Down on the Farm at Triple A and Double A
Here is a look at some of the names we will or will not see in the coming years at Wrigley Field. This isn’t a top 10 list. These are a few guys making some noise early on this season. Names we know and names that aren’t as familiar.
Javier Baez – We all know that he was sent down to work on making contact. He’s currently hitting .311 at Iowa but has struck out 25 times in 90 at-bats. That is still an alarming rate. His 5 dingers show he’s still swinging for the fences. His OBP sits at .388 which is really good for him. I still cannot help but think Javy will be the first person out the door for help at the Major League level. My gut tells me Theo sees him as trade bait even if his numbers stay solid at Triple A.
John Andreoli – The 17th round pick out of UCONN has been quietly working his way through the minors. With so many high picks throughout the past few seasons making headlines, he’s been a name that has flown under the radar. He is an on-base machine that brings zero pop. He steals bags at a pretty good success rate. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get a cup of coffee if he stays healthy. These are the type of guys that hang on for their ability to get on base and play at a cheap rate. Keep an eye on him.
Arismendy Alcantara – Yes he’s been with the big club but I still see him as a bit of a project. His versatility keeps his name around most lists but there are a few holes in his swing that still need to be figured out. He’s going to get his chances but he needs to get on base more and make better contact. I’ll take more singles and less at-bats swinging for fences and striking out. He may also be on his way out for help on Clark and Addison.
Blake Cooper – It’s not often you like 27 year old minor leaguers that haven’t made it to the bigs but I like Cooper. He competes in the zone and makes hitters beat him. Nothing special but someone I would not be shocked to see in the pen for a chance. Not a long term solution but the type of “kid” I like to cheer on.
Kyle Schwarber – Keep hitting young man. This guy was drafted early because he could hit and hit for power and he’s showing nothing but that. I know they want to push him to the outfield eventually but I wouldn’t give up on him behind the plate. I haven’t seen too much of his defense but guys that can hit like him from the left side and catch don’t grow on trees. He played LF in college and in the minors so his bat should get him to the big leagues soon but getting at-bats against some veterans at the next levels will be key to his development.
Dan Vogelbach – I wouldn’t tell him this but Dan may be too big for his own good. The young man can surely hit and get on base. Anthony Rizzo stands in his way for any chance at playing time in this organization. He is better suited for the AL. Can you say trade?
Carl Edwards Jr – Perfect for the bullpen. He’s showing that he is lights out back there. We all know his frame is in question but his stuff is not. I see a future late innings guy that can wipeout lineups on 9 pitches. With all this excitement I still want to see him do it for a whole season before we get too excited. Arms break down fast you know.
Billy McKinney – 20 year old on the fast track to the majors. He’s hit at every level and I think he was an absolute steal from Oakland. His maturity is beyond his years. I love his left handed stroke. He’s going to be a corner outfield because of his arm but he barrels a lot of balls. I do not expect a bunch of power in his swing to develop but doubles are fun to watch, as well. I’m really excited about this kid.
Albert Almora – The kid can play CF. He runs down a lot out there. His arm plays out real well and is good enough for the majors now. His ability to adjust his aggressiveness is key to me. Watching him a few times online, I must have seen most of his strikeouts. I’d like to see him have a more toned down approach and take some walks. He barrels balls but I see him walking back to the dugout too much without making contact.
Corey Black – This kid can pitch. Brought over in the Soriano deal, he can be a closer in the making as long as he can get his control under wraps. He’s a small framed pitcher that gets everything out of his delivery. The fastball (mid to upper 90’s) sets up a slider that is a swing and miss pitch. He will continue to start at the minor league level but I cannot imagine him staying there. Much like Edwards, he’ll likely be at the end of the bullpen, and much like Edwards, he must stay healthy (which he is not right now).
Ivan Peneyro – Not an overpowering starter but competes in the zone. He has good control and makes hitters beat him. If you get a chance to see him watch him compete. This is the type of kid that makes it even though he wasn’t a household name. Still only 23, this RHP from the Dominican is one to watch.