The Kimbrel Kronicles
Here is what I saw this week from Craig Kimbrel's Spring Training in June at the Cubs Mesa facility:
He's wearing #24
26 pitches (14 strikes) in late afternoon (104 degrees) "live" BP/sim game on Field #1 at Riverview Baseball Complex
Seven batters faced
1. hard-contact ground ball down 1st base line on a 1-0 pitch (would have been a double or a triple)
2. hard contact fly ball (HR) to LF on 1-1 pitch
3. strike out swinging on 2-2 pitch
4. strike out looking on 2-2 pitch
5. walk on 3-2 pitch
6. hard-contact line-drive to left-center on 1-0 pitch (would have been a double)
7. soft contact grounder to SS on 1-2 pitch (would have been 6-4 FC or 6-4-3 DP if needed)
NOTE: Also two foul balls - one hard contact line-drive off 1st base side bench fence, the other lined straight back
COMMENT: Still has command issues and stuff was not as electric as in previous outing on Thursday
24 pitches (15 strikes) in late afternoon (108 degrees) "live" BP/sim game at Sloan Park (Cubs Spring Training stadium)
Five batters faced
1. hard contact line-drive to RF on 0-2 pitch (would have been a single)
2. strike out swinging on 2-2 pitch
3. strike out swinging on 3-2 pitch
4. strike out swinging on 2-2 pitch
5. soft-contact two-hopper to 1st base on 2-1 pitch (would have been a 3-U)
NOTE: There were also four foul balls popped into grandstands, two on 1st base side and two on 3rd base side.
COMMENT: Had difficulty commanding FB but velo in mid-90's and slider was sharp
44 pitches thrown in morning bullpen session (10:45 AM local).
COMMENT: He bounced slider a few times but went straight-through without stopping and looked pleased after he was done (smiled and shook hands with everybody who was there).
My favorite part of Kimbrel's two "live" BP outings was 35 or 40 of the Cubs AZL pitchers standing around watching him warm up in the bullpen before he took the field.
So my general opinion of Kimbrel's performance this week is that while he clearly has good FB velo and his slider has bite, he also has difficulty commanding his stuff and throwing strikes, and inexperienced AZL hitters were able to barrel-up his stuff and make hard contact a bit too often.
JustSayin' 3 days 8 hours ago (view)
I hear you but welcome to the world of Theo. The team is always a step or two away from the World Series in his mind, whether that is true or not. Therefore, the thing to do on the margin is to trade top prospects or younger guys on the roster for that missing puzzle piece, not build for the future. I had a front-row seat for this as a Red Sox fan. If Pedro Martinez doesn't insist the Red Sox sign David Ortiz for table scraps and Chris Bryant isn't the no-brainer second pick in the draft, we'd all be wondering what happened to that Theo guy who was in the Red S
Cubster 3 days 9 hours ago (view)
Shogo Akiyama is a lefty bat, career BA at.301 w/ Seibu Lions. Recent OBPs: .419, .385, .398, .403 and .392. HR 20-15 in last 3 seasons Stolen bases, 12 in 2019, 18 in best season (2016). Defense supposedly plus-plus, 7-10 assists (10 in 2016). Clearly a leadoff hitter.
crunch 4 days 2 hours ago (view)
christian yelich committed internet homicide on yu darvish...
Charlie 4 days 6 hours ago (view)
Little in the offseason could make me happier than the Cubs finding ways to retain the good MLB players who came up with them while remaining competitive. This Javy extension talk makes me much happier as a fan than the Bryant and Contreras trade talk.
crunch 4 days 6 hours ago (view)
"Javy Baez. The two-time All-Star shortstop and 2018 MVP runner-up already has begun negotiations on a potential long-term extension with the Cubs, according to sources."
also, some talk of being linked to shogo akiyama (CF, Japan, 32yo in April)
crunch 5 days 2 hours ago (view)
j.odorizzi accepted his qualifying offer (17.8m) from MIN...so did j.abreu (CWS)....everyone else is gonna play the FA market.
w.smith (SF) immediately signed with the braves for 3/39 (13m team option/1m buyout on the backend). braves lose a 2nd round pick...which they'll probably get back when someone signs j.donaldson.
crunch 6 days 2 hours ago (view)
it's not like i think he's something special, but if he had 5mph more on his stuff he'd probably be a top prospect in the system combined with his command/control. he's got highly repeatable junk and he's still young enough there might be a little more velocity to discover.
Arizona Phil 6 days 6 hours ago (view)
CRUNCH: As long as Carrera is placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20 he should be safe from selection, and I would say he is in fact close to a lock to be placed on the Iowa roster.
Presuming he is on the Iowa reserve list going into the Rule 5 Draft, I doubt very much that he would get selected in the Major League Phase because he hasn't pitched above Lo-A.
crunch 6 days 6 hours ago (view)
i'm low-key keeping an eye on faustino carrera if he's not protected...which he may not be protected.
he throws junk, but he throws it well, and with great control.
Arizona Phil 6 days 6 hours ago (view)
I've talked to Player Development people over the past many years about the Rule 5 Draft and how an organization goes about deciding whether to protect or not protect a player from selection.
STEP 1: How many of your Rule 5 Draft-eligible players are actually legit candidates to get selected in the Major League Phase?. Usually there a dozen or more who could conceivably/realisticaly get selected. You need to identify them and then carefully evaluate them.
EXAMPLES: See my lists above.
crunch 6 days 9 hours ago (view)
"There are no untouchables," Epstein said.
In truth, the Cubs boss has said the same every year, but it certainly sounds like he means it this time. "We're in the 'information collecting' stages of the process," one general manager put it on Tuesday.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 week 11 hours ago (view)
I think, in relation to the higher profile guys like Javy or Contreras, they're trying to put some pressure on to sign extensions.
That said I do think they're listening on everyone with the only name I haven't seen being Rizzo.
crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)
i wonder where the cubs will go with things.
there's a lot pointing to the cubs being expected to listen to offers on almost anyone. as it is, on paper, the cubs could roll right into 2020 with no changes whatsoever and still field a very competitive team. the whole "shakeup" thing seems to be a very hot topic from a variety of sources, though.
bryant, contreras, schwarber have all been linked to "cubs may be listening" rumors...probably listening to anything on happ, bote, almora, russell, too...
Hagsag 1 week 1 day ago (view)
Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!
crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)
"According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are "believed" to have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos."
by interest, i assume they mean they'd like to have some baseball rookie cards or his or maybe a hug from him. i can't imagine they actually want to spend money on someone they could use to make their team better because that makes no sense.
Arizona Phil 1 week 1 day ago (view)
Prior to joining the Cubs in 2012 Scott Harris was Director of Baseball Operations in the MLB office, which means he received, reviewed, and approved all major league and minor league contracts and transactions, as well as providing MLB clubs with schedules, rules updates, and draft information.