Archive - Dec 2018

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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


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)  
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)...  
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) 
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...