Team Ramirez Tags Russell at Fitch
Aramis Ramirez ripped a towering home run high over the LF fence onto 8th Street and Max Ramirez drilled a liner off the right-centerfield fence and almost took the pitcher's head off with a line drive up the middle, as James Russell was hit hard in a 25-pitch "live" BP session at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.
Aram did not take "live" BP last year and did not hit against live pitching yesterday, either, but he looked very comfortable hitting against Ryan Dempster and James Russell today.
And Max Ramirez continued to show off his offensive skills today, battering Russell in a five-pitch AB. A one-time Texas Rangers Top 10 Prospect, the 26-year old Ramirez was acquired off waivers from Boston last month, and he is known as an offensive-first C-1B. Whether he will be able to beat-out Koyie Hill for the #2 catcher job is questionable, because the Cubs pitchers who matter seem to prefer throwing to K. Hill when Geovany Soto is not in the lineup. But if he keeps hitting the ball in Cactus League play as well as he has this week at Fitch Park, it might be tough to keep M. Ramirez off the Opening Day 25-man roster. His best chance to make the team would probably be if Geo's shoulder keeps him from handling a #1 catcher's work-load (at least at the beginning of the season), or if something happens to K. Hill. The other ways M. Ramirez could make the Opening Day roster would be if the Cubs opt to go with just four outfielders (Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome, and Tyler Colvin) and cut both Reed Johnson and Fernando Perez, or if they go with just one back-up infielder (Darwin Barney) and cut Jeff Baker.
Among the other pitchers who threw today, Jeff Samardzija got a lot of ground balls on Field #2 facing Fukudome, Perez, Bryan Lahair, and Brad Snyder, and Carlos Marmol was just plain filthy, with Josh Vitters managing to hammer the one and only ball hit hard off the Cub closer (a line drive). All of the Cubs position players except Koyie Hill had the opportunity to face "live" BP against Cubs pitchers today, although Hill did have a lengthy BP session hitting the offerings of Cub coaches on Field #1 after the "live" BP session had concluded.
It was "picture day" today, so the Cubs wore their home white pinstripe uniforms instead of the blue batting practice tops & grey pants they normally wear at Fitch Park.
Koyie Hill (Looper & Silva)
Chris Robinson (Samardzija & Stevens)
Steve Clevenger (Maine & Rice)
GROUP 1 HITTERS (vs Looper & Silva)
GROUP 2 HITTERS (vs Samardzija and Stevens)
GROUP 3 HITTERS (vs Maine & Rice)
Geovany Soto (Dempster & Russell)
Welington Castillo (Marmol & Marshall)
Max Ramirez (Carpenter & Smit)
GROUP 1 HITTERS (vs Dempster & Russell)
GROUP 2 HITTERS (vs Marmol & Marshall)
GROUP 3 HITTERS (vs Carpenter & Smit)
Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats.
Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on.
South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.
Thanks Steve, I always forget about that.
Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.
The line-ups, by the way, appear in the Twitter box on the left and usually very soon after they are made available.
Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.
HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.
However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.
E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader.
PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?
Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.
jeebus... that's terrible.
*clap* *clap* *clap*
Thanks AZ. If you like him, I like him.
Awesome report, and good to see Beeler on his way back.
I'm also very happy to hear about the bi-level bump for Daniel Lewis. In the Name of Theo, he was the Last of the Full-Season Cuts, and There Will Be Blood for those who unnecessarily slow his development. Sure, he might end up in independent ball pitching for Lincoln. But if everything breaks right, he may even have a shot at joining up with the Gangs of Chicago. I wouldn't bet My Left Foot on it, though.