EDITOR’S NOTE: Though the big-league Cubs season has ended, there’s still Cubs-related baseball this year. Eight Cubs prospects will be playing for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. AFL games begin Tuesday, and Tim will be presenting profiles of all the Cubs players on the Solar Sox before game action begins. Three profiles will run today, three tomorrow, one Monday and one Tuesday.
My most significant memory of Trent Giambrone remains the night Cubs prospect fans thought he had been traded. The lion’s share of the information in the prior article remains as applied then. With him being named to the Mesa Solar Sox roster, I get to go with a mildly deeper dive into his numbers.
Nonetheless, my protocol will still include his draft information. When people furrow their brows over my enthusiasm over 25th-round draft picks, I roll my eyes in return. It’s a bit when people say “there’s no good music anymore.” What would be required for you, as an individual with a potential job, likely family, and Cubs games to watch, to accurately say “there’s no good music anymore”.
To be accurate in that assessment, you would need to be keenly aware of, not only the satellite channels you currently listen to, but world stuff, as well. When was the last time you dipped in on a radio station from Mozambique, or Prague. Now, if the contention was that you are “unaware of much current music you enjoy,” that’s an entirely different kettle of fish. That’s an indictment on you, and your musical preferences. That isn’t an accurate assessment of “all the music in the world.”
“What in the Sam Hill does music have to do with baseball?”
Nothing. However, for you to dismiss a professional athlete because he was drafted 764th overall is you being dismissive of a player you’ve likely never tracked by audio or video. Brendan Donnelly is the only 764 draft and sign to ever appear in major league ball. As such, a degree of skepticism may apply. Players that the Cubs consider worth selecting in the draft are worth offering a fair shake to. Giambrone’s success ought to be a hint along those lines for you, into the future.
Giambrone popped 17 homers over a full season in the Southern League. Most of his starts were at second base, though 1 were2 at short. He started seven more between third base and the outfield. His OPS for the season was .772. The top team OPS in the league was .730 by Mobile.
The easy consideration is to consider him a poor man’s David Bote. That could apply. Giambrone likely has a bit more power than Bote, and has another season before he will take up a 40-man roster spot, or the Triple-A equivalent of the Minor-League Rule 5 spot. As such, Giambrone is still “house money.”
His season peaked in June and July (.861 OPS in both months) and against right-handed pitching. His OPS against lefties was .638. Which, of course, can be taken as a positive or negative when considering a player from a smaller school. (Delta State in Cleveland, Mississippi didn’t face as many quality lefties as larger schools.) The splits were similar when he was in Myrtle Beach. If he figures out the southpaws, his numbers can escalate rather quickly.
Giambrone has gotten better his last two seasons. If he’s a successful regular for the Iowa Cubs in 2019, he becomes a realistic piece for Chicago in 2020, or sooner. Which would make him the second of 50 764s to reach MLB per diem. He’s better positioned than many players drafted well before him. Playing for the Solar Sox will be his next test.