As many mentioned yeterday, we can officially cross Mark Grace off the list and, though it's unlikely, he could get up to 4 years after getting his 2nd DUI in 15 months. Right now, baseball isn't a priority, you hope he gets the help he needs and gets his life back together.
On with the rest of the notes...
- Miguel Socolovich, Marcos Mateo, Adrian Cardenas, and Jason Berken all passed through waivers and were assigned to AAA. That worked out well. The Cubs were able to make some room on their 40 man roster and retained everyone except for 3rd string catcher Anthony Recker, who was lost to the Mets. That gives Cubs some veteran depth at AAA Iowa should the Cubs run into an emergency situation.
- Darwin Barney won the 2012 Fielding Bible Award for 2B. For those unfamiliar, these awards take a more analytical approach than the Gold Glove and have an intelligent panel that includes Bill James, Joe Posnanski, Peter Gammons, and Doug Glanville. The Fielding Bible only awards one winner for MLB, so the picked Barney as the best in all of baseball. This doesn't mean he'll win the Gold Glove Award, which is often shaded by reputation and politics, but if he doesn't, I think this award is more meaningful, if less glamorous.
- We haven't done a Fall League update in a while but Javier Baez hit his 4th HR yesterday and had his best day overall, drawing a walk and stealing 2 bases. For the most part, the Cubs have struggled down there with the exception of Tony Zych (1.50 ERA), but there are some encouraging bits. Kevin Rhoderick is working on his approach and his control. Despite a 5.40 ERA, he has still shown a general ability to miss bats (2 walks/10Ks in 6.2 IP), but has given up 2 HRs in 6.2 IP. Matt Szczur is working on his swing. He's holding his own at .250 with an OBP of .357, stealing 6 bases but only has one extra base hit so far. Nick Struck has struggled with his control (6 walks) but he's also been tougher to hit and has struck out 6 in 7 innings. Both Rhoderick and Struck are battling for 40 man roster spots but both have shown mixed results so far.
- Down in the Domincian, Venezuelan, and Mexican Leagues, there hasn't been a lot of playing time for Cubs prospects but Junior Lake has made the most of it so far, batting .316 with 2 HRs in 19 ABs. He has also walked twice. On the pitching side, Yoanner Negrin is 1-1 with an 0.75 ERA and 10Ks in 12.1 innings. Here are the stats for all the Cubs playing in the various leagues, including Arizona.
- Here is a look by Cubs Vine Line at Starlin Castro's changed approach.
- The Cubs made some roster moves but none were unexpected. They removed RHPs Miguel Socolovich, Jason Berken, and Marcos Mateo and IF Adrian Cardenas off the 40 man roster. Meanwhile, the Cubs officially lost Anthony Recker when he was claimed by the Mets.
- For those gung-ho on blowing the Cubs budget for Shohei Otani, consider that scouts think he'd be a late first round pick if he were in the MLB draft. He has great velocity but there is some mixed opinion as to it's movement and many questions with regard to his command. The slider has movement but command with it is non-existent. In fact, many scouts are saying he isn't even the best amateur pitcher in Japan right now. That distinction goes to Shintaro Fujinami. Otani is getting the hype because he is breaking ground by making himself available to MLB teams before he turns pro, but Fujinami, who has made no such indications, may be the better pitcher when all is said and done.
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