Cubs Visit Bahstan in 2011
The 2011 schedule is out and the Cubs get a mix of the AL East and Central during interleague play. Ben Affleck* can mug for the cameras between May 20-22(fine by me as long as he brings his wife with him) as the Cubs wrap up a 7-game road trip with a trip to Fenway. Good luck getting tickets. It's the first Cubs trip since Babe Ruth beat them in the 1918 World Series.
*Go see "The Town" though, 90% of it is excellent.
Speaking of May, the Cubs get 17 home games that month and 11 on the road, which seems like some sort of important milestone in how the season should be going.
Other highlights include:
- The season starting on a Friday(April Fool's to be exact) and it will be the season and home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, followed by a three game set versus the Diamondbacks. Hope it's warm.
- Cubs wrap up their home/road series for the year versus the D'Backs and the Rockies in April.
- The friendly home May schedule turns quickly into a 10-game road trip through St. Louis, Cincy and Philadelphia.
- The Yankees visit Wrigley Field June 17-19, then the Cubs "travel" to play the White Sox and Kansas City Royals. They'll finish up their home and home with the White Sox the first weekend in July.
- The season ends with three at St. Louis and then three in San Diego with the final game on Wednesday, September 28th. The shift in starting and ending days of the season is an attempt by the league to make sure the post-season doesn't go into November again.
The rest of the Cubs news fit to print after the jump...
- Tom Gorzelanny is supposed to throw a simulated game game Sunday in Florida and could return to a 6-man rotation to finish out the season. Dempster, Coleman and Ninja will pitch the non-simulated games against the Marlins this weekend.
- Carlos Silva will get some treatment on his elbow over the next week and is still trying to return for a start or two before the season finishes.
- The Double A Tennessee Smokies took game one of their best of five in the Southern League championship last night over the Jacksonvile Suns (Marins affiliate). Captain Archer (hat tip to Dr. Hecht for the nickname) dominated with 6 shutout innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 BB and racking up 8 K's. Aaron Shafer, Blake Parker and Esmailin Caridad finished off the 5-0 shutout. Brett Jackson went 1/3 with a BB and a 2B (and a K). Robinson Chirinos and Brandon Guyer went deep.
- Wittenmyer confirms that a Bob Melvin interview will happen and also says Hendry is flying to Arizona to have a second chat with Ryne Sandberg. As mentioned numerous times in the comments yesterday, Fredi Gonzalez turned down the interview offer by the Cubs, apparently confident he'll be Bobby Cox's successor in Atlanta. Quade and Eric Wedge seem to be the other candidates at the moment and of course the pipe dream that the Cubs will get the honor of paying Joe Girardi $3-4M is still out there. Quade is 13-7 by the way, since Lou rode off into the Florida sunset.
- Starlin Castro should be back in the lineup tonight...my heart's a flutter.
- Week 1 recap at The Bear Truth as well if you're interested...actually, you don't have to be interested, just go ahead and read it.
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!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.