Year in Review: After impressing last year in the complex leagues, Villanueva was a Sally League All-Star in his full-season debut.
The Good: Villanueva has outstanding bat speed and impressive power for his size, projecting to hit for average with 15-20home runs annually. He's an impressive athlete with average to slightly-above-average speed; he has improved his defense at third base, and has good hands with a strong arm.
The Bad: Other than the bat, Villanueva is not exceptionally toolsy. His approach could use improvement. He's filling out and getting stocky, and will likely lose some of his speed down the road.
Ephemera: Villanueva was used in six different spots of the Hickory batting order in 2011, but had the most success in the six-hole, hitting .357/.410/.629 in 20 games.
Perfect World Projection: Above-average third baseman.
Fantasy Impact: A good batting average with some power and more speed than your average third baseman.
Path to the Big Leagues: Villanueva is buried in Texas at the hot corner, and the Rangers have experimented with him at other positions. He'll begin the 2012 season at High-A Myrtle Beach.
Not finding much on Hendricks.
3:12 PM: Pure speculation on my part, but Rougned Odor (that's a terribly unfortunate name) is a Class A position player in that top 20 list.
3:06 PM: Rosenthal says a Class A pitcher and a Class A position player are headed to the Cubs.
3:03 PM: Here's a Rangers top 20 prospect list to start speculating upon. It won't be Profar or Olt.
3:00 PM: And fin. I'll try and get the prospects for Dempster up before I take off here.
2:58 PM: Scott Miller of CBS saying Rangers as well for Dempster...and so is Buster Olney.
2:57 PM: Whomever Ken Gurnick is, he's dropping the Rangers as the destination for Dempster. I believe he's the Dodgers beat writer for mlb.com
2:50 PM: Bowden saying Yanks "may have" acquired Dempster.
2:49 PM: Dodgers beat writer for the L.A. Times Dylan Hernandez says Dodgers are out on Dempster and they're done making deals today.
2:41 PM: The NL Central has been busy, Pirates get Gaby Sanchez and Travis Snider (that happened last night). Cardinals get reliever Ed Mujica and Reds get Jonathon Broxton.
2:15 PM: Nightengale saying that Soriano likely staying put, but of course he'll easily clear waivers, so an August deal is always possible.
2:06 PM: Kaplan says Tigers and Cubs are hard at work trying to complete a deal for Soriano.
2:03 PM: Dempster has allegedly said he'd waive his NTC for the Yankees, Rangers and Dodgers.
1:25 PM: Heyman tweet claim Dempster has already told Cubs he'd agree to a trade with Yankees...sure. Rothschild and Hendry are over there, so it does make some sense.
1:09 PM: Some Dempster to the Yankees or Diamondbacks rumors floating.
12:33 PM: Olney saying that Diamondbacks are working on something big and then teases a Justin Upton for Matt Garza deal as making sense. Of course the Cubs are on Justin Upton's no-trade list.
I'm on vacation this week, so no blog-a-palooza from me at the trade deadline. That being said, word is that Reed Johnson has been traded. No word on the team as of yet, but Levine says 4 teams made their best offer today including the Pirates and Tigers.
Update: No time for linkage, but Cubs get 24-year-old RHP Jake Brigham from the Texas Rangers for Geovany Soto(meh). From the Atlanta Braves they get pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman(Vizcaino could be very good in a few years, but currently is out after TJ surgery).
The easier thing would be to just get up tomorrow, slap on the chinos and a polo and shuffle off to work, as usual. Instead I’ll be up an hour earlier, donning shorts and a t-shirt apropos of the occasion and motoring solo to Chicago for, yeah, Ron Santo Day III (or is it IV? Yes, it’s IV).
This waiting for the Ryan Dempster trade to happen is OUT OF CONTROL!
Or at least it's out of Theo Epstein's control since Dempster has the right to say no to a trade.
Here's what I can figure out:
Jorge Soler drove-in three runs with an infield single and a two-run home run, Ben Carhart blasted a three-run homer, and Shawon Dunston Jr doubled, tripled, and walked, and scored three runs, leading the AZL Cubs to a 9-2 thrashing of the AZL Indians in Arizona League action this evening at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
So the latest on the Dempster saga is that Ryan Dempster was "blindsided" by the trade yesterday and because of this, he's going to take the full week to decide. Rumors are that he strongly prefers to go the Dodgers and seems to be trying to push the Cubs into accepting a deal from them, although it certainly won't be as good as getting Randall Delgado from the Braves.
Other things Dempster has been blindsided by (a few I'm stealing from Twitter):
- His Birthday
- the birth of his chidren
- the start of the season
- spring training
- warmer temperatures in the summer
Yeah, it would have been great if the Cubs got to him before the news leaked out, but you work in a multi-billion dollar business with reporters that are good at their job, throwing a temper tantrum over it isn't particularly professional.
In his third AB in just his first professional game, Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick Albert Almora (Mater Academy - Hialeah Gardens, FL) blasted a two-run HR over the LF fence and onto the berm in front of the scoreboard to cap a three-run 5th, leading the AZL Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the AZL Brewers in Arizona League action tonight at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix.
Dan Vogelbach ripped an RBI single through the 3.5 hole and Jorge Soler followed with a 420-ft two-run HR over the berm beyond the left-centerfield fence to highlight a three-run 4th, but the AZL Reds scored six runs over the final five innings and defeated the AZL Cubs 6-4 in Arizona League action tonight at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
Ron Santo, HOF. Bittersweet, yet hasn't that been the Cub way in Ronnie's life?
Making his professional debut after signing a reported nine-year $30M contract with the Cubs, Cuban defector Jorge Soler went 0-3 as the DH, and the AZL Mariners pushed across a run in the top of the 12th to edge the AZL Cubs 4-3 in Arizona League action tonight at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
LHP Anthony Prieto and three relievers combined to throw a three-hit shutout, Ben Carhart doubled, singled, walked, and drove-in a run, and Neftali Rosario singled, doubled, and scored two runs, as the AZL Cubs blanked the AZL Dodgers 4-0 in Arizona League action tonight at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
Shawon Dunston Jr ripped an RBI single and a three-run inside-the-park HR and Lendy Castillo threw three innings of shutout ball, leading the AZL Cubs to an 11-8 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action tonight at Field #2 (Connie Mack Field) at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix, AZ.
I'm getting more mileage out of this story than Ian Stewart will get out of his dismal 2012 Chicago Cubs season. In historical terms for 2012, third baseman, Ian Stewart will be just a small foot(wrist)note at the bottom of the media guide.
Stewart came to the Cubs in a "damaged goods" type trade. He didn't have a diagnosis for his 2011 bad left wrist woes and multiple doctors could not find any "structural" damage. Theo and Jed figured that a "non-structural" problem would get better with an off-season of rest. We all know that this is not the way Cubbery works.
Dan Vogelbach blasted a 415-foot+ two-run home run over the right-centerfield fence in the bottom of the 4th and an RBI double off the LF fence in the bottom of the 6th (he also stole a base), and Lendy Castillo and four relievers combined to throw a two-hitter, as the AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Padres 4-2 in Arizona League action tonight at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
UPDATE: The MLB Rule 4 Draft Competitive Balance Lottery has been postponed until Wednesday 7-18.
The Rule 4 Competitive Balance and Forfeited Draft Pick lotteries will be held next Monday, and while it does not appear that any MLB club will be forfeiting a 1st round pick as the result of exceeding its Signing Bonus Pool by 5%+ (although it could still happen), 12 MLB clubs will definitely be awarded Competitive Balance draft picks in next June's Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft).
(Oh My) Josh Vitters doubled and singled today to nudge his batting average past .300 as the Iowa Cubs, tied with Delmarva of the South Atlantic League for the most one-run losses in MiLB, nipped Omaha for the third straight day at Principal Park. Adrian Cardenas, whose error permitted Omaha to tie the game in the 7th, delivered a walk-off single in the 9th to give the I-Cubs a 6-5 victory.
(Click to see gif)
Blah, blah, blah...I've been swamped and despite the recent not terrible baseball being played, the Cubs don't give me enough reasons to make sure I watch a game.
So I have little to offer today other than a quick recap of Baseball America's recent chat about their midseason Top 50 list which includes one Cub at #25 - Javier Baez (and one former Cub in Hak-Ju Lee at #47).
Dan Vogelbach homered, tripled, and singled twice, drove-in three runs, and scored two more, leading the AZL Cubs to a come-from-behind 9-7 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action this evening at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
On the day after Anthony Rizzo's first HR (and 2nd game winning hit) as well as the first day of the month that Ron Santo finally gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame...
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.