Friday Free-For-All

It seems the site was down for a bit, apologies.

I'm about to take off with the family to the game. Go Ninja Go!

Dejesus, Castro, Rizzo, Soriano, LaHair, Clevenger, Barney, Valbuena, Samardzija vs. Billingsley tonight.

Have a great weekend!



Koyie Hill released from Nationals minor league.

It's Star Trek night in LA, Captain Kirk/William Shatner throwing out the game ball. Theo was told it's Boston Legal night.

should have asked Jeri Ryan to throw out the...

"Star Trek" Night includes a sold-out ticket package that features a limited edition Dodger and "Star Trek"-themed T-shirt.

Rob's probably wearing his Star trek T-shirt right about now.

Javier Baez, 2-2, solo HR in the 3rd
Josh Vitters, 1-2, double
BJax, 0-2, 2K's
Christian Villaneueva, 1-4, double
Smokies postponed vs Jackson, TN Generals

Yao-Lin Wang also getting a start and doing okay for Peoria.

Questions for AZ Phil (or anyone that has an opinion) about Wang: He's been pretty good everywhere the Cubs have sent him, to the tune of 9+ Ks per 9 innings, 3-ish BBs per inning, reasonable ERAs right around 3. So why did he spend the first half+ of this season working out of Peoria's bullpen? What do you think his career path is? I know he's not a real big guy, but I've read that he's got respectable stuff and he seems to get decent results with it, and at 21 he may not exactly be young for his league, but he's not old either. I'd love to hear more about this guy. Thanks!

Fri, 08/03/2012 - 7:52pm — Charlie

Yao-Lin Wang also getting a start and doing okay for Peoria.

Questions for AZ Phil (or anyone that has an opinion) about Wang: He's been pretty good everywhere the Cubs have sent him, to the tune of 9+ Ks per 9 innings, 3-ish BBs per inning, reasonable ERAs right around 3. So why did he spend the first half+ of this season working out of Peoria's bullpen? What do you think his career path is? I know he's not a real big guy, but I've read that he's got respectable stuff and he seems to get decent results with it, and at 21 he may not exactly be young for his league, but he's not old either. I'd love to hear more about this guy. Thanks!


CHARLIE: Yao-Lin Wang throws a 90-92 MPH four-seamer and a curve. Fastball can spike to 94 if he throws just one inning. Change-up is still a work-in-progress. Aggressive. Throws strikes with both the fastball and the curve. Very polished pitcher (for his age). Was a member of the Taiwan Junior National Team. Was used as closer at Peoria because he works fast and throws strikes, and he throws harder when he pitches only one inning.

I would say he profiles as a reliever at the higher levels, but he needs to get as many innings as possible under his belt while he is in A-ball, so it probably makes sense for him to start right now.

Thanks, Phil! Thought for some reason that I remembered hearing he had a more consistent third pitch, but if this is the case I can understand why that combined with his underwhelming stature means he projects as a reliever.

CHARLIE: Just to be clear, I am basing this on what I saw of him at EXST in 2010-11 (where I saw him pitch a LOT) and then again (briefly) at Minor League Camp this past March.

I don't have any info regarding his outings at Peoria this year (repertoire, velocity, command, etc).

Well, even if the changeup did improve (not saying it has), he'd probably need another pitch to mix in there to be effective as a starter. Either that or he'd need a good bump in velocity.

I saw Wang a little bit ago, and his fastball may have touched 91. He got a decent amount of weak contact, but seemed like a weak prospect. His results were better than his stuff, by a lot, but I'm not sure he can continue to have success that way.

At 32, I keep expecting things like "I saw wang" to stop being funny. My wife is even more hopeful. Sadly, thoughts of "Wang had a great curve" don't seem to be going anywhere.

They make a medication now for too much Wang curve. Seriously.

Doesn't that require an injection and a doctor's massaging? I'll pass.

Thanks, Jumbo!

BP/Kevin Goldstein's updated top 50 prospects:
1. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers (Preseason #4)
2. Wil Myers, OF, Royals (Preseason #19)
3. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles (Preseason #6)
4. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (Preseason #23)
5. Manny Machado, SS, Orioles (Preseason #8)
10. Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds (Preseason #22)
15. Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Preseason #66)
24. Jorge Soler, OF, Cubs

Thanks. It's exciting to see Baez climb so high.

It's almost as good as when Wang moves up.


BJax rbi fielder's choice in the 8th ties the I-Cubs vs Colorado Springs, 1-1 going into the 9th in Iowa. Jaye Chapman in for the top of the 9th.

Kevin Goldstein/BP ranks all 43 prospects recently traded:

1. Jacob Turner, RHP, Marlins (from Tigers)
2. Jean Segura, SS, Brewers (from Angels)
3. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Cubs (from Braves)
Scouting Profile: 21-year-old Dominican who dominated at times last year out of big league bullpen. Tommy John surgery in spring, back for spring 2013. Undersized, with violent delivery, but stuff plays up out of the bullpen with a fastball that sits at 96 and touches 98, as well as a plus power breaking ball. Closer potential.

Path With New Club: The Cubs have plenty of room for their prospects, and once fully healthy and rehabbed, Vizcaino could assume a role in the back of the bullpen as a closer-in-training while Carlos Marmol plays out the last year of his contract.

8. Christian Villanueva, 3B, Cubs (from Rangers)
Scouting Profile: 21-year-old whose greatest strength is a lack of weaknesses. Sound approach with good bat speed and the potential for average power once he fills out. Plus defender with plus arm and athletic with at least average speed. Projects as solid-average starting third baseman with some chance at a higher ceiling.

Path With New Club: Villanueva is behind Josh Vitters on the Cubs depth chart, but he's also behind him in terms of development, as Villanueva is slated to begin the 2013 in Double-A, while Vitters will get a long look for the big league job. Villanueva's picture gets more cloudy if top prospect Javier Baez slides from shortstop to the hot corner down the road.
15. Jake Brigham, RHP, Cubs (from Texas)
Slow-to-develop starter has back-end starting potential with good command of low 90s fastball and solid breaking ball.
36. Kyle Hendricks, RHP, Cubs (from Rangers)
Extreme command, but very fringy stuff with 86-90 mph fastball and no notable secondary pitch.
39. Jaye Chapman, RHP, Cubs (from Braves)
Minor League veteran has outstanding changeup, but few believe his trick will work in big leagues without another good pitch.

Does Vizcaino have any chance of still being a starting pitcher? Or is he destined for the bullpen?

Klaw (1:26 PM)
I see him as a starter. Cubs do too.

There are a few more Cubs related items in there - on Baez, Soler, Jackson, Vitters, Maples.

i liked the trade...i like it even more the cubs view him as a starter.

he might have to "dial it down" to the low 90s, but he's got 2 good pitches and working with 2 others to find a 3rd...and it seems out of those 2 that some people like the changeup even if others think it's mediocre.

Jaye Chapman in for the top of the 9th.
and Chapman promptly gives Colorado the lead on a two out single with a runner on 2nd...and a 2nd two out single makes it 4-1.

Brenly already on cb bucknor

I think I saw Cpt Kirk behind home plate .

Star trek night consisted of Shatner throwing out the first pitch and announcing the lineup. He didn't even have the deceny to do it in Kirk's voice.

They did play Star Trek music for the fireworks show.

As you can imagine, a complete shit game to watch.

So that wasn't you dressed as a Klingon?

justin + bj upton both hit career HR #100 less than an hour apart.

neat -click-

Looks like Paul Blackburn had another nice outing, 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1BB, 2K.

Dillon Maples started and went 1.2 IP with a hit and 2 walks. Baby steps.

Almora 2 hits including a double. Soler didn't play.

AZ Cubs beat the AZ Dbacks 7-5

Cubs are back in 3rd place reverse standings behind Astros and Rockies.

I have faith.

LA writer says Ted Lilly may be out for the season.

Ted Lilly(broken heart) out for season with sadness due to Dempster trade.

And in response, Dempster displays heroic Cubbery in his Atlanta debut.

EDIT: Unintentional joke. I meant Texas of course.

Baez to Daytona!
@CarrieMuskat: RT @peoriachiefs: Chiefs fans hope you enjoyed 57 games of Javier Baez, he has been promoted to Daytona. Chiefs receive SS Tim Saunders (32nd rd '12) from Daytona. Baez hit .333 with 12 hr, 33 RBI, 10 2b, five 3b, 33 RBI and 41 runs scored. Baez slugged .596 with a .979 OPS and also stole 20 bases

Similar question to yesterday: What happens to Alcantara when he comes off the Daytona DL?

I would hope he's shown enough to Jed/Theo to move up to AA and Lake to AAA after Vitters replaces the incomparable Jeff Baker or irreplaceable Luis Valbuena on the MLB roster.

I would think that someone who has already done well at Daytona, such as Alcantara, would move up before Baez gets rushed to AA.

I think that's what GA is saying.

I agree....misread it in the line of Baez fever.

I'm told Alcantara is probably out for the year. Jae-Hoon Ha, though, should be back by next week.

From Bruce Miles, on his blog.

Thanks, that makes better sense of the Baez move.

Daytona roster says "7-day DL" for Alcantara.

Like to see his BB:K ratio move in the right direction while he's there.

Ted Lilly(broken heart)...
The TL Supercomputer predicted this.

kicking it oldschool

*makes various complex hand gestures*






Wang is still funnier.


ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็ ส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็ ส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็ ส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็ ส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็ ส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็ ส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็ ส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็ ส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็ ส้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้้ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็

Kon Thai, chai mai krup?!

والسبب أنا هنا ، قالوا لي ، هو أن لعبت المباراة بطريقة معينة ، أن لعبت اللعبة الطريقة التي كان يفترض ان يلعبها. لا أعرف عن ذلك ، ولكنى أعرف أن هذا : كان لي الكثير من الاحترام لأنها لعبة بأي طريقة أخرى ، وإذا كان هناك كان هناك سبب واحد وأنا هنا اليوم ، فذلك لأن كلمة واحدة ، احترام. احب ان العب البيسبول. أنا لاعب بيسبول. لقد كانت دائما لاعب البيسبول. ما زلت لاعب بيسبول. هذا الذي أنا.

With Volstad facing Kershaw in LA I am surprised they have even issued odds in Vegas for that game. I suppose Volstad COULD collide with Kershaw at first base in the 3rd inning or something and both teams have to go to bullpen. But damn other than that, this game is about the most lopsided matchup I have seen in years. Btw you gotta bet $350 on LA to win $100 . . .

cheer up...baker's not batting 4th today!

sigh...2012 cubs.


I wonder what player in MLB history has the most appearances batting 4th and 5th and then was out of baseball the next year?

Probably a lot of classic sluggers who retired, followed by Jeff Baker 2013.

at least it's not as much this year as it was last year.

the soriano heat-up was a nice bail-out.

i still like volstad.

he's not doing much to support me liking him, though.

i like what he's got to work with. i think he's capable...but he wouldn't be the first capable pitcher to not fully figure it out.

I do, too. I read they're going to ride out the season with him. If it was Wang, The Joe would be pleased.

Anyway, he still might figure it out. Probably not tonight, though.

his numbers look spotless through 2ip, but 2 of the 6 outs were warning track (@dodger stadium) outs.

woo for outs, though.

His junkballs look pretty good so far tonight. From what I've seen of him, usually he has decent break on his sinker and slider, but when he flustered or under pressure he starts forcing them, hanging them up in the zone, and generally transforming into the worst pitcher in pro ball.

So really, for this guy to have a decent big-league career, he needs to just learn to stay calm under pressure and keep throwing that low slop.

That really sounds about right. He always seems to have that one inning where stuff flattens out into batting practice-like pitches. I think that's why I've had hope for him. If it's mostly psychological, he's got a chance, but I think I read once he's been working on that, too, and so far no go. Last night he did okay, didn't have a meltdown at least.

Paul Maholm pitching well but losing vs Astros, 3-2 in 7th.

He has given up two HRs to Jason Maxwell, including a solo HR in the 7th after the Braves tied the game in the 6th (3 walks and a 2run single by Uggla)

holy cubbery joe mather.

Turns a double into a 2-run HR. Wow.

During this Olympic week that was best set I've seen .

Muskat's writeup on Mather's cubbery:

They had a short spurt in the fourth...But the Dodgers answered in their half as Mark Ellis singled and Kemp followed with his 16th home run, which center fielder Joe Mather deflected with his glove over the wall.

"I felt I could've caught it, honestly," Mather said. "I was pretty upset I didn't get it. It might have tipped off the top of my glove. The ball just kept going and going and going. Three inches shorter, and it's an out. If I'm three inches taller [it's an out]."

Said Kemp: "You never know in this ballpark. It's tough to hit home runs at night here and I think I got a little bit of help looking at the Jumbotron [scoreboard of the replay]."

Yes, if you were three inches shorter or two steps slower, it would've been a double, too.

I-Cubs won last night 5-1, Vitters with a 3 run HR in the 8th (#17)
BJax 1-3 with 2K's and a walk
Chris Rusin 7IP, 4H, 1BB, 8K, 1R but a no decision

Sources confirmed Saturday that Cubs management did not let the Dodgers know they were letting Dempster listen in on phone calls between the team Tuesday regarding the possibility of a trade to them. The serious breach of ethics figures to affect the relationship between the two organizations, which had been on good terms until now.
The Cubs and Dodgers discussed several scenarios, none of which worked out. The Cubs could have had four low-level minor league prospects, but instead settled for two Class-A prospects from the Rangers.

unpossible. theocorp had some kind of awesome plan that worked out even with the dodgers finding out because that's the plan because it's theo.

paul sulivan is an old guy set in his ways and an enemy of the SABERS. he probably doesn't even know how AKNK% effects ONX%.

this is simply an attack article by the enemies of progress. ron paul 2012. brb, masturbating.

@CarrieMuskat: Brett Jackson & Josh Vitters headed to LA. It's not a mirage. We'll send pix when they get here.

Boo. What's the point? Wait 'til September.

The point is A-they have 2 months to see what they can do at the MLB pressure of a pennant race, and they're not being blocked by anyone.
B-From a business standpoint, it adds some watchability to the team for the rest of the year...unless we want Joe Mather and Luis Valbuena sightings.

Neither player is exactly dominating AAA. My feeling is you might as well leave them to cut down on k's/increase the BB's. Now they're in the majors and will absolutely feel pressure to perform, despite the team's place in the standings.

Meh... .304/.356/.513 isn't dominating. It's pretty freaking solid though.
You can't wait for the perfect, 100 % optimal situation all the time. Because it doesn't exist.

Sure, but there's no actual need for these guys right now and neither one is really forcing their promotion.

Bryce Harper was batting lower than .250 when he was called up. Granted he's struggling now . . . but AAA/AA numbers aren't always the best indicator of success. Also in interviews they talked about maybe getting them some new looks by some new coaches. Bottom line is the braintrust thinks its a good time . . . Sometimes a player needs a little more heat or pressure to bear down. Or maybe they do not want Jackson to get discouraged after a good spring. I like the move. Let's get a 2 month look?

Probably won't make or break anything. Certainly if they both hit well, I'll be thrilled.

Well let's give them each 2-3 years in AAA, and wait and see?

Let's give them the rest of 2012 in AAA, let them settle in and work on things, and potentially delay arbitration/free agency for them. They can prove themselves at the MLB level in 2013 when the Cubs will also not be in contention.

I'd be more worried about arb clocks if these 2 were 19-20 years old.
Jackson is 24, Vitters is 22..23 in 3 weeks.

It's cool. We agree to disagree.

Disagree to agree. Or something.

I don't care if they are starting the clocks on these two guys. Chances are they will not be superstars, therefore they won't be throwing away too much money by bringing them up now. If for some reason one or both become superstars, then fucking great, we have two superstars. For the short term, this team is now more watchable than it was last least the position players. Pitching, super meh.

And a minor disagreement at that.

Baker traded to Tigers for 2 tbnl


Campana back to Iowa to scrape out rust.

Vitters not in lineup but BJax is

Recent comments

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  • soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*

    crunch 3 hours 12 min ago view
  • Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.

    Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh

    Eric S 3 hours 13 min ago view
  • that runner scores on a single...

    The E-Man 3 hours 24 min ago view
  • So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?

    jacos 3 hours 26 min ago view
  • And right on cue he throws to third with no chance to get runner on 2nd so the batter takes 2nd easily. How long has he been playing baseball??

    The E-Man 3 hours 26 min ago view
  • Man you cannot put Soler out there late in games for Playoffs. Yuch...

    The E-Man 3 hours 33 min ago view
  • Such is the life of a fatted calf...

    JoePepitone 3 hours 47 min ago view
  • fowler with a triple in the 4th...he's a HR away from a "natural" cycle

    crunch 4 hours 20 min ago view
  • ...and contreras takes one off the hand and he's in obvious pain. sigh.

    he's staying in the game, though he's wringing his hand out during breaks in the action. aside from that he seems to have no issue giving signs or tossing back to the pitcher.

    ...and he's batting in the cubs half of the following inning. sweet.

    crunch 4 hours 24 min ago view
  • his collapse started on august 21st this it's a slight improvement.

    but wow, what a collapse since then...only 2 out of 7 can be considered good/decent.

    crunch 4 hours 36 min ago view
  • I'm really going to enjoy watching Hammel watch the playoffs.

    Jackstraw 4 hours 55 min ago view
  • The always combustible Jason Hammel

    jacos 5 hours 15 min ago view
  • Hammel :(

    Charlie 5 hours 16 min ago view
  • That was fun.

    Charlie 8 hours 16 min ago view
  • "home field advantage through the playoffs?"

    Except for the away games.

    VirginiaPhil 8 hours 28 min ago view
  • Eh, I read it as tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek. VEB seems to have good heads on their shoulders.

    Brick 9 hours 37 min ago view