A PCL Pitchers' Duel!?
It's a shame there weren't more people there to see it because duels of legitimate pitching prospects like the one that played out last night at Principal Park are rare in the homer-happy Pacific Coast League.
The mundanely named Bud Norris and your own fighting Irishman with Samardzija scrabbled on his mail fought each other to a 2-2 standoff before Round Rock eventually prevailed 7-5.
For his part, Samardzija looked every bit the big leaguer in waiting as he carved his way through the Texans' lineup to the tune of six innings, one walk, five strikeouts, less than six dozen pitches and a lone hit, that unfortunately being a two-run homer by Reggie Abercrombie who would later blast an encore that put his team ahead to stay.
Samardzija offered first pitch strikes to 12 of the 21 hitters he faced and 49 of his mere 71 pitches were strikes.
His inning by inning pitch counts broke down thusly: 11,13,9,9,18, and 11. Abercrombie's homer followed a two-out walk in the 5th.
Samardzija hit more batters  than hit him.
The prodigious Jake Fox smote a tying two-run blast beyond the center field wall in the bottom of the sixth to swell his RBI total to 20 already in only 10 games. That finished Norris, Houston's #2 prospect, who appears as tenacious and hard-throwing as his counterpart. Both were throwing in the low to mid 90's and one can imagine them opposing each other in Houston and Chicago before much longer.
Between the 6th and 7th innings I spotted a very high-ranking Chicago Cub official in the seats directly behind home plate and wandered down to see if I might pick a little at his large brain. I introduced myself by name and affiliation.
"After the game," he said, "I'm working right now." as though he were a player and I an autograph hound. I said I didn't mean to interrupt; just thought I could ask a couple quickies between frames.
"Whaddaya wanna ask?" he gasped as his eyes rolled.
"Does Jake Fox have a big league future with this organization? Are other teams interested in him?"
"That's none of your business." the wheeler-dealer said. "Do you expect me to tell you what teams have asked me about him?"
"No," said I. "I just wondered if there's interest in him."
"Jake Fox is a big league hitter." he declared in summation.
Then followed an even briefer, but no less pleasant, discourse about young Mr. Samardzija's progress after which I thanked him for his time and left him to enjoy what remained of what I like to call the "I think my husband's home" race in which contestants scramble to dress themselves in a uniform ASAP and lunge across a finish line in pursuit of a gift certificate for a free oil change.
I hope the high-powered observer enjoyed the 7th inning stretch, by which time Samardzija had showered and I was on my way to a late showing of "State of Play". Russell Crowe also looked very sharp...MW
To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.
HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.
Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.
"they just fade away"
(Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)
Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.
I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.
AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?
He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.
Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.
I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.
I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).
Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.
"What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "
As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.
Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.
Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer
-0.3 WAR in 7.1ip last year...
-3 WAR projected over the course of a season.
the cubs just added an all-star reliever's worth of work by losing b.schlitter.
Rockies sign Brian Schlitter to a minor league contract. Good luck in Coors Field. Enough said.
i'll take him over frandy since it's unlikely he'll progress as a SS (and 2nd isn't looking much better).
i hope patton's delivery deception skills play well in the bigs over time. cubs need pitching options that are MLB-ready and dude fits the bill for a MLB/AAA mix...both needed.
I'm not saying he's great, but can we agree on the word "decent"? Became a pro at 23, called up at 26; nothing wrong with that trajectory, he hasn't been knocking around. Even in the majors his SO9 is 9.7. In the minors it's 12.2, so he's always missed bats, and without being a wild man: his walks are low. He cost the Cubs an unheralded A-ball middle infielder and a roster spot.
he's a righty (a 27 year old one that's going to be 28 before spring training starts) that throws low 90s with a low-80s slider. that's as ordinary as it gets for a righty reliever.