Scouting report on Cubs prospects Rays could get in Garza deal
The names of the Cubs prospects that could come to the Rays in the reported Matt Garza trade may not be familiar to Tampa Bay fans.
But Billy Gardner, the manager of the Rays' Double-A affiliate in Montgomery (Ala), knows a few of them pretty well, having faced them last season.
RHP Chris Archer, C Robinson Chirinos and OF Brandon Guyer all have played for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies, and Gardner offered a scouting report on the trio. (SS/2B Hak-Ju Lee is the other prospect reportedly involved, but he played for Single-A Peoria last season). Rays OF Fernando Perez is reportedly heading to Chicago, though the deal is not set to be announced yet.
*On Archer, the Cubs top prospect and minor league pitcher of the year:
Gardner: "He's a kid with a high ceiling, I thought. He's got plus stuff, he creates good angles, a good downhill plane on his pitching which makes him tough to face. He's shown a plus-slider, his fastball sits at 91-92, and would get up to 95 when we saw him. He's capable of adding to his fastball when he needed to.
"He's long and loose, has a good pitcher's body. He's a couple years away, there's some fine-tuning he needs to go through, some maturity as far as being a pitcher. But he's got good upside."
*On Chirinos, the Cubs top catching prospect, who is coming off a career season
Gardner: "He's a converted guy who was an infielder, moved to catcher. I was impressed with how well he adapted to that position, such a demanding position. He was voted the best defensive catcher in the league. I liked his approach at the plate, he attacked the ball, he could drive the ball, he had a good selective approach which made him a better hitter. I just think he needs to go through the experience of being a catcher and learning how to handle a staff and game-management type of stuff, which comes with experience. I was impressed with his physical work behind the plate, his ability to catch, throw and block.
*On Guyer, a strong defensive outfielder.
*I thought he was one of the better tools guys in the league, he could run and throw and hit with power. He's a guy who might be the late bloomer type of guy, they expected a little more out of him when they drafted him and I think he started to put it together this year. "
The trade has yet to be officially announced. But Gardner said if it is these prospects the Rays are getting, they are all "good makeup" guys, which he says is a credit to the Cubs organization.
"Obviously Garza is an established major league guy, but what we'd get back in return in terms of players I think it's a pretty good group. I don't know if they're major league ready....I think if you're looking down the road a few years, it's a pretty good core group, a guy who can play a premium position behind the plate, a guy like Archer with very good upside, and a guy like Guyer who can run, throw and hit with a chance to be a front-line major league outfielder."
-- JOE SMITH