Brew Crew Catcher a Pain in the Kottaras

George Kotarras drove-in five runs with bases-loaded doubles in consecutive innings, as the Milwaukee Brewers hammered the Cubs 10-2 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Battling for a spot in the Cubs starting rotation, RHP Randy Wells got the start and threw three shutout innings (38 pitches – 26 strikes, 7/2 GO/FO), allowing just two hits. He had no walks or strikeouts.


LHP Travis Wood (also battling for a spot in the starting rotation) piggy-backed with Wells, entering the game in the 4th probably with an opportunity to throw multiple innings and (hopefully) make a good impression. But T. Wood did not even retire the side in his first inning of work before getting yanked out of the game, allowing six runs (five earned) on three hits (two doubles and a single), two walks and an HBP. Wood could not throw strikes (31 pitches – only 15 strikes), and when he did throw strikes, the Brewers hit ropes. The Brewers were also aided in the inning by a Reed Johnson error on a laser line-drive to LF (ball just plain tipped off the top of Johnson’s glove, or it might have gone through his glove, it was hit so hard).


RHP Casey Coleman pitched the 5th & 6th, and had a poor outing, throwing what could best be described as batting practice to the Brew Crew. Milwaukee nailed Coleman for four runs on five hits (including three doubles) and two walks, and even the outs were loud. (Coleman had no strikeouts). There has been talk about Coleman maybe having a chance to win a bullpen job in Chicago coming out of Spring Training, but today’s outing could make Coleman Des Moines-bound sooner rather than later.


The Cubs only runs of the day scored in the 4th, in Milwaukee SP Randy Wolf’s fourth inning of work. Starlin Castro smoked a lead-of double into the right-centerfield alley, and scored when Ian Stewart followed with an opposite-field double off the LF fence. (If Stewart is to get back to where he was a couple of years ago, he will need to use the whole field as he did in that AB). Jeff Baker then laced an RBI single, driving-in Stewart from 2nd.


Otherwise, no Cub hitter had more than one hit, and the offense just generally looked pitiful today.


Rule 5 RHP Lendy Castillo worked two hitless & scoreless innings, although he did struggle with his control, walking two batters in the 9th. The Cubs need to decide by MLB Opening Day (April 4th) whether L. Castillo—a converted shortstop who has only been pitching for two years--can pitch in the big leagues after having never pitched above Full-Season “A” (equivalent to Peoria). So expect to see Castillo get a lot of work in the next couple of weeks as the Cubs decide his immediate future.


If it turns out the Cubs choose not to keep L. Castillo on their 25-man roster because they feel he is just not ready to pitch in the big leagues, he would have to first be placed on Outright Waivers, where any of the other MLB clubs could claim him for $25,000 and assume the Rule 5 obligations, and if he is not claimed, he would next have to be offered back to his former organization (the Philadelphia Phillies), who could re-claim Castillo for half the Rule 5 Draft price ($25,000).


It is at this last point where clubs will sometimes work out a trade, allowing the drafting club to keep the player, with the drafting club sending a different player and/or cash to the player’s former club as compensation. If that were to happen with Lendy Castillo, the Cubs could retain the young right-hander, and send him to the minors (probably Daytona) for further seasoning without any restrictions.


The Cubs have their first “split squad” day tomorrow, with about half of the team remaining in Mesa to play the Arizona Diamondbacks, while the rest of the team travels up the Loop 101 Freeway to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (on the Salt River Pima Indian Reservation east of Scottsdale) to take-on the Colorado Rockies.


Split squad days provide clubs a good opportunity to get pitchers who need work some game action, and it also gives some of the kids from Minor League Camp a chance to show what they can do in an MLB Cactus League game.


Also, tomorrow is the first day Draft-Excluded Players can be sent to the minors, so expect to see young players like Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, and Matt Szczur to be optioned to the minors tomorrow morning (although they can still play in MLB Cactus League games). Several other players (including some on the 40-man roster, as well as some of the non-roster players who are in camp by invitation) will probably get sent to Minor League Camp at the same time, in prepartion for the start of minor league Spring Training games on Friday.

Comments

Phil who will be up first- BJax or Rizzo?

Wed, 03/14/2012 - 7:53pm — jacos

Phil who will be up first- BJax or Rizzo?

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

JACOS: That is such a good question.

I love both of them.

I hope it isn't just about service time. because I wouldn't want to see either of them kept at Iowa any longer than is necessary.

I guess a lot depends on how Bryan LaHair is doing at 1B and when and if the Cubs trade Marlon Byrd.

Fact is, Rizzo has clearly outplayed LaHair in all facets of the game so far this spring, and Brett Jackson would provide much of what the Cubs lack (HR power, speed on the bases, and Gold Glove defense in CF).

I had some doubts about just how good a prospect Rizzo was when the Cubs made the trade, and I sure did not want to see the Cubs trade Andrew Cashner, but Rizzo is something special.

I agree, Phil, that the service time issue bugs the hell out of me. Fundamentally, you should have your best everyday players in the major league lineup. I would have to think there's at least a couple of teams out there who could use a Marlon Byrd. I wouldn't mind watching a Byrd/BJax/DeJesus OF until then.

I guess it depends on the outlook of the MLB team that season. If you are staring down the barrel of a 100 loss team. I just assume save Rizzo and Bjax so that they might contribute to a 100 win team in 6 or 7 years.

Just my humble opinion.

in 6 or 7 years? Lol...I agree with the sentiment...but really worried about Rizzo's age 29 year, and Jackson's age 30 year?

meh, 1-2 months w/o 23 year old Jackson this year to insure you have 29-year old Jackson and at a more reasonable cost.

There's a reason people are impressed by the Rays management, because they understand this simple math equation.

Obviously if there's was a gaping hole or the the Cubs weren't going to lose 90 games this year, you might take the chance. But no reason on this team to do that.

Rizzo's slightly different only because he already had a call-up and he'd have to stay in the minors longer. Really just depends how LaHair does the first 2 months (I'd at least give him 150 PA's at this point to sink or swim).

And if Jackson has 3 good years then blows out a knee? If he never develops?
Won't this be a happy problem is we have to worry about his age 29 season?
That he's been good for 6 seasons? Who's the last Cub prospect that they've had to be concerned about signing 6 seasons later? Grace?

this is the Cubs. He'll probably blow out his knee running on some bad Triple A turf and never make it back up here.

Jackson can still play in Wrigley in May. But he's better have a 1.1 OPS in AAA and make all the pitchers' moms cry.

It's not his job. At some point, they might just give it to him. In the meantime, if he wants it, he has to earn it.

it's just math, don't get angry about

if he blows out his knee or never develops then being called up now or in 1-2 months won't matter either.

Smart, non-emotional decisions should always be the ultimate goal. People need to be realistic about the Cubs chances this year and realistic about Brett Jackson's ungodly K rate he needs to still work on. And that players 26-30 are almost always better than the 22-24 versions of themselves. And if they're not, then they weren't going to be that good in the first place.

Won't this be a happy problem is we have to worry about his age 29 season?
sure, problem is that to enjoy his age 29 season and he is a free agnet and he's as great as we all want, you need to sign him up for his age 33 season and very likely age 34 and age 35 seasons. Or delay his free agency a bit and seriously consider how much you want to invest in the 30 year old version of him.

That he's been good for 6 seasons? Who's the last Cub prospect that they've had to be concerned about signing 6 seasons later? Grace?

the sins of the past should not be a burden of the future. Grace and past Cubs history has no bearing on Brett Jackson and the current regime.

True Rob, the sins of the past...etc...good point.
I guess I'm just ready to see the Cubs prospects up here...not sitting at Iowa while the Cubs languish in mediocrity. Hopefully when he's ready, he'll get a real shot at CF..a season or two, not just 100 at bats here..50 at bats there...riding the Des Moines/Chicago shuttle.
Patience is a virtue...I suppose I just don't have much.

Phil,

I've been reading your stuff know for longer than I can remember.

Your comments above about Rizzo are, by far, the most positive and upbeat you have ever written about a Cubs prospect (or player for that matter).

Good to hear!!

Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:40pm — Childersb3 New

Phil,

I've been reading your stuff know for longer than I can remember.

Your comments above about Rizzo are, by far, the most positive and upbeat you have ever written about a Cubs prospect (or player for that matter).

Good to hear!!

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

CHILDERS: Not only that, but the Cubs Extended Spring Training team that will be playing at Fitch Park April-May will feature the likes of Javier Baez, Dan Vogelbach, Jeimer Candelario, Shawon Dunston, Jr, Tayler Scott, Rock Shoulders, Trey Martin, and Jose Arias, and probably Dillon Maples, Yasiel Balaguert, and Neftali Rosario (and maybe Jorge Soler?), too.

I can't remember a more talented group of Cubs prospects at EXST.

Sounds like a good year to be an Arizona Phil fan. I'll be wearing my oversized foam finger.

Phil, what's the deal with Maples, is he hurt?

Thu, 03/15/2012 - 5:16am — Jim Hickmans Bat
Re: Brew Crew Catcher a Pain in the Kottaras
Phil, what's the deal with Maples, is he hurt?

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

JIM H: Maples has been restricted to Limited Activitry at Minor League Camp due to some medical problem, but I don't yet know what it is.

Yeah, somebody, maybe Rob, quoted some guy yesterday in a rundown of non contending clubs that the EXST Cubs will be a lot of fun to watch. It's especially encouraging to hear you talk this way about Rizzo. I, too, haven't seen you this stoked over a prospect. That's probably the best thing I've heard all spring, even more exciting than the Bears getting RapSheet Marshall.

EDIT: Hey, Phil -- also, what is it you find so special about Rizzo? I've never seen him. I'm hoping I can catch him when Iowa plays Round Rock down this way.

Thu, 03/15/2012 - 7:19am — Old and Blue

Yeah, somebody, maybe Rob, quoted some guy yesterday in a rundown of non contending clubs that the EXST Cubs will be a lot of fun to watch. It's especially encouraging to hear you talk this way about Rizzo. I, too, haven't seen you this stoked over a prospect. That's probably the best thing I've heard all spring, even more exciting than the Bears getting RapSheet Marshall.

EDIT: Hey, Phil -- also, what is it you find so special about Rizzo? I've never seen him. I'm hoping I can catch him when Iowa plays Round Rock down this way.

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

O&B: Combination of bat speed and raw HR power, he runs well for a big guy, he's a hard worker, and he handles himself very well around 1st base (although he still needs to smooth-out the rough edges a bit).

The one negative is that he will probably be a high-K guy.

Thanks, AZ. I guess I did hear that he was a pretty good fielder. Fingers are crossed!

Pssh and how do you know all that Phil?? I mean....who's masaging your balls on this one??

Lol..please note sarcasm.

BP has a fun article called: "12 Great Seasons by Mediocre Players"

#6) CPat (2006, Orioles)

Once one of the brightest prospects in the game, Corey Patterson has been teasing clubs with his raw tools for more than a decade. He's never developed a reasonable approach at the plate, so Patterson has largely disappointed in nearly 4,500 major-league plate appearances, over which he's been worth exactly one win above replacement. The Orioles acquired Patterson from the Cubs prior to the 2006 season, and he rewarded them with his finest big-league season, a 2.4 WARP campaign that brought his career value back into the black for the first time in three years.

Unfortunately, the next three years were all below replacement level. Patterson currently qualifies as one of only three players since 1950 (minimum 4000 PA) to have a single season worth more than 200 percent of his career WARP, joining Gary DiSarcina (2.4 WARP in 1995, 0.5 for his career) and Bob Aspromonte, who did it twice (1.9 WARP in 1967, 2.4 WARP in 1962, 0.8 career WARP). —Bradley Ankrom

''

#5) Rick Wilkens, 1993
excerpted...

Wilkins had never shown much power but had been moderately productive the previous season in a job-share with Joe Girardi, and when the Rockies stole Peoria Joe in the expansion draft, the 25-year-old Wilkins was handed the job and ran with it as few have ever done. Typically for the Cubs, their cornerstone catcher slumped badly the next year and face-planted in 1995, posting a career .220/.319/.364 after his breakout season and haunting seven more organizations before hanging ‘em up in 2002. He was an unlikely hero, but for one magical summer when he never missed his pitch, Rick Wilkins was the best catcher Chicago had seen in a generation. —Ken Funck

#8 was Bill Mueller, 2003. Red Sox

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

AZ PHIL: Have you seen much of Rebel Ridling? From what I have read in Cubs propaganda, he has some power chops, but projects as a 1B only.

The team sure is stockpiling those 1B prospects.

From what you've seen, does Ridling have an MLB shot?

Thu, 03/15/2012 - 8:13am — The E-Man

AZ PHIL: Have you seen much of Rebel Ridling? From what I have read in Cubs propaganda, he has some power chops, but projects as a 1B only.

The team sure is stockpiling those 1B prospects.

From what you've seen, does Ridling have an MLB shot?

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

E-MAN: I would compare Rebel Ridling to Russ Canzler, who has made it to MLB as a RH 1B-3B-LF-RF bench guy. The main difference between them is that Canzler has the arm to play 3B and RF in addition to 1B & LF, while Ridling will probably be limited to 1B & LF. But Ridling is an above-average defensive 1B. So I think Ridling has as decent chance to play in the big leagues, just not as an everyday player.

Ridling has been working out exclusively at 1B so far at Minor League Camp, but I expect him to get a lot of PT in LF once Anthony Rizzo is optioned to Iowa.

Phil,

I believe there won't be any trouble optioning Travis to Iowa since he has options remaining, but does he qualify for some clause making him go through waivers before optioning? I didn't think, so.

Thu, 03/15/2012 - 8:22am — Childersb3

Phil,

I believe there won't be any trouble optioning Travis to Iowa since he has options remaining, but does he qualify for some clause making him go through waivers before optioning? I didn't think, so.

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

CHILDERS: If you are referring to Travis Wood, the answer would be no.

Travis Wood can be optioned to the minors in 2012 with no restrictions.

Optional Assignment Waivers for him won't be a factor until July 2013.

#Cubs option Beliveau, Cabrera, Gaub and Vitters to Triple-A Iowa

Szczur, Lake heading to Double-A Tennessee. Jaramillo to minor-league camp.

48 in camp at the moment

go marquette go!!!!

VICTORY!!!

Murray State on Saturday...tougher matchup than it sounds.

Dempster started vs. Arizona

3.2 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 HR, 3 K

Cubs down 3-0 in 4th, Russell pitching now

R. Lopez vs. Rockies
3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Cubs down 2-0 in 4th

Hank White went yard against Dempster.

I'm just gonna presume that Dempster served one up there to his old teammate.

1 IP, 1 BB, 1 H, 1 K, 0 ER

vs. Arizona

ERA down to 17.18

celebrates his demotion with a 3-run HR to tie the game versus Colorado, off some dude named Friedrich.

Pacheco hits a 2-run HR though off A. Cabrera (also cut today) to make it 6-4 in the 6th.

K. Wood gave up 3 ER in .1 IP vs. Arizona (0 BB, 4 H, 1 K), 7-0 DBacks in the 7th.

Aaron Kurcz just tweeted that he was traded to the Red Sox

PTBNL in Theo compensation

still one coming over from Red Sox allegedly

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