Cubs call up Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson today; Trade Baker for 2 PTBNLs; Campana optioned

Cubs call up Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson today; Trade Baker for 2 PTBNLs; Campana optioned

Update: 12:34 PM: Brett Jackson is starting in CF and batting 2nd

UPDATE: 12:24 PM: Tony Campana has been optioned to AAA

UPDATE: 12:20 PM: The Cubs have traded Jeff Baker to the Detroit Tigers for two players to be named later.

This is weird because I was in the middle of writing an article on Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson today....

Per Brian Bedo and our friends at miCubs.com, it seems that the Cubs will be calling up both Vitters and Jackson today.

My thoughts on this are that I'm excited to see it happen.  Jackson and Vitters have both had a lot of development time in the minors, but they both very likely aren't finished.  We'll probably see both struggle to some degree.

Brett Jackson's contact issues and Josh Vitters' aggressive approach at the plate have been well-documented and I have every expectation that those respective weaknesses will be exploited by savvy MLB pitchers.

But there are advantages to bringing them up now.  The first of which is that the Cubs will get an early and more extended look at two possible starters for 2013.  The two players will get their feet wet and get some experience.  They'll also have the opportunity to work with the MLB coaching staff.  This is particularly important for Jackson, who had been working with now Cubs hitting coach James Rowson on some adjustments at the plate.  The Cubs likely  feel he is best served working with Rowson on a daily basis as they try to cut the strikeouts down to a manageable level.  We can't expect Jackson to ever be a contact hitter or a guy who hits for average, but the expectation is that he can mitigate the contact issues to point where it will allow him to put his solid across the board skill set to use as an everyday player.

Jackson has an excellent approach at the plate and unlike many current Cubs, he'll make the opposing pitcher work and throw strikes.

As for Vitters, he's been working on his approach and we noted in out top 20 prospects article that he has increased the number of walks he's had in each month this season, resulting in a career high of 30, 8 more than his previous high with one month to go in the season.

Vitters, however, excels where Jackson struggles.  He uses a picturesque swing and tremendous hand-eye coordination to make consistent hard contact.  This year we have seen him hit the ball harder and more often then we've seen in the past, resulting in his best numbers since he was still a highly touted, top national prospect down in Class A Peoria.

The concern about cost control is not as significant as it was with Anthony Rizzo because, at this point, neither Vitters nor Jackson project as future stars, just solid regulars.  The Cubs could have waited until mid-season of 2013 if they wanted to save an extra year, but concerns about their continued development also played a factor in the unexpected call-up.

They will arrive in LA today and hopefully we'll see them in the starting lineup.  Looking forward to this game and seeing what these guys can do.

We'll update once we find out corresponding moves and if they'll be in the lineup today.

 

 

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  • fb_avatar

    With this news I will be increasing the volume of games I watch this year. I've been one of the more optimistic commenters here on Vitters and Bjax and I truly believe both, especially Jackson, will benefit for this experience. I just hope cubs fans realize its not about numbers for them its all about development and experience for NEXT YEAR. I could care less if their stats arent Rizzo like because Rizzo got this same experience last year and struggled but look what it did for him.

    Also I'm figuring Brett takes bakers roster spot,
    lahair grabs some bench
    campana gets sent down to play CF
    Valbuena takes bakers old role or gets DFA

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Valbuena probably sticks as a utilty bat off the bench, defensive replacement but agree with everything else.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Have we heard anything on if Vitters is playing?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    He's not starting.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Marcel, I've been big on Vitters but you hands down had more faith in him than anyone here..I hope he and B Jax have long successful careers here and we hammer the crap out of Joe Blanton today!!!!!

  • Awesome news, I don't expect them to light it up but gives us a chance to see some future players develop. As for Baker, I'll miss those solo home runs and hard hit doubles when the Cubs were down 8-0 or up 8-0. I'm not a fan of Baker as it seemed he had most of his hits or RBI when it wasn't relevant to the outcome of the game. I could be wrong but Rizzo probably has more GW RBIs as a Cub than Baker.

  • In reply to Manny:

    Baker has his role and probably not a guy who ideally should play as much as he has, but I think a contending team will find him useful.

  • Thanks for the news, John. I was going to ask who would go with the call-ups of Jackson and Vitters. I'm surprised Baker made it all the way to the Tigers on waivers.

  • Baker's pretty cheap and valuable, but I guess not much value unless you're a contender.

  • I hope they're in the lineup. Valbuena and Lahair have struggled lately it's time to see what we got. Dejejus can move to right with Jackson in center. Vitters can take over third tho I hope they work on his defense. Overall great move by the Cubs.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to cubsrock1988:

    Just saw a tweet from miCubs -- had the story of the call-up earlier today -- that Jackson bats second and Vitters isn't in the lineup. That decision confuses me. A lot.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sveum did say earlie rin the week that when calle dup, both needed to play everyday... Vitters not starting is Quade like decision

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I understand if Valbuena was doing well, but he has been awful. There is no reason to not be playing Vitters.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Demarrer:

    We should probably give it a day. Hopefully Vitters is in the lineup tomorrow. And again -- a lot -- after that.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Demarrer:

    Totaly agree...I like Valbuena till he hits, then I want him on the
    bench

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Here's our answer: Muskat says Vitters is going to platoon against righties. Um, okay.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Gotta be a mistake by Muskat meaning lefties.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I took it to mean he won't be platooned. But Twitter and it's 140 character format can leave a lot to interpretation, so we'll see.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Agree. Why not play Vitters today? There must be some explanation but at first glance, this makes little sense to not start him.

    I haven't watched either prospect play that much. I am anxious to see what fundamental flaw Jackson has in his swing that causes him to miss pitches so often.

    John, does he over swing, pull off pitches, not keep his bat in the hitting zone very long, is he long in his swing or what do you know? I read his selectivity on pitches is good. What am I missing with him?

  • fb_avatar

    Another thing to look at, Castro is batting 5th. Dale is really trying to change things up with this lineup which is nice to see.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Putting Jackson 2nd really stresses how much they value OBP and grinding out ABs at the top of the lineup. Maybe this will dawn on Castro, who likes hitting at the top.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Demarrer:

    I've thought for a while Castro would eventually find himself lower in the lineup. With Rizzo there and Baez not too far away, 3 and 4 are spoken for and Theo and Jed have to want high OPB guys in the 1 and 2 holes. I'm betting the decision to move Castro down was one the three of them made in their meetings the other day.

  • fb_avatar

    No more Clayton Kershaw confusion? Lol but ya I think this was a good move.. Don't understand why vitters is not in the lineup.. And why Jackson isn't leading off while keeping Castro second.. And John you think these guys will stick here If they struggle? I don't expect theo to leave them here if they do.. Which I hope isn't the case..

  • In reply to Colman Conneely:

    I think they'll stick no matter how they do. Iowa season ends in a month anyway.

  • I don't really understand why Jackson is batting second. Sure Castro hasn't been as sharp lately, but why drop him in the order? If anything Jackson should be leading off, especially with his ability to steal bases. Otherwise I feel like he should be batting lower in the order, especially as a rookie.

  • In reply to gocubsgo:

    The lineup is also:
    lefty
    lefty
    lefty
    righty
    righty
    righty
    lefty
    righty

    It would be nice to swap Castro and Jackson or move Jackson to 1st, hit Castro 2nd, and move DeJesus to 5th. They need to break up the lefties and righties.

  • In reply to gocubsgo:

    "They need to break up the lefties and righties." Which is a nice problem to have isn't it? In comparison to the not so distant past where batting order for lefties was a matter of where you'd bat Milton Bradley?
    This is real progress and reason for encouragement during rebuilding seasons.

  • In reply to gocubsgo:

    Cubs should see a lot of pitches in the first 2 spots today. I like it.

  • Should have brought them up start tomorrows game. Again bad
    teams both should play all the time.

  • fb_avatar

    Good move. There's no reason not to play these guys the rest of the season to see what they can do.

    I expect Vitters to struggle a bit initially, and hope we are patient with him. Looking back through his career, he has always struggled a bit every time he's moved up a level before he started to hit. Most seasons this involved a late season call up to the next level where he struggled before putting up solid #'s the next season at that level. He ended last season at AA so never got his feet wet in AAA. I seem to recall him getting off to a pretty sluggish start this year (at least power wise) before really turning it on the last couple of months.

    Give him some time (and some starts!), and if he sticks to his M.O., he'll start to hit.

  • In reply to brober34:

    Vitters did get off to a slow start but he's been tearing it up since May started. I have to think he'll play often.

  • fb_avatar

    I wonder if this means Junior Lake, who has been playing third, is Iowa bound.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    My gut says Justin Bour or Logan Watkins

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Though Lake has put in the most time at AA...so you could be right.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Watkins makes a lot of sense.

  • So far no roster movement in the minors, but it still has Vitters listed on the Iowa roster. So could maybe see some movement later. A minor move Lendy Castillo is making the rehab jump to AA from A+. He's been stretching out going 4 Innings a few times so maybe he'll get the start for AA today seeing it's TBD. Also according to Duane Underwood's twitter he will be making his Cubs AZL debut today.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Yep! Another thing to look forward to!

  • Despite my burbling manlove for Campy, I'm okay with him being sent to Iowa as long as he gets to... what's the word... ah yes... PLAY. Have him lose the uppercut and start working on slapping the ball into the ground. Have him learn to work the count and get his walk rate and OBP up. If they don't play him everyday though, I'm gonna stab someone in the face... at random... probably while screaming "BURBLING MANLOVE."

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Haha! Agreed. He does need to adjust his swing to his style of play.

  • I think one thing that will really help Jackson and Vitters transition to the majors is their strong friendship with Rizzo and the fact that he has already been through it. He will really help them as they come along.

    This team is in a unique situation right now, 4 of their top pieces (Rizzo, Jackson, Vitters and Castillo) have reached the majors this year. If all of them, and that may be a lot to hope for, can prove that they can be the impact pieces the Cubs need, then the rebuild would seem to be far ahead of schedule. I am not saying that I expect 2013 to be a year where we go for it, but with so many younger pieces in place and ready to start developing together, this team could become very good very quickly. You couple these four players with the young pieces the Cubs already have in place (Castro, Shark, and Barney) and the Cubs future looks very bright indeed.

  • In reply to supercapo:

    Good point. Rizzo's going to be the perfect guy for them to lean on.

    Really excited to see these guys and hope they play well enough to start for 2013.

  • In reply to supercapo:

    Love to see Vitters and BJax up...and BJax draw a walk before a K!

    John & Tom: Long time reader, first comment. Appreciate the info you guys provide on the guys in the minors. It truly is Prospect Porn!

  • I have a question fellas. Does any and every player have to be put on waivers now in order to trade? Or only 40 man roster players?

  • In reply to Bill:

    Only 40 man, no way any prospects would ever get through otherwise.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John.

  • fb_avatar

    I can't help but wonder who the Cubs got for Baker. Organizational filler would be my guess, and if they are real prospects, they're probably in short season ball right now.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    With it being PTBNLs, it's likely that they are draft picks from last year. A player has to be signed with a team for a year before he's traded.

    But yeah, I'd be shocked if either of the guys was drafted in the top 10 rounds.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Could be, or it just could have been to facilitate a quicker trade so they could make corresponding roster moves. Whatever the case, I don't think it's going to be anyone to get excited about.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I heard some interesting names in regards to this trade. Two of which stood out to me: Yorfrank Lopez and Edgar De La Rosa. Both are in short season ball. Both have a fair shot to make it at least as relievers.

  • John, what do you think LaHair's fate is, not only immediately but next year?

  • In reply to Abe Froman:

    I hope LaHair, and others, can be used in package deals in Dec.
    Unless Garza is traded in Aug., not lilkely, put him in a big
    package deal in Dec.

  • In reply to Abe Froman:

    I just don't envision him being with the Cubs next year. They'll get what they can for him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd say the odds are even greater now than they were a month ago, that Garza gets traded over the winter. After seeing what Hamels got, Garza is likely going to be pushing for something in that ballpark and there's no way Theo and Jed come anywhere close to touching that.

  • My guess is that the Cubs got 2 promising but very low A guys from the Tigers. As people have said here Baker is wasted on a rebuilding team, he's best suited or contending team where he can provide pop here and there. Next up is Marmol, he's the next to go and it would kind of surprise me if he's not dealt by August 31st.

  • I find it completely assinine to call Vitters up and not have him be the everyday 3B . Secondly I will be on Lendy watch tonight. He has mowed thru the low levels so far just like He did in the Phillies org. Kid is a keeper . Now that I have jinxed Him He will pull a Dempster and get shelled tonight lol .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Vitters needs to play every day, either with Chicago or at Iowa.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I think he'll play almost everyday.

  • Listening to the Daytona game, and I heard Baez struck out for the 4th time in 6 ABs. The announcer said that after the first strike, he already looked like he struck out. He's also looked a little shaky in the field. Let's hope this is just nerves.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Just nerves, probably. Maybe trying to do too much. The FSL is harder...but not that much harder.

  • Guess Tony Campana was the guy "left out" until they decide what will happen with Soriano.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to JackF66:

    Even if Soriano is moved, at this point Dave Sappelt would get the call before Tony C, he's an all around player, not just a one trick pony

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