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Cubs Notes: Previews, Prior, Fujikawa, Golden, and more on Schilling

Cubs Notes: Previews, Prior, Fujikawa, Golden, and more on Schilling
Reggie Golden (photo from miCubs.com)

I'm a little bit late on an article today as I spent the day with the wife.  Baseball is right around the corner so it was a good time to take a break before spring training starts.

Here are a few news and notes to nibble on until Fels dishes out his Sunday brunch...

  • There are a few spring training guide/previews out that include thing like important dates, questions facing the Cubs,, projected lineups/rotations, and more.  There is one by Carrie Muskat, another by Gordon Wittenmeyer, and a third by Jessie Rogers.
  • David Kaplan writes that Mark Prior is looking for one last shot at the big leagues and feels he is in the best shape of his life.  He's built up strength in his shoulder and is reportedly throwing in the 92-93 range.  No word, though, if the Cubs are interested in their former pitching phenom.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa has already started his transition to the MLB and says he's ready.  There's been some speculation that Marmol's legal issues may give the former NPB all-star closer a shot at saving games for the Cubs.  However, it appears Marmol will be ready to report tomorrow and Fujikawa is ready to take on whatever role the team gives him."The decision is not up to me but the coaches," Fujikawa said. "My job is to get outs, and as I do that, I'll try to make it a tougher decision for the coaches to make."
  • In that same article, we learn that Reggie Golden is healthy again after hyper-extending his left knee just 7 games into the season last year.  He's understandably excited to be back and I'm excited to see what he can do if he stays healthy.  Golden has the skills to play RF but its his powerful bat that is his real ticket to the majors.  When it comes to putting a serious charge into the baseball, Golden can hang with some of the Cubs top hitting prospects, but we'll have to see how much all this missed time has affected his development.  It's possible Golden will go to Kane County to start the year and if he does, you may want to get there early to catch Golden, Vogelbach, and possibly Soler take batting practice. That will be quite a show in itself.
  • The Curt Schilling saga just got a little stranger as sources tell ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes that his claims that he was approached about using PEDs are untrue.  Investigations found the claim to be "completely baseless".  Schilling, of course, insists that it's true.  To me it seemed odd (not to mention self-serving) that he brought up the story in the first place -- even if it were true.  What was he trying to accomplish?  Now the investigation is showing that the person he accused, then team rehabilitation coordinator Mike Reinold, never said such a thing and has no history with PEDs.  It was also learned that Schilling and Reinold didn't exactly get along.

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  • fb_avatar

    Saw a video of Vogelbach taking batting practice. Kid is in much better shape. He looks like he's dropped 50 pounds from his high school days. Also, here's Audio of Keith Law talking to Waddle and Silvy about, among other things, how Cubs have never had a "legit top prospect" with a good approach at the plate.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/14708/podcast-keith-law-talks-prospects

    Uh, Keith, about that unathletic slug you don't think has a position...

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I heard that podcast and almost added that link. Law had some great things to say about Baez. As for Vogelbach, it's probably because he doesn't consider him a "legit top prospect". He didn't even put him in his top 10.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Here's betting Vogelbach forces his way in this year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'd like to see that. That would mean he's having a big year, maybe even a midseason bump to Daytona since there's no 1B prospect there to block him.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I really think he's going to. He looks like he's been working hard on the conditioning aspect. He'll be challenged in AA, but we have a couple seasons to go before we come to that. Until then -- I think his swing, power, and plate discipline will just overwhelm younger pitchers.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Im with you. Saw Vogelboom in AZ last year, Ive said more than once the kids power is what has been written about. Has power to all fields, hes not a dead pull hitter, and he does work counts. Law doesnt like him because he thinks he has no position. Maybe the NL needs to adopt the DH.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You did include that link to the podcast, but its where Dave Kaplan's story about Prior is supposed to be.

  • fb_avatar

    If Prior really is back in the 92-93 range I can't see a scenario where a team doesn't take a chance on him.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Agreed. Not sure if that's a consistent 92-93 or his peak. Whatever the case, if it's accurate I would think he'd at least be worth a look.

    The key to Prior though is that fastball command. When he was good, it was more about him putting that pitch right where he wanted than pure velo -- though throwing in the mid 90s always helped too

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Agreed. If he is finally more-or-less healthy,... I would love to see Prior get a shot again. If not with the Cubs - somewhere.

    If he has even some of the stuff he had back in the early 2000s - he could at least make somebody a good reliver.

  • 12 hours to go! I'm ready for ST to start already. Been itching for baseball since Nov.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Me too!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to lokeey:

    Can't wait. A hot dog, a beer, some peanuts, and some ballpark nachos at a ballpark. What more could you ask on a summer day?

  • The Cubs might be able to finance some of the work required to upgrade Wrigley Field by soliciting donations from the other Midwest League teams to encourage the Cougars to promote some of their top prospects to the Florida State League. I think their Opening Day roster would be capable of playing .750 ball for the season if nobody was promoted mid-season.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    Someone just needs to tell your useless mayor to back out.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    Haha! Now there's some creative financial thinking.

  • Wow Reggie Golden. He has so much ground to make up. The only way he has a legit change to make the majors as a start is for him to obviously hit and play a full non-injured season at Kane County.

    I kind of wonder if Baez plays the beginning of the season at Daytona and then gets promoted. Same goes for Soler. He could start the season in Kane County and then get promoted to Daytona once Baez gets promoted. I know they don't play the same position but Baez will carry the team in Daytona and then when Soler comes up he just takes over the Star role. And that note, John who do you think would play a better RF Martin or Golden?

  • In reply to WillieG1:

    Maybe I should read my writing before I post...

    Wow Reggie Golden. He has so much ground to make up. The only way he has a legit chance to make the majors as a starter is for him to obviously hit and play a full non-injured season at Kane County.

    I kind of wonder if Baez plays the beginning of the season at Daytona and then gets promoted. Same goes for Soler. He could start the season in Kane County and then get promoted to Daytona once Baez gets promoted. I know they don't play the same position but Baez will carry the team in Daytona and then when Soler comes up he just takes over the "Star" role. And on that note, once Soler gets promoted, John who do you think would play a better RF Martin or Golden?

  • In reply to WillieG1:

    Golden is a huge longshot, no doubt. He was a high risk prospect even before the injury. After missing a whole year, I'd say the risk factor is "extreme".

    Martin is a much better OF'er in general than Golden, though if he hits like he can Golden's bat would play better there. Martin's bat plays better in CF, where he is excellent, but has the misfortune of being at the same level as Almora. I think both Almora and Martin could both play CF right now at the big league level.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    If Almora doesn't take some walks this year, that won't be the huge issue it is at the moment. That's what is really encouraging about the Cubs system. Their depth lets them replace blue chip prospects who fail with sleepers who hit.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Martin doesn't walk either, though. Almora seemed to be focused on working the count in instructs. I think he'll be okay. Part of the Cubs lack of walks is that they are good at scouting and draft/signing guys who make contact so easily, and at lower levels there isn't much a pitcher can throw that they can't hit. That was true of Castro and Vitters for example and it's also true of Baez and Almora right now. The hope is that with Baez and Almora that coaching + maturity + more challenging pitchers will make them more selective.

  • fb_avatar

    I get that, i do. But Martin had a 5.8% walk rate at Boise last year which, while not great, is around what Josh Vitters was doing at Iowa (6.6%). Almora had a 1.4% walk rate across 2 levels, and no walks in 61 PAs in Boise. Now, I'll grant his contact skills are off the charts -- 9.2% K rate across 2 levels (8.2% in Boise) as compared to 20% K rate for Martin at Boise. (I'm taking the numbers for Martin least helpful to my argument, he was better in both categories in the AZL.)

    But the issue I have is we were sold on how advanced for his age Almora is and how he isn't going to need as much work as other high schoolers because of his advanced approach at the plate, etc. That advanced approach really wasn't on display in Boise. If this is after years of work and squeezing every last ounce of ability he has out of himself -- how much improvement on these things can we realistically expect?

  • fb_avatar

    Just saw a video taken of Vogelbach taking BP in Mesa the other day.
    WOW! He looks like a totally different guy...must have lost 50 lbs! That says a ton about his work ethic and drive. Can't wait to see what he does this year (and if he's able to keep the weight off). If they continue to develop him defensively the Cubs could have gem on their hands!

  • In reply to AdolphoPhillips67:

    I'll post that link in the next news/notes. He looks good. He looked like he shed some pounds when I saw him in October but he looks even better now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But for those who want a sneak peak, here it is...

    http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2013/2/9/3968330/dan-vogelbach-video-cubs-fantasy-camp-report

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