Not Mark Prior

GAME 51 PREVIEW CHICAGO CUBS (26-24) at LOS ANGELES DODGERS (26-25) Dodger Stadium, 9.10pm CT, TV: ESPN2, FSN2
SP Derrek Lowe SP *John Koronka
SS #Neifi Perez SS #Cesar Izturis
3B #Enrique Wilson 3B Antonio Perez
1B Derrek Lee CF *JD Drew
RF *Jeromy Burnitz 2B Jeff Kent
2B *Todd Walker 1B Olmedo Saenz
CF *Corey Patterson
d>RF Jayson Werth LF Todd Hollandsworth C Jason Phillips C Michael Barrett LF Mike Edwards Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot The Cubs' system is chock-a-block with pitching. Yet filling in today for the Mark Prior as the Cubs try to run the streak to a season-high six with a first sweep of the Dodgers in LA for a decade will be a real non-prospect making his major league debut. Koronka's not yet 25, but he's already into the eighth season of a minor league career over which he has a 4.41 ERA. If that doesn't say it all for his talent, his fastball doesn't reach the nineties, and his only quality off-speed offering is his changeup. The Cubs' decision to add him to the 40-man roster last November was then at best rather bizarre. Their decision to actually use him in a major-league game today probably borders on capitulation (of course, now that I've forecast him getting tatooed left, right and centre, watch for him throwing shutout ball). Strangely the decision makes some sense though. Besides Sergio Mitre, of all our prospects only Angel Guzman and Jerome Williams are refined enough to comfortably handle the jump to the majors. The diagnosis on Guzman though is a strained right forearm, and at best he'll only throw his first pitches since the spring in a few days' time. Jerome Williams meanwhile has struggled terribly of late, and the decision to place him for a while at Iowa, where he last night threw six solid innings (2 runs on 8 hits, 1 crushed home run that was only just fair, no walks and 4 strikeouts), is entirely the correct one in my view - he needs some confidence running through his veins again. Behind Guzman and Williams lies a whole host of talent, led by Renyel Pinto, Ricky Nolasco and Rich Hill from West Tennessee. Calling them up would though represent really throwing them in at the deep end, sink or swim, since not one of the three has a successful inning at Triple-A under their belt. Is that the wisest way to treat prospects? It's debatable. Of the more experienced options, the Cubs' decision to leave Todd Wellemeyer and Ryan Dempster, who've both started games this year, in the bullpen where they seem to have found a groove is probably wise. Though he only throws in the mid-eighties, Raul Valdez, signed out of the Dominican Republic last year, throws a wide variety of pitches at a wide variety of speeds from the left side, but he would be going on short rest today and he'd require someone being kicked off the forty. Jon Leicester meanwhile started a previous emergency start, but he was roughed up a bit by the Mets in that game and he's lost Dusty's faith. And that really leaves just Koronk-urgh. It's not ideal, but for today, it'll have to do. Hopefully the offence shows up, hopefully Valdez or Leicester can start next time around, and hopefully Mark Prior gets well soon. Roll on, Cubbies, roll on. [UPDATE Rob G.] I'm going to try and do a running diary of the game (twins permitting), updating every half inning or so.

Comments

Enrique Wilson at 3rd, batting 2nd.

I think I just threw up in my mouth...

No word yet on who got sent down????

It was Leicester.

Dear John Hill,

Calling them up would though represent really throwing them in at the deep end, sink or swim, since not one of the three has a successful inning at Triple-A under their belt.

Renyel Pinto was pretty good in AAA last season, save the first start.

If my eyes did not just deceive (watching GameCenter), Latroy just gave up a grand slam in relief in the 8th. Poor guy.

stupid ChiSox... lose already... I am missing the Cubs game!!!!!! stupid CSN+ for allowing no extra time. stupid black out rules... ARG!

On the plus side, ESPN's Sox coverage is offering a breath of fresh air, what with the best color man in the biz working the mic and all.

cant get ESPN Sox or Cubs because of black out rules... and this ChiSox post game stuff just wont end! aaaaaaahhh!

FINALLY

steve stone is a jackass i never like him all that much.

"could the cubs win without prior, sure, will they, i dont know but...."

can you stand anyone who talks like that?

" how are the sox winning you say, wellitsy wellitsy wellitsy, lets take a looksie"

From thescout.com

On Monday, Koronka threw from the bullpen mound at Dodger Stadium but left before the game began. It was the first time the southpaw had ever attended a major league game.

I'm sorry. Please tell me I'm reading this wrong. This kind has been a professional baseball player for 8 years and has never attended a major league BASEBALL GAME?!?!?!

This is just too nuts....

dlee makes me happy

Ienpw--
"Renyel Pinto was pretty good in AAA last season, save the first start."

I don't have the game log on him, but his overall numbers are Iowa last year were...

2 GS, 9.1 IP, 9 H, 2 HR, 8 BB, 9 K, 7.71 ERA

Ewww. His numbers there this year...

6 GS, 22.2 IP, 31 H, 3 HR, 24 BB, 24 K, 9.53 ERA

And Nolasco's there last year...

9 GS, 40.2 IP, 68 H, 7 HR, 16 BB, 28 K, 9.30 ERA

And, when I published the statement "not one [of the three] has a successful inning at Triple-A under their belt", Rich Hill had yet to appear at Triple-A. However, he made his debut there last night (against the best offensive team in the PCL no less)..

6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 HR, 2 BB, 14 K, 5.40 ERA (4 ER)

Holy Cow! The last Cub to make his Iowa debut and strikeout double-digits was Mark Prior. Hill fell just short of the Iowa franchise record of 16 held by Vida Blue! Now that's some esteemed company!

Hill has never had any trouble striking a lot of people out though. What he did have trouble doing was striking a lot of people out while not walking just about everyone he didn't strike out. And there you have that. Just two walks, I think that's the best thing about last night's performance. He was according to someone that was at the game absolutely dealing, really attacking hitters and getting ahead in counts, and keeping them clueless at to whether they could expect the big hook or the heater (as many strikeouts were on the fastball as the curve). One of the walks was on 3-2 count, the other was a four-pitch lead-off walk in the sixth.

After that walk he allowed a very hit hard hit double off the wall (2nd, 3rd, no outs). He got a popout, but an RBI groundout to second followed, and the next batter absolutely crushed a fastball to deep, deep left, and that's the only real blackmark on his night. He left with two outs and a runner on first in the seventh, and an incompetent bullpen allowed the inherited runner to score.

Here's Hill's last nine starts (eight at West Tenn)...

55 IP, 32 H, 5 HR, 17 BB, 95 K, 2.13 ERA

That deserves a wolf whistle.

Let me put it this way, Rich Hill is going to be in Chicago before too long.

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  • ~shrug~ he's CB Bucknor, he's usually awful.

    But today he called 2 pitches balls that really looked like strikes, one looked particularly obvious. Even Arrieta jawed at him and that's rare for Arrieta. He also didn't bother to ask anyone or notice Molina clearly reaching his arm out to get hit intentionally.

    Rob G. 6 min 15 sec ago view
  • Lastella not having much of one either (diving stop notwithstanding but should have been unnecessary if he made earlier play).

    Rob G. 8 min 30 sec ago view
  • What's wrong with his strike zone? Just inconsistent?

    Rob Richardson 16 min 47 sec ago view
  • CB Bucknor not having a good day....

    also this...

    Jesse Rogers [email protected]  Yeah, there was plenty of chatter before the game about home plate ump today. Knew he would be a factor.

    #conspiracytheory

    Rob G. 28 min 32 sec ago view
  • Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run

    For the first time in a year, 33 starts.

    /nervous
    //not really

    jacos 2 hours 13 min ago view
  • Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-

    J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
    http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/chicago-cubs-ja...

    Ryno 2 hours 51 min ago view
  • Sigh.

    Ok... maybe.

    Ryno 3 hours 18 min ago view
  • 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?

    bradsbeard 3 hours 20 min ago view
  • Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.

    Hagsag 3 hours 23 min ago view
  • This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.

    The E-Man 3 hours 26 min ago view
  • 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.

    johann 4 hours 46 min ago view
  • 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.   

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 55 min ago view
  • 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

    Arizona Phil 5 hours 23 min ago view
  • 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.)

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 45 min ago view
  • 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.  

    Arizona Phil 5 hours 51 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 6 hours 20 min ago view