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Sveum says Volstad in rotation and 5-6 spots in bullpen have been decided

Sveum says Volstad in rotation and 5-6 spots in bullpen have been decided
Casey Coleman has earned one of the Cubs bullpen spots

Some interesting news regarding the Cubs 2012 pitching staff just came into light via a couple of tweets from Jim Bowden of ESPN.

The first tweet addressed the rotation...

Dale Sveum told me the Cubs starting rotation will be Dempster, Garza, Volstad, Maholm with the 5th spot still open for grades.

And then this regarding the bullpen...

Sveum just told me as of now bullpen will include Marmol, Wood, Russell, Dolis, Coleman & possibly rule V Castillo. Also said Mateo MRI negative

First name that you'll notice missing is Jeff Samardzija who looked to have had a rotation spot all but locked up until yesterday's rough outing.  It's also likely the Cubs want teams to think they still value Randy Wells and Rodrigo Lopez as starters.  Both will likely draw plenty of trade interest over the next week or so.  Wells, in particular, had 25-30 scouts watching his last start (with some estimates as high as 40).

Wells will be pitching today and we can be pretty sure there will be plenty of scouts watching today as well.

The question is can the Cubs afford to trade him?

Even if Samardzija does get that last spot, he doesn't have a proven track record as a starter and the Cubs will need a fallback option.  Wells has to be considered the best of those options.  It likely depends on how confident the Cubs feel with Rodrigo Lopez being that swingman out of the bullpen.   Casey Coleman is another option as that swingman/starter depth but his fastball is substantially better out of the bullpen (93,94 mph) and that may ultimately be the role for which he is best suited.

I'd have to think that if Wells isn't traded, he'll get one of the spots in the bullpen while Lopez goes to AAA to start the season, though it's possible they could both grab the last two spots if the Cubs decide against keeping Lendy Castillo.  That, however, seems unlikely at this point.

Some names currently missing from the bullpen mix are Marcos Mateo, who's out of options but just sustained a minor injury and will be shut down for 10 days.  It's possible he can sneak through waivers now in light of that development.  Another out of options pitcher is recent acquisition Frankie De La Cruz.  De La Cruz pitched on Thursday with mixed results but certainly didn't do enough to win a spot.  The Cubs may try and sneak him through waivers and let him get some work at AAA Iowa if he clears.

The other missing piece is the second lefty out of the pen.  The Cubs would have preferred to have a second lefty, but none have distinguished themselves.  Trever Miller and Scott Maine have had the best springs, but Miller doesn't have a roster spot and it may not be worth it for the Cubs to waive another player to make room for him. Maine has not given up many runs, but has walked more batters than the team would like.

The other longshot possibility here is Travis Wood, who the Cubs were hoping would earn a rotation spot but has pitched miserably so far.  Wood has shown solid stuff but his command has been all over the place and he's been up in the zone a lot.   He'll get another shot today, perhaps his last one if he has another rough outing.

Here's how things shake down at this point...

Starting Rotation

Ryan Dempster

Matt Garza

Chris Volstad

Paul Maholm (L)

Jeff Samardzija or Randy Wells

Bullpen

Carlos Marmol

Kerry Wood

James Russell (L)

Rafael Dolis

Casey Coleman

Lendy Castillo (probably)

Randy Wells or Jeff Samardzija...if Cubs deal Wells than probably Rodrigo Lopez

 

 

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    I really thought when Theo signed on that we would have seen the end of Casey Coleman. Ugh.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Yeah, let's wait.. he may have value yet.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    I'm a little surprised but also intrigued with him out of the bullpen, though. He throws pretty hard for an inning or two and his average command plays much better there.

  • My two cents on Casey Coleman (and it always angers people greatly when I say this): Casey Coleman's pre-2012 MLB and minor league records are uncannily similar to Greg Maddux's pre-1988 MLB and minor league records. Look it up--almost the same amount of starts, very similar results. Coleman has slightly higher ERAs in the minors, but more of his starts came at higher levels compared to Maddux who had most of his starts in A ball, and Coleman had to pitch in the PCL. (Iowa was in a different league when Maddux was there.)

    My point isn't to say that Coleman is going to be another Maddux--that would be absurd. My point is that it's too early to give up on Coleman. Maddux was a similar type of pitcher to Coleman when Maddux came up--very young, blew through minors in three years despite not having overpowering stuff, a groundball guy.

    There are a lot of armchair baseball analysts who think that they've seen enough of a guy like Coleman, but they would have said the same thing about Maddux in the spring of 1988. Coleman has an excellent chance of having a breakout season this year, and it would be a shame if it was for someone else after all we have invested in him.

    It's important to remember that a lot of finesse/ground ball guys like Coleman get hammered their first 1-2 years in the bigs and then settle down and become very good. His strikeout rate has been going up as of late, which could be a hidden sign that he's on the verge of a breakthrough.

    I think we would be better served by being patient with him and letting him remain a starter, even if he has to start in Iowa, and let him come up when there's a rotation hole to be filled. I believe he has a much higher ceiling as a starter than people realize. When scouts profile the ceilings of pitching prospects, they are very biased relative to size and velocity. I would imagine that, today, a pre-1998 Maddux would profile as a back of the rotation starter at best, being a small guy without great velocity who relies on movement and deception.

    Again, I'm not saying that Coleman is going to be a rotation anchor, only that he has a pretty good resume, despite his early struggles at the MLB level. He blew through the minors with good results at a very young age, was one of the best starting pitchers in the PCL last year, plus he's the son and grandson of MLB pitchers, so he has a good background and a lot of help, in terms of understanding what it takes, how to make adjustments, etc.

    It's funny that so many Cub fans were excited to get Travis Wood but more than ready to give up on Coleman. The reason people liked Wood (prior to ST) is that Wood didn't pitch for the Cubs last year. Wood's and Coleman's records are similar, with one significant difference: while both pitched poorly last year at the MLB level, Coleman pitched extremely well in the PCL last year, whereas Wood couldn't even get AAA hitters out.

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    In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Greg Maddux minor league numbers:
    2.86 era, 1.18 whip.

    Made his major league debut at 20. He was very quickly identified in the minors as a hot prospect.

    Coleman's minor league numbers:
    3.71 era, 1.27 whip

    Made his major league debut at 22, but has never been considered a hot prospect.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    I'm aware that the minor league numbers are not identical, but I think Coleman's are equally impressive, for the following reasons:

    1) They each made exactly 69 starts in the minor leagues. Of Maddux's 69 starts, 39 were below the AA level; of Coleman's 10 were below the AA level. The level of competition in the higher minors is tougher and it's a lot tougher to rack up impressive stats at AA and above (especially when you only have 10 pro starts below the AA level!). Coleman was rushed in this way, despite having had only one year of college and not being a high draft pick.

    2) Of Coleman's 69 starts, 32 of them were in the Pacific Coast League, which is an extreme hitters' league, where the league average ERA from year to year is around 5.00. Maddux never had to pitch in an extreme hitters' league (because Iowa was in a different league back then that was neutral in terms of favoring hitters versus pitchers). It would be kind of like Coleman pitching half his minor league games in Coors Field, to give a rough comparison.

    3) While there is a two year age gap between them, and that is a legitimate difference, age is not NEARLY as significant a factor with pitchers as it is with hitters. Age is a HUGELY important factor in evaluating hitters--not so much with pitchers. Pitchers' development patterns are different and hard to predict, and there are a whole slew of pitchers who have had great careers who looked unimpressive until they turned it around. Age does not tend to be a huge factor in that. In fact, there are quite a few pitchers who are better in their thirties than in their twenties, and there are others who are horrible until their mid to late twenties and then suddenly turn it around and become excellent (Andy Ashby would be a good example of that). Overall, it's sufficient to say that they were both very young for their levels. More significant than their ages is the fact that their amount of pro experience at similar points in their development is pretty much identical--i.e. the pace they proceeded through the minors and their performace at those levels.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Your debate centers on Coleman turning things around the way Maddux did, but there was every indication Maddux was going to turn things around, both from a scouting and statistical perspective. You want me to look at numbers like IP and wins, yet dismiss stuff like age at the time they've had success and command, but the latter two is exactly what baseball people look for. Maddux was facing professional hitters with college experience and dominating them since he was 18, when Coleman was still a freshman at a small college. Maddux was winning games at the MLB level at the same age Coleman was posting a 4.11 ERA against small college competition. Maddux was so much more advanced at the same age it's ridiculous. The talent was there and the numbers were there from a very early age. There was sooo much more to build on. The same just isn't true of Coleman. You're asking him to make up a ton of ground in a lot less time. It's just not realistic. I think Coleman might be a solid, maybe even good, major leaguer but I think it's most likely going to be out of the bullpen.

  • I have to disagree on Coleman. I don't see anything in his peripheral numbers that indicate greatness, though I am curious to see how his stuff translates to the pen. As mentioned he throws a lot harder in relief. As a starter, it's not just the velocity, but he has nowhere near the command that Maddux did. I think that's the difference.

    I think Wood's stuff is better as a starter than Coleman's despite the spring numbers. For Wood it's a matter of keeping the ball down and having better command of his pitches. We've seen what happens when Coleman doesn't have command, he gets blown up. The same thing is happening to Wood right now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Greatness is definitely too strong a word for what I see in Coleman's future, but I think he still has a shot at being a good pitcher. My point in the Maddux comparison is simply that it is too early to give up on Coleman.

    Just like Wood and Volstad, Coleman was pushed through the minors quickly at a very young age. If he had been brought along at a normal pace (1 yr Boise, 1 yr Peoria, 1 yr Daytona, etc.), last season would have been his AA year. I think that needs to be taken into account when looking at his early MLB struggles.

    As far as Coleman's command, you have to have pretty good command to post 1.20 and 1.23 WHIPs in the PCL--either that or else have very nasty stuff (which he doesn't). Coleman's walk rate in parts of two seasons at Iowa is 2.69 per 9 innings (57BB/191INN); Maddux's walk rate in parts of two seasons at Iowa was 2.43 per 9 innings (42BB/155.2INN). That's the difference of 1 BB/month over a full season. Since Coleman has "nowhere near the command Maddux did" (at that point of their careers), Maddux must have been walking all those guys on purpose!

    Even an elite pitching prospect is a 50-50 proposition, so Coleman would be something less than that. But I think people who see Coleman as a lost cause are people who have only seen what he's done at the MLB level and haven't taken any other factors into account.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I'm talking about command, not control. Coleman doesn't have the stuff to get away with not locating properly -- he can throw strikes, but sometimes they're very hittable strikes. In the bullpen for shorter outings,he can throw a little harder and get away with a few mistakes.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You're probably right that Maddux had better command, but it's very easy to make that kind of subjective assessment, and it's impossible to prove it based on the actual results of what they had done at a similar point in their careers:

    Casey Coleman career MLB stats thus far:
    7-11, 5.48 ERA, 141 IN, 158 H, 71 BB, 102 K, 13 HR, 1.62 WHIP

    Greg Maddux, 1987 MLB stats:
    6-14, 5.61 ERA, 155.2 IN, 181 H, 74 BB, 101 K, 17 HR, 1.64 WHIP

    Maddux gave up more hits per nine innings and more HRs per nine innings than Coleman, while walking and striking out a few less per nine innings and having a nearly identical K/BB rate. This, despite the fact that Maddux supposedly could get away with more than Coleman because he supposedly had better stuff. Maddux actually got hit harder than Coleman while having (slightly) better control and a lower K rate, so I don't know if I buy the argument about him having better command/stuff. And I'm not even including Maddux's brief trial in '86 when he was even worse, giving up 44 H in 31 INN and having a 1.78 WHIP.

    It's easy, especially with the benefit of hindsight on Maddux's awesome career, to make very subjective statements like "Maddux had much better command." But the reality is that those kinds of statements are not supported by Maddux's pre-1988 results (stats). I could just as easily make the subjective statement that Coleman has had much better command, because Coleman's pre-2012 results are pretty much identical to Maddux's pre-1988 results.

    Their records are EXTREMELY similar--as close to identical as you could reasonably expect two pitchers to be at a similar point in their careers. If they were contemporaries, it would be impossible to distinguish them in any meaningful way, based on their records and results, and it would be difficult to do so based on other more subjective factors, like pitching styles.

    If you "don't see anything to indicate greatness in [Coleman's] peripheral stats," you wouldn't have in Maddux's peripheral stats, either. And that, my friend, is precisely my point--that it's too early to give up on Coleman. In fact, Coleman hasn't at this point floundered at the MLB level for quite as long or quite as badly as Maddux did.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Those aren't peripheral stats, they're standard ones. You can always find guys to line up standard stats with, but it doesn't mean they are similar. You can find many, many pitchers with better stuff and better results at the same stage than Maddux had, yet they wound up having much worse careers. The fact that someone got off to as slow a start as Maddux doesn't bode better for his career. It's worse. It gives him less likely a chance to match him in the long run.

    Their minor league numbers aren't even close. Maddux was a dominant minor leaguer -- as a teenager. Coleman never had an FIP under 4.00 (or an ERA under 3.65 largely due to some luck). Maddux's walk rates, ERA, HR Rates were all significantly better and he was much younger when he was doing it.

    When Coleman can take 4 pitches and vary their velocity and break --and put them wherever he wants practically whenever he wants, he'll be Greg Maddux. But he's a long, long way from that and he likely won't come close. Just because they are smallish RHP without blazing fastballs, it doesn't mean they are similar.Maddux was a heck of a prospect, with much better overall stuff and a higher ceiling as a young pitcher. Maddux had won 18 games at the age of 22, Coleman was in AA. By the time Maddux was the age Coleman is now, he was winning Cy Youngs

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks for the reply. Those are good points, and I agree with much of what you're saying. And please, I am not saying that Coleman is going to be a great pitcher like Maddux. My only point is that it's too early to give up on Coleman.

    As far as Coleman's minor league numbers being superficially less impressive, it's important to remember that, despite not having great stuff and not being a high pick, Casey Coleman had only 10 pro starts below the AA level and pitched roughly half his minor league starts in the PCL. Given those facts, his results are almost more impressive. I would also disagree that Maddux's minor league stats were dominant. They were impressive but not dominant. He was giving up nearly a hit an inning and wasn't striking out a ton of guys. No one would call that dominant. Certainly impressive, especially at his age, but not dominant, and most of those starts were in the low minors, and none of them were in environments that favored hitters. So I think you're overstating his minor league resume a bit.

    I never made the point that they were equal as prospects, only that their records at a certain point in their development were uncannily similar, which they are.

    Yes, it's true that Maddux was two years younger at the same point in their development, but age is not as big a deal for pitchers as hitters. That two year difference does not entirely cancel out all the uncanny similarities in their records. The fact that Maddux was among the best pitchers in the NL at Coleman's age just proves my point that a quick turnaround is possible for someone with a record like Coleman's.

    The point about Maddux having 4 pitches and varying their velocity and break and putting them wherever he wants--that applied to Maddux in his prime but not the pre-1988 Maddux. If he had been doing that, he wouldn't have been one of the worst (if not the worst) pitcher in the NL over his first 8 months in the bigs. There was nothing pretty or positive about his first 8 months--he wasn't impressing anyone with the way he was expertly manipulating his incredible stuff to put pitches exactly where he wanted them.

    By comparing Coleman's struggles to Maddux's, I'm not implying that struggling is a good thing--I think that should be obvious.

    One valid thing I think you can take away from both comparisons is that they both had 69 minor league starts, and they both struggled for roughly 1 1/2 years at the big league level. That 1 1/2 years of floundering is about the same amount of time (or slightly less) that they would have spent in the minors if they had been promoted in a more station-to-station 1 year/1 level way.

    I don't think we should hold Coleman's struggles at the MLB level against him too much when he had only one year of college and only 10 starts below the AA level, and then was promoted very aggressively despite not being dominant.

    There's a lot to like about Coleman. He was one of the best pitchers in the PCL last year at a still young age. And his strikeout rate is improving. I think you can attribute his lower strikeout rates earlier in the minors to the fact that he was promoted so agressively and was in over his head. It is a point in his favor that he still pitched well enough at those levels to continue being promoted.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    It's all good. I hope Coleman can be a good pitcher. Right now I think his future is in relief, but baseball's a funny game and you never really know.

  • I believe Travis Wood still has an option, maybe two? No reason to fret about him just yet. Burn an option, let him stay stretched out pitching in the minors and wait for the inevitable day when we have an injury in the rotation and need to bring him back up. He's young and it won't hurt him to work through his issues in the low pressure environment of Des Moines.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    He has one option but I really believe if he would have pitched even half way decent, that option never gets used. It's only a possibility right now because of how poorly he's pitched. Have a feeling it was his job to lose and he's almost certainly lost it at this point. If he makes a strong late showing, maybe he still has a shot. Sveum called this a "huge" outing today, so that indicates he still has time to try and turn it around.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That being said, I agree I'd almost rather see him in AAA rather than pitch out of the bullpen. Best value is as a starter.

  • 5 Hits and 3 ER in 3 2/3 for Wood today -- by far his best outing of the spring, but not the kind of sparkling performance he'd need to warrant consideration for that No. 5 starter.

    Didn't Hoyer say something recently about how, "Just when you think you have enough starting pitching, that's when you need more starting pitchers." Heh, is he talking about his team? Or is he reminding his fellow GMs that it's worth their while to deal Wells?

    I suspect the latter. Best case scenario for Wells is that he gives us a 4ish ERA and 10 wins, but he'd be blocking the path of another SP prospect. Worst-case scenario is that he stinks it up like he did last year, and we'd lose him on the waiver wire or trade him when his value's down.

    For a rebuilding team like the Cubs, that 5th spot in the rotation can be a laboratory for experimenting with prospects. Samardzija, T. Wood, McNutt if he bounces back, Concepcion, etc.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Agreed. I liked the way he kept the ball down especially in the first couple of innings.

    Good point on that second paragraph! Didn't think of it that way.

    I don't know if you noticed, but he was pitching out of the stretch for his entire outing -- and they used him mid-inning. I think that's a fairly strong omen.

    I think Samardzija ultimately gets that last spot unless he completely collapses in his next start again.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Not sure I understand the omen. Is it that Wells is on the trading block? Or that the Cubs are serious about re-inventing Wells as a relief pitcher?

    Agree with you about Samardzija. My guess is that the front office sat him down pre-season and said, if you want to be a starter, we want to see you improve your command. Show us that you can cut back on your BBs, even if it means you get hit hard. It's worth pointing out that even when Shark was getting lit up, he still put the ball over the plate. Last year, a few hard hit balls would have caused him to get wild. He's doing what the Cubs have asked of him, he has the most potential among the candidates to develop into a front-of-rotation starter, and so he gets the job.

  • In reply to Taft:

    To me it means they are leaning toward putting Wells in the bullpen if they keep him.

    As for Samardzija, I think they're going to give him his shot. As you said, this is the year to try that kind of thing. Worst case scenario is he goes back to the bullpen with much improved command. That's not bad at all.

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    There is nothing in that pitching staff that elicits any excitement to me. Most prognosticators have the Cubs pegged at 80 wins or less with a Pythagorean Wins expectation at about 73 wins give/take - and that pitching staff tells the tale of the tape - it's ugly. Truthfully, system-wide, Dillon Maples holds the most/only hope for the Cubs at this point unless they sign Garza long term.

    Volstadt has a poor K-BB/IP ratio and will get lit up - you have to miss bats and not walk people to succeed, end of story.

    Samardzija is an unknown variable. Apparently he has 4 pitches, but only 2 are consensus "out" pitches rather than just "offerings" which may make him an easy mark once he has gone through a batting order 2-3 times.

    I am not impressed by this staff, it is not much better than last season's. I mean, if you leave Wells out, Maholm essentially replaces him and a good Samardzija makes them a tad better.

    For the record, Casey Coleman is better in relief because he can up his velocity a bit which allows him to hide his command issues with his other pitches and makes him harder to hit. He is not a starter and his name and Greg Maddux's should never ever collide in the same sentence.

    Manipulate the stats any way you want but you simply cannot compare Coleman to 355 lifetime wins no matter what distributive property of math you are using. A good comp for Casey Coleman is probably Wade Miller.

    Mike

  • In reply to Jive Wired:

    I think this staff can surprise. I like Volstad's chances this year. I think he wasn't being used properly and his approach was poor. The same goes for Travis Wood last year. I don't think they'll be stars, but I think they can be rotation mainstays. Though Wood won't be up until later in the year, probably.

    I tend to agree with you on Shark. He needs to get that slider to be more consistent, but I think if he has that and that 3rd pitch can be at least average (or that could be a split, hard to tell). He should have enough. Those are big ifs and I'm skeptical too. I'll wait and see if he's still pitching well midseason before I start getting more excited.

    I like Coleman in relief as well. The comparison to Maddux is way off base, but I think it often happens when you have two non-power pitchers with similar build. The list of next Maddux's is littered with guys who haven't come close. Jeff Suppan anyone?

  • In reply to Jive Wired:

    I think we're all trying to grade it on a curve, which is to say it's an interesting (if not exciting) pitching staff due in no small part to some ambitious moves made by Esptein & Hoyer. I think Volstad has a good shot of being a good No. 4 starter on a good team. I think Samardzija has No. 3 stuff and is worth experimenting. Maholm was good value and filled a need for a lefty starter. Travis Wood has potential. Castillo's looking like a pretty good Rule V pick.

    If you're looking for a Strasburg type of prospect, he's not here, mainly because this organization has a hard time developing starting pitchers over the last several years. But I'm giving the front office the benefit of the doubt for the time being. I like the idea of playing small ball when we're batting and making other teams hit the ball to beat us. These are two quantities that were totally lost on the previous administration. And even if we're under .500 this year, this season will be a major success if we've changed the culture of recent Cubs teams.

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    Drafting AND developing. I think John or Tom did an article about a month back regarding some of the horrible draft picks since Shawon Dunston. Ben Christensen, et al? Some of the pitchers they took in the past few drafts have been horrible reaches, too.

    John, that Suppan comment gave me the biggest laugh I've had all weekend. Kevin Slowey was another "next Greg Maddux". Hahahaha.

  • In reply to Jive Wired:

    This front office hasn't had a draft yet, and they're going to have a shot at a real good pitcher at No. 6.

    But even if we hit home runs with our pitching prospects, we're not going to have an exciting pitching staff for the next five years. Ideally, we can sign Garza long term and then you can find a few starters out of Volstad, Wood, Samardzija, McNutt, Maples, Concepcion, 2012 Pick. If so, then you've got enough $$ leftover to sign a big-time FA or two to make this an elite rotation. Of course, there's no point in shopping for that big-time FA this year or next year, because he'd improve this team from 4th place to 3rd.

  • I believe Wood still has a shot at one of the rotation spots. It'd be nice to have 2 lefties in there.

  • I agree. When spring began, I really wanted Wood to win one of those jobs. I don't think he pitched himself out of it today, I think they like what they saw for the most part -- but he certainly didn't win a job yet either.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I was at the game today and came away impressed with Wood, I think he'll eventually be a mainstay in the rotation..What disturbs me is Soriano and Byrd in LF and CF...I want some kids playing.if I never see these 2 in Cubs blue again it would be fine by me..Soriano hit one off the wall, had he been hustling he'd have been on 3rd..I don't think his fielding is gonna last long with Sveum at the helm. I'm just sold on the kids and I trust Theo and jed to do the right thing, which will be having B Jax in CF, LaHair in LF and Rizz at 1st..

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Wood was better than his numbers, imo, especially early on.

    I think we'll see Jackson in the OF soon and Rizzo at 1B. We'll have to see what happens with Soriano. It seems Byrd will be traded at some point this season. HIs defense, especially the ability to play CF, will get team's attention, if it hasn't already.

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    After seeing you guys brag on Coleman and Travis wood, I have to give a shout out to Volsted. I really like what i seen out of him this spring, and if he can put a full year like that, i really like what he is going to bring. Especially since we basically got him for a pitcher that was on his was out. Although we are paying him 15 million, but still i really like him.

  • In reply to Larry:

    I agree. I like Volstad a lot, maybe better than any starting pitcher not named Garza.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I got a feeling that the Marlins are gonna regret that deal

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Me too. They went with the bigger name but not the better pitcher. Not at this stage, anyway. Wonder if he could have still turned it around with Miami, or did coming to the Cubs help.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, didn't he have a good 2nd half last year? I saw him at the game today walking amongst the fans in his Cubs workout gear, he's a big guy looks intimidating...Glad the Cubs chose to have Sutcliffe work with him this spring..Sutcliffe was a great pitcher, but was also nasty if he had to be, something most guys nowadays aren't but a guy like Volstad could benefit from his knowledge..Sutcliffe said that Volstad has much more movement on his heater than he ever had, which could be HUGE!!!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    He did. And if I remember I think he was especially good in September, so he finished strong.

    It's probably a combination of him improving and maybe an extra boost from Bosio and Sutcliffe. Very cool to hear Sutcliffe say that about him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, you and Tom should come out this last week of ST....I met Brett from Bleacher Nation out there today and met Dave Winfield..Interesting day

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I love going to AZ but my personal schedule has really gotten in the way this year. There's always a chance things can open up before opening day, but I think it's more likely I'll be able to go in the summer to catch the rookie league or the fall to catch the fall league. Whatever the case, I will definitely let you know.

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    The thing is i watched him during every spring training game and he looked like he was overpowering everyone he seen. I think that he will have a good year, especially in a down nl central.

  • In reply to Larry:

    He has that big intimidating frame, it just seems like he's never really used it to his advantage until now.

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