Cubs

MLB Power Rankings: Mets join rank of NL's elite

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MLB Power Rankings: Mets join rank of NL's elite

With two weeks of the MLB season in the books, we're starting to see some movement from teams we didn't expect to succeed and others we did. Like, for example, the Mets moving ahead of the Nationals -- who could've predicted that, even after two weeks?

With that comes another week of MLB Power Rankings from CSNChicago.com's Tony Andracki and JJ Stankevitz. Stay tuned for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1

Rank Team
Last Week Comment
1 1

If Shane Greene can keep up half the success he's already had (0.39 ERA in three starts), their rotation will be in awfully good shape.

2   2

Really hitting their stride now with a 7-game winning streak.

3   4

After something of a slow start, Cardinals imposed their will on CIN over the weekend.

4   5

Clay Buccholz has a solid FIP, but his ERA is concerning given it was over a run higher than his FIP last year.

5 17

8-game winning streak makes them the hottest team in baseball.

6   6

The beanball wars need to stop but this is a team that's been hit 14 times this year, second-most in the majors -- so I can understand why they're tired of getting thrown at.

7 8

A couple of close wins over Cubs shows they're already one of NL's elite.

8 3

Still middling around like a .500 team, but Harper is emerging as a true superstar, not just one with potential.

9 9

Lots of (seasoned) salt over Lawrie's slide this weekend in Kansas City.

10   7

I don't have a calculator handy but I think Nelson Cruz is on pace to hit a billion home runs this year.

11   11

Bryant's promotion just barely outweighs Lester's struggles on the positivity scale.

12   15

Thanks to a curious ejection, Ubaldo Jimenez still hasn't allowed a run this year (in 10 2/3 innings).

13 14

Offense starting to hit its stride coming off sweep of Brewers.

14 10

Will their video game offense be enough to overcome a shaky pitching staff?

15 13

Their lineup, so far, has been Mike Trout and eight other guys who aren't hitting. Erick Aybar, Matt Joyce and Chris Iannetta are all currently hitting below .190.

16 21

Somehow still 4 games over .500. Playing way over their heads right now.

17 27

+11 on run differential and sitting at 7-6 counts as second-biggest shocker in NL behind ATL.

18 25

Currently have the second-best staff ERA (2.81) in the American League.

19 23

Small sample size, etc., but through 12 games Alex Rodriguez has a .711 slugging percentage and more WAR (0.7) than he had in 44 games last year (0.5).

20   19

Kind of surprising to see Grant Balfour DFA'd, but he struggled this year and had a 5.00 ERA with 45 walks against 57 strikeouts since re-joining the Rays in 2014.

21 22

Luster wearing off from great start after being swept by Dodgers.

22 12 No Yan Gomes, and Carlos Santana is the only lineup regular with anything resembling a good stat line.
23   18

The talent -- and Carlos Rodon -- is here, but things just haven't clicked yet through 11 games.

24 16

Wallowing in a stretch having dropped 7 of 8.

25 26

Prince Fielder (.385/.439/.442) is doing some good things at the plate, but concerning that he hasn't homered yet.

26 30

Their position players have combined for an MLB-worst -0.6 WAR.

27 24

Lost 4 straight close games to the Mets and suddenly they're just 3-10 and in last place.Just took 2 out of 3 from the Dodgers and Archie Bradley is already making an impact.

28 20

Lost 9 of 10. Guess they really are only good in even years, huh?

29 28

Starting to play exactly like we all expected, but at least Odubel Herrera looks exciting.

30   29

Didn't think they'd be good this year, but also surprised they're MLB's worst team.

Brandon Kintzler, Cubs most consistent reliever in 2019, signs with Marlins: report

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USA TODAY

Brandon Kintzler, Cubs most consistent reliever in 2019, signs with Marlins: report

Brandon Kintzler officially won't be back on the North Side in 2020.

Saturday, ESPN's Jesse Rogers reported Kintzler has agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with the Marlins. The deal includes a $4 million option for 2021.

Kintzler was the Cubs' most consistent reliever in 2019, sporting a 2.68 ERA and 1.02 WHIP (both career highs) in 62 appearances. He was effective against both righties and lefties, the latter of which hit .163 against him.

The Cubs haven't been connected to Kintzler this offseason and have instead accumulated a plethora of low-cost, high-potential relievers. The organization has been extremely cognizant of MLB's luxury tax threshold after surpassing it in 2019 and wants to avoid becoming a repeat offender in 2020.

Kintzler becomes the second reliable reliever to depart the Cubs in free agency this winter, along with sidearmer Steve Cishek (White Sox). Pedro Strop is still a free agent, and while the Cubs have been connected to him, a recent report says the race to sign him is down to the Marlins and Rangers.

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4 Cubs crack MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects list

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MiLB

4 Cubs crack MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects list

MLB Pipeline unveiled its annual top 100 prospects list on Saturday, and four Cubs minor leaguers made the cut.

Nico Hoerner (SS; No. 51), Brailyn Marquez (LHP; 68), Brennen Davis (OF; 78) and Miguel Amaya (C; 95) cracked the list for the North Siders. It’s the first time the Cubs have had four players on the list since 2016: Ian Happ (No. 21), Eloy Jimenez (23), Albert Almora Jr. (82) and Dylan Cease (98).

So yeah, it’s been a minute.

Cubs fans are most familiar with Hoerner; the 22-year-old made his big-league debut last September in an emergency spot after Javy Báez and Addison Russell got hurt. Hoerner hit .282/.305/.436 in 20 games and held his own defensively.

Hoerner is ranked as the No. 9 overall shortstop prospect, and he’ll get an opportunity to make the 2020 Opening Day roster. With Báez entrenched at shortstop, Hoerner will shift to second base and potentially play some center field, though he's still learning the latter.

Marquez, 20, is Pipeline’s No. 9 left-handed pitching prospect. The Cubs have struggled to develop homegrown starting pitching under Theo Epstein. In fact, Marquez is the first Cubs pitcher (LHP or RHP) to crack MLB Pipeline’s top 10 pitchers list during Epstein’s tenure on the North Side.

Marquez sported a 3.13 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 22 starts between Single-A South Bend and advanced-A Myrtle Beach in 2019. The 20-year-old struck out 128 batters in 103 2/3 innings, walking 50.

Cubs senior director of player development Matt Dorey said the club has “really high expectations” for Marquez this season.

“Brailyn, his last half of last year in Myrtle was an epic run, just in terms of the raw stuff, the strikes, the breaking ball development,” Dorey said Sunday at Cubs Convention. “I think it’s a little early to decide where he’s going to start [the season], but I would guess Double-A.

“But I wanna see how he comes into camp — especially with our new pitching infrastructure — that we’re not missing anything with his delivery or anything from a pitch data perspective. We want to make sure that’s really tied before we send him out [for] a long, full season. It’s such a big year for him. But I think it would be foolish to put any cap on what he can do this year.”

Marquez allowed two earned runs or less in nine of his final 10 starts (he allowed three earned runs on Aug. 26 — the lone exception). The Cubs promoted him to Myrtle Beach on Aug. 6, where he posted a 1.71 ERA with 26 strikeouts and seven walks in five starts (26 1/3 innings).

The Cubs drafted Davis out of high school in 2018 (second round, No. 62 overall). The 20-year-old was more of a basketball player and had some Division I offers, but he ultimately signed with the Cubs and received a $1.1 million bonus.

Davis is considered to be a raw, athletic talent. He hit .305/.381/.525 with eight homers and a 160 wRC+ in 50 games with South Bend last season. He missed time after getting hit on the hand on two separate occasions.

Although Davis is listed as a center fielder (199 innings in 2019) he played left almost as frequently (193 2/3) in 2019. Pipeline projects him to make his big-league debut in 2022.

Amaya spent all of 2019 with Myrtle Beach, slashing .235/.351/.402 with a 122 wRC+ in 99 games. His defense has always been ahead of his bat, and he’s known to be an advanced catcher for his age.

The Cubs added Amaya to the 40-man roster in November in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft. However, he won’t make his big-league debut until 2021, at the earliest.

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