Chicago Cubs fans are starting to look for the next wave of talent to reach the show. The hype following a highly touted catching prospect has many wondering why he hasn’t gotten the call. We dive into the business side of baseball and look to the draft on this week’s The Call-up.
Patience with Contreras
Much can be said about Cubs prospect, Willson Contreras. I’ve covered his highlights in the past, but it wasn’t until now that the rumblings about his call-up have started to gain traction.
The 24-year-old Venezuelan is batting .335 with nine home runs and 39 RBI in 47 games. The defensive part of his game seems to be what the Cubs are looking for, but there are other factors that play into the decision to move Contreras.
When Miguel Montero was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the season, the Cubs knew they needed to call up a catcher considering Kyle Schwarber was already on the shelf. The Cubs chose the veteran Tim Federowicz over the catching phenom.
This wasn’t a mistake or a negative reflection on Contreras, rather a business decision given the very high expectations that the Cubs have.
Federowicz doesn’t compare well statistically to Contreras but he possesses something more valuable at the moment….experience. The Chicago Cubs have a World Series in their sights and must rely on an experienced catching staff to match the veteran pitching on the team.
More from Chicago Cubs Prospects
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- MLB Pipeline ranks Pete Crow-Armstrong as Cubs top prospect
- Cubs Prospect Spotlight: Luis Devers continues to dominate
- Cubs: Alexander Canario wins Southern League Player of the Month
- Cubs: Hayden Wesneski already among team’s top prospects
While many scouts agree that Contreras has the tools to make it now, the Cubs have determined that they can afford to wait a bit longer. Federowicz has been to the show and knows how to manage a major league staff.
The real bit of business that has created this situation is the amount of options each player has. The Cubs still hold all three options for Contreras maximizing their moves down the road. Federowicz is now out of options, which makes moving him slightly more difficult.
Federowicz would need to be placed on waivers in order to be sent down. The fact that he has remained with the team since Montero’s return can pretty much tell you that the organization doesn’t want to lose him to another team quite yet.
Miguel Montero is here to stay, but the impending retirement of David Ross could open the door for Contreras to make the team in 2017. Barring another injury to the catching core, we may still see Contreras this season. As things stand now, Contreras and Albert Almora are the next prospects in line to reach the show, but while the Cubs continue to win, let’s be patient.
MLB Draft is this Thursday
For the first time in six seasons, Cubs fans won’t have a highly rated prospect to look forward to in this year’s draft. Since 2011, the Cubs have enjoyed a top 10 pick starting with Javier Baez and most recently drafting Ian Happ. In that span, the team has been slotted ninth, sixth, second, fourth, and ninth respectively.
Flip the script to 2016 and things have changed dramatically. The Cubs currently hold the best record in baseball and have spent lavishly the past two seasons looking to secure the team’s first World Series since 1908. The Chicago Cubs don’t make their first selection until the 104th overall pick. Despite the low draft pick, the Cubs are confident that they can find gold in the later rounds.
The first 77 picks will be televised live on MLB Network starting at 6pm CST on June 9th and will continue through Saturday, June 11th.
Minor League Recap
Iowa Cubs (28-26) 1st place in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division
Last Week: (6-0), This Week: vs. Memphis Redbirds June 5th-7th, vs. Round Rock Express June 9th-11th
Tennessee Smokies (24-31) 4th place in the Southern League North Division
Last Week: (2-4), This Week: @Mississippi Braves June 5th-9th, vs. Chattanooga Lookouts June 10th-11th
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (29-26) 2nd place in the Carolina League Northern Division
Last Week: (3-4), This Week: vs. Potomac Nationals June 5th-7th, @Lynchburg Hillcats June 9th-11th
South Bend Cubs (34-22) 1st place in the Midwest League Eastern Division
Last Week: (3-5), This Week: vs. West Michigan Whitecaps June 5th, vs. Dayton Dragons June 7th-9th, @Bowling Green Hot Rods June 10th-11th