Breakfast with the Cubs

The Angels edged the Cubs 8-7 in AZ Instructional League action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, in what was the final 2009 Instructs game for the Cubs.

Because it was the last game and several  players were scheduled to depart home from Sky Harbor Airport at mid-day, the game started at 9 AM, and was called after eight innings.    

Only 11 Cubs position players and five pitchers were dressed for the game (others left town last night or early this morning, while a dozen more left a week ago), and two of the players in today's starting lineup (Jovan Rosa and Richard Jones) had to leave for the airport at 10:30 AM, so the Cubs used a nine-man batting order (only one DH today), and played with no extra men available in case of injury once Rosa and Jones left.

20-year old RHP Trey McNutt (Cubs 2009 32nd round pick out of Shelton State CC, who got over-slot money to sign) got the start for the Cubs today, and threw three shutout innings. He did allow five hits (four singles and a double) in those three innings, but he didn't issue any walks, and he picked a runner off 2nd base to get out of one jam, and benefiited from a baserunning gaffe by the Angels to get out of another.

RHP Thomas Diamond followed McNutt to the hill, and had his best outing since being acquired from Texas off waivers last month, throwing three innings of one-hit shutout ball, while striking out five in a row at one point. The 26-year old Diamond (the Rangers 1st round draft pick in 2004 out of the University of New Orleans, who underwent TJS in 2007) was absolutely dominating today, throwing hard and pitching with a lot of confidence.  .

The game was scoreless going into the bottom of the 6th, but Logan Watkins led-off the frame with a sharply-struck single through the box to CF, followed by a D,. J. LeMahieu RBI triple smashed off the RF fence that scored Watkins from 1st base. Brett Jackson then lined an opposite-field single to LF to score LeMahieu with the second run of the inning.

However, the Cubs lead was short-lived, as the Angels pummeled RHP Tarlandus Mitchell and LHP (ex-OF) Drew Rundle to the tune of eight runs on seven hits (five singles and two triples), two walks, and a WP, in a nightmare top of the 7th. 

The Cubs did come back in the bottom of the 7th to score four runs and cut the Angels lead to 8-6, as Sergio Burruel led-off with a bloop single to CF, advanced to 3rd on a Rebel Ridling double that was crushed off the Green Monster "batter's eye" in dead CF, and then both runners scored on an opposite-field two-run RBI double lined into the RF corner by Brandon May. D. J. LeMahieu lined a one-out RBI single to center to plate May, and, after taking 2nd on the throw to the plate and advancing to 3rd on a WP, LeMahieu scored on a Brett Jackson sac-fly to left.  

The Cubs came close to tying the game in the bottom of the 8th (which was understood by both teams to be the last inning). Ryan Flaherty and Justin Bour walked to open the frame, and advanced one base each as Sergio Burruel bounced out 4-1 (2nd baseman to the pitcher covering 1st). Then Flaherty scored and Bour (representing the tying run) moved up to third when Rebel Ridling reached base on an RBI E-6 (errant throw to 1st base by the SS). However, Brandon May struck out swinging for the second out, and then Logan Watkins was retired for the final out of the game (and the final out of Instructs) on a spectacular diving catch by the Angels right-fielder on what looked like a sure-fire game-tying (or possibly even game-winning) bloop hit into right-center. 

Several of the Cubs who attended Instructs at Fitch Park will be playing Winter Ball in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, or the Dominican Republic, and eight more will be en route from Phoenix to the Cubs Dominican Academy in Boca Chica for six weeks of Dominican Instructional League, where the American kids will get a chance to see how their Latin brothers live and play ball at Baseball City. 

Last year, Matt Cerda, Brandon Guyer, Nate Samson, and Josh Vitters spent a month at the Cubs Dominican Academy after attending AZ Instructs, and it worked so well that Player Development Director Oneri Fleita decided to expand it and send even more U. S. kids down there this year. (The Dominican Instructional League runs through November). 

Meanwhile, Fitch Park will continue to be used throughout the off-season by players rehabbing from injuries.

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):  .

1. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-5 (2-3, 3-2 FC, 1B, 4-3, P-9), R
2. D. J. LaMahieu, SS: 2-4 (6-3, 4-3, 3B, 1B) 2 R, 2 RBI
3. Brett Jackson, CF: 1-3 (K, K, 1B, L-7 SF), 2 RBI
4. Brandon Guyer, RF: 0-4 (F-8, K, L-5 DP, F-8)
5. Ryan Flaherty, 3B: 1-3 (L-9, 2B, E-4, BB), R
6. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-3 (E-6, 4-3, K, BB)
7a. Jovan Rosa, C: 0-1 (L-8)
7b. Sergio Burruel, C: 1-3 (4-3, 1B, 4-1), R
8a. Richard Jones, DH: 1-1 (2B)
8b. Rebel Ridling, PH-DH: 1-2 (BB, 2B, E-6), R, RBI, PO
9. Brandon May, LF: 1-4 (6-3, F-9, 2B, K), R, 2 RBI

1. Trey McNutt - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 4/2 GO/FO, 43 pitches (26 strikes) 
2. Thomas Diamond - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 1/3 GO/FO, 44 pitches (27 strikes)
3. Tarlandus Mitchell - 0.2 IP, 3 H, 5 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 28 pitches (13 strikes)  
4. Drew Rundle - 0.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 19 pitches (16 strikes)
5. Corey Martin - 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R,0 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 8 pitches (5 strikes)      


CATCHERS DEFENSE: No SB attempts, PB, or errors involving Cubs catchers.


WEATHER: 90's & sunny



AZ Phil Thanks for all the reports from instructs. When does your flight to the DR leave so you can report on the Dominican Instructional League? Can't wait for more Cubs minor league news from you

AZ Phil Can you post a list or where can I find a list of where Cub Minor leaguers went for Winter ball so I can continue to follow my favorites? Thanks

just finished watching "Sugar" of the best non-comedy baseball flicks i've seen in a long time.

Glad it's good, I have it sitting right here waiting to be watched.

Finally watched it, and Crunch is right, Sugar is a good movie.

the Arod isn't clutch storylines....

this game...and most of the post-season...has been pretty damn awesome.

Lookie, lookie...E-Man's favorite lefty (he of the 55 ft curveball) is once again a free agent: The Dodgers made the first decision of an offseason that hasn't even started yet on Friday by declining the $2.2 million 2010 option on left-handed reliever Will Ohman and instead paying a $200,000 buyout that makes him a free agent. ...undergoing surgery on Sept. 29 on the acromioclavicular joint, where the clavicle meets the shoulder blade at the top of the shoulder. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

Wow, with that kind of money the Dodgers could steal Rudy Jaramillo away from the Cubs.

Ernie the Laureate? Tribune editorial: But Banks said he wasn't talking about baseball. "I always had a bigger goal when I was 15," he said, "and that was to win the Nobel Peace Prize."

Ernie doesn't qualify because he actually did something.

I like Obama. I voted for him. And I think that comment was damn funny...

Trib article on Cubs in the AFL; mostly Cashner, also Vitters and Castro. Welcome to Cubbery: "I thought I threw the ball well except for one pitch," said Cashner

Instead of throwing money at Rudy Jaramillo in a lame attempt to fix the offense, maybe Hendry would be smarter to be chasing down this man

quite a quote by Lee...

fwiw, Pirates exercised his 2010 option and would have to release him from his contract and it seems they are not interested in that...

"We exercised the option to protect our club's interest," Huntington said

I think you dropped the last letter off the link: That's some endorsement from DLee!

10-15 wins? lol, okay D. Lee. They better hold on to him, without those 15 wins this year the Pirates would be 47-114 (.292) =) ...But yeah, you like the guy. Got it.

For those of you who did not stay up late enough, Macier IZTURIS' error allowed Jerry Hairsrton, Jr. of all people to score the winning run for the Yanks last night. Macier and Izzy are half-brothers. so, obviously there is some family heredity of ineptitude going on there. As for Hairston, he will be the beneficiary in all probability of an AL Pennant ring, going from one of the worst NL teams, to the Champion of the AL. What a lucky guy.

Luck? No, he put them over the hump.

at The Bear Truth NLCS and Bears game is open for discussion

Our judges also would have accepted "The Breakfast Cub." Thanks, Phil. I know when looking at A and AA ballplayers it's important to note the player's age. Must we discount Diamond's because of his relative seniority to other Instructs player? Was that stat line as impressive as it seems? Dominating at Instructs might be cannon fodder at Iowa, right?

Kenjii Johjima opts out of the final 2 years of his contract to go back to Japan, supposedly leaving $16M on the table. Doubt it has any Cub implications, but it makes you wonder...

early christmas for seattle.

Quote from the above article: "With the emergence of younger catchers Rob Johnson and rookie Adam Moore." Nice sentence fragment there, buddy. The Tacoma News Tribune doesn't have a grammatical checker in their software? A better proof reader? Reminds me of the NWI (previously Hammond) Times here in NW Indiana.

Why does everybody assume that because one Japanese player had an opt-out clause, then other Japanese players probably have an opt-out clause?

Probably just a bunch of racists that think all Japanese contracts look alike.

CNN SI says the Cubs are on the verge of signing Jaramillo at around $800,000 a year, multi-year. Could wind up being the highest paid coach in major league baseball.

Dumb. Is Ricketts in charge yet? He should be beating Hendry with a yellow wiffle ball bat. Hendry leaving a message to Ricketts" The good news...Uh we need some more bullpen help, a second baseman and maybe a shortstop. Oh yeah a lefthanded bat to play RF, a back up third baseman and that's it. Oh one more thing we will probably need to eat $ 21 million of Bradley's contract. And the new hitting coach at nearly a million a year will be okay? Bad news the Wrigley Field foreman just mentioned that the upper deck will colapse if there are more then 25 people on it next year and Mayor Daley said you need to grow ivey on all the walls of the park, so no more ads. Can't wait to get Rudy to work with Aaron Miles!!!" ~click~

Pretty sure that Ricketts would be approving any new contracts at this point. Oh... and contrary to what Marriotti said, Bruce Miles on next year's payroll: "I think it will grow only slightly this off-season"

Interesting link in comments, Muskrat says Castro could be SS as soon as next season. Keep Lou away from him.

I'd be more concerned if I didn't think Muskat was just pandering to a crowd that wants to hear that we have some wunderkind in the minors.

The club isn't going to 'give' Theriot's job to a rookie with no AAA experience, so that's not really a concern to me. There's not much not to like about him, going by the age and the stats he's put up. There's a lot of errors, but a major league infield and throwing to Derrek Lee would probably cut those in half, and practice should help cut them down further. Kevin Goldstein at some point this year called him a 2nd basemen... but he seems to be in the minority opinion on that.

well damn. we REALLY need to rush another guy? it's not like castro projects to be a RBI middle infielder. keep developing his contact, strengthen the consistency of the glove and arm, and bring him up as needed. it's not like he's a potential utley/arod/etc. kicking around down there no matter how good his early returns on contact and defensive tools are.

Good comment, crunch, rational as always. Let the kid play, let's see. Also, I was amused at your Brant Brown comments. Would he specialize in teaching the play-by-play people to scream "Noooooo!!!" when he drops the game-winning fly ball? Seriously. though, he seemed like a good guy, who might be able to teach a patient approach.

hope Hendry throws in a Japanese version of Rosetta Stone software in Jaramillo's contract package

anyone else find it funny brant brown might be the rangers new hitting coach, btw? he's got a lot of positive momentum as a hitting coach in the TEX minor league system...AA this past year.

I just got this e-mail from Stubhub...Someone's idea of Taunting? --- Where do you want to sit? Hey Cubster, Be there alongside your Chicago Cubs as they chase baseball immortality. Go to StubHub, where you’ll find a fantastic selection of tickets to every playoff game – so you experience the championship chase live and in person. Check it out. Go to StubHub and get the seats you want today.

and this followup e-mail: Hi Cubster, Earlier today, an email promoting Chicago Cubs postseason tickets was sent to you. This, unfortunately, was a mistake. We regret the error and apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused. Sincerely, The StubHub Team

confusion? --- that's about the only thing regarding the Cubs making the playoffs that I've not got.

bwahaha...awesome. has their 2010 Top 10 #1 Josh Vitters (21) #2 Andrew Cashner (23) #3 Starlin Castro (19) #4 Hak Ju Lee (19) #5 Brett Jackson (21) #6 Jay Jackson (21) #7 Chris Carpenter (23) #8 D J LeMahieu (21) #9 Chris Archer (21) #10 Jose Valdez (22) My own personal thoughts are that 1-7 and 9 are undoubtedly top Cubs prospects. Anyone think any of the following should have been included: Dae-Eun Rhee (20), Wellington Castillo (22), Ryan Flaherty (23), Tony Campana (23), John Gaub (24), Blake Parker (24), Casey Coleman (22), Jose Rosario (20), Jeffry Antigua (19), Christopher Huseby (21), Kyler Burke (21), Austin Kirk (19), Tyler Colvin (24)?

How can Kyler Burke, the minor league player of the year this past year, be left off the list?

well, 09 was his breakout season. schwartz is a guy who has traditionally gone on coach hype and praise from club/scouts to rank his guys...not a bad start, imo. going by numbers as a starting point can really screw up projections vs. tools/ceiling.

A piss-poor defensive performance at 3B by Josh Vitters for the Mesa Solar Sox today.

First he let a ground ball go through his legs for an error, then an easy grounder kicked off his glove for another error, and when he did make a nice diving stop to his left (balls hit to his right usually just go by without any play), he righted himself, and proceeded to throw a one-bouncer to 1st base that the batter beat by a step.

Look, I like Vitters a lot as a hitter, and I think that he will develop into a big-time middle-of-the-order run producer, and I realize that the Cubs really want Vitters to play 3B and to be the eventual heir at 3B after Aramis Ramirez is gone, but I doubt that Vitters can play 3B in the big leagues unless he makes a stronger commitment to improving his defensive play at the hot corner. Except right now, he's the kind of player who will spend five hours working on his hitting, and about five minutes working on his defense. He has the actions of a 3rd baseman, but he just doesn't make the plays, even routine ones.

I would say 1B would be a better position for him, because that would eliminate the throwing errors, but he doesn't make his errors just on bad throws. It's just general defensive indifference. LF would be where I would play him, except Alfonso Soriano is signed for five more years. So maybe RF? I don't know. But unless he starts to show some marked improvement at 3B, he needs to be moved to another position before he turns into David Kelton Redux.

Maybe it will simply take the Cubs saying "I hope you enjoy Daytona, because until you're going to be there until you learn to field." Not that they've ever shown that restraint, but with Lee, Ramirez and Soriano all slotted for first base over the next five seasons, rushing him up to the bigs to be the next Jake Fox doesn't make much sense.

Submitted by John Beasley on Mon, 10/19/2009 - 6:37am.

I know when looking at A and AA ballplayers it's important to note the player's age. Must we discount Diamond's because of his relative seniority to other Instructs player? Was that stat line as impressive as it seems? Dominating at Instructs might be cannon fodder at Iowa, right?


JOHN B: Thomas Diamond struggled with his control big-time in his previous outings at Instructs, before throwing a dominiating three innings (as he should have thrown in all of his appearances down here) in his final outing.

He displayed the confidence Saturday than I had hoped to see but had not yet seen previously, and that is a cause for optimism. He has good stuff, but has had major problems trouble throwing strikes for the past couple of years , which isn't that unusual for a post-TJS guy.

All I will say is I am more optimistic now than I was before that Diamond could have a decent year at Iowa in 2010, and if he does, we'll see what happens. If I had to guess, I would say Diamond will probably work out of the bullpen in 2010. 

Submitted by BBPassion on Tue, 10/20/2009 - 10:34am.

AZ Phil

Can you post a list or where can I find a list of where Cub Minor leaguers went for Winter ball so I can continue to follow my favorites?




Try this. It's updated daily, and you can click on each player's name for splits and "Last Ten Games"... .




Castro when 4/5 today with 2R, 1RBI --- so he has 12 hits in 23 AB in the AFL -- If he is not playing in the majors by the end of next year, something is wrong with the system. AZ Phil do you think he could be a lead-off hitter or more of the prototypical #2?

Remember when Sam Fuld was Albert Pujols in the AFL? Good times.

Fuld was 25 at the time, which make Castro's performance all the more impressive.

it's nice and all, but take the mystique of the rookie away and you got a faster version of theriot with more upside on his D (though it seems his D has some work to be done with it). he's a very legit prospect for a guy with no power, but he's not looking like a super-speedster ob% guy or anything. he's swinging for almost every trip to 1st base he takes.

I'm not saying he isn't a good prospect or that I'm not excited about him. But why should he be in the majors in 2010? Probably not good for him, probably doesn't improve the team. I could be wrong, but for now offensive success at AA and the AFL doesn't make him done with the minors.

Second time today you said Castro has no power. Wilken on Castro:
Wilken enumerated Castro's tools as above-average power potential, baserunning abilities and defense. "In his hitting action, he's got about as good wrists as I've seen in quite some time," Wilken said. "Very supple, and he'll have opposite-field power because he lets the ball travel."

yeah, maybe he'll develop some. he's still got another growth spurt to go. it's not out of reach. right now he's got a fast swing and his game is contact. he don't walk...he's gonna swing. he's not turning that contact into anything resembling power yet. he's got a ways to go before he's in soriano's league.

Having no power, and having power potential, are not mutually exclusive.

Crunch -- I agree that he appears to be a faster version of Theriot at this point, but consider that it wasn't until 25 years old that Theriot hit over .300 in the minors and regarding power, Theriot has a career SLG .337 of in the minor while Castro has a .414 Charlie -- I agree he needs more seasoning at the minor league level. I would imagine he starts the year at AA and if his good hitting continues, could earn a mid-season promotion to AAA. The questions is whether he will play for the Cubs in September, which I believe he has a shot at. AZ Phil -- maybe you can compare his defense as a prospect to Theriot

Submitted by skavoovee on Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:49pm.

Castro when 4/5 today with 2R, 1RBI --- so he has 12 hits in 23 AB in the AFL -- If he is not playing in the majors by the end of next year, something is wrong with the system.

AZ Phil do you think he could be a lead-off hitter or more of the prototypical #2?


Skavoovee: #2 hitter.

Castro has probably put on about 15-20 pounds since he signed in 2006, and he should develop some occasional power as he matures. He has above-average speed (slighly above-average speed for a middle-infielder), but he's not a burner or big-time base-stealer.

The Cubs player (or recent Cubs player) to whom I would compare Castro is Ronny Cedeno, except Castro has developed faster and hasn't hit speed bumps early in his career like Cedeno did. Cedeno didn't really start to hit until he was 21.

Castro is basically everything the Cubs hoped Cedeno would be when Cedeno was signed to a substantial bonus as a 16-year old out of Venezuela. And I am not dissing Castro by comparing him to Cedeno, because Castro has succeeded in ways Cedeno did not at a similar age. I'm just trying to find a comparable Cubs (or ex-Cubs) player.

Castro has plus-range and a above-average arm and is a "natural" SS, although he can play 2B equally well. It's just that his range and arm are more valuable at SS than at 2B. He is also one of the most coachable players I've seen come through the Cubs organization in many years, which is how and why he improved so much at Instructs last year and at Minor League Camp this past March, allowing him to jump all the way from AZL Cubs (Mesa) in 2008 to Daytona on Opening Day 2009 and to AA Tennessee at mid-season. I don't remember any position player ever doing that before, ESPECIALLY a 19-year old!. He also responds positively to a challenge. He has no fear.

A lot of Castro's errors come from youthful exuberance (he's only 19) and inexperience, because he has good throwing mechanics and footwork. He's a defensive "playmaker," but sometimes he tries to do too much.

Thanks Phil! The comparison to Cedeno is actually pretty encouraging, as you point out. It seemed like Cedeno's problems stemmed primarily from his attitude, and secondarily from some problems with his swing (I thought he relied too much on his wrists, failed to get his right arm behind the swing and thus impaired his ability to control the bat vertically, which I thought was why he had such a big hole in his swing up in the zone).

Cedeno is also missing 40% of his brain....little known fact.

Is it that unreasonable to think that Castro could develop a bit more power (15-20 HR) -- Hanley Ramirez had a SLG of .430 in the minors through age 21. While I like the comparison to Cedeno, Castro does seem to be way ahead and far superior (at least as a prospect)

Yes, it's unreasonable. Ramirez was a fluke, and he's got more lower body strength that Castro looks to develop.

the guy has plenty of room to grow. my only arguement against him coming up any time soon revolves around that growth not happening yet...and he swings, not much on walking or selecting his perfect pitch...and he's not a super speedster. if he already had his power that'd be another thing. right now he's slapping singles around at a very good rate.

...little known fact. --- also Cedeno stops dead in his tracks and grows antlers when car headlights flash at his eyes

Inspired! The signing of Jaramillo does not signal a thawing in the Cubs' relationship with Bradley, who is expected to be traded this offseason after spending the final 15 games on the suspended list. But Hendry is unlikely to be willing to eat most of the remaining $21 million on Bradley's contract, so if he can't unload the outfielder, it will be Jaramillo's job to fix him.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 10 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have purchased the contract of 25-year old 6'5 260 RHP Adam Heidenfelder from Gary (American Association) and he has been assigned to the ACL Cubs.  


  • Hagsag 12 hours 18 min ago (view)

    Does anyone know what type of injury Amaya has?


  • Hagsag 12 hours 21 min ago (view)

    I can not believe what a good 3b he has been playing.


  • Wrigley Rat 18 hours 11 min ago (view)

    Robert Stock was claimed off waivers by the Mets.


  • crunch 20 hours 11 min ago (view)

    HR in the 8th.  dope.


  • crunch 22 hours 21 min ago (view)

    he's back out in the field in the top 3rd...must be okay, but he sure doesn't look confidently healthy.  *shrug*  off-day tomorrow...


  • crunch 22 hours 31 min ago (view)

    p.wisdom seems to have injured his right leg/knee swinging a bat...


  • crunch 22 hours 53 min ago (view)

    “It did not feel good to take Javy out of the game,” Ross said. “I never feel comfortable doing that at all. That's a pit in my stomach and it was in my stomach the entire game.”


    “I blame it on myself. I lost the count of the outs,” Báez said. “We talked about it. We're on the same page. I'll be there tomorrow to help the team.”


  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 30 min ago (view)

    The thing that gets me is that she cheated with the guy providing religous-based pre-marital counseling. Hmmm... this guy is abusing his (quasi-)professional couseling position to pursue an intimate relationship; forgot the parts of the Bible about lying, cheating, & doing dirty by the 2016 WS MVP; and clearly has very conflicted feelings on the marriage construct... yep, I'm blowing up multiple people's lives to ride-or-die with THAT guy. 


  • Hagsag 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    I am with my hero Zo.


  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    whole zobrist thing got fleshed out (no pun) in public now...


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed C Harrison Wenson (ex-LAA) to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to Hi-A South Bend. Wenson spent five seasons in the Angels organization, and he got an NRI to MLB Spring Training as an extra catcher with the Halos this past spring. 


  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    69 (nice) pitches...goes 4.2ip and leaves with a man on 1st

    4.2ip 3h 1bb 5k, 3r/er (2hr)

    alzolay continues to have the HR screw him over.  12 given up in 62.1ip


  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    d.ross pulls baez for alcantara for what was either a mental mistake forgetting the outs or totally not hustling by baez in the bottom 4th running the bases.

    cubs are down by 1.

    hell of manager power play.  hope this plays out well...expect it will.


  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    nico expected back in early july...duffy had a "setback" and is in limbo...bote has started baseball activities, but nowhere near a return time.


  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    haha.  ump checked alzolay's hat and glove between innings and declared it all clear.

    stuff so nasty they wanna make sure you're not on that "sticky fingers" bandwagon.