Baseball is back at Wrigley today as the Cubs take on Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers. Here are some news and notes to tide you over. I also added a graphic today on pitcher vs. hitter matchups. Let me know if you'd like me to do that more often.
In the News:
- There was not yet a renovation deal between the Cubs and the City of Chicago as of this morning according to David Kaplan, but CBS Chicago is reporting that sources tell them that a deal will be announced later today. Stay tuned.
- Lots of draft stuff in the past couple of days. I don't know if I linked the Patrick Mooney article yet, but if not you can find it here. Mooney writes that the pick is coming into focus and that there is a sense that the Cubs will take one of 3 college pitchers: RHP Mark Appel of Stanford, LHP Sean Manaea of Indiana State, or RHP Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma.
- In case you missed it, Manaea was held back from his Friday start because of a hip injury but did make his start the very next day. It looks like it wasn't a problem as Manaea went 6 innings, struck out 9 and walked none. Phil Rogers chimes in on the draft and aside from the college arms, he also notes that the Cubs have scouted Georgia high school outfielders Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows very closely. ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers also notes the Cubs have scouted the two outfielders.
- In case you missed it, Tom talked to a rival scout about Jeff Samardzija and whether he was an ace. The scout said, “He (Samardzija) still has to prove he can be consistent, he has enough stuff to be an ace. He had too many roles at the beginning of his career but just maybe he is settling in.” For his part, Samardzija seems to understand the pros and cons of striking out so many hitters.
- I wrote a piece for the Ivy Drip newsletter on Jeimer Candelario but there has been some delays with the publication. I will link it as soon as it is ready. In a nutshell, I've been impressed with Candelario, from his natural skill as a hitter, to his ability to adjust, to the work ethic that has him in great shape to start the season. In my opinion, the young 3B is poised for a breakout season.
- Reader/contributor JiveWired writes his own blog, which is often about music (one of my passions outside of baseball!). Today he is writing about the Cubs and some of his personal memories. He also has great things to say about the blog and the community here. Thanks for the kind words JW!
- Some info from Baseball America on missing Cubs minor league players...
- Released: RHP Jay Jackson, RHP Hayden Simpson, RHP Brett Wallach, RHP Joe Zeller, LHP Casey Harman, LHP Dontrelle Willis, C Mike Brenly, OF Evan Crawford
- Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Esmailin Caridad, RHP Marcelo Carreno, RHP Dayan Diaz, RHP Michael Jensen, RHP Chang-Yong Lim, RHP Matt Loosen, RHP Jose Rosario, RHP Casey Weathers, LHP Kyler Burke, LHP Jeff Lorick, LHP Andrew McKirahan, C Yaniel Cabezas, C Carlos Escobar, 1B Greg Rohan, 3B Brad Zapenas, OF Albert Almora
- Meanwhile, Jose Paniagua is still awaiting his visa.
- DeJesus cf
- Castro ss
- Rizzo 1B
- Soriano LH
- Schierholtz RF
- Castillo C
- Valbuena 3B
- Lillibridge 2B
- Jackson P
What to Watch For:
There is a strong wind blowing out today and Opening Day needs a Tuffy Rhodes to celebrate. Who is the most likely to have a memorable home opener-- and no, we don't (necessarily) mean fade off into oblivion afterward.
John: I'm going with Beef Welington. He takes a mighty rip and if he connects, he's going to have a big day.
Tom: Starlin Castro is going to HR today at least once today and maybe throw in a gapper or two.
Felzz: Luis Valbuena.. Someone who you don't expect to steal the show. He's as good a guess as anyone. So I'm going Luis V......
Filed under: Preview and Game Thread