Cubs Prospect List-mania 2010

For the fourth year running I go through the various prospect lists. I'm trying to stick the more established ones and there are even more lists available at Wiklifield. Scout.com didn't seem to put out a Cubs list this year or has yet to and I'm not waiting any longer. Click on the image for the link to the original article.


    5-Star Prospects

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Starlin Castro

    4-Star Prospects
  3. Hak-Ju Lee
  4. Brett Jackson

    3-Star Prospects
  5. Andrew Cashner
  6. Jay Jackson
  7. Chris Carpenter
  8. Chris Archer
  9. Kyler Burke
  10. Ryan Flaherty
  11. John Gaub

Four More: Chris Huseby, Logan Watkins, Dae-Eun Rhee, Darwin Barney

What They Say: While things didn't work out at the big-league level (cue broken record), the Cubs' 2009 season down on the farm was an unmitigated success, with far more steps forwards (many of them huge) than regressions, and a possible piece of thievery with finding Jackson at 31st overall. The North Siders will move way up in this year's organizational rankings.




  1. Starlin Castro, SS
  2. Brett Jackson, OF
  3. Josh Vitters, 3B
  4. Andrew Cashner, RHP
  5. Jay Jackson, RHP
  6. Hak-Ju Lee, SS
  7. Logan Watkins, 2B
  8. Chris Carpenter, RHP
  9. Ryan Flaherty, SS/2B/3B
  10. D.J. LeMahieu, SS/2B

What They Say: Most of Chicago's best farmhands are at least a couple of years away from making an impact in the major leagues, so the Cubs may have to transition from trying to contend to trying to reload if they aren't able to quickly turn their fortunes around in 2010. That would mean more waiting for fans whose patience already has been stretched thin.


Rankings are preliminary and could have changed in the book that Sickels publishes.

  1. Starlin Castro (B+)
  2. Josh Vitters (B+)
  3. Brett Jackson (B)
  4. Jay Jackson (B)
  5. Andrew Cashner (B)
  6. Hak-Ju Lee (B)
  7. Chris Carpenter (B-)
  8. Kyler Burke (B-)
  9. Ryan Flaherty (B-)
  10. D.J. LeMahieu (C+)
  11. Brooks Raley (C+)
  12. Logan Watkins (C+)
  13. Esmailin Caridad (C+)
  14. Blake Parker (C+)
  15. John Gaub (C+)
  16. Matt Spencer (C+)
  17. Dae-Eun Rhee (C+)
  18. Casey Coleman (C+)
  19. Tyler Colvin (C)
  20. Jeff Beliveau (C)

OTHERS: (Grade C): James Adduci, OF; Jeff Antigua, LHP; Chris Archer, RHP; Darwin Barney, SS; Justin Bristow, RHP; David Cales, RHP; Welington Castillo, C; Rafael Dolis, RHP; Brandon Guyer, OF; Chris Huseby, RHP; Austin Kirk, LHP; Scott Maine, LHP; Trey McNutt, RHP; Mike Parisi, RHP; Chris Rusin, LHP; James Russell, LHP; Ryan Searle, RHP; Tony Thomas, 2B.

What They Say: The Cubs system has more depth than is commonly realized, particularly up the middle. Castro took a huge leap forward this year. He'll need some consolidation time, and I hope they are wise enough to give it to him, but at worst he should be a good major league regular and he could end up as a star. Brett Jackson also has star potential, but I still have some concerns about his strike zone judgment and want to see him at higher levels before completely buying into the maximum projections. Josh Vitters is a weird case; I posted his full comment in the Cubs player list thread on the blog. I don't want to be a fundamentalist about his low walk rate, but 12 walks for an entire season is pretty ridiculous. It helps that he doesn't strike out much, and because of his age I'm willing to be patient, no pun intended, for awhile longer. Guys like Lee, Flaherty, Watkins, and LeMahieu give them plenty of options up the middle to go along with Castro. Kyler Burke is the big sleeper in this system and I'm not sure why he doesn't get more attention.


Diamond Futures

You can see the method behind their rankings by visiting this link. They have a 300 page PDF prospect guide on all the teams available for $9.95 if you're interested. They gave me a complimentary copy and I thought the information and detail was top notch at the price.

  1. Starlin Castro (A)
  2. Josh Vitters (A)
  3. Brett Jackson (A-)
  4. Andrew Cashner (A-)
  5. Hak-Ju Lee (B+)
  6. Kyler Burke (B+)
  7. Jay Jackson (B+)
  8. Logan Watkins (B)
  9. D.J. LeMahieu (B)
  10. John Gaub (B)
  11. Chris Archer (B-)
  12. Dae-eun Rhee (B-)
  13. Jeff Angtigua (B-)
  14. Chris Carpenter (B-)
  15. Rafael Dolis (B-)
  16. Trey McNutt (B-)
  17. Brooks Raley (B-)
  18. Matt Spencer (B-)
  19. Ryan Flaherty (B-)
  20. Blake Parker (B-)

What They Say: We never know how things are going to come out when we start these rankings, but our biggest surprise has to be the Chicago Cubs coming in at #6. It’s not that the Cubs don’t have some talented players, it’sjust that they graduated five players to the Majors in 2009—from an already weak system, and if you had evaluated the team in early June their prospect hopes looked pretty dim. Then Starlin Castro puttogether one of the most ‘helium’ filled seasons in the Minors, Brett Jackson was drafted and surprised most everyone with his play, Andrew Cashner located his missing command, Kyler Burke finally had the breakout season everyone had been waiting for, John Gaub became one ofthe Minors’ best relief prospects and they had a huge haul of young prospects from the Pacific Rim. Suddenly it is like an entirely different organization. The strength of the organization lies in its depth, as only our top three organizations have a longer list of ‘C’ or higher prospects. There also is a good balance between high-ceiling and high-floor players. Additionally, likely no organization in baseball works the Pacific Rim harder than the Cubs, and it looks like they are about to reap some of the fruits of their efforts…but everything isn’t roses for the Cubs, as once you get past the top nine prospects, pitchers make up all but eight of the next twenty-five spots. Perhaps more importantly, few of the Cubs’ prospects will be ready to contribute before late 2011 or 2012, so it will likely be another couple of years before the impact of the rebounded farm system is felt at the Big League level.


  1. Starlin Castro
  2. Brett Jackson
  3. Josh Vitters
  4. Jay Jackson
  5. Andrew Cashner
  6. Hak-Ju Lee
  7. Chris Carpenter
  8. D.J. LeMahieu
  9. Chris Archer
  10. Jose Valdez

 


Arizona Phil's Top 15

  1. Andrew Cashner
  2. Jay Jackson
  3. Starlin Castro
  4. Josh Vitters
  5. Welington Castillo
  6. D.J. LeMahieu
  7. Brett Jackson
  8. Hak-Ju Lee
  9. Chris Carpenter
  10. Kyler Burke
  11. Ryan Flaherty
  12. Sam Fuld
  13. Tyler Colvin
  14. Darwin Barney
  15. Brandon Guyer

 


And now for the always humorous list of 16 from yours truly (15 in years past). I generally like guys that actually have done something at AA or higher, but that's just a guideline and the Cubs don't have too many of those in their system at the moment. The age is what they'll be playing at during the 2010 season.

1. Starlin Castro (age 20)- The boy wonder is the hot topic of spring training and it doesn't appear like anything will slow his ascent to the majors. The Edgar Renteria comparisions seem about right to me, anything better than that will require a refined eye or development of 15-20 HR power. He looks like he'll find Wrigley in 2010 and be a solid regular at worse. At age soon-to-be 20, we still don't know if he's reached his peak skillset.

2. Andrew Cashner (age 23) - i don't think anyone but the Cubs think he'll ever make it as a starter, but I have hard time believing he won't be at least a major league closer some day down the road and a dominating one at that. Two plus pitches along with an occasional changeup and he appears to be finding better control. It seems like he'll find the Cubs roster in 2010 as well.

3. Josh Vitters (age 20) - He has the most upside of anyone in the organization in my not-so-humble opinion, but two years worth of injuries and you have to wonder if it's going to become a chronic thing. The walk rate is a bit worrisome, but not as much as the injuries so far. The fact that he probably won't see the majors until 2011 or 2012 puts him behind Castro and Cashner at the moment.

4. Jay Jackson (age 22)- He looks to have all the makings of a mid-rotation starter with the upside of a #2 if everything breaks correctly. I do fear a little Sean Gallagher in him, good control and an array of pitches, but not much of an out pitch. That can get you by in the minors, but the majors could provide problems. I'm shocked he didn't get an NRI this spring training.

5. Hak-Ju Lee (age 19) - He's a long way from Wrigley, but the reports that he could push the boy wonder to second base are pretty strong and an elite defensive shortstop would be a nice thing to have. He struck out a little too much for my tastes (16.4% K/PA), but did walk at over a 10% clip and with rave reviews about his speed, the leadoff spot seems natural. There's a ton of competition at shortstop in the system, so let's see how he handles the higher levels.

6. Tyler Colvin (age 24) - Colvin wouldn't have even been in thet top 16 until spring training and the reports that he bulked up 25 pounds over the offseason and is hitting moonshots in camp. He's gone from an afterthought/4th outfielder with questionable plate disclipline at best to potential everyday center fielder with 30 home run power. He is roadblocked at the moment with Soriano, Fukudome and Byrd, but with 3 option years left, there's no reason to rush him out of the system. It also wouldn't be too hard to trade Fukudome or Byrd after 2010 if Colvin can show something at the major league level at some point in 2010.

7. Chris Carpenter (age 24) - The backstory on Carpenter is a player drafted out of high school in the 7th round in 2004 by the Detroit Tigers that decided to go to Kent State (presumambly would have been drafted much higher if he didn't plan to go to college). He then blew out his elbow and had Tommy John surgery and another procedure to clean out scar tissue before the Cubs drafted him in the 3rd round in 2008. He went through 3 levels last year, but just 130.2 IP with an 8.1 K/9 rate to 3.6 BB/9 rate, so control is an issue. He does seem like a guy that could go through the system fast with a 92-95 mph fastball that can touch 97 and a good hard curveball. He's working on a changeup which would be the key to major league success as a starter.

8. Brett Jackson (age 21) - I'm not as high as most on Jackson quite yet. He was impressive with 7 home runs in Peoria last year (although just 1 in Boise in a similar number of plate appearances). It just seems a little flukey. He also struck out 25% of the time in his 128 PA's in Peoria. Small sample sizes of course, but as he goes up the ladder, he'll need to get that way down unless he's a 30 HR guy, which doesn't appear to be the case.

9. Esmailin Caridad (age 26) - A late bloomer that was signed by the Cubs out of the Japanese leagues. While he threw in the low 90's as a starter in the minors, he easily touches 95mph when relieving with a good slider. He could be a surprise main set-up man this year or even a desperation closer down the road.

10. Ryan Flaherty (age 23) - He probably doesnt' stand a chance at staying at shortstop with the Cubs, but he did pop 20 home runs last year in Peoria with a decent walk rate of just under 10% and a K rate at just above 18%. He's already started playing 2b and 3b and verstaility in the National League is of course a big plus. He seems to be a big student of the game including a series of videos on hitting technique on youtube.

11. Kyler Burke (age 22) - I'm pretty cautious on Burke as his breakout 2009 season was also his third go-around in the Midwest League. But he was a first round talent when drafted by the San Diego Padres and has a cannon out of right field. He had 61 extra-base hits and incredible improvement in his walk and strikeout rates, but you have to worry if pitchers were just afraid to pitch to him.

12. Logan Watkins (age 20) - Watkins was a 21st round pick in 2008 that received third round bonus money to keep him from Wichita State. I can't find confirmation, but he only had 318 PA's last year, so I assume there was an injury. He was an all-state QB and defensive back in high school and BA describes him as a gifted athelete. He's shown pretty solid plate disclipline so far with the ability to put the ball in play and has a strong enough arm that he could play 2b, 3b or the outfield along with shortstop. If he can find just a little power, he could rise higher among the Cubs crowded middle infield.

13. Welington Castillo (age 23) - This is mostly based off Arizona Phil's recommendations and observations, but he seems like he could be a plus defensive catcher with 15-20 HR power. On the other hand, he's struck out nearly 20% of the time in the minors without showing any desire to take a walk.

14. Sam Fuld (age 28) - I love Fuld's Tom Waddle-like style of defensive play, but he's likely going to kill himself at some point against an unforgiving outfield wall. He's shown pretty decent walk rates through the minors and puts the ball in play, but not enough power or speed that I could ever see him getting a regular job unless out of desperation. But a major league reserve isn't a terrible major league career either.

15. Blake Parker (age 25) - He's a converted catcher that will be going on his fourth year of pitching so I'm giving him a bit of a break. He did well as a closer in Iowa and has put up K rates north of 10 last season although way too walk happy (5 BB/9). He throws a low 90's sinker that can touch 95, picked up a changeup from Dae-Eun Rhee who has one of the best in the system and is working on his slider.

16. Chris Archer (age 21) - His strikeout rate of 9.8 K/9 in the Midwest League was great, but a 5.4 BB/9 rate is not so great. He keeps the ball in the park though, and right now has a low 90's fastball, with the "potential" of a plus curve and weak changeup according to Diamond Futures. That's not particularly promising in my opinion to be a major league starter.

Some Honorable Mentions:

Justin Berg - plus sinker but never more than an expendable bullpen guy

John Gaub - could be a solid LOOGY, but seems to rely more on deception than stuff

James Russell - lefty bullpen guy, seems a lot like Sean Marshall without the ability to start

DJ LeMahieu - No one thinks he can stick at shortstop and he needs to find some power to be a major league 2b-men.

Dae-Eun Rhee - We'll see how he does after recovering from injury, allegedlly one of the more exciting arms with a fantastic changeup

Rafael Dolis - see Dae-eun Rhee about the injuries

Mitch Atkins - hopefully his 2010 is closer to his 2008, and I still think could be a back-end rotation guy that has been healthy almost his entire career. But he's sure been hittable in what little I've seen so far.

Casey Coleman - doesn't sound like anything special stuff-wise, but was one of the Cubs minor league players of the year in 2009 and sinkerballers that can eat up innings can find good careers in the majors.

The guys from 10 on down would be C to C+ grades in my book and you can flip them anyway you want. Relievers that I don't see every see getting a chance to close are tough to get too excited about and you'll see them in the honorable mentions. 

It's a very young system with guys in their early 20's that are close to contributing. That's a nice thing to have considering the major league club is mostly on the wrong side of 30. I usually don't expect much from farmhands until age 24 or 25 at the major league level, so anything before that is a bonus and a good sign for their futures. But with that youth comes risk and still not a lot of guys with much success at AA or above, so be prepared for the Brian Dopirak-like drop-offs as well with some of these players (and yes I know Dopirak has had a nice resurgence with the Toronto Blue Jays, but he was slated to be Derrek Lee's replacement by 2007 with the Cubs).

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Comments

2 scoreless for Dempster, Marshall gives up a HR to K. Suzuki in his two innings.

Theriot, Fukudome, Ramirez did the damage for the Cubs who are up 2-1.

Cubs looking at J. Frasor as well

http://twitter.com/jcrasnick/status/10188358788

Nice write up.

My back of the napkin math had B Jackson's BABIP at just over .400 last year. I wonder if he would have shot up in everyone's estimation if he hit the .260ish number that a normalized BABIP would drop him down to.

I think you're a little tough on Gaub there, as no one is really mentioning him as a LOOGY. Grabow 2.0 would be my prediction for him at this point. It's his lack of control moreso than him having trouble missing RH bats that is his problem right now.

my knowledge of Gaub is fastball/curve and gets those swing and misses because of a deceptive delivery. I would think a changeup would be necessary to get righties, which Grabow throws a good one. His splits weren't all that telling last year, but the year before with the Indians showed much better success vs. lefties.

but Phil's the prospect write-up guru around here, mine are just for entertainment purposes.

Lilly, Hill and Randy Johnson are all guys that did well with just two pitches, and a younger Estes as well.

Did AZ Phil call him a LOOGY?

Lilly throws a high 80's/low 90's fastball, 11-5 curve and a change-up (curve and change are above average imo), pitch f/x says he throws a slider as well (I don't recall seeing a lot of it myself).

Randy Johnson had 2 plus pitches, i would guess easily 70's on the 20-80 scale, so no reason to bring him up as a comp.

Rich Hill did do well with a plus curve and some deception on his fastball.

But as far as I know Gaub doesn't even have one plus pitch.

don't recall Phil's take on Gaub, wasn't in his top 15 list.

It wouldn't bother me to put Gaub up as high as 11, the C, C+ prospects are pretty much pick your poison imo.

And I'm done with Gaub, just not an argument worth having.

Lilly's slider is often called a cutter. It's not a big breaker, and he throws it hard. I think we saw it the most in his first year with the Cubs.

The real moral of that story is that Pitch FX isn't very reliable.

Raise your hand if you think that Ted Lilly threw twice as many sliders as curveballs last year.

The second moral of the story is that you don't need three pitches to be a reliever. As a LH pitcher, you don't even need three to be a starter.

"He's far more than just a future LOOGY, as he was actually better against right-handed hitters in 2009, limiting them to a .156 (22-for-141) batting average."

"He gets right handers out, so he can work the late innings and be more than a lefty specialist."

"On the mound, he’s extremely aggressive with good makeup, he likes to challenge hitters especially righties inside. Because of his stuff and hard nosed pitching, he's been compared to Damaso Marte."

etc...

Raise your hand if you considered Lilly just a two-pitch pitcher...

ah, just Real Neal

thanks for the info on Gaub...

Lilly likes throwing that cutter in on right handed hitters as well.

http://cubs.scout.com/2/852570.html

probably behind a paywall, but Gaub says he throws a fastball/slider and working on his change. Maybe it got better in 2009...

Theriot and Fuku with nice days at top of the order...

Soto with double off top of CF wall and a walk as DH today

Ninja with 2 scoreless giving up a walk and a hit

Jeff Baker 0 fer spring so far as is Soriano...

today and touched 99 with his fastball

Who is Chapam?

a cuebin picture

"These Cubans are real people, I thought we were talking about cigars here."

lol

Rob,

I thought Jay Jackson was supposed to have a pretty good slider that could be an out pitch? Or is the slider just decent, rather than plus?

I had no idea Chris Carpenter threw that hard. What a deal on that guy.

Also, is it possible that Lee's k rate is partly because of his tall, thin frame, and that more physical maturing will help him not only to hit the ball with a little more authority but also to make a little more contact?

from what I read Jackson throws 90-93 mph fastball with a mid 80's above average slider. Also a curve and a change that aren't particularly special.

Gallagher mostly threw a fastball and curve, and then switched to a slider on Rothschild's recommendation because it came out of the same arm slot as the fastball and was more deceptive. That hasn't really worked out for him yet in the majors.

tenuous comparison at best between the two, both had good K rates and low walk totals and similar rankings on the major league prospect lists. I don't know how much better Jackson's slider is to Gallagher's curve to be honest, I guess I just haven't heard that's that great. I read Jackson has good control (throws it over the plate), but not great command (not exactly sure where it's going over the plate).

As for Lee, he's 19, the sky is the limit at this point, who knows how good he can get.

I have seen scouting reports that said that Jackson's fastball sits on 92 - 93, and touches 95, but his best pitch by far is his hard slider.

Speaking for myself, I value Az Phil's evaluations and lists above all. At least I know he has SEEN every Cubs prospect on his list.

Still, my favorite Cubs prospect is Josh Donaldson.

Can't wait to see him in a Cubs uniform.

speaking of, 2-run HR off Gorzelanny today

10-3 Cubs late in the game

Font 2/3 with 2 RBI's and playing SS for Theriot

Any chances for Fontenot in the field at SS?

yikes

So, is Vitters' ETA 2011 (at first base) or 2012 (at third)? Or is it sooner, either as a Cub or elsewhere as part of a trade?

too early to tell.

soriano to 1st seems to be destined to happen, though.

vitters still has so many "can/could turn a corner" years ahead of him barring injury or just plain ol' fashion sucking at 3rd. given the soriano situation they'll probably give him enough time to prove himself at 3rd unless they want him to the be LF/RF of the future.

The general consensus by the prospect reviewing community is that Vitters can stick at third, now.

I have a gut feeling that we see Soriano for Vernon Wells in the next 11 months. Makes too much sense at this point.

This is an incredibly naive statement to post, but I'm not positive Wells doesn't opt out of the last three years of his deal after 2011. At market rate, he's still employable for an MLB team, and considering the level of pride it takes to be a professional athlete, no one wants to be known as the worst value in the sport.

Of course, I've never walked away from $63K, much less $63M, so it's very ignorant for me to assume this.

I'd be absolutely shocked to see that. On the open market Vernon Wells is probably a 5-7 million a year guy. Pride is one thing, but 63 million dollars is something else completely.

That being said, if Soriano continues to decline in the field. It does make a ton of sense to swap the 2.

soriano on artificial turf...

Only when he'd be running the bases.

If Cubs are out of it by trade deadline, they should talk to Lee and Aram about trades.

Then again if they are out of it, it might be because they are hurt.

I'm not real optimistic about 2010, but they should be around and in contention most of the year.

Pujlos is having back problems

Pujlos is having back problems
---
for how long?

...about a weak back?

[[rimshot]]

Boo! Hiss!

I glanced at the Houston Chronicle today and had to double check whether I was reading the sports section or the comics.

38-year-old Brian Moehler is trying to hang on to a spot in the Astros' starting rotation. He got roughed up yesterday by the Braves but he claims that was because he was working on throwing high fastballs.

Brian Moehler working on high fastballs? Who works on high fastballs? Especailly when you have never had one.

Silva.

I think he should absolutely be in the Astros starting rotation. Better yet, I think he should be in the Cardinals starting rotation.

per Fox Sports/Rosenthal...

The Cubs, who currently are scouting the Cactus and Graperfruit Leagues for a setup man, would be interested in both Martinez and Smoltz “down the line,” according to a major-league source.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/MLB-spring...

Now that Maddux is a special assistant to the GM, we might see a lot of Chicagoland golf outings in Smoltzies future.

actually the Cubs used the word "closer" the other day

lemme look that up

[edit]

It was Sullivan

Guzman facing possible shoulder surgery
Chicago Tribune - Paul Sullivan - ‎Mar 5, 2010‎
... Esmailin Caridad will be the right-handed setup man for now, though general manager Jim Hendry said the Cubs scouts are out in force in Arizona and Florida, looking for an experienced late-inning closer. Cleveland reportedly is willing to deal ex-Cub Kerry Wood, but Wood's $10.5 million salary is above the Cubs' budget. ...

Lilly watch: Ted Lilly threw 30 pitches off a mound Sunday in his first big step in his rehab from shoulder surgery. Lilly had a light throwing session off a mound a few days ago, but pitching coach Larry Rothschild said this was the first one with real intensity. Asked if Lilly would be able to get into a Cactus League game, Rothschild hedged: "I won't know that until somewhere down the road. I'd probably prefer to stay away from that right now." Lilly is not expected to rejoin the Cubs until May, though he continues to insist he will be back sometime in April.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Wow, he's going to be very well-prepared when he returns in June.

Agree

wscr discussing Twin closer Joe Nathan, who is deciding on TJ elbow ligament reconstruction. Apparently an MRI now shows a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He had offseason elbow scope surgery for a spur. Ouch, but the twins might be looking at the same bullpen prospects the Cubs are rumored to be after...so the price just might have gone up. Although they might be more inclined to get Heath Bell rather than the set up guys.

is Neshek back with the Twins? they don't need to look far if he's recovered.

The Twins are McFail Cheap.

I would not seriously consider the Twins as competition for the Cubs in signing a FA.

I mean, perhaps if they are incredibly desperate, maybe. But they have an excellent Farm system and will be able to throw some bodies up or convert someone.

IS the new Twins Field opening THIS year or 2011? That may have a little bearing on the urgency.

This year.

Sean Marshall's got a new split-finger fastball...

A new pitch might be part of lefty Sean Marshall's repertoire this season, a split-finger intended to induce ground balls -- or at least outs.

''I threw one in a game last week and got a pop-up to first base, which was a plus,'' he said. ''It'll be a good pitch for me if I can get it going in spring training.''

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

first lefty I've heard of to throw a split-finger...

I'm sure there have been others, just not something you hear a lot about from a south-paw.

split-finger can be pretty brutal on the arm and Marshall has already had plenty of minor shoulder weakness...not that he'll throw it that often I'm sure.

Is it a good idea for a pitcher who earlier in his career suffered a ruptured tendon in his forearm to be messing around with a split finger? I'd bet he can throw it well--his fingers are probably long enough to get good spin on the pitch--but that pitch has been known to mess up arms, hasn't it?

I wouldn't be too concerned about it. It's the fingers that do a lot of the work there as compared to the forearm. The shoulder and the elbow are the trouble spots for splitters.

What I am concerned about is it actually being good enough to throw in a game. I did get a good chuckle out of what he said, though. Usually guys hitting your split in the air is a bad thing. You aren't getting that downward bite you need on it. They're supposed to hit the thing on the ground if they make contact at all.

1) Throw split
2) ?????
3) Get pop up
4) Success!

yeah, thought that was amusing as well...

it's more a swing-and-miss or groundout pitch...

Saying "people" are talking about Cubs getting Kerry Wood.

Who are these people?

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/2091259,CST-SP...

Only read one blog/article from True/Slant talking about it.

Carol get to Costco and get a crate of peanut butter your dog is licking his chops.

yeah I read the same ridiculous Castle article...

I'd be all for bringing back Wood, but his contract will stop that from happening at least until the trade deadline.

see #47

The discussed Pat Neshek on XM this am. He's back but since he's coming off of surgery they don't expect he could handle the load of a closer full time, maybe split between him and Rauch who they got from AZ last yr

(August 28, 2009: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later and player to be named. The Minnesota Twins sent Kevin Mulvey (September 1, 2009) to the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete the trade.)

Coming off shoulder surgery, Rich Hill threw two innings on Sunday vs. the Marlins. 2 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 2 Ks.

yeah, 70/30 odds that he's gonna dominate the Cubs this year...

Strange, the age I consider "young" seems to get older and older as the years go by.

Bruce Levine chat in about 20 minutes.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/chat/_/id/31261/es...

That link might also get you the transcript when it's over.

Dman (Northside)

Did the Cubs see anything they liked about Carlos Silva's Saturday start?
Bruce Levine
(1:06 PM)
They liked when he came out of the game.

That was pretty good, but I still wanted to know how the guys in the dugout felt after losing by 12 runs.

Levine's an interesting character. He waivers between competence (I don't base anything on Spring training) and ignorance (Lee's a special athlete) with no difficulty.

What was it, like the fourth or fifth spring training game? They probably didn't give a damn about it. Probably in the same fashion as not giving a damn that they won big yesterday.

Neal's just joking about the article about how happy-go-lucky everyone was after the first game blowout because Milton's gone and it's a whole new atmosphere.

Oh, I realize that. I saw his comment the other day. I didn't really express my thought clearly, but so what.

The Cubs want to add 25-30 "Ambassadors"

Alas, you must have a "charismatic" "positive" personality so that excludes almost everyone here--or anywhere on the interwebs for that matter.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100...

Or any non-dellusional Cub fan.

E-Man,
Twins are in their new park this year. Sox are pumped since most considered the dome to be such a Twins advantage but now it's even, being outdoors and no short right. This was part of the reason I (and others) suggested opening the season in the southern cities or in domes. Eventually MLB will need to allow more minor league options (or increase the roster) since places like Minnesoooota are now going to have to add more cold-out double headers. It SEEMS MLB has already considered things like that since the Cubs home opener hasn't been until the 14th or so for several years.

Plus the season is too long. Opening and ending in the snow is just stupid for a summer game. If I was emperor...

So, does this mean the majority of the seats will have heating elements in them?

It is insane that they did not get a semi-dome ala Miller up there. As you say, it will be really cold six weeks into, and finishing the season up there. However, those folks love ice-fishing, so maybe they won't mind so much?

It's actually not that big of a change. Here for instance is the weather comparison between Chicago and Minneapolis.

http://www.weather.com/outlook/travel/busines...

November-February it is about 10 degrees colder in the Twin Cities, October and March it is 6 degrees, but April-September they are about the same.

carl pohlad was one of the worst owners in baseball, imo...well, at least the mid+90-into-00s era.

not only did they rarely/never bulk up pre-season, but when his teams got to the trade deadline and ready to run to the postseason he pretty much only added fringe/tossaway players for the stretch.

you can only use the "we're not trading away our future!" card a few times before it all gets fishy...especially if you refuse to open the wallet a little bit more year after year. meh...

he held the team, the fans, and the city hostage while he tried to get a new welfare check for the new ballpark and ended up getting a bargain-basement new digs because they sure as hell didn't want to throw in too much on it.

this is the same guy who lined up to sell his team whenever mlb decided they wanted to contract teams back in 2001. what an asshat.

He's the wealthest MLB team owner who's MO is to constantly cry about not making any money in the "small market" Twin Cities. Everyone accepts he's in a small market because he keeps saying it, but the truth is that Minneapolis-St. Paul is the 16th largest market in the U.S., ahead of San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Baltimore, Denver, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, etc.

You are right to point out that Pohlad was second in line (behind the Marlins Jeffrey Loria) to cash in by selling out his city through MLB's threatened contraction. Now, just nine years later, his team is getting ready to open a new stadium that is two-thirds funded by the very taxpayers Pohlad was only too ready to abandon.

Carl Pohlad died last year.

he still an a-hole

They are as far north as Seattle and further north then Milwaukee and Toronto.

They should have atleast had a retractable dome.

they are not as far north as Seattle

Latitude:
Milwaukee: 43.03
Toronto: 43.4
Minneapolis: 44.98
Seattle: 47.61

precipitation would be a more important factor...they did play outside for 20 years at the Met before the Homerdome.

crunch-can I borrow that computer animation guy flipping the bird?

http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?art...

#8 up from #26

Last Year’s Ranking: 26
Why They Are Here: As bad a year as the Cubs had at the big-league level, that's how good a year they had down on the farm, as 2008 draftees stepped forward, international signees shined, and plenty of others stepped forward. Throw in a first-round draft steal in Brett Jackson, and things are looking very, very up.
Where They Will Be Next Year: Chances are good that all of these players should still be eligible next year, and while I don't see the true star potential in Starlin Castro that others do, it's reasonable to expect good performances from Josh Vitters and Hak-Ju Lee. The aging big-league team needs help now, but this might take awhile.

Diamond Futures had them #6

Are the BA Rankings in the book? can't find them on the web?

can't recall what Keith Law had them at...

Keith Law had them 7th. Up from 27th last year.

Of course his rankings don't make much sense since almost everyone is impressed with the Cubs new-found depth, not the likelihood of the system imminently delivering major league ready players. And Keith Law's rankings supposedly uses this criteria: ".. a system with high-impact prospects who are relatively close to the majors ranks high, even if the system lacks depth in second- and third-tier prospects. "

Damn Teflon-Tim Wilken!

Great. Now you're giving Teflon Tim credit for the success Paul Weaver and more specifically Steve Wilson [edit] Jose Serra, Rolando Pino and Hector Ortega are having.

let's remember this line of arguing next time you complain about a Hendry move...

it wasn't Hendry, it was his scouts that gave him bad info...

Castro and Lee are the only 2 foreign players on BP's top 11 list which I'm sure Wilken still has to approve and likely sees on his own and he's the one that calls the names on draft day.

Cubs are 15th, up from 27th in the previous year according to BA.

15th, 27th, 18th, 18th, 15th, 10th over the last six years. Really what it looks like is a lot of people were stupid following the 2008 season.

thanks
I've got 20th in 2008 fwiw, although not 100% certain on the source for 2008.

http://wiklifield.thecubreporter.com/Cubs_Org...

==Baseball America==
2010: 15th
2009: 27th
2008: 20th
2007: 18th
2006: 15th
2005: 10th
2004: 7th
2003: 3rd
2002: 1st

and if anyone has a BA subscription and wants to fill in years 1987-1999 for me, I'd appreciate it (Also would need 2000 and 2001).

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect...

The annual has the D-Backs at 20th in 2008. It also twice comments about how the Pirates are going to build around the 2009 RoY Andrew McCutchen, so they're certainly not above an editing problem.

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/03/...

rain in Mesa right now

Lilly wants to get into a Cactus league game by end of the month
2 more turns each for 4th/5th starter candidates before they start cutting the field down
Fontenot apparently did well at short yesterday
Silva moved to right side of the rubber, it's gonna fix everything

if silva keeps moving to the right eventually he'll end up in the other team's dugout and become their expensive problem.

Now that's a plan I could get behind.

5-3 Brewers

Wells with 3 scoreless innings, Marmols gives up 2 runs (1 earned), 1 BB, 2 K's in 1 inning, Coleman gives up a 1 run in 2.1 IP, Russell strikes out the side in his inning, M. Mateo with a scoreless .2 IP, B. Parker gave up the 2 runs in the 9th

Theriot with a SB and gets on twice, Castro gets on is his one AB but gets caught stealing, Soriano with his first hit, Lee HR's, Soto with a throwing error

Castro gets on is his one AB but gets caught stealing
---
It sounded from the radio broadcast that Castro pulled a Ronnie Cedeno. Apparently he was safe but overslid the bag.

If it was not after a walk there is no comparison.

Lots of people overslide a base. What Cedeno did was a bit more memorable.

As someone said the other day, Cedeno seems to be a useful stick to beat Castro with.

i dunno if people need to update their scouting reports or if people are just being f'n lazy, but jason heyward's arm is looking f'n amazing.

i've seen a lot of "average" to "developing" tags on that arm, but he's either in rare form tonight or some people need to update their info.

he's not been involved in any omfg plays, but just putting the ball back in the infield...dude doesn't need a cutoff man too much. accuracy might be an issue, but he's got a nice cannon going on tonight.

also...roy halladay is pretty good at baseball even if he can only strikeout 5 guys in 3 innings in his first spring start. what a lamer. ATL/PHI on MLB Network live, btw.

"carl pohlad was one of the worst owners in baseball, imo...well, at least the mid+90-into-00s era."

I believe that should read, "one of the Wirtz owners..."

no one cares about hockey...even canadians...they're just way too far into the lie to crawl out now. it's getting annoying.

Sorry if 3/44...but Milton's still talking:

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/news/st...

The I forgave him, I don't hold a grudge is pretty funny being that he's mentioning it 9 months later.

It seems he, at least, was pretty serious about the thing with his school at kid.

Let's see- the Cubs can pay $150 million in player and coaches' salaries, but they can't bring in a high schooler for $8 an hour to screen the fan mail?

ha...kanye west bradley.

as serious as he takes himself...some people buy into it and take hime too seriously, too.

the cubs have had worse players, worse contracts, and worse people around. it was the wrong clubhouse at the wrong time, though...whatever.

I don't think MB is anything close to a total asshole, as some here at TCR have said in the past. Milton Bradley is like a Shakespearean tragic character -- a protagonist with a tragic flaw in his character that causes his own downfall. I think that's why he has so many people that like him and yet so many who decide they cannot work with him anymore.

I thought of this because Jake Peavy was being interviewed by Dave Kaplan on WGN radio tonight. Kaplan asked him about MB and Peavy said something to the effect that he "absolutely loved the guy". When I heard Milton talking in that interview in the link above, I find myself wanting to like him but also sadly shaking my head and saying to myself, "he just doesn't get it."

Well, that's all. I'm tired of thinking about MB now, and I really hope that this doesn't start another whole round of Bradley discussion. Let's just all move on... You too, Milton.

After watching that video I don't know who I hate more, Bradley or ESPN.

ESPN:
Did you think someone in the Cubs organization was putting the hate mail in your mailbox? Asks this same question twice?
Did you fear for life in Chicago? Did you fear for your family? Did you fear for your safety?

The producers talking into her earpiece at this time: WE NEED A GODDAMN QUOTE! GET HIM TO SAY SOMETHING THAT WE CAN EXPLOIT! WE NEED HEADLINES!

Bradley:
He's the ultimate narcissist crossed with a conspiracy theorist. Everyone's out to get him and anything that happens is intricately woven into a plot to ruin him.

His three year old being called names is definitely due to him being the RF and struggling. I don't know how it couldn't be? Who can explain this?

Piniella apologizes after calling him a piece of shit, but that's not good enough for Milton. He wants Piniella to apologize to him in front of the team. Sometimes you just have to take what you can get, but Milton wants fucking theatrics to go along with his apology. Anything else is not good enough.

Finally, who are the other non-Superman black players on the Cubs? Okay, Jones and LaTroy had some problems, but who else? Derrek Lee? How many black guys were Cubs and never had Bradley's problems? Bradley's a dick and I'm glad he's gone.

Oh yeah, Silva sucks balls

Derrek Lee was booed pretty lustily at the start of his Cub career.

Ryan Theriot has sucked pretty much for the last year and a half and makes bonehead plays and gets a pass from Cubs fans.

As soon as Sammy Sosa had a 'bad' season, the Cubs fans were quick to turn on him and made a huge deal out of one incident.

Milton does and says a lot of stupid shit, but if you don't see the double standard that Cubs fans apply, then Milton's not the only one living with his head in the sand.

Milton is 100% right about the apology thing, that was a total pussy move that Pinhead pulled. Any good manager would have apologized to him in front of the team. And I am not talking about baseball manager, I mean any good manager of people. In the real world Pinhead would have been reprimanded or fired for that behavior.

Yes Theriot is just like Bradley..making bonehead plays then blaming the fans and the media...agruing with umpires...arguing with the manager.

TRN...you are one of the more insightful posters TCR...but jesus...

Remember the parade the Cub fans' threw Kevin Gregg last year?

I know I signed the petition for the unretirement of Ernie Banks number so Gregg could wear it.

You're having a time-contiuium problem here. Your theory is that the fans were booing Bradley in May, and making heckling signs, based upon comments that he would make in September? So if you're a cub fan you're more likely to be precogniscent than racist. Got it.

IIRC, Pinella called Bradley a POS in the tunnel leading from the dugout to the clubhouse. It was done in private, not in front of the entire team or a bunch of onlookers. It was a comment from one person to another, not one person to an audience. Apologizing in person, face-to-face seems appropriate under the circumstances. In fact, I think apologizing in front of the team - the same team that disliked Bradley - would have been the easy way out.

pinellla called bradley a POS in front of a bunch of reporters and onlookers in the tunnel. that's part of the reason it made "tweets" and papers so quickly. it was a pure "we pay a manager 3m bucks for what?" moment.

So a lower-paid manager couldn't say something like that?

"So a lower-paid manager couldn't say something like that?"

A lower-paid manager might have said that, but I think Crunch is wondering what we got for the additional money we spent.

Two division titles?

We all know Crunch's crusade against the high-paid managers. I didn't get that that's what he was wondering, but no big deal one way or the other.

i think if you're going to pay a premium for a talent manager they should be able to manage a variety of talents...or you can just pay someone 500K-1m and save the 2-3m to keep a guy around that actually takes the field.

i'm not gonna get into the players he decided he didn't want to play and lingered until traded because they got into a "doghouse"...be nice to have wuertz around at the very least.

reporters don't generally hang out in the tunnel during the game waiting for guys to walk by who have to go to the bathroom.

some clubhouse attendant or some security members likely overheard it and tipped Wittenmyer. As you apparently don't recall, Cubs were plenty pissed at White Sox when the info got out to the press on what Lou said.

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com...

the bites from other Cubs players today were that none of them heard Lou say it and a personal apology was more than enough. They of course could be covering for Lou, but it sure wasn't characterized as something that happened in front of a lot of people.

Unless you count "the internet" as a lot of people.

once it hit the press, I suppose I understand the sentiment that it was in "front of people".

on the other hand, I think it's a pussy move to demand an apology from anyone if that's how it went down as is calling someone a "piece of shit".

everything about the situation is one big clusterfuck of how not to do something by all parties involved.

I am not sure about demanding an apology. My problem is that if everyone in the world, including the dugout, knows Lou called Bradley a piece of shit, and he didn't apologize to Bradley in front of them, or do like he should have and said to the team that he was embarrassed by his behavior, the rest of the team will think it's OK to dump on Bradley was well, which not surprisingly is pretty much what happened.

I agree it was a fucked up situation, but from early in the season, for whatever reason, Lou treated Bradley differently than he did the other players, and the falling out was really an inevitable outcome. It's really surprising Bradley didn't kick the shit out of him - it certainly would have been more deserved than Barrett's beating.

i will say that if Bradley was upset because it got out to everyone through the press and that's why he needed an apology in front of the team, then he should have been happy with an apology from Lou that was reiterated to the press.

"But I told him it wasn't right, and I apologized for it," he said. "But I also told him that we just can't continue to have the shenanigans that we've put up with it. I told him he's going to hurt somebody. He's going to hurt himself. But at the same time, I did talk to him and I did apologize for that last comment."

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com...

actually I'm more with crunch that I don't think Lou did enough to treat Milton differently. He did in a way by putting him up to a different standard than Soriano for example, but Milton needs love, attention and constants pats on the head, rather than just being left to his own devices.

"Lou treated Bradley differently than he did the other players"

I thought the problem, to some people, was that he didn't treat him differently enough.

He didn't accord him the same respect that he accorded Soriano, for instance, and again he did it in a very public manner.

Of course...Soriano has been with the team for a few seasons...and doesn't have the reputation that poor. misunderstood Milty has..

I don't remember Lee being booed, but if he was booed then he had the strength of character to press on despite that and look at him now. Cubs fans love him, as they should. He didn't let a few boos keep him from being the player he knew he could be.

Theriot...fans love him because his name is "The Riot" and he's scrappy, not because he's a great player.

I think you're trivializing what Sosa did. It wasn't just one bad season. He got caught cheating. He made up a bullshit story about a BP bat that was about as believable as his sudden inability to speak English in front of congress.

I can't explain why Milton gets the hard time that he does, but I don't believe that it's because he's black. Call me racist if you want, but I simply don't believe that's why he has the reputation he has or why he is treated the way he is. Maybe I'm naive, but I think being a total fucking prick is more powerful than whether you're black or white.

Here's a potentially dangerous question: Why aren't all these racist fans after Zambrano? He's a minority. What's different about the two? Sorry if this is completely inappropriate, but why aren't all the Latin players complaining about racism? Are the racist Cub fans so selective that only black players are good enough to draw their ire?

I think Milton is wrong about the apology issue. Anyone who's worked anywhere knows that if you want to keep something a secret it becomes harder to contain. If Lou was trying to hide his apology he wouldn't have told the press he apologized, and even if he tried to apologize I'm sure Milton would have eventually told someone that Lou admitted he made a mistake.

Please be aware that I mean no malicious intent. I'm just tired of people making excuses for Milton and all the people in the world who would rather complain about their problems than solve them.

You're misinterpreting the argument. It's not that Cubs fans don't like Milton because he's black. It was because he was high paid, underperforming, had a reputation as a headcase, and he was black. He was pretty fucking cool to the fans, way after they had turned on him, until his 'final interview'.

Remember it was the students, the parents and the teachers that were using racial slurs against Bradley's daughter.

Why has this school not been investigated by atleast a news team?

Piniella apologizes after calling him a piece of shit, but that's not good enough for Milton. He wants Piniella to apologize to him in front of the team.

To be fair, Piniella called him a piece of shit in front of the team in the dugout, didn't he?

There's really just no right way to call someone you work with a piece of shit unless you are either going to fire them or know that they are going to sit back and take it. There's no right way to apologize for it either.

That doesn't mean we should all like Bradley, of course. But the fact that Piniella and Hendry are not equally bashed by the press--because they are nice to the press, I suspect--annoys me.

Edit: Correction. I guess Lou did it in the tunnel, not the dugout. Still a big mistake, and once it got into the press it was as if he called him a piece of shit in front of anyone--but that's more on whoever reported it to the press than on Lou.

There may not be a right way to call someone a piece of shit, but there is a right way to apologize for it. A sincere apology is required in this situation, but no matter how sorry someone is, it doesn't make someone else forgive.

Bradley wouldn't forgive Lou. He said he did, but judging by his comments to a shameless ESPN reporter baiting him, he didn't have the restraint to take the high road.

I truly wish Bradley could have worked out for the Cubs, but it didn't work. He won't let go of any wrong that's been done to him, apologies or no apologies.

I work with people who have said far worse to me than Lou said to Milton, but we all have to realize that sometimes people say things they don't mean. In the cases I'm speaking of, nobody ever spoke the words "I'm sorry" to me in any form. But if you try to live life by what you think people owe you then you're going to be unhappy no matter what you want or what you think. Life isn't fair for anyone, including Milton Fucking Bradley. I know he's had a hard time in life, but a lot of people have. A lot of people have had a hard time who haven't earned $30MM over 3 years. Some people have real problems, like struggling to feed their families, putting their kids to be hungry, or not making the effort to provide them a basic education. Milton has the ability to make his problems more significant than they should be. Ultimately, he is immature and won't allow himself to be happy. I pity him and hate him at the same time.

What is lost on Real Neal and Crunch is that Lou just didn't pop out of bed one day and came to the conclusion he was going to call Milton a piece of shit. Other things were going on, as Lou hinted to...

"But I told him it wasn't right, and I apologized for it," he said. "But I also told him that we just can't continue to have the shenanigans that we've put up with it."

We might not know what all of it is, but if Milton keeps pressing his angle that the Cubs, the Organization and its fans are racist, then Lou and the rest of the team might feel compelled to finally talk about every dirty deed Milton did to make their lives hell.

what's lost on you is a manager is a manager.

you don't get a "free day" of not being a manager to scream at a guy you want to work as one of your regulars.

talent management is part of his job even if he has to put in more work on bradley than someone else.

The other shenigans were things that other guys on the team were allowed to do. WGN even joked about it.

Lizstomania--good song.

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