By Todd Johnson
Winter league play has been heating up and several Cubs prospects are drawing attention for their play. Chesny Young is doing very well in the Dominican (.444), but Corey Black basically has stolen the show when it comes to pitching. According to MLB Pipeline:
The Cubs are hopeful that Black can get back on track this offseason in Puerto Rico, and, so far, the 25-year-old has responded to the challenge by posting a 0.60 ERA with nine saves and a 13-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 15 innings (14 appearances) for Cangrejeros de Santurce.
It might not be too little too late for Black. He could be snapped up by some team in the Rule V Draft on Thursday. If he is not picked up, Black could have a shot in the bullpen in 2017. However, the Cubs are trending towards left-handers. With right-handers Grimm, Strop, Rondon, and Edwards in front of him, his best hope is to be ready when the Cubs need him in the case of an injury. Black would be sitting there behind Jose Rosario and with Armando Rivero, Felix Pena, Pierce Johnson, and maybe Duane Underwood. There are times when you trend up as a prospect and times when you trend down. It’s hard to trend up in the offseason but Black is doing so.
I am still going back and sneaking peaks at John Sickel’s Top 20 Cubs Prospects List. His love of Ryan Kellogg has not ended. Sickels stated:
I thought his velocity could increase in ’16; that did not happen but there’s still a chance it could, and even with his current skill set he could be a fine number four starter.
I enjoyed watching Kellogg pitch last year and he had a 1.99 ERA in the second half. His curve was a thing of beauty. Along with Kyle Twomey, I think the two have the best curves in the organization.
Sickels also seems to have jumped on board my Erling Moreno train, whom he has at #17. Right now I cannot wait to write the South Bend preview with Moreno, Cease, Galindo, DJ Wilson, Zack Short, Trent Giambrone, Wyatt Short, Bryan Hudson, and others profiled. It will be the most stacked team to arrive at the Cubs’ Class A affiliate.
Two good posts are coming this week. Wednesday will see the stacked 2B organizational breakdown while Friday has Zach Hedges as the prospect profiled in the “Next Up Series.” And I am pretty sure the Cubs will be doing some dealing in the winter meetings. Stay tuned to this site and the Facebook page for up-to-the-minute transactions and cards.
Baseball America will be releasing their top ten Cubs prospects the week of December 12th. I look forward to seeing that list as well as Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus lists.
Draft Profile #3
Nick Storz – RHP/OF – Poly Prep Country Day School, Brooklyn, N.Y.
6’5” 255 – Committed to LSU
Even though he is maxed out physically, he has a lot to improve on. His potential for power on the mound and in the batter’s box is massive. Like any young high school junior, he has a lot of warts to clean up in his mechanics, both pitching and hitting. The fact that he is a two-way player only adds to his profile. Most reports have him wanting to do both at LSU, very similar to Luken Baker of TCU.
Pitching – Good power, downward plane, improving fastball
Hitting – Power, power, power
Fielding – Excellent arm in RF, good speed
Excellent makeup, strong work ethic
Areas of Concern:
Offspeed Arm Motion is not smooth/fluid, tips slider
Violent Swing produces hit or miss swings
What Others Say
*Taylor Blake Ward –
[…] he fires off fastballs upwards of 95 MPH. Primarily, Storz sits 90-93, and does lose some velocity late in outings, dropping to the high 80’s. He backs up his fastball with a big-breaking two-plane slider, that has a bit of slurve break to it. Storz does throw a changeup, but it is in need of development.
At the plate, Storz uses his entire frame to muscle balls out of the park. Winning multiple prep Home Run Derbies, balls have been tracked as far as 430 feet, helped by his plus bat speed and violent uppercut swing […] In the field, he uses his athleticism, plus-plus arm and average to above-average speed be a suitable outfielder.
Not that he is a project, but he is going to take some work to iron out some kinks that could be exploited. If those can be worked out, look out!
Position Breakdown Series: 2B Is Loaded for the Cubs
Next Up Series: Zach Hedges
The Weekly and Draft Profile #4