Cubs News Round-Up: Ben Sheets, Spring Training, Top 10 Prospect List, Zambrano Interview
- The Hardball Times has put up their top 10 Cubs' Prospects:
- Starlin Castro
- Josh Vitters
- Brett Jackson
- Jay Jackson
- Hak-Ju Lee
- Kyler Burke
- Andrew Cashner
- Chris Archer
- Chris Carpenter
- Ryan Flaherty
Archer's not a name you see on a lot of Top 10 or even Top 20 lists so far.
- Ben Sheets will throw for teams tomorrow down in Louisiana, the Cubs and about nine other clubs will be there. While the odds of Sheets making it through a full season are about on par with the odds that you're going to go home with Megan Fox tonight, it sure would make for some exciting buzz heading into the season if the Cubs could land him. There's been a few comparisons to Rich Harden and why would they let Harden go and then pursue Sheets. And yes the injury concerns are similar, but the one thing Sheets has going for him over Harden is his ability to go deep into games when he is pitching. He has 18 complete games in his career including 5 in 2008. Maybe he shouldn't have completed those games, but his season high was 123 pitches in 2008 and for the most part he was in the 100-110 range. You have to admit - Zambrano, Sheets, Dempster, Lilly and Wells would be a real nice looking 5-man rotation and suddenly make 2010 a lot more interesting.
- One of our readers "jacos" heard an interview with Carlos Zambrano on ESPN 1000 earlier. The highlights...
-Said he's in "best shape ever"
- Wants to help team win
-Said he had "6 pack abs" lifted up his shirt, Waddle said atleast a "4
pack" and could not believe Z was 265, but he looked so fit
-Talked about Lou visits to mound and what he says, (Z doing Lou's
voice)-"Ya gotta throw strikes. Cmon. A lot of people are watching"
-Most feared hitter Pujlos then Carlos Lee
-Goals for next year "stay in shape" and help the team win
-Did not play softball last year
-Didn't want to address Sosa and McGwire but said he had baseball friend who took "asteroids"(no joke)
The friend did not make MLB but had warning track power and when he took "asteroids"(second time) he could "smash the ball"
*Before we get chastized for making fun of Z's accent or whatever, it's come to my attention that it's "esteroide" in Spanish which is what he was probably saying, but asteroid is way funnier.
- Naples, Florida took a big step in trying to woo the Cubs yesterday and we may have uncovered the smoking gun that would indicate Phil Rogers might have been right for once when he said the Ricketts have already made up their mind that they want their spring training operations out of Florida.
“Kenney said if he got the consensus of the lodging organiztion
within the county that it would suppoprt the project by virtue of bed
tax funds it would be the last piece he was looking for to approach the
owners that they submit their notice of termination with Mesa and start
negotiations with Collier,” Medweddeff said.
You never want to read too much into a newspaper quote and maybe this Medweddeff person is just trying to make everyone feel good about why they're pursuing this whole thing, but that sure does sound like the Cubs are really just looking for reasons to move to Florida.
UPDATE: Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Cubs will move to Florida barring Arizona coming up with "unforeseen money".
- One little note I wanted to pass along from a Rick Sutcliffe interview on XM radio this morning. He was talking about how he's glad Nolan Ryan is trying to get pitchers to go deeper into games with Texas and then said he's hearing that the Cubs plan to make a similar push with the addition of Greg Maddux. It wasn't a big point he was making, but that is what he said.
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!