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
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.