TCR Friday Notes

...returns after a one week break.

- There was a brief discussion in the comments about who should be the Cubs All-Stars. I think the deserving candidates are Carlos Zambrano (leads NL pitchers in VORP), Carlos Marmol (leads NL relievers in WPA), Geovany Soto (leads NL catchers in VORP) and Aramis Ramirez as a backup at third base to Chipper Jones. Ramirez is just a few notches behind Garrett Atkins in VORP for the backup spot, but he has a slight edge in home runs, RBI's and huge lead in OBP...and the Rockie kind of suck right now.

On the outside looking in, are Kosuke Fukudome(12th among all NL outfielders), Ryan Dempster (12th in VORP) and Derrek Lee (4th in VORP). And don't be surprised if Soriano gets himself back into the mix before too long.

- I noticed today that you can view Iowa Cubs highlights from their home page. Neat.

- Speaking of our minor leaguers, Alex Eisenberg has done some writing for The Hardball Times and runs his own website, Baseball-Intellect. He recently ran a nice analysis of Tyler Colvin that includes a nifty little breakdown of his swing.

- The June amatuer draft is fast approaching and the Cubs have the 19th pick in the first round. Details of whom the Cubs might be pursuing have been sparse so far, but Baseball America posted their first mock draft today.

19. CUBS.
Chicago is the first team that has been linked to Cole, though it's
always possible that another club is lying in the weeds. The Cubs have
no pressing needs and scouting director Tim Wilken loves athletes, so
they could take a long-term project like Hewitt. Wilken's Gulf Coast
ties also could lead him to Kelly, who shows equal promise as a pitcher
and a shortstop.

Projected Pick: CASEY KELLY.

Cole is California prep righthander Gerrit Cole, Hewitt is Connecticut high school outfielder/shortstop Anthony Hewitt, and Casey Kelly is Florida high school righthander/shortstop/quarterback Casey Kelly. If this story is true, Kelly has actually committed to quarterback for the Tennesse Volunteers, so it's going to take a big bonus to talk him out of that. Good that we have practice in that (See Samardzija, Jeff).Similarly, Cole was named the top high school prospect by one website, but has a verbal committment to UCLA. I haven't found much on Hewitt, except this page which just has a picture and some combine-like numbers.

- The 2008 run differential leaderboard:

Cubs +71
Diamondbacks +52
Athletics +34
Indians +31
Astros +25

- A couple shout-outs to some Cubs sites. There's The Cubs Brickyard and Cubbie Nation. Cubbie Nation is a new addition to the Cubs Blog Army and The Cubs Brickyard was the former Bricks and Ivy Radio. Stop by and say hello.

- You may have noticed some new advertising on the site. Some of that is just ad rotations, but we do like to give a mention to those that directly advertise with us., as the owner described it, is a more "organized craigslist". You'll see some other ticket service ads in the ad services we use, but is a free service. And the last time I checked over there, I saw some tickets being offered at face value, which is always a good thing.

- We are undergoing just a few minor site tweaks, which have included so far, reducing the header on the top of the page so you can see more content when you first load the page. It's subtle, but helps a bit. We added that top banner ad on the upper right and fixed the headline size for those that use Internet Explorer 7. A few more should be done by next week.


The Cubs currently have no pressing needs? Really? Tell that to the writers at BA, please.

well, theyre just not desperate anywhere and they have immediate youth in the pipeline.

granted, some of it is yet to prove they're MLB ready, but they got decent coverage even if it's lacking in "sure-thing" top guys.

SS/2nd is always in need and the cubs are no different...probably their biggest need, but hard to draft for. so many end up having to give up 2nd/SS on a pro level and their bats tend to be weaker than draft peers in the higher rounds (the ones that actually stay middle IF'rs anyway).

still...there's a nice crop of kids currently contributing in smaller roles (aside from soto) coming of age. the pen and starting has a decent amount of arms in the pipeline.

would be nice to have some better corner OF prospects in the pipeline, but then again the cubs won't have to worry about that for a the mean time tyler colvin's trying to prove he's the guy who should be the post-fuku (if necessary) guy in the OF.

Everybody wants the next Ryne Sandberg or Jeff Kent - a MI who'll hit for avg and power. Hey 3 MI's with BA in the .280-.315 range who don't make many errors are fine with me these days. But I guess of all the Cubs "ML-ready" minor leaguers, MI is lacking more than a couple tools(yes, I'm counting E-Pat as "lacking").

Heck - I haven't seen anyone mention the Cubs home numbers this season (knock on wood, no pun intended) but compared to last year, the Cubs are raking at home.. finally. That's the key to getting many games above .500.

I would think Fukky would need to pump up the power a bit for A/S consideration. Great avg. and OBP, but for a middle-of-the lineup RF (not his fault, but still) -- very few HR and RBIs.

If the game were today -- Soto, Marmol, Z and Dempster would get my votes. Each has been terrific and pretty consistent. Lee has really cooled off, and has a surprising number of errors.

Top Caught Stealing (MLB)...

1. R Theriot, CHC, 7 CS

(9-way tie for second place)
2. C Figgins, LAA, 4 CS
R Freel, CIN, 4 CS
M Mora, BAL, 4 CS
H Ramirez, FLA, 4 CS
J Reyes, NYM, 4 CS
B Roberts, BAL, 4 CS
B Upton, TB, 4 CS
E Velez, SF, 4 CS
D Wright, NYM, 4 CS

Dodger catcher has the yips.


Ruined Macky Sassers career.

Fbomb may make All Star game due to pub.

Cubs needs-one more starting pitcher.


I saw an advertisement for on TCR today. I think the target demographic for that banner might've been a little off...

Why did you find of all people find this? I find that too fitting.

Well there is bear dating for you also, Carlos.


tear in the capsule of his right shoulder, won't throw for two weeks, but no surgery.

Present Cubs Disappointments

For those who care about what's become of our #3, was listening to the I-Cubs game when RICH HILL suddenly got in trouble after two were out in the third inning. He issued three walks and a couple runs and was pulled after talking with the trainer. No clue what was wrong. But today's DesMoines Register has this story


So that's what the "firecracker" in his shoulder was.

Towel drills will commence shortly.

Off topic, but how about that Josh Hamilton fella? Still clean and sober (at least as I type this), hitting .314 with 10 HRs and 49 RsBI for Texas.

Trading him for cash to the Reds 17 months ago didn't seem crazy at the time, but with the benefit of Do I even want to know how little cash the Cubs got for him?

Nobody really saw Hamilton's bustout coming, but this causes pain and sadness for me. Felix Reedmonds isn't a total disaster in CF, but Hamilton (and his $400K salary) would be a monster out there.

Top 10 offensive numbers for Cubs minor league position players over their last ten games:

* bats left
# bats both


* Micah Hoffpauir, 1B-OF - 324/343/676
Matt Murton, LF - 316/366/421

* Tyler Colvin, CF - 289/373/500
* Nate Spears, 2B - 303/378/424

Josh Lansford, 3B - 351/351/514
* Mark Reed, C - 310/412/394 (also 59% CS)

Jovan Rosa, 1B-3B - 362/475/643
* Cliff Andersen, CF - 405/500/538
* Dylan Johnston, RF - 351/400/567
Elvis Lara, LF - 389/444/472

Agreed that Marmol is deserving, but how many setup men go to the all star game? Seems like it's all starters and closers.

Pressing needs in the minors? A few more position players who can hit would be nice.

- Peoria ranks 10th (of 14 teams) in the Midwest League at .239.
- Tennessee ranks 10th (of 10) in the Southern League at .231
- Daytona ranks 3rd (of 12) in the Florida State League at .268
- Iowa ranks 11th (of 16) in the Pacific Coast League at .269

how many setup men go to the all star game? Seems like it's all starters and closers.

aaron b listed these in a previous thread:

Justin Duchscherer
Tom Gordon

And those are just the most recent ones.

Timmer, broad measures are about quantity but it's quality that matters.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, AJackson, Castro, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.