Pirates @ Cubs: Nova vs Quintana (Game 132)

PIT (63-70): RHP Ivan Nova (11-11, 3.97) 
CHC (71-60): LHP José Quintana (8-11, 4.49) 
First pitch: 7:05pmCST

Q gave up 6 ER in 5 innings in Philly on Friday for the loss. He’s sporting an even 6.00 ERA for the month. The Pirates are 12-29 (.414) against him. Rodriguez is 2-4 with a HR.

Nova lost in Cincinnati his last time out (5 IP, 5 ER, 6 K, 3 BB). He’s 2-0 with a 3.29 in two starts against the Cubs this year. Overall, they are 19-97 (.196) against him. Schwarber is 2-4 with a HR.

Tomorrow, it’s Newcomb (2-7) and the Atlantas in town for a four-game series to face Hendricks (5-4) at the same time.

Go Cubs!


AZ Phil, Any thoughts on who made the AZ Fall League rosters? Or, who didn't make it? De La Cruz A. Mills Araujo Stinnett Bote Burks Vosler Rice

CHILDERSb3: The Cubs who were assigned to the AFL were among the ones I would have expected to be assigned. 

Alec Mills needs innings as a starter, and pitching in the AFL will allow that. Same goes for Oscar de ;a Cruz, althugh usually clubs assign only one SP to their AFL affiliate because AFL teams only need five SP (typically one SP from each MLB club affiliated with that AFL team).

Jake Stinnett has been lights-out in the AA Tennessee bullpen since returning from the DL and he could possibly pitch himself onto the Cubs MLB 40-man roster with a strong showing in the AFL, especially if the Cubs decide to non-tender Justin Grimm and/or Hector Rondon  And if he isn't added to the 40 on 11/20, he could become a hot commodity in the Rule 5 Draft - IF - he pitches well in the AFL.  

The only minor surprise (for me) is that OF Charcer Burks was not assigned, but that could be because the Cubs had to provide a catcher and they wanted Vosler and Bote on the roster more than they wanted Burks there. It's possible the Cubs have already decided to roster or not roster Burks, but it also could be because all of the MSS outfield slots were full. The Cubs still could assign Burks to the AFL as a "Taxi Squad" player (players on an AFL team's taxi squad can play only two games a week), and it would not surpise me if that happens. 

I was also a bit surprised about Pedro Araujo (who is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2017) being included on the MSS provisional roster instead of Dakota Mekkes, but it could be Araujo has already verbally agreed to sign a 2018 minor league successor contract (a player cannot officially sign a successor contract until after the conclusion of the minor league season) and perhaps the Cubs wanted to reward him for that. Clubs do like to show loyalty to a minor league FA who re-ups, either with an NRI to Spring Training or a chance to pitch in the AFL. And from Araujo's POV, he could pitch himself into Rule 5 Draft consideration with a strong showing in the AFL, so it could work out very well for him to decline free-agency and take a slot in the AFL instead.

I think It's interesting that Araujo got the AFL slot instead of James Pugliese, Daury Torrez, or Justin Hancock (all three of whom are eligible to be minor league 6YFA post-2017), but that could be because the trio has already indicated to the Cubs that they are not interested in signing a minor league successor contract, or at least that they haven't yet decided one way or the other.

By the numbers, Phil--I'm referring to innings, hits, walks, strikeouts--Araujo is a much better prospect than the others you mention (Pugliese, Torrez, Hancock). Araujo has a low BB9 this year (2.4) and an SO9 of 11.6. Those numbers are not far off his 7-season totals. Araujo's SO9 is exactly twice that of Pugliese. Pugliese will likely never pitch in the majors, because if he did, all that contact he gives up now will be much harder. Hancock has a high SO9. That's a recent development, I guess because his fastball has speeded up; but his BB9 of 4.4 is a red flag. If you're saying that Araujo will need to be added to the 40-man to evade the Rule 5 draft, then I hope he is added, and I would expect him to be. I saw Araujo earn a 2-inning save for Myrtle Beach against the Potomac Nationals last month. He's a beast. He's also a bit of a character. He seems to enjoy what he's doing. Before his first pitch, he walked back behind the mound and stopped and stared out at something beyond the centerfield wall. Was he praying? Meditating? I thought he was announcing to onlookers, I'm here now. I've got this. He's a cool one.

VA PHIL: I know Pedro Araujo pretty well from his days at Extended Spring Training. He is indeed a really good guy. Very funny. He's popular with the younger Latin players, almost like a Crash Davis type. 

It's not all about stats. Araujo is in his seventh season in the Cubs organization and he is still at Myrtle Beach. That doesn't mean he is a non-prospect, but he does need to prove himself at a higher level before he will be taken seriously as a prospect.

Getting a chance to pitch in the AFL is a big opportunity for Araujo to show what he can do against better competition. 

go choque diaz!

The Cubs made a change after the original AFL rosters were announced yesterday: OF Charcer Burks has been added to the Mesa Solar Sox active roster, and C Ian Rice has been transferred to the MSS "Taxi Squad" (meaning he can play in no more than two AFL games per week, used to be Wednesday and Saturday only, now it's just any two days). 

AFL rosters remain provisional and are still subject to change. 

And, how's Velazquez's plate discipline?

CHILDERSb3: Nelson Velazquez is a bit of a free-swinger right now, but he has plus HR power that actually plays in games. There are a lot of hitters who have HR power in BP, but they can't do it in a game. 

Velazquez is a raw kid, but  I can see why he was taken in the 5th round. It will be interesting to watch him develop over the next couple of years. 

As things stand right now, I would say the Cubs have about five legit "next generation" position-player prospects who could become part of the Cubs MLB core by 2022 or 2023: SS Aramis Ademan, C Miguel Amaya, CF D. J. Wilson, 3B Wladimir Galindo, and OF Nelson Velazquez. 

i.nova has fallen off a cliff in the 2nd half...extremely hittable, lots of homers... this should be fun

So you're saying "Set the DVRs, no-hitter coming"

ha. also, sigh, yes.

Wha?? Cardinals trade Leake to the Mariners for a minor league SS who is hitting .217?

salary dump. leake is owed 48m over the next 3 seasons and he's pitching like a guy who should be making 10-15m less than that. cards also have a nice chunk of mlb-ready talent to fill leake's role...unfortunately.

217 means he'll hit 350 for STL, because of course. Future All-Star.

cards celebrate their salary dump trade by losing to MIL. sweet.

Brewers and Cards split. OK by me. Brewers host Nats for 4 (facing Gio, Scherzer and the revitalized EJax) while STL goes to SF to face MadBum and Shark, among others.

jack flaherty seems to be the one taking leake's place in STL. weaver + flaherty...john gant lingering on the outside...alex reyes is still a stud, even if his elbow is getting over TJ surgery...

I wouldn't worry about it. We have Eddie Butler, Rob Z and Alec Mills to counter that.

Maybe we could stretch Koji out?

"Addison Russell (foot) felt renewed soreness prior to his minor league rehab game on Wednesday and is returning to Chicago for a medical recheck." boo.

Javy Baez has played shortstop every game since Addison Russell went on the DL on 8/3, and while Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, and/or Ian Happ could play SS in a pinch. I would think the Cubs will add a more-legit SS (even if it's somebody who is more of a utility player than an every day SS) to the MLB 40-man roster in September.  

My best guess is Mike Freeman, who was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs after he elected free-agency after being outrighted to the minors by the Dodgers on 8/5. Freeman can play anywhere in the infield and outfield and is a high-percentage base-stealer, and while he probably wouldn't be needed on the 25-man roster in the post-season (unless Baez gets hurt), Freeman would fill a need in September for a player who can fill-in for Baez occasionally.  

All players on an MLB club's MLB 40-man roster as of midnight 8/31 are eligible to be on the club's Post-Season Eligibility List (from which the 25-man active lists are chosen prior to each post-season series), but a player on the MLB 60-day DL is not eligible to be on the club's Post-Season Eligibility list or be replaced on the club's Post-Season Eligibility List (and thus on a post-season active list) by a player who is not on the club's MLB 40-man roster (but who is on a Cubs minor league affiliate's reserve list) as of midnight 8/31 until the injured player has spent at least 60 days on the DL . 

If it turns out Addison Russell cannot play anymore this season and is transfered to the Cubs MLB 60-day DL to open up a slot on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster for another player, he would be spending his 60th day on the DL on the last day of the MLB regular season (Sunday 10/1), and thus the Cubs could transfer him to the 60-day DL anytime prior to last day of the MLB regular season and he would be eligible to be replaced on the Post-Season Eligibility List (and thus on a post-season active list) by a player who is not on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster (but who is on a Cubs minor league affiliate's reserve list) as of midnight 8/31. So Mike Freeman does not have to be called up prior to midnight 8/31 to be eligible to play in the post-season (if necessary). 

Very interesting. That could also be an incentive for Juan Nicasio to choose Chicago if the Cubs are targeting him ... which I think they should be!

wtf Q? ...again. *checks eloy jimenez's AA stats* DAMMIT.

HBP a run in. nice. just nice.

31 pitches, 8 batters faced, 2 runs... that's a vintage 2017 cubs 1st inning. it's like Q was here all season.

Back-to-back HBP on 0-2 to force a run. Unbelievable. Methinks we may have gotten ourselves a mentally fragile pitcher. He's never pitched important, late-season games, and he doesn't seem to have the mental toughness to do so. What the hell.

And then Q retires 14 in a row, strikes everybody out and drives in a run with a line-drive single, while the offense comes to the rescue. Good rebound, Q!

Q turns into kershaw for the 2nd. *shrug* 6Ks through 2ip

just baez stealing home. just a tie game. no biggie. whatever.

The catcher, Stewart, is no rookie, either. Baez ran down the line on the bunt "attempt", got the catcher to throw to third and then dashed home with the 3rd baseman not even bothering to throw it home. Sometimes he just makes the other team look silly...

HR #20 for happ...season franchise record for most 20+ HR players with 6

Q does seem to have the strikeout pitch working, though...

I approve

seconded *bangs gavel* *drinks a tiny cup of water*

PIT is not very good at doing baseball.

Waddle on AM 1000 today said it looked like the Pirates are phoning it in now. I have to agree.

Wow...great over wall catch saved win for Brewers. Inch from Cardinals taking the lead. 4.5 game lead sounds much nicer than 3.5 game lead.

Broxton can go get 'em. I'm still OK with STL losing. Hope the Nats can take 3 (or 4!) in Milwaukee starting tomorrow.

Time to give Javy a couple innings off?

15-3 you say? That sounds like Justin Wilson time, baby!

And just as he writes that...!

That had to be his best outing as a Cub: 3 outs (including 2 Ks) on just 12 pitches (only 2 balls!!!) Just gotta give him a 10+ run lead and he's filthy ... He is starting to add up some scoreless appearances which is encouraging, but not quite ready to take the training wheels off just yet.

I haven't seen anyone hit his 97 mph fastball. I referred earlier to the at-bat where Votto fouled of about six of those. There must be something deceptive about his hard stuff. He also has a cutter (?) that is a couple mph slower, that they also don't hit. They do connect with his dinky 85-mph curve(/slider?).

Crappy part of a blowout win tonight is a guaranteed 3-0 loss tomorrow. 2017 Cubs!

20 hits, 1bb, 17 runs...my gawd.

Cubs now the first team in history with 5 players aged 25 or younger to hit 20 HR, including their first round picks from 2011 (Baez), 2013 (Bryant), 2014 (Schwarber) and 2015 (Happ). That is how you build "sustained excellence". They are now 29-15 since the break, despite injuries to Contreras, Lester and Russell Maybe Theo and Jed do know what they're doing (I realize Baez was a Hendry pick). But, I will continue to dispense advice freely! Of all the unexpected surprises (redundant, I know) in 2017, having Avila and Rivera as their catching tandem heading into September may be the biggest.

They don't get credit for Contreras, either. This might be a good time to give Tim Wilken three cheers for seeing something in Javy that others missed. He drafted Javy ahead of Lindor, for example. McLeod, who took Cory Spangenberg for San Diego with the pick following Wilken's, has said on several occasions that he wasn't high on Baez. (Not sure why, working for the Cubs, he would say that even if it was true.) Is it just me, or has Baez changed as a hitter just in the last week or two? Changed = gotten better.

Lindor was selected prior to Javy.

Yeah, I just saw that in the article I was reading about Wilken and Baez. I ran back here to fix my error but you had already gotten here, QM.

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  • crunch 8 hours 19 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 16 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 15 hours 52 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 9 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 19 hours 51 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 8 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 12 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 12 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 25 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 41 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 42 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.