Pilgrims Progress at Fitch Park
The off-season is (thankfully!) over and it's time to play baseball again at Fitch Park.
The pitchers & catchers reported last weekend, and a lot of the position players have now arrived, too.
At this point, morning workouts are consisting of half of the pitchers throwing "bullpen" sessions in the ten-mound bullpen each day, Pitchers Fielding Practice (known as "PFP") on Fields #1, #2, and #3, Pitchers Bunting Practice on Field #5 (the half-field infield), catchers fielding practice on Field #5 and catchers early batting practice (before the pitchers throw in the ten-pen) on Field #4, "traditional" BP for the remaining position players (with coaches throwing soft-toss from in front of the mound) on Fields #1 & #2, and then infield & outfield fielding practice for the position players.
Despite the new regime's anticipated increased emphasis on order, discipline, and accountability, everybody seems pretty loose. The workouts are fairly spirited, and the players and coaches all seem to be very positive about their various activities.
FWIW, I think the most-impressive hitter so far in the BP sessions has been Dave Sappelt, the outfielder acquired from the Reds in the Sean Marshall deal. Sappelt is only 5'9, but he really packs a wallop with a short RH stroke with HR power and plus bat speed. I suspect Sappelt will probably start the season at AAA Iowa, but he looks to be (at the very least) the Cubs eventual "4th OF."
Here is the up-to-the-minute Cubs Spring Training Roster with uniform numbers. In addition to the previously-reported uniform number changes that were made during the off-season (Matt Garza switching from #17 to #22, Jeff Baker switching from #28 to #3, Tony Campana switching from #41 to #1, etc), there were also a couple of last-minute number switches/assignments (Alfredo Amezaga switched from #48 to #99, and recently-acquired INF Adrian Cardenas was assigned #45 - Sean Marshall's old number).
1 Tony Campana, OF
2 Ian Stewart, 3B
3 Jeff Baker, IF-OF
4 Pat Listach, 3rd Base Coach
5 Reed Johnson, OF
6 Bryan LaHair, 1B
7 Rudy Jaramillo, Hitting Coach
8 Jamie Quirk, Bench Coach
9 David DeJesus, RF
11 Blake DeWitt, INF
12 Alfonso Soriano, OF
13 Starlin Castro, SS
15 Darwin Barney, INF
16 Joe Mather, OF
17 Dave Sappelt, OF
18 Geovany Soto, C
19 Rodrigo Lopez, RHSP
20 Matt Tolbert, INF
21 Andy Sonnanstine, RHSP
22 Matt Garza, RHSP
24 Marlon Byrd, CF
25 Chris Bosio, Pitching Coach
26 Billy Williams, Spring Training Instructor
27 Casey Coleman, RHSP
28 Paul Maholm, LHSP
29 Jeff Samardzija, RHRP
30 Travis Wood, LHSP
32 Chris Volstad, RHSP
33 Dave Sveum, Manager
34 Kerry Wood, RHRP
35 Lester Strode, Bullpen Coach
36 Randy Wells, RHSP
38 Jason Jaramillo, C
39 Dave McKay, 1st Base Coach
40 James Russell, LHRP
41 Bobby Scales, INF
43 Trever Miller, LHRP
44 Anthony Rizzo, 1B
45 Adrian Cardenas, INF
46 Ryan Dempster, RHSP
47 Blake Lalli, C
49 Carlos Marmol, RHRP
50 Esmailin Caridad, RHRP
51 Steve Clevenger, C
52 Lendy Castillo, RHRP
53 Welington Castillo, C
54 John Gaub, LHRP
55 Edgar Gonzalez, INF
56 Casey Weathers, RHRP
57 Scott Maine, LHRP
58 Mike Borzello, Catching Coach/Bullpen Catcher
59 Brett Jackson, OF
60 Manny Corpas, RHRP
61 Josh Vitters, INF
62 Marcos Mateo, RHRP
63 Jim Adduci, OF
64 Franklin Font, Infield Coach
65 Jay Jackson, RHSP
66 Rafael Dolis, RHRP
67 Blake Parker, RHRP
68 Jeff Beliveau, LHRP
70 Dae-Eun Rhee, RHSP
71 Trey McNutt, RHSP
72 Matt Szczur, OF
73 Junior Lake, INF
74 Marco Carrillo, RHRP
75 Jonathon Mota, INF
76 Alberto Cabrera, RHSP
77 Dave Bialas, Spring Training Instructor (Iowa Manager)
78 Michael Brenly, C
79 Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
80 Carmelo Martinez, Spring Training Instructor (Dominican Academy Coordinator)
81 Brian Harper, Spring Training Instructor (Daytona Manager)
82 James Rowson, Spring Training Instructor (Minor League Hitting Coordinator)
83 Brandon Hyde, Spring Training Instructor (Minor League Field Coordinator)
84 Dave Keller, Spring Training Instructor (Iowa Hitting Coach)
85 Mariano Duncan, Spring Training Instructor (Tennessee Hitting Coach)
86 Mike Mason, Spring Training Instructor (Iowa Pitching Coach)
87 Lee Tinsley, Spring Traiuning Instructor (Minor League Outfield/Baserunning Coordinator)
88 Chris Rusin, LHSP
89 Dennis Lewallyn, Spring Training Instructor (Minor League Pitching Coordinator)
90 Jeff Fassero, Spring Training Instructor (Tennessee Pitching Coach)
91 Marty Pevey, Spring Training Instructor (Minor League Catching Coordinator)
92 Tom Beyers, Spring Training Instructor (Assistant Minor League Hitting Coordinator)
93 Bill Dancy, Spring Training Instructor (Minor League Infield/Bunting Coordinator)
94 Buddy Bailey, Spring Training Instructor (Tennessee Manager)
95 Andy Lane, Bullpen Catcher
99 Alfredo Amezaga, IF-OF
Rick Sutcliffe, Spring Training Instructor
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.