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Steamer Projects: Chicago Cubs Prospects

Posted By Carson Cistulli On January 16, 2014 @ 10:30 am In Cubs,Minor Leagues,Steamer Projects | 14 Comments

Earlier today, polite and Canadian and polite Marc Hulet published his 2014 organizational prospect list for the Chicago Cubs.

It goes without saying that, in composing such a list, Hulet has considered the overall future value those prospects might be expected to provide either to the Cubs or whatever other organizations to which they might someday belong.

What this brief post concerns isn’t overall future value, at all, but rather such value as the prospects from Hulet’s list might provide were they to play, more or less, a full major-league season in 2014.

Other prospect projections: Arizona / Baltimore / Chicago AL / Houston / Los Angeles AL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York NL / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Toronto.

Steamer Projections: Cubs Batting Prospects
Below are the current 2014 projections for select Cubs batting prospects. All projections have been prorated to 550 plate appearances (and 450 for catchers) for sake of uniformity. Defensive figures (denoted by Def) account both for positional adjustment and UZR, and are presented relative to league average. Note that, in many cases, defensive value has been calculated entirely by positional adjustment based on the relevant player’s minor-league defensive starts in 2013. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.

# Name Age POS PA BB% K% BABIP wRC+ BsR Off Def* WAR
1 Javier Baez 21 SS 550 5.1% 25.7% .290 87 0 -8 6 1.7
12 Christian Villanueva 23 3B 550 5.4% 22.2% .287 79 0 -13 2 0.8
5 Arismendy Alcantara 22 2B/SS 550 6.6% 21.6% .298 74 0 -16 4 0.6
2 Kris Bryant 22 3B 550 5.4% 24.6% .257 61 0 -24 2 -0.4
3 Albert Almora 20 CF 550 3.9% 13.6% .254 54 0 -29 2 -0.9
8 Daniel Vogelbach 21 1B 550 7.2% 17.8% .250 70 0 -19 -10 -1.1
4 Jorge Soler 22 RF 550 5.6% 17.5% .257 63 0 -23 -6 -1.1
11 Jeimer Candelario 20 3B 550 6.5% 17.5% .239 50 0 -31 2 -1.1

Steamer Projections: Cubs Pitching Prospects
Below are the 2014 projections for select Cubs pitching prospects. Projections for starting pitchers have been prorated to 150 innings; for relievers, to 50 innings. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR, which has been calculated by using kwERA — that is, an ERA estimator which utilizes only strikeouts and walks — so as to remove the vagaries of park effects, and probably also because the author has no idea what he’s doing. Listed ages are as of June 30, 2014. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.

# Name Age Hand IP K% BB% kwERA kwERA- WAR
9 Arodys Vizcaino 23 RHP 150 23.7% 9.4% 3.59 93 2.5
15 Neil Ramirez 25 RHP 150 23.2% 11.9% 3.95 102 1.7
13 Duane Underwood 19 RHP 150 22.9% 12.9% 4.11 106 1.4
6 Pierce Johnson 23 RHP 150 21.6% 11.9% 4.15 107 1.4
10 Kyle Hendricks 24 RHP 150 16.2% 6.9% 4.19 108 1.3
7 C.J. Edwards 22 RHP 150 20.5% 11.9% 4.28 111 1.1

Notes
• As noted above, the defensive projections here consist almost entirely of just positional adjustments based on usage in 2013 — as opposed, that is, to any sort of estimate of defensive runs saved in 2014. What isn’t being asserted here is that Javier Baez is a league-average shortstop, defensively. What is being asserted is that, even if he’s not a league-average shortstop, Baez is probably something better than replacement-level already.

• The Cubs seem to have a panoply — yes: a panoply — of young pitchers who appear to be capable of missing bats. Indeed, all the ones (i.e. all the pitchers) projected here would appear likely to produce a strikeout-walk differential of 10 points or better, given exposure to major-league hitters. Promising for the Cubs, is what that is.

• Of some difficulty for Steamer, one assumes, is forecasting Arodys Vizcaino. The projection here is quite optimistic — and, indeed, the right-hander has generally been effective when he’s pitched. That Vizcaino has missed two entire seasons due to elbow inury(y/ies) oughtn’t be ignored.


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