The Rundown: Not Sure How John Andreoli’s Still with Cubs, Adrian Gonzalez is Mad Online

If there’s one problem with having a bunch of talented young stars at the major league level, it’s that you can’t keep all your talented young stars at the minor league level. Sure, the top stars will generally remain, eventually making their way up the ladder or heading elsewhere in trades.

Then you’ve got the fringy prospects who are plucked from the organization after being left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. These are often players who are blocked from advancing with their current club but who could contribute under different circumstances.

I can’t think of a player who fits that profile better than John Andreoli, who lit up Spring Training last season and who had been showing out on an international stage for Italy in the World Baseball Classic. After leading off the Monday night’s tiebreaker against Venezuela with a double, Andreoli scored the game’s first run on a single by Daniel Descalso. And with the score tied 1-1 in the 7th, the Cubs prospect played a little hero ball.

Known more for his speed throughout most of his professional career, Andreoli displayed some real pop in the WBC. Two of the right-handed hitter’s home runs were oppo tacos and the third was to straightaway center. Seems like the kind of player who’d be drawing interest in MLB, right?

Well, the fact that he’s still with the Cubs despite having been left unprotected in each of the last three seasons (per The Cub Reporter) is a pretty strong indicator that the 26-year-old has some red flags. That was certainly the case after a 2014 season at AA Tennessee in which he battled a wrist injury and slashed a paltry .211/.329/.249 in only 61 games. Hard to take a flyer on that kind of production and that particular malady.

Okay, cool, but you’d think someone would have taken notice after he bounced back to the tune of .277/.372/.401 at AAA Iowa. And even after a slow start to the 2016 season, again at Iowa, Andreoli went on to slash .256/.374/.396 with a career-high 12 home runs. Hell, that was four more dingers than he’d hit in the previous 425 games combined. Add in the 202 stolen bases and you’re talking about a guy who kinda jumps off the page.

There is, however, a little swing-and-miss in Andreoli’s game. While he’s struck out at a career rate of 21.7 percent, he was at 26.96 percent last season after 22.4 percent in 2015. It’s not a great sign that those numbers are going up, appreciably so, while he’s remained at the same level.

On the other side of that coin, you could argue that the outfielder traded a little contact for power and that his OBP is evidence of a decent overall approach. The 15.64 percent walk rate Andreoli posted last season was another career high and bodes well for his ability to adjust at the next level. It all comes down to what a team needs and what it’s willing to give up to acquire a speed guy with decent on-base skills.

All the Cubs would have to give up is a spot on the 40-man roster, a move that might be worth it even if it’s only to bring Andreoli up in that Quintin Berry role late in the season. Baserunning hasn’t really been a weak spot for them, though, so the addition might be seen as unnecessary. That really just leaves a trade, which is probably the best option for everyone involved.

Outside of a pretty serious injury, maybe two, the Cubs aren’t going to need to shuffle the roster to get Andreoli up to the Bigs. Even if they do, he’ll be a spot-starter at best. On a rebuilding team like Cincinnati (who’s already familiar with light-hitter speedsters) or Milwaukee, maybe even San Diego, the Italian Thoroughbred might finally find a little room to run.

Upon further review, Adrian Gonzalez still angry

Italy, Venezuela, and Mexico all finished at 1-2 in pool D, well behind Puerto Rico. But somebody else had to move on, which means all kinds of sexy tiebreaker action. The deciding factor was runs allowed per defensive inning, with Italy (1.05) and Venezuela (1.11) just eeking past Mexico (1.12). Sounds pretty simple, right?

Ah, but then you get into the nitty-gritty details.

You see, Mexico lost to Italy after giving up 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th in their matchup. But because Mexico did not record an out in that walk-off loss, MLB and the WBC’s board of directors did not factor that inning when calculating the numbers above. Had they given Mexico credit for the 9th, or even a portion of it, Venezuela would have been on the outside looking in.

An appeal was rebuffed and Adrian Gonzalez, part of Team Mexico, was hot.

There’s more, but I’ll you go check that all out for yourself. Actually, I will share one more tweet from my favorite Gonzalez mini-rant. It was just so beautiful and perfect because he was angry about having been called out at the plate after replay review and he chose to tweet a picture that seemingly reinforced the call.

All I know is that if this is his new schtick, I like it.

More news and notes

  • Though he isn’t offering specifics of his injury, David Price said there’s no inflammation in his elbow but that he’d have undergone surgery if he was 22 or 23
  • Ian Happ continued his torrid pace, going 3-for-3 with a home run Monday
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