Cubs prospect report: how is Duane Underwood progressing?

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Chicago Cubs prospects are definitely more intriguing than current Chicago Cubs these days. Like my Twitter buddy The Frustrated Fan (@Frustrated_Fan) once said “the guys who aren’t on the team yet are more interesting than the ones who are.”

He’s right as this Cubs team doesn’t truly have any real “pieces” so to speak. An analogy would be the Chicago Bulls. If this Bulls team were to win the NBA title, the only guys on team now that would be there when they win it all are Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. Those are pieces. The Cubs don’t have any.

Hence what’s in the pipeline, potentially, is infinitely more relevant.

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You can make a case that Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Junior Lake are actual “pieces,” but the first two regressed last year (that regression is what cost Dale Sveum his job) and the third guy hasn’t shown us anything yet at the Major League level. Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzjia and Mike Olt have potential, but they’re more trade bait than they are franchise cornerstones.

So let’s go down on the farm and a take closer look at some of the prospects, this time focusing on Duane Underwood. The Low A affiliate, the Kane County Cougars, are in their second year of affiliation with the Cubs; which is by far the best thing that’s ever happened to them. The Cubs partnership is light years more advantageous than the previous Oakland, Miami and Baltimore affiliations. The Cougars are totally Cubified now. The Wrigley marquee appears on the concession stands at their park and in the training room of their club house. The Cougars raise W flag and play “Go Cubs go” now whenever they win these days. Which is actually the polar opposite of the Cubs, as the KC Cougars are 16-7, and in first place.

You know what the Cubs record is. Even Ronnie Woo Woo shows up for games at Kane County, which is….probably the worst thing about being affiliated with the Cubs. The best thing Ricketts has accomplished thus far is distance himself from Woo Woo because really we all need to be as far away from Ronnie Woo Woo at all times.

 

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Duane Underwood was a second round selection (67th pick overall) in the 2012 Draft, from Pope High School in Georgia. The Cubs will take their time with Duane Underwood. He’ll be 21 in July so there’s no hurry. He’s got upper-90s velocity, but struggles with his control and consistency. His fastball is dominant, but he needs to find a secondary and tertiary pitch to complement it. MLB.com ranks Duane Underwood as the #17 prospect in the Cubs system, Baseball Prospectus has him #20.

Cougars Manager Mark Johnson on Duane Underwood:

“I really like his aggressiveness and the way he uses his fastball.”

Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also a frequent guest on national talk radio. Banks is a former contributor to NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, who’s been featured on the History Channel. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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