Cubs Preview and Thread 2/25: Five things to look for...

Cubs Preview and Thread 2/25: Five things to look for...

Okay, game starts in about 25 minutes so let's get right to it. The Cubs travel to Camelback Ranch to face the LA Dodgers.  The game is on both video and audio!

Here are today's lineups...

  1. Valbuena 2B
  2. Barney DH
  3. Schierholtz RF
  4. Hairston CF
  5. Nelson 1B
  6. McDonald LF
  7. Castillo C
  8. Lake 3B
  9. Gonzalez SS

Starting Pitcher: Carlos Villanueva

Carlos Villanueva is in competition with Travis Wood for the last available starting spot.  Villanueva is a guy who depends on command and changing speeds so I wouldn't be too concerned if he's not that sharp yet.  I think both he and Wood will get more time to prove who is most ready to start the season in the rotation.

5 Things to Watch For...

  1. Junior Lake gets the start at 3B and is coming off a game where he showed everybody why he can be so frustrating and so exciting all in the same game.  He struck out twice and then hit a towering, tape measure HR in his last AB.  His defense is going to be a big key for Lake's chances to find his way to Wrigley sometime this season.  He has the arm to play there and his size is a better fit at the hot corner.
  2. Nate Schierholtz was listed at 1B originally, making me wonder if he'd get some time there this spring.  The Cubs don't really have a long term replacement in the unfortunate event that Rizzo gets hurt. EDIT: turns out it was just a typo in the original lineup.
  3. Two top SP prospects, Barret Loux and Robert Whitenack, made the trip today and could see some action.  Loux is competing with Nick Struck, Brooks Raley, and others for that 8th and 9th "spot" in the rotation.  Whitenack, meanwhile, looks to rebound from a season which was more focused on rehabbing and building strength for this season.  If healthy, he could add another top SP prospect to the Cubs organization.
  4. A couple of interesting position changes: Luis Valbuena is at 2B and Scott Hairston is in CF.  Valbuena is likely to see more time at 2B if Ian Stewart is named the starting 3B this year and his bat profiles better there provided he can handle it defensively.  The Cubs are likely looking for a platoon partner for David DeJesus in CF.  We've seen Dave Sappelt out there already and now we'll see Hairston.  Sappelt is the better athlete at this stage but Hairston has the edge in experience, having already logged plenty of CF time in the majors.
  5. Alberto Gonzalez is among the mix for that last bench spot on the roster with Ed Maysonet, Brent Lillibridge, and others.  Gonzalez is the best defender in the group and he's a legit SS.  His bat, however, is behind his rivals right now.

*** Bonus item:  Jorge Soler and Javier Baez have both made the trip to Glendale, so we may see them come in later in the game***


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  • John, aren't they sending Soler and Baez to Glendale to face the Giants?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Yes, but Glendale is home of Camelback Ranch and the Dodgers.

  • I am hoping that Loux could be a under the radar pick up.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Hope so too. Put up some great numbers but profiles more as a 4/5 guy. I'd certainly take that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Considering we only gave up Soto to get him Loux was a coup in my opinion.

  • I just read an intriguing article by MLB scout Bernie Pleskoff on "Spring Training scouting a whole different ballgame".

    Gives a good picture of what to expect on players training in Florida vs. Arizona, and an insight into how some teams rank skills according to position.
    Among other things, he says that he looks more at mechanics than at performance in Spring Training.
    Good read for a pro scout's perspective on judging both prospects and pros.
    (I can add the link if it's ok on this site.)

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Absolutely agree on that. Go ahead and link it. If it get's spammed, let me know.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Here it is:

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Good article Kenny. I found it interesting to see how some early ceilings for "raw" prospects might be established largely on intangibles.

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    4/5 type guys may not be core players, but boy epstoyer making sure they have the depth for an entire roster when those core players are added alone. Pitching staff alone, assuming 6-7 of these waiver wire + system players can fill out a bull pen, we're only missing one guy (maybe two guys depending how you want to classify jackson) that can be #1 on a good day and a #3 on a bad day from having a pretty stellar staff. And i'm not including Garza and Baker unless they become a bigger part of this

  • In reply to NateDHummel:

    Good to have those 4/5 guys come up for you system. Better than paying for them.

    Agreed on the staff.

  • Valbuena doubles deep into gap to leadoff game.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sure seems like Valbuena is making a case as to why he may have to be considered for the 3B job IF Stewart isn't ready to roll and IF Lake ends up starting the year in AAA.

  • Barney doubles but is thrown out at 3rd, but Schierholtz HRs. 2-0 Cubs.

  • Villanueva didn't make it out of the first. Control issues and a 13 pitch AB to Dee Gordon did him in.

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    Nice to see Schierholtz having a good game so far. That HR is encouraging. Good to see a couple of other guys with long balls as well. First start of spring for Villanueva, so hopefully he has a bounce back game in his next start with alittle more control.

  • In reply to Bill Newton:

    Castillo hit a bomb today. McDonald threw his hat in the ring with a 3 run blast.

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    Whitenack 10 pitches 10 balls.....yikes.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Wild pitch, hit batter, balk. Nerves....ouch.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Gotta be uphill from there, right?

    I remember the first time I taught a college class. He did better than I.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Try your first day coaching a baseball team where most of the players are older than you with big egos everywhere. That almost did me in quick.

  • I swear in the 7th just now Vin Scully said the Cubs are going in a different direction and that's why we'd dealt Soriano to Washington. Looking online just now, nothing, so I'm blaming either a senior moment or my hearing.

    Whitenack looked pretty nervous out there. Trying to withhold judgment till the butterflies settle a bit. Great to have video again!

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I think he is talking about the reliever from the Yankees.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Named "Alfonso Soriano" who got traded away to the Nationals? I think it was just a senior moment. I still heart Vin Scully though.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I thought that's what he said too. Love me some Vin Scully but he as all over the place today -- kinda like Whitenack.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And that home plate umpire. Lol, you know he's bad when Sveum's yelling at him three games into spring training.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    He was really squeezing Loux -- and then he would randomly call that low outside pitch a strike. Can't blame Sveum for getting ticked already!

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    You did hear that...senior moment for Vin or a major scoop on his part...

  • In reply to Larry125:

    Hey, seniors have "senior moments". All you have to do is ask ME.


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    Does anyone have any idea if there is someplace you can find the “30 clubs in 30 days” show featuring the cubs? I know it was on 3 times that day but I managed to miss all three.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    This it?

  • Dontrelle, your career is over.

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