I’m not quite finished with Ron Rapoport’s new Ernie Banks bio (Let’s Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub; The Life of Ernie Banks), but since today’s an off-day I’ll offer a thumbnail review based on the first 300+ pages.
With just minutes left before the midnight (Eastern) deadline, the Cubs signed two more 2018-19 J-2 IFA, bringing the total number of 2018-19 J-2 IFA signed by the Cubs to 39, including 21 since the Cubs acquired $750K in ISBP space from the Baltimore Orioles this past April in return for allowing the Orioles to keep 2017 Rule 5 draft pick RHRP Pedro Araujo.
Here is what I saw this week from Craig Kimbrel's Spring Training in June at the Cubs Mesa facility:
2019 AZL Opening Day is this coming Monday (6/17).
Players selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft) are placed on a club's Negotiation List.
Just as the Cubs acclimate to the atmosphere at Coors, they skip off to Cally for a four-game set against the dangerous Dodgers. Having pitched a gem in the stopper role on Wednesday, Hamels will take his place in the cheering section for this one, and the rest of the rotation will get a chance to show their stuff. Good news for them is that the first three of the series will be night games, which may help them keep the ball in the yard. Quintana will have to work his way through the Sunday afternoon game. The bad news for everyone is that the Dodgers feature the most productive offense without a DH (ahead of the Cubs, who are now second in the NL in wRC+). On the other side of the ball, the LA squad may have the best defense in all of baseball, and their pitching is near the top in the NL. With the Dodgers (45-23) leading the NL in wins, any match with them will look like a post-season preview, as long as the other team is contending. The Cubs (38-29) come into the series 0.5 behind Milwaukee.
Matchups after the break.
SS Luis Vazquez has been moved-down to Eugene from AAA Iowa and C Marcus Mastrobuoni has been reinstated from the South Bend 7-day IL and so his rehab assignment at Eugene has been canceled.
C-1B Danny Zardon has been moved up to Eugene from AZL Cubs #1, and SS Luis Verdugo has been moved down to AZL Cubs #2 from Eugene.
6/9 ORIGINAL POST 6/9:
The Northwest League begins play this coming Friday (6/14).
Here is the provisional 2019 Eugene Emeralds Opening Day roster (subject to change).
In most cases 2019 draft picks will be initially assigned to one of the Cubs two AZL squads.
CHC (37-29): LHP Cole Hamels (5-2, 3.24 ERA)
COL (35-31): RHP Antonio Senzatela (5-4, 4.95 ERA)
First pitch 2:10pmCDT
Cole Hamels and the altitude-sick Cubs will try to salvage a game from this trash-fire series before they have to take on the NL best Dodgers in LA. Hamels was fantastic against the Cards last time, going eight shutout innings and collecting 10 strikeouts to three hits and a walk. It was his best start of the season so far, and a continuation of his being one of the best things to happen to the Cubs in the last year. He's made six career starts in Coors and has fared OK there, holing opponents to a .310 OBP. He's held current Rockies to a .710 OPS in in 165 at bats, but some key players (Dahl, Story) have never faced him.
CHC (37-28): LHP José Quintana (4-5, 3.77 ERA)
COL (34-31): RHP Peter Lambert (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
First pitch 7:40pmCDT
The Cubs couldn't defend a four-run lead, nor were they able to assemble a comeback late in the series opener. Now José Quintana takes the hill and the Cubs work to even the series. Q lost to the Rockies at Wrigley last time. He surrendered six hits and no walks in 7.1 innings. Most of the damage resulted from a pair of doubles in the 4th. Q allowed three earned runs in that outing. He's pitched three games at Coors, and his opponents have gone 18-69 with four homeruns and five doubles, accumulating an OPS of .847. Charlie Blackmon is 4-6 against him, Trevor Story is 4-8, and Arenado is 2-12, but both hits were homeruns.