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Columnist: Koby Schellenger

Systems Audit: Chicago Cubs
February 08, 2007

Systems Audit:

Chicago Cubs

1. Felix Pie, CF, AAA. Pie just turned 22 on February 8th yet has spent a full season holding his head above water in Triple-A. Pie really showed his power potential this season in Iowa. He has speed and some power. He does not have much patience at the plate and that is his biggest weakness. Defensively he has grown a lot but still needs some refinement in his reaction. With the overload of outfield talent in Chicago, Pie stands to start the season in Triple-A again but if he is able to show some signs of improvement, he could be headed for Chicago.
2. Donald Veal, LHP, A+. Veal has a lot of development to do before hes ready for the big show. He has three good pitches. His fastball sits in the low 90s with some average movement. He has a tight, hard breaking curveball that is his best pitch. His change is average but shows some life. His delivery is unorthodox and control becomes a problem at times.
3. Eric Patterson, 2B, AAA. Patterson often gets compared to his older brother, Corey, and for good reason. His value derives from his speed. He has some power but not as much potential as his brother. Defensively he's marginally above average. He's had some experience around the diamond but will likely end up at second in Chicago as it is their biggest weakness at the moment.
4. Sean Gallagher, RHP, AA. Gallagher has a very good curveball, decent fastball and a change that needs some improvement. His control tends to be an issue at times. He'll start the season, at 21 years of age, in Double-A but will be fastracked to Triple-A with a good debut. Gallagher doesn't have the potential that some of the other pitchers in the Cubs system does, but he has advanced at a quick rate and should continue to develop nicely as he matures both physically and mentally.
5. Jeff Samardzija, RHP, A. He's probably more famous for football (wide receiver out of Notre Dame) than he is for baseball, but Samardzija has big time potential. He has a long way to go in order to become a big time prospect but he has great potential. His slider could become his best pitch but at the moment is shaky at best. He has good velocity on his fastball but needs to add some movement or it won't matter.
6. Tyler Colvin, OF, A-. Colvin was actually drafted ahead of Samardzija this season but Samardzija fell mainly because of signability issues and his potential in football. Colvin is long and has a good baseball body. He doesn't have good control of the strike zone but has plenty of pop. Good speed and good defense make Colvin a strong candidate to progress nicely, though he'll take some time before he's really ready.
7. Mark Pawelek, LHP, A-. Though this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, Pawelek has injury problems. His mechanics need work. He has not progressed as fast or as successfully as Chicago would hope, but he still has some potential. He mainly threw fastball, changeup, curveball this year and none showed too much greatness. But he could improve each of them. Pawelek has to show signs of improvement this season of he will quickly fall off the radar.
8. Scott Moore, 3B, MLB. Moore will fall to Triple-A this season as the Cubs have Aramis Ramirez locked up in Chicago. His future is certainly not in the Windy City. He has the versatility to play other positions with moderate success. He is a free swinger and does not control the zone. He has above average power and decent speed.
9. Brian Dopirak, 1B, AA. Dopirak was the jewel of the system at one point but injuries, fleeting power and slow development have dropped him down. Like Moore, he is blocked from moving to Chicago by a locked up star. He's not nearly as versatile as Moore and will likely find himself in the minors for a long time.
10. Ryan Harvey, OF, A+. After four years in the minors, Harvey hasn't progressed beyond Single-A ball. He has good power potential but doesn't have much control of the zone. He'll need to figure things out soon or he'll be a career minor leaguer.
Flier. Jae Kuk-Ryu, RHP, MLB. Normally, fliers aren't big league guys. Normally, they're high upside or highly 'tooled' players but Ryu is different. He has good stuff, he just needs to polish things up a bit and work on his command. He will certainly get his chances in Chicago.

Future Lineup: (arrival date)
C: Michael Barrett
1B: Derrek Lee
2B: Eric Patterson (2008)
3B: Aramis Ramirez
SS: Ronny Cedeno
LF: Alfonso Soriano
CF: Felix Pie (2007)
RF: Tyler Colvin (2009)

Pitching Rotation
1: Carlos Zambrano
2: Mark Prior
3: Donald Veal (2009)
4: Rich Hill
5: Sean Gallagher (2008)

Closer: Kerry Wood
Setup: Will Ohman, Bob Howry, Jeff Samardzija (2009)
Middle Relief: Jae Kuk-Ryu, Angel Guzman

The Cubs system is loaded with pitchers and is decent at the top and drops off dramatically. There isn't a ton of talent at the top but there are serviceable major leaguers.

System Grade: C

Posted by Koby Schellenger: Feb 8 at 7:22 PM

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