Time to Revisit the College of Coaches

According to Bruce Miles in the Daily Herald, the Pirates "commandeered" Wrigley Field for some extra batting & fielding practice prior to last night's game. So Bucs manager Jim Tracy apparently had a novel idea: How about some extra practice during the season? And Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune reports that Cubs #1 prospect Felix Pie is upset that he didn't get a September recall, and that he is being sent to Fitch Park in Mesa to work one-on-one with hitting instructor Von Joshua and base-running instructor Bob Dernier instead of getting a chance to strut his stuff at Wrigley Field in September. Many of you know that back in 1961, Cubs owner Phil Wrigley introduced the infamous "College of Coaches," where about a dozen proven teachers and instructors (a few ex-MLB players, some former minor league players, and one ex-Negro Leaguer--former KC Monarchs player & manager Buck O'Neill) were hired to rotate throughout the Cubs organization during the season, continually instructing and teaching players as needed. Some of the coaches also served as scouts. An "Athletic Director" (a retired U. S. Air Force Colonel) was appointed to oversee the operation, and the position of "Field Manager" was changed to to something called "Rotating Head Coach," where members of the College of Coaches would take turns "managing" the various teams in the Cubs organization, including the big club. An engineer by training, Wrigley liked to solve problems by invention. He was partly motivated to implement the College of Coaches because of the insanity resulting in 1960 when WGN radio broadcaster Lou Boudreau & Cubs manager Charlie Grimm switched places during season, only to have the team's morale disintegrate. But PK had apparently been thinking about a "College of Coaches" for some time previous. At that time (1961), the Cubs had a lot of young players on the rise and on the make (Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Ken Hubbs, Lou Brock, Dick Bertell, Danny Murphy, Nelson Mathews, and a host of young pitchers), and providing intensive coaching and instruction seemlessly throughout the organization all the way up to and including the big league club seemed like a good plan. The idea was to unify instruction & teaching throughout the organization, and bring teachers and instructors all the way up to the major league level. By eliminating the traditional "manager" and the manager's accompanying cronies and flunkies (AKA "coaches"), Wrigley hoped to instill a college spirit to the New Young Cubs, unadulterated by the influences of an "Old School" manager and his drunken pals. Well, it didn't work. MLB players need to have a manager, a strong figure running the team like a conductor of a symphony. And a Rotating Head Coach was counter-productive to that aim. But the idea of a College of Coaches, where instruction is emphasized and which pre-dated the instructional camps and leagues that became common-place in the 1970's (and continue today), was a good idea. What Wrigley should have done was keep the manager and junk the Athletic Director, but otherwise maintain the College of Coaches, rotating the instructors throughout the organization during the season as needed. A good example of how a College of Coaches would be used today is the case of Ronny Cedeno. Quite obviously Cedeno is backsliding. He needs help. And yet the people most able to help him are rotating through the minor league system helping Nathan Samson, Dylan Johnston, and Jonathan Mota improve their shortstop play and hitting. But wouldn't it make more sense to have instructors "on call" to go to Chicago and join the Cubs for as long as is necessary to help any player who needs additional instruction and coaching? And if one instructor doesn't get through to the player, you call on a different instructor. While I agree that a manager is necessary, I also believe traditional MLB "coaches" are not. It's time to reactivate the College of Coaches. If not exactly "rotating coaches," I would hope that next year the Cubs MLB coaching staff is more of a "teaching" staff, with guys like Von Joshua, Alan Dunn, Bob Dernier, and Bobby Dickerson on the staff, ready to help young players as needed, rather than a group of flunkies and cronies who get their jobs because they are gin rummy pigeons or drinking buddies with the manager. And if it becomes necessary to rotate some of the coaches back & forth between the minors and the big league club during the season to assist certain players in need of particular help, that's fine, too.
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Comments

Arizona Phil,

Would you be worried about players being fed too much information. For example, Ronnie's struggles at the plate have been apparent and his work with Clines/Sarge has obviously not been helping. If you bring in Von Joshua and he instills a completely different hitting technique, it may take a while for Ronnie to forget the Sarge/Clines approach and tendancies to adapt to the Joshua ideas. My point is that I would worry that young players will get bombarded with too many varying opinions and not be able to work things out. Just a though AZ Phil, but wouldn't that worry you as well?

Oneri Fleita also mentioned during yesterday's game that Von Joshua would be going with Pie to the Dominican this winter to coach him while he plays for Licey. Hopefully that's a sign that the organization is starting to take player development seriously.

Miles is really quite good. His observation about the Pirates' extra practice says a lot. I also appreciate the way he contrasted Baker's critique of Pierre on the bases ("...just a tough night") with the way he blasted Theriot for essentially the same offense.

Funny how things go around: a couple of years ago, the White Sox couldn't even wait until the end of the season to replace Von Joshua with Greg Walker. Maybe Joshua works better with younger players...

So just because Dusty, Gene and I spend time in the dugout arguing over which jazz club we're gonna hit after the game that makes us cronies Phil? Just because my son has improved greatly this season the second after he stopped taking my advice doesn't mean I'm a flunkie. oh wait...

#1 of 1: By Junior (September 6, 2006 12:16 PM)
Arizona Phil,

Would you be worried about players being fed too much information. For example, Ronnie's struggles at the plate have been apparent and his work with Clines/Sarge has obviously not been helping. If you bring in Von Joshua and he instills a completely different hitting technique, it may take a while for Ronnie to forget the Sarge/Clines approach and tendancies to adapt to the Joshua ideas. My point is that I would worry that young players will get bombarded with too many varying opinions and not be able to work things out. Just a though AZ Phil, but wouldn't that worry you as well?

----

JUNIOR: I think you have to find instructors who get results, and I don't see Clines or Sarge as being the type of instructors who get results.

It's true that there are different philosophies about hitting, but it shouldn't be too hard to identify a philosophy that has a provable track record of success, and then find a half dozen instructors who share the same philosophy, but maybe have different personalities or teaching methods.

I think the problem the Cubs have had in player development is that when a Corey Patterson or a Ronny Cedeno is "coached," they are told one thing by a minor league instructor, and then something completely different by a coach or the manager once they reach they big leagues.

There has to be a unified curriculum that is taught throughout the system, including at the big league level. The only differences should be in the personality and teaching methods of the instructors, not in the content of what is being taught.

Charlie Lau was a very successful hitting instructor for the Kansas City Royals in the 1970's, and George Brett, Hal McRae, and Amos Otis (and many other Royals) worked with Lau every day, even after they became MLB All-Stars. But the hitting instructors the Royals hired to work with minor league players were required to share the same hitting philosophy of Charlie Lau, so that Royals prospects wouldn't learn one way of hitting in the minors and then be told something completely different by Lau once they made it to the big leagues.

So the main idea in a "College of Coaches" would be to first determine what philosophy you want to teach about hitting, baserunning, pitching, bunting, outfield defense, pitchers covering 1st base (or whatever), and then make sure you hire instructors throughout the organization who share that philosophy, AND understand it, AND have the ability to communicate it to the player.

The reason I brought up the Kansas City Royals of the 1970's is because soon after the franchise was formed, team owner Ewing Kauffman directed GM Cedric Tallis to form a Royals Baseball Academy at their Spring Training facility in Florida, where athletes from other sports could be taught how to play baseball. This was a very radical idea at the time, just like Wrigley's College of Coaches was ten years earlier.

The idea that you could train a sprinter or a football player with little or no experience playing baseball to be a baseball player (sort of like Michael Jordan circa 1995) didn't work, but what did happen is that Royals Academy was converted to a year-round high-intensity training camp for the Royals better prospects, where they could receive instruction from the best-available baseball coaches.

The Royals had a lot of success in the 1970's when they were operating their minor leagues as more of a "college," and they probably would be better off doing that again, spending their available funds signing the best amateur players they can get and then giving them the best training and coaching possible, rather than throwing millions at the likes Reggie Sanders, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Mark Grudzielanek.

The Cubs might also consider that approach, although unlike the Royals, the Cubs would be able to hang onto their better players once they (hopefully) become established stars.

There is more to producing major league players than just identifying the best high school, college, and international players, and then signing them. They also need to be DEVELOPED. The Cubs have done and continue to do one part of that pretty well (scouting and signing players), but they haven't been doing the second part (player development) well at all. That's where a "College of Coaches" would be useful.

I think right now the Cubs have a pretty good group of minor league instructors, but whatever they teach is getting lost in the translation once the player or pitcher reaches the major leagues. The instruction needs to extend and be continued at the major league level. You can't stop teaching a youngster or (even worse) teach him something different once he gets to the big leagues.

Revamping the current coaching hierarchy is an excellent idea. But, I dont think that it would be necessary to employ a whole crew of roving instructors. Maybe just one sort of supreme potentate in charge of hitting (Joshua, for example).
He could then hire his own instructors for various levels, including the major leagues.

That way everyone would be more or less on the same page with regard to teaching. Joshua could then migrate around to various levels to oversee and help out as the situation demands.

Phil-

Do you know the number of scouts the Cubs employ?
And compare that to the number of scouts the Dodgers, Red Sox, and the Mets or the league average.

I heard once on WSCR that the Cubs employ the least amount of scouts by like half.

Successful teams in any sport have a long term team philosophy. The Cubs have never had this because they have always operated year to year. Next year the Cubs will have a new manager with new coaches and an assortment of miss-fit players again. A team put together with no plan but a hope that lightning will strike and a winner will emerge.

As a long time Cub fan, my only hope is we will have an exciting, colorful bad team again. At least most teams in the past were interesting to watch. This 2006 team has been a mess but even worse a BORING mess.

pierre's play was far different than theriot's. Little League Rule #11:

"Don't make the first or last out at third base"

"A team put together with no plan but a hope that lightning will strike and a winner will emerge."

The Cubs have a plan it is just not a good plan.

It seems to me the plan under this management team is to draft lots pitchers who throw hard (with or without control) and hitters who have some plus skills in either power or speed.

In the off-season, the plan is to build a team that can compete (85-90 wins) and if they play well to use the Tribís monetary resources to take on salaries to improve the team. If the team is out of it they slowly trade away minor players for low-level prospects.

RobG-
Good point...it could be pointed out that they were down 3 when Theriot got thrown out, down one with Pierre already in scoring position with the heart of the order coming up.

Neither play was very smart.

"pierre's play was far different than theriot's"

Yes, but they were both imminently dumb. One could argue Pierre's was worse because it reeked of stat padding. But hey, he's a veteran so it was just bad luck not poor decision making.

One could argue Pierre's was worse because it reeked of stat padding.

No it didn't...it looked like he wanted to get to third so that he coudl score on a sac fly.

Pierre's play made much more sense than Theriot's - it just didn't work out.

stat-padding? come on...

being on third with 1 outs is better than being on 2nd with 1 out.

being on third with 2 outs, down 3 or being on second with 2 outs, down 3 is no different.

And according to the play-by-play on yahoo, theriot was up, not lee, so I have no problem with him going there at all.

I think Pierre was counting on the play not making sense and catching the Bucs by suprise. It's not a bad idea... but not in a tie game. Looking at it from the Pirate's perspective, they're going to be keeping a real close eye on him at 2nd.

I give Pierre a pass, though, cause I like him.

#8 of 9: By jacos (September 6, 2006 01:01 PM)
Phil-

Do you know the number of scouts the Cubs employ?
And compare that to the number of scouts the Dodgers, Red Sox, and the Mets or the league average.

I heard once on WSCR that the Cubs employ the least amount of scouts by like half.

JACOS: I don't know how this compares to other organizations, but...

Cubs Amateur & Professional Scouting Dept

SCOUTING DIRECTOR (1)
ASSISTANT SCOUTING DIRECTOR (1)
SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT SCOUTS (3)

PROFESSIONAL SCOUTS (6)
(Minor leagues and routine MLB advance scouting)

AMATEUR SCOUTS:
NATIONAL CROSS-CHECKERS (4)
AREA SCOUTS (15)
AREAS ARE:
1. IL, WI, MI, and Northern IN
2. OH, KY, TN, WV, Southern IN, Western PA, & Central Canada
3. New England states, NY, NJ, Eastern PA, & Eastern Canada
4. NC, MD, VA, DE, & DC
5. Georgia & South Carolina
6. Central & Northern Florida
7. South Florida & Latin America
8. Florida Panhandle, AL, MS, & LA
9. AR, OK, & North Texas
10. Central & Southern Texas
11. AZ, NV, NM, UT, Las Vegas, & West Texas
12. Southern CA
13. Central CA
14. Northern CA, OR, WA, ID, Northern Nevada, Western Canada, and AK
15. IA, MN, ND, SD, NE, WY, MT, KS, and MO
NOTE: There is no scout presently assigned to the Pacific Rim (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and Hawaii), although one of the three "Special Assignment" scouts could be assigned to scout and sign an amateur or professional player from this area of the world.

There are also five "Special Assistants to the GM" (Randy Bush, Keith Champion, Gary Hughes, Ken Kravec, and Ed Lynch) who as part of their duties can be given special scouting assignments by Jim Hendry.

Bush is mainly responsible for evaluating the Cubs minor leagues (intra-organzation), and Kravec and Champion are usually the ones who attend other MLB games and bird dog players who might be of interest to Hendry in a trade.

I don't know, I think the organizational philosophy is pretty clear and not that bad: draft and develop young pitching, keep the best young pitchers for the big league club and trade the mediocre to good pitchers for talented young position players. Use the big budget to lockup those position players and top pitchers long term and to fill gaps. Rinse, repeat.

The 2004 was the realization of that plan. You had a starting rotation that looked unstoppable (Wood, Prior, Zambrano, Clement, Maddux); prospects/cash had been used to bring in three top young position players (Barrett, Lee, Ramirez); a group of seemingly solid vets thanks to a big payroll (Alou, Sosa, Grudzie/Walker, Hawkins, Mercker, etc.); and the minors still had plenty of good prospects available to plug holes (Guzman, Brownlie) or to trade (see Nomar).

Unfortunately, a number of unrelated events coincided and really destroyed the whole plan. Wood and Prior got hurt. Sosa tanked. Patterson bombed. Hawkins bombed. Borowski got hurt /tanked. Top pitching prospects got hurt (Guzman) or fizzled (Brownlie). All the sudden, six positions that looked solid (SP #1-2, CF, RF, SU, CL) turned into gaping holes. Looking back on it, it's not that surprising that the Cubs have looked so bad for the last two years--especially with an incompetent manager and weak FA markets thrown in for good measure.

I think this offseason is going to be make or break. The organizational philosophy was good three years ago, but the circumstances dictate a change. It'll be interesting to see where Hendry goes with it.

You don't risk attempting to steal 3rd when your teams hottest and best hitters are up next in a tie game.

I agree don't make the 1st and 3rd out at 3rd base in a game. It's a catchy little phrase everyone remembers. But you got to be smarter in a close game and let the hitters behind you atleast have a chance. He risked the game, and he failed.

Theriot didn't risk the game. That is the difference. Thats why it makes it worse. You got to be smarter than that in a close game.

I apologize if somebody has already said this, but might the Cubs be actually doing Pie a favor by saving him from Dusty's soul-crushing rookie initiation? Could it be that with Dusty's days numbered, Hendry is sending Pie far away so the impressionable youth isn't exposed to Dusty's odd ways? Maybe he's in a better place - somewhere where walks as good for your team as they are for the opponent.

I so badly want to think the Cubs are doing something that makes sense, even though evidence is admittedly sparse...

what is the sudden pie-love anyway.

there's a RF that's hitting...a CF'r that's pretty much on fire, and a LF'r who's finally pulling his weight along with wildcards that must be decided on in pagan/bynum.

3 months of pie figuring out a glimmer of breaking pitches and putting his running game together isnt a meal ticket to the bigs...he's lucky he's in AAA, honestly...

not even 1/2 year ago a lotta this board was begging for pie not to be in the 07 mix based on a history that's seemingly been changed and thrown out based on a hot 1/3rd of a season.

if pie's not a serious part of 07, which it seems he's not...what is the big deal of him recieving hands-on, personal, and detailed instruction in arizona that's gonna follow him to the dominican.

what more credibility to the issue needs to be addressed? he's not being sent home to hit the clubs up for 1/2 year with a "hey, show up for ST sometime in march, dude!"

#20 of 20: By John Boccabella (September 6, 2006 01:57 PM)
I apologize if somebody has already said this, but might the Cubs be actually doing Pie a favor by saving him from Dusty's soul-crushing rookie initiation? Could it be that with Dusty's days numbered, Hendry is sending Pie far away so the impressionable youth isn't exposed to Dusty's odd ways?

-

JOHN B: Yes. That is very possible.

you're fooling yourself Mike. Theriot did risk the game far more than Pierre. He gave up an out when baserunners were needed. Pierre attempted to gain a slight advantage for his team by getting to third where he could score without the benefit of another hit.

Pierre was trying to help the team win, Theriot was doing the stat-padding. I'm sure that wasn't theriot's actual motivation there, but his steal attempt was needless. Pierre had something to gain by stealing there.

Ryan Theriot is hyper-aggressive the exact same way Ryan Freel is hyper-aggressive. I don't know if Theriot's brain is even turned on during a game. He plays baseball like an insect. He's just pure nervous system and skeleton. During the off-season, he probably is a cliff diver at Acapulco or maybe he hunts crocs in the Bayou.

I echo John B's sentiment and have said it before. I don't want Dusty anywhere near Felix Pie's development.

Like I said Rob just your opinion.

You don't risk the game with our fastest baserunner in scoring position and the pitcher and catcher keeping their eye on his attempt of stealing 3rd, with the teams hottest and best hitters coming up.

I want Lee stepping to the plate with a RISP. Not with no one in scoring position.

Pierre was the winning run. You don't risk the winning run like that. My opinion, but if you think I am fooling myself, I think your doing the same. I wan't a RISP with our better hitters coming up in a tight game. Thats why we pay them the big bucks. I am not risking the game in an extremly risky chance of taking 3rd.

Dusty did not try and turn CP into a lead off hitter (that was Baylor) and he is not the one trying to turn Pie into a lead off hitter.

Blah Blah Blah, it was stupid of Pierre to try for 3rd, but Pierre's not the problem with the team.

I don't want Felix Pie within 100 miles of the current big-league coaching staff. I don't want to see Pie in Chicago now. I'd like to see him brought up for a week when the Cubs visit AL West ballpark during interleague play and can afford to go with one less pitcher. Give him 10 AB over a week and let him be a defensive replacement for Murton, then send him back until at least the All-Star Break. I expect him to hit at least as well as Restovich (.293/.374/.560) against quad-A pitching (this year Pie's stats were .283/.341/.451) before Pie reaches Chicago on a full-time basis. If he really has improved during the second half of this year, then he should have no problem making that target by the ASB.

By comparison, I don't mind Scott Moore being up, because what the hell, somebody has to stand at 1B every third game this month while Lee is getting his rest, so it may as well be Moore instead of Mabry or (shudder) Blanco. I'd also like to see Moore play a few innings of SS, even if it's just the 7th-9th innings of blowouts.

The point is all Pierre was doing by stealing 3B was ensure that Theriot would be walked to set up the double play with the pitchers spot coming up next. That is why I felt it looked like stat padding. If Pierre's head was in the game he wouldn't have tried to steal and thereby take the bat out of Theriot's hands.

I agree Ryno, I love Pierre and defend him alot on this site. I personally can't do it in that situation. It is just a matter of opinion in the way you want to accomplish getting the run. For me stealing 3rd and making enough contact for a sac fly is harder to accomplish than getting a single.

I know Theriot has been stinging the ball lately but he isn't exactly known as a deep ball threat. You gonna trust him to hit a ball deep enough much less in the air? He is more likely to hit a line drive single or grounder than do that.

I can understand RobG's side. Just gonna have to agree to disagree.

Any chance Mulder coming to the Cubs Million Dollar Rehab Club in 2007?

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

so they wouldn't have walked theriot to set up the DP if Pierre was on 2nd, but first base was open? But they would walk him with Pierre on third? What am I missing?

And they were going to pinch-hit for Eyre, I believe they had Soto and Coats available from the right side at that time.

I'm not sure Theriot and pinch-hitter qualify as our best hitters. Theriot has been hot though. Who knows if they would have ever gotten to Lee.

The point is all Pierre was doing by stealing 3B was ensure that Theriot would be walked to set up the double play with the pitchers spot coming up next.

Hmmm...why would they walk Theriot if Pierre was on third but not if he was on second? That doesn't make sense...

Crunch?

I guess...after mulling it over, I agree about Pie....it's not the end of the world not bringing him up....this I don't get:
"3 months of pie figuring out a glimmer of breaking pitches and putting his running game together isnt a meal ticket to the bigs...he's lucky he's in AAA, honestly"

Ok...I'll bite....what's your basis on that?
.283/.341/.451 aren't Barry Bonds numbers, but they aren't Doug Dacenzo numbers either.

Its not like his career numbers are .260/.295/.380... you know?

Jones is having a decent year....projecting out to 26 HR and 81 RBI....decent, but hardly great numbers, that are approaching his career bests. Defensively?? On the basepaths? UGH.

If Murton stays in LF, that's be great, but who knows what the Cubs will do with him in the off season. He's really mashing the ball since the ASB, but he also needs to work on his defense.

Pierre has played really well except for April/May. What the Cubs think he is worth, I guess, is what it comes down to, right?

Statistical highlights about the I-Cubs:

Players with at least a .270/.340/.420 BA/OBP/OPS line over 100+ PA:
- Restovich
- Fontenot
- Pie

Pitchers with less than 1/3 BB/IP, more than 1/2 K/IP, and less than 4/3 baserunners/IP minimum 15 games or 50
- Hill (135:21 K/BB, 83:100 onbase/IP)
- O'Malley (71:30, 155:123)

Rob - What you're missing is that a flyball out doesn't hurt the Pirates with Pierre on 2B. Most of the time one wouldn't even advance him to 3B. If Pierre would have successfully stolen third even Baker would have been smart enough to call for the IBB to Theriot. You give Theriot a chance to get himself out with a 1 down and man on 2B, you don't give him a chance with 1 down and man on 3B and pitcher's spot up next.

Dusty:

".283/.341/.451 aren't Barry Bonds numbers, but they aren't Doug Dacenzo numbers either."

Yeah, but half of those AB are against guys who are almost as bad as Jerome Williams!!

If the Cubs were solid at all three OF positions, I'd wait for him to put up a .323/.487/.581 type run like Frank Thomas did at age 22 before the White Sox called him up (granted at AA, but in Birmingham which is a pitching-friendly place).

To use Cub examples, albeit from the way back (back when the Cubs had legitimate hitting prospects...):
- Rafael Palmiero, AAA 22, .299/.368/.547, 236PA
- Joe Carter, AAA 23 .307/.333/.508 539PA, 24 then .310/.366/.585 268PA before being traded

the pitcher was going to hit? I'm guessing Baker would have used Coats to stay out of the DP if they did in fact IBB walk Theriot to set up the DP, which they wouldn't have done anyway.

AZ Phil: Assuming they are still with the Cubs, where do you think Mitch Atkins, Scott Taylor, Matt Avery, Ryan Norwood and Jesus Valdez will be assigned next year? Any of them going to jump to West Tenn? Any not even going to jump?

NICK:

Felix Pie in his final 64 games at AAA Iowa:

.322/.372/.509 (288 PA)

Plus, 13 SB (and only 3 CS).

Not to mention 18 OF ASSISTS (total) for the year.

mmmmmmmmmmm pie love....

Nick:
You're going to compare Pie to Frank Thomas, Rafael Palmeiro, and Joe Carter.....great.

So we'll see him in 2011?

"the pitcher was going to hit?" - Never said that Rob, just stated the pitcher's spot was up.

"I'm guessing Baker would have used Coats to stay out of the DP" - I never stated the next batter was guaranteed to hit into a double play only that the obvious move is to walk Theriot to set up the possibility and that Pierre should have been aware of that.

"if they did in fact IBB walk Theriot to set up the DP, which they wouldn't have done anyway." - Sorry I forgot you're a mind reader. But thanks for reminding me why I rarely comment here.

Phil,

That's great, I knew Pie had improved in the second half, but didn't realize it was that much. I still don't want him near Dusty Baker, however!

Let the new manager give Pie every chance to make the starting line up in Spring Training. If he doesn't, send him down for a few weeks and see what happens.

if the pitcher wasn't going to hit why keep repeating that the pitcher's spot is up next? The fact that the pitcher's spot was up next is insignificant since a pinch-hitter would have obviously been used.

and then you call me out for being a mind-reader but the "obvious move is to walk Theriot". um, no, not obvious, not at all. They probably would have moved the INF in cause theriot doesn't hit a lot of flyballs.

meh

"The fact that the pitcher's spot was up next is insignificant since a pinch-hitter would have obviously been used."

It's insignificant that instead of your typical #3 hitter coming up, a pinch hitter of the like of Geovany Soto or Buck Coats would be forced into action? I guess we have a different understanding of the definition for insignificant.

"obvious move is to walk Theriot"

Seems obvious to me to take the bat out of the hands of one of the hottest hitters on the team in favor of the roster bilge that Baker had to choose from for a pinch hitter. But again maybe we have a difference of opinion on what's obvious.

Dusty: Carter, Palmeiro, Thomas... they were all permanent ML starters by 24. Thomas would have been one sooner, except he went to Auburn.

Pie turned 21 this season. He'll be the starting CF before he turns 23. The goal is for him to be a 10-year cornerstone starting OF, not Corey Patterson II.

#40 of 41: By WPZ's Committee for Obtaining Schmidt (September 6, 2006 03:20 PM)
AZ Phil: Assuming they are still with the Cubs, where do you think Mitch Atkins, Scott Taylor, Matt Avery, Ryan Norwood and Jesus Valdez will be assigned next year? Any of them going to jump to West Tenn? Any not even going to jump?

-

WPZ: Good luck with Schmidt.

Barring some unforeseen injury or circumstance (like Rule 5 activity), I think all of the players you mentioned will be at Daytona on Opening Day.

PROJECTED PEORIA 2007

LIKELY STARTING LINEUP:
Matt Camp, CF
Alfred Joseph, RF
Tyler Colvin, LF
Russ Canzler, 1B
Josh Lansford, 3B
Steve Clevenger, 2B
Elvin Puello, DH
Dylan Johnston, SS
Mario Mercedes, C

LIKELY BENCH:
Cory Vanderhook, C
D. J. Lewis, OF
Matt Matulia, INF
Jeremy Williams, OF

LIKELY STARTING ROTATION:
Mark Pawelek
Jose Ceda
Billy Muldowney
Jeremy Papelbon
Taylor Parker

LIKELY CLOSER:
Michael Cooper

LIKELY #1 SET-UP:
Rocky Roquet

PROBABLY THE REST OF THE PEN:
Oscar Bernard
Alfredo Francisco
Alessandro Maestri
Jose Pina
Jayson Ruhlman

----

PROJECTED DAYTONA 2007

LIKELY STARTING LINEUP:
Nate Spears, 2B
Mark Reed, C-DH
Ryan Norwood, 1B
Jesus Valdez, LF
Ryne Malone, 3B-DH
Yusuf Carter, RF
Kyle Reynolds, SS-3B
Jake Muyco, C-DH/Jonathan Mota, SS
Davy Gregg, CF

LIKELY BENCH:
Robinson Chirinos, INF
Alberto Garcia, 1B-OF
Muyco or Mota
Nate Price, OF

LIKELY STARTING ROTATION:
Billy Petrick
Mitch Atkins
Scott Taylor
Todd Blackford
Joel Santo

CLOSER:
Matt Avery

#1 SET-UP
Justin Rayborn

THE REST (PICK 5, REST BATTLE FOR SPOT AT PEORIA):
Ryan Bicondoa
Mike Billek
Chadd Blasko
Jerry Blevins
Stephen Bronder
Bobby Brownlie
Jesse Estrada
Roger Evenson
Luke Hagerty
Fabian Jimenez-Angulo
Scott Koerber
Jon Mueller
Isaac Pavlik
Robert Ransom
Roberto Sotolongo
Jesus Yepez

--

PROJECTED WEST TENN 2007:

LIKELY STARTING LINEUP:
Sam Fuld, CF
Jemel Spearman, 2B
Matt Craig, 3B
Ryan Harvey, RF
Brian Dopirak, 1B
Jeff Culpepper, LF
Chris Robinson, C
Joe Simokaitis, SS

LIKELY BENCH:
Matt Ciaramella, OF
Tony Richie, C
Alan Rick, C-1B
Issmael Salas, INF

LIKELY STARTING ROTATION:
Sean Gallagher
Donald Veal
Mark Holliman
Justin Berg
Grant Johnson

LIKELY CLOSER:
Adalberto Mendez

LIKELY #1 SET-UP:
Michael Phelps

PROBABLY THE REST:
Thomas Atlee
Edward Campusano
Jon Hunton
Tim Layden
Paul Schappert

---

PROJECTED IOWA 2007:

LIKELY STARTING LINEUP:
Chris Walker, CF
Eric Patterson, 2B
Scott Moore, 3B-SS
Jake Fox, C-LF
Micah Hoffpauir, LF-1B
Casey McGehee, 1B-3B
Miguel Negron, RF
Carlos Rojas, SS/Jose Reyes, C

LIKELY BENCH:
Mike Fontenot, 2B-3B
Jesse Hoorelbeke, 1B
Richard Lewis, IF-OF
Rojas or Reyes

LIKELY STARTING ROTATION:
Jae-kuk Ryu
Ryan O'Malley
Juan Mateo
Chris Shaver
J. R. Mathes

LIKELY CLOSER:
Carlos Marmol

LIKELY #1 SET-UP:
Lincoln Holdzkom

PROBABLY THE REST:
Federico Baez
Adam Harben
Clay Rapada
Andy Shipman
Randy Wells

See if you can deduce what I think (as things stand now) the Cubs 2007 Opening Day 25-man roster will be...

1st base was already open, if tracy was afraid of theriot he'd been walked regardless if pierre was on 2nd or 3rd.

I know Theriot has been stinging the ball lately but he isn't exactly known as a deep ball threat

with a guy on third and one out, there's a good chance the infield comes in as well opening up holes, not to mention infield single, bad bounce, etc, etc. The advantage is small, but it's definitely a better situation. If Lee was guaranteed to come up, then I'd be against it, but he was 2 batters away and we don't know that Theriot is going to walk there.

"Dusty did not try and turn CP into a lead off hitter (that was Baylor) and he is not the one trying to turn Pie into a lead off hitter."
---

He didn't? He didn't make a futile attempt at making Corey the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2005? I don't think Baylor looks that much like Dusty. You're right about Pie, Dusty isn't trying to do anything with Felix because he's not allowed around him. You can bet your ass he'd want to have him bat leadoff if he was around.

Pie isn't a leadoff hitter. Someday, if everything goes well, he'll be a Jacque Jones level power hitter... but with a good arm.

VORARE: I think this offseason is going to be make or break. The organizational philosophy was good three years ago, but the circumstances dictate a change. It'll be interesting to see where Hendry goes with it.

I think it's BROKE already and gonna stay that way for the foreseeable future.

I hope I'm wrong.

Nick-

I never said that I wanted Pie to be Patterson redux, I'm saying that comparing him to Frank Thomas, Palmeiro, and Carter is a little steep.

I think he'll be ready by ASB 2007...

pie has a very fast and level swing. unless he gets injured its not gonna lessen.

a.soriano's name comes up a lot in comparisons, though soriano's hands are probally some of the fastest (if not the fastest) currently in MLB.

he might get jones level results, but i'd compare him more to mike cameron on that lower end of things, myself. his ceiling is definately a bit higher than 25hr/30 doubles anyway.

given his age and potential, im not ready to settle for "good enough" when you can have it better later and cheaper for longer.

its all a gamble to project prospects no matter how pimped out their tools are (hey, brooks k...how's retirement going?), but its also a gamble to give them a roster spot to waste their service time and skills on a level they're not ready on.

for bench players...who cares...but pie is a guy they've invested a lot of time/money in already (hey a.guzman, how's it going?).

Keep Pie far away from this team, for now. If I remember correctly, this Iowa team is the first one he has played on in the Cubs organization that did not make the play-offs, and they were a tie-breaker away. He has the attitude of a winner and that won't last long with the current regime.

TCR Conspiracy Theory #1,552:

Pie is not brought up so the impressionable youth isn't exposed to Dusty's odd ways or mess with his development.

What conspiracy theory?

Most of the comments I'm don't say anything like the Cubs aren't bringing Pie up because the organization doesn't want him exposed to Dusty.

What several people have commented on is that they are relieved that Dusty Baker isn't being given the opportunity to work his "magic" on Felix Pie.

There's a big difference between the two.

comment #20 alluded to hendry doing pie a favor and possibly being kepy away from Dusty on purpose. But you know, one person's thoughts here become part of the TCR collective.

"possibly being kepy" should be "possibly keeping him"..bleh

USA Today (posted at noon ET)
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/minor...

Top minor leaguers for each MLB team

Chicago: CF Felix Pie: For the better parts of two seasons, Pie, 21, has shown the skills to be a four- or five-tool player. Through 140 games for Triple-A Iowa, Pie is hitting .280 with 15 home runs, 33 doubles, eight triples, 57 RBI and 16 stolen bases.

Key Twilight Zone music:

"I'm sure he thought, 'I'm the only guy who wasn't called up.'"... "Sure, he was mad," Cubs player development director Oneri Fleita said of Pie.

We're in last place and we don't call up our best prospect in September..... Just insanity.

'nuff said.

Here's some fun for you stat-heads. I made a scatogram of team payrolls v. w-l record. I have 2003-2006. Years 2003-2005 have been adjusted by average.

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k170/rynox7...

#49) LIKELY CLOSER: Carlos Marmol

I hope so AZPhil, and while they're at it they need to move Angel Guzman and Juan Mateo to the pen as well. I don't want to see this trio start games at Iowa next season let alone in the show. I wish they'd move Guzman to the pen throughout September to see if he can hack it.

Maybe the Cubs think Pie is their best trading chip this off season and bringing him up would risk his value?

Jake Fox made BA's final prospect hot sheet of the year.

Jake Fox, c, Cubs (Double-A West Tenn): A third-round pick out of Michigan in 2003, Fox made it to Double-A this season after spending all of last year--and half of this season--at high Class A Daytona. This has been a breakout year for Fox, who never hit higher than .287 in a season (low Class A Lansing, 2004). In 442 at-bats, Fox hit .294/.350/.514--with probably his most impressive stat being the 16 home runs he put up in the FSL.

Noticably absent are his defensive skills which AZ Phil has covered here a handful of times during the season so I won't get into those.

RYNO:

Nice chart, but it only lists the Cubs as the only team.

Yes, the other dots are the rest of the teams. The point isn't to see each specific team, but to see the trend and how the Cubs stack up to the rest of the MLB. The teal ones are the Marlins. I highlighted those just for the fun of it.

Does your crystal ball predict whether Gallagher or Veal will see significant time in either AAA or the bigs next season? :)

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