Cubs Post-Draft Signing Update
With the Boise Hawks slated to begin league play tonight and with the AZL Cubs ready to go on Monday night, here are some updates on signings by the Cubs since the conclusion of the 2011 MLB Rule 4 Draft last week.
So far the Cubs have signed 11 of their 50 draft picks.
The Cubs have also signed three college seniors as Non-Drafted Free-Agents (NDFA), and one more Cuban defector.
The 11 draft picks who have signed are:
RHP James Pugliese (Mercer CC - 18th round)
1B Paul Hoilman (East Tennessee State - 19th round)
OF Ben Klafczynski (Kent State - 20th round)
RHP Pete Levitt (Mt. Olive College - 32nd round)
LHP Sheldon McDonald (U. of British Columbia - 33rd round)
IF-OF Trevor Garcia (Martin Methodist College - 36th round)
RHP Casey Lucchese (College of Charleston - 38th round)
RHP P. J. Francescon (Trevecca Nazarene - 40th round)
SS Brad Zapenas (Boston College - 42nd round)
SS Kenny Socorro (Marshall - 44th round)
RHP Scott Weismann (Clemson - 46th round)
Most of the 11 Cubs 2011 draft picks who have signed could best be described as "low-hanging fruit" (lower-round draft picks and/or college seniors without leverage). The exceptions are Pugliese (a JC freshman) and Weismann and Zapenas (college juniors with one year of eligibility remaining), but the other eight were college seniors (and McDonald was a "5th year senior").
Hoilman, Klafczynski, and Zapenas have already been assigned to Boise, and several of the pitchers should end up there too once they get into game shape.
The three Non-Drafted Free-Agents (NDFA) signed by the Cubs post-Rule 4 Draft are:
All three of the NDFA are college seniors (Terry is a "5th year senior").
Durrence will likely play 1B and bat clean-up for the AZL Cubs, Terry will be a back-up catcher at either Boise or Mesa (AZL Cubs), and Johnson will likely provide some college pitching depth at Mesa (AZL Cubs).
I wouldn't be too surprised if Hoilman leads the NWL in HR and Durrence leads the AZL in HR. They both have plus-power (Hoilman won the HR Derby at the 2010 College World Series and tied for 3rd in NCAA D-1 in HR in 2011, and Durrence hit 10 HR in league play plus two more at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional).
In addition, the Cubs have signed their fifth Cuban defector since December, adding LHP Frank del Valle to the organization. Del Valle pitched for the Cuban Junior National team about five years ago, and he joins catcher Yaniel Cabezas (Boise), OF Mayke Reyes (DSL Cubs #1), OF Rubi Silva (Daytona), and INF Rafael Valdes (Daytona) as the newest Cuban-Cubs. And the player considered to be the first Cuban defector (ex-DET OF Barbaro Garbey) is the hitting coach at Daytona. (Maybe it's time to bring back those 1990's Cubs road jerseys that Harry Caray thought displayed "Cuba" on the front).
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.