Tribe Trusts the Fungus, As Luigi Leads the Way

Luigi Rodriguez belted a two-run HR, tripled, scored twice, and made a run-saving diving catch, leading the AZL Indians to a 10-2 thumping of the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action tonight at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.


An 18-year old speedy, switch-hitting Dominican CF, Rodriguez leads the AZL in batting average, is second in OBP, and is 4th in SLG, after leading the Dominican Summer League in triples and stolen bases last season. He is the likely front-runner for 2011 AZL MVP, and if the Cubs do make a stretch-drive deal with the Indians, and if I'm Jim Hendry, I'll take Luigi Rodriguez, thank you.



box score


There weren't many bright spots for the AZL Cubs tonight, although Marco Hernandez did reach base three times (a single, a double, and a walk), Oliver Zapata (who was yanked out of Friday night's game after dropping a pop fly in the top of the 1st inning) reached base twice on a single and a walk (his AZL-leading 18th walk), and recently-signed 21st round draft pick LHRP Andrew McKirahan (U. of Texas) retired the Indians easily over his two innings of work, six-up and six-down. The 21-year old McKirahan was a lefty reliever for the Texas Longhorns, and pitched in the College World Series last month. No question he is WAY too advanced for the AZL, and in fact I would say he probably could handle a promotion to Peoria right now.


Another recently-signed collegian made his professional-debut in tonight's game, as 21-year old catcher Taylor Davis (2011 NDFA - Morehead State) got the start behind the plate for the AZL Cubs. He went 1-3 with an RBI single and a walk in four Plate Appearances.


Davis was an offensive force at Morehead State this past season (his junior year), putting up a staggering 414/510/736 line (with 13 HR) over 47 games, good for 6th in NCAA D-1 in SLG % (one spot ahead of current Boise 1B Paul Hoilman) and 9th in OBP %. However, Davis has a big leg-kick and an upper-cut swing that might not translate too well to pro ball, his receiving skills are just so-so (at best), and he has a weak & scatter-gun throwing arm. Maybe that's why he was not selected in last month's draft despite the rather gaudy offensive numbers at MSU.


Recently-signed 2011 13th round draft pick OF Trey Martin (Brookwood HS - Snellville, GA) is in uniform but has yet to make his game debut. The 18-year old Martin is a lanky (almost skinny) long-striding outfielder who gave up a chance to play college ball at Kennessaw State when he signed with the Cubs last week.


Tonight's game in Mesa was the last scheduled night game and the last home game at HoHoKam Park for the AZL Cubs this year. For the balance of the 2011 season the AZL Cubs will be playing their home games (and road games, too) at 11 AM (MST), and remaining home games will be played at Fitch Park.

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Comments

Arizona Phil, you mentioned Trey Martin is in camp. How about Gretzky? Someone metioned he signed, but I couldn't find confirmation on Baseball America's web site or any place else. Has he signed? If so, I'm sure you'll let us know when he shows up anmd he probbaly was above slot. Actually if he did sign I'm a little surprised because he has an offer from San Diego State, he obviously shouldn't need the money and I suspect his parents might emphasize college.

BA actually DOES list him as signed. No word on his bonus. The simple fact that BA has him listed as officially signed likely means that he wasn't a big overslot. Selig is being ridiculous with keeping the overslots quiet so far this year.

Submitted by TJ on Mon, 07/25/2011 - 10:57am.
Arizona Phil, you mentioned Trey Martin is in camp. How about Gretzky? Someone metioned he signed, but I couldn't find confirmation on Baseball America's web site or any place else. Has he signed? If so, I'm sure you'll let us know when he shows up anmd he probbaly was above slot. Actually if he did sign I'm a little surprised because he has an offer from San Diego State, he obviously shouldn't need the money and I suspect his parents might emphasize college.

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TJ: Trevor Gretzky is presently with the injury rehab group at Fitch Park, as he tries to get his shoulder into playing shape.

Gretzky was a star QB at Oaks Christian HS when he suffered a torn labrum in a game last October, and he is still trying to rehab the injury. He decided against surgery, so he was used as a DH this past season at OCHS before getting drafted and signing with the Cubs.

He may ultimately end up at 1B, but the Cubs would like for him to be able to play a corner OF spot (if possible), too.

Jon Heyman
@SI_JonHeyman
carlos pena will almost surely be moved. have heard the #dbacks could be in play there. #tradedeadline

just hope b.allen in ARZ doesn't heat up...or they don't get involved in the tb/upton business (they're one of the rumored interested in bj upton)

I understand Pena is a free agent and the Cubs gain nothing this year by holding onto him, but this is exactly the kind of guy the Cubs need more of: Can play his position above-average, has plate discipline, left-handed.

They could always just resign him after the season.

Right, trading Pena doesn't bother me. I'm just making a point that he should be a model for future Cub signings.

worked with Lilly...

wait

IMO it worked great with Lilly. We got some value for him and then let the Dodger over pay without the fan backlash of not resigning him.

"Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot traded to the Dodgers; Cubs received Blake DeWitt, Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit Lilly pitched well for the Dodgers down the stretch in 2010, but his issues with the gopher-ball have hurt him this season. With the Dodger's financial situation in shambles, the three-year $33 million deal Lilly signed last offseason only makes things worse. Overall, this deal has helped no one, though the Dodgers did at least acquire league-average reliever Blake Hawksworth in exchange for Theriot this past offseason."

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/1...

The top of my wish list is still a shortstop-- A real shortstop. The Cubs haven't had a real shortstop since Cesar Izturis and he couldn't hit jack shit. Castro could then move to 2B or 3B and Darwin to the bench. It would improve many aspects of the team with one simple acquisition.

I would also like it if Cubs management would acquire 4 or 5 pitchers. Sigh.

I would like Cubs management to free payroll so that they can use their large market strength to make trades and/or free agent signings to add young talent that have or soon will price themselves out of smaller markets.

Not a bad idea....who should the Cubs get to play SS? How about switching Castro and Barney?

Cesar Izturis was nowhere near the plus defender that he was advertised to be. His range was no better than Theriot's, although his arm was stronger.

Agreed, Izturis wasn't an impressive fielder here. To be fair, he was coming off a major knee injury, and he was a little better than the short-lived Rey Ordonez experiment, but he wasn't as advertised.

All of that is true, and I think it is fair to acknowledge that his legs weren't right. I'm not sure his legs have ever been good enough since for him to be a plus defender. Maybe average. When the Cubs got him, he was injured. Prior to that he was a strong defender who could put the bat on the ball and steal the occasional base, which is probably what the Cubs hoped he would be for them. The Dodgers seemed to know better, though.

He did have the best reverse chalupa on the team though. So he wasn't a total bust.

If this is true, then LaHair will be given two months to show what he's capable of before the Cubs go shopping in the offseason for a cheaper version of Pena. Without LaHair around, I'm not sure the Cubs trade Pena just to bring up Ridling or Colvin. (If Colvin could hit, he'd be an outfielder.)

The fact that Hendry has talked about hanging on to Baker suggests to me that Aramis will be cut loose also. Baker would be the incumbent at third while LeMahieu, Flaherty, Gonzales and Vitters are the challengers. With Aramis around, Baker makes little sense to me, since three of the names I mentioned have better gloves and are more versatile.

I know you like LaHair, but it would be terrible if the Cubs based a major off-season move on whether or not a 28-year old career minor leaguer with 150 big league plate appearances plays well in 2 months with the team. If he does well, I say fine, give him a solid look for a bench spot next year, but that should be it.

That scenario worked for our current manager. And look how great it turned out!

Where's the +1 button?

There are no bench spots for first basemen. That's why it's so hard to make the grade as a major league 1B.

I'm merely saying that if the Cubs are looking for something less pricey than Pena for next season--and I think they are--then LaHair is the only option that they can plug in tomorrow. Why not do it? Why keep looking at Pena?

You don't want to give LaHair a chance, for the usual reasons--career minor leaguer, too old, etc. But only one minor-league player has more HRs (29) than LaHair's 28, and that player--Goldschmidt--is in AA. LaHair is hitting 117 points higher than Pena, and his OBP is 81 points higher in spite of Pena's 54 walks. LaHair has 46 walks.

I have said I don't know anything about LaHair's glove. That could certainly be an issue.

Are you worried that he might crush the ball for two months? Chances are he won't, and they'll go out and find somebody else.

I am precisely worried that he will crush the ball for two months, be given the starting job for 2012, prevent the team from signing someone else, then hit terribly in 2012 and lose the team games.

LaHair is 28 and has an OPS of 1.086 in AAA. Jason Dubois had an OPS of 1.019 in AAA as a 25-year old.

Maybe LaHair could be an awesome first basement in the major leagues, but it is probably more likely that given an extended chance to play he would perform like Dubois did in the big leagues - poorly. If the Cubs had a $45 million payroll and were rebuilding with young guys, then whatever. But if you have a top 5 payroll there is no reason to play around with guys like LaHair.

Maybe a Japanese team will come calling

Not many righty-hitting first basemen in the majors. The reason is that you want a balanced lineup, and first base is one of only four positions where a player is allowed to throw lefty. (I realize that LaHair throws righty, but that's not the point--although there is a preference for lefty-throwing 1Bs also.)

So no right-handed hitting first baseman is a good prospect, unless he's a stud like Pujols or Derrek Lee. That's one strike against Dubois.

(The righty thing is a big obstacle for Ridling, whom I would not consider a real prospect at this point.)

Dubois was also a klutz, which is strike two and strike three. LaHair may also be a klutz, I don't know, as I said. LaHair has a career minor-league FP at first base of .994. Dubois is .980. In left field, LaHair has one error and seven assists while Dubois has nine errors and seven assists.

As I argued about Murton a couple of days ago, to be a good prospect it helps to be a two-way player.

Good point I suppose...but if the guy can hit...and field...I don't care which way he does it.

Thanks. I checked BA this morning and his name was not bolded, but Martin's is bolded.

Hey Phil, just wondering if you've heard/ seen anything of our unsigned draftees, which seems to be a lot of them considering the deadline is approaching. Also, have you heard anything about the guys listed as signed by BA, but haven't appeared in games (Ethan Elias, Arturo Maltos-Garcia, Casey Lucchese, and Scott Weismann)? Thanks as always Phil!

Not AZPhil, but I know Arturo Maltos-Garcia has an arm issue. That's the only reason he didn't get picked much sooner. He has really good stuff. I saw one place where they figured he would have been a top 10 round pick had he been healthy. This is a very Dallas Beeler-ish signing, IMO.

Submitted by Koyies Bansaw on Mon, 07/25/2011 - 5:39pm.
Hey Phil, just wondering if you've heard/ seen anything of our unsigned draftees, which seems to be a lot of them considering the deadline is approaching. Also, have you heard anything about the guys listed as signed by BA, but haven't appeared in games (Ethan Elias, Arturo Maltos-Garcia, Casey Lucchese, and Scott Weismann)? Thanks as always Phil!

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KOYIES B: Arturo Maltos-Garcia is on the AZL Cubs 60-day DL after undergoing TJS last month. Jhon Rodriguez and Amaury Paulino are also on the AZL Cubs 60-day DL.

Tarlandus Mitchell (knee or ankle) and Eric Rice (post-2010 TJS?) are on the Boise DL, but Mitchell is throwing at Fitch Park and is probably close to getting reactivated.

Scott Weismann is on the AZL Cubs Active List and has been since AZL Opening Day, but I don't know why he isn't pitching in games. He may have an injury but expects to pitch before the end of the AZL season, in which case he just stays on the AZL Cubs Reserve List. Rookie "A" league teams like those in the AZL have a 35-man Reserve List, and then each game 25 players (of which at least 10 must be pitchers) are designated as "Active," so only players on the 60-day DL (who do not count against the 35-man Reserve List roster limit) would be listed as being on the AZL Cubs DL.

I don't know about Casey Lucchese. He's not on the AZL Cubs Active List or 60-day DL, so he might be attending school to finish his degree. If that's the case, he's probably either on the Boise Reserve List or the Restricted List, and then he'll make his debut at AZ Instructs. Or there's always the possibility that his contract was voided, although I haven't heard that.

Ethan Elias just signed, so the Cubs have 15 days before they need to add him to a Reserve List.

Generally speaking, the later a pitcher signs, the more-likely he will be held out until AZ Instructs. That's what happened last year with Ben Wells, Kevin Rhoderick, Casey Harman, and Brian Smith (all four signed right at the deadline).

BTW, milb.com still shows Johan DeJesus, Max Kwan, Vismeldy Bieneme, Jose Valdez (rehab), and James Adduci (rahab) on the AZL Cubs roster, but Adduci was reactivated from the DL at Tennessee last week, Kwan, Bieneme, and Valdez were released, and DeJesus was sent back to the Dominican Academy.

Awesome as always, AZPhil. Thanks much. I had been wondering about Mitchell, Rice, and Rodriguez, as well as AJ Morris. What about the other 2 NDFA we supposedly signed, Nick Johnson and Pat Terry?

Submitted by Koyies Bansaw on Tue, 07/26/2011 - 9:57pm.
Awesome as always, AZPhil. Thanks much. I had been wondering about Mitchell, Rice, and Rodriguez, as well as AJ Morris. What about the other 2 NDFA we supposedly signed, Nick Johnson and Pat Terry?

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

K BANSAW: A. J. Morris is rehabbing from post-2010 shoulder surgery.

I haven't seen Nick Johnson or Pat Terry.

If all we want is a legitimate major league shortstop, we can make that trade quite easily. Just trade Castro for Barney.

Okay, but opponents play the game at the same time as the Cubs, so if hitting during the day is a disadvantage, opponents will face the same disadvantage.

This team needs to get more brown-eyed

There is some kind of innuendo there that I cannot properly express. I've got 5 internet dollars for the most hilarious reply

I think the Cubs have a long-standing tradition of getting shit-faced. Not sure how also making them brown-eyed would improve things.

Just looked at the ESPN Trade deadline Blog. What a depressing read. A guy named Jim Bowden (who?) says that the Cubs are not sellers this year, and in fact are buyers. While I would say that the Cubs don't seem overly desperate to sell, I haven't heard anything about them trying to bring anyone in, either. I think perhaps this guy is just wrong...

My god, if the Cubs are buyers, this would be a seriously jaw-droppingly new level of ineptitude. It's a shit team. Small acquisitions will not make this anything other than a shit team. You can't really be 'sellers' however because there are so few useful pieces on the Cub roster for other teams. It is a $130 million dollar roster of guys that would probably be beat by the best AAA teams. If I had this team on my playstation franchise, I would dump all but 4 or 5 of them and 'start over'.

Jim Bowden is now a radio host on XM baseball channel. He is a former "wunderkind" GM with Cincy and later on Washington.

Not sure he's a reliable source for news these days.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Bowden

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2011/7/26/2293...

It's pretty depressing. Here's the first 5

1) Brett Jackson, OF, Grade B+: .256/.373/.443 with 15 steals, 10 homers, 45 walks in 246 at-bats for Double-A Tennessee, .175/.298/.374 since promotion to Triple-A Iowa. Broad skills base.

2) Trey McNutt, RHP, Grade B+: 4.33 ERA with 32/20 K/BB in 52 innings for Tennessee, 63 hits. Huge decline in strikeout rate is worrisome.

3) Chris Carpenter, RHP, Grade B: 5.11 ERA combined between Tennessee and Iowa, 30/24 K/BB in 38 innings, 35 hits. 9.2 major league innings with 12 hits, three runs. I felt he was capable of better.

4) Jay Jackson, RHP, Grade B: 6.18 ERA with 59/30 K/BB in 95 innings for Iowa, 122 hits. Ugly numbers, reports on declining stuff quality are disturbing. I have liked him a lot in the past but his stock has taken a big hit.

5) Hayden Simpson, RHP, Grade B-: 5.72 ERA, 46/27 K/BB in 61 innings for Low-A Peoria, 76 hits. Unimpressive performance, was sent back to Arizona Rookie League and has been hit hard in four starts. Right now the gamble doesn't look too good.

"The only people more disappointed in this list than I am, are Cubs fans."

Year 7 is the year that Tim Wilken starts to unleash his drafting magic!!!!!

I was excited when the Cubs brought in Wilken with a decent history of drafting and was willing to give him time---but isn't the time about up? Look at the system and try to find guys to get excited about? The Cubs are awful and the farm system doesn't appear to be much better.

B.Jackson and Carpenter are fine and will be in Cub uniforms some time between next week and next season.

McNutt may or may not be fine but he was a 32nd rounder. Jay Jackson was a 9th rounder whose Daytona numbers attracted the notice of Internet scouts like Sickels, who in Dec. '09 called Jackson "a personal favorite" and ranked him 4th on the Cubs. It's not terribly surprising when a 9th rounder can't get out of triple A, but Sickels has a right to be disappointed, I guess, since he was there beating the drum.

Simpson will be a big bust if he doesn't get better fairly soon.

Cashner, Barney, Samardzija, Russell and Campana are already on the team. Guyer is apparently a top prospect at TB. In addition to his customary offensive numbers I notice he has 16 outfield assists at Durham. Donaldson has turned into a catcher with an arm like W. Castillo's.

I worry about Vitters but his offensive numbers compare favorably with the other four 21-year-olds in the Southern League, especially his 9 HRs, 47 RBI and .429 SLG.

Relievers Beliveau, Rhoderick, Hatley, Kurcz and Harman have pitched consistently well this season. So have starters Loosen, Kirk and Whitenack (out with TJ surgery, or he might have been our 4th or 5th starter at some point). Struck and Rusin are holding their own--i.e., throwing better than Jackson--at Iowa.

Well they made the roster of the 2nd worst club in baseball, they've definitely worked out.

guyer a top prospect? let's not get carried away.

Well..Guyer is putting up .305/.382/.494 in AAA, with 11 HR and 49 RBI, and 13 steals. Oh...and has 16 assists so far?
This after .344/.398/.588 at AA in 2010.
So.....yeah? Sounds like a top prospect?

"sounds" like a top prospect...

you could also say he "sounds" like a corner OF'r who has 20HR power and will K a lot.

What of his numbers in the minors, makes you think he'd K a lot? This year he's K'ing a little more than usual, sure. I'd take a guy like that right now in RF...if he had 15-20 HR pop, speed, and played good defense in RF...over what we have now?

i would mark him down for a near sure-thing 120+ K performance in the bigs...but, beyond that i don't think he'll ever get a chance to start or do that.

he doesn't walk, he's going to swing, and he misses.

at least his D is good.

Ok, your point is taken...but he's never come close to 120 K's in the minors..

Wow...what would a guy who puts up those numbers, in back to back seasons at AA-AAA have to do to get a chance at starting?

What the hell is Brett Jackson going to do for us? For a top prospect he hits like crap. He didn't exactly earn his promotion as he was hitting .256 in AA. He only hit .276 the previous season in AA and now in AAA he is hitting .205.

That is our best hitting prospect? Really? Him?

The only real defense you can give him is that he is 22 years old and should still be in A ball. But going back to what i keep on saying we have shitty scouts, and development people....he is being rushed through the system because the rest of the system sucks.

He isn't ready for the majors he isn't even ready to take over AA ball.

Jackson's OBP is consistently good. He has some pop, plays good defense. He's being rushed a bit...sure...
but he had 10 HR's, 10 2b's and 15 steals in 246 PA's...
.256/.373/.443

MikeC, you may end up being right, but not sure I'm ready to throw in the towel on Brett Jackson yet.

I have more hope for Jackson than Szczur. Just because he does a much better job of controlling the zone.

Say you have two players.

Player A strikes out half as often as the other player, and has a better ratio of walks/strike outs.

Player B walks more.

Which player does a better job of "controlling the strike zone"?

Almost always player A

Neifi Perez swung at everything. So he never struck out or walked much. He just tried to put wood on anything within 10 inches of the Strikezone.

Did Neifi qualify as a master of the zone?

No... Player A is Matt Szczur and player B is Brett Jackson.

To give extremes with two good, or formerly good hitters, who controls the zone better, Ichiro or Dunn?

Strikeouts don't bother me. It's an out just like a popout, groundout, or flyout.

What would you rather have.

Player A) .280 batting average gets on base 33% or the time

Or

Player B) .240 batting average who gets on base 40% of the time

No, a strikeout is NOT just like a popout or a groundout, or flyout. With any of those, there is at least potential for runners on base to advance. A strikeout is worse than any of those, because base runners don't potentially have the chance to advance.

Yet its not as bad as a double play.

A Strikeout isn't overall any worse than any other out.

On average, I would disagree. I would argue that the percentage of plays on which a runner advances a base or the hitter reaches when an error occurs is greater than, for most every player, the percentage of times that the player hits into a double play. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but know that Darwin Barney hit into his 8th double play last night. I am absolutely certain that he has made outs with runners advancing or reached on an error more than 8 times. Not saying if it is true for Barney, it is true for everyone. Rather, saying that the times runners move over on ground outs, advance/score on sacrifice fly and advance on errors appears from watching games to greatly exceed the number of times a player hits into a double play (for most players).

I know that ground and fly outs do sometimes advance runners. My contention is that I'd rather deal with the strikeouts of a guy who will walk, rather than hope for runners to advance from a guy who doesn't walk.

Of course, with Cubs' base runners, maybe you don't want them trying to advance, because they would invariably end up making horrible decisions about when to go and when not to...

Well since player B is imaginary, I will go with player A.

Batting average is a much more important component of OBP than walks. Type of outs may not bother you, but if you have a guy who walks 15% of the time, and strikes out the other 85%, and a guy who hits ground balls 100% of the time, the ground ball hitter will have a higher OBP.

But back to the original point. Jackson strikes out too much. Now that he doesn't have a unsustainably high BABIP (it's still really high) his OBP is way down.

I can't agree that anyone who is striking out as often as he is, and homering as infrequently has control of the strike zone. He may only be swinging at strikes, but he's not hitting them, and that's not control. That's just waiting too long to swing.

Szczur doesn't strike out much, and is willing to take a walk, though he doesn't seem to go up to the plate with the priority of taking pitches or working deep counts. He also has plus speed and some power is showing up lately. He's a lot farther from ready, but he looks like his upside might be significantly higher than Jackson's. I wouldn't be surprised if they both end up putting up similar OBPs, maybe .360 or .370-ish, but Szczur does it with a higher batting average. I don't think it would be fair to say Szczur doesn't control the strike zone as well as Jackson though. He hasn't proven to be an excessively aggressive hitter--or, at least, there have been no signs that his aggressiveness is getting him into any trouble yet.

Of course, Jay Jackson is what...23? Early to be labeled as "not getting out of AAA."

Agreed on Simpson...I get the whole mono thing....but some results..or even looking like a prospect would be good.
It's hard to believe Vitters is still so young isn't it?

Ah poor Whitenack...lol..figures yeah?

Simpson line in relief today:

1.1 IP 3 H 2 ER 0 BB 1 K

Many people want Hendry fired, but what in the world has Wilken done since coming here? Sometimes good with late round picks, terrible with early rounders (overgeneralization, for sure, but the Colvin and Simpson picks probably infuriated me more than any transaction made by Hendry)

Agreed,

Who drafted by Wilken in 7 years has made any kind of impact? Samjay? Barney? Campana?

Vitters looks bust, Simpson looks bust, Colvin looks bust. All the 2nd and 3rd rounders are looking bust as well.

Its not like these were all guys who were picked where the experts figured they should go either. All most every one of these guys was considered a major reach at the time.

What's this? The critics are out. Is the Teflon starting to flake off?

I've been your less militant brother in this argument for quite some time. However looking at the way our system has fared this year has me more vocal.

Time for a change from top to bottom.

You can scroll through the Cubs draft classes season by season at BR, here's the link for the first year Wilken picked.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?quer...

I do have to say that while he hasn't picked, so far, any real impact players, he has done a far better job than any scouting director we've had since the Dallas Green era. At least we have some players who are starting to become major leaguers, but where are the pitching prospects? Wilken's record here has been very mixed without any real HR's yet. After 6 drafts one would hope to have more than just a lot of future major league utility players or replacement players.

But let's look at the top 2-3 picks each year and any other notables:

2006:
1st Round: Tyler Colvin
5th R: Jeff Samardzija
7th R: Steve Clevenger
Others: Marquez Smith (DNS), Blake Parker

2007:
1st Round: Josh Vitters
1st Supplemental: Josh Donaldson
2nd: Tony Thomas
3rd: Darwin Barney
Others: Brandon Guyer, Marquez Smith (again), James Russell, Andrew Cashner (DNS)

2008:
1st Round: Andrew Cashner
1st Supplemental: Ryan Flaherty
2: Aaron Shafer
3: Chris Carpenter
Others: Josh Hamilton (Pirates), Campana, Casey Coleman

2009:
1: Brett Jackson
2: DJ LaMehiu
3: Austin Kirk
Others: Trey McNutt, Robert Whitenack, and a ton of guys still in minors, but no standouts so far.

2010:
1: Hayden Simpson
2: Reggie Golden
3: Micah Gibbs
Others: Matt Szczer, no other standouts yet

2011:
1: Javier Baez
2: Vogelbach
3: Devoss
Others: Gretzky, Dunston, etc.

Josh Harrison, a subtle but important difference :)

Here is Cubs draft picks through 2004 -- http://www.thecubreporter.com/sites/default/f...

Hendry is certainly better than Larry Himes and probably Jim Frey, but not so sure Hendry is better than Ed Lynch or McPhail.

Lynch (mentioning only players with longer careers, link above has list of all MLBers) has many more difference makers, particularly pitchers:

1995: Kerry Wood, Justin Speier
1996: Kyle Lohse, CHad Meyers, Phil Norton
1997: Jon Garland, Scott Downs, Mike Wuertz
1998: Corey Patterson, Will Ohman, Eric Hinske
1999: Nobody of note
2000: Dontrelle Willis, Todd Wellemeyer, Bobby Hill, Jason Dubois

McPhail drafted Prior, Mitre, Soto, Brendan Harris, Andy Sisco, Ryan Theriot, Ricky Nolasco...in 2001. Also drafted Rich Hill, Sean Gallagher, (the legendary) Sam Fuld, Jerry Blevins and Sean Marshall.

McPhail seems somewhat comparable, with a 2001 draft significantly better than any Hendry draft.

Fwiw, hendry probably had more say in who was drafted in those lynch years than he did as gm. He's been with the cubs since '95.

Prior to his promotion to GM, he was named Assistant GM/Player Personnel Director on October 12, 2001, and previously the Director of Player Development, in charge of both Scouting and Minor League Operations.

Here is todays review on the Texas Rangers. Just to make us all feel so much worse about the state of the Cubs from top to bottom.

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2011/7/27/2296...

Aside from the kid shortstop, the Texes B-pluses tend to be young pitchers with high K/BBs. Here are a few Cub examples of K to BB ratios that are not as good as Erlin's but much better than Hayden Simpson's or Jay Jackson's. Beliveau and Rusin are 24, but the others are 22 or younger. All are Peoria or higher (7 of 11 are higher).

Harman 43/6
Francescon 20/3
Beeler 61/12
Beliveau 70/15
Suarez 32/8
Oswaldo Martinez 30/8
Kirk 97/27
Antigua 54/16
Rusin 56/17
Jokisch 79/26
Loosen 44/16

Szczur not being on the list when guys like Golden and Simpson are is a pretty big condemnation of his prospect picking skills. Rob G ranted about his inclusion of Simpson when the list was first published.

That was mayo, not sickels. I generally like sickles as he tries to see every player on his own. Mayo was pretty vocal about what a bad pick it was for cubs and then put him in his top 10 cubs list the next year w/o ever seeing him pitch. Sickles may have done something similar, but I don't recall him being that vocal that it was a bad pick.

ArizonaPhil - I don't know the answer to this, and don't know where to go to find out. Perhaps you know.

Do the scouts that do the international scouting (DR, far east, europe, etc) report to Wilken, or is he only in charge of domestic scouting?

"Do the scouts that do the international scouting (DR, far east, europe, etc)"

Europe?
That's probably Cubs problem should have not opened that French Baseball academy before the DR.

Instead of taking football players over baseball players. We are going to start taking rugby and Cricket players over baseball players.

Oh to be a Cubs fan!!!

Didn't we sign Cody Hamms (sp?) out of Australia, who was a cricket player (and, I believe, had never played organized baseball)?

That one didn't work out too well. It is the Cubs though -- we ignore highly rated first rounders to nab Colvin and Simpson while making sure that our minor league squad can beat any other team at every sport other than baseball (probably why we drafted Gretzky and some Canadians...our hockey lineup wasn't strong enough).

We have signed a couple of guys in Europe. I suspect that SOMEONE scouted them.

Submitted by jacos on Tue, 07/26/2011 - 3:18pm.
"Do the scouts that do the international scouting (DR, far east, europe, etc)"

Europe?
That's probably Cubs problem should have not opened that French Baseball academy before the DR.

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

JACOS: There is an MLB European Academy in Italy, and so far the Cubs have signed three players out of the MLB Euro Academy (Italian RHP Alessandro Maestri in 2006, Dutch 2B Dwayne Kemp in 2007, and 16-year old Italian C Alberto Mineo in 2010).

Maestri and Kemp have since been released, and Mineo will probably make his U. S. debut at AZ Instructs post-2011.

Bill Holmberg and Bill Froberg are the Cubs scouts in Europe, ande they report to Paul Weaver.

I believe that Steve Wilson does Asia and Australia. Fleita does Latin America. Wilkin does draft

Submitted by Jumbo on Tue, 07/26/2011 - 5:16pm.
I believe that Steve Wilson does Asia and Australia. Fleita does Latin America. Wilkin does draft

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

JUMBO: Steve Wilson (who lives in Taiwan) is the Cubs Scouting Coordinator for the Pacific Rim (Taiwan, Korea, and Australia).

Japan is more of a special case because MLB clubs don't sign amateurs out of Japan, so when the Cubs do any scouting in Japan, it's Paul Weaver's gig.

Submitted by DavidP on Tue, 07/26/2011 - 3:02pm.
ArizonaPhil - I don't know the answer to this, and don't know where to go to find out. Perhaps you know.

Do the scouts that do the international scouting (DR, far east, europe, etc) report to Wilken, or is he only in charge of domestic scouting?

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

DAVID P: Tim Wilken is in charge of scouting only in the U. S., Canada, and Puerto Rico (in other words, players eligible for selection in the June Draft). Wilken reports to Hendry.

Paul Weaver is in charge of International Scouting, and Weaver reports to Oneri Fleita, and then Fleita reports to Hendry. But Fleita is personally involved pretty heavily in Latin America.

And the fun begins

WSCR reporting Marlon Byrd was in shouting match with Cub fan during bp.

ANd this gem from Paul Sullivan tweet-
"Quade says Cubs can get back in race this trip, adds: "I'm not a lunatic."

You are not lunatic Mike, just dumb.

"Please, please, please, let me get what I want, this time."

Fire Quade, Hendry, and someone better check Ricketts for a pulse, I have a feeling he's room temperature and rigor mortis is setting in.

Quade seems like an abuse victim who spends 5 minutes away from the abuser and is convinced things will be different this time.

Wow this team is hard to watch...bases loaded, nobody out and no runs score.

I was getting pissed - that and the fat pitch up to McGehee in the first. Calmed down and realized that winning these types of games serves no purpose -- have to stay focused on the prize: 2nd overall pick.

Quade will probably get the Cubs on a hot streak in late August-September like last season to ruin such dreams.

Count on it.

It doesn't matter if they get the 2nd overall pick, we'd pick someone nobody has heard of that will be declared a bust in less than a year. All of these clowns need to be fired.

to the 17th pit/atl...i got a feed with chip c. + someone...they are so sick of the game that 1/2 the past 2 innings has been dead air.

...to the 19th

...wow, mcC going for a 6th inning of work

holy fuuuuuuuu...PIT loses in the bottom of the 19th on a play at the plate that looked way way way way out to me...ruled safe...hell, the ball even beat him to the plate...players and c.hurdle are both being held back. awful blown call...very blown...not even close.

-edit- replay shows it wasn't even close...no idea how the ump missed it.

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=...

There is the replay. That was a horrible call. The runner didn't even make an attempt to score, he knew he was out and was as shocked as anyone to be called safe. HORRIBLE call. That ump should be fired.

Don't you have to actually touch home plate to be called safe? The ump never looked.

worst call ever?

The call against the Cubs on the pickoff play recently (Wood to Castro) was worse. The tag was even more obvious than the play last night.

The Pirates have filed a formal complaint with MLB and the Pirates' President Frank Coonelly issued this statement:

"While we cannot begin to understand how umpire Jerry Meals did not see the tag made by Michael McKenry three feet in front of home plate, we do not question the integrity of Mr. Meals. Instead, we know that Mr. Meals' intention was to get the call right. Jerry Meals has been umpiring Major League games for 14 years and has always done so with integrity and professionalism. He got this one wrong."

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/basebal...

5 RBI day for DLee. Boy does he look weird in an Orioles uniform.

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=...

Yep. With his .293OBP and 13 GDP's.

Hendry finally held himself back from the table.

I'm also concerned they are rushing Jackson. This is the same thing they did with Corey Patterson and others, i.e., pushing them through the system without having much success at the stops on the way. I don't follow other teams systems like the Cubs, and I wonder if others handle it the same way and what level of success they have. Maybe it is simply a difference between real prospects and suspects. Castro was rushed and look at the results. I also wonder about guys like Vitters. He was highly rated when the Cubs drafted him, so it was not a reach like some others they drafted #1. Is it the Cubs farm system that failed to develop him and Harvey, Montanez and others that were highly rated. Might they have developed better in other systems?

Jackson isn't being asked to learn much at each stop offensively--he already has all the basic tools, including plate discipline, power, and baserunning. I think he's just being asked to adjust. I do think it would be a good idea to make sure that he stays at AAA or AA long enough to acclimate so that MLB isn't a huge jump from his last stop. I'd like to see him put up a .370 or better OBP at AAA or 400-500 PAs at AA (with his power numbers consistent) before they get him to the majors.

Corey was pushed through the minors with completely inconsistent numbers, his only great success being at Lansing, and then OK numbers at AA (which would've been fine if he'd shown that he could do that consistently). The biggest difference between Patterson and Jackson is the patience, though, and I think that we've seen that be a huge factor in players transitioning to MLB except when, like Castro, they just have an amazing ability to put the good part of the bat on the ball.

Unfortunately it's been a common theme with the Cubs handling of prospects. They just don't seem to believe in consolidation seasons. Usually they push and hype a guy along. Then do the AA/AAA/Chicago shuttle thing until either

A) The guy is outta options and is dealt for peanuts

B) The guy is outta options and ends up in Japan

C) Is Geo Soto and finally sticks once he is out of options

Another difference is that Patterson was a high school draftee and Jackson from college. Perhaps it is just my opinion, but I think there is less risk of challenging a college player with a quicker promotion than a high school player. Obviously, the college player also has less time to develop while remaining a strong prospect (rather than becoming perceived as a 4A player or as having less of an upside because they were moved slowly and so are 25 or 26 and still in minors), so the quicker advancement makes sense from the organization's view also.

One other point...I thoroughly agree with your analysis of what they did with Corey Patterson. The Cubs were desperate to get something from their farm system (beyond Kerry Wood) and there developed a huge pr push on the surge of young future star Cubs. Corey, David Kelton (sweet swinging 3b seemingly similar to Vitters (though I've never seen Vitters live), though struck out more), Jeff Goldblach (catcher with some power), Hee Sop Choi, Carlos Zambrano and, a little later, Juan Cruz, were going to form a huge foundation for future Cubs success.

As such, they were moved forward without much development. Kelton had a cup of coffee in the majors, but never stuck. Goldblach stumbled at AA and then was, I believe, released (possibly for something more than lack of development). Patterson, Choi, Zambrano and Cruz all made the majors.

It is hard for me to say for certain that it was the Cubs failure to develop these players that was the problem; most minor leaguers do not develop into major league regulars, so the fact that Patterson, Z and Cruz had long careers and Choi spent some time in the majors (and may have been significantly limited by the injury) may actually say the Cubs did a pretty good job. Also, some players respond better than others to change; Starlin Castro is reputed to have been a very diligent student of the game always striving to improve, while I don't believe the same is true of Corey.

That said, the Cubs had a long string of failing to develop hitters, so there could be some credibility to your suggestion that one or more factors in the way the Cubs handle their hitting prospects historically has hindered their development.

STL close to giving away c.rasmus (and his horrible attitude) for edwin jackson + o.dotel.

ha. i'll take that for a better 2012 outlook in the division for anyone but STL.

deal is done...MLB Network reporting rasmus for e.jackson + others

nice CF'r to have under club control for 3 years, imo.

LaRussa threw Rasmus under the bus several times, including as recently as yesterday, something along the lines of, "he refuses to listen to our coaches, if he did he wouldn't go through streaks like this."

yeah, the 2 of them are a toxic mixture. rasmus is a very high-strung baseball player and larussa is a very high-strung conspiracy theory fan and permanent victim who also manages a baseball team in his spare time.

also,

"According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Cardinals will send Colby Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters to the Blue Jays for Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski and Corey Patterson."

-head spins-

Korey? Wow.

It's also been a crazy year of transactions for the Cardinals and relief pitchers. It seems like they've used 30 relievers alone.

Looked it up, not including the guys they are about to acquire, they've used 14 relief pitchers this year. 19 total pitchers. The Cubs have used 20 total pitchers. Amazing.

Wow.....so an OF of:
Holliday-Jon-Jay- Lance Berkman, with Corey Patterson as 4th OF/Fat Elvis's defensive caddy.

Wow.....so an OF of:
Holliday-Jon-Jay- Lance Berkman, with Corey Patterson as 4th OF/Fat Elvis's defensive caddy.

-----

Somewhere Larry Walker is crying.

Ya, and now that he's a cardinal, Patterson will probably have a career year next year. Okay, that's not saying much, but you know what I mean.

Or Dave Duncan will convert him into the league's best LOOGY. :)

that's probably more realistic.

He's not left-handed, sorry.

He's not left-handed, sorry.
----

That's why it will be even more amazing.

Toronto now expected to flip Trevor Miller to the White Sox.

Finally, a day of baseball trades. What a boring month until today.

giants really close to landing c.beltran, supposedly...damn.

Turn on MLB Network, the Angels' Ervin Santana has a no-hitter through 8. It's the top of the 9th and Angels are up. MLB is flipping channels but will go back for the bottom of the 9th.

He got it.

Source: The Cubs trying to nudge the Yankees into taking Carlos Zambrano, offering up money to offset his salary.

http://twitter.com/Buster_ESPN

Yankees say they're not interested.

Well duh

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