Tagged: Jay Bruce

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

The Cubs are finally beginning to invest some real money into player development now that the Ricketts family has taken over as owners.  This is exciting news for me as a Cubs fan.  If you don’t think player development matters take a look at the New York Yankees.  Derek Jeter was a 1st round draft pick in 1992.  Mariano Rivera was signed as an amateur free agent in 1990.  Andy Pettitte was drafted by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 1990 draft.  Bernie Williams was signed as an amateur free agent in 1985.  Jorge Posada was drafted in the 24th round of the 1990 draft.  Those players helped form a dynasty in the mid to late 90s. 
 
The Cincinnati Reds are another example of player development paying off without the luxury of a large payroll for expensive free agents that your big market franchises have.  All Star first basemanJoey Votto, was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft.  Jay Bruce was drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 draft.  Drew Stubbs was a 1st round pick in 2006.  Homer Bailey was a 1st round pick in the 2004 draft.  Johnny Cueto was signed as an amateur free agent in 2004 and Aroldis Chapman was singed as an amateur free agent in 2010.  These players were instrumental in helping the Reds to the playoffs in 2010 and should provide the Reds with a bright future.  The Reds also acquired some quality players through trades in Edinson VolquezBrandon Phillips and Scott Rolen
 
The Cubs have done so-so in the last 10 years in the amateur draft.  In 2001, we drafted Mark Prior in the 1st round, Ryan Theriot in the 3rd round, Sergio Mitre in the 7th round and Geovany Soto in the 11th round.  2002 wasn’t as kind though, but we did manage to draft Randy Wells as a catcher in the 38th round.  In 2003 Ryan Harvey was our 1st round pick and unfortunately he never worked out for us.  We also drafted Jake Fox in the 3rd round, Sean Marshall in the 6th round, Casey McGehee in the 10th round and Tim Lincecum in the 48th round but obviously he didn’t sign with us.  In 2004 our draft didn’t work out too well.  We drafted Mark Pawelek in the 1st round in 2005, but he never panned out.  In 2006 we drafted pretty well.  Tyler Colvin in the 1st, Jeff Samardzija in the 5th, Jeremy Papelbon in the 19th (Jonathan’s brother) and a few others that are still in our system working their way up.  2008 and 2009 seem to be decent drafts for us too, but time will tell.  Most importantly we need to draft well, sign amateur free agents like Carlos Marmol (1999) and develop these players better than we have done in the past.  Combine all of that with the ability to spend a lot of money and the Cubs will hopefully start winning on a regular basis and finally bring home a World Series Championship.

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LOCKING UP STARLIN CASTRO

Starlin Castro.jpgThe Cubs have several young players that had some modest success last season.  Castro had the most success managing to hit .300 in his first major league season at the age of ripe old age of 20.  I believe that this kid will become a regular .300 hitter and should hopefully develop a little more power than his total of 3 homers last season.  I would be happy if he hits around 10 homers or more a year and he’s got to steal more bases too.  He managed to swipe 10 bases in 18 attempts last year.  So, it’s not a question of speed so much as it is learning how big of a lead to get, getting a good jump and reading the pitcher’s pickoff move.  Since he is so young, I believe he well learn those things on the job over the next couple of years and I expect him to be a 20 stolen bases a year type of player.  I also think he will eventually be moved to second base when Hak-Ju Lee is ready to take over at shortstop for the Cubs in the next 2-3 years.  

With all of that said, I believe the Cubs need to take a hard look at signing Castro to an extension in about 1-2 years from now.  I would rather Hendry be proactive and lock this kid up as opposed to taking a risk of losing him to free agency down the road.  We all know Derek Jeter won’t be around forever and the Yankees like to spend money.  However, before we go throwing money around I want to make sure Castro has another productive season in 2011.  If he does well then I think we start thinking about locking him up.  I’m thinking that we may spend a little bit of money in the near future to avoid having to spend a lot money down the road.  Look at what the Rays did with Evan Longoria.  They locked him up until he’s 30 years old.  The Reds just agreed to extend Jay Bruce for 6 years.  I think if young guys get extensions like this early in their careers it will save their organization money over the long haul and that’s why I think the Cubs should consider doing this with Castro after next season. 

Sizing Up the Cincinnati Reds

Reds.jpgJust recently my friend and Reds fan, Dave, wanted to know why I haven’t written anything about the Reds on my blog.  Well, I decided to write something for his sake.  I figure if he’s gonna take the time to check out this blog I might as well as write something about his Reds.  I am trying to convince Dave to start his own blog or even join forces with me to write a blog about the Cubs, Reds and baseball.  Until then, I guess this will have to do.  I will do my best to look at things objectively, but remember, I am a Cubs fan and we can be biased from time to time.

 

The Cincinnati Reds glory days of the “Big Red Machine” are long gone.  As a matter of fact, they haven’t won the World Series since the magical year of 1990.   That was a great team.  Jose Rijo, Chris Sabo, Eric “the Red” Davis and the Nasty Boys featuring Rob Dibble, Randy Myers and Norm Charlton.  I remember going into the series against Oakland that year that none of our friends gave the Reds much of a chance to win.  Then they went and swept the mighty A’s. 

The last winning season the Reds had was in 2000.  However, with the way things are shaping up, I don’t think they are that far from finishing over .500 once again.  They have developed a solid core of young players that may bring this team back into the playoff hunt for years to come.  

Here’s a quick look at some of the current Reds that I like and think the organization should build around.  At 1B is Joey Votto.  I think he’s a really good player, but I think he eventually will have to move to LF or RF due to minor league stud Yonder Alonso.  In Brandon Phillips the Reds have an all star at 2B.  At 3B is Edwin Encarnacion.  He is still young, only 26, but needs to work on his defense.  The outfielder of the future is here in Jay Bruce.  He possesses a lot of talent, but may be best suited in RF.  I believe these guys should be the core of the Reds lineup over the next few years and will help lead them into the next decade. 

On the mound things look bright too.   Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez may turn out to be a great 1-2 punch at the start of the rotation.  Then there is the possibility of Homer Bailey making the rotation soon.  If these 3 young guns develop like the Reds hope you may be looking at a team capable of winning a World Series sooner than later. 

A lot of young talent with the Reds.  If these guys play like they are capable of then the Reds will win a lot of games.  I imagine that will be the case.   The obstacle I see standing in the way for the Reds is salary.  How will they be able to pay all of these guys?  Cincinnati is not a big market team like the Yankees, Red Sox or Cubs.  Until then, there is no doubt in my mind that the Reds organization is going in the right direction.