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My division and playoff picks for the year.

Here we go again, a full rundown of all the Cubs' prospect lists fit to print. Click on the "Prospect Listmania" tag at the bottom of the post for previous years or you can always visit Wiklifield.

vs. Stephen Strasburg

  • *David DeJesus, RF
  • Darwin Barney, 2B
  • Starlin Castro, SS
  • *Bryan LaHair, 1B
  • Alfonso Soriano, LF
  • *Ian Stewart, 3B
  • Marlon Byrd, CF
  • Geovany Soto, C
  • Ryan Dempster, P

I already hate Sveum. Although Barney is smacking the ball in spring training, I suppose riding out the hot streak isn't that awful. Of course so has Soto lately and they're burying him 8th again.

The more things change something something....

My bi-yearly self-indulgent post on my fantasy draft. Mock away...

Back when Chris Carpenter was announced as being sent over to the Boston Red Sox for Theo Epstein, I mentioned that the deal still can't properly be evaluated because there were still 2 players to be named later involved. There was some talk that it was just a logistic move, that the Red Sox had to send a player  to the Cubs besides an executive and the two players would be non-news. Well that turned out to be B.S. Today the Cubs announced they're sending RHP Aaron Kurcz to the Red Sox and we still don't know who the Cubs are getting. Temples were built in less time.

As for Kurcz, he's hardly a nobody, a matter of fact I was going to put him around #15 on my prospect list I was hoping to get out for Monday. He was a teammate of Bryce Harper at College of Southern Nevada, but beyond that coincidence, he's a 21-year old power righty reliever with a 9.9 whiff rate to go with a 3.7 BB/9 ratio. He might not be the quality of Chris Carpenter, but certainly not someone to just dismiss.

As the baseball world turns...

It certainly has been a rather drama free first week of camp, which doesn't give me much to react to...but I'll do my best.

- A Dave Kaplan tweet says Dale Sveum would bat Starlin Casto third if the season started today. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with that leading to Darwin Barney probably batting second. Hopefully the front office can talk some sense into him or he'll set a record for losing the benefit of the doubt by fans like me rather quickly. If that is the case, I presume the lineup could look like this against righties: DeJesus, Barney (gag), Castro, LaHair, Soriano, Stewart, Byrd, Soto.

I'd prefer Castro batting second, but if Sveum insists on him batting third, I'd rather see: DeJesus, Byrd, Castro, LaHair, Soriano, Stewart, Soto, Barney.

- Let's see if I kept track here correctly in the bunting tourney. First round winners to date include:

You know it's been a long offseason when you're actually looking forward to the results of a bunting competition.

- So Ryan Braun won his appeal to overturn a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated testerone levels. Many are claiming he's only been exonerated because of a technicality as Braun won his appeal because the "chain-of-custody" was not followed, a fancy way of saying the tester did not make Fed Ex in time and stored the urine sample in his home. There are conflicting reports on where it was stored, some saying a fridge at the tester's house, another a tupperware container on his desk for two days*. Regardless, the real winner here is due process. Clearly the standards agreed upon were not followed and a neutral arbitrator ruled accordingly. Whether he actually took anything or not will have to be decided in the court of opinion, but I'll say his 2011 numbers aren't anything out of the ordinary for a 27 year old that was already third in the MVP vote in 2008.

- Dale Sveum says that David DeJesus will likely bat leadoff to start spring training with Bryan LaHair batting fourth, Alfonso Soriano has an outside shot at the cleanup spot. He's still filling out the rest, buy my guess would be a lineup of: DeJesus, Castro, Soriano, LaHair, Soto, Stewart, Byrd, Barney.

-  Sveum also goes into great detail on what he means by hustle. He's already giving Soriano a pass for gawking at home runs if you had any notions of him cracking down on that.

- Speaking of lack of hustle, Junior Lake, Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano were the last ones to report to camp.

- Sickels came out with his top 120 prospects, Jackson at #27, Rizzo #37, Baez at #109 (believe he's predetermined that Baez will not be a SS already and adjusted accordingly). Jonathon Mayo on his blog put together an average ranking of "the big 4" prospect lists (himself, Keith Law, Baseball America and Kevin Goldstein).  Rizzo comes in at 48.75 average, Jackson 49.50 and Baez at 71. Their actually ranking on that list though - since others move around as well - is Rizzo at #38, Jackson at #40 and Baez at #69.

- Former Cub Josh Donaldson is working out a little at third base while also vying for the backup catcher job with the A's.

Enjoy the weekend!!!

*misread that bit, ESPN article just says tupperware container, nothing about a desk. There was some discrepancy about whether it was in a fridge or a basement though or maybe a fridge in the basement...whateves...FREEDOM!!!

**I swear they keep changing the article because now it mentions the desk again.

Sources told Munson that the collector left Braun's sample on a desk in a Tupperware container and left it there for two days.

I give up.

I try not to use that headline too often, but it seems fitting here. The verdict has been reached and the Boston Red Sox will get RHP Chris Carpenter from the Cubs. Cue the feigned outrage!!!!

The 26-year old righty can hit 100 mph and occassionally the broad side of a barn; 6.4 BB/9 in 45.1 IP in AAA. The overall minor league numbers are 1.384 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9, 7.6 K/9 , 3.62 ERA and a history of arm problems. He's probably a good bet to have a few good major league seasons, but I doubt the Cubs have lost a key cog in the machine they're attempting to build. Carpenter will go off the Cubs 40-man leaving room for the Cubs to add LHP Gerardo Concepcion.

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