Archive - May 2007
Luis Aparicio. Dave Concepcion. Manny Trillo. Ozzie Guillen. Magglio Ordonez. Bobby Abreu. Omar Vizquel. Carlos Zambrano. Miguel Cabrera. Ramon Hernandez. Johan Santana. Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez. Victor Martinez. Melvin Mora. Felix Hernandez. Jose Lopez. Just a few of the many past and present MLB stars from Venezuela. On Opening Day 2007, there were 51 players from Venezuela on MLB 25-man rosters, with many more Venezuelans playing in the minor leagues. Since 1999, the number of Venezuelans playing in MLB has doubled. Last July, the Cubs gave 16-year old Venezuelan RHP Larry Suarez (currently at EXST at Fitch Park) a reported $850K signing bonus (an amount equivalent to "2nd round money").
...not in the "we have too much of a good thing kind of way", but more of the "wow this is embarrassing with how much this roster cost the Cubs." And as Mark DeRosa stated yesterday, "There's no good reason for this to be going on." A team built to hit home runs is currently 9th in the NL in runs scored because well, they're 9th in the NL in home runs hit (among some other reasons). Derrek Lee is on pace to hit 14 home runs this year as is Alfonso Soriano. Cliff Floyd won't even hit double digits at this point (8), and Jacque Jones and Matt Murton are in Juan Pierre territory at the moment. I'd love to believe that better times are to come, we still have the best run differential in the Central at +11 and the likelihood of all those players setting what would be essentially career lows for home runs in one season (when you consider playing time) is rather unlikely. This being the Cubs though, the unlikely and improbable in their most negative connotations has become standard operating procedure, so the best I could muster up is some sabermetric optimism after the jump.
The EXST Cubs (Boise/Mesa) rallied with four runs in the bottom of the 8th to defeat the EXST Angels 6-4 at Mesa's Fitch Park Field #3 this morning, in a game that featured the second rehab start for RHP Juan Mateo. Mateo, who has been on the Cubs 15-day DL with a sore shoulder since ST, increased his innings to three and his pitch count to 40+, as he threw 41 pitches (29 strikes, 4/2 GB/FB), with his fastball topping out at 92 MPH. He allowed three hits (one HR) and one run, but no walks, with three strikeouts, in his three innings of work. As long as he does not having any significant negative physical symptoms in the aftermath of today's game, Mateo looks fit and ready to leave Mesa and continue his rehab (gradually increasing his pitch count) at Daytona or Tennessee, with a return to the Iowa starting rotation probably by no later than mid-June, possibly even earlier.
Conclude what you will... NL hitters with more home runs than Derrek Lee (incomplete list): Tony Clark Scott Thorman Joe Borchard Ronny Paulino NL hitters with more RBI than Alfonso Soriano (incomplete list): Rich Aurilia Joe Borchard Chris Duffy Ryan Theriot NL hitters seeing more Pitches per Plate Appearance than Mark DeRosa: Todd Helton Adam Dunn Albert Pujols NL hitters with a higher batter average with RISP than Derrek Lee: (None)