Here are my “2011 Cubs Top 15 Prospects.”
GM Jim Hendry, Player Personnel & Player Development Director Oneri Fleita, all of the Cubs minor league hitting & outfield coaches, and any Cubs scout anywhere near Mesa, Arizona, were at Fitch Park today, personally scouting & evaluating OF Wagner Mateo, who stopped by for some pre-game BP, and then stuck around and played RF for AA Tennessee in a Minor League Spring Training game played on Field #2.
Some of you may remember Mateo as the 16-year old Dominican left-handed hitting (and throwing) right-fielder who got a $3.1M bonus from the St. Louis Cardinals during the International Signing Period in 2009, only to have the contract voided a couple of months later when Cardinals team doctors discovered what they believed was a career-limiting vision problem during a routine physical.
Well, based upon what I saw today, Mateo can see just fine. He hit ropes all over the place in BP, and then went 1-5 in the game, including a line-drive single to left and two hard-hit line-drive outs to LF, one requiring a spectactular diving catch by the Angels LF. The one big negative was a throw from RF that missed the cut-off man by a mile, but otherwise he looked pretty good for a 16-year old. I got the impression the Cubs are VERY interested in signing Mateo, although other clubs probably are as well (like maybe the Angels for instance, who got a good look at him today, too).
Justin Bour walked, doubled, and crushed a two-run HR, Matt Cerda tripled twice and scored three runs, and Chris Rusin threw three innings of perfect baseball, but it wasn't enough, as the Angels edged the Cubs 6-5 in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.
Richard Jones slammed a pinch-hit tie-breaking home run over the RF fence with one out in the top of the 9th, and the Cubs held-on to defeat the Angels 2-1 in AZ Instructional League action at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this morning.
Hak-Ju Lee used his blazing speed to beat-out a routine grounder to second with the game tied, bases-loaded, and two outs in the bottom of the 9th, giving the Cubs a hard-fought 5-4 victory over the Brewers in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon in Mesa.
The Giants battered four Cubs pitchers to the tune of 12 runs on 17 hits, en route to a 12-6 victory in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.
The weekly radio baseball gabfest known as "Talking Baseball" (ESPN AM 1000, Chicago) hosted by Bruce Levine (and frequently Chet Coppock, in the role of sidekick) is a nice source of Cub information. Of course you have to wade through lengthy questions that often take minutes to unfold. Interviews with management are usually cloaked in generalizations, clichés and unrequited hope.
This saturday's show featured an interview with Cubs Vice President of Player Personnel, Oneri Fleita, as well as some discussion on the management's thinking behind the recent Mark DeRosa for prospects trade.
Fleita was not going to short change us on clichés like "You've got to play the games" and "Everybody starts in first place." Still it was good to hear about prospects in the news like Josh Vitters and the 3 newest pitching prospects acquired from Cleveland.
Bruce Levine updated and opined about the state of the Cubs roster changes including keeping the roster flexible as well as the progress on acquiring a sense of left handedness with attitude (feisty Milton Bradley, scrappy Aaron Miles and the even scrappier Mike Fontenot).
He also has an opinion about Jake da Ace, aka he-who-must-not-be-named.
The incredibly wordy play by play after the jump...
I'll check back in on a day that Starlin doesn't make three errors. But for now I would say him not making the playoff roster is a stretch. Who do you trust more than Starlin to be a RH backup middle infielder? Herrera has no bat at all, and Baez has been in AAA all season and may be as error prone as Castro and may strike out a giant proportion of the time he's at the plate. I'm also less than convinced that La Stella will step in and be a significant contributor. Starlin is at least a big part of the 2B picture for the remainder of the year.Charlie
Sadly, nothing is sticking to the wall. The only thing still lingering is the smell from their pitching outings.Simba63
i think they were just throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks.
they wanted to push for the post-season without giving up anything. thank gawd for the cubs winning tear and SF's failure tear...hopefully that holds up until the season ends.
once we're into the post-season (if that happens) then it doesn't matter about the 4-5 slot pitchers. arguably, the pen is much more important at that point when it comes to anyone but the top-3 starters.crunch
Signing Haren was very curious, at best. An over-the-hill fly ball pitcher can survive at Wrigley in April, May & June, when it's cold and the wind tends to blow in (i.e. the ballpark plays "big"). But, signing him to pitch at Wrigley in July, August & Sept., when it's warm and the wind tends to blow out...well, Theo, what did you expect? Gotta believe the Reds will be running up to the plate to get their swings against Haren tonight.
Come on, offense -- we're gonna need another 6-7 runs tonight!billybucks
...or they could wait until tomorrow and haren can be DFA'd...maybe...probably not...sigh.
gotta imagine j.russell is on his way out at the very least.crunch
I don't think they have officially been called up yet. They will be today, at which point we will also hear about the corresponding roster moves.WISCGRAD
Baez, Wada, Cahill and Quintin Berry have called up, so two spots will need to open up on the 40-man.Rob Richardson
Has Baez been called up yet.
/Sit over there Starlinjacos
Hi cubbies.4ever, we discussed this on here with Phil earlier this summer. You can see the full rules by Phil here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/book/export/html/3506WISCGRAD
Unless the news wires haven't gotten word yet, I guess the Cubs were not successful finding some pitching help. The back of this rotation, which seems to start with Hendricks, doesn't inspire confidence.
Cult of OltOld and Blue
AZ PHIL- Since your the roster expert, I was trying to read into the "playoff roster" and it says a player must play 1 game for the team before Sep in order to be eligible. So assuming that is correct that would make all these players ineligible correct: Baez, Jokisch, Edwards, Villanueva, and newly acquired Austin Jackson, correct?cubbies.4ever
I've seen enough of Starlin Castro to last me the rest of this season. It really is a shame he never has been able to be consistent at bat or in the field. I have no idea why or care as this is a results oriented business. Theo is going to have to move him this winter even if it's for cents on the dollar. I don't believe he's even going to make the playoff roster.George Altman
Since the start of 2009, the Cubs have had four games where a player commits three errors -- three of them came from Castro.billybucks
Well, if nothing else, maybe that will boost Russell's confidence a lot.billybucks
I really, really don't like this trend: Jake pitches, Cubs win; Jake doesn't pitch, Cubs lose.billybucks
3 walks and Castro's 2nd error of the night, plus Russell sucking again, may mean the Reds won't need Chapman in the 9th.
Let's see, Starlin -- you suck at SS, you're a butcher at 2B...ummm....maybe short field?
...Starlin is making errors faster than I can type. Holy cow.billybucks