Cubs Invite 18 Minor Leaguers to Big League Camp
The Cubs announced today that 18 minor leaguers have been invited to Big League Camp, including ten pitchers, two catchers, three infielders, and three outfielders.
CUBS SPRING TRAINING NON-ROSTER INVITEES (1-29-2016)
* bats or throws left
# bats both
* Luis Cruz
* Jack Leathersich
Duane Underwood Jr
NOTES: Cruz, Fife, Pena, Pettibone, and Rucinski project as starting pitchers and will likely eventually compete for SP jobs with AAA Iowa... Underwood is the Cubs #1 pitching prospect and projects as a SP at AA Tennessee... Underwood was the Cubs 2nd round pck in 2012, and he will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time post-2016, so he will likely be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster by 11/20 (if not sooner)... Gomes, Machi, and Rivero will provide bullpen depth at Iowa if they don't make the Cubs Opening Day MLB 25-man roster... Gomes and Machi have extensive MLB experience (Gomes with TB and Machi with SF and BOS), and Rivero was a closer for Industriales in Serie Nacional in Cuba before signing with the Cubs ($3M bonus) in 2013... Rivero will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft post-2016, so he could get called up anytime... Fife pitched in the big leagues with LAD in 2012-14 (he was a Red Sox draftee when Theo, Jed, and McLeod were in Boston), and Pettibone was a starting pitcher for the Phillies in 2013.... Both are attempting to come back from arm injuries (Fife had TJS in 2014 to repair a torn elbow ligament and Pettibone had two surgeries--one in 2014 and another in 2015--to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder)... Fife made a comeback as a SP in Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional (the Venezuelan Winter League) post-2015 and appears to be 100% going into the 2016 season, but Pettibone may not be ready at the start of the season... Rucinski pitched in the big leagues from time-to-time for the Angels over the past couple of seasons (he was their Dallas Beeler) and was a member of the Angels/Cubs Advanced Instructional League co-op team this past October, so the Cubs know him better than most NRI from other organizations... Leathersich underwent TJS in August 2015, and probably won't be ready to pitch until mid-season. He was claimed by the Cubs off waivers from the Mets in November, and then was non-tendered by the Cubs before signing a 2016 minor league contract with the Cubs last month,... By non-tendeing Leathersich on 12/2 and then waiting until after the Rule 5 Draft to re-sign him to a minor league contract, the Cubs were able to assign him to the minors without exposing him to waivers or to the Rule 5 Draft.
CATCHERS: 2 :
NOTES: Both Davis and Federowicz project as back-up catchers at AAA Iowa... Davis is a bat-first backstop with the versatlity to play C-1B-3B, while Federowicz (another former Red Sox draftee, who was traded to LAD in the same deal that sent Stephen Fife to the Dodgers in July 2011) is a defensive-first receiver with MLB experience, and he will likely take over the role filled by Taylor Teagarden in 2015.
* Munenori Kawasaki (SS-2B-3B)
Kristopher Negron (SS-2B-3B-1B-LF-CF-RF)
NOTES: Guzman, Kawasaki, and Negron have MLB expereince (Negron with CIN, Guzman with SF, SD, and HOU, as well as one season with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, and Kawasaki with SEA and TOR after spending nine seasons with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan where he was an eight-time NPB All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner, stolen base champion, and a member of Team Japan in the WBC in 2005 and 2009)... The trio will presumably provide infield depth/insurance at AAA Iowa... Also note that as a vested NPB player, Kawasaki has Article XX-B status, and thus he will automatically receive a $100K retention bonus and a June 1st opt-out if he either isn't released at least five days prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB 25-man roster by Opening Day, so just for that reason he probably has a better chance of making the Cubs Opening Day MLB 25-man roster than any of the other NRI.
Albert Almora Jr
Juan Carlos Perez (CF-LF-RF-3B-2B)
NOTES: Both Andreoli and Perez have experience playing CF (and Perez has MLB expereince with SF), although Andreoli is a below-average defender in CF while Perez is a plus defender... Both will compete with Matt Szczur for the 5th OF job... Otherwise they will provide depth/insurance at AAA Iowa... Almora is one of the Cubs Top 5 prospects (he was the Cubs 1st round draft pick in 2012), is projected as the Cubs CF of the future, and will likely be the starting CF at Iowa in 2016... Like Underwood and Rivero, Almora is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time post-2016... Almora is a Gold Glove quality CF, a contact-type hitter with occasional HR power at the plate, and is an excellent baserunner even though he has just average speed... He was named Athlete of the Year for Team USA in 2011 and has served as team captain while playing for several USA national teams over the past several years (most recently in the 2015 Pan American Games)... He has a tremendous make-up & leadership skills... Almora is a "high floor" player (meaning he is not likely to be a bust), and as far as projecting his "ceiling," I would comp him to somebody like Curt Flood...
It is very possible that additional Non-Roster Invitees (NRI) will be invited prior to the start of Spring Training, including one or two additional catchers. (Minor league catchers Tyler Alamo and Cael Brockmeyer were invited just prior to the date that pitchers & catchers were scheduled to report last year, and both remained at Big League Camp for about three weeks, even though neither was officially listed as an NRI).
There also were several players I expected to get an NRI who did not, including 2015 1st round draft pick 2B Ian Happ, top prospect SS Gleyber Torres, switch-hitting C-1B-3B Victor Caratini (Braves Top Ten prospect acquired in a deadline deal for James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio in July 2014), 2015 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year RHSP Ryan Williams, and hot-shot Cuban OF prospect Eddy Julio Martinez, plus IF-OF Logan Watkins (missed 2015 season after rupturing his achilles tendon) and RHRP Starling Peralta (both signed minor league successor contracts post-2015), and several players with MLB experience who signed minor league contracts with the Cubs during the off-season, including ex-CLE LHRP Scott Barnes, ex-STL LHRP Nick Greenwood, and ex-PHI OF-1B-LHPH Kelly Dugan.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.
it's been a while since joe's over-managed a game...it's gotta feel good for him to be back in the saddle making people's scorecards look like their pens blew up.
Fuck a bench spot on the playoff roster, Coghlan is competing to bat cleanup.
barely any...especially for an evening game. place looks 1/2 full at best to start the game.
Listening on the radio. Are there any fans in the stands at all?
"An MRI taken Monday on the right side of Jorge Soler showed no major damage."
rare air though if he can keep it under 2. Sounds like Maddon already made up his mind though and Hendricks seems like the sort that would want to earn it. Guessing he gets a quick hook if he's still under 2 after 5 innings.
Fwiw, he can give up 1 ER in 5 innings (or more) and still be under 2. If he gives up 2 ER, he would need throw 9 IP to keep it under 2. 1 ER in 4 IP would give him an ERA of exactly 2.
In terms of WAR, it's still Scherzer by a lot (6.4), then Cueto (5.6), Lester (5.5), Kershaw (5.5), Roark (5.4), and then Hendricks (5.1)
Boring lineup tonight in terms of guys trying to reach milestones -- no KB (40 HR), Addy (100 RBI) or JHey (can he keep it going?), and Lackey isn't really going for anything, plus the team has already reached 100 wins. I get the "rest" thing, although they will have 4 days off after Sunday, but....bleh.