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.
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.