Monday, July 29, 2013

Chicago Cubs - Prospect Autograph Analysis From Every MLB Team




Let's just say the Cubbies farm system is loaded.  Theo Epstein has what could be my favorite stock of offensive prospects (the Rangers are close as well)...



However, they lacked significant pitching until acquiring my favorite pitching prospect, CJ Edwards.  I've written about him a disgusting amount of times, so I'll skip his 2013 BC Auto analysis.

We can go back to 2010 BC for Brett Jackson's auto, but the kid never panned out as the 5-tool prospect they had hoped.  His window is quickly closing, and I've already given up on him (despite almost buying into him preseason at his deflated prices).

So let's start with 2011 BDPP.  2 players: a top 5 offensive 5-tool prospect (in my own rankings), as well as a top 10 power hitting prospect:

Javier Baez is the former.  He is a stud in every sense of the word.  I don't care if he K's, struggles on a promotion, tweets about unicorns or something... the kid can flat out rake.  His hands are as quick as anyone I've ever seen and is compared to Gary Sheffield because of it.  His chrome autos will set you back a lot ($50+) and they're not for the faint of heart, but of all offensive prospects who fall into the high end market, Baez is MY FAVORITE (sorry Buxton, Bogaerts, and any other top prospect starting with a 'B').  So, I'd buy if I could afford it.  He also has 7 HRs in his past 10 games.

Dan Vogelbach is the monster power hitter, who puts on shows in the cage.  Despite bulking up, I still refer to him as Vogelchunk/Vogeltwinkie because he's, well, John Kruk-esque.  His issue will be finding a position.  He is built for 1B (occupied by Rizzo) or DH.  So, he's got obstacles.  Here's the play: avoid unless Rizzo gets traded OR Vogelchunk gets traded to an AL team.  Then, pounce.

The two other prospects worth mentioning hail from 2012:

Albert Almora (2012 BDPP): Almora started this season late due to a broken hamate bone, but has shown the world he is an elite prospect on both sides of the ball.  Before the All-Star break, Almora caught fire immediately, hitting .402 in 92 ABs.  He's a gold glove caliber center fielder as well.  Almora doesn't walk much, but it doesn't matter when you can hit like him.  Whether his power develops is a major factor and question mark in terms of the value of his autos.  If I had to guess, I would say that power never materializes, making him a HOLD rather than a BUY.  Here's my reasoning: Almora is known to have elite instincts and an unmatched work ethic.  The major knock on him is his plate discipline.  As he matures through Theo Epstein's system, I would guess his prime focus is just that: plate discipline... and although I'm confident he masters it, I believe it's at the expense of power.  I can see him developing into a #2 type hitter and a gold glove caliber CF, but his autos are already pricey enough to go nuts for them.

Jorge Soler (2012 BC) is the last of these 4 stud Cubs prospects.  Soler's arm AND power rank an incredible 70 on the scouting scale, making him a prototypical right fielder.  Soler suffered a stress fracture in his shin and is in danger of missing the entire season, so if you're not a long term investor, move on.  But if his chrome auto (topping $40) can somehow fall to the $30 range, he'd be a STRONG LONG TERM BUY.

One final note, Kris Bryant (1st round pick this year) is a legit elite power bat who could grade a perfect 80 for power.  Right now, Sano is the only prospect I know with a perfect 80 power grade... yeah.  So whenever Bryant's chrome auto releases, I'd jump on it and hope he's only hitting .100 at that time to keep his prices low.

Other prospects: Trey McNutt (2011 BC), Jeimer Candelario (2012 BC), Zeke DeVoss (2012 BC), Shawon Dunston (2012 BC), Dillon Maples (2012 BC), Matt Szczur (2012 BC), Paul Blackburn (2012 BDPP), Gioskar Amaya (2013 BC)

As always, thanks for reading.  Post a comment.  And stay tuned...

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