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.
Everytime I recall Szcur's bne marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.