Eloy Goes Deep and Strop Continues Rehab at Diablo Park

Raul Linares ripped a game-winning walk-off RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Angels rallied from a four-run deficit to edge the Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.

Eloy Jimenez belted a three-run home run and an RBI single, Jeffrey Baez singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, and Kevin Brown singled twice, walked, and scored two runs to help the Cubs take an early 4-0 lead, and Nataniel Delgado doubled twice and scored and Trevor Gretzky laced a two-run triple to aid the Angel comeback.  

The Angels collected six doubles and one triple among their nine hits.

RHRP Pedro Strop (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - groin) continued his EXST rehab with a shutout inning (18 pitches - 10 strikes). Strop was not as sharp this morning in Tempe as he was on Saturday in Scottsdale, as he walked one and was behind in the count on just about every hitter, but he did not allow a hit, he struck out two, and he got the third out on a broken bat 5-3 GO. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only): 

1a. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 2-2 (BB, 1B, 1B, 3 R, SB)
1b. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-1 (K)
2a. Kevin Brown, LF: 2-2 (1B, BB, 1B, 2 R)
2b. Oliver Zapata, LF; 0-1 (K)
3. Eloy Jimenez, RF: 2-4 (HR, K, 1B, F-8, R, 4 RBI)
4a. Justin Marra, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 3-U, 1B)
4b. Alberto Mineo, 1B: 1-1 (1B)
5. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-4 (F-8, E-5, K, 6-4-3 DP)
6. Mark Malave, DH #1: 0-4 (6-4 FC, 5-3, L-6 DP, 1-3)
7. Zak Blair, 2B: 1-4 (K, 1B, 4-3, F-7)
8. Erick Castillo, C: 1-4 (4-3, 1B, 4-3, 6-3)
9. Varonex Cuevas, SS: 0-3 (F-7, P-6, F-7)
10. Shamil Ubiera, DH #2: 0-3 (F-9, 5-4-3 DP, F-7)

1. Frailyn Figueroa: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO, 21 pitches (13 strikes)
2. Pedro Strop: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (10 strikes)
3. Trevor Clifton: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 8/1 GO/FO, 63 pitches (37 strikes)
4. Adbert Alzolay: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 31 pitches (12 strikes)
5. Victor Salazar: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 31 pitches (18 strikes)  

SS Varonex Cuevas: - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)

Erick Castillo: 1-2 CS


WEATHER: Sunny & a bit breezy with temperatures 100+


Alcantara playing OF tonight for first time in his career...Vitters to DL with broken toe.

though he'll probably continue to be a primary IF'r (2nd)...he's not showing much improvement there defensively this year.

Wright on paternity leave, Parker called up.

Lot change since Zimmer was manager.


Eloy sounds ready. Bring him up. Cubs need an outfielder or three.


Guess Levine got a new gig, says Orioles are "leading" candidate for Ninja. Gausman and Bundy will do just fine.

The denial from the O's front office should be out in any minute I'm sure. 

well not quite a denial, but not a lot cooking


“Our young pitching is maturing,” Duquette said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to use it to help out our own ballclub.”

Does say a Cubs scout was watching Hunter Harvey this weekend, also important to note that Bundy hasn't pitched this season (maybe get some starts in June) and Eduardo Rodriguez is just getting back from a knee injury, so Cubs will certainly want to see that before anything happens with those two.

New Hot Commidity

Post TJ OP pitchers!

works all the time actually, A. Vizcaino being one. Dempster was a good buy by Hendry.

and I wasn' joking.

Will be interesting to see how all these TJ's play out

Speaking of Ninja, teams that could/should cough up 2 top prospects.

Orioles, Blue Jays, Yankees, A's, Rockies

Rangers, Angels, Mariners, Braves, Giants would be the second tier in my opinion, maybe Cardinals and Brewers if they go down that road,

I'm convinced that the Cards' front office includes at least one practitioner of the Dark Arts and that if the Cubs were to trade Shark to them, their prospects would turn into pumpkins and Shark would turn into a sex robot with a laser canon for an arm a legit ace upon completion of the transaction.

Ninja has really developed a nice slider/splitter. He's filthy- and I mean Kerry Wood levels of filth. So if they trade him, they ought to get TOP dollar... a king's ransom. If no teams want to pony up, no problem, the Cubs can keep him and negotiate an extension. I'm good with it either way.

in case it went unnoticed, Cubs slipped to worst record in baseball last night, and Astros winning again today.

still a decent -6 run differential but a 3-10 record in 1-run games.

Emanuel on #Cubs #Wrigley renovation plans: "This recent submission is not ready for next week. They have work to do" pic.twitter.com/kg4ndRQ1x3


This is Lincecum's first start this season where his ERA heading into the game was lower than the opp pitcher's ERA.

Cubs no-hit through 5. Lincecum over 90 pitches already.

ruh-roh, through 6. Lincecum out after 5, Kontos pitched the 6th.

ASMI article from Dr. Andrews and someone else on Tommy John surgery


list of recommendations include not going 100% the entire time and avoiding winter ball

John Baker single with one out in 7th ends the no-hitter. Cubs down 2-0 (Colvin double led to one run), but have 2 on, 1 out in 7th now.

"fun" facts:

Bonifacio first 8 games:500/537/579

221/264/305 since (39 games, 36 started)

That's nice, but if he reaches base and is picked off for being a bonehead, I think that should subtract from his avg/obp


think you missed the point of my comment though

Good for about a week. Shitty since. I was just saying, even good isn't as good when you're making boneheaded baserunning plays. :)

and still batting leadoff...wonder if Capt Happy has looked at a stat page since spring training?

Double post removed.

If a writer for a major outlet would rail on Jeter this year for his career-long smugness--hall of fame level smugness--I'd be eternally grateful. Maybe that writer could also tear apart other writers for pretending that Jeter has been underrated somehow.

Sounds like someone hasn't yet caught Jeter Fever...

I read that Reilly article 10 years ago

Derek Jeter never hit 40 homeruns in a season because he respects the game too goddamn much.

In heaven, Derek Jeter will play poker with Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio for eternity. He will never tell a dirty joke, but he will smile knowingly at all of theirs.

Following Derek Jeter's retirement at the end of the 2014 season, all baseballs on the planet simultaneously committed suicide. They just no longer saw the point.

and now 5-0 Giants...the no-hit streak shall live along with the Cubs still suck streak.

Olt made a nice defensive play on a Pagan bunt attempt and then whiffed on an easy chopper by Posey that scored a run. Called it a hit though.


*changed to error apparently

Another Mock Draft

Has Cubs selecting Nola.
"I’ve heard all sorts of names attached to the Cubs: Max Pentecost, Kyle Freeland, Michael Conforto, Bradley Zimmer, Nick Gordon, etc. At the end of the day, I think they go with the pitcher, but to say that I’m not sure is quite the understatement."

Or the Cubs could not sign their 1st round pick (#4 overall) this year and instead get a comp pick in next year's draft (would be #5 overall) when the draft might have five players at the top of the draft who are actually worth taking that high. 

when the draft might have five players at the top of the draft who are actually worth taking that high.

or it might be worse, right?

I haven't found anything recent, but here's a look at 2015


Georgia HS OF Dez Cameron, Florida HS SS Brendan Rogers and TCU RHP Riley Ferrell were noted as the top 3 in December with FSU QB Jameis Winston possibly the best talent if he chooses baseball, but don't see the Cubs going near him.

There has been chatter on the web that the Cubs might select a "signable" player at #4 who is not actually a #4 talent-wise, if the player they pick agrees in advance pre-draft to accept an "underslot" bonus such that the Cubs can then spread the money they save from paying their 1st round pick "underslot" money over picks 2-10.

IMO, if you are picking at #4 overall and a premier impact talent is not on the board when you pick at #4, than punt (select somebody you know you can't sign) and take your chances next year with the #5 overall pick. It can't be any worse than picking a "signable" player and then signing him to an underslot bonus at #4 this year. 

The Cubs don't need to select & sign another good player with the #4 overall pick (the system is full of guys like that). They need a high-end impact talent that you should be able to get only by drafting at #4 overall.

While I agree with your logic, I can't image the Cubs want to take the PR hit from drafting but not signing their #1 pick this year.

maybe, if that underslot is Jeff Hoffman at #4, then I'm all for it. Astros picked Correa at underslot at #1 a two years back and used it to get McCullers. No one seems to be complaining now. Don't think it's a bad strategy as long as Wilken isn't doing the picking and grabbing Hayden Simpson :)

Actually, picking Samardzija in the 5th round is looking quite brilliant even with Colvin as a nearly bust, but it's the same principle. No one hits 100% on the draft, you just place your bets accordingly and some people are just better at it than others.

And you can't have enough good players, no matter how stocked anyone thinks the system is.

When a team has the #4 overall selection in a draft, it should be an opportunity to not just add another "good" player to an already strong system full of good players, it should be an opportunity to select a premier impact talent that is (most years) only available to a team with the #4 overall pick. Unless there isn't a #4 talent available when the team picks at #4 (as might be the case this year), in which case punting and trying your luck next year at #5 overall might be a gamble worth taking.  

Of course adding more good players is fine, but a #4 overall pick should be better than good. When the Astros selected Carlos Correa with the 1st overall pick in the 2012 draft, Correa was considered (pre-draft) to be a premier impact talent and one of the two or three best players in that draft (although not #1), and it also so-happened that Correa was willing to sign for below-slot money, too, which helped the Astros out. But it wasn't like the Astros used their #1 overall pick to select a Max Pentecost or a Michael Conforto. 

failing to see how the gamble of punting for a possible better #5 pick next year that they would have to sign is any better of a gamble than getting a previously unsignable player with extra bonus money in round #2 or #3.

Regardless, some mid-first round talent at #4 would disappoint me as well (Pentecost for example), although not as disappointing if they land someone thought to be unobtainable with their later picks.  If they get Hoffman for cheap or one of the other top 8-10 talents it wouldn't upset me as long as they believe in his talent. (Aiken, Colon, Kolek, Gordon aren't coming cheap and probably not Jackson, but maybe Nola or Freeland).

We'll see what happens...

PS - not sure whom they could pick here and not sign withouth looking either stupid or cheap, maybe Kolek if he drops presuming Rodon and Aiken are gone. Don't see Jackson or Gordon passing up slot money ($4.6212M, Cubs have $8.352M total for first 10 rounds or over $100K).


$1.25 M for 2nd/#45

$715K for 3rd/#78

ROB G: If the Cubs were to punt their #4 overall pick in 2014 and get the #5 overall pick in 2015 and then don't sign him, either, they would get the 6th overall pick in the 2016 draft.  Then if the Cubs do not sign the second compensation pick (the #6 overall pick in the 2016 draft), then they would not get a compenation pick in 2017. NOTE: This rule was modified in the 2012 CBA.

ah thanks, thought it only carried over for one year. Regardless, after #5, your chance of "impact talent" goes down significantly.

Whom do you think they could draft at #4 and get away with saying they couldn't sign him? Regardless of the soundness of the theory behind it, there's a real PR issue that they would have to deal with.

here's a list of all-time #4 picks for those curious


The Pirates should hope to never get another #4 pick again (Tony Sanchez, Brad Lincoln, Daniel Moskos)

In the past 22 years, the only 3 overall #4 picks who have put up at least 6 career WAR are Kerry Wood, Gavin Floyd, and Ryan Zimmerman.
#3 pick: 8 guys with at least 6 WAR.
#5: 7 guys (with one barely qualifying).
Throw out the last 4 years (guys are still too young).

So of the 54 guys taken #3, 4, or 5 overall between 5 and 22 years ago, 18 of them (1/3) have at least 6 career WAR. At this point in the draft, it's kind of a crap shoot, and a little off-base to be talking about can't-miss impact talent.

For impact talent, you have to go to #2 (13 of 18 guys once Pedro Alvarez gets 250 more ABs) or #1 (12 of 18 guys).

thanks for the research, I revise my earlier statement then, after the #2 pick, your chances of impact talent goes down signficantly

Thanks for this!

In the entire 49 year history of the MLB Rule 4 Draft, here are the number of 6 WAR players selected with the Top 15 overall picks in the 1st round: 

1 - 29
2 - 25
3 - 18
4 - 17
5 - 11
6 - 12
7 - 12
8 - 14
9 - 12
10 - 16
11 - 7
12 - 14
13 - 11
14 - 14
15 - 9

The pick you want to stay away from is the 11th overall pick, but #10 is better than picks #5-9, and it's almost as good as #4, and the 14th overall pick is better than 5-6-7, as good as 8, and better than 9 & 11. 

Overall then, I'm not convinced, but at least your idea of punting is an interesting idea. I'd say if one of the top three pitchers isn't available the Cubs should grab the best position player, maybe Jackson or Zimmer. Yeah, they already have plenty of young not ready talent, but that could come in very handy when the Cubs start looking for a real major league caliber outfielder to trade for.

btw, here's a Pentecost write-up


..."scouts have reservations about how Pentecost's body will hold up to the rigors of catching one-hundred-plus games...most see him as possessing below-average power, with the potential for that to improve if he can develop additional strength...defensively Pentecost does not grade poorly, but his bat is his calling card. He possesses average arm strength, and his pop time is consistently MLB average or even slightly better, but he has inconsistent throwing mechanics that hurt his accuracy"

yes, I'd be disappointed if they took him 4th


Hopefully Brady Aiken and/or Carlos Rodon will somehow fall to the Cubs so that they will get "full value" (an elite pitching prospect) out of the 2014 #4 overall pick. After what Cub fans went through last season, using the #4 overall pick the Cubs got for sucking to select Michael Conforto or Max Pentecost would be very demoralizing.  

for most Cubs fans it won't matter a lick to be honest, for the vocal minority fans like us, maybe so

I'd be amazed if Aiken or Rodon fall, not sure the deal on Kolek, people seem to be weary, could be a make-up issue and Cubs F.O. seems to take that seriously with their top pick at least.

Jackson, Gordon, Nola, maybe another name or two that eludes me at the moment wouldn't upset me at all.

Heard Kolek was up to 270 lbs. And not a good 270 if that makes sense. And some studies suggest harder throwers like him are more likely for TJS down the road.

oh yeah, forgot he was a big fat guy...

Big fat C.C. was great until he got skinny. I can't recall a big fat 100mph starter off hand as a comp.

I'm sure there are a lot we never heard of that failed...success stories may be Sabathia, Broxton, Chamberlain?

Iowa Cubs on CBS Sports Network right now...

I-Cubs get their first hit with 2 outs in the 9th.

more on draft picks and value


Gavin Floyd is the average expectation of a  #4 pick, best case scenario is Barry Larkin

fun read

and as AZ Phil noted above, the 11th pick is cursed


Recent comments

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  • Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]

    Eric S 35 min 4 sec ago view
  • ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.

    cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/

    crunch 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 5 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 7 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 17 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 5 hours 30 sec ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 9 hours 45 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 9 hours 46 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 19 hours 28 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 22 hours 25 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 22 hours 38 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 22 hours 47 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 22 hours 52 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 23 hours 10 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 23 hours 46 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 1 day 4 min ago view