I-Cubs Will Go Head to Head With J-Rob in Home Opener
Long time, no post.
While the I-Cubs are opening the season in Albuquerque and getting the Isotopes off and running, finishing touches are being put on their headquarters here in Des Moines. Yesterday was Open House and a parking lot full of fans came to walk the warning track and tour the remodeled clubhouses. Too bad Chicago and their Cubs don’t get along as cozily as Des Moines does with ours. The city helped rebuild the ballpark back in the 1990’s, replaced the playing field not long ago and kicked in on this latest project too, despite that we can’t keep the libraries open a rightful amount of hours.
Besides peeks behind the scenes fans were lured by promises of a free hot dog/chips/soda lunch and a GA ticket to a 2013 game. While the facilities were easy enough to get in and out of, the line for the eats was surely the longest one there’s ever been there without a ballgame at the end of it, so I fasted.
Does it surprise any of you that there is a sign posted in the clubhouses forbidding the consumption of any alcoholic beverages on those premises? It did me.
Besides the free ticket handout I cashed in a Groupon that netted me 20 tickets for 50 bucks - @ $2.50 per that’ll make for a good time some just right evening this summer when I’d rather go with friends than alone as I usually do.
The home opener is set for next Friday, a date that coincides with the opening of ’42’ starring Harrison Ford as the grandfather, I think, of the PCL president. I’m anxious to see it and will let the weather make the decision as to whether I go to the ballpark or the movies that evening.
My streak of seasons with at least one visit to Wrigley may be in jeopardy this year. I’m not sure how long it is but it’s fairly lengthy and right now I have nothing planned.
It’s good to hear that a renovation detente may have been achieved in Wrigleyville and the organizational pipeline seems to be filling with fuel, most of which is pretty far downline from Des Moines. I may make a cheap trip or two to catch Kane County when the Cougars road-trip into Iowa. As for what I’m anxious to see right here, I guess I’m curious about this Loux kid and hopeful that Jackson won’t be such a strikeout artist now that his swing’s been Tinker-ed to make the most of Ever-y Chance (sorry).
Sorry, too, for any errors. I’m kinda rusty, like Pat Hughes, who called Rizzo’s Opening Day blast to the back of the right-center bleachers in Pittsburgh “playable.”
I’ll be in touch.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.