Saturday, July 31, 2004

X-Mas in July:

Today is the day, where MLB teams can either acquire players that will lead them to the promised land or can lead them to not making it to the post-season while giving up a top prospect that becomes an All-Star while making league minimum.

Right now, the name of on most Cubs fans list in Nomar. There are still rumors floating around via the Sun Times "The Cubs continued Friday to talk to the Boston Red Sox about shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, but the feeling remains that it would be an upset of major proportions if the sides reach an agreement today... Hendry also is having discussions with the Detroit Tigers about closer Ugueth Urbina and with the Pittsburgh Pirates about closer Jose Mesa... The Cubs' chances to make a deal today with the Montreal Expos to get shortstop Orlando Cabrera remain greater than their shot to hook Garciaparra and reel him in." and the Boston Globe "Industry sources were still telling the Globe last night the Sox may do something, and certainly will do something in August when waivers are required to make a deal. The Sox were still pursuing minor moves, including a deal for San Diego outfielder Jay Payton. Another industry source indicated talks with the Cubs -- Nomar Garciaparra for righthander Matt Clement -- may be revived.". Also included is the Providence Journal ""The Sox fielded a number of calls from teams interested in obtaining lefty Jon Lester, the club's second-round pick from 2002... The Chicago Cubs continue to press the Red Sox for Nomar Garciaparra, but GM Theo Epstein doesn't believe that Matt Clement is nearly enough value in return. There's little in the way of bullpen help available, but the Sox will continue until 4 p.m. today." and the Boston Herald "Eyebrows were raised and the media was on anticipation overdrive and heightened alert after seeing Nomar Garciaparra wasn't in the Red Sox lineup last night against the Minnesota Twins. Rumors have persisted about the shortstop being dealt to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for pitcher Matt Clement.".

The concept of getting Nomar is a long-shot, I would like to say a 5% chance of that happening, I don't think the Cubs are comfortable giving up Clement and putting Rusch in the 5th spot. The main point would be a what if scenario, if another SP went down, would Mitre take over, Guzman, Brownlie added to the 40 man roster? Dempster is being groomed in relief, Wellemeyer is being groomed likewise, Leicester is a possibility which might be asking too much from him.

Another name is Orlando Cabrera, which looks like it would take less to get him, but there likely won't be a dranatic improvent offensively, despite the Cubs expecting a Barrett-like rebound. Also, a source closer to the situation than I, mentioned that Montreal is likely still looking at Pie or Guzman at this stage. We'll see between now and 3PM (CST), but the Cubs aren't going to do that.

Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald mentioned in an article on how if the Cubs do not acquire a SS, they should consider giving Grudzielanek some reps at SS for the offensive improvement. This has been something I wanted to try since the Cubs did sign walker as a FA, I think any defensive drop-off from AGone to Grudz would more than be made up for by the offensive improvement especially with OBP at the top of the order.

Here is my X-Mas in July wish list:

(writing in crayon)
Dear Hendry,

Please go after Joe Mesa and Matt Stairs, they are both older and cheaper veterans who would fill the roles of Closer and LH bench type respectively. I also want the Cubs to try Mark Grudzielanek at SS. This way the Cubs could fill some key holes on the roster and not give up any potential key pieces in the future.



Minor League Notes:

" ... 2. Brian Dopirak, 1b, Low Class A Lansing (Cubs) The Midwest League leader in hits (118), home runs (31) and RBIs (86) has quickly established himself as one of the top power prospects in the game, with 20 home runs and 54 RBIs in his last 50 games. "

" ... Brandon Sing ... is just five home runs away from breaking the Florida State League record of 33. It’s his third season in the league, so he’s not someone to get too excited about. Still, because he has legitimate power and he isn’t afraid to take a walk, he is a prospect. Double-A will determine whether he has any chance of becoming a starting first baseman in the majors. With Derrek Lee ahead of him and Brian Dopirak breathing down his neck, Sing probably doesn’t have a future with the Cubs."

"Brian Dopirak- Chicago Cubs- 1B I still don’t understand how a scout can look at a high school player, and say with certainty that he will hit for power. But whoever said it about Dopirak, and for whatever reasons, was definitely right. You’ve heard about the power numbers of Calvin Pickering and Ryan Howard, but Dopirak’s .606 SLG is something to pay attention to. The Cubs also have to be impressed by the .310 batting average, probably higher than what theat scout had guessed. Dopirak still doesn’t walk enough, strikes out too much, and plays bad defense. But, power is power."


Back from Vacation:

It has been 2 weeks since I last posted which was surrounded by 10 days of a baseball tour throughout the Midwest and Eastern portions of the USA.

The trip actually started at Wrigley, I'm from the burbs, so it wasn't part of the trip, but catching Cubs vs. Brewers was the 1st part of the trip.

Then, we went from Chicago to Cleveland which was an easy drive, well worth it for those in the Chicagoland area if they want a mini-baseball trip to Clev/Det or Clev/Cincy. I have been to Jacobs field in the past, but it a very nice stadium, centrally located, nice features (sightlines, parking, food, etc). The Jake has the advantage of having the best scoreboard/video monitor I have seen. The game was a bust as Cleveland had been playing well and faced an awful KC team with George as an emergency call-up, the game was over early.

Next, we went to Philly to catch the Cubs vs. Phils and see Prior vs. Milton. We had great seats being 4 rows behind the Cubs dugout, I did not wave everytime the camera panned to a RH batter on-deck. Philly has a decent stadium, I didn't like where it was located in S. Philly, some of the concourses were set-up awkwardly, food was good and the views from various angles were good as well. I'm not going to mention the game results.

From Philly, we headed to Baltimore, where we caught the Red Sox vs. the O's. Camden is my fav. stadium in baseball, running into Boog Powell by his concession stand, the district of shops and restaurants located in the famous warehouse, the views of downtown, everything about the stadium is what I'd want in a ballpark. Boston won the game easily as Pedro pitched thru the rain and Boston's offense was able to hit Bedard.

Baltimore onto Pittsburgh and my 1st look at PNC, this park is basically considered as one of the nicest newer parks, walking across Clemente bridge, great views of the river and downtown, etc. The thing that impressed and suprised me the most was the condition of the downtown area, it has a very nice downtown area, similar in a reduced fashion as Chicago. Pitt. won the game as Kip Wells pitched well and Joe Table picked up the SV.

As it was a circle tour, we headed to Clev. again and caught the Tribe against Detroit, I am impressed by the Indians and if they can get a 5th starter and a reliever, they can compete with Minnesota and or the Sox for the division. I would love for the Cubs to have that offense, the youth and production level is a scary thought for a weak pitching division. Cleveland won the game by 1 run and cont. to creep closer to the Sox.

Our last stop, Detroit, Comerica is probably the most underrated of the new parks, nothing is mentioned b/c the Tigers have been awful since playing there and Detroit the city is in bad shape. It is a nice park, we were 27 rows behind the 3rd base dugout and it felt about 15 at Wrigley, they have great sight lines, easy to get around the stadium. If Detroit can field a winner, I think the park will get more recognition, despite the area it is in.

Rankings of park attended:
2)Wrigley (I'm spoiled as far knowing what we have in Chicago)
3)PNC Park
4)Jacobs Field
5)Citizens Pank Park

Of the parks built post-1990':
3)Pac Bell/SBC
4)Jacobs Field
5)Citizens Bank Park
7)Great American Ballpark
8)Comiskey (aka the cell)
9)Miller Park

(Yes, I like the Cell better than Miller Park, the recent improvements combines with a severe dislike towards Miller Park, I like the Cell better than Miller.)


Friday, July 16, 2004

Minor League Notes:

From Rotoworld:

" ... Guzman has spent the year working his way back after shoulder surgery to repair a partially torn labrum. He’s back throwing in the low-90s now, and he has a quality changeup and curveball. Because of the sinking action on his fastball, he gets a lot of grounders. The Cubs expect Guzman to replace Matt Clement in next year’s rotation. If the shoulder problem was just a one-time thing, he’ll be a fine second or third starter."


Thursday, July 15, 2004

Coaching Patterson:

This is just a random observation.

I would like some feedback as to whether this would be a good idea or just a waste of time.

Next year, as pitchers throw off the mound in-between starts, I would like to see Patterson stand in there with his everything guarded but his vision and call ball and strikes when he would usually start his stride, Patterson kick starts his swing, so usually w/that recognition will begin when the ball is about halfway. Then have someone stand behind the plate to umpire the pitches and have someone off to the side charting the pitches. I wonder if there would be a progressionary improvement with his calls and if there was would it impact his actual ABs?

I think it would likely be definite benefit to CP and hopefully improve his pitch selection (swinging).


Dopirak named Midwest League Player of the Month

(Courtesy of the Lansing Lugnuts)

Dopirak named Midwest League
Player of the Month

The Lugnuts Brian Dopirak was honored by Minor League Baseball Wednesday being named the June Topps Player of the Month in the Midwest League. The big first baseman hit .390 with 10 homers, 11 doubles, and 27 RBI for the month. Dopirak smacked a hit in 24 of 25 games and stretched a 27-game hitting into July to raise his batting average 42 points.


Draftee updates:

As I reported earlier in the week, Reed on the AZL Cubs was likely Mark Reed the 3rd rd. C and it was correct as they signed him recently to a nice deal for a 3rd rounder.

"I don't really want people to know how much I signed for, but it was second-round money," Reed said. "They were really fair with me. They gave me a signing bonus and agreed to pay for four years of college like we wanted."

Here is the entire article.

As I mentioned previously mentioned, a strong showing in the AZL at C, could boost him to likely being the best C in the system. It should be interesting if his career path follows that of the Royals prospect Maier, who was all everything at Toledo at C, but shifted to the IF and is did quite well at Burlington, before advancing to High-A. I hope he stays at C, HS Cs are the the biggest gambles of them all.

Also, Sam Fuld quietly signed after deciding to go back to Stanford last year.

"The Cubs chose outfielder Sam Fuld from Durham in the 10th round, and he has been in Mesa with Kosow since last week. But the stress fracture in his wrist that hampered his senior season at Stanford is getting plenty of attention from the Cubs’ medical staff; Fuld hadn’t seen any game action entering the weekend.

"They wanted him out there," said Ken Fuld, Sam’s father. "They gave him a physical and they’re just letting him recuperate right now."

Here is the entire article.

The Cubs have plenty of OF prospects at this stage I think Fuld likely has a higher ceiling than the likes of Boyer and McQuade both from major DI programs (CSF and FSU) who were drafted relatively high.

Time for a little rant, I want Owings and Patterson signed and I know it will take overpaying them , likely 2 round type salaries. One of the setbacks might be a form of collusion that Selig does not want teams paying 2nd rd money for players drafted that late. If that is true, has he ever looked at the DF&E lists? Did he not see Blake Hawksworth sign for well over a mil, while being drafted later than Micah or EP?


Minor League Recap:


West Tenn-DNP

Daytona beat Vero Beach 5-2 as Connolly pitched 6 strong innings, the soft tossing left has cont'd to pitch well at High-A going 6-2 with a 2.90ERA on the season. Brandon Sing had another strong game as he cont. his trek towards the FSL record for HRs, he hit 2 last night giving him 27 on the season with more than a month and a half to go. One of the weaker #3 hitters you'll find did well as Greenberg went 2 for 3 with a BB and his 15th SB, Pie went 0 for 4 with a BB (.318), Buck Coats had another strong game going 3 for 4, Coats has improved slightly defensively at SS and improved his slg % by about 15-20 points, but has had a dramatic drop in OBP as his BBs have gone down by a large number. For someone with a slap-hitter style like Coats, he will have to improve the BBs to have any shot at the majors. McGehee picked up another XBH as he recorded his 22nd DB on the season and JJ Johnson went for 3 with a BB (.319). Baez and Mowday pitched 3 scoreless innings of relief.

Lansing lost to Peoria 4-2 as Jake Fox was the only Lugnuts to reach base twice going 2 for 4 with a run scored. Dopirak went 0 for 4, McQuade, Marquez, Salas, and Mejia picked up the other hits, Marquez had the only XBH (DB). Marmol pitched ok, going 6IP 7H 4ER 2BB 5K, dropping his record to 8-5. Fischer making his debut at Lansing went 1IP of scoreball ball.

Boise defeated Vancouver 8-7 as Montanez had another strong performance for the Hawks, going 2 for 4, 2 runs scored and 3RBIs, he is now hitting .360 on the season. Harvey had another hit and a BB (.268/.364/.554). Deeb making an early impression on Boise after his promotion that will likely shift Granato to SS went 2 for 3 with a HBP. Local product Matt Weber pitched decent got the ND going 5IP 8H 3R 3BB 4K raising his ERA to 2.57. Gross picked up his 3rd win going 1.2 scoreless innings.

The AZl Cubs to the AZL Giants 11-5, this marked the return of Jason Wylie, who pitchd 1IP of scoreless ball. Not many positives to talk about in this one as Hoffpauir (not Micah) went 2 for 4 with a R at 2B, Yepez suffered the loss going 3.1Ip 5H 7Er 1BB 4Ks


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Do Baker led teams play better in the second half?

To answer this, it dependent on several factors, some might be valid some might be invalid...

1)Baker is known for giving positional players more rest throughout the duration of the season compared to most managers.

2)He is also know for his usage of his pitchers, his teams are constantly near to top among PAP team totals (PAP=Pitchers Abuse Points see Baseball Prospectus).

3)Baker has had the luxury of some real good GMs, which the transactions for the second half of the season have likely had an impact on the winning %.

Let's take a look at Baker's record since 1995 as manager:


(30-30) .500

(37-47) .440

(36-43) .455

(32-51) .385

(47-34) .580

(41-38) .530

(48-36) .571

(41-38) .518

(43-35) .551

(43-41) .511

(38-38) .500

(59-27) .686

(43-37) .537

(47-35) .573

(45-35) .562

(50-31) .617

(42-39) .518

(46-35) .567

(372-327) .532

(398-343) .537

Not a significant difference, it projects to less than 1 win difference over a 162 game season.

But, if you look at the numbers closer, you'll see a dramatic spike in 2000' and since then his second half totals have been dramatically better.

Since 2000:
(168-149) .529

(202-128) .612

That is a large difference over 192 games a .612 winning % projects to 99 wins and a .529 winning % projects to 85 wins, a difference of 14 games.

For the last 75 games, if the Cubs maintain a similar winning % in July, August, Sept, and Oct. as they did in 2003', they project to win 90 games.

If the maintain a similar winning % as Dusty led teams from 2000-2003 in July, August Sept, and October, they project to win 93 games.

The validity in this study is likely minimal, but it is interesting to document the peak of how Baker (and/or GM) has led his teams to a much better second half.


Minor League Recap:


West Tenn-DNP

Daytona lost to Vero Beach 9-2 as Daytona was able to score only 2 runs on 12 hits, Pie coming back from the Future's Game went 2 for 3 with 2BBs, Coats was 2 for 4 w/his 15th DB and 2RBIs, J.J Johnson went 3 for 4 (.319), Jones went 2 for 4 at 2B, Sing went 1 for 3 with a BB, McGehee cont. his hot hitting while picking up his 21st DB of the season. Tavares was roughed going 5IP 6H 5R 5ER 1BB 1K 2HR, Shipman and Jongejan each allowed 2 runs in 3IP combined.


Boise beat Vancouver 7-6 as Harvey cont. to hit for power, hitting his 5th HR and 6th DB while driving in 5, he is now up to (.264) and is likely ahead of Dopirak when he was at Boise last year. Anthony Grananto cont. to hit well at leadoff going 2 for 4 with a BB and his 5th SB, the undrafted FA has been quite impressive. Richie appears to be getting healthy as he went 2 for 4 (.258), he was the most likely C to reach the majors from the 2003' draft. Hagerty had a rough outing going 2.2IP 6H 3R 2ER 2BB 1K, Mathes had a great outing in relief going 3.1IP 1H 0R 0BB 7Ks!

The AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Royals 8-6 as they pounded out 12 hits, Morales was 3-5 with a RBI, Zane Green was 1 for 4 with a R and a RBI. BC alum Ryan Morgan was 2 for 3 with 2 BBs, and 3 runs scored. Puello was 2 for 4 with a DB and 2 runs scored.


This time it counts:

I find it interesting that the 1st two hitters (Jack Wilson and Todd Helton) up in the btm of the 9th were from teams (Pitt. and Col.) a combined record of 33 games below .500 and no chance of making the playoffs.

I'm not a big fan of the All-Star game, I do enjoy it, but it is an exhibition game and should be treated as such not with any post-season implications.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Montanez named NWL hitter of the week:

"Boise Hawks outfielder Luis Montanez was named the Northwest League's Hitter of the Week after batting .379 with four runs scored, two home runs, eight RBIs and a .724 slugging percentage from July 5 to Sunday.

Montanez went 3-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs during the Hawks' 11-0 win over Eugene on Saturday. He currently ranks second in the NWL in batting average, and leads the league in slugging percentage and triples.

The Hawks begin a five-game series with the Vancouver Canadians (11-13) at 7:05 tonight at Memorial Stadium. The 12-12 Hawks will be trying to move above .500. Boise is only one game out of first place in the NWL's East Division."


Andy Pratt News:

"Lugnuts send pitching pair to Boise, gain lefties Ferreras and Pratt

July 13, 2004 - LANSING – The Chicago Cubs have announced that pitchers Reid Willett and Ryan Kalita have been reassigned to the Boise Hawks of the Northwest League. In their place, the Cubs have promoted left handers Yorkin Ferreras from Boise and Andy Pratt from Mesa to take their places on the active roster. The moves still have the active roster at 24 active players with four disabled players.
Ferreras, who was 3-2 with a 2.55 ERA in five starts for the Hawks, will be making his third tour of duty with the Lugnuts. A non-drafted free agent by the Cubs in 1998, Ferreras was 3-6 with a 2.78 ERA in 51 appearances in 2002 for Lansing and then went 4-1 with a 3.56 in 10 games for the Lugnuts last season before being shut down with injuries.

Pratt, a 24-year-old who was acquired from the Atlanta Braves organization in the Juan Cruz trade, started the season at Iowa, going 0-4 with an ERA of 19.00 in four appearances before being placed on the disabled list. With Richmond in 2003, he went 7-10 with a 3.40 ERA in 28 appearances and was originally selected by the Texas organization in the 1998 draft.

Willett leaves the Lugnuts after going 0-3 with a 5.21 ERA in 26 games while Kalita went 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 appearances for the ballclub."

Comment: Being that I was a strong supporter of Juan Cruz, (I do like Richard Lewis as well) I feel his promotion should be brought up. I project him as a LOOGY, despite being in the top 25 of ATL's pitching rich system, depending on his control, he'll likely be a ML LOOGY.


Cubs rumors from the NY smut:

A couple of NY/NJ papers have made some interesting remarks concerning the avail. of Randy Johnson and the prospective Cubs' interest in him.

Lawrence Rocca of the Star-Ledger writes: "A general manager with a team interested in Johnson handicapped the field of potential suitors this way: Angels first, Cubs second and then a tossup between the Yankees and Red Sox."

Next, is Jon Heyman of Newsday writes: "Baseball people believe that if the Cubs get involved, they have the prospects. It's probably a stretch to think the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals or Phillies would get seriously involved, or for that matter the Mets, who aren't clear contenders. The Red Sox are at a disadvantage because Johnson knows and supposedly dislikes Curt Schilling (sorry, more speculation)."

A couple of things would have to happen 1st, the Cubs would have to trade likely Clement, a MI (Gonzalez), and a AA/AAA prospect to Boston for Nomar and then trade a boatload of prospects to AZ for RJ. To say this is unlikely is an understatement, I'd love to have Randy Johnson and Nomar but their salaries are way too much for the Cubs even unloading high salaries like Clement and AGone, I'd much rather give up Maddux than Clement at this point if the Cubs do trade him.

As far as trading Clement, the Tribune had an article about that possibility (the fake vote of confidence) in this article: "For now, general manager Jim Hendry appears inclined to hold on to Clement, at the risk of losing him to free agency for nothing rather than trading him at peak value to any number of teams that might overpay for a prime-time starter."

"But keeping Clement sends a message that the Cubs are more concerned with the here and now than with the future. Trading Clement sends a message that baseball is a business and that the Cubs don't want to lose such an important asset without getting something of value in return. It's a tough call for Hendry, who insists he hasn't shopped Clement."

Hang onto Clement for the remainder, try to ink him again, and kill two birds by having an outstanding pitcher in the long-term then, ink him long-term (utopia is a fun place).


2004' Draft Update

Those who have signed:

4th rd 126 overall Chris Shaver lhp College of William & Mary
6th rd 186 overall Tim Layden lhp Duke U.
7th rd 216 overall Mitch Atkins rhp Northeast Guilford HS, Browns Summit, N.C.
9th rd 276 overall Ryan Norwood 1b East Carolina U.
11th rd 336 overall Jonathan Hunton rhp Lamar U.
12th rd 366 overall Sean Gallagher rhp St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
15th rd 456 overall Alfred Joseph of Foy H. Moody HS, Corpus Christi , Texas
16th rd 486 overall J.R. Mathes lhp Western Michigan U.
17th rd 516 overall Jeremy Blevins lhp U. of Dayton
18th rd 546 overall Jake Marsello rhp Boston College
21th rd 636 overall Will Fenton rhp U. of Washington
27th rd 816 overall Jason Kosow rhp Babson (N.H.) College
28th rd 846 overall Jon Douillard c Vanderbilt U.
42th rd 1265 overall Ryan Morgan 3b Boston College
44th rd 1323 overall Zane Green of Clemson U.
48th rd 1438 overall Olin Wick c U. of Puget Sound
50th rd 1494 overall Gerald Miller of Prarie View A&M U.

Note: I assume from the Box Score from last night's AZL Cubs game that Reed at C was 3rd rd. pick Mark Reed, I didn't list him, but I assume he signed.

Most important three that have not signed:
2nd rd 66 overall Grant Johnson rhp Notre Dame U.
8th rd 246 overall Eric Patterson 2b Georgia Tech
19th rd 576 overall Micah Owings rhp Georgia Tech


Minor League Recap:


West Tenn-DNP

Daytona lost to Vero Beach 10-4 as Pie is still out after playing in the futures game, Butler was most of the offense going 3 for 4 with his 3rd HR, 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs. Coats and Greenberg each had a hit and a run scored, while McGehee, McKnight, and Johnson had a hit apiece. Sisco had another mediocre outing going 5IP 4H 2ER 3BB 3Ks, his ERA is at 4.30 for the season and has a BB/K ratio he should not be proud of.



The AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Angels 7-6 as Reed went 2 for 5 with a DB, run scored, and a RBI. Reed who wasn't not listed as Mark Reed, is the 3rd rd. C who would be the highest draftee to sign so far. He is a similar type player as his uber-prospect prospect Jeremy Reed, the only question might be his defensive ability to stay at C, but can hit to play any position. Pedro Griffin went 2 for 3 2BBs, 3 runs scored, 2SBs, while playing SS. Quinones who came in to PH for Green after 1AB went 3 for 4 w/2 runs scored and a RBI. Krawiec who is still on a rehab assigment pitched 4IP 4H 1ER 0BB 2K.


Monday, July 12, 2004

What a mess at SS:

As the rumors, rumors, and more rumors swirl about the Cubs getting Cabrera, an increase in density of this mess can be expected.

In a recent ATM report by Lee Sinins (noted for Baseball Encyclopedia), sent an updated of RCAA (Runs Created Above Avg.).

Here is the definition of RCAA:

This is a Lee Sinins creation. It's the difference between a player's runs created total and the total for an average player who used the same amount of his team's outs. A negative RCAA indicates a below average player in this category.

Ramon Martinez -8
Rey Ordonez -7
Alex Gonzalez -6

Total: -21 Runs created below average

Let's look at the worst RCAA totals by individual players in the NL:

1 Neifi Perez -21
2 Brad Ausmus -20
3 Alex Cintron -19
T4 Tony Batista -17
T4 Orlando Cabrera -17
T4 Adam Everett -17
T4 Luis A. Gonzalez -17
T8 Marlon Byrd -15
T8 Mark DeRosa -15
T8 Denny Hocking -15


Minor League Recap:


West Tenn-DNP


Lansing defeated Burlington 7-0 as Bear Bay had one of his best starts of the season going 7IP 5H 0R 0BB 5K. Although, the rotation has not been as effective as the 2003' MWL Championship rotation, it has been a strong one, due to the early pitching of Marshall, unfort. the return of Jones, Bay, and somewhat of a suprise, Marmol. Many contributed on offense as the Lugs had 16 hits, McQuade was 3 for 3 with a BB and 2 runs scored, Dopirak was 2 for 4 with a run (.314), Salas was 1 for 2 with a BB and 2RBIs. Fox, Rick, Fitzgerald, and Rojas each went 2 for 4, Fitzgerald led the Lugs w/3RBIs.

Boise defeated Eugene 9-1, despite the lack of hits from the 1st 4 hitters who went a combined 2 for 16, the 5-9 hitters were 12-23 with 6 runs and 4RBIs. Despite going hitless at the leadoff spot Granato was able to get on base 4 times (2BB, 2HBP), Gresky hitting 2nd had his best day as a pro going 2 for 5 with his 1st HR (.143), but as previously mentioned Boyer went 3 for 5, Norwood was 2 for 5 with his 7th DB, Richie was 2 for 4, even Francisco was 2 for 5, and undrafted FA Deeb was 3 for 4 w/2DBs. The pitching was equally impressive as Brito got the win going 5IP 3H 1ER 2BB 1K, the combination of Hunton and Fenton pitched 4 scoreless innings w/5H 0R 1BB 7Ks. Harvey was 0-4 with a BB, Montanez was 0-5 (.367). To further elaborate how well Anthony Granato is getting on base at leadoff, he is hitting .274 but his OBP is .436, he has 19BBs in only 74 ABs, but has 24Ks.

The AZL Cubs beat the AZL Rangers 6-3 as long as Zane Green is in the AZL, I will post how he belongs at Boise. Zane Green went 2 for 3 with his 3rd triple and drove in 3, he is now hitting .405. Now, it is not the fact that he is dominating the League that wants me to advance him, it is the fact that he played at a major Baseball Univ, one that produced former Cubs draftee Khalil Greene and Rockies slugger Baker, which is Clemson. Sorry for the gripe, it is great that he has been so productive, but back to the recap, another key player in that game was Ryu. Ryu pitching another rehab assignment pitched 2IP 1H 0R 0BB 3Ks & 6th rounder, Layden pitched well going 2IP 0H 0R 1BB 2Ks. Other hitters that did well yesterday were Puello, Perez and Hoffpauir (Micah's little brother) as each collected 2 hits.


Sunday, July 11, 2004

Is Sosa the best defensive RF in the NL in 2004'?

Before laughing, look at the numbers as they might give you a suprise.

This discussion was brought up at

1st, I'll list the most common defensive stats (RF, ZR, and Fielding %) among RF'ers with 50+ games started.

Fielding %:
1st (1.000)

Range Factor:
5th (2.13)

Zone Rating:
1st (.937)

2nd, I'll use some more valid defensive stats that cannot be impacted by chances, pitchers, etc. quite as easily as RF, ZR, and Fielding %.

UZR is one of my fav. defensive stats, it was created by Michael Lichtman (former writer at Primer/Baseballthinkfactory, now working in MLB). Here is the in-depth review of UZR and the effectiveness it incorporates when evaluating defense.

Thru the 1st 37 games, Sosa has a UZR of +5, which is an amazing figure thru that little amount of games. That projects to 21.89 runs per 162GP, to put that into context, look at the study by TangoTiger when he weighted UZR over the span of 2000'-2003'. You'll see that for RF (9) that the highest rated RF'er over that spad was Jose Gullien at 22 runs per 162 games, which is right where Sosa is headed for.

Another stat I'll use is Defensive Win Shares, while I prefer UZR, it is still more effective than most defensive metrics.

As of July 5th, Sosa was at 1.3, 6th in the Nl among RF'ers despite only 40 games.

Believe it or not, there are several key statistics that point to Sosa as being the best defensive RF'er. I won't say he is, b/c I haven't seen enough of each RF'er, but it has been a nice suprise the defense Sosa has played.


Cubs Rumor Mill across the Net:

Cubs eyeing Urbina from the Sun-Times

"Cubs scouts are tracking several relievers, but don't look for a quick resolution where Detroit Tigers closer Ugueth Urbina is concerned. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski is fully aware that he has an ace in the hole in Urbina, who has been dealt in July in two of the last three seasons.

With many teams in need of a reliever such as Urbina, it is likely that Dombrowski will go right down to the non-waiver trade deadline July 31 to get as much as he can for him."

Comment: I like Urbina, he has not pitched that well this year, being a slightly better than mediocre reliever, the best part would be the expansion of LaTroy's role, instead of being locked in as a closer. Of course, everything depends on cost.

Aurilia is available for the Cubs from the Tribune

"The Seattle Mariners designated veteran infielder Rich Aurilia for assignment Saturday, causing speculation the former San Francisco Giants star might be headed to the Cubs.

Aurilia, a .278 hitter lifetime over nine seasons, enjoyed productive years with the Giants when Cubs manager Dusty Baker was their manager. Baker is known for being fond of and loyal to his former players, though one Cubs source said the club isn't interested in Aurilia."

Comment: Can be had for nada, would be better at SS than Ordonez and might not be better than Martinez. I don't see the point, Gonzalez will be back soon, I don't believe in Dusty's magic. The only chance of improvement from Aurilia would be League (pitcher) familiarity which would off-set his declining skills.

Cubs could make bid for Cabrera from the Newark Star-Ledger.

"The Cubs have expressed mild interest in Garciaparra, but their shortstop hunt is expected to lead them to Montreal's ORLANDO CABRERA . Apparently, the Expos are trying to be totally unrecognizable for their expected relocation to Washington next year.

More on Cabrera from the Tribune.

"Montreal is quietly shopping shortstop Orlando Cabrera, whom the Cubs have been interested in for a long time".

Comments: There are some risks when looking at Cabrera that should be addressed. 1st, he has had only one good offensive season and that was last year, his other seasons have been mediocre or bad, and there is a large enough sample to judge him correctly. I would not judge him prim. on last year and see him as a better defensive SS than offensive at this stage, which is not what the Cubs need. 2nd, his health is a great concern, he has been plagued with back problems throughout his career playing most of his career on turf. While a situation can occur similar to Rolen, Cabrera's back would likely not be healthy enough at any point this season to show a dramatic improvement over the horrible numbers he has this year.

Guardado will be expensive if being sought from Newsday.

"The Cubs, not in such good shape, held cursory talks with Boston about Nomar Garciaparra and are more likely to acquire shortstop Orlando Cabrera from Montreal. They inquired about closer Eddie Guardado, but Seattle sought "three phenoms" in return, a Cubs official said."

Comment: I love Eddie Guardado of all the players that might be avail, he would likely be the best fit and create the largest improvement. Statistically, having him and LaTroy would give the Cubs the best 1-2 punch of closer and set-up man in baseball. But, 3 top prospects is a step backwards long-term and Eddie's age and contract do not merit that type of allocation from the Cubs in acq'g him. The Cubs would be better off getting Mesa from the Bucs.


Cubs Minor League Offensive Leaderboard:

(The minor league leaders)

Stolen Bases-Dwaine Bacon 2nd (42)

HR-Brandon Sing 1st (25), Brian Dopirak 2nd (24)

RBIs-Sing 3rd (74), Dopirak 4th (70)

SB-Chris Walker 3rd (35)


Minor League Recap:

Iowa defeated New Orleans 7-3 as the "AAAA" players of Johson and Selby led the attack by combining to go 4-8, 2DBs, HR with 3 runs and 2 RBIs. Dubois went 0 for 2 with a BB, Kelton went 1 for 1 as a PH with 2 RBIs. Gonzalez did not play SS, which means he'll probably be back after the AS game.

West Tenn pounded Jacksonville 14-4 as the all-star line-up had 17 hits, led by the modern version of the daily double as Bacon went 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and a RBI and Lewis went 2 for 6, DB, and 4 runs scored. Aron Weston went 1 for 4 with 2 BBs and scored everytime he got on base (3), Dzurilla went 2 for 5 with a BB, 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs. The ND alum Paul O'Toole did well as he cont. to suprise me with his offense going 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs, Soto had another solid game at C, going 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs raising his avg. to .266, Cedeno went 1 for 5 with 2 RBIs, even Piggy got in on the action going 2 for 3 (now hitting .308, not bad for a P), the only hitter to not get a hit was Arteaga. Piggy benefited from the offense in his no decision as he allowed 4R 7H in 4IP, he BB'ed 0 and struck out 3. Gerk picked up the win pitching 3 scoreless innings on 1 hit allowed as the bullpen combined to go 5IP 2H 0R 0BB 4K.

Brevard County defeated Daytona 7-0 in game 1 of a DH, the story of this game was the pitching of Brevard as McKnight (from Libertyville) prevented a no-hitter as the rest of the line-up went 0-21. Greenberg did draw 2BBs and Coats drew 1. Rich Hill showed signs of the pitcher he was last year, by showing a lack of control, he pitched 3.2IP 4H 5ER 5BB 3Ks.

Brevard beat Daytona 6-2 in game 2 of the DH, Greenberg, Theriot, JJ Johnson, Butler, Mcgehee, and Reyes all had 1 hit. Reyes had his 10th DB, Johnson had his 5th TR, Theriot stole his 11th base and Butler swiped his 21st. Cherry had a rough outing going 3.2IP 6H 3ER 5BB 3Ks.

Burlington defeated Lansing 3-1 as no box score has been posted, but Justin Jones went 5IP 3R 2ER 5Ks. Obviously, not much offense as Dopirak did not collect a H.

Boise attacked Eugene 11-0 as Montanez cont. to shine, years of facing Low-A and High-A hitters are paying off vs. Short Season hitters. Montanez went 3 for 5 with his 4th HR and 5RBIs, Granato did his usual job at leadoff going 2 for 3 with a TR and 2 BBs to set the table for Montanez. One of the better 2004' draftees so far, Ryan Norwood has a solid game at 1B going 2 for 5 with a HR. Yorkin Ferreras pitched well in arehab assignment going 5IP 2H 0R 1BB 7Ks, Gross and Mejia combined to go 4IP 2H 0R 1BB 4Ks.


Saturday, July 10, 2004

Minor League Recap:

Iowa defeated New Orleans 10-4 as Alex Gonzalez is thankfully rehabbing well at Iowa, as much I want the Cubs to upgrade SS, he has been missed. Alex went 1 for 2, 3 runs scored and a SB, he is hitting .286 with a decent OBP and SLG at AAA. Murray did well at leadoff (I'd like to see him replace Goodwin) going 2 for 5 with 3 runs scored. Murray is hitting .330 as the leadoff hitter for the Iowa Cubs. Back to Gonzalez, he hit 2nd last night which might be an indication of where he might hit when he comes back as he has been traditionally better hitter 2nd compared to lower in the order. Russ Johnson went 2 for 3 w/2 runs scored and 4 RBIs, Dubois went 1 for 4 with an RBI, Leon hit another HR giving him 12 on the season, but Kelton struggled again going 0-3 as lowers his avg. to .249. Koronka picked up his 7th win going 6IP 8H 4ER 2BB 1K, Szuminski and Chiasson pitched 3 scoreless inninsg in relief.

West Tenn lost to Jacksonville 4-3 as Nolasco made is return to AA after struggling at AAA, I have no idea why they promoted him so quickly, he'll be the 1st HS draftee from the Cubs 2001' draft to make it to the pros. The 4th overall pick Gavin Floyd is still cruising along at AA, I never liked the moved as I thought it was premature. Richard Lewis went 2 for 5 raising his avg. to .321, Bacon went 0-3 w/2 BBs and his 41st SB. Mike Mallory and Ronny Cedeno each had 2 hits as well, as Nolasco picked up the no decision. Nolasco went 5IP 5H 3ER 2BB 4Ks, Rohlicek picked up the loss as he gave up an unearned run in the btm of the 8th as the Jaxx had 4 errors on the night.

Daytona beat Brevard 5-3 as every hitter but Jose Reyes (C) had a base hit, Johnson led the offense going 1-1 with his 3rd HR on the year and drew 3BBs, he is hitting .315 after two awful seasons at Lansing. Pie went 1 for 4, run scored, and his 23rd SB, McGehee went 1 for 3 with his 6th HR in the Daytona win. Vasquez pitched well for Daytona going 6.1IP 6H 3R 1ER 3BB 4Ks, everyone's favorite European (Jongejan) and Atlee combined to go 2.2IP 0H 0R 0BB 3Ks in relief.

Lansing lost to Burlington 3-1 as Ranson had another solid outing for Lansing going 7 scoreless innings with 5H 0R 0BB 4Ks. Garcia was the sole provider of offense hitting his 6th HR, as he still hits over .300 on the season. Dopirak ended his hitting streak, but did record another BB. Mendez took the loss as he blew the save giving up 3 runs in the 9th.

Boise lost 16-1 to Eugene, not much to say about this game. Montanez hit his 3rd HR going 1 for 4 (.377), Harvey went 1 for 4 (.293), Campusano and Green to give up 15 runs (13 earned) in 5.1IP.

The AZl Cubs lost to the AZL A's 9-5 as Andy Pratt pitched well in his rehab start going 3IP 0H 0R 0BB 4Ks. Green proved why is too advanced for the AZL again going 2 for 4 (.385), Griffin might be a sign that the Dominican program may be on the rise again as he cont. to play a solid SS, going 2 for 3 with 2 runs.


The City of Dead Weights:

Is there something wrong with putting out an offense that gives their team the best chance of winning? That lineup was amazing last night, has Ordonez has success against any ML pitcher, has Bako helped Maddux at all this year, should the Cubs get Eduardo Perez or drag up O'Brian out of retirement since those are the two Cs that caught Maddux during the best stage of his career? Is it worth keeeping Grudzielanek fresh while he cont. to produce less while a better hitter rots on the bench?

All these questions should be asked when trying to figure out if that was the worst line-up possible?

The players in question are Bako, Ordonez, and Grudzielanek...

Player EqAs:
Grudzielanek .259
Ordonez .121 (lower than I expected)
Sosa .303
Alou .286
Patterson .274
Lee .300
Martinez .246
Bako .201

Walker .295
Barrett .279
Macias .234
Goodwin .174

Let's map this out, this would be my constructed line-up:
Walker .295 (2B)
Lee .300 (1B)
Sosa .303 (RF)
Alou .286 (LF)
Patterson .274 (CF)
Barrett .279 (C)
Martinez .246 (SS)
Macias .234 (3B)

That is a difference of .075 points of EqA per those 3 players, EqA is set-up in a similar manner as batting average. Could you imagine having 3 players hitting .300 on the bench, while 3 .225 hitters are in the lineup? That is the basic effect of the garbage I seen last night with that lineup.


Friday, July 09, 2004

Minor League Recap:

New Orleans defeated Iowa 3-1 as Iowa could only manage 8 hits. Alex Gonzalez went 1 for 4, Dubois went 2-4 as he raised his avg. to .299. Donny Leon hit his 11th HR, going 2 for 3, Gutierrez went 1 for 4, David Kelton cont. to struggle going 0 for 3 dropping his avg. to .258, while hitting 7th. Sedlacek took the loss going 7 IP allowing 2ER.

Jacksonville defeated West Tenn 4-1 s the DJaxx only had 3H and 5 baserunners. Craig provided the offense as he hit his 13th HR, Craig has quietly put together two string halves since last July. Bacon and Druzilla had the other hits. Pinto took the loss giving up 4 runs thru 6, he also struck out 11 w/only 1 BB, as he will likely lead the organization and the SL at season's end. There was debate as to who would separate themselves between him and Pignatiello for a spot in the AA rotation and it has been Pinto that has done so.

Daytona defeated Clearwater 3-2 in Xtra innings, Pie went 1 for 5 with his 7th HR of the year, he is one HR short of doubling his HR total of last year. He has put the ball into play at an amazing .410 rate. Butler also went 2 for 5 scoring a run, Green berg went 2 for 3 with a triple and a BB, Sing did not hit a HR which is news, Theriot went 2 for 4 as well. Connolly went 6IP 4H 2ER 3BB 6Ks in the no decision & recently acq'd Andy Shipman picked up the win in relief going 2IP 0H 0ER 0BB 3Ks.

Lansing beats Burlington 4-3 as Chris Walker went 2 for 4 with a DB and his 35th SB, Dopirak went 1 for 2 with his 100th hit of the season. To quote Baseball Prospectus on Dopirak: "A year ago, Dopirak was tabbed by Baseball America as having the best power in the draft, which is a backhanded compliment if there ever was one. He's big, he's strong...and he can't hit. The numbers in Boise look good, but it's a whiffle ball park." He's learned how to translate raw power into power that brings production and he has made strides w/his eye at the plate. Petrick picked up his 9th win, despite allowing 9 hits and 3 runs thru 5 as Mendez picked up his 19th save, but he is nowhere near as productive as Wylie was last year in that same role.

Boise won against Eugene 9-7 in Xtra innings, Harvey cont. to hit well at Boise going 2 for 5 with his 4TH HR. Montanez still hanging on by a slim thread, going 3 for 6, he is hitting .385 as a Boise OF'er. Boyer went 2 for 2 in the game, Granato went 2 for 4, and Balcolm went 2 for 5 as the CF'er. Downs was a main story as well, making is Boise debut he pitched 4.1IP 5H 4ER 2BB 8Ks. The highest draft pick to sign did well as Shaver went 2.1IP 3H 0ER 2BB 3Ks.

This was my write-up on Downs from earlier this year:

Gifted pitcher who is extremely advanced for a 18yo & has the ability to throw 3 pitches for strikes. His above avg. curve and change-up compliment his high 80's FB nicely. Downs has the time and frame to add velocity as he matures physically. Arm problems have lowered his ranking, but if he is ready for Short-Season he will quickly rise up the rankings with a good showing. Was a possibility to start at Lansing if he did not get injured as fellow LH prospect Justin Jones did in 03'. Comparisons to Jamie Moyer/Tom Glavine are premature, but they'll always be attached with a pitcher with the skills of Downs.

The AZL Cubs beat the AZL Royals 14-9 as the advanced hitters (NCAA experience) cont. to hit well for the rooks, Green went 2 for 2 with 2 BBs, Douillard went 3 for 5 w/3RBIs, Griffin scored 3 runs on 1 hit. Jae Kuk Ryu made his rehab debut going 2IP 3H 3ER 0BB 2Ks. Tim layden also made his Cubs debut.


Interesting Managerial Questions:

Posted at Fanhome.

"Wild Sabermetric Strategies
Have any of you thought of wild strategies you'd like to try if you managed or were the G.M. of a major league team?

Scenario 1: Runner on third, two outs, early innings in a close game (so the opposing manager is not likely to pull his pitcher yet for a PH). The #7 batter is up. Both the #7 and #8 hitters are fairly decent, and the pitcher batting after them is batting around .100. Do you walk two batters and load the bases to get to the pitcher's spot?

Scenario 2: Runner on third, one out, bottom of the 9th in a tie game. Do you bring the center fielder in as a fifth infielder?

Others, misc.:
--Do you pinch-hit for a poor-hitting pitcher early in the game if the bases are loaded with two outs, and the score is tied? (assuming your bullpen isn't already depleted)
--Do you leave your best hitter out of the lineup and wait for the first opportunity to insert him in a key RBI situation?
--Do you have batters square to bunt when they're simply taking a pitch?
--Do you play the outfielders extra-shallow when non-power hitters are batting and no one's on base?
--Do you let a starting pitcher go more than 7 innings when you're ahead 5-2 or 4-1? (assuming a normal bullpen)
--Do you take out your starting pitcher at the first sign of trouble after the 7th inning in a close game?
--Do you bring your closer in the game for any situations before the 8th inning?
--Do you have your best hitter bat second in the lineup?
--Do you let the pitcher and catcher call the pitches?
--Do you give your best base stealers a constant green light?
--Do you have a runner on first try to get picked off (get in a rundown) with two outs, and the runner on third breaks as soon as the pitcher throws to first?
--Do you walk a batter to set up a force and load the bases with two outs in a tie game, bottom of the 9th?
--Do you deploy any other defensive shifts for certain situations?
--Do you stick to a certain pitch count for your starting pitchers?
--Do you load up on high-OBP batters?
--Do you load up on batters entering their prime (age 26-27)?
--Do you go to a four-man rotation?"

These are some interesting questions asked, some are more obvious than others, but it is thought provoking.

This is how I answered the questions within the thread...

Scenario 1:

I would not walk the #7 and #8 hitters to get to the P or the weakest hitter in an AL line-up. I would play against the big inning early in the ballgame, even if it means going after a better hitter.

Scenario 2:

I would bring him in just more shallow. With an extreme case say a pitcher like Kolb, I would consider it especially if the hitter is a slap hitter.

Other questions...

No, I would not PH for a poor hitting pitcher early in the game, there would have to be certain circumstances: 1)expansion of rosters 2)Mediocre starter P.

No, I would not leave the team's best hitter out of the line-up for the key situation. Often, the best hitter is the prim. catalyst getting to that situation.

No, I would not have him square to bunt even when taking a pitch. While it might bring the IF in on some cases, most of those who are able to bunt for hits have the IF drawn in. I think it increases the chance of him getting HBP and injuries stemming from it.

I would not instruct the OF to play any more shorter than most non-power hitters would command.

With starting pitchers going beyond 7, it depends on the P (size, age, type of pitcher), the pitch count, did he pitch 30 pitches in the 6th, etc?

Yes, I'd bring in the closer in the 7th, if that situation determined it would be the best situation. A top heavy lineup with them coming up in the 7th and/or runners on base in a close game.

No, I would not have the team's best hitter hit second, I still believe in keeping the best hitter 3rd. The 1st inning is usually the highest scored inning, the DP doesn't limit the odds of scoring in the 1st enough to move the #3 hitter one spot higher.

I'd let the pitcher and C call the pitches, hopefully it will establish good communications with the P and C as well as them doing further work w/scouting the opposition, etc. That is just an utopian type view.

Yes, I'd give my base stealers their own green light. Similar to why I'd let P and Cs, I want runners to establish on how to read pitchers, when the counts are to run, when will a P likely throw a breaking or off-speed pitch, etc.

I'd try and have him get picked off if the hitter is a below avg. hitter, the runners are above avg. for instincts, etc.

I would walk the batters to load up the bases, b/c it sets the force play. But, if it skips over a weaker hitter and brings up a stronger hitter, then I'd face the weaker hitter. But, the primary determination is the quality of hitters.

No, I would not set a pitch count for a pitcher, not with a 5 man rotation. Carlos Zambrano is going to have a different pitch count than Maddux. I think teams need to be more cautious w/pitchers, establishing a PC is further down the list of priorities in doing so.

I would try to set-up a lineup of high OBP players, I'd also like to set-up a lineup that can drive them in as well. While OBP is typically understated, I hope SLG is not overlooked when compensating OBP.

No, I don't overload with players based on their age, players in their prime are likely to produce at their peak, but players have different peak levels, which is more important than just their age as the determining factor.

Yes, I would go with a 4 man rotation. That is dependant on how well the team allocates a pitcher's recovery time, the pitch count, and the lack of a 5th starter and quality of the bullpen. But, I think a 4 man rotation would be more effective than a 5 man rotation if established properly.


Are Zambrano's emotions a product of being Latin?

A relief pitcher from the Florida Marlins believes that latin players show there intensity moreso than American players especially pitchers.


"If you really look around, Latin players, especially pitchers, all have something they do that shows [their intensity]," he says. "I don't know what it is about us. It's just the way we approach it and go about the game."

Personally, I don't mind him being expressive, I don't think it should be at the expense of his teammates. This is a clubhouse issue and show be confined to the walls of that clubhouse, as much as I disagree with Zambrano showing up Walker in Houston and Barrett in Milwaukee, Todd Walker should have kept his mouth shut to the media. I don't think is it a product of being Latin, emotion is a personal trait, not an ethnic trait.


Minor League Notes:

" ... Cubs first baseman Brandon Sing has been named the TOPPS Player of the Month for the month of June by The TOPPS Company of New York, New York. Brandon was awarded the Florida State League Hitter of the Week, for the past two weeks as voted on by the managers of the Florida State League. For the month of June, Sing collected 24 hits in 69 at-bats for an average of .348. Sing hit nine homeruns, three doubles, scored 25 runs and collected 29 runs batted in. He was walked 32 times and had one stolen base in two attempts." (Daytona Cubs)

From Jim Callis at BA:

" ... [Brandon SIng] ... He's now 23 and in his third stint in the Florida State League, so Sing's .287/.431/.648 numbers with FSL highs in runs (62), homers, RBIs (74) and slugging have to be taken with a grain of salt. But the Cubs have also seen some Richie Sexson in the rangy 6-foot-4, 210-pounder, and he is a prospect. He needs to go up to Double-A and produce before I get too excited about him."

" ... [Brian Dopirak] ... A 2002 second-round pick out of a Florida high school, Dopirak is the most feared power hitter in the Midwest League, which he leads in homers and RBIs (64) while batting .309/.370/.609, and he has more raw pop than just about anyone in the minors. If he can make enough consistent contact (he has 173 strikeouts in 170 pro games), he'll be a force to be reckoned with."

From John Manuel at BA:

" ... [Angel Guzman or Bobby Brownlie?] I'd say it's still Guzman, who has strange numbers (2 BB, 49 SO but a 4.00+ERA). It sounds like his stuff is coming back. Brownlie has lost some velocity on his fastball, according to scouts, and also has to prove he can pitch a full season. I think Guzman has the higher ceiling, and we've even had some people call Brownlie a bulllpen guy because of his modest velocity (87-90 mph this year)."

From the Daily Herald:

" ... Pitching prospect Angel Guzman (shoulder surgery last year) came out of Saturday's start for Class AA West Tenn after 4 innings. The Cubs say Guzman is suffering through a "dead-arm" period and that he may miss 1 rehab start. The Cubs say the ailment is minor and that Guzman was throwing 91-93 mph Saturday."

" ... Luis Montanez, drafted in the first round in 2000 as a shortstop, is trying to make it as an outfielder after trying second base. For Class A Boise Saturday, Montanez went 4-for-5 with a pair of solo homers." (Arlington Daily Herald)


Friday, July 02, 2004

Cubs Rumor Mill:

The Tribune mentions how it is more likely that Magglio will be on the Northside than the Southside next year in an article today. "The longer Williams and the White Sox go without assuring Magglio Ordonez he will remain on the South Side for the rest of the season, and possibly longer, the better chance they have of driving Ordonez into a Cubs uniform in 2005." While this article is generated to ignite the fire for this weekend's series, I agree with it, but I'll wait till next year before worrying about it.

The Sun-Times (I'm listed as a reader even though I usually don't) mentions that ""The Cubs are scouting Detroit Tigers closer Ugueth Urbina and have been in contact with Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers' president, general manager and CEO, about him... Unlike Kansas City's Scott Sullivan, another reliever the Cubs are scouting, Urbina has only a one-year deal; Sullivan is signed through 2005." I think Urbina should be a secondary option at this point, his numbers have been mediocre at best, Sullivan hasn't been that good either. A relief pitcher is their greatest need at this stage, Guardado is the best avail., they should set the bar high and work down, not vice versa.

Barry Rozner at the Daily Herald writes an article about how the Cubs should look at Jose Mesa from Pitts., same reasons apply as to why he should be a secondary choice like Sullivan and Urbina.


Minor League Notes:

Iowa defeated Omaha 5-3 as Murray was the offensive star going 4 for 5, now hitting .341 on the season. Wellemeyer making his second appearence since coming off the DL pitched 2 scoreless innings, giving up 1 hit and striking out 2. As I mentioned in his previous write-up, I want him to get starter innings while at Iowa to work on 3 pitches. Mitre picked up the win as he cont. to pitch well at Iowa, which is where he should be based on his progression and not in the majors. The #1 thing he should work on at Iowa is a change-up or a better cutter to LHs. Dubois went 1-4 with his 15th DB, Leon went 1-3 with his 10th HR, and Kopitzke went 2-4 in the Cubs win.

West Tenn defeated Montgomery 5-4 in game 1 of a DHG in extra innings as Bacon had an amazing game for a leadoff hitter, Bacon went 1 for 2, 2 runs scored, 4 BBs, and 3 SBs giving him 41 already. Weston went 1 for 3 with a DB and 2 BBs, Creighton went 2 for 5, Mallory went 2 for 4 with a DB, Pignatiello did not have his best start going 6.2IP 7H 4R 1BB 6Ks, but the West Tenn bullpen is amazing, Van Buren lowered his ERA to 0.33, Rohlicek has an ERA of 1.89, and O'Malley pitched 2 scoreless innings to pick up the win. The bullpen combined to go 4.1IP 2H 0R 1BB 3Ks in the win.

West Tenn defeated Montgomery 2-1 in game 2 as Brownlie had one of his best outings going 6IP 2H 0R 1BB 6Ks, Van Buren did pitch 1IP and gave up a HR, raising his ERA to 0.64. Matt Craig went 2 for 3 with a run scored, Creighton went 1 for 2 with a DB, Mallory went 1 for 3, Lewis went 1 for 3, Arteaga went 2 for 3, and Dzurilla went 2 for 3.

Daytona lost to Jupiter 3-1 as Adam Greenberg had 3 of the 4 hits by the Cubs and the only RBI. Tavares took the loss going 3.2IP giving up 3 earned runs.

Lansing lost to Clinton 5-1, Walker went 1 for 3 with his 31st SB, Dopirak went 1-2 with 2 BBs, Chirinos hit his 16th double and Salas recored his 1st triple. Bay pitched well but suffered the loss going 6IP 7H 2ER 2R 0BB 5Ks.

Boise lost 5-2 to Spokane, Norwoon cont. to hit well for the Hawks, 3rd rounder Chris Shaver out of William & Mary (Swoope signing) made his professional debut going 3IP 1H 0ER 1BB 3Ks.

The AZL Cubs were shutout by the AZL Pads 4-0, P. Griffin cont. to hit well at SS (he now has a 1st name), Santana picked well going 5Ip 5H 0ER 1BB 7Ks but rec'd a no decision.


End the Drought's 2004' AL all-star selections:

C-Pudge Rodriguez (Det.)
1B-Frank Thomas (CWS)
2B-Ronnie Belliard (Cle)
SS-Carlos Guillen (Det.)
3B-Melvin Mora (Balt.)
OF-Manny Ramirez (Bos)
OF-Vlad Guerreo (Ana)
OF-Gary Sheffield (NYY)
SP-Mark Mulder (Oak)

C-Jorge Posada (NYY)
1B-David Ortiz (Bos)
2B-Mark Bellhorn (Bos)!
SS-Michael Young (Tex)
3B-Hank Blalock (Tex)
OF-Johnny Damon (Bos)
OF-Hideki Matsui (NYY)
OF-Matt Lawton (Clev)
OF-Vernon Wells (Tor)
DH-Travis Hafner (Cle)
C-Javy Lopez (Balt)
SS-Miguel Tejada (Balt)

SP-Curt Schilling (Bost.)
SP-Kenny Rogers (Tex)
SP-CC Sabathia (Clev)
SP-Tim Hudson (Oak)
SP-Pedro Martinez (Boston)
SP-Ryan Drese (Texas)
SP-Freddy Garcia (CWS)

RP-Tom Gordon (NYY)
RP-Eddie Guardado (Sea)
RP-Francisco Rodriguez (Ana)
RP-Jason Frasor (Tor)
RP-Mariano Rivera (NYY)

Note: These All-star lists do not factor current injuries or the fact that a minimum of 1 representative has to be present from each team.


Thursday, July 01, 2004

End The Drought's 2004' NL All-Star Selections:

C-Mike Piazza (NYM)
1B-Jim Thome (Phi)
2B-Mark Loretta (SD)
SS-Jack Wilson (Pitt)
3B-Scott Rolen (STL)
OF-Barry Bonds (SF)
OF-Bobby Abreu (Phi)
OF-Lance Berkman (Hou)
SP-Jason Schmidt (SF)

C-Johnny Estrada (ATL)
1B-Albert Pujols (STL)
2B-Todd Walker (Cubs)
SS-Khalil Greene (SD)
3B-Mike Lowell (FLA)
1B-Todd Helton (Col)
3B-Adrian Beltre (LA)
OF-Adam Dunn (Cin)
OF-JD Drew (ATL)
OF-Miguel Cabrera (FLA)
OF-Carlos Beltran (Hou)
OF-Jim Edmonds (STL)

SP-Carlos Zambrano (Cubs)
SP-Roger Clemens (Hou)
SP-Tom Glavine (NYM)
SP-Randy Johnson (Ariz)
SP-Carl Pavano (Fla)
SP-Livan Hernandez (Mont)
SP-Ben Sheets (Mil)
RP-Eric Gagne (LA)
RP-LaTroy Hawkins (Cubs)
RP-Scott Linebrink (SD)
RP-Ray King (STL)
RP-Ryan Madson (Phil)


Minor League Notes:

" .. first baseman Brandon Sing has hit his 25th home run of the season to break the all-time Daytona Cubs home run record. Sing hit another 3-run home run in the 7th inning at Brevard County. That marks the third straight game in which Sing has hit a 3-run home run and the 4th 3-run home run in his last 3 games. Tonight's home run gave the Cubs an 11-3 lead over the Manatees. The old mark stood strong since 1996, but fell tonight. Sing's next big milestone is right around the corner. The all-time Florida State League home run record is 33 and was set way back in 1951." (Daytona Cubs)

Daytona cont. to put up double digit runs as they beat Brevard County 13-2, as mentioned above Sing hit his 25th HR scoring twice, driving in 3, 2BBs. Spearmen went 2 for 4 scoring 3 times, Pie went 1 for 6, McGehee went 2 for 5 with 2RBIs as a C, Coats went 2 for 5 scoring 3 times, SB (15). JJ Johnson went 2 for 5, Greenberg went 3 for 3 with a BB, and Theriot went 2 for 4. On the mound, Sisco picked up only his second win going 5IP 4H 1R 0ER 4BB 7Ks, lowering his ERA to 4.39.

Lansing lost to Clinton 8-7, Rick was the offensive star for the Lugs going 2 for 5 with 2HRs and 5 RBIs giving him 5HRs on the season. Dopirak can hit w/out the HR going 2 for 4 with a BB and scoring 3 times, McQuade in place of Collins went 2 for 3 with a couple of BBs. Justin Jones still not completely back to form as he gets back into the swing of things went 5IP 5H 4ER 0BB 4K in the no decision.

Boise in Game 1 won 3-1 as Yorkin Ferreras on a rehab assignment pitched 5 strong innings, Granato at the top was again the main offensive weapon going 1 for 2 with a BB scoring twice. Harvey went 1 for 3 with a RBI as did Montanez, Richie also went 1 for 3. Fischer retired all 6 batters via the strikeout to pick up his 1st SV.

Boise in Game 2 won 4-1 as Boyer went 2 for 3 with a run and a RBI, Granato hit his 2nd HR going 1 for 3, Montanez was 1 for 2 with a BB, Balcom was 2 for 3 with a run, Francisco was 1 for 3 as well. Brito gets his 1st win at Boise pitching 6 strong innings while Gross picked up his 4th SV.

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