Jim Callis was making the rounds on radio stations around the country tonight, and was on WGN tonight:
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) January 29, 2014
As you may know, the Cubs system has been making steady growth since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over. You can check out the following Cubs prospects lists to get really excited about the future:
MLB.com: seven in the top 100!
Baseball Prospectus Top Ten: Jason Parks is pleased with the Cubs’ system
Baseball America Top Ten: many of the same names
FanGraphs Top Ten: Ditto
Jim Callis said he couldn’t remember a system that had four hitters like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora in the mix at the same time. Callis didn’t think that Baez could hit for a good average right away. He also thinks Baez is moving to third base to keep Starlin Castro at shortstop, but should see playing time at both positions; switching positions shouldn’t be a problem for Baez. Callis thought that Baez is very good, makes good hard contact when he does get bat on ball. This doesn’t really address Mike Olt‘s situation at third base, and I’d prefer to see Baez at second, but still good info to hear from Callis.
David Kaplan talked next about Arismendy Alcantara, whom Callis thought would take over at second base for Darwin Barney. Incidentally, Callis thought that Barney was the best defensive shortstop in the organization, but of course Barney is playing second.
Callis agrees with most lists out there, Kris Bryant and Baez are among the best prospects in baseball, Albert Almora is just behind them, and then a drop off before getting to Jorge Soler. Soler might not have good trade value just based on the contract he signed after defecting from Cuba, but is still an intriguing prospect.
Callis talked about pitching and expressed concern about C.J. Edwards‘ frame, but considering his pitching arsenal, Edwards seems really hard to hit and should have lots of potential. Callis thought Pierce Johnson was a steal for the Cubs as one of the supplementary picks in 2012. He also thinks if Arodys Vizcaino can get healthy, he could be a frontline starter, but of course he has to get healthy first. Callis seems to think the Cubs can contend by 2015 or 2016 based on the trajectory of the franchise.
On the free agent front, Callis isn’t too keen on trying to sign any of the free agent pitchers still left on the market. Callis thinks they should just find a few mid-level guys to contribute and do the sign-to-flip plan as in previous seasons. At that point they switched to the White Sox and I stopped caring (no offense, Sox fans).
Jim Callis being optimistic about the Cubs system makes me happy.