With the big league club getting ready to play in the National League Championship Series, it looks like it’s time for a few random thoughts — six of them, actually — about some things that are happening at the minor-league level.
1. No sooner was announced that Eddy Julio Martinez had signed with the Cubs than the Giants struck a second claim that they also thought they signed him. According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, the Cubs paperwork appears to all be in order while the Giants does not:
According to sources, Martinez signed the term sheet for the Cubs on Oct. 8 and filed it for approval by the Commissioner’s Office one day later. The Giants submitted paperwork claiming a deal with Martinez the day after they came to terms. However, representatives for Martinez claim the player did not sign a term sheet for the Giants or the sworn statement that says a Cuban player is in compliance with Section 515.05 of Cuban Assets Control Regulations in order to sign with a Major League team.
Martinez is represented in the Dominican Republic by trainers Aldo Marrero and Amauris Nina. He is represented in the United States by Beverly Hills Sports Council. It was Marrero and Nina who made the deal with the Cubs. It was BHSC that made the deal with the Giants.
2. The Arizona Fall League began on Wednesday and Jeimer Candelario is just destroying it. He went 3-4 in his first game and then yesterday he went 5-5 with two home runs. Going into Saturday’s game, he was 8-10 on the week with an astounding OPS of 2.618. Willson Contreras has gone 3 for 12 and Mark Zagunis is 0-4 so far. Pierce Johnson, Corey Black, and Rob Zastryzny have not fared well in their first outings while reliever David Garner went one inning with 2 BBs and 2 Ks and did not allow a run.
3. Minor League instructs ended last Friday, 10/9, and most players packed up and headed home while a few more were still hanging around and playing games with the Angels’ mixed squad. Their games ended yesterday, the 16th. Chesny Young and Victor Caratini both lead the Cubs’ hitters on the team. Young hit .375 in 8 games while Caratini hit .273 with 1 HR and 7 RBIs in 13 games. On the pitching side, Duane Underwood struggled with a 5.29 ERA in 17 innings. On the other hand, Tyler Skulina had a 3.00 ERA in just 12 innings. In relief, Stephen Perakslis has a 1.29 ERA in 7 innings with 4 Ks (stats compiled by Arizona Phil).
4. I don’t think Eddy Julio Martinez will be the last international free agent the Cubs are going to sign this winter. There are several more Cubans out there that the Cubs could sign. They range from 16 to 21 years old and are a combination of pitchers and outfielders. Last year at this time, Theo went out and signed several young players from Mexico who worked out well, including 18 year old Carlos Sepulveda at rookie league ball. One who could shine next year is Isaac Paredes. In addition, instructs Home Run Derby Champion and 3B Kwang-Min Kwon could be a steal from this summer’s free agent class.
5. The Tennessee Smokies preseason profile is going to be the one to read in March, for several reasons. One is that three quarters of the players won back-to-back championships at Kane County and Myrtle Beach. Another will be that the biggest jump in talent in the minors is from High A to AA. With the amount of pitching going from Myrtle Beach to Tennessee, it will be interesting to see how they do. The adaptation of Duane Underwood, Tyler Skulina, Paul Blackburn, Jen-Ho Tseng, Daury Torrez, Johnathan Martinez, and Brad Markey will be key to the development of starting pitching in the organization. With over a dozen other top arms waiting behind this group, this group’s success or struggles could change the fortunes of several pitchers in the system
6. In addition to feeling good about what is happening in Chicago, I get a little giddy thinking about what could happen in South Bend in 2016. The Cubs could have two of their top international free-agent signees in Eddy Julio Martinez and Eloy Jimenez playing alongside Donnie Dewees in what is easily the best outfield in the Cubs’ system. I just…I don’t know how to describe it other than to say every day would be the 4th of July for South Bend. There could be fireworks with home runs, stolen bases, diving catches, and screaming line drives. Broadcaster Darrin Pritchett is going to have his hands full describing the action in South Bend. And this doesn’t even include any of the top pitchers that are going there.
Initially this off season, I was going to do a series of profiles of each position in the Cubs minor league system as it pertains to depth and potential. All those posts are done, just waiting for the big league club’s season to end. That said, I hope we’ve got a couple weeks before they see the light of day.