Cubs and Rockies Just Split the Difference at Fitch

Eduardo Gonzalez capped a four-run 2nd inning with a three-run inside-the-park HR, leading one squad of EXST Cubs to a 4-2 victory over one squad of EXST Rockies on Field #3, while four pitchers combined to throw a four-hitter as the other squad of EXST Rockies defeated the other squad of EXST Cubs 5-1 on Field #2, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

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

LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke made his third EXST appearance, starting the game on Field #2. Unlike Burke’s previous outings, the lefty struggled with his control throughout his 2.1 IP of work, throwing a first-pitch “ball one” to all seven batters he faced, and throwing only half of his 42 pitches for strikes. However, he also struck out three and allowed just one hit—a lead-off single to the first man he faced (Burke then proceeded to pick the runner off), and the only run charged to him was an inherited run allowed by Santo Rodriguez when the Dominican right-hander surrendered a two-run HR to the first man he faced after relieving Burke with one out and a man on 1st base in the top of the 3rd inning.

Meanwhile, RHP (ex-3B) Charles Thomas had his finest outing of the year, starting the game on Field #2 and working three shutout innings (38 pitches – 22 strikes). The Lee Smith clone used his 98 MPH fastball to strike out four, while allowing just a single, a walk, and a HBP in his three innings of work. Like Burke, Thomas also picked a runner off 1st base.

In EXST Cubs roster news, 21-year old RHP Felix Pena has arrived at Fitch Park from the Dominican Academy, while 2B-SS Rafael Valdes has been moved up to Daytona.

The 27-year old Valdes is one of four Cuban defectors signed by the Cubs over the past six months (C Yaniel Cabezas, OF Rubi Silva, and OF Mayke Reyes being the other three), and while he may be a bit too old to still be considered a “prospect,” the slick-fielding middle-infielder does bring extensive experience to the Cubs organization, after playing several seasons with Pinar Del Rio in the Cuban National Series (the Cuban “major league”), as well as playing for Team Cuba in various international tournaments. (Valdes was the 2B for Team Cuba at the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam when LHP Aroldis Chapman defected in July 2009).

The Cubs Scouting Department has convened at Fitch Park to prepare for next week’s Rule 4 Draft (AKA “First-Year Player Draft”). Several potential draft picks worked-out for the Cubs scouts on Field #1 early this morning, prior to the EXST doubleheader.

Here are the abridged box scores from today’s games (Cubs players only)


1. Pin-Chieh Chen, CF: 1-3 (1B, 3-U, K, R)
2. Gregori Gonzalez, 3B: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, K)
3. Wilson Contreras, 1B: 0-3 (5-3, 6-3, F-8, RBI)
4. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-2 (F-8, 1B, BB)
5. Reggie Golden, DH #1: 0-2 (BB, 1-3, F-8)
6a. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-2 (F-8, 6-3)
6b. Carlos Romero, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
7. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-3 (4-3 DP, 6-3, K)
8. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, L-8)
9. Max Kwan, DH #2: 2-2 (1B, 1B)
10. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 0-2 (3-U, 4-6-3 DP)

1. Charles Thomas: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1 PO, 38 pitches (22 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO
2. Ramon Garcia: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 30 pitches (22 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
3. Jean Sandoval: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 37 pitches (21 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO

1. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely – eventually led to two unearned runs scoring)
3. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)

Yaniel Cabezas: 1-1 CS

RF Jesus Morelli - batter-runner thrown out at 2nd base



1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 1-4 (3-1, 1B, F-8, 6-3, R, RBI)
2. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 3-4 (1B, HR, 4-3, 1B, R, 3 RBI, SB, CS)
3. Marco Hernandez, SS: 2-3 (1B, 4-3 1B, SB)
4. Brian Inoa, DH: 0-3 (K, K, 3-1)
5. Brandon May, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, BB, 4-3)
6. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 0-3 (6-3, P-3, F-8)
7. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 3-3 (2B, 1B, 1B, R)
8. Johan DeJesus, C: 0-3 (F-7, 5-4 FC, 4-6-3 DP)
9. Oliver Zapata, CF: 2-3 (1B, 4-6-3 DP, 1B, R)

1. Kyler Burke: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 PO, 42 pitches (21 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
2. Santo Rodriguez: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 28 pitches (18 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
3. Ryan Hartman: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 13 pitches (10 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Colin Richardson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 13 pitches (9 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO

C Johan DeJesus - E2 (throwing error on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed base-runner to advance to 3rd base)

Johan DeJesus: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)



WEATHER: Mostly cloudy and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s


Thanks for the updates, AZPhil. Just a quick question, but do you know of any of the draft prospects that were worked out?

Bour with another HR tonight, #14 Burgess hit #9, don't think he's above the Mendoza Line yet though, he's the minor league version of Pena. J. Jackson goes 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, Rusin and Kirk with decent starts as well. guess Fleita was lying cause Jae Hoon Ha was shipped back to Daytona

so by my count and sorry if this is repetitive Ha back to Hi-A Clevenger back to AA Junior Lake promoted to AA replacing LeMahieu's spot

Lake's stats in 49 games at Daytona: 315/336/498, 2B-11, 3B-4, 6HR, 19SB/4CS, 6BB/49K, 39R, 34RBI, 14 Errors. Turned 21 in late March (a couple days younger than Starlin Castro) and has batted 2nd in the lineup in both Tennessee starts - no kid glove treatment there. Is there a more toolsy prospect in the Cub organization than Lake with respect to a combination of speed/power/arm?

I'd take Jackson and Ceasar's tools over his. He doesn't impress me as all that fast, but that is a really nice SB/CS ratio. If you're just talking those three tools, Ha may be in the conversation as well.

You had me flumoxed with Ceasar, but i think it got in now: Szcur, who turns 22 in July.

No. Physically, Lake and Jackson are as good as it gets. If Lake is anything like the 6'3, 215 that Baseball Reference claims he is, then Felix Pie (6'2, 185) is a beanpole compared to him. Fangraphs still has Lake at 6'3, 175, which might have been accurate a couple of years ago or even last year. With Lake replacing LeMahieu at Tennessee, it's still musical chairs with the lineup. Yesterday against a lefty starter, Flaherty and Spencer sat; Flores caught; Lake played short with Marwin G. at second; Clevenger at first, Vitters at third, Ridling in left, Jackson in center; and Nate Samson, whom Brian Harper really seems to like, in right field! When Tennessee had built a decent lead, Samson moved to third and Vitters went to the bench.

Lake was closer to 215 last spring than he was 175. Eric Davis was a beanpole... he didn't have very good tools either, I guess.

I have a question for Arizona Phil or anyone else that has an opinion. Szcur looks like an outstanding prospect so far, but I'm wondering if he is at the right level. Is low A ball equivalent, inferior or superior to big time college ball? Is he playing at, below or above the level of competetion he had in college? Of course, until someone succeds at higher levels we can't get too excited, but I was wondering about his performance so far. We have had a lot of flame outs at higher levels. Brandon Sing, Brain Dopirak, etc.

Well, big time college baseball is played in the South and West, not in the North-East, at least not for the last 30 years. College players who sign early are typically assigned to Low A (if they're advanced) or Short Season A, if they aren't. That's pretty much what the short-season leagues are for. If they're really advanced, like say Pedro Alvarez (who signed too late to play) and Mark Teixiera (also a late signer if memory serves) they may start in high A. Then very occasionally you get a John Olerud or Mike Leake who go "directly" to the majors, but both those guys had the advantage of spring training I think. I would think Szczur is going to be the first outfielder promoted. Keep in mind too he wasn't 100% focused on baseball in college, whereas a guy like Bryce Harper played baseball in the summer, and worked in a batting cage during the fall and winter, why Szczur was playing football and donating bone marrow. He seems like he's right where he should be.

Submitted by TJ on Thu, 06/02/2011 - 8:15am. I have a question for Arizona Phil or anyone else that has an opinion. Szcur looks like an outstanding prospect so far, but I'm wondering if he is at the right level. Is low A ball equivalent, inferior or superior to big time college ball? Is he playing at, below or above the level of competetion he had in college? Of course, until someone succeds at higher levels we can't get too excited, but I was wondering about his performance so far. We have had a lot of flame outs at higher levels. Brandon Sing, Brain Dopirak, etc. ========================================== TJ: If at some point Brett Jackson is promoted to Iowa and Jae-Hoon Ha goes back to Tennessee, then I think Matt Szczur will be moved up to Daytona. Szczur missed the last ten days of Minor League Camp with a leg injury, then missed a few more games recently when he went back to Philadelphia for his college graduation and got sick. He alao had his first pro season cut short last year when he returned to Villanova in early August for his senior year and to prep for the college football season, so he did not attend Instructs. Not to mention missing considerable time earlier in the 2010 college baseball season when he donated bone marrow to that one-year old girl. All of that adds up to lots of missed baseball development time in terms of games played. As you know, because the Cubs signed him to a new contract this past March that involved releasing him from his previous contract, he is eligible for selection in next December's Rule 5 Draft. So he is a lock to get added to the Cubs 40-man roster post-2011. To help accelerate his development, I think it's very possible that Szczur will attend Instructs in September-October AND then play in the AFL in October-November.

"I'm finally on board with dealing Marmol, who has a low salary and high value to a contender, despite the sporadic meltdown such as he had Tuesday. Ryan Dempster, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Pena and Geovany Soto could have suitors as well." What took him so long.

Wonder what Texas would give up for Pena and marmol?

How about we trade them Pena and Marmol in return for them taking Soriano.

Soriano has to be a part of any deal.

And there's a school of thought that empty seats are the only way to demand change for a front office that cheers first for the bottom line. There's also a school of thought that you shouldn't start a sentence with a conjunction.... That aside, the problem is that the new ownership group hasn't, to this point, shown that they understand what the team's problem is. Changing the front office, and God willing, the manager, isn't going to do any good if it's just a different group of bumblers and cronies. Possibly the worst thing a new managing team can do is just come in, assume they know everything and change everything from day one. I just wish the noises you hear out of the Rickettses were a lot less supportive of a front office that has produced the worst $/Win team in baseball.

You have to wonder how supposedly smart business people like the Ricketts' can make solving this problem akin to a quantum physics proof. You find a really smart, proven baseball man and have that person replace Kenney. He hires a new GM who hires a new field manager. You then build a successful organization not unlike the Blackhawks, Phillies, Rays, Red Sox, etc. Come on, Joe/Tom! You have a division in your business portfolio not meeting expectations. What do you do? Leave the same group in charge and hope it gets better? Is that what you would do with a division of AmeriTrade? I mean, am I taking crazy pills here or what?

You find a really smart, proven baseball man and have that person replace Kenney. He hires a new GM who hires a new field manager. You then build a successful organization not unlike the Blackhawks, Phillies, Rays, Red Sox, etc.
Wow, that sounds so easy ... I wonder why every owner doesn't do that! Maybe because frequently the new guy who everyone thinks is so smart turns out to be a bigger turd than the one you already have. If it was so easy to find someone like that we wouldn't be stuck with [insert name of president you hate here].

I think the problem is that from the outside looking in, people think, and I am sure the baseball insiders feverishly perpetuate this myth, that baseball is "different" - that the same skills it takes to run a successful baseball organization is different than it is to run other organizations.... "But is he a baseball man?" The guys who turned around the Rays and Rangers and Red Sox weren't baseball guys. It's like any other company, yes it requires you to find the right people and create the right structure, but it's not magic.

"It's like any other company, yes it requires you to find the right people and create the right structure, but it's not magic." Thank you, Neal. That was the essence of what I was trying to say. In the end, successful businesses hire the right people who create a structure where success is more likely to happen. If they're waiting for player/GM/President contracts to expire, there are ways to get that message out to people who might attend your games and buy the extras.

there are ways to get that message out to people who might attend your games and buy the extras. You mean other than saying "It's all injuries"?

Bingo! Two words, Tommy - Press Publicist.

I'm going to give Ricketts benifit of doubt through this season. I wouldn't expect him to give a Steinbrennerish answer to that question, but if he doesn't clean house at the end of this year we have McCaskey 2.0 on our hands.

I'm going to give Ricketts benifit of doubt through this season. I wouldn't expect him to give a Steinbrennerish answer to that question, but if he doesn't clean house at the end of this year we have McCaskey 2.0 on our hands. --------- Exactly.

Yes. Coming as he does from a non-baseball background, I'd rather he learn for a year before making major changes that might haunt him for years.

Exactly where I am as well. I'd rather he cast a wide net and get a feel for who is available, before making a snap decision. The next GM is most likely a 5 year commitment. Better be sure its the right guy.

A part of me thinks that the Rickett's are just trying to be careful with the organization by not doing what Neal said and cleaning houses top to bottom. They're watching Hendry/Quade knowing that they'll be making a change shortly but are taking their time to make sure they know what the new strategy is and who can make it happen. Another part of me thinks that the know Hendry/Quade suck but are just letting them finish out the next couple years until payroll clears. Yet another part of me thinks that they really do think Hendry is great and he's been the victim of circumstance, be it Zell or injuries or whatever is the real culprit. But your point is right on - if they knew absolutely zero coming in, how long should it take them to figure out that their team/organization is dysfunctional and start fixing it? Who knows what they've done so far - I would think it would take a while for a culture change to permeate the organization. This is too sad. I'm going back to minor league box scores...

I hold out hope that the Rickett's know that there is a problem with the way the Cubs did business historically, but are taking their time on bringing in their guys due to the payroll issues. I base this on one of their first hires.

Seems like a great hire, and they gave him a title which implied he was going to be supervising others... but I counter with these two pieces of information: Tony Campana BABIP: .423 DJ LeMahieu BABIP: .399 Hiring a guy is good, but if he's just going to sit in a corner and crank out lefty righty splits for Quade- you can get a college intern to do that.

Where did you find the BABIP for the Cubs Minor Leaguers? I didn't see it on my usual hunt on Not as good as minorleaguesplits was, but better than nothing.

Hmm..I get some " Apache HTTP Test Server" page...maybe it's my work computer's issue....but I don't link to that site I guess.... it...

personally, I use Fangraphs. e.g. Tony Campana...

The numbers are different, I wonder why. Firstinning gives some batted ball info, which fangraphs doesn't, fwiw.

I agree with Jumbo. I have been debating those points with my friends. Two of the 3 choices are not good. I've have said that we will find out the answer at the end of this year. Unfortunately, because of the injuries, if the choice is that they are being conservative and bidding their time, it may delay their decision for another year. Clearly that would be the wrong thing to do, but we have to have some hope. If it is the other two choices:(i) to cheap to eat executive contracts or (ii) actually think Hendry and friends are doing a good job - we're screwed.

I think the Cub brass and ownership is doing a pretty good job considering the Soriano, Fukudome and Bradley/Silva contracts--I realize they had something to do with those contracts but those were all pre-Ricketts--and that the pipeline from the minors is functioning but not quite flowing yet, particularly in respect to pitchers. The Cubs seem to have better players than their opponents at the minor-league levels where prospects reside, so it seems like a slam dunk that in a couple of years they will have better major-league players than their rivals. Will they be the best? I have no idea. Will they win the world series? If they're lucky. But I will be contented to have a normal good team on the north side for really the first time in my life (and I'm going to start having grandchildren pretty soon). You guys are trying to fix something that has already been fixed. It was fixed when they hired a scouting director who drafted talented two-way players (read "major leaguers") instead of slugging 1B/LF/DHs like Fox, Dubois, Dopirak, Sing et al.

You wouldn't like the Cubs chances better if they had Lee, Chirinos, Archer and Guyer still around? I agree that the farm system is in the best shape it's been since the early 2000's, and thoughts of a lineup that features: Szczur Castro Jackson Fielder Vitters Colvin Soto Second Basemen TBA for 2013 is sort of exciting... but the "we're going to build from within, by trading a chunk of our farm system to grab headlines in February" thing smacks of more of the same. Then there's our philosophical differences regarding which prospects and MLB players are doing well and merit promotion... A poor GM can screw up great work by a scouting director and a player development team.

Totally, Neal. Again, though, the Cubs are going to need a strong Matt Garza moving forward to bring at least some consistency to the staff. Hendry was hedging against what has been incredible escalating prices for pitching. #4-5 starters are receiving outlandish contracts. I think Garzo is a talented pitcher. I just don't know how much a similar player would be offered in 2012 or 2013. As a part of this, it was conceivable that Hendry was told to be competitive to try to avoid what we are experiencing (for those of us in-town), or viewing - lots of empty seats. It hasn't worked out that way, but probably it had something to do with it. I am not gonna lose too much sleep over it until one of the prospects becomes a valuable everyday MLB player. Then, I will come here and bitch about what a shitty trade it was!

"As a part of this, it was conceivable that Hendry was told to be competitive to try to avoid what we are experiencing (for those of us in-town), or viewing - lots of empty seats. " I agree with this too. I know to those who watch the game know that Garza would not make much difference this year, but Ricketts put off bitching by fans to almost half way through the season rather than come out of ST with just Z and Dempster as only quality starters.

While the Cubs minor league system does seem to be better stocked now than it has for quite some time, I don't know that there are that many prospects down there that really have anyone frothing at the mouth. I think it is a pretty significant stretch to say that the problem with the Cubs has already been fixed. One significant problem with the Cubs historically appears to have been improved. That is about all I would say about it...

That's pretty accurate. But, sometime they have to find a Jaime Garcia along the way - in the late rounds. Fucking Cardinals.

Other than Brett Jackson there isn't a legitimate bat anywhere in the system. I think the "Our system is great!" crowd is just trying to fool themselves. Even the guys showing promise have terrible plate discipline. And we see how that gets exploited going up the ladder (Pie,Patterson,Colvin,Cedeno, etc)

Not sure that's entirely true. Flaherty and Bour both seem to be having breakout seasons, although both also struggle against lefties (which emphasizes how much they have been dominating the right-handers they've faced so far this year). They both show pretty good plate discipline too. It'll be interesting to see what Bour does if the Cubs push him up a level or two where he might be more challenged by the pitchers, but he's shown the ability to make contact, take a walk, and (newly) hit for power. He hit his 14th homerun yesterday. Flaherty is a bit old for his league now (he'll be 25 in two months), but he's done very well in AA this season, hitting for average and power and getting on base. He might be an option at third base soon, possibly in a platoon with Baker or the like. Matt Cerda hasn't shown any power, but he'll turn 21 in a couple of weeks and his numbers suggest that he's a very mature hitter--he walks as much as he strikes out and his OBP is up over .400 so far this season. Matt Sczcur also hasn't shown much power, but he seems to be a very disciplined hitter, and unlike Cerda he appears to have good speed to go with that discipline. Vitters, LeMahieu, Ha, and Lake are the hackers, and they are also the toolsiest prospects. There are others who take a pitch, though. The Cubs just don't have many who do both--partly because toolsy guys who are also polished go early in the first round and/or make it to the majors quickly.

I'm just frustrated with this regime's approach in general. We win 98 games in 2008, lose in the playoffs. Then they deduct that we lost because we didn't have Milton Bradley and Aaron Miles here to hit left handed? It's just total backwards arse, stone aged baseball. Trying to swim upstream against todays most effective logic.

That was you get for listening to Lou. He couldn't win with 98 win team he needed more.

Good point about Cerda. Micah Gibbs (Peoria) has 28 walks, 20 strikeouts. Clevenger has 14 walks, 16 strikeouts. Lalli, 14 and 17. Szczur has three home runs this week, after hitting none since Villanova. Not sure I would describe Vitters as toolsy. Because he projected as an elite hitter, Wilken departed from his usual bias toward two-way players. Vitters is starting to look like a 1B/LF/DH to me, and that's assuming he figures out how to hit.

Vitters is starting to look like a 1B/LF/DH to me even though I haven't seen him play this year Fixed.

I did see him play. Didn't I tell you I drove down to Kodak, TN, to see the Smokies play Carolina (Cincy) on a Sunday a few weeks ago? McNutt was pitching. Seriously. He made a clumsy dive for a ball and I thought, Aramis couldn't have done it better. Also it's probably significant that he comes out of games when they have a lead.

Also it's probably significant that he comes out of games when they have a lead. Ugh. If that is true, the Cubs are even more foolish than I thought.

Luckily it isn't. He got double switched for once after making the final out in the 8th, and came out for injury the other day.

On June 1, Vitters came out of a game in the bottom of the 5th after being forced at second in the top half. That is a little early for a defensive replacement, but I find nothing about an injury in the two local stories on the game. Please share you source on that. Between May 21 and the 27 (LeMahieu's last week with the team), Vitters didn't play an entire game at third. He sat out the 21st and 24th. The 22nd, he played 1st the whole game. The 23rd, he started at 3rd but came out for a defensive sub in the 9th. That's the double-switch you're referring to. But aren't double switches how Soriano finds his way to the bench in late innings? The 25th, he played the whole game at 1st. The 27th, he moved to 1st in the 6th. On the 19th, he started at 1st but came out in a double switch. I don't want to make too big a deal of this. Maybe I have already. "He comes out of games when they have a lead" was too broad a statement. Partly, Harper is just trying to get Samson involved. Vitters has been hitting, so let's just hope that continues.

If the Cubs are benching one of their top prospects for late inning defensive reasons, they are completely idiotic. I know that you don't want to hear this, but minor league win/loss records are worthless. The ONLY purpose of the minor leagues is to develop players for the big leagues. If the Cubs think that Vitters is going to play 3B in the bigs, he should be playing there every inning, regardless of whether or not they have a better defensive option for the late innings.

It's a crowded team with a lot of lineup-juggling. In the late-inning game of musical chairs, Vitters tends to be the one left without a position, simply because he's the weakest infield glove. If he becomes an elite hitter, he'll find a position, but it will probably be first or left, as is usual with Brett Wallace types. Vitters plays one game at first base for every two games at third, so right now he's preparing to compete for those two openings on the Cubs next year. One of the problems with previous Cub prospects is that they were "anointed" early on. I certainly don't mind Vitters' having to worry about whether or where he'll play tomorrow.

Again, if Vitters is getting benched because of defensive play, the Cubs are idiotic.


Since I don't like prima donna treatment for certain players up and down the organization (including the undeserved at-bats going to a current Cub with the lowest BA in the majors) I disagree that Vitters should be given preferential treatment over other players who may or may not be lesser prospects. But apart from whether Harper (the Tenn mgr.) is doing the right thing when he maneuvers Vitters to the bench in late innings, it signals that he thinks other players have better gloves, which was my original point when I said that Vitters was becoming a 1B/LF/DH (assuming he can hit).

He hasn't hit enough to be a Shortstop or Catcher yet.

I disagree that Vitters should be given preferential treatment over other players who may or may not be lesser prospects. Huh? It isn't preferential treatment. It is intelligent development of your top prospects. If the Cubs view Vitters as a starting 3b in the bigs, he should never be benched for defensive reasons. You want him to get as many reps as possible, especially when the game is on the line.

I would answer you, but my 36-hour time limit has expired.

Are none of these guys legimate? Justin Bour Rebel Ridling Ryan Flaherty Matt Szczur Matt Cerda

No, other than Szczur (who's more hype than production thus far) it all looks like ML organizational filler. Matt Spencer might be a bench bat eventually? Overall, it just seems like a bunch of hackers who need to hit .330 to get on base 35% of the time. Those guys get exposed against good pitching.

How is Szczur more projection than production right now? I suppose he is too old for the MWL, but he's producing just like the Shane Victorino type that he could be.

He's in the lowest full season league we have. He's a slappy hitter with so-so plate discipline. I'd feel better about him if he was in AA putting up the #'s he is. LONG ways from being a big leaguer.

Szczur could be in the majors by the end of next year, assuming he gets a good shot of time in Daytona this year. He seems to have the plate disicipline that allows a player to move quickly. My main concern with him is whether he has the "health tool."

He's in A ball. By no means should he reach the majors this season.

Evan Crawford is putting up better numbers than him the next rung up the ladder. Only way he makes Chicago next year, is the Samjay way of making Chicago. Unearned promotion

Well, that might be true I suppose? I will disagree on Bour and Cerda...Flaherty and Ridling I'd like to see in AAA before I make a decision...

By all means, I hope I'm wrong? I've just seen way too much of the prospect hype train to get excited over the Tools-Production=MLB Star equation.

You were wrong about DeRosa being a bad signing for the Cubs.

You are correct. I thought he was a utility guy when Hendry signed him.

"Even the guys showing promise have terrible plate discipline. And we see how that gets exploited going up the ladder (Pie,Patterson,Colvin,Cedeno, etc)" I don't have a clear recollection of Patterson as a hitter, but Pie, Colvin and Cedeno have something in common. It's fine if you call it terrible plate discipline, but it helps me to think of it as a low hitting IQ. To be a good hitter, you have to think like a pitcher, and that takes intelligence. Without it, you're at the pitcher's mercy once you fall behind in the count. It's easier to take a pitch that's diving out of the strike zone if you're expecting that pitch. The expectation has to come from inside your head. The smartest Cub hitter today, by far, is Soto. Fukudome is smart, in a way, but he's really not looking for a pitch to drive (or at least not usually). Soto is not actually looking for a walk, he just knows that 3-2 is a hitter's count. Once you get to 3 and 2, walks are sometimes unavoidable.

The farm system is better than in years past, but what prospect(s) do we have that are blue chippers? None. We have Brett Jackson and a ton of guys who likely won't do much in the majors. The minor league system is still pretty bare.

I just personally love Szczur... I know it's crazy talk, but he seems to have baseball smarts, and I know he's got the physical tools to be a MLB player. If he's Tim Raines with a legitimate center field arm, that's a helluva prospect. Outside of him, and maybe Vitters and Simpson, I agree we don't have a guy who's likely to crack the top 20 in prospects, just from a physical talent perspective. Drafting outside of the top 10 for most years hasn't helped that.

So he's a Hall Of Famer, only with a better arm?

Yeah it's still pretty silly that Tim Raines isn't in the HOF yet.....

So far so good... have the idiots put Raines in the Hall of Fame yet? I thought he was getting the Sandberg treatment.

Well - the simple facts are that there are only a handful of teams who churn out home-grown superstars which is what I believe you are alluding to when you mean "blue-chippers". Some are better AND luckier than others. I'd say both Castro and Barney are destined for terrific MLB careers. Are they Pujols II? No. I like Jackson, as do many knowledgable scouts. The jury is not out yet on Colvin, either. He has some pop - and needs to get better, for sure. I'd like to see more pitching studs come up, and am curious how McNutt will blossom.

I don't necessarily disagree with you that our prospects might turn out to be pretty good major leaguers -- I like Ha and Szcur, for example. But I don't think you add credibility to the argument by saying that Barney is destined for a terrific MLB career...he had a nice two months, but not sure this will last and think your view is shared by only a small minority of fans.

Woah, Pittsburgh is kicking the shit out of the Mets, 7-0. Stay tuned for a big long and incredibly condescending, insulting diatribe from TRN about how we should never conclude from two and half innings that one team is going to win...

I really don't mean to be condescending, but sometimes it's like talking to a rock. Maybe we should all just sign our posts "I am right about this, don't try to persuade me otherwise." when we're right about something and can't be persuaded.

I have a two post rule. If I can't convince someone of my opinion after a couple of posts, I stop trying.

That's a good idea. I'll try and take it up... this one has become my pet peeve this season. Baseball Prospectus called Hendry and the front office on it 5 years ago, and we still see it today. Drives. Me. Nuts. I wish someone would get Hendry to read an article called "It's Sample Size, Stupid" and not let him make another decision until he can relate his lessons learned and how they can be applied to making baseball decisions. Matt Garza threw a no-hitter - he's an ace! Tyler Colvin has a .125 BABIP, demote him! Tony Campana has a .423 BABIP, he's ready!

While Henry is not a horrible GM (see Ed Lynch), sadly he is not the kind of GM that you or I would hire.

I think the difference in Hendry and Lynch is about $20 million in real payroll. I will trade you Blauser and Hundley for Bradley and Jones. Raise me a Gaetti? I will see that with a Hawkins and raise you a Eyre.

I would, however, hire him as a scout due to his "gut" instinct.

lmao.....gut instinct....nice!

comment deleted....nevermind.

I would have gone with Colvin or Snyder... there's so many injuries that I cannot remember who or when or why guys got called up, and I don't know the 40 man roster rules, and statuses of the players, but in general I am of the opinion that you should wait as long as possible to add someone to it if you can. But was it any surprise to anyone that they called Campana and LeMahieu up? Despite the fact that "advance statistic analysis" showed there were likely guys having "better" seasons available. I have to admit, that since the Cubs are going to lose with any of those three guys (or Byrd for that matter) in center field, Slappy Campana is the most entertaining of the options as he tries to beat out slow rollers to short and has balls bouncing off his shoulder in center, hat askew like Radio, glove windmilling about as he skips towards the ball. It's hard to say he was the best ballplayer available. Slappy's a fifth outfielder - a poor man's Juan Pierre in my mind. Maybe Doug Dascenzo is a good comp for him... can he pitch? Maybe Dopey is a better nickname for him...

Sheesh..what...did he kick your dog or something? Lol.... I thought that there was a time issue on Colvin...that he had to stay down a certain # of days. Agreed on Colvin/Snyder though....I'd like to see Snyder get a couple weeks of steady at bats...he's pretty much proved all he can at AAA. I DO NOT think that Campana can come in and hit .350/.420/.390.....before anyone tells me that I do. Would I consider him a decent player if he could hit .270/.350/.380 and steal some bases? Well yeah...considering the crap that comes from the farm system usually, sure. More a placeholder type until Byrd returns, or until Brett Jackson is ready? Why not? Beats signing some veteran crap to do it.

A player has to stay in the minors for 10 days after being sent down before being recalled, but they can be recalled at any time if a big league player goes on the DL. I think Colvin was down for 10 days anyway.

You're probably right on Colvin, but didn't he repalce Colvin? Like I said, too many rosters moves to keep track of. Would I consider him a decent player if he could hit .270/.350/.380 and steal some bases. He doesn't have the plate discipline to pull a .080 ISO OBP or the power to slug an ISO .110 (.041 and .100 in AAA this year, career minor career .056 and .050). So, I don't think going to do that. Are you happy with him hitting .275 .325 .310? He's a Cub and I want him to do well, and I was being serious about him being entertaining, but there's nothing in his track record that shows he's a starting caliber player on anything other than a shitty team... which is what the 2011 Cubs are. 100% agreed that it's better than trading for or signing another Reed Johnson.

Probably a 4th or 5th OF then... I spose I'm just happy to see a Cub player with some speed who can use

6th year of Wilken and this is all we got...

Three-fifths of the starting rotation is courtesy of Wilken, right? Not to mention our new start singles hitting 3B/2B LeMayWho!

Z Dempster Lopez Davis Wells Which 3 or those 5ths?

Wells, Garza and Cashner... our starting middle infield as well.

Cashner was a 1st round pick bullpen guy. How were Garza and Wells Tim Wilken picks?

Cashner was a 1st round pick bullpen guy. Not really... they immediately talked about him as a starter after they drafted him.

Garza was brought in with players acquired in part by Wilkens.... For some reason I thought Wells was from Wilken's first draft, I see he predates that considerably... I think next year is when we can really fairly evaluate how Wilkens has been drafting, assuming he's actually been calling the shots.

Not to nitpick but..... Hak Le- not Cubs drafted Archer- Not cubs drafted Chirinos- Not Cubs drafted Fuld- Pre Wilkin drafted Guyer- Wilken guy All and all, for all his hype. Wilken has been light on results.

Archer, was brought in based on scouting that falls under Wilken. He doesnt' just do draft scouting. I am not sure how foreign amateur drafting relates to his position, but as Scouting Director, it probably reports to him as well. The only scouts that wouldn't are the major league scouts.

I thought Oneri Fleita and Steve Wilson were the guys in charge of Latin America and the Pac Rim?

That wouldn't make any sense, but it wouldn't be past the Cubs. Fleita is in charge of guys after they get into the organzation and Wilson is an area scout... you don't give area scouts free reign to hand out millions of dollars.

Unfortunately though, Campana hasn't shown much ability to take walks, particularly when you consider how small the strike zone is and the fact that he is a slap hitter (would assume he could make consistent contact and foul pitches off). He is fast and perhaps a decent singles hitter. But he strikes out more than you want and walks less than he should.

he's also yet to lay down slap bunt/hits on the ground and run like hell to 1st trying to beat out the fielders. with his speed you don't even have to bunt to 1st to try to pull the fielder off the bag. for some reason he don't do it, though. i dunno much about the guy or what he wouldn't be doing it.

He did try it once, and the bunt was terrible. Forced a runner at 2B.

kinda like slappy...

as a nickname that is...

"I really don't mean to be condescending, but sometimes it's like talking to a rock." ... and there it is!

7-7 in 6th

That's some funny shit.

LOL. The Mets won 9-8.

they'll still beat the Cubs this weekend

Rich Hill to have season ending surgery, something with his forearm. Dice-K to have TJ surgery.

Sounds like they could use a Zambrano and a Grabow to fill out that staff!!!!

With a dash of Soriano!!!!!!!

Soriano for Carl Crawford......Who says no?

Beers are on me!!!!!!!!!1

What MLB team doesn't need a dash of Soriano!

The Chicago National League Ball Club.

Well of course we don't, but that is because we aren't in contention. Soriano is the must have fashion item for any contending team this season, and in my opinion the Cubs should do whatever they can to help some other team get over the top.

He's World Series tested and tri-lingual!

Remarkably, Sori had several clutch hits in the famous 2001 Series. One of them is featured prominently in Ken Burns' Baseball I sometimes wonder, speaking of the 2001 Series, what kind of a Cubs manager would Bob Brenly have been? That is - without The Unit and Bloody Sock.

Remarkably, Sori had several clutch hits in the famous 2001 Series. What was I saying about relying on a few at bats to judge anything?

on the Mike Mahtook debate... Not star-level tools, but few weaknesses. RT @The__Falconer: @Kevin_Goldstein How do you like Mahtook? Is he really a 5 tool player?<?i>

there's a mike mahtook debate? about what? the most across the board average player in the top level of the draft?

Did I already say Mark Kotsay? I'll take a Mark Kotsay over some needle in the haystack projection guy.

Ceaser has alot of late career Kotsay about him.

Age skill set and position aside?


Cesar would be fortunate to have Kotsay's career. Especially early Kotsay. Not sure if Cesar will have as much power? But both guys are/were above average speed guys who hit singles and got on base at average-y rates. 280-330-370 ish hitters. Cesar just has a LONG way to go to get there. He hasn't even hit Daytona pitching yet?

I guess you didn't compare him to Adam Dunn, so there were worse comps available, but experience, speed, power, plate approach, the side they approach the plate from... they both played outfield in college and got drafted by MLB teams though, so yeah, they're pretty much the same.

i take it you're in the mike mahtook debate, then... if you want a boring slap hitter with a quick track to the bigs you might as well go for kolten least he can play 2nd and is expected to be in the bigs within 3 years or so (barring failure/injury). both guys are going to be interesting stories once you take the aluminum out of their hands. that aside, i'd be shocked to see media darling bubba starling last until the 9th pick and if he's available then i'd take it if i were the cubs. the bradleys (unrelated), archie or jed (HS/COL, respectively) are probably more likely, imo.

Didn't they change the bats in college this year? Mahtook seems to be stinging it pretty well... going to try and catch him on TV.

yeah, they changed the bats, but it still doesn't fix the inside pitching issue where contact that would be pounded down with wood becomes flying bloops with metal.

I'll have to watch for that in the CWS... which won't include LSU because they didn't even make the tournament.

yeah, the days of the not-too-uncommon 20 run college baseball game is over...finally.

I hope Mark Kotsay in his first few big league years, because he's been hanging on for years with shitty production. Justin Bour, Junior Lake, Evan Crawford, Frank Batista and Aaron Kurcz fun fact: Junior Lake leads the FSL in stolen bases (19), and has four more than any other player. Lake has used the "delayed steal" to his advantage this season, as 15 of his 19 have been delayed. that should play well in the majors...

at least he has an arm for 3rd base, imo. that steals info is good stuff to know and bad stuff to realize unless he's sneaky fast as hell...which i dont believe he is. he's probably just confusing the middle infielders and/or catchers (not exactly hard on that level for the most part).

I don't think he hits like a 3rd basemen unfortunately...

I was wondering about that, he never impressed me as a burner. L Walker used to steal his 15 bases a year doing that, though.

As I understand it, in a delayed steal you're racing the infielders to the bag, not so much the catcher's throw. It's still a matter of speed. Also, the smarts involved in finding a technique that works for you should play well in the majors.

murton in japan...slow-ish start so far.

he's no craig brazell lol...japanese baseball. -edit- well, in 2011 brazell's having a slow start, too. so much for the guy most likely to return to the US out of the hitting bunch.

This is what this season has boiled down to: Looking at our former player's stats in Japan... [shakes head disgustedly]

ha... mlb network had clint hurdle on and they asked him about his "purple face video"...clint blamed it on a camera color being off and had no idea etc etc...the only problem is the video shows multiple angles and another white dude (ump) who has normal coloration. everyone knows hurdle likes the tanning booth (and hair highlights). also, "you guys know all these handshakes, but can't remember the signs." - hurdle joking around about the handshakes the PIT team does in the dugout.

Frank Pilliere tweets that Nats are zeroing in on Starling at #6 fwiw, also says F. Lindor dropping out of top 15.

his mock draft from yesterday The Cubs love George Springer in this spot, but most evaluators agree that it will be hard for them to pass on Bubba Starling. They’ve looked into Archie Bradley, and they have heavy interest in Mikie Mahtook as well. None of these players would be surprising but ultimately Starling will be too tough to pass.

Worst case is we don't sign him and have 2 picks in next years top 10.

And waste a season of development that a real draft pick could have had. I think the first round is not where teams should be drafting projects or players who aren't fully committed to baseball. If they're not fully committed to baseball, we shouldn't be fully committed to them. And, this best athlete stuff is nonsense. It doesn't work in the NFL or NBA, and it doesn't work in MLB. Baseball players win games, not guys who look good in a uniform.

Frankly, I'd rather the Cubs roll the dice on a possible star. As opposed to the reaching on 3-5th round talents they've done most of the last several draft.

Maybe I'll take a look at whether the top 10 or the 3-5th round gets more stars into the majors this weekend. It certainly would be interesting. Gut instinct tells me it's the latter, but when I think of the recent wave of new stars they were mostly top of the draft guys.

That would actually be pretty neat to see Neal! My opinion is that advanced metrics and better scouting and younger levels, helps expose who the blue chippers are.

Mayo's latest has the Cubs with Archie Bradley.

if they take a HS pitcher at #9, I offer to buy the pitchforks, whose got the torches?

It could be a HS catcher... I just don't want them taking a guy they have to teach to play (Starling) that high in the first round... they're going to have a better pick next year they can get a high upside kid who can actually hit.

You rarely get a chance at a player with such high upside...if Starling is there, I would grab him. While it is all just projection and hope of development, an outfield of Starling, Szcur and Jackson could be one of the best in many years.

at the cost of $6-8M and maybe he decides he really wants to play football?

The other problem with Starling is that if the Cubs get him, the $8 million bonus will preclude them from spending any money anywhere else in the draft. If I am spending $8 million on a ballplyer, personally, I want a guy who is going to play in the majors. I understand that we're not going to get a Dale Murphy or Jayson Heyward with that strategy, but we're also not going to get a Ryan Harvey or Earl Cunningham either.

I'm in with the torches.

I like Bradley. He touches 100 mph and doesn't walk anyone(133K/11BB).

I suppose that is why he said "by the end of NEXT season"

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  • crunch 6 hours 56 min ago (view)

    corey seager signed a deal for 32.5m a year and that means carlos correa is having a really great day.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 7 hours 31 min ago (view)

    Texas has a wildly expensive middle infield. They've also set the market really high for the remaining SS. And they did it single handedly.


  • crunch 8 hours 58 min ago (view)

    c.seager goes to TEX for 10/325.

    they've committed to spend 1/2 billion this week (marcus semien added, too).

    meanwhile, the cubs complained to the local paper about how their new multi-million dollar sports betting lounge isn't a casino and they sent out a "cyber monday" ad to offer the great deal of it costing nothing to get on the season tickets waiting list.

    it already is and will continue to be a hell of a 24 hours.  maybe the cubs will *shrug* i something worth talking about.


  • crunch 13 hours 5 min ago (view)

    BA released their top-10 cubs prospects list...

    1. Brennen Davis

    2. Cristian Hernandez

    3. Brailyn Marquez

    4. Pete Crow-Armstrong

    5. Jordan Wicks

    6. Kevin Alcantara

    7. Caleb Kilian

    8. Owen Caissie

    9. DJ Herz

    10. Yohendrick Pinango

    reggie preciado got robbed.


  • crunch 13 hours 32 min ago (view)

    m.scherzer mets 3/130m (wow)

    that's more than the entire payroll for PIT last season per year and only a bit less than what BAL, CLE, and MIA paid out.


  • crunch 13 hours 37 min ago (view)

    both are equally useful to a baseball team.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 14 hours 47 min ago (view)

    The violinist or the camera staring afficionado?


  • Hagsag 14 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Taylor Davis might be next.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 15 hours 7 min ago (view)

    STOP THE PRESSES! They signed someone. Some random lefty RP named Locke St.John.

    Sounds like a Bond villain.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 15 hours 8 min ago (view)

    That's a good way of looking at it. The race for the top draft pick is a pretty hardcore competition, too.


  • crunch 15 hours 48 min ago (view)

    hey, they're working hard as hell.

    just last week tom ricketts and other chicago sports team owners went out of their way to respond to a Tribune article calling sports betting lounges "casinos" by co-authoring a letter to the paper.

    DraftKings being happy seems to be the cubs #1 offseason priority.


  • Sonicwind75 16 hours 42 min ago (view)

    Just depends on what your definition of "being competitive" means.  Technically the Cubs (barring a strike) will be "competing" against other baseball teams and therefore will "be competitive".  


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 17 hours 2 min ago (view)

    Flurries of activity and Cubs crickets.

    BuT wE'rE tRyInG tO cOmPeTe!


  • Hagsag 20 hours 23 min ago (view)

    Hey, Jed didn't lie. He said this wasn't a rebuild.


  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    ...and that was fake.

    you can't even rely on a blue checkmark account anymore on twitter.  thanks world.

    okay, that was a real account (blue check) who retweeted someone they thought was real.  this is inception-level internet stupidity and the account he re-tweeted is now disabled.


  • crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    cubs weren't linked heavily, but m.semien is off the board to the rangers...7/175m

    trevor story seems to be the most cubs-linked middle IF'r, but i havent heard anything about story/cubs in weeks.