TCR Friday Notes
...Friday's game thread is below...
- As you've probably heard by now, the Cubs received 25-year old outfielder/first basemen Doug Deeds from the Twins today as the PTBNL in the Craig Monroe deal. A ninth-round selection of the Twins in 2002, the lefty was an honorable mention on John Sickels top 20 Twins prospects before 2007, but didn't make the cut in 2008 after a rough year in AAA. His scouting report on Scout.com before the 2007 season sure had some encourging notes:
Deeds is one of the more polished hitters in
the Twins’ organization, and each year he seems to grow at the plate.
He has the ability to hit to all fields, and has shown the ability to
hit at every level he has played at during his Minor League career.
Deeds is a great defensive outfielder, and
should have a future as an everyday corner outfielder in some
organization, hopefully the Twins. He makes all the plays in right
field, and has a tremendous arm that enables him to scare potential
base runners from advancing a base. He uses good closing speed to get
to balls that most outfielders do not get to, and has had his fair
share of outfield assists throughout his Minor League career.
His career line is still a solid 291/374/463 and hopefully a change of scenery will benefit him. I imagine he'll be headed Mike Wellman's way and on to Iowa.
- I don't care to read too much into Lou's quick trigger with Rich Hill yesterday, even if Lou is hinting that Hill better straighen it out soon. He seemed set on wanting to start the righty Jason Marquis as is, and I think Hill just gave him an excuse with his lack of control to get Jon Lieber in there as soon as possible. As for Felix Pie, let's say I wouldn't be too surprised if he gets sent down soon and Matt Murton gets called up. Reed Johnson would take over full-time CF duties, Murton would roam the outfield and Kosuke would probably be the CF backup, much like he's doing tonight.
Personally, I think 23 plate appearances isn't enough to judge a 23-year old kid. I do think that if Lou wasn't on board with giving Pie a legit shot to play through some early struggles, he should have been traded this offseason for someone Lou would play...like that Brian Roberts character we heard so much about.
- We had a couple lists this week of the All-time greatest Cubs killers. I can't get the spreadsheet that "Big_Lowitzki" gave me to import into google docs to give you the full results, but here's the bottom 10 with at least 350 PA's versus the Cubs.
|Player||OPS vs. Cubs
As reader "Chad" noted in the commments, we've owned Pujols to a tune of a .945 OPS. I'll see if I can put up some proper pitchers lists in the near future, which some of you started in the comments already.
- There was some brief talk about Korean Cubs pitching prospect Dae-Eun Rhee yesterday in the comments. That reminded me of an email I received earlier in the week from a guy who runs a website called the East Windup Chronicle. He's recently been hired by the Cubs as a scout in Korea, and although he can't discuss the players the Cubs are targeting, he does do write-ups on players after they've signed. One such player is Dae-Eun Rhee and here's a little excerpt:
He’s listed as 6′2 and 195 lbs, which is 10 lbs. heavier than his
signing weight. He throws right-handed and his birthdate is 3/23/89.
What makes the team really excited about this kid is the fact that he’s
already throwing three pitches well and is working on a fourth. His
best pitch is a tailing four-seam fastball that usually comes in
between 87-93 MPH. He can locate it to both sides of the plate and has
very good control overall. He throws a well-developed 11/5 curve that
drops as low as 73 and a less-developed splitter in the 77-82 range.
The fourth pitch is a power slider.
You can also find his site in our TCR Blogroll under the prospects section.
- It seems our Cubs Injury Calendar corrected itself when I updated Scott Eyre's entry. It use to duplicate the entries once you tried to navigate the calendar. Chalk it up to Google weirdness.
- Some site updates you may have noticed over the last few weeks: Added a Cubs schedule widget to the right sidebar, updated the "Quick Links" in the left sidebar and added a "TCR Approved" Amazon affiliate store of personally endorsed products by the TCR writers. Plus some social bookmarking links on the bottom of each post for BallHype, Digg and Stumble that help promote the site.
.- The TLFC and TCR have a little bet for the season. Seems TLFC thinks Ryan Braun is going to repeat his monster 2007 campaign, while I'm a bit skeptical. We set the bar at 35 HR's and a 925 OPS. I say he reaches neither and TLFC says he'll hit both or above. If he reaches one, but not the other, it's a tie. The stakes: TLFC gets to take over TCR for the day if Braun does hit 35 or more home runs and has a 925 OPS or higher. TCR gets a black TLFC cap and clock from his Cafepress store if Braun is unable to reach both goals.
- You may have noticed the Rotohog link at the top right of the page. They tell me there's a Cubs league you can join now as well. It's free to create a team and they offer all sorts of prizes (and we get some kickback for any teams that sign through that link).
- Speaking of kickback, don't forget about our TCR April Pledge Drive, even if GROTA doesn't care for the idea. I promised an update each Friday and so far we've received 18 donations for a total of $411.30. A good average, but a bit short of our hopeful, if not realistic goal (100-$2000). I would be thrilled with about $800, which would at least cover our startup costs and I could pay our writers back. And thanks to all that have donated so far.
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
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.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.