach the mid 90s with his fast ball. There is still projection to him as his frame grows from its current 170 lbs. With a good curve and a developing change-up, Clifton like Mejia, has a pretty high ceiling and should be fun to watch. Hold ‘Em.
If you’re gonna play the game boy, you gotta learn to play it right.
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