Found January 02, 2013 on Obstructed View OLD:
Christian Villanueva was acquired by the Cubs for Ryan Dempster at the trade deadline in 2012. He wasn't the top prospect we all wanted (Randall Delgado), but I was fairly excited by the pickup. I almost always prefer positional prospects to pitchers; partly due to TINSTAAP, but mostly because successful position players are (on the whole) usually more beneficial to a team than pitchers. If we're getting a lottery ticket, I'll take the lottery position player almost every time. A cursory glance of Villaneuva's minor league stats leaves a good amount to be desired. 20-year old prospects should clean up A-ball, and Villanueva only hit the league for a .278/.338/.465 line. He did show a good amount of power, though; 30 doubles and 17 home runs in 529 PA isn't at all shabby, and adding 32 SB (with 6 CS) he earned himself a fringe top-100 spot on Baseball America's list.  I don't think he did enough to stay on that list in 2012. Instead of moving to AA at some point in his age-21 season, Villanueva played A+ leagues exclusively (Carolina League to Florida League). He outplayed both leagues, but barely: the average line in the Carolina League (where he spent the majority of the year) is .257/.327/.390 (and the average age is 22.5); he hit .285/.356/.421. He only walked 34 times in 520 PA, though, which is pretty depressing.  Offense I don't have access to advanced metrics, so I'm going to work off scouting reports mostly and what I can glisten from his stat sheet. Sickels praises his gap power (a claim evidenced by his high doubles total). Other reports I've seen say he has an average hit tool and about average power. He's got room to grow, though: a 5'11", 160 lb frame screams room to bulk up and put some hurt on the baseball. From the youtube clips I've seen, he's got a pretty tight swing without a ton of excess motion. It almost looks like he's got a hitch to his swing, though. He's not the fastest player, either. One of the cheesecake scouting reports gushed about his speed, but looking at him, I don't see it. Defense The scouting reports are all pretty unanimous in praise of his 3B defense. There are even whispers of a toolkit that would enable him to play 2B (in which case he becomes a much, much better prospect). I don't care a ton about the errors at the lower levels. If Villaneuva can be even an average 2B, his bat makes him a pretty legitimate threat there. If he ends up being an above-average defensive 3B, he'll get by too. Summary Villanueva should start the season at AA. That means either Cerda is moving up to AAA to play 3B behind Vitters (I assume Lake plays SS/LF in AAA. If he doesn't, something is going to give) or there is going to be some sort of timeshare there. If Villaneuva hits the Southern League like he hit the Florida League (I'm looking for a wOBA around .360 – .365), he'll be right on track. If not, he's got a pretty dim future. In the best case, Villanueva is agressively promoted to AAA when Vitters leaves and he gets 200-300 PA there. Christian is a player I'll be watching closely in 2013. 

Muskat: Work in progress, but Cubs aim to be competitive

I saw the title of this article a couple days ago, but didn't bother reading it. I don't believe the Cubs have attempted to be competitive in the short term in any way whatsoever so the title made me laugh. I thought I'd answer the questions just for fun. 1. Are Matt Garza, Scott Baker and Arodys Vizcaino healthy? Yes. Probably. Not for awhile. I'm confident Garza...

Do the Chicago Cubs have an ace in Matt Garza?

When the offseason began, it was no mystery as to what the Chicago Cubs hoped to achieve. After watching their rotation completely fall apart after a couple of mid-season trades and injuries, they hoped to build up their rotation. And by all accounts they have done exactly that. The Cubs have built up a rotation that now goes seven deep, having signed four free agent pitchers....

Cubs Agree To 4-Year, $52 Million Deal With RHP Edwin Jackson

The Chicago Cubs and pitcher Edwin Jackson agreed to terms on a four-year, $52 million deal, a source told ESPN’s Jim Bowden on Thursday. Jackson, 29, was 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 31 starts and tossed 189.2 innings for the Washington Nationals in 2012. The Nationals did not make a qualifying offer to Jackson, so they won’t get any draft-pick compensation should he leave. Jackson’s...

Ink dries on Chicago Cubs deal with Edwin Jackson

The Chicago Cubs and right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson have agreed to terms on a four-year contract.  A Cubs source said that the deal is for $52 million; including an $8 million signing bonus with annual salaries of $11 million per year. Jackson, 29, has pitched all or part of the last 10 major league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2003-05), Tampa Bay (2006-08), Detroit...

And what did you leave us Santa Theo?

And so begins the Edwin Jackson era. The Chicago Cubs held a press conference at the wintry confines of Wrigley Field yesterday to present their newest addition.  The 29-year old righty was handed a 4-year, $52-million contract, including an $8 million signing bonus. Looks more like Santa Theo left a huge gift under Jackson’s [...]

Top Ten List: First Post of 2013, Some Cubbish New Year Resolutions

We’re still recovering from a New Year’s celebration hangover…or in some cases, just being old.  I guess someone needs to jump-start 2013 on this blog while all our livers climb back from the abyss, so here’s an attempt. The lovely and always funny Ms. Julie DiCaro posted her Cubs New Year resolutions earlier.  I’m not above copying a good idea. Top Ten List   2013...
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