TCR Friday Notes
You know it's been a long offseason when you're actually looking forward to the results of a bunting competition.
- So Ryan Braun won his appeal to overturn a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated testerone levels. Many are claiming he's only been exonerated because of a technicality as Braun won his appeal because the "chain-of-custody" was not followed, a fancy way of saying the tester did not make Fed Ex in time and stored the urine sample in his home. There are conflicting reports on where it was stored, some saying a fridge at the tester's house, another a tupperware container on his desk for two days*. Regardless, the real winner here is due process. Clearly the standards agreed upon were not followed and a neutral arbitrator ruled accordingly. Whether he actually took anything or not will have to be decided in the court of opinion, but I'll say his 2011 numbers aren't anything out of the ordinary for a 27 year old that was already third in the MVP vote in 2008.
- Dale Sveum says that David DeJesus will likely bat leadoff to start spring training with Bryan LaHair batting fourth, Alfonso Soriano has an outside shot at the cleanup spot. He's still filling out the rest, buy my guess would be a lineup of: DeJesus, Castro, Soriano, LaHair, Soto, Stewart, Byrd, Barney.
- Sveum also goes into great detail on what he means by hustle. He's already giving Soriano a pass for gawking at home runs if you had any notions of him cracking down on that.
- Speaking of lack of hustle, Junior Lake, Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano were the last ones to report to camp.
- Sickels came out with his top 120 prospects, Jackson at #27, Rizzo #37, Baez at #109 (believe he's predetermined that Baez will not be a SS already and adjusted accordingly). Jonathon Mayo on his blog put together an average ranking of "the big 4" prospect lists (himself, Keith Law, Baseball America and Kevin Goldstein). Rizzo comes in at 48.75 average, Jackson 49.50 and Baez at 71. Their actually ranking on that list though - since others move around as well - is Rizzo at #38, Jackson at #40 and Baez at #69.
- Former Cub Josh Donaldson is working out a little at third base while also vying for the backup catcher job with the A's.
Enjoy the weekend!!!
*misread that bit, ESPN article just says tupperware container, nothing about a desk. There was some discrepancy about whether it was in a fridge or a basement though or maybe a fridge in the basement...whateves...FREEDOM!!!
**I swear they keep changing the article because now it mentions the desk again.
Sources told Munson that the collector left Braun's sample on a desk in a Tupperware container and left it there for two days.
I give up.
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.