Eric S 07/12/2019 - 10:12pm (View in context)
That is encouraging. The discouraging thing is the .311 OBP over 212 PA’s when batting 1st in the order this season. Is slugging .508 at that spot though. Still strikes me as a square peg in a round hole.
Eric S 07/12/2019 - 9:57pm (View in context)
Ryan Jensen’s first start: .2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 29 pitches (13 strikes)
Definite room for improvement, but three less walks than Alzolay had tonight ...
bradsbeard 07/12/2019 - 9:44pm (View in context)
Last 8 games coming into today Schwarber had a .368 OBP. These things tend to fluctuate over small samples.
Dolorous Jon Lester 07/12/2019 - 6:52pm (View in context)
Real shame we weren’t able to sign Chambers or Hendrie.
Eric S 07/12/2019 - 5:16pm (View in context)
crunch 07/12/2019 - 5:06pm (View in context)
i dont understand why bote isn't there more often. he plays 2nd well enough and his shortcomings seems to mostly be not adapting to the fact that contreras and baez could throw to you at any moment for any reason, good or bad, and to be on point when either has the ball.
crunch 07/12/2019 - 5:04pm (View in context)
alfred hitchcock over here has a point.
Eric S 07/12/2019 - 5:03pm (View in context)
I’d keep JHey right where he is - he’s in a sweet zone and I don’t want to mess with it. Trade for a stopgap 2nd baseman (Sogard/Villar) and/or outfielder (Peralta?) who can also hit leadoff - move Schwarber down to 6-8. Leadoff needs to be adressed one way or another
Jackstraw 07/12/2019 - 5:00pm (View in context)
Same fucking mistake time after time after time. Caratini scoots to the outside edge to a RH batter, Strop misses outside-er by 6 to 12 inches. Only guy in the league who swings at those pitches is busy playing SS for the Cubs. Strop gets behind, fastball gets rocketed somewhere. Once into the ivy today, the other one estimated at 454 feet.
Watching Caratini/Contreras scoot to outside edge with Strop pitching is like the moment in the horror film when the teenagers grab the candles and matches out of the kitchen drawer and then split up.
Eric S 07/12/2019 - 4:48pm (View in context)
Never a doubt!!!🤪
crunch 07/12/2019 - 4:48pm (View in context)
crunch 07/12/2019 - 4:42pm (View in context)
hate to push his recent and far-too-long-to-get-here sustained success, but he's starting to look like a whole lot more valid leadoff guy than the current favorite.
Eric S 07/12/2019 - 4:37pm (View in context)
JHey with the answer!!
crunch 07/12/2019 - 4:24pm (View in context)
MLB.tv is free this weekend (including tonight).
local blackout b/s appies.
George Altman 07/12/2019 - 4:21pm (View in context)
......and, you can close my book on the Pedro Strop era. Recall......or trade for....anyone else.
Eric S 07/12/2019 - 4:20pm (View in context)
Wish I could say it was shocking. Schwarber hitting into the dp ... knew it would bite them.
Walking Bryan Reynolds with two outs - ridiculous
crunch 07/12/2019 - 4:18pm (View in context)
you gotta be f'n kidding me.
Eric S 07/12/2019 - 3:39pm (View in context)
I was surprised to see Schwarber is actually on the higher end of average number of pitches seen per at bat but it’s not enough to offset the low on-base etc. He doesn’t make opposing pitchers uneasy at the plate or on the basepaths. Time travel and get 2016 Dexter back please.
crunch 07/12/2019 - 3:32pm (View in context)
after getting off to a hot start hitting leadoff, schwarb has been sub-.300 ob% quality there for a month or so.
him not being on base for rizzo/bryant/baez slugging isn't the major pressing issue with the lineup, though.
George Altman 07/12/2019 - 3:29pm (View in context)
Ok, I'm convinced. There has to be some bat at Iowa that can better Decalso's wRC+ of 51.
Eric S 07/12/2019 - 3:22pm (View in context)
Somebody wake Theo up. Evidently, Descalso is STILL on the roster. Amazing
Also, Cubs bats still on the All Star break 👎
Mike Wellman 07/12/2019 - 12:48pm (View in context)
And TG is back in play again...https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/07/royals-desi...
Mike Wellman 07/12/2019 - 12:45pm (View in context)
FWIW, Happ has been fine if not flashy in CF this year, his primary position...
Arizona Phil 07/12/2019 - 11:45am (View in context)
LHRP Xavier Cedeno has started a new (fresh) Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab assignment, this time with AZL Cubs #2. Because he was inactive for at least seven days after the previous Rehab Assignment at AA Tennessee was halted, there is a reset, and so he could spend up to 30 days on the new assignment.
Arizona Phil 07/12/2019 - 11:14am (View in context)
I have mentioned this here before, but keep in mind that Ben Zobrist must be reinstated from the Restricted List prior to midnight on 8/31 in order to be eligible to play in the post-season. So even if he has not rejoined the club, the Cubs might reinstate Zobrist prior to midnight on 8/31 just to keep him eligible to play in the post-season, but if they do that, he must be paid, and that will cost the Cubs about $2M. So the Cubs really need to know what Zobrist's plans are by 8/31.
And if the Cubs do reinstate Zobrist from the Restricted List on 8/31, Daniel Descalso is the most-likely candidate to get removed from the 40 to make room for Zobrist (presuming Descalso hasn't already been removed from the 40 by that point in time).
Arizona Phil 07/12/2019 - 10:45am (View in context)
seamer: With Jacob Hannemann and Wynton Bernard having been released, Roberto Caro and Zach Davis (both now at AA after Z. Davis got promoted from Myrtle Beach yesterday) are really the only two in-house September "5th OF / PR" candidates.
Both Caro and Z. Davis are fast and steal a lot of bases, although Caro is a much better defensive OF than Z. Davis (Caro can play all three OF positions while Z. Davis is limited to LF-CF because of a below-average arm). Caro could conceivably have an MLB career as a 4th or 5th OF, especially starting next season when MLB active rosters will be expanded from 25 to 26 and the 26th man cannot be a pitcher.
If either were to be added to the 40 in September, it's very unlikely he would survive the off-season on the 40. The Cubs just have too many Rule 5 Draft-eligible players they will have to protect. So a September call-up for either of them would be like the Cubs adding Terrence Gore or Quintin Berry in previous seasons. Strictly a seasonal temp job.
Eric S 07/12/2019 - 9:13am (View in context)
Cubs 2019 first round pick RHP Ryan Jensen scheduled to make his first minor league start tonight for the Eugene Emeralds
seamer 07/12/2019 - 8:30am (View in context)
And another true CF gone from the org. Guess they must be comfortable with Donnie Dewees defensively if there's an injury to one of the only two actual OF on the 25.
JustSayin' 07/12/2019 - 6:55am (View in context)
Cubs = Astros on technology, agreed. The problem is off-field management. The main qualification of the Cubs' director of talent acquisition and development is that he's a crony of Theo's. The main qualification of their minor league pitching coordinator is that he's been around. Looking at the Boston Red Sox today, you can see that the reason for their success this century is the dedication of their ownership and willingness to spend a lot of money. They won with Theo. They have won just as much without him. The Cubs have an unbalanced farm system which is the result of many years of pitcher-heavy drafting and extra low-level teams funneling too many bodies into the standard number of full-season teams. This is not working, as player development results and third-party ratings farm system attest. It's a problem of human mismanagement, not technology.
Arizona Phil 07/12/2019 - 12:20am (View in context)
FirstPitch.120: It was Dave McKay (hired as Cubs 1st base coach & outfield instructor in 2012) who helped improve Soriano's defense in LF.
Arizona Phil 07/11/2019 - 9:16pm (View in context)
The deadline for the Cubs to sign their ten remaining unsigned draft picks from last month's MLB First-Year Player Draft is tomorrow (Friday) at 5 PM Eastern.
The eight players selected after pick #32 probably won't sign (and that was the case the day they were drafted), but 10th round pick C Wyatt Hendrie and 11th round pick SS Mack Chambers III (both JC freshmen) are still very much in play.
The Cubs have about $25,000 left-over in their SBP that can be used to pay over-slot bonuses to Hendrie and/or Chambers.
Arizona Phil 07/11/2019 - 9:03pm (View in context)
Robin Young moving from SS to CF (after he was already an established MLB SS) was probably one the more-successful ones.
Shawon Dunston Sr moved from SS to CF late in his career, but a lot of people thought that Dunston should have been a CF from the start. With his speed, arm, and ability to track fly balls, he could have been a Gold Glove-caliber CF.
Arizona Phil 07/11/2019 - 8:56pm (View in context)
FirstPitch.120. The Cubs have the same advanced 21st century cutting-edge baseball technologies the Astros have. The difference is the Cubs still value in-person scouting. There is stuff you can learn about a player only by being there and observing pre-game BP, infield practice, etc, and interactions between players and interactions between players and the coaching and training staff.
The Astros weren't the only team to eliminate one of their DSL teams. The New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays also cut back from two DSL teams to one in the last couple of years. And the Astros eliminating their Greeneville (Appalachian League) affiliate would be like the Cubs eliminating their second AZL team. I guess it comes down to whether having extra teams in the DSL and rookie ball translate to developing more MLB-ready players. It's possible that the Cubs might decide at some point that having two DSL teams is just not productive.
I can remember a Cubs front-office person telling me more than ten years ago that the main reason they wanted a second Latin rookie team was in case they had two Latin hot-shot prospects who played the same position (like SS, C, CF) and they wanted both of them to get regular playing time at their "natural" position but neither was ready for the AZL. Another reason that came into play in the last few years was the Cubs being in the "penalty box" as far as signing J-2 international free-agents, and so casting a very wide-net and giving try-outs and signing dozens of free-agents for $10,000 and then letting them develop at the Cubs Dominican Academy and in the DSL might justify having two DSL teams, even though it has produced a fairly low return on the investment.
I do know that one of the reasons (in fact the main reason) the Cubs established a second team in the AZL is because they wanted two teams available instead of just one for rehabbing players, A player on a minor league injured list cannot go on a roster-exempt rehab assignment with another full-season club. Prior to mid-June players on minor league injured lists can only rehab (and play in games) at Extended Spring Training, and then after the short-season leagues begin play in mid-June, players on the injured lists of the four full-season affiliates can only rehab (play in games as roster-exempt players) with short-season affiliates excluding DSL teams (which for the Cubs would be Eugene, AZL Cubs #1, and AZL Cubs #2), with a maximum of three minor leaguers rehabbing with each short-season affiliate at any one time.
By adding the second AZL team the Cubs can have as many as nine players who are on minor league injured lists on roster-exempt rehab assignments (playing in games) at the same time, including six (combined) between the two AZL teams. Also having two AZL teams makes it easier for the Cubs to initially start all of their draft picks in Mesa before moving some of them up to Eugene while others remain in Mesa based in part on how they perform in AZL games (which is part of the Cubs Way).
One thing the Cubs probably do better than any other MLB organization is rehab & conditioning. The Cubs have a state-of-the-art rehab & conditioning facility in Mesa, and that's why they can attract free-agents (mainly pitchers, like Smyly, Graveman, and Hultzen) who are rehabbing from serious injuries. And having two AZL teams available for the rehabbers is part of that process.
Arizona Phil 07/11/2019 - 7:36pm (View in context)
The Cubs have released RHRP Junichi Tazawa and OF Wynton Bernard.
bradsbeard 07/11/2019 - 5:15pm (View in context)
I realize he had a poor reputation and looked silly when he hopped, but advanced metrics loved Soriano’s OF defense some years, less so in others. He had a lot of leg injuries which I think hobbled him and then he got better again when Theo’s regime took over.
crunch 07/11/2019 - 4:22pm (View in context)
"Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reports teams have "reached out" to the Marlins about trading for Starlin Castro. "
he's owed like 5-6m for the rest of the season and slashing .245/.272/.336
Charlie 07/11/2019 - 2:16pm (View in context)
I guess you exclude Soriano from the conversation if you decide to exclude infielders who were not already good defensively (in which case you exclude Happ, Schwarber, BJ Upton, and the vast majority of shorstops who have transitioned to the outfield) or if you want to limit it to just shortstops. Not every scout seems convinced that Hoerner would stick at SS, so including former 2Bs in the mix makes sense to me.
Dolorous Jon Lester 07/11/2019 - 10:31am (View in context)
Happ swings at plenty of balls in the dirt. Swings through a hell of a lot of pitches in the zone too.
This isn’t a defense of Almora by the way. Never been a fan ever since we drafted him. He’s an excellent defender. But so is Connor Myers. I don’t know if Connor is even gonna sniff AAA.
VirginiaPhil 07/11/2019 - 9:27am (View in context)
Not sure what Soriano has to do with the question of who can play the outfield. He never played an inning at shortstop, probably for the good of baseball. Anybody can play left field or first base. Adam Dunn played both positions. The next least vital fielding position is second base. That's where Dan Uggla played. Daniel Murphy has been "comfortable" there, in a manner of speaking. Soriano played second and left, which is all one needs to know about him as a defender.
Bote seems to be able to play any infield position. He's beaten the odds and become a real major leaguer. Happ, on the other hand, is a left fielder, although he's better than average there and can squeak by occasionally in center and at second.
I love Almora gliding around the outfield, but he's been a major disappointment. His OBP is .286. (Descalso's is .285.) Almora could have turned this season around for the Cubs by becoming a useful hitter. They lost 91 games in 2011 so they could draft him #6.
So yeah, put Hoerner in center and bat him first. As a shortstop, he's probably a better outfielder than Happ or Zagunis, although both of those could help the team as well, because they get on base. Unlike Almora, they don't like to swing at breaking balls in the dirt.
crunch 07/11/2019 - 8:49am (View in context)
im positive it was bj upton. he was part of a "very memorable" young crew of kids in AAA along with delmon young and elijah dukes. bj managed to not get in trouble with them, though. it was quite the off-field newsworthy team along with the on-field craziness they got into (throwing bats, threatening umps/coaches/fans, etc).
in the majors he did hop around SS/2nd/3rd a little bit for a few years, but not much. bj played 16 major league games at SS and he made 7 errors doing it.
First.Pitch.120 07/11/2019 - 8:45am (View in context)
I wonder if the successful transition is more a function of the organization than the player. Obviously, these guys are all gifted athletes, but what was the support in teaching the OF, correct defensive positioning, etc.? I recall the positioning issue having a big impact on Dexter Fowler's actual/perceived effectiveness. And I seem to remember a story about Soriano where after a number of years in the OF for the Cubs, somebody realized that nobody ever taught him how to play outfield (hyperbole on my part, but that was the gist). When WASH had Soriano for a year, did somebody just think "oh that guy is fast & can cover enough ground in LF. Let's stick him out there."?
First.Pitch.120 07/11/2019 - 8:36am (View in context)
AZ PHIL: From your perspective, what does that difference between the Cubs & HOU mean? If anything... is CHC missing the boat? Does HOU have resource limitations that prompted the reallocation? (I wouldn't imagine so) Are you aware of public or of-the-record statements about CHC philosphy in expanding low level affiliates?
Wrigley Rat 07/10/2019 - 10:06pm (View in context)
Outstanding artlcle! Well worth the time!
Arizona Phil 07/10/2019 - 10:01pm (View in context)
The Houston Astros have the fewest number of scouts (less than 20) in MLB and they eliminated two of their minor league affilates (DSL Astros #2 and SS-R Greeneville) after the 2017 season just as the Cubs were hiring more scouts (the Cubs now have 67) and were adding two affiliates (DSL Cubs #2 and AZL Cubs #2).
bradsbeard 07/10/2019 - 8:47pm (View in context)
Alex Gordon is another in the success column, although he didn’t play CF.
bradsbeard 07/10/2019 - 8:46pm (View in context)
Pretty sure Upton spent a year or two in the majors at SS/2B (though he wasn’t great there). You might be thinking of Justin Upton?
crunch 07/10/2019 - 6:46pm (View in context)
it's weird cuz happ looked really good in CF last year, and he got a decent amount of time out there.
this year he looked like he's never done it.
schwarber in LF...great dude, but he's DH/1st bound for someone at some at some point before too long. even at his best he's barely average.
Charlie 07/10/2019 - 6:35pm (View in context)
These are good! I disagree about Soriano, and I'm unsure about Desmond. but Upton and Betts are for sure prominent success stories. I had completely forgotten that Betts didn't start out in the OF. Gonna wait and see on Senzel.
My impression with Happ and Schwarber, and before them Soriano and Javy in his very few OF appearances, has been that these guys can't seem to make up for the repetitions that allow players to be good defensive outfielders. But there's a lot of recency bias in that judgment.
crunch 07/10/2019 - 6:23pm (View in context)
bj upton was one of the worst minor league SS i've ever seen in my life. i have no idea how he made it all the way to AAA still playing SS.
bradsbeard 07/10/2019 - 6:08pm (View in context)
Mookie Betts, Nick Senzel, Ian Desmond, BJ Upton, Alfonso Soriano. To varying degrees of success, but those guys mostly transitioned at the MLB level. I imagine a lot more guys have successfully made the switch in the minors, as lots of players are drafted as SS but don’t stick there.