Carrying the Pink Backback
There is a new rookie in the TCR bullpen and as a result, I've picked up my Dora the Explorer backpack and have assumed the position. Hmmm, perhaps that didn't come out right. All kidding aside, I wanted to take a minute to mention just a few things I do and do not bring to the table.
- A strong distaste for Derrek Lee and maintain that he is the most overrated first baseman in all of baseball.
- A love of the farm system, though not nearly as much as the farm crazy AZ Phil has. He's my idol. I hope to one day be able to be half the man he is.
- A heavy heart over the loss of my favorite Cub, Kerry Wood. I can still remember the day I skipped work for no other reason than to watch him pitch in his rookie year. What game was it? None other than the 20 K game. From that point on I was in love.
- A hatred of Bleed Cubbie Blue and all the smug attitude emitted Al. Long ago I was told not to mention this, but what the heck? True story, Al was not their first choice: I was. I turned it down.
- A strange list of favorite Cubs over the years that includes Rey Sanchez, Frank Castillo, Steve Trachsel and Joe Girardi. For some reason I never liked the good players.
I don't bring....
- The ability to kiss Jim Hendry's butt when he makes a poor decision. He's been given the resources and it's time to get it done.
- The patience to wait till I'm 80 for a championship.
- The language in my posts that caused TCR to move from MVN, but I can still be ok, right?
- A love to go to Wrigley Field. Call me crazy, but it's gotten frustrating to spend $100 and be surrounded by way too many drunks. If the stadium was filled with sane people throughout, I could rationalize it. It's TV all the way for me, though watching a drunk in any other circumstance for free is a fun assignment.
Hopefully that will give you an idea of who I am. I'll do my best to be active in the comments, so feel free to fire off questions. I'll submit to the grill. Roast away.
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.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.