Each weekday during the minor-league season, FanGraphs is providing a status update on multiple rookie-eligible players. Note that Age denotes the relevant prospect’s baseball age (i.e. as of July 1st of the current year); Top-15, the prospect’s place on Marc Hulet’s preseason organizational list; and Top-100, that same prospect’s rank on Hulet’s overall top-100 list.
Rebuilding organizations frequently shop their short-term assets to support the cause. Major League Baseball’s worst team, the Chicago Cubs, are proud employers of Jeff Samardzija and less than proud owners of a .370 winning average. The Shark’s contract will expire at the conclusion of the 2015 season, which should predate the club’s success. While Chicago has the financial ability to extend him, it’s likely he’s traded at the July deadline.
Based on Marc Hulet’s pre-season Top 100, the Cubs’ farm system is stacked. Their 7 prospects were the most of any team (tied with Boston) and 5 of their Cubs’ hitters were ranked within the Top 52. Rumors suggest the Cubs would like to add an arm to their cadre of budding stars.
1. The Toronto Blue Jays
Why: The Jays have been linked to Samardzija for weeks and they could use the his help. The Blue Jays rank 19th in RA/G and could use a replacement for J.A. Happ and/or Dustin McGowan. The combination of desperation and a difficult division makes than a likely front-runner.
Aaron Sanchez (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 23 Top-15: 1st Top-100: 22nd
Line: 54.1 IP, 4.65 FIP, 7.12 K/9, 6.14 BB/9, 0.33 HR/9 (.270 BABIP)
Untouchable during the R.A. Dickey trade, his 2014 performance no longer justifies that tag. Sanchez’s primary issue has always been his inability to consistently throw strikes. Sanchez suffers from a common ailment; many top starters battle control issues in the minor leagues, but Sanchez has shown little improvement over the years. The competition for Samardzija, who is relatively inexpensive at $5.35M, may be so tough that Sanchez may not satisfy the Cubs as their keystone piece.
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