Eloy Goes Deep and Strop Continues Rehab at Diablo Park

Raul Linares ripped a game-winning walk-off RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Angels rallied from a four-run deficit to edge the Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.

Eloy Jimenez belted a three-run home run and an RBI single, Jeffrey Baez singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, and Kevin Brown singled twice, walked, and scored two runs to help the Cubs take an early 4-0 lead, and Nataniel Delgado doubled twice and scored and Trevor Gretzky laced a two-run triple to aid the Angel comeback.  

The Angels collected six doubles and one triple among their nine hits.

RHRP Pedro Strop (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - groin) continued his EXST rehab with a shutout inning (18 pitches - 10 strikes). Strop was not as sharp this morning in Tempe as he was on Saturday in Scottsdale, as he walked one and was behind in the count on just about every hitter, but he did not allow a hit, he struck out two, and he got the third out on a broken bat 5-3 GO. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only): 

1a. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 2-2 (BB, 1B, 1B, 3 R, SB)
1b. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-1 (K)
2a. Kevin Brown, LF: 2-2 (1B, BB, 1B, 2 R)
2b. Oliver Zapata, LF; 0-1 (K)
3. Eloy Jimenez, RF: 2-4 (HR, K, 1B, F-8, R, 4 RBI)
4a. Justin Marra, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 3-U, 1B)
4b. Alberto Mineo, 1B: 1-1 (1B)
5. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-4 (F-8, E-5, K, 6-4-3 DP)
6. Mark Malave, DH #1: 0-4 (6-4 FC, 5-3, L-6 DP, 1-3)
7. Zak Blair, 2B: 1-4 (K, 1B, 4-3, F-7)
8. Erick Castillo, C: 1-4 (4-3, 1B, 4-3, 6-3)
9. Varonex Cuevas, SS: 0-3 (F-7, P-6, F-7)
10. Shamil Ubiera, DH #2: 0-3 (F-9, 5-4-3 DP, F-7)

1. Frailyn Figueroa: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO, 21 pitches (13 strikes)
2. Pedro Strop: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (10 strikes)
3. Trevor Clifton: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 8/1 GO/FO, 63 pitches (37 strikes)
4. Adbert Alzolay: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 31 pitches (12 strikes)
5. Victor Salazar: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 31 pitches (18 strikes)  

SS Varonex Cuevas: - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)

Erick Castillo: 1-2 CS


WEATHER: Sunny & a bit breezy with temperatures 100+


Alcantara playing OF tonight for first time in his career...Vitters to DL with broken toe.

though he'll probably continue to be a primary IF'r (2nd)...he's not showing much improvement there defensively this year.

Wright on paternity leave, Parker called up.

Lot change since Zimmer was manager. /Pico'd

Eloy sounds ready. Bring him up. Cubs need an outfielder or three.


Guess Levine got a new gig, says Orioles are "leading" candidate for Ninja. Gausman and Bundy will do just fine.

The denial from the O's front office should be out in any minute I'm sure. 

well not quite a denial, but not a lot cooking


“Our young pitching is maturing,” Duquette said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to use it to help out our own ballclub.”

Does say a Cubs scout was watching Hunter Harvey this weekend, also important to note that Bundy hasn't pitched this season (maybe get some starts in June) and Eduardo Rodriguez is just getting back from a knee injury, so Cubs will certainly want to see that before anything happens with those two.

New Hot Commidity Post TJ OP pitchers!

works all the time actually, A. Vizcaino being one. Dempster was a good buy by Hendry.

and I wasn' joking. Will be interesting to see how all these TJ's play out

Speaking of Ninja, teams that could/should cough up 2 top prospects.

Orioles, Blue Jays, Yankees, A's, Rockies

Rangers, Angels, Mariners, Braves, Giants would be the second tier in my opinion, maybe Cardinals and Brewers if they go down that road,

I'm convinced that the Cards' front office includes at least one practitioner of the Dark Arts and that if the Cubs were to trade Shark to them, their prospects would turn into pumpkins and Shark would turn into a sex robot with a laser canon for an arm a legit ace upon completion of the transaction.

Ninja has really developed a nice slider/splitter. He's filthy- and I mean Kerry Wood levels of filth. So if they trade him, they ought to get TOP dollar... a king's ransom. If no teams want to pony up, no problem, the Cubs can keep him and negotiate an extension. I'm good with it either way.

in case it went unnoticed, Cubs slipped to worst record in baseball last night, and Astros winning again today.

still a decent -6 run differential but a 3-10 record in 1-run games.

Emanuel on #Cubs #Wrigley renovation plans: "This recent submission is not ready for next week. They have work to do" pic.twitter.com/kg4ndRQ1x3


This is Lincecum's first start this season where his ERA heading into the game was lower than the opp pitcher's ERA.

Cubs no-hit through 5. Lincecum over 90 pitches already.

ruh-roh, through 6. Lincecum out after 5, Kontos pitched the 6th.

ASMI article from Dr. Andrews and someone else on Tommy John surgery


list of recommendations include not going 100% the entire time and avoiding winter ball

John Baker single with one out in 7th ends the no-hitter. Cubs down 2-0 (Colvin double led to one run), but have 2 on, 1 out in 7th now.

"fun" facts:

Bonifacio first 8 games:500/537/579

221/264/305 since (39 games, 36 started)

That's nice, but if he reaches base and is picked off for being a bonehead, I think that should subtract from his avg/obp


think you missed the point of my comment though

Good for about a week. Shitty since. I was just saying, even good isn't as good when you're making boneheaded baserunning plays. :)

and still batting leadoff...wonder if Capt Happy has looked at a stat page since spring training?

Double post removed.

Rick Reilly verbal handjob to Jeter


If a writer for a major outlet would rail on Jeter this year for his career-long smugness--hall of fame level smugness--I'd be eternally grateful. Maybe that writer could also tear apart other writers for pretending that Jeter has been underrated somehow.

Sounds like someone hasn't yet caught Jeter Fever...

I read that Reilly article 10 years ago

Derek Jeter never hit 40 homeruns in a season because he respects the game too goddamn much. In heaven, Derek Jeter will play poker with Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio for eternity. He will never tell a dirty joke, but he will smile knowingly at all of theirs. Following Derek Jeter's retirement at the end of the 2014 season, all baseballs on the planet simultaneously committed suicide. They just no longer saw the point.

and now 5-0 Giants...the no-hit streak shall live along with the Cubs still suck streak.

Olt made a nice defensive play on a Pagan bunt attempt and then whiffed on an easy chopper by Posey that scored a run. Called it a hit though.


*changed to error apparently

Another Mock Draft http://mlbdraftinsider.com/2014/05/the-mock-2... Has Cubs selecting Nola. "I’ve heard all sorts of names attached to the Cubs: Max Pentecost, Kyle Freeland, Michael Conforto, Bradley Zimmer, Nick Gordon, etc. At the end of the day, I think they go with the pitcher, but to say that I’m not sure is quite the understatement."

Or the Cubs could not sign their 1st round pick (#4 overall) this year and instead get a comp pick in next year's draft (would be #5 overall) when the draft might have five players at the top of the draft who are actually worth taking that high. 

when the draft might have five players at the top of the draft who are actually worth taking that high.

or it might be worse, right?

I haven't found anything recent, but here's a look at 2015


Georgia HS OF Dez Cameron, Florida HS SS Brendan Rogers and TCU RHP Riley Ferrell were noted as the top 3 in December with FSU QB Jameis Winston possibly the best talent if he chooses baseball, but don't see the Cubs going near him.

There has been chatter on the web that the Cubs might select a "signable" player at #4 who is not actually a #4 talent-wise, if the player they pick agrees in advance pre-draft to accept an "underslot" bonus such that the Cubs can then spread the money they save from paying their 1st round pick "underslot" money over picks 2-10.

IMO, if you are picking at #4 overall and a premier impact talent is not on the board when you pick at #4, than punt (select somebody you know you can't sign) and take your chances next year with the #5 overall pick. It can't be any worse than picking a "signable" player and then signing him to an underslot bonus at #4 this year. 

The Cubs don't need to select & sign another good player with the #4 overall pick (the system is full of guys like that). They need a high-end impact talent that you should be able to get only by drafting at #4 overall.

While I agree with your logic, I can't image the Cubs want to take the PR hit from drafting but not signing their #1 pick this year.

maybe, if that underslot is Jeff Hoffman at #4, then I'm all for it. Astros picked Correa at underslot at #1 a two years back and used it to get McCullers. No one seems to be complaining now. Don't think it's a bad strategy as long as Wilken isn't doing the picking and grabbing Hayden Simpson :)

Actually, picking Samardzija in the 5th round is looking quite brilliant even with Colvin as a nearly bust, but it's the same principle. No one hits 100% on the draft, you just place your bets accordingly and some people are just better at it than others.

And you can't have enough good players, no matter how stocked anyone thinks the system is.

When a team has the #4 overall selection in a draft, it should be an opportunity to not just add another "good" player to an already strong system full of good players, it should be an opportunity to select a premier impact talent that is (most years) only available to a team with the #4 overall pick. Unless there isn't a #4 talent available when the team picks at #4 (as might be the case this year), in which case punting and trying your luck next year at #5 overall might be a gamble worth taking.  

Of course adding more good players is fine, but a #4 overall pick should be better than good. When the Astros selected Carlos Correa with the 1st overall pick in the 2012 draft, Correa was considered (pre-draft) to be a premier impact talent and one of the two or three best players in that draft (although not #1), and it also so-happened that Correa was willing to sign for below-slot money, too, which helped the Astros out. But it wasn't like the Astros used their #1 overall pick to select a Max Pentecost or a Michael Conforto. 

failing to see how the gamble of punting for a possible better #5 pick next year that they would have to sign is any better of a gamble than getting a previously unsignable player with extra bonus money in round #2 or #3.

Regardless, some mid-first round talent at #4 would disappoint me as well (Pentecost for example), although not as disappointing if they land someone thought to be unobtainable with their later picks.  If they get Hoffman for cheap or one of the other top 8-10 talents it wouldn't upset me as long as they believe in his talent. (Aiken, Colon, Kolek, Gordon aren't coming cheap and probably not Jackson, but maybe Nola or Freeland).

We'll see what happens...

PS - not sure whom they could pick here and not sign withouth looking either stupid or cheap, maybe Kolek if he drops presuming Rodon and Aiken are gone. Don't see Jackson or Gordon passing up slot money ($4.6212M, Cubs have $8.352M total for first 10 rounds or over $100K).


$1.25 M for 2nd/#45

$715K for 3rd/#78

ROB G: If the Cubs were to punt their #4 overall pick in 2014 and get the #5 overall pick in 2015 and then don't sign him, either, they would get the 6th overall pick in the 2016 draft.  Then if the Cubs do not sign the second compensation pick (the #6 overall pick in the 2016 draft), then they would not get a compenation pick in 2017. NOTE: This rule was modified in the 2012 CBA.

ah thanks, thought it only carried over for one year. Regardless, after #5, your chance of "impact talent" goes down significantly.

Whom do you think they could draft at #4 and get away with saying they couldn't sign him? Regardless of the soundness of the theory behind it, there's a real PR issue that they would have to deal with.

here's a list of all-time #4 picks for those curious


The Pirates should hope to never get another #4 pick again (Tony Sanchez, Brad Lincoln, Daniel Moskos)

In the past 22 years, the only 3 overall #4 picks who have put up at least 6 career WAR are Kerry Wood, Gavin Floyd, and Ryan Zimmerman. #3 pick: 8 guys with at least 6 WAR. #5: 7 guys (with one barely qualifying). Throw out the last 4 years (guys are still too young). So of the 54 guys taken #3, 4, or 5 overall between 5 and 22 years ago, 18 of them (1/3) have at least 6 career WAR. At this point in the draft, it's kind of a crap shoot, and a little off-base to be talking about can't-miss impact talent. For impact talent, you have to go to #2 (13 of 18 guys once Pedro Alvarez gets 250 more ABs) or #1 (12 of 18 guys).

thanks for the research, I revise my earlier statement then, after the #2 pick, your chances of impact talent goes down signficantly

Thanks for this!

In the entire 49 year history of the MLB Rule 4 Draft, here are the number of 6 WAR players selected with the Top 15 overall picks in the 1st round: 

1 - 29
2 - 25
3 - 18
4 - 17
5 - 11
6 - 12
7 - 12
8 - 14
9 - 12
10 - 16
11 - 7
12 - 14
13 - 11
14 - 14
15 - 9

The pick you want to stay away from is the 11th overall pick, but #10 is better than picks #5-9, and it's almost as good as #4, and the 14th overall pick is better than 5-6-7, as good as 8, and better than 9 & 11. 

Overall then, I'm not convinced, but at least your idea of punting is an interesting idea. I'd say if one of the top three pitchers isn't available the Cubs should grab the best position player, maybe Jackson or Zimmer. Yeah, they already have plenty of young not ready talent, but that could come in very handy when the Cubs start looking for a real major league caliber outfielder to trade for.

btw, here's a Pentecost write-up


..."scouts have reservations about how Pentecost's body will hold up to the rigors of catching one-hundred-plus games...most see him as possessing below-average power, with the potential for that to improve if he can develop additional strength...defensively Pentecost does not grade poorly, but his bat is his calling card. He possesses average arm strength, and his pop time is consistently MLB average or even slightly better, but he has inconsistent throwing mechanics that hurt his accuracy"

yes, I'd be disappointed if they took him 4th


Hopefully Brady Aiken and/or Carlos Rodon will somehow fall to the Cubs so that they will get "full value" (an elite pitching prospect) out of the 2014 #4 overall pick. After what Cub fans went through last season, using the #4 overall pick the Cubs got for sucking to select Michael Conforto or Max Pentecost would be very demoralizing.  

for most Cubs fans it won't matter a lick to be honest, for the vocal minority fans like us, maybe so

I'd be amazed if Aiken or Rodon fall, not sure the deal on Kolek, people seem to be weary, could be a make-up issue and Cubs F.O. seems to take that seriously with their top pick at least.

Jackson, Gordon, Nola, maybe another name or two that eludes me at the moment wouldn't upset me at all.

Heard Kolek was up to 270 lbs. And not a good 270 if that makes sense. And some studies suggest harder throwers like him are more likely for TJS down the road.

oh yeah, forgot he was a big fat guy...

Big fat C.C. was great until he got skinny. I can't recall a big fat 100mph starter off hand as a comp.

I'm sure there are a lot we never heard of that failed...success stories may be Sabathia, Broxton, Chamberlain?

Iowa Cubs on CBS Sports Network right now...

I-Cubs get their first hit with 2 outs in the 9th.

more on draft picks and value


Gavin Floyd is the average expectation of a  #4 pick, best case scenario is Barry Larkin

fun read

and as AZ Phil noted above, the 11th pick is cursed


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  • crunch 8 hours 34 min ago (view)

    semi-interesting winter league note...

    trey mcnutt (yes, that guy) is having a hell of a winter league in mexico (one of the less talented winter leagues) so far as a closer.  15.2ip 8h 4bb 24k, 0.57 era.

    giants signed him to a minor league deal a couple weeks ago.  he never went anywhere.  he's been consistently playing ball in the minors and indie league ball since he was last a noteworthy player.  last season he played in the OAK minor league system.  30 years old now...


  • jdrnym 15 hours 31 min ago (view)

    Brad Brach signs with the Mets for $850K but the Cubs are paying $500K, per Ken Rosenthal. Wasn't his 2020 club only supposed to be on the hook for league minimum?


  • crunch 16 hours 8 min ago (view)

    when he got to the mets he suddenly learned how to throw with control (small sample size etc).  last year was not a fun bullpen year...


  • crunch 18 hours 24 min ago (view)

    Yeah, I've made myself familiar with a lot of the changes, but AZP's posts have both added more information and cleared up stuff I didn't fully grasp.  I appreciate the hell out of it.  Thanks Phil, thanks TCR.


  • bradsbeard 20 hours 7 min ago (view)

    Looks like Savant has his breaking pitch classified as a curve while Fangraphs calls it a slider. Suppose by ST he could have made everything over in the pitching lab, so who knows!


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 23 min ago (view)

    Again, none of these rules (including the one that requires a pitcher to face a minimum of three batters or else record the final out of the inning) have been officially approved.  

    I think one possible caveat that might be added to the three-batter minimum rule would be that the pitcher can be replaced prior to facing three batters or recording the final out of the inning if the other team puts up a pinch-hitter. 


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 27 min ago (view)

    Ptchers would also be treated differently under the new rules as far as the Injured list and Optional Assignment to the minors is concerned, with pitchers having to spend at least 15 days (up from 10 days) on the Injured List before being eligible to be reinstated and at least 15 days (up from 10 days) on Optional Assignment before being eligible to be recalled (inless the pitcher is being recalled to replace a pitcher on the 26-man roster who has been placed on an MLB inactive list).  


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 28 min ago (view)

    SONICWIND: As the rule is proposed, prior to the start of each MLB regular season a club must designate all players on its Opening Day 26-man roster as either a "pitcher" or a "position player." A maximum of 13 can be designated as pitchers (14 pitchers max when rosters expand from 26 to 28 beginning on 9/1). 

    For players who come up during the season, the club must designate the player as either a pitcher or a position player when the player is placed on the MLB active list roster. 


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 40 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Fangraphs shows the CT as his primary pitch in 2018 with the SL & FB (and an occasional CH) as his secondary pitches, with no CV at all. I guess I'll find out for sure in Spring Training. 


  • Sonicwind75 21 hours 57 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, thank you as always for the detailed information.  How is the "cannot be a pitcher" part of the rule to be enforced?  With a few two way players and the increasing amount of mop up innings being handled by position players it seems like there could be a gray area there.  What is preventing a team from stashing an athletic relief pitcher as a "5th outfielder" that could be a pinch runner and play a passable OF when needed but could also provide them with extra relief pitcher.  Anytime I hear of a new rule I always think of how Bill Billichek would circumvent it t


  • bradsbeard 21 hours 57 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, looking around Baseball Savant, it looks like Winkler now primarily throws a low 90s cutter, a 4-seamer that he throws a little harder (but is less effective), a curve and a sinker. The slider and change haven't been a major part of his repertoir the last two years. The cutter has been really effective the last two years but it looks like he lost command/effectiveness of his 4-seemer and curve last year For whatever reason  


  • bradsbeard 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    They just signed this guy:



  • Hagsag 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    There seems to be a lot of player movement so far. Too bad the Cubs aren't involved.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    Beginning in 2019, a club must wait a minimum of seven days before it can place a player who was claimed off Outtright Assignment Waivers during the off-season back onto waivers, so because he was claimed off waivers on Wednesday 11/27, yesterday (Wednesday 12/4) was the first day the Cubs could place LHRP C. D. Pelham back onto Outright Assignment Waivers, and so tomorrow (Friday 12/6) is the first day the Cubs can send Pelham outright to the minors (if he was placed back onto waivers yesterday).


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    A Competitive Balance draft slot can be traded only during a period of time starting on December 2nd and extending up until two hours prior to the MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft), so don't be surpised if these draft picks are traded during the off-season.

    Keep in mind that the slot cannot be traded for cash unless it is a financial adjustment made to offset the salary of one or more of the players involved in the trade.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    The active list roster limit changes scheduled to go in effect in 2020 have not yet been officially approved. Same goes for the three-batter minimum (or else record the third out in the inning) for relief pitchers.