Cubs Protect 5 from Rule 5 Draft
The Cubs added pitchers John Gaub, Blake Parker and Rafael Dolis along with catcher Welington Castillo and OF James Adduci to their 40-man roster. All five were eligible to be selected in the upcoming Rule 5 draft and the deadline was today to add them. Arizona Phil has been keeping track of this on the right sidebar of course. He had Matt Camp on his short list of players he thought the Cubs would protect - rather than Adduci - but he got the other four.
Besides Camp, I would guess that Steve Clevenger, Alessandro Maestri, Thomas Diamond, J.R.Mathes or Greg Reinhard might draw a little interest.
AZ PHIL: 21-year old RHP Rafael Dolis gets four minor league options because he has spent only one "full season" on a major league or full season minor league team's active list through the 2009 season. He wowed the scouts in his last outing at Instructs last month with a fastball clocked in the upper 90's that touched 100, and he probably would have been the 1st pick in the Rule 5 Draft if he hadn't been added to the 40. Dolis has battled elbow and shoulder problems for much of his career (he was signed by the Cubs as a hot-shot fire-ballin' 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic during the International Signing Period in 2005), spending all or parts of the 2006-08 seasons on the DL, and so 2009 was the first year he has pitched injury-free, and was also his first official "full season." While he has a power arm, he also has control issues, as he walked 53 and hit seven batters in 99 IP at Daytona in 2009. Because of his still-limited professional game experience and command issues, he is still a bit of a project. He was a rotation starter at Daytona, but he projects as an MLB one-inning power-reliever.
22-year old Welington Castillo was signed as a 17-year old out of the Dominican Republic in December 2004, and has been the Cubs #1 catching prospect for the last couple of years. He got an NRI to Spring Training with the big club in both 2008 and 2009. He threw out an organization-high 44% of opposing base-stealers in 2009, cut his passed balls in half. and reduced his errors, too, but he struggled at the plate during the first half of the season at AA Tennessee. He then caught-fire in July, August, and September (319/357/519 post-ASB). Castillo is still VERY raw (he can get lazy with his receiving and he tends to make too many unnecessary throws trying to pick runners off base), but if he continues to progress, he could be a "Flying Molina Brothers"-type frontline MLB catcher by 2011 or 2012.
24-year old LHP John Gaub was one of three pitchers the Cubs acquired from Cleveland for Mark DeRosa last December (RHPs Jeff Stevens and Chris Archer were the other two). Gaub was a top pitching prospect and a possible eventual 1st round pick when he was throwing 96 MPH at the University of Minnesota, but then his career was derailed when he underwent shoulder surgery during his junior year. Despite the surgery, the Indians selected him in the 21st round of the 2006 draft, with the understanding that he would spend the rest of 2006 and most of 2007 rehabbing at the Indians minor league facility. He resumed pitching late in the '07 season, before finally getting a full season under his belt in 2008 at Lake County (MWL), where he struck out 100 in just 64 IP. The Cubs assigned him to AA to start the 2009 season, before giving him a mid-season promotion to AAA Iowa. (Gaub struck out 80 in just 60 IP combined between Tennessee and Iowa in 2009, with a 1.15 WHIP and a 2.25 ERA). He then was assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL post-2009, where he had trouble throwing strikes. He now throws a 93 MPH fastball and a hard-breaking slider, and probably projects as an MLB LOOGY.
24-year old lefty-swinging & throwing OF-1B James Adduci is the son of ex-MLB 1B-OF Jim Adduci (STL-MIL-PHI 1983-89), and attended Evergreen Park HS in southwest suburban Chicago. He was the PTBNL in the Todd Wellemeyer trade with Florida back in 2006. (Originally the Cubs got RHP Lincoln Holdzkom and LHP Zack McCormack for Wellemeyer, but McCormack had suffered what turned out to be career-ending arm injury prior to the trade and was returned to the Marlins as "damaged goods," and so the Cubs were given the summer to scout the Marlins system for a replacement player, who turned out to be Adduci). He is a tall & lanky kid (6'3 185), but he has almost no power. He has developed a nice, compact line-drive stroke over the past couple of years, however (hitting 290/380/365 at Daytona in 2008, then 300/377/388 at Tennessee in 2009), and has morphed into a patient hitter who takes a fairly high number of walks. He is a fast runner and an excellent base-stealer, too (26 SB at Daytona in 2008, then 35 SB at Tennessee in 2009), He was a 1st baseman in HS and in his first three seasons of pro ball with the Marlins, but the Cubs moved him to the outfield to take advantage of his athleticism and plus-arm. He can play all three OF positions, as well as 1st base. He projects as an MLB 4th OF-1B-LHPH-PR.
24-year old RHP Blake Parker was drafted by the Cubs as a power-hitting C-3B-1B out of the University of Arkansas back in 2006 (16th round), but was converted to pitcher at Extended Spring Training in May 2007 after hitting a combined 224/325/367 at Mesa and Peoria in '06. He had been the clean-up hitter and top run producer for the EXST Cubs in 2007, and the other players at Fitch Park at the time were shocked to learn that Parker had been moved to pitcher, because it happened the day after he hit a GW grand slam HR. He had been a pitcher in HS, however, and one of the pitching coaches at EXST at that time (I believe it was then-Boise pitching coach Tom Pratt) saw Parker throw a 93 MPH fastball and a hard-breaking slider off the mound as a lark, and told him he should consider a move to pitcher. Parker said he was willing to give it a try, and he's been rocketing up through the Cubs system ever since. He was the closer at Tennessee and at Iowa in 2009 (combined 25 saves, 2.70 ERA, and 1.25 WHIP), and he also was the primary closer for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL post-2009, but he probably projects as an MLB middle-reliever.
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.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.