Getting to Know Your Obscure Cubs: Starlin Castro

As the top prospect on a lot of Cubs' prospect lists this offseason, Starlin Castro isn't all that obscure. But my idea for this little series of articles was to focus on some of the less obvious names that could impact the team in 2010 beyond the usual suspects. And it might not be right out of spring training, but somewhere potentially down the winding road. And even though Castro has been hyped up quite a bit lately, there aren't many of us that have gotten to see him on a regular basis, so let's dive a little deeper into the almost 20-year old phenom. Of course, I haven't seen him play myself besides a few video clips, but that won't stop me from pretending I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING, for it's not the Internet if you can't pass yourself off as a faux expert.

Castro was signed in 2006 out of the Dominican Republic at age 16 and played in the Dominican Summer League the following year with good results (299/371/371). At age 18, he found his way to Arizona and improved to 311/364/464 in the AZL and started to place on some of the prospect lists. The Cubs under scouting director Tim Wilken have obviously stressed the middle of the diamond and with Castro, Hak-Ju Lee, Darwin Barney, Logan Watkins, Junior Lake and Ryan Flaherty, they could afford a few risks with their promotions. Castro was the benefactor thanks to his coachability and got the bump to Hi-A Daytona to start off 2009. He managed it well and as a 19-year old earned a mid-season All-Star selection in the Florida State League and then a promotion to Double A Tennessee. He finished the year at 299/342/392 between the two levels, all before his 20th birthday. The Cubs then rewarded him with a nod to the Arizona Fall League where he put up a  376/398/475 slash line in the friendly hitting environmet and played in the "Rising Stars" game. This was enough to earn him a non-roster invite to the big league club and talk that he'll push Ryan Theriot out of a job.

The Cubs prospect hype machine has been at full throttle with Castro since last year and I've heard comparisions from Shawon Dunston to Edgar Renteria to Derek Jeter. Arizona Phil's comparision may have been my favorite:

Castro has been everything the Cubs hoped Ronny Cedeno would be, but never was.

Well if he can manage to not overslide second base to end a game on a walk, I can only envision great things.

The kid obviously has a great set of tools and his ability to not only hold his own, but even excel at times against older players is always a good sign for any prospect. Tim Wilken and some other reports rave about his wrist action and he's shown an ability to hit line drives all over the field while being able to handle breaking balls that are often the kryptonite to young hitters. Defensively, reports are that he has great range, soft hands, good instincts and a very strong throwing arm at shorstop, strong enough to probably play third base or even the outfield if necessary.

On the negative side, no one is sure how much power he'll be able to generate. He is 6-1" and allegedly just 160 pounds and in theory could fill out some and drive the ball out a little more often. Kevin Goldstein at BP - despite giving him a 5-star rating - worries that his approach and line-drive swing won't produce much power. And despite the excellent range he's shown at shorstop so far, he did commit 39 errors last year between the two levels. His speed and instincts on the basepaths seem to be merely average at best. He hasn't drawn a lot of walks,(6.76% BB/PA), but hasn't struck out much either(11.26% K/PA).

As for Castro's 2010 prospects, there's something to be said for hitting well relative to your age and then there's actually hitting well. Castro's career minor league numbers are 301/354/403 (757 OPS) and 299/342/392 (734 OPS) between two levels last season (not including the AFL of course). That's not much different than what Ryan Theriot did once he scrapped switch hitting in the minors(and although older, Theriot played more games in Double and Triple A) and the idea is to improve the position. Yeah, Castro's defense is suppose to be a plus over Theriot's, but once again let's actually see him do it over a sustained period in the upper minors than theorizing that he will. The kid will turn 20 in March, there's no reason to start his service time clock without a little more certainty that he can handle the major leagues. He sort of leaped up the prospect rankings last season, who is to say he won't fall right back down (anyone remember Brian Dopirak?). Let him work on his eye at the plate, let him see more quality pitching at either Double or Triple A, and if an opportunity arises where Theriot, Baker or Fontenot gets hurt or underperforms, give him a shot, but I'm not seeing how he'd help the team much in 2010 over what the Cubs have.

You can see some video clips of Castro over at Wiklifield if you're interested.

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Comments

Darwin Barney says hi. Aren't I more obscure that SC?

http://tinyurl.com/yfm4w3o

Barney might have a better chance to make the roster out of spring training as a utility infielder and beat out Andres Blanco, but I don't see him getting much starting time.

His offensive numbers are worse than Castro's (and Theriot for that matter) and he's been older for his leagues. I know Phil has talked up his defense, but he wouldn't be much more of a lateral move at best. Obviously if some injuries happen, Barney could get a chance. Castro has a lot more upside and if he continues to show progress this year and can impress Lou in spring training, I would expect him to get the nod.

Barwin is more obscure, but I don't see him having much of an impact with the team. Castro could conceviably be the starting shortstop out of camp (longshot) or somewhere down the line in 2010, I don't see that path being open to Barney myself.

http://www.bloombergsports.com/

heard this on the radio, pretty nifty interactive/visual player comparison system. Focus is on fantasy baseball, and it's $32, but pretty cool to play with.

You've got his Dominican and AZL stats as the same. Vinny Castilla like coincidince or CTR-C ,CTR-V error?

I'm pretty much in agreement that he's not likely to offer more than Theriot will at short. Just like Theriot's not likely to offer more than Blanco, maybe more than Barney. Barney out-hit Theriot at AA while being two years younger, and 23 is not old for AA or AAA.

317/368/401 for Barney vs. 304/365/395 for Theriot in Double A with Theriot getting twice the amount of PA's. That's not really out-hitting imo.

And I meant older than Castro for his leagues.

and thanks for the catch on his slash lines.

Well, it's not worse. Give him two years at AAA and I am sure he can equal or best Theriot's numbers there. I'd guess he doesn't do as well as Theriot has done in the majors, though.

Lilly throws 30 pitches off flat ground, supposedly looked good. Right knee is bothering him though.

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/02/...

June it is!

When Ted comes back it will be like making a deadline trade!!!

and we all know that the Cubs staff considers the correct treatment for right knee pain a RIGHT SHOULDER SCOPE.

Thankfully, that would be Lilly's glove side.

http://thecubreporter.com/2009/11/05/ted-lill...

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/02/angels-...

Aybar agrees to 2.05M with $100K in bonuses, he had been asking for $2.75M with Angels offering $1.75M.

Aybar though didn't become a regular until last season, and playing time is a big consideration.

i still think theriot walks away with a 2yr/6-7m deal before they even go to arb...theriot's agent sticking to the highpoint of his offer seems like a bad move from riot's POV.

there is a weird as hell amount of a.blanco love on TCR for a guy who hits like neifi perez without the doubles power.

just because the guy is young-ish doesn't mean he's going to suddenly get better with his skillset. it's possible, but he's got a crappy swing and a bad eye to match it. it's a shame he can't at least pick a pitch/zone/etc. rather than flailing at everything for cruddy contact.

I suspect most of the people who like Andres Blanco, myself included, are quite aware of the fact that his offense, by MLB standards, is dogshit.

i know, that just adds to my confusion.

i am well aware he can play SS really well...he can also play 2nd really well...

i just don't think theriot is bad enough to make that swap.

He's been showing some signs that he'll hit a little better.

i see nothing promising in his swing, myself. it's one thing to be a free swinger, it's another to constantly swing at everything and make horrible contact. it's practically a rarity when he makes flat contact through the zone.

I am going on the assumption that what we saw in Chicago last year wasn't the whole of his skill. He's got 1 XBH per 10 AB's in Venzeuela this off-season and did the same thing in Iowa. In fact, his ISO in Iowa last year was twice what Theriot managed to do in his time there.

But yes, he looked anemic at the plate with the Cubs. So did Theriot, while Blanco was there.

But Blanco is a bonafide major league defensive shortstop, and Theriot is a patchwork fill-in, defensively. In the ideal situation, Theriot would either be a great utility guy or an inexpensive starting second baseman on a team with a power hitting SS. I would love to have Theriot available off the bench to PH, double switch, spot start a couple of times a year, etc.

The real problem, for Theriot's future in the majors, is that now that he's approaching $3 mil per year, he's no longer cheap. And since he consistently hits 20-30 points lower the second half of every season, he isn't that appealing, since he doesn't do a whole heck of a lot other than hit singles the rest of the year. His walk rate dropped. He doesn't hit for enough extra bases. Forget trying to hit hr's, a .360ish slugging percentage is a joke. He's also not a good basestealer, at least for being a weak hitting middle infielder. Throw in the mediocre at best defense at SS and there are a lot of negatives. The only pluses for Theriot is he's a pesky contact guy, and there isn't a boatload of talented starting 2b or SS in the majors right now. Theriot's lucky he's playing now instead of at the peak of the steroid era.

I could tolerate a guy like Theriot at a bargain basement price, but his lack of productivity/talent works against him now that he's about to get a big raise.

RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!

Batting is only part of the game.

yeah, but theriot isn't a fumbling retard even if his D is average.

blanco has an ugly as hell swing and makes some really crappy contact as a result. he rarely puts the bat through the zone looking good.

Blanco can also lay down a bunt and move a runner over. It seemed like when he was put in baseball situations last year, he would do something productive. I know that's piss-poor reasoning, but it's what I got.

If Theriot can regain some discipline and post another .285 season there's no reason he shouldn't start, I just think he should start at 2B. You don't need a .270+ hitter at shortstop, you need someone to go get the ball. jmho

I love Blanco. He is a "real" shortstop. But, he would be an asset on a team that is loaded in the other 7 spots in a lineup.

We did not have that last year.

And, this year remains to be seen.

It would be interesting to see what the SS's on WS Champs over the last 20 years look like did at the plate.

2009- Derek Jeter:.334/.406/.465, 18 HR, 66 RBI
2008- Jimmy Rollins:.277/.349/.437, 11 HR, 59 RBI
2007- Julio Lugo: .237/.294/.349, 8 HR, 73 RBI
2006- David Eckstein: .292/.350/.344, 2HR, 23 RBI
2005- Juan Uribe: .252/.301/.412, 16 HR, 71 RBI
2004- Orlando Cabrera: .294/.320/.465, 6 HR,31RBI
2003- Alex Gonzalez: .256/.313/.443, 18 HR, 77 RBI
2002- David Eckstein:.293/.363/.388, 8HR, 63RBI
2001- Tony Womack: .266/.307/.345, 3HR, 30 RBI
2000- Derek Jeter: .339/.416/.481, 15HR, 73 RBI
1999- Derek Jeter: .349/.438/.552, 24HR,102 RBI
1998- Derek Jeter: .324/.384/.481, 19HR, 84 RBI
1997- Edgar Renteria: .277/.327/.340, 4HR,52RBI
1996- Derek Jeter: .314/.370/.430, 10HR, 78RBI
1995- Jeff Blauser: .211/.319/.341, 12HR, 31RBI
1993- Tony Fernandez: .306/.361/.442, 4HR, 50RBI
Ok...so not taking into account steals...defense..etc..I'm bored already...lol...but here's a few years worth..

Take Jeter off the list and you have a much different list.

That's true...but I was just using the SS from each team that won the WS...so he's there..

2000- Mike Bordick:.260/.321/.365 4HR, 21RBI
1999- Walt Weiss: .226/.315/.323, 2HR,29 RBI
1998-Chris Gomez: .267/.346/.379, 4HR,39RBI
1996-Jeff Blauser:.245/.356/.419,10HR,35RBI

Submitted by The E-Man on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 9:34am.
I love Blanco. He is a "real" shortstop. But, he would be an asset on a team that is loaded in the other 7 spots in a lineup.

We did not have that last year.

And, this year remains to be seen.

It would be interesting to see what the SS's on WS Champs over the last 20 years look like did at the plate.

============================================

E-MAN: Andres Blanco was a Royals Top 10 prospect 2003-04, played in the Futures Game in 2004, and made his MLB debut with KC at age 20.

But then his career was sidetracked by injury in 2006 & 2007 (torn labrum in his left shoulder, torn hamstring, and knee surgery), such that the Royals outrighted him to minors post-2007.

Blanco then became a Rule 55 minor league free-agent, and signed a minor league deal with the Cubs. He played OK at AAA Iowa in 2008, but really got his career back on track in 2009, hitting 304/353/474 at Iowa before gettting called-up by the Cubs.

He hit as many home runs in 2009 as he had in his entire pro career pre-2009. Then he went down to Venezuela post-2009 and hit 291/353/453, while finishing tied for 4th in the VWL in stolen bases. So apparently his legs are OK. And he's developing some power. And he has always had a solid glove (he was compared to Omar Vizquel by Baseball America when he was coming up through the Royals system). And he's still only 25.

Well...ok. that's a good point on Blanco.

However- I would tell anyone pointing to improved hitting in the PCL to note that it is considered a hitters league. I also see that Blanco still only hit .252/.303/.341 in 123 at bats last season with the Cubs. In June, when he played the most: .258/.310/.303 in 66 atbats over 19 games. I still think Blanco is just a backup at this point.

The PCL as a hitters league for the most part has gone by the wayside with some park changes and the absorption of the American Association. It's a slight hitters league, but nothing like it was 15 years ago.

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/ora...

Ok. The average ERA for a pitcher in the PCL last season was 4.50, and the league average line was .272/.341/.418. In the International League, it was 3.91 ERA, and .262/.328/.395. The league HR average per team in the PCL was 124.19, in the Int'l League, 107.4. Aren't those numbers fairly significant?
My point is this: Blanco hit .304/.353/.474 at Iowa last season. He has never, ever approached those numbers: .256/.318/.326 career minor league numbers. Even if he has improved, and is coming into his prime, is it reasonable to expect him to hit .290/.350/.400 in the majors? Heck...I'd be surprised at .270/.330/.350, which still stinks.

I thought Blanco played for the Iowa Cubs last year?

Anyway, who said he has to have a .750 OPS? Theriot has never had a .750 OPS (.712 OPS last year). A .700 OPS Blanco is a better player than Theriot was last year.

Ok. Blanco did...play for Iowa last year. He showed improvement...in a league that was beneficial for hitters, and he still hit like crap when he came to the Cubs. If Blanco gets his OPS to .700 this year, in a reasonable amount of at-bats, I will buy you a ticket to a Cubs game TRN.

I'll take that bet ; )

Keep in mind, the guy who you are defending as a superior hitter had an OPS of .082 LESS than Blanco at the same age in the same league. I'm not saying it's a sure thing, but to imply it's impossible or even unlikely... well that doesn't make much sense.

as arbitrator of all fair bets, it would be best that one of you define what is a "reasonable amount of at-bats(or PA's)" and what Neal is offering if he doesn't reach a .700 OPS.

that is if you guys are serious about the bet...

I suppose if he were to get at least 300 at bats or so...I don't know..is that too much? 250?

To imply that he has never come close to those numbers in MLB, or in the minors, until playing at AAA Iowa, is not implying...it's fact.

Blanco is not a good hitter. Period.

Theriot is not a good hitter. Period. Theriot, in addition, is not a good fielder.

Compared to Blanco, Theriot is a very good hitter. If Blanco could aproximate .270/.330/.370..he'd be starting this season.

Theriot is not a good fielder...but I've seen worse for sure.

guess it was slowdown the Castro hype machine day on the Internet...

http://trueslant.com/georgecastle/2010/02/18/...

There are all kinds of hyped up rookies that come up on other teams that do just fine under pressure. The Cubs have done a lousy job of bringing up position players because they bring up lousy position players. Castle even notes that Felix Pie burned up AAA and still blew up at Wrigley. That had more to do with the fact he couldn't hit than any pressure. It's not like he raked under less media scrutiny in Baltimore. What would Castle have done with Pie? Had him bake for six more years at AAA?

I don't really buy the argument about not being able to play under a media spotlight. Baseball players don't devote their lives to the sport and then freak out because they're afraid of crowds and the media. They love the limelight, the girls, and the nice hotels, for gawd's sake.

I agree strongly with your second sentence, Old, that the Cubs have needed better-quality prospects, which I think we're starting to see.

I don't recall Pie burning up AAA or any minor-league level. His first year at Iowa his numbers in 623 PAs were .283/.341/.451/.792, and if I remember correctly he spent most of the season around .250 before he put together a good August.

His gaudy numbers at Iowa the following season don't resemble his numbers at any level before or since, and are misleading, I think, because he had a couple of deep slumps that year (2007), but he was with Chicago when he had them.

He was always going to need to marinate a long time as a hitter. I don't know how the Cubs could have handled him differently. There are a lot of rules (like Rule 5) that prevent a team from hanging on to slow-maturing players.

He was always going to need to marinate a long time as a hitter. I don't know how the Cubs could have handled him differently.

Er, looks like you missed Pie's comments last season that he had to unlearn everything the Cubs taught him about hitting. And he had a nice second half, even including September when he hurt his back and quad, after reworking his swing with Terry Crowley.

Pie (164 PA from May 6 to Sept 6 when his back started to hurt him )

.313 .374 .537 .912

I certainly agree that Pie was getting too much hitting advice, and have said that he was coachable to a fault. Sometimes you just have to shut out the noise.

But overall he had the same hitting coaches as the PCL MVP in 2007 (Soto), the guy who must have been runner-up to PCL MVP Nelson Cruz in '08 (Hoffpauir) and the hitter who was destroying PCL pitching last year before being called up (Fox).

FWIW, Soto said he only had success hitting in the minors when he stopped thinking about all the advice his was getting from coaches and just went to the plate with "see the ball, hit the ball" in his mind.

Pie said he had trouble hitting after he came up with the Cubs because they had him trying new things and he lost his timing.

And both coaches involved, Gerald Perry (who coached Pie in Winter Ball two years as well as being the Cubs hitting coach) and Von Joshua (AAA and Cubs 2009) were eventually fired--Von Joshua being offered his job back with Iowa.

What I'm wondering is how a coach like Joshua fits in if Rudy Jaramillo is successful this year. If Rudy can help hitters hit then it follows that his method should help coaches coach. And if I'm the Cubs, then I want my minor leaguers getting schooled in the Jaramillo approach earlier rather than later.

So Geo started hitting well when he stopped taking coaching advice? Lovely.

Cubs coaching is sketchy throughout the entire organization.

Peoria led the Midwest League (14 teams) in 2009 in BA, SLG, TB and HR. Their hitting coach was Barbaro Garbey.

Seriously, when the Cubs have better prospects than Patterson, Cedeno and Pie, some of these so-called coaching problems will disappear.

http://baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?c...

Cubs info I found...

Yeong is very intriguing. Smooth easy arm with projection, already 90-92 mph as a teenager. Rhee really was one of the better arms in the Midwest League when healthy, so I'm looking forward to his return.

Dennis (LA): Does Andrew Cashner have the upside of Kerry Wood, either as a starter or a reliever?

Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely not. But that's not a knock on Cashner. I don't need more than two hands to count the numbers of pitcher since Wood who have equaled his upside.

Kyran (Boulder, CO): Who's your surprise team - in a good or bad way - in MLB this year?

Kevin Goldstein: Good: Washington. Not in a oh my god they won 85 games way or anything, just in that they won't be a joke.

Bad: Cubs -- I just think that window has closed, and it's a roster filled with players on the downswing.

if the cubs are in bad shape the mets must be due to commit mass suicide. meh...

Jim Callis had this to say about Cashner:

"Chapman, Feliz and Strasburg all can reach triple digits with their fastballs, and the consensus is that they have the best heat in the minors—legitimate 8 fastballs on the 2-8 scouting scale. Andrew Cashner (Cubs) and Tanner Scheppers (Rangers) would be at the top of the second tier of fastballers."

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect...

" overslide second base to end a game on a walk"

Ahhh...memories.

Muskat tweets:

Ted Lilly to undergo MRI Thursday on right knee, which is sore. He's only playing catch now after surgery on shoulder

http://twitter.com/carriemuskat

like I said, can right shoulder arthroscopy be far behind?

Bruce Miles on Lilly:

Lefty Ted Lilly pitched from flat ground today and said he felt great. That was the good news for the Cubs. The possible bad news is that he's headed to the doc to have his right knee checked. An MRI is likely for Lilly, who reported the knee being "some" sore.

Last season, Lilly had the left knee scoped while on the DL for shoulder inflammation. The shoulder ended up being scoped in November.

"Today I ran on it," Ted said. "It's not something I'm going to make a big deal out of. What I'm going to do today is just have it looked at. (An MRI) might be a good idea."

Lilly threw with some authority today, using a pitching motion and doing more than just playing catch.

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/3475

I went to ST practice back in 2004. And the pitchers are standing around, watching Z talk and Rothschild walks behind Z and blows the airhorn.

Z jumped about three feet in the air.

Yeah, that's good for a bad back.

More from Bruce Miles/Herald:

Not sure what they'll do if Nady pulls a hamstring (in his elbow)?

Some people don't have palmaris longus tendon's (congenitally absent) which is the most common source of graft in Tommy John UCL elbow ligament reconstructions. In these case, they have to use alternative source/sites for the graft. Hence achilles or hamstrings are options.

--Outfielder Xavier Nady is here, and he was hitting. Nady is coming off the second Tommy John surgery of his career. He said his days to throw are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so we'll look for that tomorrow. He also said they used his Achilles' tendon for the first TJS, back in 2001. This time, they used the hamstring. So Nady is running out of parts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTzLVIc-O5E

We've got a deep farm system full of young kids. Maybe we can just start calling up those kids, one piece at a time.

i keep forgetting we have nady...hell of a bench bat, imo...whether it's him starting or he's the guy he's replacing someone in a game.

in June.

Lo and behold, a meme is born!

Can someone remind me? If you get called up to the majors, then sent back down, do you get the MLB minimum for the rest of the year?

Submitted by The Real Neal on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 4:05pm.
Can someone remind me? If you get called up to the majors, then sent back down, do you get the MLB minimum for the rest of the year?

==================================

REAL NEAL: A player who is sent to the minors on optional assignment gets whatever his minor league split salary is (at least $65K), presuming he has a split salary in his contract. And "auto-renewal" (pre-arbitration) players almost always have minor league split salaries included in the contracts. (Jeff Samardzija is pre-arbitration but he has no minor league split--he gets paid $2.5M in 2010 whether he is on an MLB 25-man roster or a minor league roster, but he is an exception because he signed a multi-year deal that included a "no trade" clause and no minor league "split" salary after the first season).

In the case of Starlin Castro (for example), he is likely making about $15,000 this year (boosted to $18,000 if he gets promoted to AAA Iowa). If the Cubs select his contract and add him to the 25-man roster (and 40-man roster) at some point this season, Castro would get the MLB minimum salary ($400K, or $67,000 per month, for as long as he is in the big leagues) while he is on the 25-man roster, and then if he is subsequently optioned to the minors, he'd get the $65K split minimum ($10K+ per month) while on optional assignment, because he would have accrued MLB Service Time before he got optioned out. (Players with no MLB service time who are on a 40-man roster for the first time--like Adduci, W. Castillo, Dolis, Gaub, and Parker--get the minimum $32,500 minor league split while on optional assignment in 2010, as long as they don't accrue any MLB Service Time).

Another thing to remember about Starlin Castro (and this is true for Andrew Cashner and Jay Jackson, too) is that if he is added to the Cubs 40-man roster during the 2010 season and then gets optioned to the minors later in the season, he would get four minor league options (as long as they are used prior to completing five "full seasons"), because Castro (like Cashner and J. Jackson, and Rafael Dolis, too) has completed only one "full season" through the 2009 season. So not wanting to have Castro accrue MLB Service Time might be a reason not to recall him in 2010, but any concern about starting his "option clock" ticking earlier than normal probably is a bit misplaced.

Awesome, thanks Phil.

Awesome information

Are Dominican dates of birth generally suspect, or was that just a problem with a few players?
If Castro were about to turn 22 instead almost 20 would that change anyone's opinion of his upside?

think they clamped down on that a bit, although I'm sure some guys can still sneak through.

yes, that would change people's opinion on his upside.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/teams/chc/photos

think the captions are a bit off....

that doesn't look like Guzman patting Marmol on the head and I don't know who Brad Kelly is, but I don't think he's a pitcher with the Cubs, looks like a coach.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...

bites from Lou and Hendry, plenty of exciting workout footage. It does look like the batting cages were installed, although maybe their old.

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/02/21...

The young catcher, who lost about 40 pounds this offseason, hit eight or nine batting practice home runs.

"The ball was jumping off his bat really well and he was getting through the ball really easy," Piniella said. "When you lose weight, especially in the middle like he has, it's much easier to get those hips through the ball."

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/02/...

Silva came into camp out of shape. Caridad is the front-runner for Guzman's bullpen spot if he's not ready by Opening Day according to Lou.

Silva comes to camp out of shape. There is a suprise.

That damn Silva, he's a clubhouse cancer.

...or he's a clubhouse diabetes? Is that a thing?

since when is round not a shape?

Go Marquette...#19 Pittsburgh in town tonight. Big game for our NCAA chances...

fwiw...MLB "Hot Stove" did their team previews tonight. they had the cubs 1-4 set in as z/dumpster/lilly/wells with a pool for the 5th slot being silva/ninja/gorz. looks like marshall might be solidly pen-bound if any research was done on these predicted rotations. still too early to tell...

Does it annoy anyone else that Marshall has the best track record out of any of them, yet is the most frequently discounted player?

I wouldn't have a problem with using any of Marshall, Gorzo, or Ninja (though I wonder if Ninja shouldn't start the year at AAA)--play the young guys, see what they got; forget about Silva. He's a long reliever until he proves otherwise or gets released/traded.

Submitted by Charlie on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 8:10am.
Does it annoy anyone else that Marshall has the best track record out of any of them, yet is the most frequently discounted player?

I wouldn't have a problem with using any of Marshall, Gorzo, or Ninja (though I wonder if Ninja shouldn't start the year at AAA)--play the young guys, see what they got; forget about Silva. He's a long reliever until he proves otherwise or gets released/traded.

================================

CHARLIE: I agree. Sean Marshall would probably be the best option for the #5 starter slot until Lilly returns.

But Piniella thinks Marshall is best-suited to work out of the bullpen as the #2 lefty, so for Marshall to get consideration for a starting gig, Jeff Samardzija, Mike Parisi, and Carlos Silva will have to struggle, AND either John Gaub or James Russell will have to have a strong camp and make the Opening Day 25-man roster, UNLESS Lou is willing to go with just one lefty in the pen until Lilly returns. (BTW, sfter a bad first outing, Russell was "lights out," easily the best lefty reliever in the AFL).

Of course success trumps all, but it's said that Lou likes his starters and finishers to throw smoke. So that pretty much puts Samardzija at the top of the list of #5 starter candidates.

1. Samardzija 96-99 MPH
2. Gorzelanny 88-93 MPH
3. Silva 89-90 MPH (and a huge contract puts him ahead of...)
4. Marshall 87-88 MPH (with a low 70's curve)

And here are Cubs relief pitching candidates listed by speed of their fastballs.

Average Fastball Speed
Gray 95
Caridad 93
Parker 93
Gaub 92
Berg 92
Stevens 92

It's said? Who said?

It's ironic that Silva is already doing one of the things to us that people thought Bradley would do - get the big contract then phone everything else in.

The Cubs didn't want Silva, Neal, as I'm sure you know. They just used him to get back some of the Bradley money. If he stinks, they'll pay him $1 million per inning, like they did Vizcaino last year, and release him after 16 innings.

yet another reason there is no such thing as a 3+ million dollar manager.

get a lineup jockey who can keep the locker room chill and spend the extra 2+ million on some who will actually touch a baseball.

Except we've seen what happens when they spend money on guys who touch the baseball.

Maybe they should spend the extra 2+ million on a different GM? (I'm trying to figure out exactly when I became a Hendry detractor, but I'm pretty sure I am one now.)

hendry is as much as fault as lou for taking on something they were ill prepared to handle or deal with, imo.

people are mad about his backloaded contracts, too, but aside from soriano's deal none of them piss me off too much. there were some cheap years before all these $$ ones kicked in and though the talent is overpriced it's not junk.

***He is 6-1" and allegedly just 160 pounds and in theory could fill out some and drive the ball out a little more often.***

There's still hope... I believe Sammy and Barry were about the same size at 19 too.. and look how many bombs they creamed!

Submitted by CincyKid on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 9:35am.
***He is 6-1" and allegedly just 160 pounds and in theory could fill out some and drive the ball out a little more often.***

There's still hope... I believe Sammy and Barry were about the same size at 19 too.. and look how many bombs they creamed!

========================================

CINCY KID: Starlin Castro weighed 150 when he was signed as a 16-year old in 2006, but he was listed at 190 by the Cubs at the start of Spring Training last year. No question he has added some bulk since I first saw him at Fitch Park in March 2008.

I hate buying tickets.

Lilly's knee MRI is negative, and he threw long toss today.

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/news/story?...

"Today I ran on it," Ted said. "It's not something I'm going to make a big deal out of. What I'm going to do today is just have it looked at. (An MRI) might be a good idea."

So much of MLB spring training is stupid. Running SP's with bad knees tops the list. There are plenty of low impact ways to get a cardio workout and/or strengthen your legs.

was today, decision expected tomorrow.

fuck them.

Trying to get tickets to Angels vs. Cubs and everytime I get through says it can't process request because of high volume.

I wonder if it will be aired with sub-titles.

I assume it will sound like this...

"so yeah, Rios, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP and that BEEP, BEEP, BEEP Juan Pierre.."

Will there by cartoons? Otherwise Sox fans will lose interest after 5 minutes.

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