Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Callis weighs in on a potential 5th starter next year:

"Tim from Chicago asks:
With Matt Clement almost certainly gone next year, which pitcher has the best chance to be the Cubs fifth starter next year: Renyel Pinto, Bobby Brownlie, Angel Guzman or Ryan Dempster? Thanks.

Jim Callis: What about Sergio Mitre? He had a very nice year in Triple-A and would be a $300,000 option that would allow the Cubs to allocate more funds toward their offense. But I suspect that Dusty Baker will give Ryan Dempster every opportunity to win that job."

Personally, I'm all for giving it to the best pitcher which includes the pitchers mentioned above as well as Leicester and Wellemeyer who have started for most of their minor league career. Guzman has the best stuff of the group, but can use some time at Iowa to stay healthy and get some IP, something he hasn't done. Brownlie and Pinto can both use IP at Iowa as well. That leaves Dempster, Mitre, Wellemeyer, and Leicester as the potential starters. I'd like to see Wellemeyer get the job out of those 3, he would have the chance to improve his breaking pitch and improve his control, he has the biggest upside out of those 4.


Rotoworld on Dubois:

"Jason Dubois ... 25, has to be taken seriously as a future regular after hitting .316/.389/.630 in his first season in Triple-A. He doesn’t have any star potential, but his power should make him a solid everyday left fielder for a few years. The Cubs will have an opening for him once they decline Moises Alou’s 2005 option. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll let him play, though. They need to trade him if they’re not going to use him, as he has nothing left to learn in the minors."


Dopirak or Harvey:

Jim Callis still think very highly of a extremely gifted Ryan Harvey.

"Harvey is more athletic and can do more things than Dopirak, but Dopirak really tore up the low Class A Midwest League this year. I'd give Dopirak maybe a slim, slim edge, but that may change by the time I get around to doing our Cubs Top 30 in the offseason."


Monday, September 13, 2004

Note on Felix Pie:

Jeremy Deloney, Baseball Miscellany, on Felix Pie CHN :

" ... The Cubs have often lacked a legitimate leadoff hitter and they have to look no further than their own high A affiliate in Daytona. CF Felix Pie ranks among the top minor league leadoff men for his speed and his ability to make contact. He doesn’t yet have the on base abilities that are generally required in today’s #1 hitters, but he’s only 19 years old ... The only tool that some scouts question now is his ability to hit for power. Of course, at 6’2” 175 pounds, Pie still has some growing to do and could stand to add valuable muscle to his upper body ... has the potential to steal 40+ bases in the big leagues if he can learn to get on base more. His speed also helps him immensely in the outfield. Despite his youth, he shows above average defensive skills including a strong arm, good range, and sound instincts. Pie may not ever win a Gold Glove, but he certainly doesn’t lack for effort ... From an offensive standpoint, Pie has a lot of work to do. At least the Cubs can be patient in his development ... Because Pie has such raw abilities, the Cubs would be wise in taking things slow with him. Next year he’ll most likely be in Double A with West Tennessee. He will most certainly work on making more hard contact and pulling the ball to unleash his power potential ... If he can add a little more power and more patience at the plate, Pie might be able to push Corey Patterson to an outfield corner (or another organization) in 2-3 years."


Saturday, September 11, 2004

Changing Styles:

No, this is not about converting the Cubs offense from a 3-run HR to a small ball offense for next year (although, Beltran and Renteria would be a boost of speed at the top). This is about this blog and what I write in the manner it is written, there are plenty of better blogs out there as far as thought provocation and information both at the major and minor league levels than mine.

I will concentrate on stories not just random info. as stats, rankings, and tools evaluations are great; the way they got there is even better. I will still try and include Cubs info at various points just not as frequent as in the past.

I'm sorry to those who enjoy this blog in the current format as I have rec'd some wonderful remarks via Haloscan and e-mail. The Cubs would still be a focal point, just not as much as my writing, and the story within an article.

I'm currently in the infancy stages of an article concerning Aussie baseball and it will take time to complete the article in the manner I feel necc. to complete rather than patching items together as my blog portrays.


Monday, September 06, 2004

Setting the Cubs rotation:

The season is undecided, the expectations resting upon the final 30 days of the season, and 96 years of pressure destined to be mentioned. This is crunch time, 130+ games have meant very little and it comes downs to these final series. The pitching match-ups are key, the Cubs have relied on their starting pitching through an inconsistent offense and key injuries to stay in the race for post-season glory. The rotation is comprised of overworked starters and inconsistent pitchers coming off injuries, showing glimpses of what they were a year ago, but not enough to feel 100% confident in.

Baker has set the rotation for the rest of the year, the horses are now set and expected to jump the 1st hurdle; getting into the playoffs.

Remaining Schedule:


9/6 Mont=Z
9/7 Mont=C
9/8 Mont=M
9/9 FLA=W
9/10 FLA=P
9/11 FLA=Z
9/11 FLA=R/C (on 3 days rest)
9/12 PIT=C
9/13 PIT=M
9/14 PIT=P
9/15 CIN=W
9/16 CIN=Z
9/17 CIN=C
9/18 CIN=M
9/19 CIN=P
9/20 FLA=W
9/20 FLA=R/Z (on 3 days rest)
9/21 PIT=Z
9/22 PIT=C
9/23 PIT=M
9/24 NYM=W
9/25 NYM=P
9/26 NYM=Z
9/27 CIN=C
9/28 CIN=M
9/29 CIN=W
9/30 CIN=P
10/1 ATL=Z
10/2 ATL=C
10/3 ATL=M

There are some issues to be addressed with how Baker has this setup, it is set-up so that the two most overworked pitchers from 2004' are potentially geared for the two double-headers, and the most starts by Clement. Also the 6 most important games of the month will be against the Marlins and this sets up as 2 starts by Wood, 2 starts by spot starters, 1 start by Prior, and 1 start by Clement. This setup will lead to a more likely chance of one of the starters having a poor start as Wood and Prior have been the most inconsistent in the rotation and that is before factoring the likely spot starter (Rusch). The rotation can be setup more effectively and this is how I would manufacture the rotation...


9/6 Mont=W
9/7 Mont=P
9/8 Mont=M
9/9 FLA=C
9/10 FLA=Z
9/11 FLA=W
9/11 FLA=R/P (on 3 days rest)
9/12 PIT=P
9/13 PIT=M
9/14 PIT=C
9/15 CIN=Z
9/16 CIN=W
9/17 CIN=P
9/18 CIN=M
9/19 CIN=C
9/20 FLA=Z
9/20 FLA=R/W (on 3 days rest)
9/21 PIT=W
9/22 PIT=P
9/23 PIT=M
9/24 NYM=C
9/25 NYM=Z
9/26 NYM=W
9/27 CIN=P
9/28 CIN=M
9/29 CIN=C
9/30 CIN=Z
10/1 ATL=W
10/2 ATL=P
10/3 ATL=M

As previously mentioned the two series vs. Florida are key and this sets up as 2 starts by Rusch, 2 by Zambrano, 1 by Wood, and 1 by Clement, which is a better matchup than what it is shaped up to be. Also if the Cubs go short-handed vs. Florida, instead of the most overworked pitchers for the doubleheaders, it would be the least worked pitchers. By giving Zambrano and Clement an extra 3 days rest, I think it would help down the stretch, at this point they are rusty and is dependent on their off-day schedules and how effectively they use them.

Another key point is the possibly of a 1 game playoff, with the current rotation it would likely be Prior in the 1 game playoff, the rotation I would employ would have Clement as the playoff starter. I think Clement at this stage gives the Cubs a better chance of winning that game moreso than Prior.


Saturday, September 04, 2004

Minor League All-Stars:

(Cubs prospects will be in bold)

Pacific Coast
C Rose Mike
1B Johnson Dan
2B Burke Chris
3B Atkins Garrett
SS Barmes Clint
OF Allen Chad
OF Church Ryan
OF Riggs Adam
DH Pickering Calvin

RHP Sweeney Brian
LHP Downs Scott
RP Reyes Al
MVP Johnson Dan
PIT Downs Scott

(no Iowa Cubs were selected)

C Willingham Josh
1B Gutierrez Jesse
2B Lewis Richard
3B Encarnacion Edwin
SS Wilson Josh
OF Schumaker Skip
OF Stern Adam
OF Calzado Napoleon
OF Nelson Brad
DH Sain Greg
U Bergolla William
RHP Rose Brian
LHP Pinto Renyel
RP Baker Brad
MVP Lewis Richard
MVP Baker Brad

Florida State
C Alfonzo Eliezer
C Martin Russell
1B Sing Brandon
2B Young Delwyn
3B Baldiris Aarom
SS Guzman Joel
U Cota Carlo
OF Murton Matt
OF Pie Felix
OF Davenport Ron
U Roberson Chris
DH West Jeremy
P Connolly Jon
P Broxton Jonathan
P Papelbon Jon
P Ramirez Ismael
RP Buzachero Edward
RP Sierra Edwardo
MVP Sing Brandon
MVP Ramirez Ismael

C Barton Daric
1B Dopirak Brian
2B Kendrick Howie
3B Duncan Eric
SS Kinsler Ian
OF Collins Kevin
OF Dickerson Chris
OF Frazier Alex
DH Rottino Vinny
RHP Knox Brad
LHP Bondurant Steve
RP Zimmermann Bob
RP Rapada Clay
MVP Dopirak Brian

C Nickeas Mike
1B Dale Lachlan
2B Dean Erik
3B Macri Matt
SS Cabrera Asdrubal
OF Herrera Javier
OF Montanez Luis
OF Horwitz Brian
DH Carter Chris
RHP Shappi A.J.
LHP Nottingham Shawn
RP Blevins Jerry
RP Miller Jim
MVP Herrera Javier


Minor League Notes:

Cubs' slugger Brandon Sing and Jay's starter Ismael Ramirez took the top prizes in the Florida State League.

Sing came within inches of matching the Florida State League's record for most home runs in a season Wednesday night. However, a gusting wind pushed a would-be home run against the Palm Beach Cardinals to the wrong side of the left-field foul pole and Sing had to settle for the 32 homers he hit this season ... Sing didn't get the record. But he did get a handsome consolation prize -- the league's most valuable player award that officially will be announced today. "I didn't get the 33 (home runs) but I did get the MVP," Sing said. "I'll take that, especially after what I went through last year. The 33 was almost there. If it came, it came. Now the hurricane's coming." Sing finished the year leading the league in five offensive categories, including homers (32, RBIs (94) and runs (86). (Daytona Beach News-Journal)


Friday, September 03, 2004

Scouting the Minor Leagues:

DJ over at Any Team Can Have a Bad Century who also writes at Northside Baseball and myself have decided to work together in a listing of the players with the best tools in the Cubs' minor league system. We have listed the catagories that are usually most important when scouting minor leaguers, I would like to thank DJ for allowing me to assist him in reviewing the Cubs system. I will post his results this Monday and then you will be able to compare and contrast our lists.

Best Hitter:
1)Felix Pie
2)Matt Murton
3)Brian Dopirak
4)Richard Lewis
5)Micah Hoffpauir

Best Power:
2)Ryan Harvey
3)Brandon Sing
4)Jason Dubois
5)Kevin Collins

Strike Zone Judgement:
1)Ryan Theriot
4)Anthony Granato
5)Adam Greenberg

3)Chris Walker
4)Casey McGehee

Best Baserunner:
1)Dwaine Bacon
3)Buck Coats

Fastest Baserunners:
4)Nic Jackson

Best Pitcher:
1)Angel Guzman
2)Bobby Brownlie
3)Andy Sisco
4)Ricky Nolasco
5)Reynel Pinto

Best FB:
2)Billy Petrick
3)Carlos Marmol
4)Chadd Blasko (depending on rehab results)
5)Jason Wylie

Best Curve:
1)Sean Marshall
3)Richard Hill
4)Darin Downs
5)Jae Kuk Ryu

Best Slider:
2)Luke Hagerty
3)Michael Wuertz
5)Jon Leicester

2)Carmen Pignatiello
3)Jon Connolly
5)Todd Wellemeyer

3)Bear Bay

1)Russ Rohlicek
3)Clay Rapada
4)Jermaine Van Buren
5)Eric Eckenstahler

All Defensive Team:
C-Jose Reyes
2B-Robinson Chirinos
SS-Ronny Cedeno

Best Arm-OF:

Best Arm-IF:

Most exciting Player

Most Exciting Pitcher
1)Richard Hill


Thursday, September 02, 2004

September call-ups:

Typically an entertaining time of year for Cubs fans like myself who lust after the minor leagues and Cubs' prospects, when we get a quick peek of a player we've been reading about in Baseball America for years or maybe caught a game in Lansing, MI or Jackson, TN. These players would likely be replacing aging veterans who have been brought in as cheap stop-gaps and led the Cubs to basement of the NL Central to battle Milwaukee.

Like all cycles, it has changed as these call-ups may have a potentially larger role in determining the fate of team in contention for the post-season. This is a quick rundown of who is possibly going to have an impact and what type of impact that might be.

Ben Grieve:

Not your typical Sept. call-up, he will be serving the role as 4th OF'er/LH PH'er, he is an adequate 4th OF'er for a club going for the playoffs, will provide some pop and some runs allowed with his defense. Given the rest patterns of Sosa and Alou, he will see some action in the OF, this final month and likely be replaced by Goodwin in late innings. His potential impact is a 5 out of 10, key situational ABs are key for a team as poorly managed as the Cubs and as inconsistent as they are.

Mike DiFelice:

Typical lack of ability 3rd C, not much offense, solid defensively, and he'll allow the Cubs to use Bako is a more significant PH role (sarcasm) or Barrett when Bako is catching Maddux. Keep him away from as post-game celebrations, he'll possibly get rowdy. Not much impact for a 2nd string C, even less for someone with the skills of DiFelice. His potential impact is a 2 out of 10, likely to get under 10 ABs, maybe prevents a stray slider late in a ballgame.

Sergio Mitre:

His rough start to the season will likely have a negative impact on a potential Sept. appearance, he pitched well at Iowa and deserves another shot in the majors this year. He did much better against LHs at Iowa than the majors, but will likely be restricted to long-relief/situational RH. His impact is determined by Baker's usage pattern which will likely restrict his potential impact. Likely his impact will be 2 out of 10, if the Cubs need an extended outing in relief or the pen is running short is where he'll be needed.

Jason Dubois:

With the acquisition of Grieve, he projects as a 5th OF/RH PH'er, he can become an important piece of this team as he should become the top RH PH'er with power as Grudzielanek (when not starting) likely has the most power from the RH side off the bench. I doubt Baker will use him as a starter unless the season has been decided and like last year, it doesn't appear to be the case. He didn't get much of a chance when Sosa was on the DL and was benched over the likes of Macias in RF, so I doubt he'll get many ABs as a starter. Likely potential impact is a 3, he'll get a better chance to prove himself in Mesa.

Eric Eckenstahler:

Can be used as a LOOGY, with Mercker going down via suspension for his role in the Astros series, Eck might have a more important role than previously expected during that series. His stuff is that of a LOOGY, nice FB (92), sharp breaking slider (threw a 1-7 curve in HS), but lacks consistent control and at times will remind some of Andy Pratt when he is having trouble around the plate. I hope Eck has a significant role out of the pen, Dusty will like his size, Eric should benefit from the coaching staff. Potential impact is a 3, previous ML experience combined with a LH'er with a strong arm raises the potential impact.

Neifi Perez:

The Dungeons & Dragons fan club have likely closed their Excel spreadsheets for a brief second and wandered to a MLB transaction page and found their perpectual whipping boy again back in baseball. He is likely one of the worst hitting positional players of all-time, blessed by beating the Giants in 98' forcing a playoff against the Cubs. His role will likely be that of a defensive replacement, he has dropped off at SS defensively and will assume a role previously occupied by Augie Ojeda (without the shetland pony type appeal). Potential impact is a two, Dusty is a micromanager, Perez can exploit this as a strength or weakness if he has to bat for himself.

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