Cubs Pitchers Stretch Out at Fitch Park
Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Andy Sonnanstine, Trey McNutt, Lendy Castillo, Marcos Mateo, Trever Miller, and Rodrigo Lopez threw "live" BP at cool & blustery Fitch Park today, before a sparse crowd under partly cloudy skies.
Wells, T. Wood, Sonnanstine, McNutt, and Lopez threw 45 pitches each, while L. Castillo, Mateo, and Miller threw 30 pitches a piece.
This is somewhat of a change from past years, as the pitchers who are prepping as starters are throwing more pitches per outing earlier than before. I can't remember the last time I saw any pitcher throw 45 pitches in a pre-Cactus League "live" BP session at Fitch.
Lopez has (apparently) been tabbed to start the Cactus League opener versus the Oakland A's at HoHoKam Park on Sunday, and it appears he has a reasonable shot to win the 12th man slot (long reliever/spot starter/garbage man) on the pitching staff. Lopez isn't Cy Young, but he does have the proverbial "rubber" arm and doesn't really need a lot of extra side-work to stay stretched out enough to be able to give his team four passably-decent innings (five tops) when needed.
Best performance at the plate today in "live" BP was by Junior Lake, who hit a couple of balls off the outfield fence, and Josh Vitters peppered Rule 5 draft pick Lendy Castillo's offerings with line-drives back through the box. Otherwise, there were no dingers, as the pitchers appeared to be mostly ahead of the hitters.
1B Anthony Rizzo (acquired from the Padres during the off-season) took some extra ground balls at 1st base after BP. He is a hard worker and the coaches really seem to like him a lot.
Steve Clevenger, battling Welington Castillo and Jason Jaramillo for the back-up catcher job, had an extensive work-out at 3B with the "B" team on Field #2 prior to the "live" BP session. Clevenger played SS in college and was moved to 2B after signing with the Cubs in 2006, before being converted to catcher at Instructs post-2006. Clevenger still has work to do to make himself a major league backstop, but he has the knowledge and aptitude to play anywhere in the infield in a pinch. He's gotten a bit bottom-heavy over the years and he has little range, but having a left-hand hitting back-up catcher who can play other positions in an emergency is a definite plus.
Clevenger has a short stroke that allows him to hit "cold" off the bench without needing a lot of regular playing time to stay ready, and he also is an excellent bunter. He might not have been an Academic All-American (he transferred to Chipola JC after being declared academically ineligible at the U. of Texas), but he has a high "Baseball IQ" and probably will be a manager someday. He understands the fundamentals of the game very well. (The Cubs minor league coaches LOVE Clevenger).
With Geovany Soto unable to do much while rehabbing a groin injury, the Cubs have brought 2010 3rd round draft pick Micah Gibbs (LSU) down to Fitch Park from Minor League Mini-Camp at HoHoKam as a 6th catcher. (See kids? It pays to report early!). Gibbs is probably the best receiver in the organization (albeit with just an average arm), but he has struggled offensively over his first two seasons in pro ball. However, the switch-hitting Gibbs showed tremendous improvement (and an outstanding eye) at the plate at Instructs post-2011, and should be the #1 catcher at Daytona in 2012.
The new regime has demonstrated little patience with mistakes and poor play so far at Fitch Park. Several coaches have stopped work-outs mid-stream to provide a "teaching moment" when a player's performance is not up to par. The players all seem to be enthusiastic and loose, but there is zero tolerance for f*ck ups. And that's kind of refreshing.
Hagsag 22 hours 45 min ago (view)
Tommy Birch tweets that Taylor Davis has signed with the Orioles. Hate to see him go. I will never forget his GS against the Deadbirds.
crunch 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
cubs trade for travis lakins for a PTBNL or cash considerations from the rsox.
Charlie 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
I mean, the "overrated" criticism is always more about other people deserving of the honor being snubbed or put through more rigamarole. Jeter was definitely a great player for a long time. I just want people to remember that guys like Scott Rolen are not 60% less deserving, as the current voting system seems to indicate.
crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
speaking of the HOF...
schilling had a nice bump in his 8th eligable year going from 60.9% to 70.0%. he's probably gonna get in next year...and if not for his abrasive personality and questionable interests outside of baseball he would probably already be in. he's good enough to be there based on performance alone.
fellow 8th year guys bonds and clemens held steady, going up around 1% point to 60%-ish range. they may or may not get some love entering their 9th or 10th years.
crunch 2 days 10 hours ago (view)
m.ozuna signs with the braves 1/18m.
he was expected to sign for similar pay over a number of years. the cards must be "wtf?" about him walking away from the 17.8m qualifying offer, though. at least they get a draft pick out of it.
crunch 2 days 11 hours ago (view)
5x gold glove...and earned 0 of them.
whatever. hell of a hitter, and he played SS "good enough" to not embarass himself or the team.
but yeah, overrated even if he's a no-doubt 1st ballot hall of famer...which seems like an odd thing to say even if it's true (at least in the eyes of many).
Charlie 2 days 11 hours ago (view)
That's a significant boost for being the face of the Yankees. Expected, but in retrospect he wasn't that much better than plenty of people who didn't have full support for the hall (Santo comes to mind).
*Tries to start an "over-rated" chant.*
crunch 2 days 14 hours ago (view)
d.jeter and l.walker (10th and final year on ballot, 76.6%) are going to the HOF.
jeter got 99.75% of the vote...highest for a position player (griffey jr 99.32% 2016). m.rivera got 100% last year.
larry walker decided to dress up for his first post-election interview. class act.
crunch 2 days 17 hours ago (view)
nice. i love seeing the undrafted who still try to make a career get a shot.
it seems he's somewhat recently hit 97mph on his fastball which helped attract some interest.
good luck to the dude.
Arizona Phil 2 days 18 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have released eight players from their Dominican Academy: RHRP Donato Auguste, RHRP Marco Encarnacion, RHRP Rodrigo Garcia, RHRP Francisco Gracia, LHRP Anderson Parra, RHRP Willians Vasquez, 1B Jeinser Brete, and OF Kevin Miranda.
Arizona Phil 2 days 19 hours ago (view)
Rex Brothers has one minor league option left and Article XX-D status (so he can elect free-agency if outrighted) if he were to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2020.
Arizona Phil 2 days 19 hours ago (view)
RHSP Max Bain (contract acquired by Cubs from Utica Unicorns of USPBL last week) minor league UPC has not yet been filed with MLB.
Arizona Phil 2 days 19 hours ago (view)
The Josh Phegley, Bryan Brickhouse, Rex Brothers, Juan Gamez, and Caleb Simpson minor league contracts have been filed with MLB, but the Tyler Olson and Jason Adam contracts are still pending.
Arizona Phil 2 days 20 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have signed LHRP Rex Brothers (ex COL, ex-ATL), RHRP Bryan Brickhouse, RHRP Juan Gamez (pitched in Mexican League in 2019), and RHRP Caleb Simpson to minor l;eague contracts, and Brothers is the only one of the four likely receive an NRI to Cubs MLB Spring Training.
crunch 3 days 12 hours ago (view)
""There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of," Arenado said. "You can quote that." Arenado added, "You ask what I thought of Jeff’s quotes and I say I don’t care what people say around there. There is a lot of disrespect."
The third baseman didn't want to elaborate on what he felt was disrespectful, but clearing the relationship between Arenado and the front office needs to be repaired."
crunch 3 days 13 hours ago (view)
some good news...or bad news depending on how you feel about it...for the k.bryant trade market...
"Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich on Monday indicated that Nolan Arenado will not be dealt prior to spring training and trade talks involving the third baseman are off for now."
now MLB and crew need to decide whether bryant has an extra year of club control or not...still waiting...
rangers, braves, and nats are supposedly looking at 3rd base upgrades. cards are, too, but bryant to the cards would be a mutiny level trade decision.