"I got it!! I got it!!... I ain't got it"

Ten Cubs pitchers threw their second "live" BP session at Fitch Park today.



Jeff Stevens and David Patton threw to James Adduci, Matt Camp, Tyler Colvin, Bryan Lahair, and Chris Robinson, Casey Coleman and Mitch Atkins threw to Starlin Castro, Steve Clevenger, Kosuke Fukudome, and Alfonso Soriano, and J. R. Mathes threw to Robinson Chirinos, Koyie Hill, Blake Lalli, and Josh Vitters on Field #2, while on Field #3, Blake Parker and Jeff Kennard threw to Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Sam Fuld, Bobby Scales, and Brad Snyder, James Russell and Thomas Diamond threw to Marlon Byrd, Brett Jackson, Derrek Lee, Xavier Nady, and Geovany Soto, and Marcos Mateo threw to Andres Blanco, Micah Hoffpauir, Kevin Millar, and Chad Tracy.


Players who didn't get to hit in a "live" BP session took BP on either Field #1 or Field #4, with coaches or machines throwing the BP.


With Greg Maddux standing behind him, Mike Parisi threw "live" BP in an early morning session prior to the full-squad workout. Vince Perkins was scheduled to throw today, and he may have thrown early, too, but I'm not sure.


This was the second "live" BP sesion for the pitchers who threw today (this group threw their first "live" BP session on Wednesday), and pitch counts were increased from 25 to 30, with all pitchers now throwing their full array of pitches (including breaking balls). The hitters know what's coming, so it's noteworthy when a pitcher has a dominating outing in one of these sessions.


No question the best pitcher today was LHP James Russell (he also had the best outing among the 12 pitchers who threw on Wednesday). Facing major league hitters like D-Lee, Byrd, Nady, and Soto (plus 2009 #1 draft pick Brett Jackson) today, Russell looked great, getting lots of swings & misses while breaking a couple of bats. Marlon Byrd let out a hoot on one of his whiffs.


The son of former MLB closer Jeff Russell and the Cubs 14th round draft pick in 2007 out of the University of Texas (the Cubs had to give him "3rd round money" to give up his senior season at Texas), the 24-year old Russell is one of 21 non-roster invitees (NRI) at Fitch Park. This is his first big league camp, and he got the NRI after a strong six weeks in the Arizona Fall League post-2009, where he was the AFL's #1 lefty reliever. Russell isn't really a LOOGY. He's probably more of a prototypical lefty starter, but for some reason, Russell just gets better results working out of the pen (like his old man). If the Cubs decide to move Sean Marshall to the starting rotation while Ted Lilly rehabs from off-season knee and shoulder surgery, Russell might be a candidate to replace Marshall as the other lefty in the pen (with John Grabow).


Two other pitchers who looked especially good today were RHPs Blake Parker and Thomas Diamond. Nobody hit the ball hard off either of them. The Cubs 2006 16th round pick out of the University of Arkansas, Parker (like Carlos Marmol and Randy Wells) is a former catcher, who was converted to pitcher during Extended Spring Training at Fitch Park in May 2007. Parker was a teammate of Russell's at Tennessee, Iowa and Mesa (AFL) in 2009 (Parker has been a closer since he made the conversion to pitcher), while Diamond (a former Texas Rangers #1 draft pick) threw in the AZ Instructional League and in the Mexican Pacific League post-2009 after being claimed off waivers by the Cubs last September. (Diamond pitched for Cubs Assistant GM Randy Bush when Bush was Head Coach at the University of New Orleans).


While Russell, Parker, and Diamond had plus-outings, David Patton (a Rule 5 player last year) struggled with his "out" pitch (spike curve), bouncing most of them in the dirt. It's a tough pitch to throw (and hit), so he might need some time to get it right.


Among the hitters, Bobby Scales mashed a couple of balls off the right-centerfield fence off Jeff Kennard, and Tyler Colvin absolutely ripped Jeff Stevens. Starlin Castro and Micah Hoffpauir also had some solid hits.


Prior to the "live" BP sessions, catchers, infielders and outfielders on Field #2 (Chris Robinson, Blake Lalli, Robinson Chirinos, and Steve Clevenger at catcher, Kevin Millar and Bryan Lahair at 1B, Darwin Barney at 2B, Matt Camp and Starlin Castro at SS, Josh Vitters and Bobby Scales at 3B, James Adduci in LF, Brett Jackson and Tyler Colvin in CF, and Brad Snyder in RF) and Field #3 (Geovany Soto, Koyie Hill, and Welington Castillo at catcher, Derrek Lee and Micah Hoffpauir at 1B, Jeff Baker and Andres Blanco at 2B, Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot at SS, Aramis Ramirez and Chad Tracy at 3B, Alfonso Soriano in LF, Marlon Byrd and Sam Fuld in CF, and Kosuke Fukudome and Xavier Nady in RF) spent about 30 minutes practicing calling for pop ups & (hopefully) catching a few of them. The balls were sent into the air by a pitching machine turned upward, and some of the infield pops were truly towering (I think one just missed hitting a low-flying aircraft).


With the big league club at Fitch Park, Cubs minor leaguers who have arrived early are having informal work-outs up the street at HoHoKam Park under the supervision of Boise manager Jody Davis. As the Boise manager, Davis will also be the manager of both the Boise/Mesa squad at Minor League Camp and the Extended Spring Training team that plays at Fitch Park during April-May-June.


Minor League Camp officially opens at Fitch Park next week, a few days after the big league club moves up Center Street to HoHoKam Park. (The big league club will probably relocate Spring Training operations to HoHoKam Park on either Tuesday or Wednesday).

Comments

Brophy!

I keep waiting for James Russell to breakout. I mean, with the plus change, good curve, and enough on the fastball, that's a solid starter's arsenal. I'm still not exactly sure what his issue is as a starter.

I'm hoping that Russell starts the season in AAA's rotation. There's enough lefty options (Gorzelanny could get the 5th job with Marshall in the pen along with Grabow, and Gaub will be in AAA) that I really would like to see if Russell can figure it out.

With Diamond, I'm curious on how the breaking ball looks and how good his control is. With Parker, the control's going to be interesting. All three could get big league time this year, depending on how things go.

Great job Phil...I'm especially interested in Thomas Diamond
this year...It's early...but the outings by Russell/Diamond/Parker are encouraging...
Keep up the good worl, Phil.

So is Russell's problem stamina?

That would be my guess. Other options would be brains (he cannot think his way through the lineup multiple times and won't trust his catcher) or deception, which I would think AZ Phil would have noted or concentration.

One thing I read somewhere once upon a time was that fastball location. Not an issue of control, as that's fine, but rather knowing how to attack with the fastball without throwing BP (that's not how it was worded, I can't think of another way to word it right now).

So he could only maintain his fastball location for a few outs? That sounds like it would fit into the general group of stamina or concentration.

"Russell stood out with his changeup but his other two pitches, an 84-88 mph fastball and a marginal breaking ball, didn't impress scouts. In the Texas Collegiate League, his fastball jumped to 88-92 mph and his curve was more usable. Russell's changeup is the best in the system and helps his other pitches play up. He throws strikes on a good downhill plane, and he has the know-how befitting the son of a former big leaguer." - Baseball America, 2/08

"his game is all about finesse and not power. His best pitch is his changeup, followed by a fringy 84-88 mph fastball and a marginal breaking ball." - 6/07

maybe he's got that FB in the 88-92 range again...

how did all that info come from a spreadsheet? they must have some fancy ones down there at BA.

there were reports on 88-92. Also, the breaking ball has, by most accounts, improved while he's been in the Cubs system. I think there was a report that said it was a now a solid pitch.

Love your daily coverage, Phil. For those of us in Mesa, I'd like to know which instructors are working when I watch. Could you provide us with the minor league instructor/manager spring uniform numbers? Thanks.

Submitted by Hook on Fri, 02/26/2010 - 6:21pm.
Love your daily coverage, Phil. For those of us in Mesa, I'd like to know which instructors are working when I watch. Could you provide us with the minor league instructor/manager spring uniform numbers? Thanks

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

HOOK:

23 Ryne Sandberg - AAA Manager
26 Billy Williams - Special Instructor
31 Greg Maddux - Special Instructor
77 Dave Bialas - Minor League Field Coordinator
80 Carmelo Martinez - Latin American Field Coordinator
81 Bob Dernier - Roving Outfield & Baserunning Instructor
82 Von Joshua - AAA Hitting Instructor
83 Franklin Font - Roving Infield & Bunting Instructor
85 Mark Riggins - Minor League Pitching Coordinator
86 Mike Mason - AAA Pitching Coach
87 Dave Keller - Minor League Hitting Coordinator
89 Dennis Lewallyn - AA Pitching Coach
90 Brad Kelley - Fitch Park Rehab Pitching Coach
91 Marty Pevey - Roving Catching Instructor
92 Tom Beyers - AA Hitting Coach
93 Bill Dancy - AA Manager
94 Woong Chun Cho - Special Instructor

Great! Now I'll get a much clearer idea on the day's activities. Thanks again.

Franklin "Gothic" Font?

/I'm so sorry

Awesome.

What would happen if Fergie Jenkins became an on-field instructor?

31 (maple leaf)

420 (drug reference)

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100...

don't see the Van Buren reference, a bit wild with his delivery but doesn't end up with his back to the batter.

he finishes his delivery with "kung fu ballerina" in a weird position to field the ball...i just think that's funky. he comes up with his right side square to the batter a lot, too.

the video is on the link, it's a bit odd no doubt, but nothing like Van Buren.

better than Kerry Wood, who ended up 3 feet towards the first base bag all the time and the only way he'd catch something up the middle is if he went behind his back.

yeah...they both have funky ends of their release...i didn't call him mitch williams or something.

a lot of people come off wide to 1st/3rd. it's not good, but they do it anyway. NOT doing it is what led randy johnson to spot his stuff better.

and the only way he'd catch something up the middle is if he went behind his back.

Which he got damn good at. But yeah, should've raised some eyebrows.

cards finally sign the 2nd baseman that couldn't...felipe lopez with a 2m deal + incentives (undisclosed as of yet).

not bad at all.

Can't Khalil Greene just chill the fuck out?

Looks like the Cardinals finally signed Lopez.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4...

Neal: I think somehow you'd be able to discern Mad-Dog from Fergie on the field.

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/news/st...

Asked about possible racial profiling among some media members in comparing Byrd and Bradley, Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee didn't mince words.

"It's ridiculous," Lee told Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood on ESPN 1000's "Talkin' Baseball" Saturday morning. "If it was a white guy who came over [to the Cubs] would he be [called] the 'anti-Milton Bradley'? It just makes no sense. Marlon's a completely different guy. He wasn't traded for Milton. He signed here as a free agent, so why even bring Milton Bradley's name into it? It really makes no sense and it's just, again, the media trying to make something out of nothing."

as far as i can tell...even the "pulse" of the fans seem to not connect byrd to milton even if he's the "replacement"

everyone is worried about other people and their performances it seems.

Starting to understand this team's lack of success in last two playoffs.

"If it was(sic) a white guy who came over [to the Cubs] would he be [called] the 'anti-Milton Bradley'?

Why the fuck not? Jason Bay is known as the anti-Manny in Boston.

You misunderstood the comments. He is actually affectionately referred to as Manny's Auntie.

That's incredible.

That's an "and you thought WE were bored" question. Not quite as stupid as the girl who asked the Nascar driver if he thought they should make it more dangerous, but it's right up there.

it's being asked, though.

as much as some press people took milton VERY VERY personally...as if the writers were a story...i'm not surprised.

some f'n drama queen writers spend so long along the game they think they are the game.

don mattingly at 2nd...ron guidry in CF...

lulz...the "pine tar incident game"

i've never seen this in it's entirety...AND they added the resumed game part i've personally never seen.

bwhaha...brett quoted on MLB Network about the incident "best thing that ever happened to me...before that i was known as the hemorrhoid guy...now i'm the pine-tar guy."

1979 PHI @ CHC "45 run game" on MLB Network

woo!!

21-19 phi/chc in the 6th. the cubs might come back and win this one.

Marmol's wild in BP. Castro pays the price.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

our closer...

also interesting:

Piniella said he’s looking for six players to stand up and take jobs this spring.

“Realistically, we’re looking for two starting pitchers, two relievers and two bench players. That’s about what we have open,” Piniella said.

So, for those of us trying to sort out allegiances: Marmol is on team Theriot, Dolis is on team Castro.

Did anybody else not know that Rammy never takes live BP? I'd think this would've come up in previous years.

just vs. teammates...it's common.

well, it's a lot more common for star/vet hitters to stand in and just not swing...giving the pitcher someone to look at...not as common to just not do it. still, it's not that unusual around baseball.

Obvious next question: Why?

it's been going on a long time. some players claim they dont want direct competition or risk injury on a pitcher still warming his location/velocity...it seems to be something vets take advantage of more often so it might be a reason to not stand around the batting cage waiting for their hacks, too. some will stand in the box, but not swing...basically just hanging out at the cage and giving the pitcher a chance to throw some riskier stuff or loosen up for the others taking real hacks.

yeah, it seems like it'd be fun...it is for some.

Also, some of the vets have a different routine for getting back to full game speed. Those young kids have to get in there and swing or else. The guys getting paid big money don't.

Kinda like crunch said, he doesn't need it. He doesn't need those hacks against the Cashner/Dolis/Gaub/Atkins of the world to be ready to go. He'll feast on another few days of 65 mph BP heaters and then start gearing up for full speed when the ST games start.

C. Karhl has a BP update on the NL Central. Not much interesting in her discussion of the Cubs. Same old back of the rotation and bullpen slots talk, 2B, Castro's arrival and Nady, yaketty-yak.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

If Kevin Millar doesn't make the club, I'm thinking they will add him to the radio broadcast booth with a provision that he might get added later if injury permits (or at least a September roster callup).

I can see him hiding Santo's "gamer" on a regular basis. Probably hiding it in Pat's tuna fish sandwich.

BP's Marc Nomadin has 3B rankings. ARam's in the 4 star group with Sandoval, Reynolds, IStewart, Figgins, MYoung and Chipper.

The 5 stars are predictably, Zimmerman, Wright, Longoria and ARod.

Ramirez hit well in limited time last year, but his BABIP was a little too lofty for PECOTA and my liking given his history. Those R and HR totals seem a little low to me, but bumping him up for that doesn't do anything except keep him ahead of the guys I've listed after him.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

another BP article on the NL Central, this time with a contract focus, by Jeff Euston:

The Cubs are likely to spend more in 2010 than every club but the Yankees and Red Sox, absent a multi-million addition by the Phillies. Chicago’s projected Opening Day payroll of more than $140 million dwarves the amounts spent by their division rivals: nearly $45 million more than St. Louis, $48 million more than Houston, $53 million more than Milwaukee, $69 million more than Cincinnati, and $103 million more than Pittsburgh. No pressure in Wrigleyville. Just win. Now.

Hendry has already committed more than $101 million in guaranteed deals for 2011, when as many as nine Cubs could be eligible for salary arbitration. He has a start on 2012, too, with $60.5 million on the books...

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

Now where did I put those razor blades...?

"Chicago’s projected Opening Day payroll of more than $140 million dwarves the amounts spent by their division rivals..."

Dwarves? Really? As in "Snow White and the 7 $20 million dwarves"?

"Dwarfs", BP. The word you were going for was "dwarfs". Try hard not to look like you need your mother to come down to the basement to check your grammar.

~rolls eyes~

"Dwarfs", BP.
-------
A little HGH just might help them.

Recent comments

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  • "trout's one of the best, and at this point should probably win over donaldson (and should have more MVPs in the past, too), but the defensive aspect of valuing WAR still needs more tweaking...imo."

    that's from my 1st post. there's no suck involved in that. maybe with a few less posts about bullshit that point would have jumped out more.

    crunch 37 min 22 sec ago view
  • crunch - you do know that, taking defense out of the equation, Trout has led the AL in wRC+ each of those years, right?

    And, if you want to complain about position adjustment (which would be serious #crunchsplaining), he's been in the top 3 in the AL in WC (not park/league/position adjusted). And the only players ahead of him (if there were any players ahead of him) in any of those years have been DHs or 1B that play lousy defense.

    But sure - Trout sucks (or at least isn't as good as WAR says). Because it factors in defense and position.

    big_lowitzki 1 hour 42 min ago view
  • early tim tebow stuff rolling in...

    ran a 6.7 60yd (above average)...shagging flies in RF and showed off a rather impressive arm a few times, but average-at best on most of his throws...hit a few over the fence (both fields), fouled or weak contact a few...he's got a touch of power

    it'll be interesting to see who bites on this project, if anyone. he probably projected himself out of RF and into LF/1st because of his arm, but unless he can make that power work on a steady basis it'll be hard for him to play himself up anyone's system.

    crunch 2 hours 27 min ago view
  • LHP Clayton Richard (released by the Cubs earlier this month) is pitching very well as a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres and could be a good candidate to get traded to a contender looking for a veteran SP before tomorrow night's post-season roster eligibility deadline.

    Because they released him, the Cubs are paying most of Richard's 2016 salary (the Cubs are on the hooks for $2M, minus the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary that is paid by the Padres).

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 14 min ago view
  • it is honestly awesome (for real) that anyone would even have a strong opinion on AZL playoffs. i guess if you invest enough time watching it, you want to see a fair/just playoff structure.

    plus, the kids deserve it.

    crunch 4 hours 14 min ago view
  • The AZL team with the best record over the course of the full 2016 AZL season and the only AZL team to play .600 ball (the AZL Dodgers) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, and the AZL East Division team with the best record over the course of the full season (the AZL Athletics) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, either. 

    That's because of the ridiculous "split season" schedule most of the minor leagues now play, a stupid system that rewards mediocrity at the expense of the worthy. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 21 min ago view
  • Despite good movement on his fastball, I think location kept him from getting Ks. Left some pitches up and away that got hammered up and away. Then of course Travis Wood gave up the 2-run double in the 7th, but both runs counted against Arrieta.

    Charlie 4 hours 58 min ago view
  • "i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date."

    This level of discourse is #charming.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 4 hours 58 min ago view
  • I would be having this discussion with anyone who (a) blathered on ad nauseum about the topic. (See, "Olt, Mike, not given an opportunity") or (b) responded directly to what I posted (which you did).

    Have a nice day.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 1 min ago view
  • what would you do without me? aside from having your posting content here cut by 75%+?

    i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date.

    crunch 5 hours 4 min ago view
  • In this instance, yes, I care more about the result of this big thing that isn't really a big thing.

    #crunchsplaining

    #willlistentojeffsullivanmorethanyou

    #blessyourheart

    #hitler

    #tcrmartyr

    #billyhamiltonwar

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 5 min ago view
  • Two things:

    Fangraphs WAR #s include baserunning and Hamilton is elite at that. He leads in SBs with the 54 and and has an 87% rate which is really good. I'm sure once he gets on base he's able to take the extra base quite often too. Both those things will up his overall WAR value.

    The differences between BR and FG WAR is pretty well documented online and thus If there are discrepancies it's fairly easy to figure out why. It's fairly well accepted that BR WAR is fine as a snapshot but FG is better at predicting future value.

    johann 5 hours 9 min ago view
  • i have no doubt at all you quit reading at that point. you're very enamored with outcomes without caring what it takes to get there.

    the fact it's exploitable, especially without someone to cover the running game for him, as well it's evolution in how people are testing possible exploits is interesting to some people...to me...i'm some people...hurrah.

    some people want to check the boxscore to see who won, some want to know how it went down.

    crunch 5 hours 21 min ago view
  • I read it as him saying it's not really that much of a concern and that the one time it really cost Lester, vs. K.C., was an anomaly.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 27 min ago view
  • if jeff says it, it's cool...when i say it, it's straight from the mouth of hitler.

    aside from the lack of jeff touching on the insane leads runners take and lester's inability to throw if he's fielding, this is a lot of what i've said about the issue.

    exploitable, needs his own personal catcher to control his shortcomings, relies on his ability to get outs along with his personal catcher keeping runners in check before things become further exploited...

    crunch 5 hours 29 min ago view
  • That would be Rice Krispy Treat

    The E-Man 6 hours 47 min ago view