Minor League Playoffs and More

The most exciting thing around the Cubsverse right now is the minor leagues competing in the playoffs. Meaningless as a victory may be to the big league club down the line, it's fun to follow and have a rooting interest in something, other than the Cubs losing for a better draft pick slot.

- Last night both Daytona and Boise advanced to the finals of their respective league championships, both sweeping their best-of-3 series. C.J. "#5 Cubs prospect" Edwards continued his domination with 5 no-hit innings on 8 K's against one walk for the win, Ryan Searle had a 4-inning save and almost closed out the committee no-hitter before giving up back-to-back singles with one out in the 9th. Kris Bryant provided the bulk of the offense going 3-for-3 with a run scored, a double, 2 RBI's and a hit-by-pitch in the 4-0 victory. Daytona will play Charlotte (Tampa affiliate) starting tonight, with Pierce Johnson taking the mound.

- Boise won 11-7 on the strength of 12 hits and the weakness of Salem-Keizer's defense that included 5 errors by the Giants affiliate. Justin Marra went 2-for-5 with 4 RBI's and 2 doubles and Kevin Encarnacion and Daniel Lockhart both had 3 hits. Not a good night for either team's pitching, but Duane Underwood's 1.1 innings that included 2 hits, 2 walks and 3 runs allowed was a particular lowlight. Regardless, Boise starts their finals series versus Vancouver (Toronto affiliate) on Friday..

- Tennessee starts their playoff run as well tonight versus Birmingham (White Sox affiliate). Nick Struck will go for the Smokies.

- MLB Trade Rumors put out an all-minor league team and Dan Vogelbach and Javier Baez were the 1B and SS representatives. An admittedly weak first base class at the moment, but still a bit of a surprise announcement on Vogelbach whom will likely slot between #6 - #10 on most Cubs' prospect lists this winter. Baez faced much stiffer competition at shortstop, but making a run at the home run title gave him the nod.

- BP ran some scout quotes and one had this to say on Junior Lake

"He is starting to figure it out. He has always had the physical tools but never really looked like a natural baseball player. To see him slow the game down makes him a viable player. Of all the defensive questions I had in the past, his athleticism is starting to answer them at multiple positions. He has the physical attributes to impact major-league games… and it is starting to show up more regularly than expected."

Being the skeptic I am on Junior Lake's major league potential, I thought it would be a good time to bring up that he has a .380 BABIP right now in the majors that has lead to his current and very average 294/339/428 slash line. If you discount his first 7 games, which I admit is a bit of cheating, but it's not much of a leap to assume that major league pitchers weren't too aware of his strengths and weaknesses yet, he's 255/306/365. But if you're looking for upside, he does have some very nice splits versus lefties (1.113 OPS vs. a .637 OPS against righties) and his slash line over his last 16 games (297/348/406) is right in line with his season numbers...and he's 23. Ultimately I still believe he'll make his career as a short-side platoon outfielder or 4th outfielder/utility man.

- Speaking of draft pick slots (check the lower left sidebar), White Sox have taken a 2.5 game lead over the Cubs for the third spot in the draft and Cubs have just a one game lead over the Brewers for the 4th spot, although the Cubs do own the tie-breaker in both situations.

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Comments

just a guess, but what most top 10 lists will look like

Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler, Edwards, Olt, Vizcaino, Alcantara, Vogelbach, Johnson

I imagine Baez will sneak into the top 10 of most major league top 100 lists and Cubs should have 4-5 on most of them.

White Sox have taken a 2.5 game lead over the Cubs for the third spot in the draft
---
The WSux are riding a 6 game losing streak after getting swept in both Boston and NY, while the Cubs have gone 3-3 vs Phils and Marlins.

Next they go to Baltimore before a home stand vs Detroit, Cleveland and Minnesota. They end the year with one makeup game vs Toronto (in Chi), then at Detroit and Cleveland before the final series vs KC in Chicago
So they have two series vs non-contenders plus the makeup game. 5 series vs contenders (counting the Indians).

The Cubs remaining schedule is similar as they are against 5 contenders, except 2 series vs the Brewers.
Starting this weekend vs Milwaukee, then a road trip to Cincy, Pitt and Milwaukee. Final home stand vs Atlanta and Pittsburgh. Then final series at St. Louis.

So they have comparable end of season schedules with a slightly tougher mix for the Cubs (since they have struggled vs Milwaukee so far)

Daytona lineup for tonight...

RF Chen CF DeVoss 1B Geiger DH Vogelbach 3B Bryant LF Giansanti C Krist 2B Darvill SS Soto RHP Johnson

sappelt officially outrighted to AAA...hopefully he can get his foot issues cleared up and come back a better player (with 4th/5th OF'r upside that has a touch of speed) next season.

Hopefully he is in someone else's system next year.

You read my mind. He brings nothing to the table that we need right now ....

underway in Daytona, Pierce Johnson with a K and gives up a hit, but no other damage.

Chen single, DeVoss double, Geiger groundout scores a run.

Johnson works around a leadoff double with 2 more K's in 2nd (Daytona up 1-0 heading into bottom of the 2nd).

Smokies lineup

CF, Alcantara 2B, SS, DH, Villanueva 3B, Silva RF, LF, Mota 1B, C, Struck SP

bottom of 2nd

  • Anthony Giansanti doubles (1) on a fly ball to center fielder Kes Carter.
  • Chadd Krist strikes out swinging.
  • Wes Darvill strikes out swinging. Wild pitch by pitcher Jesse Hahn. Anthony Giansanti to 3rd. Wes Darvill to 1st.
  • Elliot Soto walks. Wes Darvill to 2nd.
  • Pin-Chieh Chen doubles (1) on a fly ball to left fielder Willie Argo. Anthony Giansanti scores. Wes Darvill scores. Elliot Soto scores.
  • Zeke DeVoss walks.
  • Pitching Change: Jared Mortensen replaces Jesse Hahn.

4-0 Daytona so far....

CHA, top 4th, Two outs...

Hector Guevara singles on a line drive to left fielder Anthony Giansanti. Drew Vettleson out at home on the throw, left fielder Anthony Giansanti to catcher Chadd Krist.

Still 4-0

0-0, top of third for Tennessee, both teams with just a hit, Villanueva for the Smokies.

Daytona goes up 5-0 in bottom of 4th on Geiger RBI double that brings in DeVoss.

Pierce Johnson done, 5 IP, 6 K, 5 H, 0 BB and leaves with a 5-0 lead

Jeffrey Lorick in for another 4-inning save opp.

Tenn still tied 0-0 in top of the 4th.

Just in case:

Alas, poor Lorick. I knew him, Horatio: A fellow of most infinite jest, of most excellent fancy...

Word.

dueling home runs leave it tied 1-1 in bottom of 5th for Tennessee...Silva with the Smokies HR.

Szczur, Alcantara, Baez and Bour combined 0/8 with 3 K's.

5-0 Daytona through 7 and a half.

Bryant/Vogelbach combined 0/5 with a walk on the night.

D-Cubs win 5-0. Zack Cates gets 2 quick outs, then walks the next three before getting the last out with a K.

Piniero pitches tomorrow night for the D-Cubs

D-Cubs win 5-0. Zack Cates gets 2 quick outs, then walks the next three before getting the last out with a K.

"Wild Thing" Cates

Tennessee down 3-1 in bottom of 6th.

Daytona Cubs vs. Chicago Cubs: Who ya got?

from the Boston mlb.com beat writer on Daniel Bard...

Only 28, the Cubs have taken an interest in other pitchers full of talent but lacking in results. Bard could be a good fit for the Cubs, though Farrell warned that it might take some time before they see any results.

"There's still a player and a pitcher there that's motivated, and yet anytime that there's activity disrupted by an injury, that's going to slow that process," Farrell said. "Time was of the essence with us. We needed the roster space. But based on what we saw over the last couple of years, it needs to be built back gradually. How long that takes is the unknown in this."

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130904&c...

John Arguella writes about Masahiro Tanaka

http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/09/despite...

Leaving for Chicago in a few minutes. Have nowhere to be and nothing to do until tonight. So in a moment of impulse, went on StubHub and bought a Cubs ticket. It was only $7, and got a pretty decent box seat. Yet somehow I feel like I'm the one who got screwed.

Sold my tickets today on stubhub to some Moran for $7. He's screwed (based on sunk costs, of course).

Enjoy the game JB.

Cubs foolishly beating Brewers 5-2 in the 3rd, Junior Lake with a grand slam.

Stupid Cubs. They can't even lose correctly.

"Scott Baker (elbow) will make his Cubs' debut on Sunday against the Brewers."

Whoa! A Stealth appearance by Baker. Not many will notice because he's going up against the Bears vs Bengals.

d.lee was at the game today sitting down the line a few rows back near the cubs on deck circle.

fun video of DLee getting a foul ball and asking Darwin Barney in the on deck circle to autograph it

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_...

Cole Gillespie and Michael Bowden unclaimed and get assigned to Iowa roster.

Carrie Muskat interviews Daniel Bard...

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2013/09/06/96-bard-takes...

yep, you guessed it...

Playoff game in Daytona, Postponed: Rain

http://daytona.cubs.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t450

Tennessee starts Dae-Eun Rhee tonight, Daytona postponed as mentioned, Boise starts Dillon Maples

Smokies lineup: Gm 2 lineup: CF,Alcantara 2B, SS, 1B,Villanueva 3B,Silva DH, LF, RF, C,Rhee SP

A BJax sighting!

http://baseballinfosolutions.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/the-best-position-...

kind words on W. Castillo's defense, their system has him as the best defensive catcher in the league...I'm a bit skeptical on that one, but better than being the worst.

(nothing in their system seems to account for pitch framing fwiw, something he's notioursly bad at it, even if improving)

Here's an ESPN insider article discussing that very subject (Molina and Lucroy are called out)

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9629497/jonathan-lucroy-yadier...

"their system has him as the best defensive catcher in the league"

their system is broken...very highly broken.

i like his D...i like his arm...but c'mon...even before "pitch framing" gets into it.

BP article on pitch framing, W. Castillo neither on the good or bad list

http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21615

Castillo does show up on the "Worst Frames of the Week" list. He catches a sinker outside that he sets up for inside, and in the process he slides his whole body toward the left-handed batter's box. The writer has this to say about it: Not sure what either of the people behind the plate is up to here. Close as I can tell, Ron Kulpa said "BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA," and Castillo got scared and slid to safety in the left-handed batter's box.
What they don't mention is that there is a runner on third that Castillo clearly checks up on, and he appears to maybe have been crossed up as well.

pays to scroll all the way down...

does look like a cross-up, or that Arrieta missed his spot by so much that Castillo had to adjust to save the run and not worry about the framing on that one.

4-0 Birmingham over the Smokies through 4 and a half, 2 runs were unearned thanks to a throwing error by the Golden Child at shortstop.

Boise up 1-0 through 4, Penalvar tripled and scored the lone run.

D. Maples: 4 IP, 6 K, 2 BB, 3 H

Boise scores 3 more in the 6th on a Rony Rodriquez rbi single and David Bote 2 run double. 4-0 Hawks

Maples still pitching in the 7th

PIT DFA's James McDonald...wow.

injured early (shoulder)...not good before the DL, not good since returning...still...wow.

Odds he becomes a Cub?

*shrug*

if daniel "cannot find the strike zone for 2 years" bard can be a cub, almost anyone can.

that said, SP is one area where they're pretty much full up on talent going into next season...who knows...

It all comes down to what it would take to get him, I think. If it takes very little, I don't see why the Cubs wouldn't go after him. Always need more young-ish starting pitching. And starting pitching can always become middle relief.

c.lim debut...

54th player of the season...cubs franchise record...which was set last year.

...and before the 2nd pitch of the game he goes to his mouth on the rubber (which isn't allowed) and the ump has to tell the dugout because lim didn't understand...which prompts welly to visit the mound to pass the message...which is weird cuz i don't think he speaks korean. evidently this is a message which transcends language or lim knows "baseball english".

btw, they can't send the interpreter out because he has to be taken out w/ the manager and that would count as a mound visit.

1st batter walked on a full count. 2nd batter single to left on a 3-1 count. now the interpreter/manager come out. double play. end of inning. (he came in with 1 out)

90-93mph...lot of fastballs. he threw 3 very poor sliders through 14 pitches. he also works very slow.

Man does he work slow. It was kinda hard to watch . . .

And both his windup and stretch are very quirky. Kind of rocks himself into it.

Minor correction, the interpreter went out with Bosio, so obviously it's allowed for pitching coaches as well.

And yeah, Lim works painfully slow.

Baez 2-run HR in 1st inning, Smokies lead 2-1 through 4...Jokisch pitching.

Daytona up 1-0 after 1, Vogelbach with a 2-out double to score Geiger...Pineyro pitching...5 straight K's to start the game.

 

Smokies final was 9-2, Game was close until a 6 spot in the bottom of the 8th:
--------
Tennessee Bottom of the 8th
Matt Szczur singles on a ground ball to shortstop Tyler Saladino.
Arismendy Alcantara pops out to shortstop Tyler Saladino.
Javier Baez singles on a line drive to left fielder Brandon Jacobs. Matt Szczur to 3rd.
Justin Bour singles on a line drive to left fielder Brandon Jacobs. Matt Szczur scores. Javier Baez to 2nd.
Christian Villanueva singles on a ground ball to left fielder Brandon Jacobs. Javier Baez scores. Christian Villanueva to 2nd. Justin Bour advances to 3rd, on a throwing error by left fielder Brandon Jacobs.
Kevin Vance intentionally walks Rubi Silva.
Pitching Change: Ryan Kussmaul replaces Kevin Vance.
Jonathan Mota hit by pitch. Justin Bour scores. Christian Villanueva to 3rd. Rubi Silva to 2nd.
John Andreoli doubles (3) on a ground ball to left fielder Brandon Jacobs. Christian Villanueva scores. Rubi Silva scores. Jonathan Mota scores. John Andreoli to 3rd. Fielding error by left fielder Brandon Jacobs.
Taylor Davis grounds out, shortstop Tyler Saladino to first baseman Dan Black.
Matt Szczur grounds out, pitcher Ryan Kussmaul to first baseman Dan Black.

Sounds like some clutch plays by the team with the glorious minor league type name "The Stone Crabs". Hit by pitch, two errors by Brandon Jacobs. Well done.

With that Daytona lineup, I'm surprised they lost any games at all this year.

Nick Cafardo with a few paragraphs on Epstein/Bard:

That’s what Epstein and Co. are banking on. By claiming Bard on waivers, the Cubs took on an additional $275,000 in salary, the remainder of the $1.86 million Bard is earning this season. The Cubs, obviously, won’t be able to make an evaluation of Bard this season, so they’ll likely work out a pre-tender offer in a split contract for 2014, under which he’d make a certain amount if he makes the major league team or another amount if he’s in the minors.

http://www.boston.com/2013/09/06/sunball/AzuT5UD9P...

Everybody knows he doesn't hit enough to win a Gold Glove.

heh, well-played

does it not matter one bit to these catcher defensive "scores" how little some catchers have a guy attempt a steal off of them or the impact of keeping them near/on base? ...or how much they play vs what they do when they play? when a C can hold a guy on base through sheer threat it really impacts where the infield D can set up, especially on the 2nd/1st side of the field.

...as much as welly seems overrated in this system...matt wieters seems totally shit upon...

Baker throwing 89 mph (career average is 91 mph), efficient first inning 16 pitches/10 strikes

s.baker's final AAA start is going well through 4ip...

5ip 2h 1bb 1k - 0 r - 55 pitches on the day for baker

...and grimm/russell blow it out of the pen.

Alcantara hits a 2 run single up the middle scoring TDavis and Szczur...bottom 3rd. Alcantara goes to 3rd on SB plus error on throw which hits him on the helmet. Baez K's. Bour F8. On to the 4th tied 2-2.

Villaneuva walk, Silva single and Mota rbi single, 3-2 Smokie Links

then Szczur doubles scoring Silva and Mota. 5-2, bottom 4th

Taylor Davis with a 2 run double in the 6th, scoring base-cloggers Silva and Mota. Smokies 7-4, end of 6.

3 more Smokie runs in the 8th. Jonathon Mota triple scores Silva and Andreoli, Szczur SF scores Mota.

10-4 Smokies.

Rubi Silva is 4-4 with 3 runs scored.

Final 10-7 Tennessee beats Birmingham. Series tied at 2-2. Series finale tomorrow night.

Boise game just starting, 3 up-3 down in the first at Vancouver.

Boise 1-1 in bottom 5th.

Run scored by Bote on a Hankins double in the 2nd inning.

update: Vancouver up 4-1, 8th.

h.rondon finally gets back to back 0er outings!

it's his first back to back 0er outing since june 11th/13th.

that only took almost 3 months.

also, clubs lose.

Corey Black pitched 6 innings of 1 hit shutout ball. 2 walks, 2 K's.
D-Cubs lead 2-0 in top 8th at Charlotte.

Ricketts family at it again...buying Nebraska?

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/197...

"MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports that the Dodgers are close to a deal with free agent Alexander Guerrero."

that didn't take long.

fwiw..."Sanchez says the pact is "between five and seven years" and will be worth $32 million. Guerrero is a power-hitting second baseman."

The Havana Dodgers begin to take shape.

holy cubbery in the 1st inning...bad running at 1st...bad running at 3rd...a run that should have scored didn't...and a runner at 1st that should have stayed there tries for 2nd and runs into a very stupid + not-even-remotely-close out.

btw, the attendance at this game @CIN is pathetic for a team in contention...it's wrigley-esque.

r.sweeney ties a career high in HR with his 6th...in 133ab (previous, 6 in 484ab).

the cubs collection of b-teamers are achieving a lot of career power marks in way less ABs compared to previous seasons.

...and valbuena follows it up the next inning hitting a career high of 11 HR in 299ab, passing his career high of 10 in 368ab.

D-Cubs win FSL championship 4-0.

CJ Edwards with 5 shutout innings, 1 hit ball. Then Ryan Searle retired all 12 hitters he faced.

Woo. A championship Cub team!

see below

CJ Edwards: 5 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 K and the win

R. Searle: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K for the save

Vogelbach 3/4 with an RBI

Tennessee down 6-2 headed to bottom of 5th, Neil Ramirez roughed up for 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 0 K

Alcantara with 2 errors, Baez with 1

Boise starts Michael Wagner tonight in the winner-take-all Game 3 versus Vancouver

Baez just blasted one to left center for a 2 run bomb, also scoring Szczur who had doubled.

6-4 Birmingham in the bottom 5th, two outs, CVillaneuva up (singles)...pitching change.

Baez HR estimated at 419 feet.

t.wood, the best 87-89mph fastball pitcher in quite a while, blanks CIN through 7 innings and 100 pitches (the 1st time in his 2 year cubs career he's been allowed to throw 100+ pitches 4 games in a row, btw...never threw more than 2 in a row last season and 3 in a row only once this season prior to this 4-game stretch).

era/whip lowered to 3.05/1.11

bottom of the 8th still 6-4, Villanueva, Silva, Andreoli due up

2-out walk for Andreoli, but nothing happening...to the 9th.

Smokies lose 7-4....Boise down 2-0 in bottom of 8th.

At least we'll always have Daytona.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa-dGYjSq5k

Here's lookin' at you, kid.

Boise loses 5-0 btw.

Cubs dropping Old Style in 2014, going exclusively with Amheiser.
m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3890344?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

I assume it won't affect availability of "premium" brands like Corona, Amstel Light, etc. I never liked Old Style, but it's still weird that it won't be available at Wrigley.

The old school charm (and brand equity) of Wrigley Field is suffering a death by 1000 cuts at the hands of Tom Ricketts.

it's been weird watching the bleachers change over the years. it started before the ricketts left, but the "oldschool oldtimers" have been slowly/quickly (depending on the view of time) been pushed out of the bleachers by bros, hecklers who think this is a yankees game, and meat market bro hookup opportunities.

i wonder if they still give out certificates to those who throw a ball back on the field from an opposing HR.

a few weeks ago a bunch of bros and assorted douches were laying into a kid...maybe 10 or 12...to throw a ball back that he caught and was happy as hell about. the "oldtimers" would generally let that kind of thing pass without pressure (especially since he was a kid who brought a glove to the game), but the kid caught so much hell he ended up reluctantly tossing it back on the field to the cheers of dozens of young bros and his own disappointment. i can only hope that some bleacher fan gave the kid a replacement ball, but still...it's not the one he brought his glove to the game and caught.

When was the last time you were at Wrigley? Honestly curious.

They always give replacement balls. So to speak.

1998...

i'm used to seeing the 'old guard' out with their certificates, replacement balls, etc as more highly visible fixtures in the bleachers rather than the newer crew (mostly based on TV viewing). i recognize some classic faces out there, but i'm also seeing a lot of them scattered or absent.

2014 tentative schedule

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130910&content_id=601...

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=chc#y=2014&m=4&calen...

Open season on road against Pittsburgh on March 31st...

Home opener vs. Phillies on April 4

4 games vs. WSox from May 5-8 (2 at each park)

home series vs. Yankees, Orioles and Rays

road series vs. Yankees, Toronto and Boston

September is all NL Central opponents except a 3-game set @ Toronto, season ends on Sept 28th @ Milwaukee which comes off a 10-game homestand, so if by some miracle they're in a race, they have that going for them.

Don't know who this guy is but he enjoys the kool-aid-

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/chicago-cubs-10-bold-...

1-no
2-no
3-maybe
4-no
5-no
6-no
7-yes
8-no
9-maybe
10-who cares

wasn't quite so appalled by it...but some strange ones indeed

#1) 85 wins; you never know I guess, not that crazy to believe though

#2) Sveuem replaced - nope

#3) Castro will bat .300 - very possible

#4) Baez will win ROY - no idea of the rookie class next year, but if they find him a position I wouldn't call it impossible

#5) Baker and Bard key bullpen parts - I think Villanueva already has the long role for next year

#6) Ninja and Wood will combine for 35 wins - T. Wood's BABIP says that's not happening

#7) Wrigley purists will enjoy the video board - of course they will, but is it gonna be ready for next year?

#8) Cubs will stand pat at deadline - if they're flirting with .500, certainly possible

#9) Rizzo will be an All-Star - possible of course, Votto, Goldschmidt, Freeman in the way though, not to mention A. Gonzalez

#10) Cubs will win first and last game of year - sure, who cares...unless that last game is a playoff game.

Baez won't be up long enought to be ROY if he even comes up next year.
And the Ninja/Wood thing made me throw up in my mouth.

Puig got called up late and he'll probably finish 2nd

Posey played his first game in 2010 on May 28th and won it that year

Harper started on April 28th last year

Chris Coghlan started on May 9th in 2009

off the top of my head, Kolten Wong probably won't lose his eligibility this year and should have a starting job...Oscar Tavares is a good bet for an early call-up. Jameson Taillon might get called up by June for Pirates. Chris Owings of the Diamondbacks may get a gig out of spring training although certainly a lower class prospect. Archie Bradley may have a gig out of spring training or soon after.

You think Baez will be called up before August ?

i don't know, I think if he has a good AFL, a good spring and is tearing up AAA the first month and Darwin Barney is still playing 2b or there's an injury on the infield or the outfield, he could be called up by May or June.

I wouldn't call it likely, but I could envision it happening.

most of these predictions are hard to gauge right now...and some pulled out of thin air without more than a wild hunch.

they have a lot of money to spend unless the rickets family pulls the plug on it...the season isn't even over and they're already linked to choo. they could not only sign choo, but also other impact players (pending money not being taken away). this is before getting into possible trade-for-talent scenarios.

the idea of baez coming up early enough to make a ROY impact seems like a huge stretch. nice power...huge step backwards with D...olt is going to get his shot at 3rd before they start to burn up baez's service time...the Ks issue (which may always be a part of his game)...and he doesn't have to added to the 40-man roster to keep protected from the rule-5 yet. maybe if he has an unreal winter/spring ball showing and castro/baez could be coaxed into 2nd base he could see time earlier...or if he starts to tear up AAA at an un-ignorable pace.

what the hell is the love for d.bard? he's lost his killer velocity (4mph missing off his fastball) and has major control issues even while throwing it less hard...an odd combo that traditionally doesn't mix. ...and baker as a pen guy? doubt he'd go for that unless he's holding back as a starter and he can hit 91+mph out of the pen.

...a lot of the type of players they pick up this offseason will determine whether they're going to "stand pat" at the trade deadline. it was obvious before ST started this year that their offseason pickups were designed to be traded to build the minors system.

"The Cubs will win the first and last games of the season"...full retard.

okay sammy sosa...seriously...stawp...stawp before you go full-jackson...just stawp...

http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18zrilnrg3nkyjpg/o...

second level upper deck welly HR to LF...cubs lead by 2 in the top 2nd.

swank.

what happened to Cingrani. Gameday says injury.

no word yet...trainer came out...cingrani came out.

it wasn't dramatic, but it was a quick hook.

...back spasms according to reds beat writer c.trent "fat motherfucker" rosecrans.

anyone care to predict if Castillo's power will show up in 2014? Upper deck HR's are cool when they are from the Cubs.

i've always seen him a doubles-power guy...someone that's a 30+double, 10-ish HR type guy over 500ab (given his expected load as a mostly-starting C). he's never had moonshot power, but he's put together a lot of line drive deep hits.

thanks to injury/soreness and navarro being kinda awesome with the bat, welly should only get 400ab this year, though.

another d.murphy HR...cubs lead by 4, top 4rd.

10HR in 107ab...and d.barney is still getting nearly everyday look at 2nd for some reason.

Management needs to take a long look at Barney before definitely nontendering him in November.

Management needs to take a long look...
---

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbcW81M4L8k

i just wonder if d.murphy is capable of playing 2nd full time...he seems to have been given chances in the past...he may or may not be capable.

if he is capable, though, it'd be nice to see him get an extended look along with seeing what his bat is like over an extended everyday playing time.

d.barney is a nice/okay bench-injury guy...a weak regular at best...but ultimately, a guy i'm ready to see not get almost 600ab a year.

For whatever reason, in the case of Barney's MLB career, natural selection does not seem to be working. Damn you, Darwin!

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/19785/hoyer-baez-as-good-...

The ultimate question about next year was put to Hoyer. Do any of these names have a chance to play for the Cubs coming out of spring training?

"It's likely none of those guys is going to start the season in the big leagues, so as we make out a lineup card for our 25-man roster that's not going to be a part of it," he said.

also says to expect Baez, Bryant, Soler and Almora to be trying different positions in the AFL, especially E-6 Baez.

Soriano 2 HR for yanks so far tonight, including a 2 run shot in the 8th to break up a 4-4 tie in Baltimore.

Dude is smoking, matches last year's total of 32 HR I believe.

ejax HR...2nd of career.

welly has 2 HR tonight.

9-0, top 7.

Back to back HR's, Welly gets his 2nd of the night and ? whoa...cub pitcher power!

The Reds on fifth pitcher tonite

The previous four went 1.2 inning each

j.lake...wtf was that? that route...that effort...that result. manny ramirez-esque play in LF turns an out into a rbi double. neat.

b.hamilton getting his 1st mlb AB.

4sb, 3 runs in 4 games without a PA...not a bad start to a career.

...line drive out to castro...castro didn't even have to move his feet.

Herb Washington agrees

if only he could have stolen bases as well as he ran. he had a cpat-like ability to turn blazing speed into bad decisions and outs.

Please. Make Lim go away . . .

it's been a long time since i've seen a pitcher work this slow...steve trashhell approves.

bases loaded, 2 out...16 pitches...and it's taken about 1/2 hour...or it feels like it.

...and he gets out of it.

Crazy. Yeah he sets up before the sign, after the sign, at the top of the wind up. Might have the clutch gene tho!

I see that Ace Samardzija is at it again....

6-0 Reds in bottom of 6th.

Sigh. Just checked in and saw that too. He's been on a free fall the last couple of months.

Shark and Rizzo in an active battle for worst finish to a disappointing 2013 season.

With the minor league seasons over --- when does AFL start???

rizzo's aug/sept (aside from the power in aug) has been really "ugg."

i can handle a low BA + OB% if he can hit 25-ish HR and 40-ish doubles. i just hope he can keep it up in the following years...or improve...

his pay is still reasonable through the length of his contract even if he keeps on the pace of this season with his overall numbers, even if they're paying too much a few years early.

if he improves, his options for 2020/2021 could be quite a deal (along with the years before that 1.25,5,5,7,7,11)...it's a 2m per year folly if the 20/21 options are not picked up, though.

Like I keep saying, his loopy/slow swing cannot keep up with the power arms. His weaknesses have been uber-exploited this season.

Its up to him to get it together.

6.66 ERA (appropriately) since start of July according to one of the tweets on the sidebar, which includes the one good week he had where he won player of the week.

Next year: 100 innings, and shut him down.

PIT is giving a.mccutchen the night off for rest even though they have a DH slot in an AL park...plus because grilli/melancon worked too much yesterday k.farnsworth is tonight's closer (if needed).

...it's like they don't care or something. =p

...and it all works out...and farnsworth throws 1ip 0h 0bb 1k for the save.

rosscup breaks 2 bats for outs in a scoreless inning...swank.

take that m.rivera.

I'm thinking Reds bullpen will be spent the rest of the way.

"Mark Carman @thecarm

Mike Olt will not to play this winter according to Jason Mcleod. #Cubs will try to determine what role concussion played in his down year."

yow...of all the guys that seemed to actually need to play this winter...hopefully rest will do him good.

Winter ball seems to be a way to get real prospects needed experience or a chance to prove themselves a bit more. Olt needs to get right.

I kinda trust the baseball pros on this one. If they think Olt needs some time away from the game, he probably does.

Fully agreed.

another 2014 Draft list, Big League Futures. 4 of the top 5 are pitchers.

http://bigleaguefutures.net/1/2013/09/09/2014-mlb-...

t.beede 10th? cold.

...he's a bit high on nick gordon at 9th, even if he is a SS.

kodi medeiros is on his list and he's been absent or very deep on a lot of lists even though he's got great stuff. very interesting guy with extremely good fastball + slider combo and unusual mound delivery. he throws between 3/4 and sidearm...very deceptive...especially for a guy who's stuff, alone, doesn't need deception. the biggest hangup for him is it's been hard to gauge how good he is in competition because he plays weak competition in hawaii. it's hard to tell what kinda loot he's gonna want...he's not committed to any college (and it's thought that he doesn't want to go to college), but if he falls too far in the 1st he may go the community college route to raise his value.

btw...i still don't like jeff hoffman as much as some people. he's getting a lot of positive buzz since he's one of an extremely small list of guys who had "sit up and notice" performances with summer ball exhibitions/leagues. still, it's one big crapshoot after c.rondon anyway...who's control/command doesn't excite me very much. killer tools on rondon, though...he's got the parts (fb, cutter, slider, curve, change, kitchen sink, etc)...he just needs to make it repeatable.

Welington the slowest player to first in baseball

http://www.actasports.com/stats_detail/?StatId=379

I imagine Dionar is spared only because of hitting from the left side mostly.

Speaking of Castillo, he has a higher DWAR than Russell Martin, 2.6 to 2.4, in spite of being bettered by Martin in every defensive column that I can see. Can anybody explain the magic of DWAR (defensive wins above replacement)?

DWAR is such a cocksuck stat...imo...

a bad catcher or mediocre SS can be as important to the stat as a good 1st baseman based solely on how they weigh the importance of the position.

total zone is part of the weight along with runs/to/win.

before d.barney's 3.6 DWAR last year we had n.perez with 2.7 in 05 and 1.3 in 06. in 07 r.theriot had a 1.3 and soriano had a 1.2. in 2012 s.castro had a 1.2 DWAR...it's sitting steady at 0.0 DWAR this season.

much like WAR, for every few players that belong on the list there's a few "statistical wtf dude?" listings that make it every year.

last year in the AL...alex gordon (5), torri hunter (7), and denard span (9) were top WAR guys with 5-6.5 WAR.

the stats, both WAR and DWAR need a little work or at least approached with caution...especially if one -CHOOSES- to use these values to project a player's value going forward for either batting or defense.

I can't find any explantion on how BR calculates there catcher defensie WAR, but amongst the defensive WAR stats, the numbers for catcher are probably the least reliable. I believe it incorporates wild pitches, passed balls, errors, and caught stealings, but relative to opportunities of course which the defensive columns you're most likely looking at do not take into account.

Also, 2.6 vs. 2.4 is a pretty miniscule difference in regards to WAR numbers.

Coaching staff seems to be happy with him though...at age 26, I imagine he'll be the answer for 4-6 years.

http://beforeitsnews.com/sports/2013/08/is-chicago-cub-welington-castill...

"I've also added a column for what we calculate the player's defensive performance is worth (dWAR). Unlike with batting, it's generally believed that the replacement level fielder is around league average. The idea is that there are a lot more guys who can field in the major leagues than can hit in the major leagues. There our dWAR value is just the player's total zone defensive runs saved divided by the runs to win conversion (generally ten runs to a win)."

http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8219

...also

"Version 2.0, May 2012...

dWAR now contains the position component as we feel this better captures player defensive value. In our view, even a poor defensive catcher is likely equally valuable to a good defensive first baseman in terms of team defense."

http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/war_explai...

rosscup in to pitch back-to-back days (though it's probably only for 1 batter).

one thing he didn't do a lot (hardly at all) in the minors is work consecutive games.

...and 1 batter it is...which he walked.

grimm time. 2 outs, bases loaded, 4th pitcher of the inning.

BA minor league all-star team...

http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2013-minor-l...

baez - DH (beating out x.bogaerts for SS wasn't gonna happen since he's going to be the #2 or #3 top prospect on almost every list coming up)
cj edwards - SP (3 of 5)

Maybe CJ Edwards becomes Roy Oswalt II, but I still can't help but think he's going to be a bullpen guy. Maybe a great bullpen guy, but still just that.

What makes you say this JB?

Just that successful long-term SPs usually don't have such a diminutive physical frame. No doubt that the guy throws gas, but whether he can keep it up over a long MLB season for multiple years is quite another story.

In his 6 starts after joining Daytona, he went the following IP: 5, 1, 3.2, 5, 4, 4.1. The game he went 3.2 was the only game he got torched. 1 was probably a rain issue or something since we are talking about Daytona 2013. But even on the days he was dealing, he's definitely not going deep into games.

That's a good point. I would counter with, after throwing only 67 innings the year before, maybe they didn't want to increase his workload my more than 40-50%? 116 IP this year...If he can get 140 IP next year, and then 170 the year after? Just an idea.

I imagine every league organization is a little different, but the starters with the most innings in the FSL average less than 6 innings per outing and Edwards was pitching in a lower league before the trade where he had 93 IP over 18 (right around the 5-6 range).

There's a lot of piggyback starts as well at those levels as they're trying to get their eyes on more pitchers.

Edwards is skinny at 6'2'' 155 lbs. But the Cubs had a rookie pitcher in 1987 who was smaller, 6'0'' and 150 lbs. Name was Maddux..

And if Edwards ends up being the best control pitcher in history who doesn't have to rely on his hot sauce all the time, I'm sure he'll have a fine career as a SP as well.

roy oswalt lists at 6'...but most everyone knows it's closer to 5'10".

that said, cj edwards is skinny as all hell...but he's always been that way.

his little bro chris, highschool senior, has more muscle than him and he's rather skinny, too.

juan cruz was 6'2" and looked like a crackhead in street clothes for a good chunk of his early career...could still bring it 94mph.

Chris Sale is like 6'4" 155lbs

Small guy, don't be surprised if he gets flipped in a year or two

Baez and Hendricks named Cubs minor league players of the year

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/7764

past list of honorees

http://wiklifield.thecubreporter.com/Cubs_Minor_League_Players_of_the_Year

When Logan Watkins is your minor league POY and you lose 100 games at the MLB level, you've got a lot of work to do. Which, thankfully, seems to have been well done.

EDDIE Zambrano?

Yeah! Forgot about (never noticed?) ol' Eddie Z. Had a monster year at Iowa back in '93 -- 32 HR, 115 RBI and slash line of .303/.377/.578. Got into 67 games with the Cubs the following year, then disappeared after that.

minor league numbers says he went from Boston to Cleveland to Pittsburgh before he signed as a minor league free agent with Cubs.

While he never came close to the year he had in Iowa at age 27 in 1993, he showed some signs of something interesting before that and his numbers with the Cubs in '94 were pretty good (115 OPS+).  Wonder if there was an injury or something, he ended up in Boston system next year and was pretty awful after that.

PIT with an extreme right shift on rizzo...he hit it foul, but he tried to put on into left.

flied on out the track to just right of CF trying to pull on the next AB, though.

Should've done this:

atmlb.com/18jZDXw

arrieta sharp through 3.2ip...then gives up back to back to back HR.

tie game.

2r rizzo HR...bomb

5-4, top 7...woo.

Nice to clinch not-100 losses, but as far as I'm concerned, this team can just roll over and die for Pittsburgh. Fuck St. Louis, and Fuck Cincinnati.

Can't help but root for Pittsburgh.

Alf Soriano out with a sprained thumb, supposedly according to Roto, he's day to day.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://bestoft...

I'm not sure he had a thumb.

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