Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus one player is on the 60-DAY IL 

26 players on MLB RESERVE LIST are ACTIVE, nine players are on OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT to minors, three players are on the 15-DAY IL, and two players are on the 10-DAY IL

Last updated 4-15-2024
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 13
Yency Almonte
Adbert Alzolay 
Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Kyle Hendricks
* Shota Imanaga
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Hector Neris 
Daniel Palencia
* Drew Smyly
Keegan Thompson
* Jordan Wicks

CATCHERS: 2
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

INFIELDERS: 7
* Michael Busch 
Garrett Cooper
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson

OUTFIELDERS: 4
* Cody Bellinger 
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman 

OPTIONED: 9 
Kevin Alcantara, OF 
Michael Arias, P 
Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF 
Jose Cuas, P 
Brennen Davis, OF 
Porter Hodge, P 
* Matt Mervis, 1B 
Luis Vazquez, INF 
Hayden Wesneski, P 

10-DAY IL: 2 
Seiya Suzuki, OF
Patrick Wisdom, INF 

15-DAY IL: 3
Julian Merryweather, P
* Justin Steele, P  
Jameson Taillon, P 

60-DAY IL: 1 
Caleb Kilian, P 
 





Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

2024 Cubs Spring Training

3/25 UPDATE

The Cubs have optioned RHP Hayden Wesneski and OF Alexander Canario to AAA Iowa, C Joe Hudson has been assigned to Minor League Camp, and C Jorge Alfaro has elected free-agency (he had a contractual opt-out).  

So there are now 30 players ACTIVE at Cubs MLB Spring Training (28 on MLB Reserve List and two NRI). 


3/24 UPDATE

RHP Carl Edwards Jr and 1B Dominic Smith have elected free-agency (Edwards had an automatic Article XX-B opt-out, and D. Smith had a contractual opt-out). 


3/22 UPDATE

The Cubs have assigned LHP Edwin Escobar to Minor League Camp. 

So there are now 36 players ACTIVE at Cubs MLB Spring Training (30 on MLB Reserve List and 6 NRI). 


3/21 UPDATE

The Cubs have optioned RHP Daniel Palencia to AAA Iowa. 

Also, RHP Colten Brewer, LHP Richard Lovelady, LHP Thomas Pannone, and INF David Bote have been assigned to Minor League Camp.  

So there are now 37 players ACTIVE at Cubs MLB Spring Training (30 on MLB Reserve List and 7 NRI). 


3/17 UPDATE:

The Cubs have optioned RHP Keegan Thompson and 1B Matt Mervis to AAA Iowa. 

Also, RHP Cam Sanders, C-INF Bryce Windham, and INF Chase Strumpf have been assigned to Minor League Camp. 
 
So there are now 42 players ACTIVE at Cubs MLB Spring Training (31 on MLB Reserve List and 11 NRI). 


3/9 UPDATE

RHP Chris Clarke, RHP Sam McWilliams, and LHP Brad Wieck have been assigned to Minor League Camp.

So there are now 47 players ACTIVE at Cubs MLB Spring Training (33 on MLB Reserve List and 14 NRI). 


3/8 UPDATE

The Cubs have optioned RHP Ben Brown, OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF Brennen Davis, and INF Luis Vazquez to AAA Iowa, and OF Kevin Alcantara, RHP Michael Arias, and RHP Porter Hodge to AA Tennessee.  

Also, NRI RHP Ethan Roberts, RHP Riley Thompson, C Pablo Aliendo, 1B-C Haydn McGeary, INF Matt Shaw, and OF Owen Caissie have been assigned to Minor League Camp. 
 
So there are now 50 players ACTIVE at Cubs MLB SPRING TRAINING (33 on MLB Reserve List and 17 NRI)


3/1 UPDATE:

The Cubs have added 1B-OF Garrett Cooper (# 41) to their MLB Spring Training roster as a Non-Roster Invitee (NRI). 


2/27 UPDATE:

The Cubs have signed free agent OF-1B Cody Bellinger (# 24) to an MLB contract, and the Cubs have traded LHP Bailey Horn (# 92) to the Chicago White Sox. Also, the Cubs have added OF David Peralta (# 6)  and 1B-OF Dominic Smith (# 12) to their MLB Spring Training roster as Non-Roster Invitees (NRI).


2/23 UPDATE:

The Cubs have added minor league C-1B Haydn McGeary (# 70) as an NRI to MLB Spring Training. He is catching "live" BP and bullpen sides.

Also, Miguel Amaya has switched from # 6 to # 9 (presumably so that David Peralta can wear # 6) and Carl Edwards Jr has switched from # 79 to # 58.


2024 CUBS SPRING TRAINING ROSTER: (last updated 3/25)

30 players

28 players on MLB roster
two players are Non-Roster Invitee - NRI

* bats or throws left
# bats both

MLB ROSTER PITCHERS: 15
25 Yency Almonte
73 Adbert Alzolay
72 Javier Assad
74 Jose Cuas
28 Kyle Hendricks
18 Shoto Imanaga *
45 Caleb Kilian
38 Mark Leiter Jr
43 Luke Little *
66 Julian Merryweather
51 Hector Neris
11 Drew Smyly *
35 Justin Steele *
50 James Taillon
36 Jordan Wicks *

MLB CATCHERS: 2
9 Miguel Amaya
15 Yan Gomes

MLB INFIELDERS: 7
29 Michael Busch *
2 Nico Hoerner
1 Nick Madrigal
20 Miles Mastrobuoni *
5 Christopher Morel
7 Dansby Swanson
16 Patrick Wisdom

NON-ROSTER INFIELDERS: 1
41 Garrett Cooper

MLB OUTFIELDERS: 4
24 Cody Bellinger *
8 Ian Happ #
27 Seiya Suzuki
40 Mike Tauchman * 

NON-ROSTER OUTFIELDERS: 1
6 David Peralta * 

MANAGER 
30 Craig Counsell

COACHES
96 James Adduci (Assistant Hitting Coach - Game Planning)
63 Juan Cabreja (Assistant Hitting Coach - BP Coordinator)
84 Ryan Flaherty (Bench Coach)
33 Willie Harris (3rd base coach)
79 Darren Holmes (Bullpen Coach)
68 Tommy Hottovy (Pitching Coach)
99 Danny Hultzen (Pitching Strategist)
76 Dustin Kelly (Hitting Coach)
80 John Mallee (Assistant Hitting Coach)
90 Jonathan Mota (Assistant Bullpen Coach)
53 Daniel Moskos (Assistant Pitching Coach)
55 Mike Napoli (1st Base Coach)
97 Alex Smith (Data Development & Process Coach)
81 Mark Strittmatter (MLB Field Coordinator)

OTHER:
85 Garrett Lloyd (Bullpen Catcher)

NUMBERS NOT CURRENTLY ISSUED: (as of 2/29)
3 (last worn by David Ross)
17 (last worn by Kris Bryant)
34 (last worn by John Lester)
37 (last worn by Dom Nunez - ST 2023)
44 (last worn by Anthony Rizzo)
47 (last worn by Brandon Hughes)
56 (last worn by Jeremiah Estrada)
59 (last worn by Michael Rucker)
60 (last worn by Sergio Alcantara - ST 2023)
61 (last worn by Brailyn Marquez - ST 2023)
64 (last worn by Jordan Holloway - ST 2023)
65 (last worn by Tyler Duffey)
69 (Cubs do not issue this number)
92 (last worn by Bailey Horn prior to being traded on 2/27)


RETIRED NUMBERS:
10 Ron Santo
14 Ernie Banks
23 Ryne Sandberg
26 Billy Williams
31 Ferguson Jenkins & Greg Maddux
42 Jackie Robinson

Comments

these uniforms are hot garbage.  everything Fanatics touches turns to...well, hot garbage.

PCA has blue hair...with a buzz cut...odd combo.  he's 2 dozen face tattoos away from being a mumble rapper.

"is there anything new on cody bellinger since we started the interview?" - boog

"sorry, i think we're going into a (commercial) break." - carter hawkins

...and laughs

Most of you have probably seen the game, but for anyone who might have missed it here are the Cubs pitcher reports from Friday's Cubs - White Sox game at Sloan Park... 

JORDAN WICKS
FB: 91-93 
CT: 88-90 
SL: 80-81 
CH: 78-83 
COMMENT: Threw 1.2 IP (40 pitches - 23 strikes - six swing & miss) and mixed-up his pitches well... FB velo went down a tick in his second inning of work... looked a bit fatigued in second inning... allowed two hits and no walks and struck out one... gave up an oppo-field line drive solo HR to a AA RH hitter on a 92 MPH FB... should have easily finished off second inning but made careless error on weak tap in front of mound on his 24th pitch of the inning with catcher running and then made another error trying to grip the ball to make a throw to 1st (only one error was charged of course)... he just looked gassed as he walked off the field...  

HUNTER BIGGE
FB: 95-98 
CH: 87-88 
SL: 81 
COMMENT: Faced one batter (strikeout looking) to finish second inning... 8 pitches (5 strikes - no swing & miss)... showed high velo FB but couldn't command secondaries... has had shoulder issues off & on in minors... throws with infielder-type short-arm motion "out of his ear" (he was a two-way player -- 3B/RHP -- in college)...
   
CALEB KILIAN:
FB: 96-99
CH: 84-86
SL: 81-82 
COMMENT: Threw two very efficient innings... dominant outing... needed only 24 pitches (16 strikes - six swing & miss)... 6 up / 6 down (K-swing on 98 FB, 4-3 GO on 98 FB, 5-3 GO on SL, 6-3 GO on 97 FB,  K-swing on 99 FB, and F-8 on SL)... held high FB velo in both innings (he was consistently sitting on 98 in both innings and he hit 99 once in each inning) and looked like he could have gone longer...  

RICHARD LOVELADY
FB: 89-92
SL: 81-84 
COMMENT: Your run of the mill generic FB/SL lefty reliever... had an easy 13-pitch (8 strikes) 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts (both swinging) on low 90's FB and a weak pop fly to CF...  

JOSE CUAS
FB: 92-94 
SL: 81-83 
COMMENT: Threw a scoreless inning (20 pitches - 15 strikes - four swing & miss, two on FB and two on SL)... although he did strike out two -- both swinging -- and threw 75% strikes, he had some difficulty putting hitters away (eight foul balls among his 20 pitches)... allowed an infield single that probably would have been a 6-3 GO if an MLB player was playing SS (Jefferson Rojas did not play the ball aggressively and he was a half-step too late with his "casual" throw to 1st base)... 

THOMAS PANNONE
FB: 84-85 
CH: 82 
CV: 70-73 
COMMENT: Soft-tossing lefty who throws a LOT of mid-80's cutters and a very slow CV... 13-pitch (10 strike) 1-2-3 inning with one K (looking) on a cutter... got three swing & miss, all on cutters...  

BAILEY HORN
FB: 92-95 
SL: 85 
CV: 78-79 
COMMENT: Threw an 11-pitch (8 strikes - two swing & miss) 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts (both looking)... broke three bats and induced some weak contact foul balls and a pathetic "mushy" pop fly(?) infield out that wasn't exactly a line drive and wasn't exactly a pop up either...    

PORTER HODGE
FB: 94-95 
CT: 90-92 
SL: 82-85 
COMMENT: Threw a 21-pitch scoreless inning to finish off the game... surrendered a walk and a single but also induced a game-ending 6-4-3 DP... one strikeout (swinging) and that was his only swing & miss... he looked a bit uncomfortable on the mound (he seemed kind of hyper while warming up in the pen, too) and had major command issues with FB (threw only 8 strikes out of his 17 FB and went to ball three count on three of the four hitters he faced)... he would appear to be nowhere near ready for MLB and maybe not ready for AAA (yet) either...  

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the pitcher reports from Sunday's Padres - Cubs game at Sloan Park if anyone is interested: 

JAVIER ASSAD
FB: 91-94
CT: 87-90
SL: 79-81
COMMENT: Allowed three runs (two ER), surrendered three hits (two doubles and a single), and walked two in 1.1 IP (39 pitches - 24 strikes)... recorded no strikeouts... four swing & miss (two on FB and two on CT)... too much hard contact... really labored (slogged) in his second inning of work especially and was relieved after a one-out two-run bases-loaded single... 

BLAKE WHITNEY:
FB: 91-93 
SL: 83-85
COMMENT: Relieved Assad with one out in top of the second and runners on 1st & 2nd and retired both of the batters he faced (L-7 and K-looking) on eight pitches... two swing & miss (both on SL)... has a mediocre FB so he relies heavily on the SL...  
 
DANIEL PALENCIA
FB: 95-97 - T-99 
CH: 89
COMMENT: 1-2-3 nine-pitch inning (L-5, 4-3, 4-1) although he was behind on the count against every hitter he faced and threw only four strikes... threw eight FB (no swing & miss)... was helped by a spectacular diving catch by Christopher Morel at 3rd base on a frozen rope headed toward LF to retire the inning's lead-off hitter...  

EDWIN ESCOBAR
FB: 93-94 
SL/CT: 84-86 
CV: 81-83
COMMENT: Surrendered a screaming line-drive HR pulled over LF fence to lead-off batter (RH-hitting Jose Azocar) on his third pitch of the inning (94 MPH FB), then retired the next two hitters (a 5-3 GO and a seven-pitch K-swinging on SL), then walked two and was relieved after throwing 24 pitches (only 11 strikes - two swing & miss)... FB has decent velo but it is very straight & hittable... the two batters that he walked were both LH-hitters... he obviously struggles to throw strikes and so he would probably have difficulty pitching out of an MLB pen...    

JOSE ROMERO
FB: 93-94 
CH: 81 
COMMENT: Came into game with two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd and immediately threw a WP, and then retired the one batter he faced on a 6-3 GO on his fifth pitch after starting the AB by throwing three consecutive balls... no swing & miss... 

CAM SANDERS
FB: 97-98
SL/CT: 88-90 
CV: 80-83
COMMENT: Mixed high-octane FB with secondaries... worked fast and retired the side 1-2-3 on nine pitches (K-swinging, 6-3, K-looking)... threw eight strikes and only one ball... If he can throw strikes while maintaining velo like he did today he could be a high-leverage MLB RP...

CHRIS CLARKE
FB: 91-93 
SL: 82-84 
CH: 81 
COMMENT: Nibbled his way through the inning... needed 27 pitches (18 strikes) to retire the side... five foul balls and only one swing & miss... allowed two runs (both unearned thanks to a Moises Ballesteros boot at 1st base to start the inning) on three hits (all singles)... no walks & no strikeouts... he is a "pitch-to-contact" type and he fits the profile of a pitcher with the ceiling of a AAA 5th starter... can't see him being of any use working out of the pen... 

FRANKIE SCALZO JR
FB: 95-96 
SL/CT: 89 
CH: 83
CV: 78-81 
COMMENT: Threw a shutout inning although he did allow a hard-hit two-out double... needed 21 pitches (13 strikes - only one swing & miss and six foul balls) to retire the side... has the pitch repertoire of a multi-inning "bulk" guy... 

RILEY MARTIN
FB: 93-94
SL: 81-84 
COMMENT: Threw a shutout inning (13 pitches - only seven strikes - no swing & miss).. allowed a hard-hit two-out double... alternated FB/SL...  

CAYNE UECKERT
FB: 94-97 
SL: 83-85 
COMMENT: Worked one inning and allowed a run on back-to-back two-out doubles (one smoked into the CF-RF gap and the other looped into short RF)... threw 12 pitches (11 strikes - two swing & miss)...
 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the pitchers reports from Monday's Reds - Cubs game at Sloan Park: 

KYLE HENDRICKS
FB: 86-88
CH: 81 
CV: 72-74 
COMMENT:  Threw two innings (29 pitches - 20 strikes - five foul balls - two swing & miss, one on a CV and the other on a CH)... allowed one run on one hit (a legit triple by a LH-hitter on a CH), a walk on a 3-2 pitch, and an HBP, struck out one (swinging on an 81 MPH CH), and 1/4 GO/AO... this is Hendricks circa 2024, meaning a fly ball pitcher who keeps hitters off balance (most of the time) with a nice mix of pitches, all of which he can throw for strikes... it was fun watching him warm up in the pen with about a dozen of the young pitchers standing behind him watching each pitch with great interest...  

ADBERT ALZOLAY
FB: 95-96
CT: 89-91 
SL: 86-87 
COMMENT: A nine-pitch (seven strikes / two balls - two swing & miss) 1-2-3 inning (a 4-3 GO, a K-swinging on a SL, and an F-7)... 

JULIAN MERRYWEATHER
FB: 96-97
SL: 85 
COMMENT: A seven-pitch (six strikes - no swing & miss) "pitch to weak contact" 1-2-3 inning (F-7, 4-3, F-7)...  

CARL EDWARDS JR
FB: 89-92 
CV: 77 
COMMENT: A six-pitch (four strikes - no swing & miss) 1-2-3 inning (P-3, L-9, L-8)... despite the 1-2-3 inning, Reds hitters squared up his FB pretty good...   

JOSE CUAS
FB: 92-94 
SL: 83 
COMMENT: 1-2-3 inning (L-6, K-looking, and a K-swinging)... threw 12 pitches (eight strikes - two swinging - three foul balls)... Cuas was really "on" today... some of the swings against him were really ugly / funny...  

MARK LEITER JR
FB: 88-90 
SPLIT: 82-84
SL: 77-79 
CV: 72 
COMMENT: Threw one inning (23 pitches - 12 strikes - four foul balls - two swing & miss) and allowed two runs on two hits (a single and a double, both by LH-hitters) one walk (also a LH-hitter), and a WP, and he struck out one (a RH-hitter swinging on a SL-sweep)... he is either working on his other pitches or he just doesn't want to throw the splitter (he threw only two, and both were out of the strike zone and did not induce a swing)... FB was hit very hard, even the two outs were hammered... no evidence whatsoever of the Leiter "reverse splits" that got him a "pseudo-lefty" pen job this time last year, so maybe the Cubs will need an actual lefty (or two) in the pen this year... 

SAM McWILLIAMS
FB: 95-97 
SL/CT: 87-90 
CH: 85 
COMMENT: Threw one inning (20 pitches - 12 strikes - three foul balls - one swing & miss) and allowed two runs on three hits (two doubles and a single) and one four-pitch walk, and struck out one (swinging on a CT)... FB has good velo but he got no swing & miss with it, and secondaries got whacked... 

BLAKE WEIMAN
FB: 90-91 
CH: 86 
SL: 78-79 
COMMENT: Threw a scoreless inning (10 pitches - six strikes - one swing & miss)... surrendered a lead-off single and then a 6-4-3 DP erased the runner, final out was a K-swinging on a SL-sweeper on a 2-2 pitch...  

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the pitcher reports from Thursday's Rockies - Cubs game at Sloan Park: 

DREW SMYLY
FB: 92-95
SL/CT: 84-86 
SPLIT: 81-83 
CV: 78-80
COMMENT: Allowed five runs on seven hits (including two HR), walked one, and struck out one (looking) in 2.0 IP (plus four batters faced in the 3rd inning before being relieved)... breezed thru a nine-pitch 1st inning (eight strikes - two swing & miss, both on FB - one foul ball), allowing a lead-off single on a 1-2 hanging CV, then got a K-looking on a 95 MPH FB, and finally an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP on 94 MPH FB... started to give up hard-contact in 2nd inning, beginning with two consecutive singles on FB to open the inning, then an L-8 on a FB and an F-9 on a CV, then a HR over LF fence on a hanging CV, and finally an L-9 to end the inning after 14 pitches (10 strikes- no swing & miss - one foul ball)... really labored in the third inning without retiring a batter (22 pitches - 12 strikes - two swing & miss,. one on FB and one on a CV - six foul balls), allowing a lead-off towering HR to left-center on a 3-2 94 MPH FB, and then loading the bases on two singles and a walk before being relieved... numbers looked bad and there was nothing flukey or unlucky about it...  

CHRIS CLARKE
FB: 92-93 
SL: 82-83 
COMMENT: Relieved Smyly with no outs and bases loaded in the top of the third and induced a 6-4-3 DP on his second pitch and then got a K-swinging on a FB to end the inning... threw six pitches (four strikes - two swing & miss)... 

HECTOR NERIS
FB: 91-92 
SPLIT: 82-83
COMMENT: Quick 1-2-3 inning (L-4, 6-3, K-swinging)... threw only eight pitches (seven consecutive strikes after first-pitch ball - three swing & miss among the eight pitches, one on SPLIT and two on FB - one foul ball))... impressive first outing... 

DANIEL PALENCIA
FB: 93-97 T-98 
SL/CT: 87-90 
CH: 84-86 
COMMENT: Allowed three runs on five hits (including one HR) and a walk... struck out one (swinging)...  was unable to complete the inning (a lead-off double on 96 MPH FB, a single on 97 MPH FB, a HR on mid-80's CH, then a K-swinging, on a CH, but then another single, an L-4, and another single, before being relieved)... needed 26 pitches (14 strikes - four swinging - two foul balls) to record just two outs... FB velo actually increased over the course of the inning (first two pitches were 93 MPH FB, then FB was sitting 96-97 after that and even hit 98 once)... has a SP repertoire but he displays no consistency from pitch-to-pitch... throws too many pitches per inning to be a starter, so as things stand right now he probably projects more as a multi-inning bulk reliever... not MLB-ready at this time...

HUNTER BIGGE
FB: 95-97
COMMENT: Relieved Palencia with two outs and two runners on base in the top of the 5th and struck out the one batter he faced on three pitches (swing & miss on all three pitches he threw, and all three pitches were FB)... 

BEN BROWN
FB: 95-97
SL: 84-87 
COMMENT: Threw two innings (40 pitches - 21 strikes - nine swing & miss, five on SL and four on FB - four foul balls)... surrendered a four-pitch walk to the first batter he faced, and allowed a run on three singles, two walks, and two WP, over the course of his two innings of work... struck out three (two swinging and one looking, all three on SL)...  benefited from two timely CS by catcher Joe Hudson... stuff is electric as evidenced by his 23% swing & miss rate fairly evenly divided between his SL and FB, but he also can't throw strikes consistently (the two walks he issued were a combined eight balls and only one strike)... he is nowhere near MLB-ready at this time... probably projects as a two-pitch one-inning high-leverage MLB reliever (eventually)...  

EDWIN ESCOBAR
FB: 93-95 
CH: 86 
SL: 80-81 
COMMENT: 1-2-3 inning (F-9, F-9, K-swinging)... threw nine pitches (six strikes - three swing & miss, all three on SL - one foul ball)... FB velo was up a tick from his first outing last week... FB has good velo but SL is his strikeout pitch....    

CAM SANDERS
FB: 95-97
SL/CUT: 85-88 
CV: 81-82 
COMMENT: Allowed a run on two hits (both singles, both on the first pitch of the AB)... issued no walks and struck out two (one looking and one swinging)... both FB and SL velo were clearly down a tick from first outing last week... threw 20 pitches (13 strikes - two swing & miss, which were his last two pitches of the inning, one a CV and one a SL/CT - three foul balls)... 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the pitcher reports from Friday's White Sox - Cubs game at Sloan Park: 

JUSTIN STEELE
FB: 90-92 
CT: 88-89  
SL: 81-84 
CH: 78-81  
CV: 75-76 
COMMENT: Threw two no run / no hit innings to start the game (a L-1 comeback that almost took Steele's head off on the first pitch of the game, then a BB on a 3-2 pitch, a 5-4 FC that should have been an inning-ending DP but wasn't as the result of a Matt Shaw grip / bobble at 3B -- lucky to get one out on the play, and an F-9 to end the inning)... then a K-looking, an F-9, and a 6-3 GO in an easy 1-2-3 10-pitch second inning... allowed two runs on two hits in the third inning (a three-pitch K-swinging on a SL, then an infield topper that Steele couldn't pick up and was scored a hit but should have been an E-1 -- and should have been the second out but wasn't, then a hard-hit double, an F-8 SF to plate the first run and advance the other runner from second to third, then a WP on a bouncing 55-foot SL that scored the second run, and finally an F-7 FO to end the inning and the outing)... Steele threw 47 pitches over the course of his three innings of work (32 strikes - four swing & miss, two on SL and two on CT - plus an incredible 11 foul balls!)... threw a lot more different types of pitches than his usual FB / SL combo... a very nice "clean" outing, except for the E-1 topper that was inexplicably scored as a hit...    

JAVIER ASSAD
FB: 91-94 
CT: 87-89 
CH: 86
SL: 79-80
CV: 74-76
COMMENT: Threw two innings (37 pitches - 22 strikes - three swing & miss - three foul balls)... allowed a broken bat infield single to lead-off hitter in the top of the 4th, then a P-3 DP (fantastic over the shoulder catch by Busch while running out into RF foul territory followed by a perfect throw back to 1st base to double the runner off base), and a 3-U GO (our man Busch again!)... second inning began with an HBP (PCA was hit by a pitch in the previous half-inning), then PCA took a bad route (might have briefly lost the ball in the sun) chasing a fly ball in CF that fell for a double on the warning track, putting runners at 2nd & 3rd... then a lazy routine fly ball was lost in the sun by PCA in CF for a gift-double, then after an RBI 6-3 GO for the first out of the inning (should have been the third out!), PCA lost still ANOTHER FLY BALL IN THE SUN in short right-center to further extend the inning, then a walk on a 3-2 pitch, an F-7 FO for what was essentially the fifth out of the inning, then a hard-hit RBI single through the box and into CF (PCA missed the cut-off man with the throw home), and finally a 1-3 come-backer on Assad's 26th pitch of the inning for what should have been the sixth out of the inning... so while he technically threw just two innings and allowed four "earned" runs on five "hits" (including three  "doubles"), Assad got what were essentially nine outs, and should have allowed no runs on two hits (both singles -- one of which was a broken bat infield hit), one walk, and one HBP...        

JULIAN MERRYWEATHER
FB: 96-98
SL: 84-87
CH: 79
COMMENT: 1-2-3 inning (K-swinging on a 1-2 SL, F-7, F-8)... 16 pitches (12 strikes - three swinging, two on FB and one on SL - five foul balls)... Matt Mervis lost a pop fly foul ball in the sun prior to the K-swinging...     

JOSE CUAS
FB: 91-94
SL: 81-84 
COMMENT: Inning started with a gift-triple (Cole Roederer lost can o' corn fly ball in the sun before it bounced off warning track in the RF corner)... Cuas then induced a P-3 for the first out and got a K-swinging for the second out, before hitting a batter with a 2-2 SL to put runners at the corners... then he a got 5-3 GO to end the inning... a cool head 22-pitch "no sweat" masterful extrication act to strand the runner at 3rd after the lead-off "sun triple"... two swing & miss -- one on FB and one on SL -- and five foul balls among his 14 strikes (Cuas gets a LOT of foul balls on "emergency hacks" when he pitches)... 

COLTEN BREWER
FB: 93-95
CH: 89 
SL: 84-85 
CV: 79 
COMMENT: Threw a shutout 8th inning... 10 pitches (seven strikes - one swing & miss on FB)... surrendered two soft-contact singles sandwiched around an F-8, and induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP... 

RILEY THOMPSON
FB: 95-96
CH: 89 
SL: 83-85 
COMMENT: Tossed a 1-2-3 (3-1 GO, K-swinging on three pitches, F-8) 12-pitch 9th (10 strikes - one swing & miss on SL - four foul balls)... good FB velo in combo with the slider, and he threw strikes... eight of his twelve pitches were SL (he loves those sliders!)... 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the pitcher reports from Sunday's Guardians - Cubs game at Sloan Park: 

KYLE HENDRICKS
FB: 86-88
CH: 80-81
SL: 79-80 
CV: 74 
COMMAND: Threw three innings and allowed three runs on five hits (three singles and two doubles), one walk, and a WP, and he struck out one (swinging)... one run scored in each of the three innings... command was off right from the gitgo (he hit two batters in the 1st inning!)... threw 52 pitches (33 strikes - six swing & miss - six foul balls) over the course of the three innings, so at least he got his pitch count up over 50 (he threw only 29 pitches in two innings of work in his first outing last Tuesday)...  

HECTOR NERIS
FB: 90 
SPLIT: 78-83 
COMMENT: Allowed a lead-off single but then induced an F-7 and an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP... threw 10 pitches (but only five strikes - no swing & miss)... FB velo was down a tick from his last outing and split was a bit off (strike throwing on FB must be better than 50% to get swing & miss on splitter)... 

ADBERT ALZOLAY
FB: 94-95 
CT: 89-91 
SL: 85-87 
COMMENT: Allowed a lead-off single on a 95-MPH FB on his sixth pitch of the AB, but then retired the next three men in a row (P-4, 5-3, K-swinging on a SL)... Needed 18 pitches to retire the side (12 strikes - five swing & miss, including three on SL, one on CT, and one on FB)... 

DANIEL PALENCIA
FB: 96-98
SL/CT: 88-90 
CH: 86 
COMMENT: Hurled a 1-2-3 6th inning (L-8, 6-3, P-6)... Threw only 50% strikes (12 pitches -six strikes - one swing & miss on a CH - two foul balls)...   

EDWIN ESCOBAR
FB: 93-94
SL: 81-84
COMMENT: 1-2-3 7th inning (4-3, K-swinging, 5-3)... 13-pitches (nine strikes - one swing & miss on SL - two foul balls)... FB has good velo but he doesn't get swing & miss with it, so he throws mainly his "plus" slider (which is his "go-to" strikeout pitch)... of all of the Cubs MLB ST LHRP contenders I have seen so far, Escobar is #1 (Luke Little's stuff is more electric, but he still has trouble commanding it and is clearly not MLB-ready)...    

PORTER HODGE
FB: 94-96
CT: 91-92
SL: 80-82 
COMMENT: Pitched the 8th inning after the Cubs went ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the 7th... allowed a lead-off single on a 1-0 FB and a two-out single on a 1-0 CT, but he did manage to retire the side without allowing a run... struck out two (both swinging)... threw 19 pitches (11 strikes - five swing & miss - one foul ball)... stuff is plus but FB command comes & goes... 

BRAD WIECK
FB: 86-87
SLOW CV: 67-68 
COMMENT: Threw a 1-2-3 seven pitch (five strike) 9th (F-7, K-swinging on an 86 MPH FB, and F-9) to record the save... while he at one-time featured a mid-90's FB, a mid-80's SL, and a mid-70's CV, after enduring heart surgery in 2021 and TJS in 2022 the 6'8 250+ lefty has morphed into an EXTREME soft-tosser, complete with an "eephus" CV that would make Bill "Spaceman" Lee jealous... 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the pitcher reports from today's Angels - Cubs game at Sloan Park for those who might have missed the game: 

JUSTIN STEELE
FB: 90-92
CT: 88-89 
CH: 81-84 
SL: 81-83 
CV: 79-80  
COMMENT: Was absolutely outstanding for first two innings (17 pitches total - 13 strikes, including four swing & miss in a nine-pitch 1st inning and an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP in an eight-pitch 2nd after a fielding error -- a missed catch by C. Morel on a line drive  -- prolonged the inning)... then he appeared to hit a wall in the third inning, needing 34 pitches to retire the side ... allowed a lead-off HR on a 0-1 CH, followed by two throwing errors (one by C. Morel and one by Steele himself) that plated another run... then he issued a walk on a 3-2 pitch on what was a 12-pitch AB that included a wild pitch and SIX foul balls... a run scored an an F-7 SF for the first out, then a 6-3 GO on a 3-2 pitch in what was a seven-pitch AB that included two foul balls for out number two, and finally another 6-3 GO on another 3-2 pitch on what was a nine-pitch AB that included four foul balls to end the inning... for the day he threw 51 pitches (36 strikes - seven swing & miss - 14 foul balls)...          

HECTOR NERIS
FB: 90-92
SPLIT: 78-82
COMMENT: Surrendered a one-out solo HR followed by a bunt single, before retiring the side on a K-swinging and a 1-3 come-backer... threw 17 pitches (13 strikes - four swing & miss, three on a FB and one on a SPLIT - one foul ball)...  

ADBERT ALZOLAY
FB: 94-95
CT: 89
SL: 85-86
COMMENT: Threw a 1-2-3 5th (3-1, 4-3, 5-3)... needed only seven pitches to retire the side (six strikes - two swing & miss, one on CT and one on SL - one foul ball)... mixed up his pitches very effectively, throwing three FB, two CT, and two SL... 

CARL EDWARDS JR 
FB: 91-93 
CH: 88-89
CV: 78-80
COMMENT: Threw one inning (the 6th)... retired first two hitters easily (5-3 and a K-looking), before a two out double... unearned run scored on an E-5 (throw) by third-baseman B. J. Murray, then runner was caught stealing to end the inning... threw 25 pitches (18 strikes - two swing & miss, one on a CV and one on a FB - five foul balls)... 

JAVIER ASSAD
FB: 92-95
CT: 87-89
CH: 87 
SL: 80-81
CV: 75-78
COMMENT: Threw two shutout innings (the 7th & 8th) while game was tied, allowing one hit and no walks, striking out two (both swinging, one on FB and one on CH), with a 3/1 GO/AO... threw 25 pitches over the course of the two innings (16 strikes - three swing & miss - four foul balls)...   

YENCY ALMONTE
FB: 91-94
CH: 87-88
SL: 81-82 
COMMENT: First Cactus League game outing of 2024 after throwing "live" BP off & on for about a week to ten days (he was kept out of games because he was having difficulty locating the strike zone)... entered the game to try for a one-run save... struck out the first batter he faced on a 1-2 CH (swinging) and then induced a 4-3 GO on the very next pitch, before issuing a four-pitch walk and an infield single (Angels baserunner then proceeded to run into the third out after he got caught in "no man's land" between 2nd & 3rd)... threw 13 pitches (but only six strikes, including two K-swinging and two foul balls)...  

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the pitcher reports from Friday's Mariners - Cubs (split squad) Cactus League game at Sloan Park: 

SHOTA IMANAGA
FB: 90-93
CT:  88-89
SPLIT: 82-84
SL: 80-82
COMMENT: Worked three innings, allowing two runs on four hits (a solo HR, two singles, and a double), and two walks, struck out five (three swinging, all three on a FB)... threw 56 pitches including a 26-pitch 2nd inning when he labored to retire the side... threw 31 strikes (only 56% strikes) - three swing & miss and all three were a strikeout - nine foul balls... pitched out of a one out with runners at 2nd & 3rd jam in the top of the 2nd by striking out the last two hitters of the inning (both on a 3-2 pitch, both swinging)... likes to nibble... faced 15 batters over the course of the three innings and he threw a first-pitch strike to only five of the 15... 1/3 GO/AO... he is very much a "fly ball pitcher" and so be will likely give up more than a few HR this season...   

BLAKE WEIMAN
FB: 90-92
CH: 84-86
SL: 78-79
COMMENT: Threw one inning and allowed three runs on four hits, including a three-run HR... retired the first two batters he faced easily on just four pitches (L-7 and P-3) before the hard contact parade hit the fan... threw twenty pitches (14 strikes - one swing & miss, no walks, no strikeouts)... 

JULIAN MERYWEATHER
FB: 96-98
SL: 86-87
CH: 80 
COMMENT: Retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the 5th on a K-swinging on three pitches (97 MPH FB, 98 MPH FB, and an 80 MPH CH) and an F-8... he then issued a walk on a 3-2 pitch, before an F-8 ended the inning... threw 14 pitches (8 strikes - two swing & miss)... 

JOSE CUAS
FB: 91-93 
CH: 88-89
SL: 83-84 
COMMENT: Easy 1-2-3 ten-pitch 6th inning (1-3, P-6, K-swinging)... threw six strikes out of his ten pitches - two swing miss, one on a FB and one on a SL (his final two pitches of the inning)... 

MARK LEITER JR
FB: 88-91
SPLIT: 83-84 
SL: 78-79
COMMENT: Worked the 7th inning (11 pitches - nine strikes)... struck out the first man he faced on a 2-2- SPLIT, then surrendered a single, before getting two infield pop outs (both on a FB) to end the inning... threw three splitters among his eleven pitches...   

LUKE LITTLE
FB: 96-97
CH: 89
SL: 79-82 
COMMENT: Pitched the 8th inning and surrendered a lead-off single, then struck out the next batter swinging on a 1-2 FB, before inducing a "room service" inning-ending 6-4-3 DP... threw 12 pitches (nine strikes - two swing & miss, both 97 MPH FB)... 

KEEGAN THOMPSON
FB: 91-92
CH: 86-87
CV: 80-82
COMMENT: Hurled a 1-2-3 11-pitch (seven strikes) 9th (K-swinging on a 2-2 CV, a 5-3 GO, and an F-8 FO... 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Matt Shaw with another one-hop throw to 1st from 3B. He can really pick it, but he just does not appear to have the arm strength necessary to play 3B (but then he doesn't have the arm strength necessary to play SS, either). So 2B will very likely be his eventual landing spot, which means if Shaw is the hitter he appears to be (elite AVG/OBP/SLG), Nico Hoerner will probably be traded sometime before his contract expires post-2026 (possibly even by this time next year). 

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In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

DJL: Just among the NRI pitchers, I really like what I have seen of Cam Sanders so far. He's always had quality stuff but was just unable to command it. As long as he throws strikes he can be a force in the Cubs bullpen. Keep in mind that C. Sanders is eligible to be a minor league free agent post-2024, so he could get called up at any time during the season. Just probably not on Opening Day. 

As far as NRI position players are concerned, certainly Matt Shaw and Owen Caissie have been "as advertised," at least offensively. I would not be surprised if both of them are fixtures in the Cubs lineup by this time next year.

As I have mentioned here before, the Cubs internal scouting cannot fail. It must be clear and accurate. The Cubs need to make sure to keep the right prospects, and then trade the others before they turn into "prospect pumpkins" (which is to say before they get exposed and lose value). 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Thanks Phil. Totally agreed on self-scouting of the system, I think it’s the most important part of the scouting apparatus. Love to hear that on Shaw and ONKC


I’ve always liked the trio of Sanders KFranklin RThompson, hoping this is the year. It’s good to know on Sanders that if strikes are thrown, he’s likely to be in the show later this season.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

Kohl Franklin, Cam Sanders, and Riley Thompson are kind of like The Three Amigos, in that all three will be minor league free-agents post-2024, so if they are not added to the 40 by five days after the final game of the World Series, the Cubs will lose them for nothing (none of the three are likely to sign a 2025 minor league successor contract, so don't count on that happening). So the Cubs will need to really watch them very closely at AAA in 2024 so they don't make a mistake.

It also means any of the three would be more likely to get a call-up to MLB during the season than other pitchers not on the MLB 40-man roster, especially if the Cubs have decided they are going to to add any of them to the 40 post-2024 anyway.  

All three have had command issues throughout their pro careers, but there is no denying that Cam Sanders has high velo electric stuff, Riley Thompson has a killer slider, and Kohl Franklin has a quality SP repertoire. And all three are actually still legit Top 30 prospects, which makes the possibility of any of the three leaving via minor league free agency after the season even more concerning.

BTW, I was really surprised that K. Franklin did not get an NRI to MLB Spring Training, since he is likely to be a SP at AAA Iowa in 2024.   

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the pitcher reports from Saturday's Rockies - Cubs game at Sloan Park in Mesa: 

THOMAS PANNONE
FB: 86-89
CH: 82-85
SL: 78-81 
COMMENT: Got the last-minute emergency start after scheduled SP James Taillon was scratched after warming up pre-game in bullpen... threw three innings of crafty "soft-toss" no run / one hit ball, and did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the top of the third, and then he picked the runner off base!... also issued a one-out walk in the top of the second... otherwise he mixed his cutter, change, and slurvy breaking ball to near-perfection (two K-looking to retire the first two batters he faced in the top of the 1st and finished the inning throwing seven consecutive strikes)... 2/4 GO/AO... threw 40 pitches with no more than 14 pitches in any one inning (12-14-14)... 25 strikes among the 40 pitches (only two swing & miss - six foul balls)...    

CARL EDWARDS JR
FB: 91-93 
CH: 88
SL: 83 
CV: 77-79
COMMENT: Threw an easy 1-2-3 4th (4-3, K-swinging on a 1-2 CH, and a 4-3... Ten pitches (nine strikes - one swing & miss)... while Edwards has looked very good so far this spring, he is not on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster, and because he is a post-2023 Article XX-B player signed to a minor league contract, he can opt out if he is not added to the MLB roster by Opening Day, and if he is added to the 40 (and the MLB 26-man active list), he cannot be sent to the minors without his consent (he is also out of minor league options)...  

ADBERT ALZOLAY
FB: 95-96
CT: 92-93
CH: 88-89 
SL: 85-86
COMMENT: Retired the first batter in the top of the 5th on a three-pitch K-looking (96 MPH FB), then after issuing a walk on a 3-2 pitch, induced an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP on a SL.. 12 pitches (seven strikes - two swing & miss - one foul ball)... command was off a bit...     

HECTOR NERIS
FB: 89-90
SPLIT: 77-79 
COMMENT: Worked the top of the 6th and allowed a lead-off rope double on a 1-2 FB, but then retired the side in order (6-3 GO, P-4, and a three pitch K-swinging on a SPLIT)... threw 13 pitches (11 strikes - two swing & miss - four foul balls)  

YENCY ALMONTE
FB: 92-94 
CH: 86 
SL: 82 
COMMENT: Needed only seven pitches to retire the side 1-2-3 (F-9, 4-3, F-7) in the 7th, but he threw only 57% strikes... no swing & miss...  

DANIEL PALENCIA
FB: 96-99 
SL/CT:  89-91
COMMENT: Threw an easy 1-2-3 8th inning (K-looking on a 98 MPH FB after starting the AB 3-0, a P-4, and a K-swinging on a 1-2 CT)... 16 pitches (ten strikes - three swing & miss, two on 98 MPH FB and one on a CT - three foul balls)... stuff is overpowering...    

HUNTER BIGGE
FB: 96-98
SL/CT: 88-89
CH: 87
CV: 84-85
COMMENT: Pitched the 9th and allowed a two-out oppo-field double down the LF line on a 2-1 CT... threw 17 pitches (11 strikes - six swing & miss - one foul ball)... high-velo FB coupled with hard-breaking secondaries... he has pitched a lot as a minor league filler in MLB Cactus League games, but he probably should have been an NRI in the first place!... if you are looking for an under-the-radar potential AAA bullpen break-out candidate in 2024, look no further than Hunter Bigge... his stuff is nasty!
 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the Cubs pitcher reports from Tuesday night's Brewers - Cubs game at Sloan Park in Mesa (where Cubs pitchers struck out 16 Brewers!): 

JUSTIN STEELE
FB: 90-93
CT: 87-89 
SL: 82-84
CH: 81-82
CV: 78-80  
COMMENT: Mixed up his pitches really well, constantly keeping hitters off-balance... struck out nine in just four innings of work and issued no walks (only one three-ball count among the 16 batters he faced)... surrendered a double leading off the game and then struck out the side (two swinging), struck out two more (one swinging) in a 1-2-3 12-pitch second inning,... allowed a lead-off single in the top of the 4th, then struck out two more (both swinging), before allowing a two-out RBI double in a 21-pitch top of the third that culminated with an eight-pitch AB versus Christian Yelich that eventually led to an inning-ending 3-1 GO.... he struck out two more (one looking and one swinging) in a 1-2-3 11-pitch top of the fourth (pitch #60 was a K-swinging on a 1-2 pitch to end the inning)... gave up a lead-off infield single (which featured a throwing error by third-baseman Christopher Morel) in the top of he 5th and was immediately relieved... threw 64 pitches total in the game, including 45 strikes (that's 70% strikes!) - 13 swing & miss, including seven on SL - 12 foul balls)... simply put, this was Justin Steele at his very best...        

JULIAN MERRYWEATHER
FB: 95-97 
SL: 84-87  
CH: 82
COMMENT: FB and SL velo were down a tick... inherited runner at 2nd base and no outs in top of the 5th, and proceeded to issue a walk and a three-run HR (on a SL) to William Contreras before retiring the side (F-9 FO, K-swinging on three pitches, 4-3 GO)... threw 19 pitches (11 strikes - two swing & miss back-to-back on the three-pitch K-swinging)... definitely not a good outing... 

JOSE CUAS
FB: 91-94 
CH: 88-90 
SL: 82-83 
COMMENT: Loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the 6th on two singles and a walk before allowing an RBI single that put the brew Crew back in front... struck out the next batter (swinging) on a CH to end the inning and keep the game tied... threw a first-pitch strike to only two of the seven men he faced... needed 26 pitches to retire the side (he threw only 14 strikes, albeit with five swing & miss)... kept the damage to a minimum as he is wont to do, but there was still way too much traffic on the bases...   

MARK LEITER JR
FB: 91-92 
SPLIT: 84-85 
SL: 78-81 
COMMENT: FB is always mediocre but it was a tick faster than in previous outings tonight and his "out-pitch" SPLIT was VERY good... allowed two singles around a K-looking, and then retired the side on a FC and a K-swinging on three consecutive swing & miss on a SPLIT... had outstanding command of all of his pitches (13 pitches - 10 strikes - four swing & miss)... despite allowing the two hits, this is the best Mark Leiter Jr has looked since last August... 

KEEGAN THOMPSON
FB: 92-94 
CH: 85-89
CV: 80-83 
COMMENT: Worked the top of the 8th and struck out the first two batters he faced (one swinging and one looking) on seven pitches, before surrendering consecutive singles that put runners on the corners... then induced a weak contact 6-4 FC on the very next pitch to end the inning and the threat... 17 pitches (13 strikes - three swing & miss)... his FB had more life & velo tonight than in any previous outing this year or maybe even last year, but he still will almost certainly begin the season at AAA and ride the Des Moines - Chicago shuttle while he uses up his third and final minor leaue option year... 

LUKE LITTLE:
FB: 96-99
COMMENT: Threw an easy 1-2-3 top of the 9th inning to keep the game tied and set the stage for the Wisdom walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th (K-swinging on three pitches, an F-8 FO, and a 6-3 GO)... threw nothing but FB... 13 pitches (eight strikes - four swing & miss)... he has an absolutely over-powering heater... having minor league options available works against him, especially if fellow LHRP Edwin Escobar candidate has an Opening Day opt out (TBD)...

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

I only watched the first 6 innings of the game, but I have to agree Steele's stuff was just plain filthy. 

I think also worth pointing out that prior to his error, Morel made two very nice plays on groundballs to third, one on a short hop and the other ranging to his left, with strong throws to first.  On his error, I can't remember if there was even a realistic chance to get the runner at first, so probably should have just held the ball. 

On the flip side Brewers had some really rough defense.  3 errors and two more that probably could have been -- Hoskins flubbed a pretty easy groundball to first that got ruled an infield hit for Belli, and then Mitchell tripping over himself in right field leading to the "triple" for Peralta.  

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In reply to by hellfrozeover

The Morel error was a close play, and I think an accurate throw would have gotten him. The throw was actually catchable, but Busch had to stretch for it and it clanked off his glove. I think if he caught it they would have gotten the out. It really wasn't the worst throw in the world, but it was an example of Morel's biggest issue which is that his throws tail to the right in general.

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the Cubs pitcher reports from Thursday's A's - Cubs game at Sloan Park in Mesa, for anyone who might not have seen it: 

SHOTA IMANAGA
FB: 92-95
CT: 89-91
SPLIT: 81-84
SL: 79-82 
CV: 71-73 
COMMENT: Second consecutive masterful and dominating performance by a Cubs LHSP at Sloan Park... threw 4.1 IP of shutout ball, scattering three singles, issuing no walks, and striking out nine (all nine swinging), with the other outs being four weak-contact "straight up the elevator shaft" infield pop outs... threw 70 pitches (51 strikes - 19 swing & miss!!!)... he did not throw too many pitches in any one inning (16-16-18-15-5) so he was able to avoid getting gassed... he had all of his pitches working so he was able to mix it up really well and keep A's hitters off balance...      

CAM SANDERS
FB: 95
COMMENT: Relieved Imanaga with one out and a runner at 1st base in the top of the 5th, and immediately induced a slick 3-6-1 DP on his very first pitch (Sanders is an outstanding athlete)... 

YENCY ALMONTE
FB: 92-94 
SL: 78-81 
COMMENT: Threw a shutout top of the 6th... issued a lead-off walk and then struck out two (both swinging) and got a P-5 to end the inning... 19 pitches (12 strikes - five swing & miss)... despite the lead-off walk this is the best Almonte has looked so far this spring... a few noteworthy items about Almonte are that he is making $1.9M, he is out of minor league options, he can elect free-agency if he is outrighted (but if he is outrighted and then elects free-agency he will forfeit his $1.9M salary), and if he is not outrighted by April 26th he will have accrued five years of MLB Service Time by that date and can't be sent to the minors without his consent starting on that date... 

CARL EDWARDS JR
FB: 89-92 
CH: 85-87
CV: 77-78 
COMMENT: Walked the lead-off hitter on four pitches in the top of the 7th with the Cubs up 2-0, then got a 1-3 come-backer (runner on 1st base advanced to 2nd)... an RBI single plated a run, then a K-swinging on three pitches for the second out, followed by two consecutive walks to load the bases (and end his day)... he really labored throughout the inning, needing 27 pitches - only 11 strikes (41% strikes) -  five swing & miss, three on FB, to get just two outs... also threw a WP... if he doesn't have impeccable command, CJ's his stuff is too marginal for him to be of any use to the Cubs in 2024... as a post-2023 Article XX-B MLB free agent who signed a 2024 minor league contract, Edwards gets an automatic opt-out on Opening Day, but if he doesn't exercise the opt-out, the Cubs will probably make him a free agent anyway.., this was a bad performance by a pitcher who was on the wrong side of the bubble the day he signed with the Cubs in February... 

DANIEL PALENCIA
FB: 94-97
SL/CT: 87-89
COMMENT: Relieved Edwards with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the 7th and came back from a 2-0 count to get an inning-ending F-7 FO to the warning track in LF (near grand slam)... came back out and threw a shutout top of the 8th (K-swinging on a SL, a 6-3 GO, then a two-out single, and finally another K-swinging on a SL to end the inning)... 21 pitches (14 strikes - three swing & miss)... threw eight SL/CT and two of his three swing & miss were on that pitch... FB velo was down a couple of ticks from last outing when he was hitting 99... I really like Palencia better as a multi-inning "bulk" reliever than as a one-inning "high-leverage guy," because he has the stamina for it, and he is essentially stuff over command at this point in his career... 

EDWIN ESCOBAR
FB: 93-94
CH: 86
SL: 82-83 
COMMENT: Pitched a shutout 9th to pick up the save... Induced a 3-1 GO to start the inning, then after surrendering a single that brought the tying run to the plate, a L-4 DP that doubled the runner off 1st base saved the day... 12 pitches (8 strikes - no swing & miss)... he got the save but he didn't fool anybody...

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In reply to by Charlie

my main concern is how he'll handle pitching in 2-0, 3-0, or 3-1 counts.

he really doesn't like walking guys.  i'm not sure what he'll want to throw when/if he's trying to not walk someone and whether the batter will anticipate it.

that said, i don't know enough about the guy to elevate that concern to a "big" concern.  it's a concern coming from a lack of knowledge rather than a pattern he's shown.

all of that aside, a secondary concern is how many homers he'll give up.  he's going to give the outfielders some work when contact is made.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the Cubs pitcher reports from Saturday's Royals - Cubs game at Sloan Park in Mesa: 

DREW SMYLY:
FB: 91-94 
CT/SL: 84
SPLIT: 80-83 
CV: 75-79
COMMENT: Threw 73 pitches (45 strikes) over the course of 4.1 IP... easily retired the side 1-2-3 in each of the first two innings (including three K-swinging on 93-94 MPH FB) on a combined 20 pitches (15 strikes, including four swing & miss), but then seemed to hit a wall against the bottom third of the KC batting order immediately in the top of the 3rd, starting with a seven-pitch AB that eventually resulted in a lead-off double... he needed 26 pitches (only 14 strikes) to retire the side in the 3rd, surrendering a walk in what was yet another seven-pitch AB, and allowing a three-run HR... after a hot start over the first two innings that included four swing & miss among his first 20 pitches, Smyly got only three swing & miss over the final three innings (53 pitches) as his FB velo clearly dropped by a tick or two... he gave up a double on pitch # 69 followed four pitches later by two-run HR on his final pitch of the game (pitch #73)... as is usually the case with Smyly, most of the damage and hard contact were by LH-hitters (Smyly is much more effective versus RH-hitters, probably because all of his pitches have arm-side tail)...      
 
JOSE CUAS
FB: 91-94
CH: 86-88 
SL: 82-84
COMMENT: Relieved Smyly with one out in the 5th immediately after the second HR, and finished the 5th (inning ended with a CS at 3rd base) and then he came back out and worked the 6th inning as well.... so both Palencia and Cuas were used out of the bullpen for two innings in games this week... threw 32 pitches, but only 16 strikes (50% strikes)... got five swing & miss, three on FB and two on CH... got two K-swinging (both on a 3-2 pitch), but he also allowed a double and two walks over the course of the 1.2 IP... the first walk was on four pitches, and the second one came on a seven-pitch AB... Cuas constantly nibbles, and seems OK with not giving into the hitter, and if he walks him, he walks him... despite the different "look" he can give a hitter (sidearm from the extreme 3rd base side of the rubber), Cuas is on the roster bubble mainly because he has options available, whereas Neris and Smyly have too much MLB Service Time to be sent to the minors, and Merryweather, Leiter, and Almonte are out of options...      

HECTOR NERIS
FB: 89-91 
SPLIT: 78-82 
COMMENT: Worked a shutout 7th inning and surrendered two singles, got an F-7 FO for the first out, then struck out two (both swinging, both on a SPLIT).... all three of the balls put into play were hit hard... threw 18 pitches (15 strikes - three swing & miss, all on a SPLIT - four foul balls)... while Cuas is a "nibbler," Neris is more of a strike-throwing "laborer" with a mediocre FB who tries to make the batter hit his pitch and then (hopefully) get a swing & miss with the SPLIT, but he gives up hard contact when he tries to get ahead of the hitter and/or misses his spot... I really don't want to see him trying to protect a lead in the 9th inning (ever)...       

ADBERT ALZOLAY:
FB: 94-96
CH: 87-89 
SL: 84-86
COMMENT: Pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning with the Cubs up 7-6, facing one RH-hitter followed by two LH-hitters... threw 13 pitches (11 strikes - three swing & miss, two on FB and one on SL)... got a three-pitch K-looking on a FB, then a K-swinging on a 2-2 SL, and then finally an inning-ending 4-3 GO on pitch #13...  

JULIAN MERRYWEATHER
FB: 95-97
SL: 84-87
COMMENT: Entered the game in the top of the 9th protecting a one-run lead, and struck out the side 1-2-3 (one K-looking and two K-swinging, and all three of the strikeouts were on a SL)... he threw 18 pitches (11 strikes - five swing & miss, two on FB and three on SL - three foul balls)... threw mostly SL (ten SL and eight FB)... all three of the foul balls were on a FB, so his SL was quite literally unhittable... 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the Cubs pitcher reports from Sunday afternoon's Rangers- Cubs game at Sloan Park: 

JAVIER ASSAD
FB: 92-95
CT: 89-91
CH: 84-86
SL: 79-82 
CV: 74-77
COMMENT: First three innings were outstanding, as he retired nine of the first ten men he faced (1B, K-looking, F-7, 5-4 FC, 3-1 GO, 6-3 GO, 6-3 GO, K-looking, K-looking, 5-3 GO), throwing only 38 pitches (23 strikes - three swing & miss)... he then appeared to hit a wall in the top of the 4th, allowing three consecutive singles (the first one on a nine-pitch AB) before getting the first out of the inning on an F-8 FO on pitch #20, and then got a K-looking on a 2-2 SL on pitch #26 to end his day... this was a classic "once through the order was great but then after that not so good" type of outing... not much swing & miss, lots of weak contact, lots of ground balls... Assad really does profile as the perfect "rubber-arm / multi-inning / bulk reliever / opener" type of pitcher, who can throw multiple innings two or three times a week, either as an opener, or as as piggy-backer, or just whenever multiple innings need to be covered from the pen, but he is really not a "once-every-fifth-or-sixth-day" rotation starter... 

YENCY ALMONTE
FB: 89-91 
CH: 85 
SL: 79-81 
COMMENT: Relieved Assad in the top of the 4th with two outs and two runners on base and retired the first baster he faced on two pitches (albeit the out was a hard hit L-9)... he came back out for the top of the 5th and retired the side 1-2-3 (F-9, 5-3, 5-3)... for the day, he threw 19 pitches (only 10 strikes - two swing & miss, both on FB), but was constantly pitching from behind in the count... just like with Palencia and Cuas last week, Almonte was used for two innings on Sunday, so he is clearly NOT being primed as a "one inning / high leverage" guy, which would make sense because his stuff is nothing special and he has difficulty throwing strikes... Almonte is out of minor league options, so it should not be a surprise if the Cubs place Almonte on waivers and hope he gets claimed so they can "bank" his $1.9 AAV for later, and if he is not claimed hope that he will elect free-agency after being outrighted and forfeit his salary... IF THE CUBS DO NOT OUTRIGHT ALMONTE BY APRIL 26TH, HE CANNOT BE SENT OUTRIGHT TO THE MINORS WITHOUT HIS CONSENT AFTER THAT DATE...  

CARL EDWARDS JR
FB: 92-93
CH: 87-88
CV: 77-78 
COMMENT Worked the 6th inning and easily retired the side 1-2-3 on just seven pitches (K-looking on three pitches, a 1-3 come-backer, and an F-9 FO)... obviously this was a MUCH better outing than the last one when he threw only 44% strikes, but I doubt anything he does at this point will change the future... as a post-2023 Article XX-B MLB free agent, Edwards (just like Daniel Peralta and Garrett Cooper) has the automatic right to opt out on MLB Opening Day, or on May 1st, or on June 1st, if he he is not added to the MLB 40 man roster by those dates, so Edwards will either opt-out by Opening Day, or he won't opt-out right away and will agree to at least start the season in AAA, or the Cubs will release him if it becomes apparent that there is no room for him at Iowa...   

EDWIN ESCOBAR:
FB: 92-95
SL: 83-86
COMMENT: Came into the game in the top of the 7th protecting an 8-1 lead and couldn't finish the inning... began the inning by walking the lead-off hitter (a LH-hitter) on a 3-1 pitch, then gave up a two-run HR to a LH-hitter, and then a single to the third batter... didn't get the first out of the inning until pitch #24... for the day he allowed three runs on two hits (including a two-run HR) and a walk before leaving the game with two outs and a runner on 1st base (runner eventually scored when McWilliams relieved Escobar and gave up a two-run HR)... threw 29 pitches (18 strikes- four swing & miss, three on SL - ten foul balls),,, he just could not put hitters away (hence all of the foul balls), and the hitters (especially the LH-hitters) squared him up pretty good when the ball was pout into play... Escobar was on the bubble coming into Spring Training so his performance in Cactus League games actually matters a lot, but looking at his body of work so far this spring, he is clearly not going to make the Cubs Opening Day 26-man roster... so the question with Escobar at this point is, does he have an Opening Day opt-out (he probably does, because he spent many years pitching in Japan), and if he has one, will he exercise it?... or the Cubs might even just release him...    

SAM McWILLIAMS
FB: 94-96
SL: 85-86 
COMMENT: Came over to Sloan Park from the minor league backfields for the day... relieved Edwin Escobar with a runner at 1st base and two outs in the top of the 8th, and proceeded to surrender a two-run HR on a 1-1 SL.. McWilliams was an NRI at MLB Spring Training but was sent to Minor League Camp last week, and now it is just a matter of whether he makes the AAA Iowa Cubs Opening Day bullpen, or gets released...   

RICHARD LOVELADY
FB: 90-92
SL: 83-86
COMMENT: Labored through a 26-pitch (19 strikes - four swing & miss) top of the 8th.. allowed a single and a double (a grounder roped down the LF line) to start the inning, then settled in and got a K-swinging on a 90 MPH FB and a 3-U RBI GO to make the score 8-6, then issued a walk on a 3-2 pitch to put runners on the corners and bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate, before getting a K-swinging on a 1-2 SL on pitch #26... threw mostly SL, which is clearly his go-to "out" pitch... the only question with Lovelady right now is, do the Cubs keep him at AAA as "4-A" pitching depth (he has MLB experience with KC and OAK), or just release him?... because there is no way he makes the Cubs Opening Day 26-man roster...    

DANIEL PALENCIA
FB: 96-99
SL/CT: 89-92
CH: 86
COMMENT: Entered the game in top of the 9th with Cubs up 8-6, going for the save... allowed a lead-off line-drive single on his first pitch of the inning (a 98-MPH FB), but then struck out two (both swinging, one on a 1-2 98 MPH FB and the other on a 2-2 99 MPH FB), and finally induced a 3-1 GO to end the game after falling behind in the count 2-0... threw 16 pitches (11 strikes - three swing & miss, all on FB - five foul balls)... Palencia's command comes & goes and he has minor league options available, which is why it is very unlikely that he will make the Cubs 26-man Opening Day roster, but he will be available to ride the "Des Moines - Chicago shuttle" during the course of the 2024 season whenever he might be needed... 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

I think the way it is looking right now (to me), if Jameson Taillon starts the season the 15-day IL (very likely), Justin Steele, Shota Imanaga, Kyle Hendricks, and Jordan Wicks are SP (all locks), Drew Smyly will be the temporary #5 SP, Javier Assad and Hayden Wesneski will be the multi-inning bulk guys, and Adbert Alzolay, Julian Merryweather, Hector Neris, Mark Leiter Jr, Luke Little, and Jose Cuas will be the one-inning relievers (although Cuas can throw two innings if needed). Then once Taillon is reinstated, Smyly will replace either Wesneski or Little in the pen (with Wesneski or Little getting optioned to Iowa to make room for Taillon on the 26-man roster). 

As far as position players are concerned, Yan Gomes and Miguel Amaya are the catchers (locks), Ian Happ (LF), Cody Bellinger (CF), Seiya Suzuki (RF), and Mike Tauchman (4th OF) are the outfielders (locks), and Michael Busch (1B), Nico Hoerner (2B), Dansby Swanson (SS), and Christopher Morel (3B) are the infielders (all locks), with Miles Mastrobuoni (likely but not quite a lock) the back-up 2B-SS-3B-LF, late inning & extra inning PR, and late-inning defensive replacement for Morel when the Cubs are protecting a lead, Garrett Cooper (likely) as the primary RH DH and starts at 1B against tough LHSP and can also play corner OF, and Patrick Wisdom (somewhat likely) as a back-up 1B-3B-LF-RF and RH DH if Cooper is playing 1B, or David Bote (possibly) instead of Wisdom since Bote can play all four infield positions (plus LF) and not just 1B-3B. The Cubs are already paying Bote $5M in 2024 ($3M AAV hit) to play in AAA, so they probably would be fine with adding him back to the 40 and the 26-man roster.  

Nick Madrigal will likely be optioned to AAA as soon as he's back from the hamstring injury (and he played in a game at Minor League Camp on Friday), and so he will be at Iowa in case the Morel experiment doesn't work. And and if it doesn't work out, Madrigal would probably get called up and (probably) Wisdom (or Bote, if Bote is on the 26-man roster instead of Wisdom) would be optioned to AAA (Madrigal, Wisdom, and Bote have usable minor league options available, while Cooper and Tauchman do not). 

We actually saw something very much like this lineup on Sunday: 

TYPICAL PROJECTED CUBS LINEUP:
1. Happ, LF 
2. Suzuki, RF
3. Bellinger, LF 
4. Morel, 3B 
5. Swanson, SS 
6. Busch, 1B 
7. Hoerner, 2B
8. Cooper/Tauchman, DH  
9. Gomes/Amaya, C 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

In my opinion, the biggest "affirmative" mistake the Cubs made in the off-season (that is, doing something they should not have done), was blowing $9M in 2024 AAV on Hector Neris. What the Cubs actually need is an alternate closer to be in the pen and available to close if Alzolay pitched the day before (David Robertson would have been perfect), because with his forearm issue last September, I would be VERY wary of over-using Alzolay. I'm not even sure I would pitch him two days in a row!  

And of course what the Cubs REALLY need is a second TOR SP to pair with Justin Steele. That's where the Cubs are going to need to be willing to package prospects (like the Padres did to acquire Dylan Cease, the Orioles did to acquire Corbin Burnes, and the Dodgers did to acquire Tyler Glasnow). Obviously those ships have sailed, but I would say right now the Cubs need to look very hard at trying to acquire LHSP Jesus Luzardo from the Marlins (and maybe LHP A. J. Puk as well). 

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

Childersb3: Both Madrigal and Wisdom can be optioned without any restriction. Their consent is not required. 

They both can be outrighted without restriction, too (presuming the player is not claimed off waivers), but if outrighted they can choose to elect free agency (immediately, or deferred until after the end of the MLB season).

If the player is outrighted and elects free-agency immediately he forfeits what remains of his salary.

If he accepts the assignment and defers free agency until after the conclusion of the season, he continues to get his salary, and he could be added back to the 40 anytime prior to becoming a free-agent (club option). 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

I love the idea that Madrigal heads to Iowa in case Morel can’t handle third.

The one point that intrigues me here is Cooper over Smith. I feel like the Cubs really like Smith and don’t want to lose him. Could be wrong. He def seems like an opt out if he misses the opening day roster

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

DJL: The only players who definitely have opt outs are Cooper, Edwards, and Peralta (Opening Day, 5/1, and 6/1), and that's because they are post-2023 Article XX-B MLB free agents who signed 2024 minor league contracts and (by rule) they get those opt outs automatically. 

Otherwise, any player signed to a 2024 minor league contract - MIGHT or - MIGHT NOT - have an opt out in their contract, but it is an individual thing, and if there are contractual opt outs the opt out(s) might not necessarily be Opening Day. It could be 5/1, or 6/1, or 7/1 (TBD).

Because of their extensive pro experience, the players who most-likely have contractual opt outs are Alfaro, Escobar, and D. Smith, but (again), not necessarily Opening Day. 

Also, just because a player has the right to opt out doesn't mean he will. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

The actual deadline to select a post-2023 Article XX-B MLB free agent signed to 2024 minor league contract (Cooper, Edwards, and Peralta) to the MLB 40-man roster is not MLB Opening Day, it is 12 PM (Eastern) this coming Sunday (3/24). 

However, the Cubs could notify the player prior to the deadline that the player is not going to get added to the 40 on Sunday, which would allow the player to opt out early. Otherwise the player can opt out anytime after the Sunday deadline (if he was not added to the 40 by that time). 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the Cubs pitcher reports from Tuesday night's Diamondbacks game at Sloan Park in Mesa:

KYLE HENDRICKS
FB: 86-89
SL: 79-82 
CH: 79-82
CV: 72-75
COMMENT: Breezed through the first four innings (57 pitches - 37 strikes - six swing & miss, one on FB, two on CH, two on SL, and one on CV), allowing two harmless singles, no walks and striking out three (two swinging)... FB velo was consistently 88-89 and he was commanding all of his secondaries... then the fifth inning happened, and Hendricks surrendered two singles and three doubles and was unable to retire the side despite throwing 27 pitches... his FB velo dipped to 86-87 and he started hanging his secondaries.. clearly the Cubs wanted Hendricks to get his pitch count up to 80 (which he did), because even though he was clearly gassed at pitch #60, he continued to labor through the inning... it was hard to watch... 

HAYDEN WESNESKI
FB: 94-95
CT: 88-91
SL: 79-82
COMMENT: Relieved Hendricks with two outs and a runner at 2nd base in the of the 5th, and got an F-9 FO to end the inning... then he came back out for the 6th and threw a shutout inning, allowing a one-out single that was erased on a slick 3-6-3 DP that was started and finished by Michael Busch (who is one fine first-baseman, BTW)... threw 14 pitches (only 8 strikes, however, and only one swing & miss, on a FB)... I actually thought he would throw at least parts of three innings or maybe even finish the game, but that clearly was not the plan...

LUKE LITTLE
FB: 95-98
CT: 91 
SL: 83 
COMMENT: Worked the 8th, and it was another dominant 1-2-3 inning for Little (K-swinging on an 0-2 98 MPH FB, 4-3 GO on a CT, and K-swinging on a CT)... D'backs hitters took some really ugly emergency hacks trying to hit his high-octane gas... he threw 15 pitches (12 strikes - 5 swing & miss!)... 

COLTEN BREWER
FB: 94-95
CH: 87
SL: 80-82
COMMENT: Struck out the side 1-2-3 in the 8th (all three swinging, one on CH, two on SL)... threw 12 pitches (9 strikes - five swing & miss!).. hopefully Brewer does not have an opt out, because he would be a really nice RHRP to stash at AAA... 
 
JOE NAHAS
FB: 91-93
SL: 82-85
CV: 78-81
COMMENT: Came over from Minor League Camp and worked a scoreless 9th (17 pitches - only nine strikes - no swing & miss)... allowed a single, issued a walk, and uncorked a WP... batters made hard contact, he couldn't put hitters away, displayed poor command, and didn't throw strikes consistently...  

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the Cubs pitcher reports from Friday's Giants (ss) and Cubs (ss) game at Sloan Park in Mesa:  

JUSTIN STEELE
FB: 89-90
CT: 86-88
SL: 82 
CH: 81
CV: 79
COMMENT: Got the start in preparation for his Opening Day assignment in Texas next Thursday... worked a scoreless top of the 1st inning, with the lead-off hitter reaching on an HBP, before a 6-4-3 DP, and then an F-8 FO for the third out... first batter in the top of the second laced a come-backer off Steele's left knee that resulted in an infield hit... Steele was knocked to the ground and he was clearly writhing in pain... after a couple of minutes he left the field under his own power and he had no difficulty negotiating the two steps down onto the dugout... he threw 14 pitches (only 8 strikes & no swing & miss) and did not look particularly sharp during the course of the unexpectedly short outing... FB velo was clearly down and his command seemed a bit off before he left the game...  

JOSE ROMERO
FB: 92-95
SL: 82-83
COMMENT One of several pitchers from Minor League Camp who were assigned to the split squad games, Romero relieved Steele "cold" and pitched out of a bases loaded / no outs jam, getting three outs (a K-looking, a P-5, and a 1-3 come-backer) on 14 pitches (9 strikes - two swing & miss, one on FB and one on SL) after a throwing error by first-baseman Cody Bellinger on an attempted 3-6 FC and a walk... 

HAYDEN WESNESKI:
FB: 92-95
CT: 88 
SL: 79-83
COMMENT: Entered the game at the start of the top of the third inning... hit a batter with his third pitch of the inning, then got a three-pitch K-swinging on a SL and an F-9 FO two pitches later... he then issued a four pitch walk... he should have been out of the inning on pitch # 14, but catcher Yan Gomes overran what should have been the final out (a high pop up behind home plate that Gomes missed by five feet)... the batter ripped a single to RF two pitches later, and even then it should have been the third out, except Gomes was unable to handle a short-hop throw home from right-fielder Cole Roederer that would have been the third out... so the run scored and the runners advanced to 2nd & 3rd... Wesneski seemed to lose his focus after that, throwing only six strikes among his next 15 pitches, issuing two walks (one was a bases-loaded walk) and allowing a two-run single before being relieved with two outs and runners on the corners... for the day he threw 32 pitches (15 strikes - but only one swing & miss, and that was on a SL)... so in summary, he really should have been out of the inning twice (once on pitch # 14 and again on pitch # 16), but when the inning did not end, he seemed to lose focus and maybe fall apart a bit...    

CAM SANDERS
FB: 92-95
SL/CT: 86-89 
CH: 85 
CV: 79 
COMMENT: Relieved Wesneskl with two outs and two runners on base in the top of the third and immediately threw seven consecutive balls, before finally throwing a strike and then getting the third out one pitch later on a 4-3 GO on a 3-1 pitch... also worked the 4th inning and continued to struggle, surrendering two singles around an F-8 FO... FB velo was significantly down from what it was in February when it was 95-97 and command also seems to be MIA... threw 1.1 IP (20 pitches - only 9 strikes - no swing & miss)... 

LUKE LITTLE
FB: 94-97
SL: 80-83 
COMMENT: Came into the game to start the 5th and it was not good.. Issued a walk to the lead-off hitter on the seventh pitch of the AB, then surrendered a two-run HR on the next pitch after the walk, and then two consecutive singles.,. he did get an out on a K-swinging on a SL, but then issued a walk to load the bases with one out (both of the last two batters he faced had seven-pitch AB)... needed 26 pitches to get the one out (14 strikes - three swing & miss)... certainly not anything like his previous super-dominant one inning outings... it was strange to see hitters consistently square-up his FB...     

CHRIS CLARKE
FB: 90-93
SL: 81-84
COMMENT: Relieved Little with one out and bases loaded in the top of the 5th and immediately walked in a run, before inducing an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP five pitches after the walk... threw a shutout 6th inning, although he did surrender a one-out double before retiring the side on a K-looking and an F-7 FO... threw 23 pitches over the course of the 1.1 IP (13 strikes - two swing & miss, both on FB)... 

RILEY MARTIN
FB: 92-95 
SL: 83-86
CV: 80-82 
COMMENT: Threw two scoreless & hitless innings (7th & 8th) ... did issue a walk on a 3-2 SL with two outs in the top of the 7th, but otherwise was very effective despite throwing only two out of seven first-pitch strikes... threw 34 pitches (19 strikes - three swing & miss, all on FB) to get the six outs... everything he threw had more life and FB velo was better than the last time he pitched at Sloan about a month ago... works VERY fast which helps keep batters a bit off-balance...  

JOE NAHAS
FB: 92-94
SL/CT: 85-87
CV: 79-80
COMMENT: Worked a scoreless 9th (20 pitches - only 10 strikes - only one swing & miss)... got the first two outs easily (a 4-3 GO and a K-swinging on an 0-2 SL/CT) before surrendering a single on a 3-0 pitch and issuing a walk after falling behind 3-1... then got the third out on an F-8... FB velo was up a tick from last Tuesday night... however, he threw only ten strikes among his twenty pitches (that's only 50% strikes folks) and he threw a first-pitch strike to only one of the five hitters he faced (and that one time ended up a three-pitch strikeout)...  

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the pitcher reports from Saturday's Brewers - Cubs game at Sloan Park in Mesa: 

BEN BROWN
FB: 94-97 - T-98
CV: 84-87
COMMENT: Got the start and retired the first seven men he faced (4-3 GO, P-4, K-looking, K-swinging, F-7 FO, K-looking, and a 4-3 GO)... eventually threw four innings of two-hit shutout ball (56 pitches - 32 strikes - five K-swinging, all five on CV), allowing a one-out nine-pitch walk and a two-out infield single in the 3rd and a hard-hit ball off the LF fence on pitch # 47 in the top of the 4thj (batter was thrown out by LF Mike Tauchman trying to stretch hit into a double, a brilliant defensive play by Tauchman)... other than throwing only 57% strikes and throwing a first-pitch strike to only half of the hitters he faced, this was about as good as any Cubs SP has looked so far, except Brown will be starting games at AAA Iowa (at least for a while -- command / pitch efficiency still need polish)...   

YENCY ALMONTE
FB: 92-93
SL: 80
COMMENT: Threw a 10-pitch (8 strikes - two swing & miss) top of the 5th (3-1 GO, 5-3 GO, K-swinging on a 1-2 SL)... once again, Almonte is out of minor league options, and if he isn't sent outright to the minors by 4/26 he cannot be sent to the minors without his consent beginning on that date... 

KEEGAN THOMPSON
FB: 90-93 
CT: 87
CV: 78 
COMMENT: Worked a 10-pitch (eight strikes - one swing & miss on a FB) top of the 6th... got two quick outs on a hard-hit L-8 and a 3-1 GO before allowing a monster solo HR to CF by Gary Sanchez on a 0-1 92 MPH FB, then got an inning-ending P-6 on the next pitch... threw strikes but gave up some hard contact... his stuff is still not back to where it was in 2022... he will have a season ticket on the Des Moines - Chicago shuttle in 2024 (if he isn't traded)...  

DANIEL PALENCIA
FB: 96-99
SL/CT: 89-92 
CH: 88 
COMMENT: Like K. Thompson, Palencia has already been optioned to AAA Iowa, so he was brought over to the stadium from the basckfields just for the day... entered the game in the top of the 7th with Cubs down 1-0... walked the first man faced and surrendered a single on a 2-2 pitch to start the inning, then induced a soft-contract 1-3 come-backer that advanced the runners to 2nd & 3rd, and a soft-contact 5-2 FC with the runner on third thrown out at the plate by third-baseman Jake Slaughter... then beginning on pitch # 20 he gave up successive hard-contact base hits (an RBI double on a 97 MPH FB, a two-run single on a 89 MPH SL, and a single on a 98 MPH FB)... threw 29 pitches (17 strikes - only one swing & miss, which was on a SL)... at first he couldn't throw strikes, then he couldn't put hitters away, and even with a high velo FB and hard SL on display there was just too much hard contact once he got deeper into the inning... there are a lot of yellow flags with Palencia, especially with respect to what his best role is (certainly NOT a SP, probably not a closer either, so then ????)... despite the high ceiling, I don't think the Cubs would be particularly averse to including him in a prospect package...   

BLAKE WHITNEY
FB: 93 
CT: 88-90 
CH: 85
SL: 80-83  
COMMENT Relieved Palencia with two runners on base and two outs in the top of the 7th and proceeded to surrender a two-run single on an 0-2 pitch... retired the side on a K-looking... threw eight pitches (seven strikes - three swinging)... he was just moved down from AAA to AA at Minor League Camp and he will be a minor league 6YFA post-2024, so his future with the Cubs is a bit murky at this time...  

RICHARD LOVELADY
FB: 91-92
CH: 87-88
SL: 83-85
COMMENT: Worked deliberately through a 21-pitch (12 strikes- four swing & miss, three on a SL and one on a FB ) scoreless 8th... allowed a lead-off single and a one-out walk but got out of the inning with a P-5 and a 3-2 K-swinging on a 92 MPH FB... he will be the Opening Day # 3 LHRP at AAA behind Luke Little and Edwin Escobar (or # 2 if Little makes the Cubs Opening Day roster)...   

BLAKE WEIMAN
FB: 90-92
CH: 85 
SL: 77-79
COMMENT: Worked the 9th and allowed a run on a one-out triple and a FC RBI... threw 16 pitches (12 strikes - one swing & miss on a SL)... lots of hard contact, because he clearly doesn't fool hitters with his stuff... there is no room for him at Iowa... 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Here are the Cubs pitchers reports from Monday afternoons's Cardinals - Cubs game at Sloan Park:  

JORDAN WICKS
FB: 91-93
CT: 88-90
SL: 80-81 
CH: 79-82
CV: 77
COMMENT: Pitched four innings and allowed just one run, although there was traffic on the bases in both the first and second innings (a walk and a double with two outs in the top of the 1st, and a lead-off four-pitch walk and two singles resulting in a run scoring in the 2nd)... retired the last eight batters he faced (F-9, F-9, F-7, F-8, K-swinging on a CH, 5-3 GO, K-swinging on a CH, and 5-3 GO... lost a tick off his FB velo in the 4th, but that's when he started throwing a higher percentage of strikes and began getting ground balls, so perhaps he has better command when he starts to tire?... faced 17 batters but threw a first-pitch strike to only seven of them... Pitches-per-Inning: 1ST: 24 pitches (13 strikes, no swing & miss) - 2ND: 15 pitches (8 strikes, no swing & miss) - 3RD: 14 pitches (9 strikes - three swing & miss, one on CH and two on FB) - 4TH: 16 (10 strikes - three swing & miss, two on CH and one on CT)... so he threw 69 pitches over the course of the four innings, but only 40 strikes (only 58% strikes)...  so I guess it looks like Steele starts the 2024 opener at Texas on Thursday, then after a day off on Friday Hendricks goes on Saturday, Wicks on Sunday, and Imanaga starts the home opener versus Colorado on Monday, and Assad goes on Tuesday?)....  

DREW SMYLY
FB: 92-94 
SL: 80-82 
CV: 77-80
COMMENT: Threw a 1-2-3 15-pitch (ten strikes - one swing miss) 5th inning (F-8, 4-3 GO, 2-3 "swinging bunt"), as he ramps down from being a SP early in Spring Training to a RP now... and he can't be too happy about it, either, since there is $3M in potential performance bonuses available which are tied to IP (beginning at 110 IP, which he probably will not reach if he works strictly out of the pen in 2024)... 

JOSE CUAS
FB: 91-93
CH: 85-86
SL: 81-83 
COMMENT: Came into the game in the top of the 6th protecting a 3-1 lead and surrendered a game-tying one-out two-run HR to ex-Cub Willson Contreras on a 2-1 FB... otherwise nibbled his way through the inning (K-looking, 1B, HR, K-swinging, 3-U)... threw 19 pitches (12 strikes - two swing & miss, one on a FB and one on a SL)...

HECTOR NERIS:
FB: 89-91 
SL: 83 
SPLIT: 78-81
COMMENT: Came into the game in the top of the 7th with the score tied 3-3... allowed a single on his second pitch of the inning and a double on his third pitch... then labored to get an out (an RBI 4-3 GO) on a nine-pitch AB, before surrendering an RBI double on a breaking ball on pitch #16... needed 22 pitches (14 strikes - only one swing & miss - five foul balls) to get the two outs... it isn't that he doesn't throw strikes, it's that his stuff is marginal so he can't put hitters away, and so then it's just a matter of time before he gives up hard contact...   

RICHARD LOVELADY
FB: 91-92 
SL:  84-87
COMMENT: Relieved Neris with a runner at 2nd base and two outs and gave up consecutive singles before finally retiring the side on a K-looking on a 1-2 SL.. needed ten pitches (six strikes - no swing & miss) to get the one out...  

MARK LEITER JR
FB: 89-92 
SPLIT: 85 
CV: 74-75 
COMMENT: Worked the top of the 8th and hurled a ten-pitch (six strikes - two swing & miss, both on FB) 1-2-3 inning (K-swinging on a 3-2 FB, a 6-4 GO, and an F-9)... threw mostly FB... hung a CV that was crushed for a near HR to the warning track in RF to end the inning... unless it hurts to throw it or he is worried that it will, Leiter seems to be holding back throwing his SPLIT until the regular season... Smyly and Leiter are sort of exact opposites, in that Smyly is a LHP who is much tougher on RH-hitters because everything he throws tails way from RH -hitters and into LH-hitters, whike Leiter is a RHP who is tougher on LH -hitters because he has a mediocre FB and SL but he gets swings & misses from lefty hitters with his SPLIT...    

COLTEN BREWER
FB: 94-96
CUT: 92
CH: 86-88
CV: 80-82 
COMMENT: Another 1-2-3 inning for Brewer (4-3 GO, K-swinging on a 3-2 CV, 4-3 GO)... threw 15 pitches (9 strikes - two swing & miss)... Brewer will be one of the mainstays in the AAA Iowa bullpen in 2024, and will likely see The Show before the end of the season... in fact I'd take him over Hector Neris right now...  

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

AZ Phil, speaking of Jordan Wicks having better command when he tires a bit, I remember reading about Dennis Lamp 40 years ago and his sinker that was better after 3 or 4 innings when he would tire a bit and get more sink with a little less speed on the pitch.  The key for Lamp was getting to the 4th inning.

Recent comments

  • crunch (view)

    cade horton with his 2024 AA debut of 4ip 1r/0er 4h 0bb 4k is followed up even better...

    4ip 1h 1bb 5K, 0r/er

    he's still on a pitch count restriction, btw.  he probably could have gone 6+ innings is both outings.

  • crunch (view)

    okay, officially done with hendricks as a starter.

    dunno if counsell is there, but i'm there.

  • Bill (view)

    That pretty well sums up the situation.  Epstein, the media and the fans became obsessed with the concept of a "window of opportunity" that had to be taken advantage of before it closed.  Thus the trade for Quintana, and the trade of Soler for crap.

    The way to deal with a "window of opportunity" is not to sacrifice everything to win, but to extend that window.  Epstein knew that he was having his best players, Rizzo, Baez and Bryant in the same year, with Contreras the following year, at the same time that the pitching staff was growing elderly and on the verge of declining.  A responsible administration would have moved one of the ""core" two years earlier, and a second one the next year, in order to prevent the otherwise necessity of "tanking" when they left at the same time.  they had to know that there was no way they could have all been extended, and still leave room for growth.

    Other than the Dodgers and the Yankees, no team can maintain a consistent level of production without a consistent flow of high ceiling, low cost controlled young players coming up from the farm.  We have lived through the errors of the past, and hopefully have learned enough from them to prevent a reoccurance of it in a few years.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    I think it was pretty clear that practically all of “the core” was going to be gone after the 2021 season and that utterly gutting the farm system to chase a championship with the same guys year after year until they all departed wasn’t going to end well. That was talked about as early as 2017.

    I don’t think it’s hindsight to say they would have been better off from a sustainability standpoint trading some of those pieces for the best prospect packages available and introducing some of the kids. For example, I was hoping real time they would trade Schwarber during the 2016 offseason to an AL team as a DH when the DH was AL only. Fresh off being a WS hero he could have fetched quite a haul. But, alas, he was a member of the vaunted, untouchable “core”.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    What would have surprised me is the Dodgers, who have traditionally been outstanding in evaluating and developing talent, giving away Busch for nothing. They obviously saw something in both of the guys. Perhaps one or both will be future superstars.

    That said, the old cliche is that the level of competition increases ten fold for every level moved up. Ferris and Hope both have a long way to go. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    For now, I’m watching Busch put the team on his shoulders while the presumed offensive star of the team flails and doesn’t seem to have a plan beyond “waiting for the numbers to even out”. 

    I thought it was a good and fair trade at the time - a talented but surplus guy for the Dodgers that filled an immediate need for the Cubs in exchange for potential pieces of the Dodgers future - and I’m awfully glad Busch is a Cub.

  • First.Pitch.120 (view)

    Mostly agree, but I don’t think it was as much “unshakeable faith” as it was a series of unclear choices in the moment that have become obvious with hindsight.  

    The upside outcome for the coming year for any player was always much higher than the return on selling. It was like Texas Hold’em purgatory of having 4 to an A-K led flush…  impossible to get away from. 


     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester (view)

    He works quickly too so all that happened in probably like 4 minutes 

  • crunch (view)

    as of now, zyhir hope is the dodgers #20 prospect on mlb.com (ferris #7).  he made 0 national "top 100" overall lists.  that may be a different story soon enough.

    if hope is not in the team top-10 by year's end i would be shocked.

    i don't know what happened between draft day and a couple months in arizona, but he got the attention of many organizations outside of the cubs when he showed up.

  • crunch (view)

    ...and he takes a comebacker off the knee on pitch 7.  out made, run scored.

    pitch 9 is a 3 run homer.  amazing.

  • crunch (view)

    wade miley (MIL) loads the bases on 5 pitches in the 1st.  that's a special kind of talent.