Archive - 2018

December 28th

Old Ballplayers Never Die

Jackson (Red) Hollis passed away last fall. Cancer finally got him out at the age of 90. He was a fixture at Principal Park, home of the Iowa Cubs, where he preached the gospel of baseball for even more seasons than he played the game professionally.

I wrote an homage to him last summer for our local paper near the end of the minor league season that sketches an outline of who he was and why he is missed.

December 27th

December 24th

December 13th

Cubs May Try a Little Non-Tenderness

12/13 UPDATE

The Cubs have acquired 26-year old 6'4 220 LHRP from the Los Angeles Angels as the PTBNL in last month's Tommy LaStella trade. Lillis-White was "frozen" on the AAA Salt Lake reserve list (he is from Canada, so he can probably handle the cold OK) until the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, so the Cubs and Angels had to wait until the draft was over (and hope that he wasn't selected by another MLB club) before they could complete the deal. 

The Angels 2015 32nd round draft pick out of the University of British Columbia in Canada, Lillis-White had a good 2018 season split between the AA Arkansas and AAA Salt Lake bullpens, putting up a 3.50 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP, and 32/98 BB/K in 46 games (72 IP). Besides racking up a ton of strikeouts, CLW also is a ground ball pitcher who doesn't surrender many HR. 

Lillis-White projects to be in the AAA Iowa bullpen on 2019 Opening Day, and he could possibly get an NRI to Spring Training with the MLB club.  

December 12th

Cubs Finalize AAA and AA Rosters for 2018 Rule 5 Draft

12/13 UPDATE


PLAYERS SELECTED BY CUBS IN MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE:
NONE
 
CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS SELECTED IN MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE
NONE 

PLAYERS SELECTED BY CUBS IN AAA PHASE:
1. , LHP (selected by Cubs for AAA Iowa from Kansas City Royals AA Northwest Arkansas affiliate) 
2. , C (selected by Cubs for AAA Iowa from Pittsburgh Pirates AA Altoona affiliate) 
3. ,  RHP (selected by Cubs for AAA Iowa from New York Yankees Lo-A Charleston affiliate)  
NOTES:
Luis Lugo was signed as a 17-year old IFA by CLE in 2011 and gradually worked his way up through the Tribe system as a SP, before becoming a minor league 6YFA post-2017 after reaching AA in his seventh minor league season... he signed a 2018 minor league contract with BAL but was released at the end of Spring Training... he pitched in Italy for a couple of months before being acquired by KC in July... He was assigned to AA by the Royals where he worked as a SP/RP "swingman", and then he signed a 2019 minor league successor contract with KC post-2018... The 24-year old 6'5 hurler has been one of the top lefty relievers in Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional (the Venezuelan winter league) post-2018, putting up a 0.79 ERA and 0.79 WHIP with a .153 OppBA and 7/15 BB/K in 14 games (22.2 IP) for Lara... He will likely begin the 2019 season in the AA Tennessee bullpen...   
Rafelin Lorenzo was signed by TB ($250K bonus) as a 16-year old IFA on the first day of the 2013-14 International Signing Period (ISP)... an outstanding defensive catcher with a plus arm and HR power, the 21-year old backstop was selected by the Pirates in the AAA Phase of last year's Rule 5 Draft, and split the 2018 season between the GCL Pirates and Lo-A West Virginia, hitting a combined 307/319/474 in 33 minor league games... he projects to be a back-up catcher at either Myrtle Beach or at South Bend in 2019... 
Alexander Vargas was signed by NYY as a 16-year old IFA on the first day of the 2014-15 ISP after the contract Vargas signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2013 was voided by MLB due to a rules violation... Now 21, Vargas has progressed steadily through the loaded NYY system as a SP/RP "swingman," finally reaching AA (albeit just two appearances) this past August... He will likely begin the 2019 season at either AA Tennessee or at Hi-A Myrtle Beach, depending on where he would best fit (TBD)...  
 
CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS SELECTED IN AAA PHASE:
1., RHP (selected by New York Mets for AAA Syracuse affiliate from AA Tennessee)
2. , LHP (selected by Cleveland Indians for AAA Columbus affiliate from AA Tennessee) 
NOTES:
David Garner was the Cubs 7th round pick in the 2012 draft out of Michigan State where he was the Spartans closer... he features a mid-90's FB and a plus CV and pitched well enough out of the bullpen in 2017 (first at AA Tennessee, then at AAA Iowa, and finally with the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League) that he was projected as a possible MLB bullpen call-up in 2018 and so he received an 2018 NRI to Spring Training with the big club... however, he missed the 2018 season after being suspended by MLB twice (once in March, and the again in June) after testing positive for a "Drug of Abuse" (which usually means marijuana), so his his future in pro baseball is a bit cloudy right now (hopefully not up in smoke!)... If he is able to avoid further suspensions, Garner could conceivably be in the Mets MLB bullpen at some point in 2019...   
Yapson Gomez is a 24 year old rubber-armed little lefty (he's only 5'10)... he was signed by the Cubs out of Venezuela as a 19-year old IFA in 2013 and spent three seasons (2013-15) as a SP/RP "swingman" for the VSL Cubs... he was moved-up to the AZL late in the 2015 season and stayed there in 2016... he was at Extended Spring Training in both 2016 and 2017 (and he pitched well there) before splitting the latter part of the 2017 minor league season between Eugene and South Bend... he returned to South Bend at the start of the 2018 season, before being moved-up to Hi-A Myrtle Beach in August... he features a low 90's FB with sink, a solid CV, and a solid CH, and he uses the pitch-mix to gets lots of ground ball outs... he was assigned to the Iowa reserve list prior to the Rule 5 Draft last year so the Cubs apparently were not as enamored with him this time around as they were this time last year, possibly because of his age and/or because he is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2019...      

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11/21 ORIGINAL POST 

November 26th

Cubs Preparing for The Big Freeze

11/26 UPDATE

The White Sox have claimed LHP  off waivers from the Cubs.

The Cubs claimed Clarkin off waivers from the Sox last Tuesday, and obviously the Cubs thought they could get him through waivers if they put him on waivers again right after claiming him.

The Sox apparently believed they could get Clarkin through waivers last week, but regretted losing him after he was claimed. So now they get him back.  

So the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 38 (two slots are open). 

November 20th

Cubs 2018 Off-Season Roster Prep

11/20 UPDATE:

LHRP (declared an MLB Rule 55 Minor League 6YFA on 11/3) has signed a 2019 minor league contract with the Cubs and was assigned to AAA Iowa, and so he will be one of 74 Cubs minor leaguers who are (at present) eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft on December 13th. The Cubs signed Baldonado as a minor league free-agent last off-season after he completed his seventh minor league season with the New York Mets. The Mets originally signed Baldonado as a 17-year old J-2 IFA out of Panama in 2010, and while he has racked-up some impressive K-totals numbers in his minor league career, he also struggles to throw strikes. Still, the 6'4 250 hefty-lefty can be over-powering at times, and the Cubs no doubt hope he will discover consistent command one of these days (he's still only 25). Baldonado is the 4th Cubs post-2018 minor league free-agent to re-sign with the Cubs.  

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11/13 UPDATE


RHP  (declared an MLB Rule 55 Minor League 6YFA on 11/3) has signed a 2019 minor league contract with the Cubs and was assigned to AAA Iowa, and so he will now be one of 72 Cubs minor leaguers who are (at present) eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft on December 13th (see list of Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in 2018 Rule 5 Draft below). Born in New York City but signed by the Cubs as a 17-year old "J-2" IFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, Rosario is the uncle of ex-Cubs (now DET) 3B Jeimer Candelario. Now 28, Rosario missed the 2018 season with a right arm injury, and so he will be able to continue his rehab at the Cubs UAPC in Mesa in 2019. Rosario has spent his entire pro career with the Cubs, and in fact he has (somewhat amazingly) been a member of the Cubs organization for 11 seasons (2008-2018). He was considered enough of a prospect that he was added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster after the 2016 World Series to keep him from walking away as a minor league 6YFA at that time, and he was on the 40 as recently as September 2017, before being released on 9/1 and then signing a 2018 minor league contract with the Cubs two weeks later.   

OF  (declared an MLB Rule 55 Minor League 6YFA on 11/3) has signed a 2019 minor league contract with the Cubs and was assigned to AAA Iowa, and so he will now be one of 73 Cubs minor leaguers who are (at present) eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft on December 13th (see list of Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in 2018 Rule 5 Draft below). The 28-year old Bernard (ex-DET) was signed as a minor league 6YFA last off-season and hit 242/293/349 in 98 games between AAA Iowa and AA Tennessee in 2018, and was competing with Iowa CF Jacob Hannemann for the Cubs September "5th-OF/PR" gig before the Cubs acquired Terrance Gore from KC in August. While Gore may very well be - THE - fastest player in the upper levels of affiliated ball, Bernard is one of the fastest, and he will compete for the Iowa 4th OF job in Spring Training with the possibility that he could get a September call-up (presuming Terrance Gore does not re-sign with the Cubs). 

 

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11/6 UPDATE


RHP  (declared an MLB Rule 55 Minor League 6YFA last Friday) has signed a 2019 minor league contract with the Cubs and was assigned to AAA Iowa, and so he will now be one of 71 Cubs minor leaguers who are (at present) eligible for selection in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft on December 13th (see list of Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in 2018 Rule 5 Draft below). The 27-year old Black was originally drafted and signed by the New York Yankees in 2012 (4th round pick - Faulkner U.) and was traded to the Cubs in July 2013 in exchange for OF Alfonso Soriano. He is rehabbing from August 2018 right elbow surgery that followed February 2017 TJS, so now he will be able to continue his off-season rehab uninterrupted at the Cubs UAPC in Mesa.   

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11/3 ORIGINAL POST

Now that six Cubs major leaguers (RHP , LHP , LHP , INF , C , and LHP ) and , the Cubs will need to focus on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) as it pertains to signing free-agents and acquiring players via trade or waiver claim, and protecting players from possible selection in the MLB Rule 5 Draft. 

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