Chee and How

Yesterday was the last Cubs EXST game for two visitors from another country, two aspiring baseball players who have been working out with the Cubs Extended Spring Training contingent at Fitch Park in Mesa the past couple of weeks. The National Baseball Team of the Peoples Republic of China arrived at Scottsdale Community College for Spring Training last month, led by head coach (and ex-Cub manager) Jim Lefebvre and pitching coach (and ex-MLB LHP) Bruce Hurst. They played games against various minor league ST squads and college teams in Arizona, before having their team split up and sent to various MLB EXST camps, with the team's players (and Chinese translators) assigned to the MLB clubs who expressed an interest in the program. The Cubs EXST contingent at Fitch Park was lucky enough to get two of China's better players, outfielder Qi Ze (pronounced "Chee") and catcher Hao Guo-chen (they call him "How"). A 22-year old lanky left-handed hitter who reminds me a LOT of Tyler Colvin, Qi Ze is probably the best prospect in China, and I can see why. He is fast and a good base-runner (although he almost got himself killed in collision at 1st base the other day while hustling to beat out a grounder to third), with a strong arm and plus-power. He has a lot of trouble tracking and catching line drives and fly balls, however (not that the Cubs would necessarily think that's a bad thing), but he is a converted first-baseman learning a new position. Besides his outfield defense, Ze needs to work on his hitting and pitch selection, but he looks like he could be a fine multi-tool MLB player some day. Nimble and athletic, Hao still needs to work on his set-up and catching machanics, but he is cat-quick with a strong arm, and (like Ze) has plus-power. If he were a member of the Cubs organization, he would probably immediately become the Cubs #1 catching prospect. China played in the World Baseball Classic last year, and they got smoked by Korea, Japan, and Taiwan by a combined score of 40-6. Then I saw a younger Chinese National team play in the Arizona Instructional League last October, and they played somewhat better than the WBC team, although still not great. And now I have seen the two Chinese players the Cubs had in their EXST camp the past couple of weeks, and I am impressed. They are raw, but have tremendous potential. Having a chance to play with and against young U. S. and Latin minor leaguers has really seemed to help the Chinese players develop their skills, while also helping them learn how to act like professional baseball players. (KEY PHRASE: "Please pass the sunflower seeds") The Chinese National Baseball team is preparing for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and while the Chinese players have a strong allegiance to their country, and while China's ambition is to develop the pre-eminent national baseball team in Asia, it's also true that (barring a reprieve) 2008 is the last year that baseball will be an olympic sport. So it's possible that Chinese officials might allow some of the better Chinese players to get a shot at playing professional baseball in Japan or in the U. S. in 2009. Hopefully somebody with the Cubs has been on the horn with Pacific Rim Scouting Coordinator Steve Wilson, suggesting he might want to maybe look into establishing and developing a positive relationship with China's Minister of Baseball. "Chee" and "How" would look great in Cubs uniforms (well, actually, they already HAVE looked great in Cubs uniforms!). There is raw baseball talent in China. It just needs to be acquired, developed and refined. Obviously, it's not Japan or the Dominican Republic, or even Korea or Taiwan. At least not yet. But the next new thing in MLB might be the mining of baseball talent from the People's Republic of China. And I hope the Cubs get their foot in the door before other clubs get ther first.

Comments

so if I understand this right, these players are under government control?

Someone send in Jack Bauer!!!

How about this one. Major League Baseball can pretend to be as socially conscience as they want but as long as we play against the Chinese National Team, they (MLB) are 100% full of shit.

"Someone send in Jack Bauer!!!"

WHERE'S LEFEBVRE!?! Either you're going to tell me where I can find Lefebvre, or I'm going to start cutting your fingers off one by one. NOW TELL ME WHERE TO FIND LEFEBVRE!

Chad... just curious. Do you also think that the US should not send an Olympic team to China in '08?

DAMN RIGHT DAVE! No Joke.

Seriously? Why? Because they are Communists? Or because of their human rights issues?

(and no... those two things are not the same)

My comment may have been unclear. If I were President in 08 (it will still be W - for better or worse) I would not allow the team to go. In fact, when they were up for that bid, I would have told the IOC that we will boycott all Olympics if China was considered.

China has "most favored nation" trade status with our govenment right now. I highly doubt they would boycott a sporting event and embarrass our biggest economic partner.

Chad... care to clarify why?

these guys dad is my lawyer...from the firm of:

Dewey, Chee, Tam & How

Dave,

1. Human rights
2. Totalitarian Communism

Those reasons, in that order.

And Aaron, what you said is correct and the very reason that we won't boycott. Doesn't me it's right, though.

And Cubster, the old joke is "Dewey, Cheatum & Howe"

For better or worse, at least Chad is sure to give a good laugh

you realized why he changed it, right Chad?

“Dewey, Cheatum & Howe”

I knew that but Az Phil's article was Chee & How (I'm sure Phil knew that too).

By the way Phil, Bob/Len said that ER "Salty" Saltwell is in attendance at tonight's Cub/Braves game. A blast from the past!

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • jacos 43 min 58 sec ago view
  • For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.

    [Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]

    Charlie 1 hour 49 min ago view
  • tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.

    crunch 1 hour 57 min ago view
  • I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.

    Tito 4 hours 21 min ago view
  • I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.

    And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.

    When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 25 min ago view
  • Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.

    billybucks 4 hours 30 min ago view
  • I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.

    Tito 4 hours 33 min ago view
  • Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.

    My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 46 min ago view
  • Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 50 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.

    Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 56 min ago view
  • Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?

    Hagsag 8 hours 40 min ago view
  • It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.

    Still impressive.

    John Beasley 8 hours 42 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 15 hours 37 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 15 hours 41 min ago view
  • 101 wins...most since 1910 (104).

    neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.

    crunch 15 hours 57 min ago view
  • 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?

    billybucks 15 hours 59 min ago view