Geovany Soto

On an injury rehab assignment in Mesa, AZ, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto went hitless in five plate appearances this morning in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game played at Fitch Park.

Soto, who was seeing his first game action in two weeks after suffering a groin strain in a game on May 10th, was the starting catcher and got five at bats in the game played on Field #2 (there was another game played simultaneously on Field #3), batting third in each of the first five innings. He looked a bit rusty at the plate, bouncing out 5-3 in the 1st inning, popping out to the first-baseman in foul territory in the 2nd, flying out to the warning track in CF in the 3rd, getting called out on strikes in the 4th, and striking out swinging in the bottom of the 5th. Also two Rockies base-runners stole 2nd base while Soto was behind the plate.

As far as the games were concerned, one squad of EXST Cubs and one squad of EXST Rockies played to a 1-1 tie on Field #2, while the other squad of Rockies defeated the other squad of Cubs 5-2 on Field #3.

The games were played simultaneously on adjacent fields, and both games were seven-inning affairs.

We've had a bit of a discussion lately about back-up catchers with the trading away of Robinson Chirinos, the signing of Max Ramirez and the head-scratching re-upping of Koyie Hill via the arbitraton process. Reader WISCGRAD put together a spreadsheet of catchers by Baseball Reference's WAR values which does include a defensive component.

-- The I-Cubs' Andrew Cashner was named PCL Pitcher of the Week. That's what winning two starts while allowing one run and just eight hits over 13 innings will do for you. And let's not forget: he won the second of those games while dealing with the pressure of having TCR's very own Mike Wellman in the stands.

-- The Giants fan site, 22gigantes, pointed me to an mlb.com article in which the 30 MLB clubs were ranked for drafting success, based on All-Star appearances, Cy Young Awards, etc., won by their draftees in recent years. Cub draftees earned six such awards—four All-Star appearances plus ROY Awards for Kerry Wood and Geovany Soto—which tied the team for 11th place with the Giants, Marlins, and Cardinals.

The Cubs lost for the sixth time in seven tries as the Marlins scored three times in the 7th inning to overcome a 2-1 Cub lead and go on to win 4-2 at Wrigley Field.

You wouldn't think a team could pack so much failure into a simple 4-2 loss, but well...

Cubs 2009 2nd round pick D. J. LeMahieu (LSU) made his professional debut tonight at Fitch Park in Mesa, going 2-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, leading the AZL Cubs to a 4-1 victory over the AZL Brewers in Arizona League action.   

box score

The Cubs announced today that they will be placing catcher Geovany Soto on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain. Soto suffered the injury taking batting practice before Wednesday's game at Wrigley Field.

It appears that Soto's injury is worse than orginally thought, and he could be out until some time in August. And with the way oblique strains can affect a hitter, he might not be back even then.

I can't say this for sure, but I think it's fairly likely that the Cubs put in a waiver claim on C-1B-3B Chris Coste, who was placed on waivers by the Phillies on Wednesday. Jim Hendry must have been almost downright giddy when he saw Coste's name come through eBIS (MLB's in-house computer system) on the daily waiver list the very same day Soto went down with an injury, not because he was happy to lose Soto, but because he could have done a lot worse than acquire a Chris Coste for $20,000 (and no players!). That must be why the Cubs were waiting to place Soto on the DL. They expected (hoped) to acquire Coste Friday afternoon when the 47-hour waiver period expired, and they were just waiting for the announcement from the MLB office. Then they could add Coste to the roster tomorrow, and DL Soto retro to Wednesday. 

Unfortunately for the Cubs, Coste was also claimed by the Houston Astros, and because the Astros had a worse record (by 1/2 game) than the Cubs going into today's action, they win the waiver claim. 

Coste would have probably fit the bill perfectly for the Cubs. A short-term solution, true, but also a veteran right-handed hitting National League catcher with a decent bat and the versatility to play 1B and 3B who could share the load with Koyie Hill until Soto was ready to return to action. But perhaps the Astros knew that, too, and put in a claim just so the Cubs couldn't get him?  Did the Astros really need a third catcher, or were they merely trying to weaken a division rival by keeping the rival from acquiring a player they really needed? If so, maybe the Cubs shouldn't have said anything about Soto's injury until Coste's waiver ride was over. I mean, this isn't the NFL. MLB clubs do not have to report injuries to the media. And there actually was a good reason not to do so this time. .   

All of which puts the Cubs back to Square One...

They can either bring up a catcher from Iowa (probably Chris Robinson), or try and make a trade for a veteran catcher, which might take a while to execute. 

There were two positions on the 2009 Cubs that quite obviously lacked depth coming out of Spring Training (third-base and catcher), and both have been exposed. 

This afternoon at Wrigley, when Rich Harden goes up against former teammate Jason Marquis, Geo Soto will make his first start since last Tuesday in Houston, and while Lou Piniella says Aramis Ramirez's back is getting better, he adds "one more day [of rest] won't do any harm."

As for Milton Bradley, Paul Sullivan reports:

Bradley is still projected back by the weekend,
though Piniella said Bradley told him he's feeling better, "though he
still feels (the groin strain) somewhat."

On the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Major League debut 62 years ago, Bradley is also the subject of a long piece by Gordon Wittenmyer about the sad history of race-baiting by Cubs fans.

Update: Paul Sullivan reports in the Tribune that Soto underwent an MRI today and has "minor inflammation in the biceps area." He will not be going on the DL.

Soto is likely to sit out the Friday and Saturday games in Milwaukee and "possibly all three depending on how he feels this weekend." Aaron Miles will be the designated emergency catcher behind Koyie Hill while Soto recovers.


Geovany Soto is supposedly in Chicago today so Cubs team orthopedist Stephen Gryzlo can take a look at that sore shoulder. If the defending NL ROY lands on the Disabled List, the logical move would be to summon 33-year-old Mark Johnson from Iowa. The lefthanded-hitting Johnson, who was originally drafted by the White Sox back in '94, went 4-for-19 at Mesa this spring.

Over parts of eight Major League seasons with the Sox, A's, Brewers, and
Cardinals, Johnson has compiled a hitting line of .218/.314/.318.
In other words, in the temporary catching tandem of Koyie Hill and Mark
Johnson, the big bat would be...nobody.

He is, however, said to "call a good game," the catching equivalent of being a blind date with a winning personality.
Let's keep a good thought re: Soto's check-up.

If you've been on the Web for even a few minutes today, you already know about the car crash that took the lives of Angels pitcher, Nick Adenhart, and two other people. The whole tragic story is here.

 

Alfonso Soriano drove in two runs and reached base four times on two singles and two wallks, Milton Bradley had three hits including a double and a solo home run, and Geovany Soto drove in two runs with a double and a sacrifice fly, leading the Cubs to a hard-fought 9-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies this afternoon in front of a record Ho Ho Kam Park crowd of 13,298.

box score

In Friday's New York Times, Alan Schwarz profiled Geo
Soto, and we learn that despite being born in Puerto Rico and attending
high school there, Soto played his first "significant game" in New
York. The Cub catcher lived with his family in the Bronx from the time
he was four until age eight.

Soto remembers it very clearly. It might have been just
below the reservoir. Or maybe down near that ice rink. But it was
definitely in Manhattan's Central Park.


"It was awesome," said Soto... "You go with your dad to
the practice field, but never in my life I'd ever put a uniform on and
played with other kids. I felt like, 'Wow, it's really happening—I'm
going to play baseball.'"

Schwarz also writes about Soto's rapport with the Cubs pitching staff.

As expected, the Cubs field general Geovany Soto took home the NL Rookie of the Year honors. He's the 5th Cub to win the honor and first catcher since Mike Piazza in 1993. He did it on the strength of a 285/364/504 batting line with 23 HR's, 86 RBI's and 66 Runs in the traditional baseball categories. He also created 6.6 Runs per game, had a 7.0 WARP-1 value and was 5 runs above average on defense, those last two numbers courtesy of Baseball Prospectus. That's quite a nice little season that was good enough to get 31 of the 32 possible first place votes, with one yokel probably from Cincinnati voting for Joey Votto.

It looks like I'm four months late on this, but it appears that Rookie of the Month honors in the MLB is voted by the fans. The Cubs have two nominees, Geovany Soto and Jeff Samardzija and they'll go up against Cardinals reliever Chris Perez and Rockies third basemen Ian Stewart. Soto is looking for his second win of the year and voting runs through Monday.

 Samardzija provided a bullpen boost for the first-place Cubs. In 14 1/3 innings, he was 1-0 and didn't allow a run. Samardzija had 13 strikeouts during the month. Soto won rookie honors in April and has continued to be a firm offensive and defensive presence for a Chicago team that has taken charge of the NL Central. Soto hit .355 in August with five doubles, three homers and 21 RBIs. Soto drew 13 walks and scored 17 runs while handling himself well behind the plate and providing a level of comfort for the Chicago pitching staff.

 

A look at Geovany Soto's year compared to other Cubs catchers of years past after the jump...

Quite a night for the Cubbies, who looked nothing like the team with the best record in baseball, other than the final result. Errors, defensive miscues, bad starting pitching, bad relief pitching and yet they overcame all that thanks to Craig Hansen's pitching and Geovany Soto's hitting. Soto had been on a steady decline since his monstrous April putting up OPS numbers of 1.048, .868, .747, .740 heading in August. But things have turned around for him and he's put up a 1.014 OPS with 20 RBI's matching his April RBI total with five games still to go this month. His seven RBI outburst yesterday tops his 6 RBI game in April versus the Brewers and is the second most RBI's for a Cubs catcher in a game trailing the likes of Barry Foote, George Mitterwald and Ed Bailey (since 1956).

If you happen to be wondering who had the most RBI's in a game for the Cubs since 1956 like I was, the answer is after the jump.

The Cubs get to enjoy their off-day with a nice come from behind win yesterday and a 5-1 road trip that puts them on the right side of the .500 mark away from Wrigley. They'll play 16 straight starting tomorrow, 13 of those coming at home and the three road games at Pittsburgh. It seems like a great time to increase their lead in the Central, but the Brewers have a pretty easy go of it as well. The schedules through September 4th (three game series unless otherwise noted):

Cubs (16 with 13 at Home): vs. Reds, vs. Nats, @ Pirates, vs Phillies (for 4 games), vs Astros
Brewers (14 with 9 at Home): vs. Astros, vs. Pirates,  @ St. Louis (2 games), @ Pitt, vs. Mets
Cardinals  (13 with 7 at Home): vs. Pirates(2 games), vs Braves, vs. Brewers (2 games), @ Astros, @ Diamondbacks

So that's looking forward, but what about taking a look back at the 2008 season. Peter Gammons on Friday brought up Geovany Soto's name as an National League MVP candidate and it got me thinking about who is the Cubs 2008 MVP.

Your candidates after the jump... 

The five hits that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning during a week that can only be described as Sorianolicious, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):

#5 Big Hit: Wednesday, v. the Padres, 7th inning — The Cubs had knocked Jake Peavy from the game and taken a 4-0 lead before the Padres drew to within a run, thanks to a 3-spot in the top of the fifth. Geovany Soto then smashed a Wil Ledezma pitch for a two-run homer to give the Cubs some breathing room. WPA .143

Pages

X
  • Sign in with Twitter