Tale of Two Prospects

Thursday night I invited myself to the Triple A debut of Kyle Hendricks. He was neither exciting nor disappointing. He is a pair of blue jeans, not a tuxedo. He is a home cooked meal, not a night on the town. He is someone we could get used to.

The highly touted are said to have electric stuff and mound presence. Hendricks’ repertoire is manually operated and he is not imposing. Maybe it works to his advantage that he strikes no fear. Subconsciously, maybe hitters’ guards come down and, next thing they know, they’ve been TKO’d by the middleweight standing opposite them.

Hendricks is things like workmanlike, efficient and methodical. Unlike so many with perhaps livelier arms he appears in command of his arsenal and to pitch with a plan.

Thursday night he was the 18th man to bat in the game and the first to reach base when he drew a walk and later scored the game’s first run. He almost robotically retired the first 12 Fresno hitters before a hit, a Mike Olt error and a barely nicked batsman resulted in the only unearned blemish against him in the run column.

As an aside, Hendricks’ opposite number, the aptly named Mitch Lively, threw a quality start in defeat, and went about his business more a la Mark Fidrych than Kyle Hendricks. Most of the time he threw from what amounted to a stretch whereby, as he came set he’d pull his hands around behind his hip as though keeping the ball away from someone trying to grab it from him. But every once in a while he’d launch into a full-blown, old school windmill windup, rearing back with both arms sometimes once, sometimes twice or more before coming home. He was funner than Hendricks to watch but, as mentioned, he was also the losing pitcher when all was said and done.

Hendricks might last, like a good pair of boots.

And then there’s Jake Arrieta.

He’s listed only an inch taller than Hendricks but, pitching the game right after him, he seems bigger, maybe because he’s heavier; stouter through the buns and thighs. On top of that he throws noticeably harder. Hendricks touched the low 90’s; Arrieta sits at 94/95.

Where Hendricks looks and feels dependable, if unspectacular, just about anything might happen with Arrieta and just about everything has. In his two best I-Cub starts combined he’s thrown 11 innings, allowing five hits, one run and fanning 20. In his three poorest, including last night, the totals are 12, 22, 13 (nine earned) and nine.

He breezed through the first last night with two swinging strikeouts. But he was gone before he retired anyone in the top of the 4th having allowed six hits, all singles, and walking as many (three) as he’d whiffed. Nobody hit anything hard off of him, he just stopped getting people out. He walked the pitcher leading off an inning, for chrissakes. How I hate when that happens. Kyle Hendricks would never do such a thing!

Arrieta reminds you of the old axiom about the kid with the million dollar arm and the ten cent head. So we’ll see about him. If he pans out the Feldman deal really starts to glow. The upside is way high. The downside is way low. Somewhere in between, steadily, is Hendricks.

Two asides from last night’s action: Denny McClain was on hand for some reason and they mingled him in with all of the birthday kids and civic hotshots tossing ceremonial first pitches. Ye gods, man! The poor old bastard, looking fat and mottled, wobbled out to the mound, drew in on the grass, and lollipopped one that barely managed to cover the remaining distance to the plate on the fly. Anyone there not old enough to remember when he was racking up 30 wins and 350+ innings per season must have had a hard time believing that this broken down shell was ever capable of such things.

The other thing I noticed as the players took the field and came to attention for the anthem was that the I-Cub outfielders numbered 2-5-3 from left to right. When’s the last time you saw a team deploy an all-single digited outfield? Struck me as unusual...


"stouter through the buns and thighs"

makes me want to go all Tumblr on thee.

So basically, you have Nuke LaLoosh and the kid Crash Davis wish he could have mentored?

Wittenmyer says Arrieta will join the rotation for the rest of the season, probably during the upcoming homestand.


And because it is no longer possible for Jake Arrieta to accrue at least 86 days of MLB Service Time in 2013, he will NOT be eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" post-2013.

arrieta's long had command/repeatability issues. he's got the stuff...it can just come out of his arm different inning-to-inning/game-to-game. he loses his release point and angle seemingly randomly...constant self-correction in-game of technique and form.

he's got the stuff...he's got the ability...he needs some consistency in how he delivers it.

also, denny mclain shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a ballpark. his lack of class and respect far outweighs any crap people try to lay on pete rose.

Adam Greenberg has company....Thomas Neal to 60-day DL.

and darnell mcdonald called from AAA...because the cubs have quit trying.

boscan back to AAA.

at least navarro is feeling better.

Yeah, hard to get excited about a 34-year old with a .653 OPS at AAA. I know we are closing in on the record for most players in a year or whatever, but I have to believe we have already set the record for most fringe outfielders in one season.

Bougesevic is rehabbing and I would assume would bump Darnell when he is ready. And Sweeney might be back in September depending on the how the recovery goes, but I haven't heard anything in a while.

Agreed all around. Hey! What if he's the next Brian LaHair?!!

rays/longoria got uribe (LAD) out at 3rd with the hidden ball trick (set up on a throw around the field between pitches...3rd base coach + uribe didn't notice longoria had the ball and didn't get rid of it).


s.feldman buyer's remorse in full effect.

he's slated to pitch monday (aug 12)...he last pitched aug 3rd. 9 days between starts to "clear his head."

5.70/1.32 era/whip in 6 games so far.

Whoops! Oh well...TheoJed got 'er done. McFail revenge I hope.

One of the worst called strikes I've ever seen:


Damn is this 2 out 8th inning rally fun to watch in St. Louis.

and d.barney helped with a 2 RBI double...and he needs to help more (.224/.229 ob%/slugging post-AS-break before today's 1-4 with a double).

also, welly 1-1 (HR) with 2 walks and a sac fly...he's getting it done recently.

Yes and yes! Boy it's really interesting to see when someone is as in a groove as Wellington is right now. The sport is so hard . . . and then you see these streaks where you know a guy is gonna give you a quality at bat. Fascinating. Confidence, talent, approach, magic .... Whatever.

add a HBP to welly's total...2nd in 2 games.

And then there is Castro. WOW was that a bad at-bat with Wellington on 3rd and one out in the ninth. Strikes 2 and 3 were closer to the Cards' dugout then his bat.

k.gregg hates cubs fans.

6-5...2 outs to go...c'mon gregg

and gregg gets the save. woos.

I think that is 13 losses in last 17 games for the redbirds.

Also I can't help but wonder if they had a little regret about not offering much for Navarro as he sent that game winning missile into the right field corner. I hope the cubs keep him. Love that dude's game.

CARLITO: Dioner Navarro is only 29 years old, so it really wouldn't be out of line for the Cubs to offer him a two or three year deal (with maybe a club option for the third year) to be the #1-B catcher to the #1-A guy (Welington Castillo). The Cubs have no catching prospects in the organization anywhere close to being MLB ready. 

would it really be a good idea to give a guy like him 3-4m a year, though?

he's making 1.75m coming off a .290/.305/.449 season (after not having a good season since 2008) and doubling that after this season wouldn't be hard. hell, i'd imagine a 2/8m contract wouldn't be too hard to find. he's not gotten his numbers off a hot month, he's been very consistent with his production.

as good as he's been all year, he'll still be quite lucky to get 250 PA this year (175 after today's game).

if they do decide to keep him i'd like the cubs to carry 3 catchers so they can actually fit him in at 1st/DH/PH when applicable/needed...if he can play 1st, that is...don't think he's ever played there. he's missed a few key PH spots this season because he's the only C left to do the job on the bench, which is a shame given the quality of his bat this season.

his lack of ball blocking quality aside...i wouldn't mind seeing him around at 3-4m a season...but if his bat is any indication, i'd like to see it in use more if they're going to pay him that much.

My bigger concern is one of timing. If the rebuilding is expected to start producing a team in 2-3 years, then yeah, no problem, sign him up at the right price. If it's going to take longer, I wouldn't bother.

Cubster -- Can you cast any light on the surgery that Matt Guerrier is having? Patrick Mooney is calling it a "flexor mass injury". https://twitter.com/CSNMooney/status/3659608004242...

the surgery that Matt Guerrier is having
The flexor mass (aka flexor-pronator muscle origin) refers to the origin of several tendons that are responsible for finger and wrist flexion and forearm rotation, that originate on the inside/medial side of the elbow. Specifically they attach to the medial epicondyle of the humerus (arm bone). Interestingly, the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL,Tommy John ligament when reconstructed) attaches very near and just under this attachment site, so often when they are doing flexor origin repair surgery they get as detailed/direct look at the UCL as can be obtained. If the UCL is damaged they will reconstruct it at the same time. I believe this is what Scott Baker had happen when his surgery was done last year. Here's the article I wrote back in November on this topic including some helpful diagrams of the anatomy of the UCL, Flexor-Pronator origin and the medial epicondyle.

Per my article, the flexor-pronator recovery is usually 6 months whereas the Tommy John surgery is typically felt to be longer at 12-18 months for recovery.

Guerrier should be good as new unless he goes all Chad Fox on us.


Recent comments

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  • Illuminati.

  • May the best team win, and subsequently humiliate the Cardinals.

  • I love arriving here first thing in the morning, adding a few moronic posts (moranic for any Cardinals fans who may be trolling), and reading the sage posts of all you guys. Most knowledgeable fans on any forum, by far. So post like crazy today and help give TCR some visibility!

    I told my wife last night that I'm going to need a support system for tonight's game. Tonight is going to be a lot harder on me than it is going to be on these rookie bad asses.

  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the mlb.tv internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup equation...plus joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead