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  #1  
Old Jan 28th 2010, 1:14 pm
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4 Cubs in Keith Law's top 100

Castro - 12
Vitters - 30
J.Jackson - 50
Cashner - 79
B.Jackson - just missed

Law ranked the Cubs system #7 overall, and in what's going to warm alot of peoples cold indifference to the offseason, the Brewers, Cardinals, Astros, and White Sox all ranked in the bottom five.

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Castro is one of the most exciting position player prospects in the minors as a quick-twitch player with an electric bat and a hose for an arm at shortstop. As a hitter, Castro has lightning in his wrists and the ball absolutely flies off his bat. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and adjusts well when pitchers try to come in on him, keeping his hands inside the ball and squaring up pitches many hitters would foul off. His swing can get long when pitchers work him away, but he still makes a lot more contact than most hitters do, courtesy of his bat speed and hand-eye. He recognizes breaking balls well for his age and projects to hit for power even to the opposite field. As a shortstop, he's quick on his feet with good range in both ways, especially to the hole, but it is his arm that really stands out, grading at 65 or 70 on the 20-80 scale. The Cubs have pushed him up the ladder aggressively because he can make contact and needed reps against better pitching, but it has obscured his power potential because he's been so young for his leagues. He's going to be an impact bat in the middle of the diamond and could arrive as early as late 2010.
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Vitters has everything he needs to become an impact hitter at the major league level -- except patience. And patience he lacks in the way the Sahara lacks water: He drew 12 unassisted walks in 2009, and has drawn 26 in total in 830 pro plate appearances. He's not a hacker; he's had strong contact rates at every level where he's played so far, and his swing is superb -- with a strong front side, good hand speed and excellent hip rotation to generate hard contact and power. He projects, based on his swing and ability to make contact all over the zone, as a .300 hitter with 30-homer power; but with a .320 on-base percentage, which may make you a Hall of Famer to the statistically ignorant, but means Vitters will produce a lot of outs in between those big hits. In the field, he's never going to be plus at third base but is playable there with plenty of arm. It's hard to teach Vitters' ability to make contact, and he may fit the cliché about the hitter who's so good at making contact that he never has to get to ball four, but in today's game you have to get on base to be an impact bat at a corner, and Vitters will have to dramatically increase his walk rate as he moves up the ladder to be that kind of player.
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Jackson's first full year in pro ball in 2008 was a huge success, as he jumped all the way to AA and pitched well as a starter, missing plenty of bats with his low-90s fastball and out-pitch slider. Jackson was a two-way player at Furman University, and the athleticism is evident when he's on the mound, as he has a loose, easy arm action that he repeats pretty well. He throws four pitches, with the sharp mid-80s slider his best offering, but his changeup, while improving, could still use some work, and most of his trouble this year came against left-handed hitters. Jackson's 2009 season was interrupted by a punitive demotion after he had some very minor off-field issues, and he resolved the problem enough for the Cubs to promote him to AAA for the last week of the season. He could appear in the majors this year in relief, but he has enough of a chance to start, especially if he improves the changeup or finds another weapon to use against lefties, that a year in AAA would make a lot of sense.
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Cashner closed at TCU -- which has really improved its baseball profile in the past few years (including landing the top unsigned player from the 2009 draft, lefty Matt Purke) -- but has worked as a starter in the Cubs' system. It's a big arm, with a fastball at 93-98 mph even over multiple innings and a hard slider with very good tilt in the mid-80s, with his slider command ahead of his fastball command when I saw him. He has a changeup but rarely uses it; it has some tail but mostly just glove-side run. He gets ground balls but it's not extreme, and I don't think his home run rate from 2009 indicates some preternatural ability to keep the ball in the park. What's odd about Cashner is that for a guy with a power arm, he doesn't miss a lot of bats, and neither his control nor his ground-ball rate is high enough for him to be a good starter with a low strikeout rate. If he has to return to the pen, he'll be dominant there, but the Cubs will probably let him continue to start and see if he can improve his command and find a way to miss more bats.
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Old Jan 28th 2010, 3:25 pm
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Where are Pittsburgh and Cincinnati? As long as they aren't ahead of us, we will be dominating the division in less than 10 years.
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Old Jan 28th 2010, 3:56 pm
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Yes! Cincinnati's 10th and Pittsburgh's 18th. Brewers 26th, Astros 28th, Cardinals f29th, White Sox 30th.
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Old Jan 28th 2010, 4:48 pm
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Is Cincinnati's rankings before or after adding Chapman??

The Red Sox have seven players in the Top 100. So much for not being able to develop talent while having a high payroll (still about $15-20 million less than Cubs and Mets, I believe).
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Old Jan 28th 2010, 4:50 pm
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The list was made a few days ago, it was after.
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Old Jan 29th 2010, 7:01 am
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For all the beating Hendry took , it looks like he has done very good with restocking the farm.
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Old Jan 29th 2010, 10:45 am
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Originally Posted by LeeEila's/rant View Post
For all the beating Hendry took , it looks like he has done very good with restocking the farm.
07 and 08 were definitely excellent drafts; they already used a major part of the 07 draft to bring in Harden and its still looking strong.

I think the scouting department deserves some acclaim, not only for international scouting, but for getting good prospects back in trades.
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Old Jan 29th 2010, 4:06 pm
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Well, we only traded Gallagher, Donaldson, Murton, and Patterson, and also got Gaudin in that trade, I wouldn't say it was a huge part of the draft.
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Old Jan 29th 2010, 4:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Jntg4 View Post
Well, we only traded Gallagher, Donaldson, Murton, and Patterson, and also got Gaudin in that trade, I wouldn't say it was a huge part of the draft.
Donaldson is a pretty well-regarded prospect and will probably see the MLB before Vitters.
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Old Jan 29th 2010, 5:19 pm
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My point was that it wasn't like we traded several players.

And I didn't know Donaldson was that good.
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