Cubs Game Notes: Prospects continue to impress in morning game; Jokisch to start 2nd game

Cubs Game Notes: Prospects continue to impress in morning game; Jokisch to start 2nd game
Matt Szczur

As you may know, we have a new puppy in the Arguello household and puppies have this way of commanding all your attention.  They're a lot of fun -- but there's a lot of work to do.

This spring it's hard not to keep an eye on the Cubs young pups and even though there is a game coming on at 2 pm.  The kids are once again showing they can play with the big dogs:

Here's a summary of some of the action as of this writing...

  • Kris Bryant has a double, a single, an RBI and a run scored.
  • Albert Almora has a pair of singles, an RBI, and has scored a run.  He's also playing well in the field.
  • Arismendy Alcantara has a double, a run scored, and drove in a run with a groundout.
  • Matt Szczur is having a nice all around game, getting on with a bunt single, stealing a base, and scoring a run.  He also drove in a run with a sac fly and made a nice running catch.
  • The starting pitcher Jason Hammel pitched 3 scoreless innings while Justin Grimm and new closer Jose Veras pitched in a scoreless frame.

Yesterday Javier Baez ripped a double the opposite way that nearly left the park.  ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers has an interview with him here.   Among the excerpts:

  • Baez compares his swing to Gary Sheffield's but says he's not trying to copy anyone.  
  • He's been working on reading pitches, particularly breaking pitches.  He's trying to learn when they fall out of the strike zone and laying off those pitches.  Carrie Muskat also has a piece about Baez working on his plate discipline.
  • He prefers 2B after shortstop.
  • On defense he's working on being better aware of who's running so that he can cut down on his errors.

Injury Notes

  • Starlin Castro is out 7-10 days after tweaking his hamstring yesterday.  They're calling it a strain. It's actually good news.  It could have been worse.  Looks like Baez is going to get some ABs early this spring.
  • Jake Arrieta is playing long toss and his next step will be throwing off the mound.

Today's Lineup: 

  1. Chris Coghlan, LF
  2. Ryan Roberts, 2B
  3. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  4. Junior Lake, CF
  5. Javier Baez, SS
  6. Aaron Cunningham, DH
  7. John Baker, C
  8. Chris Valaika, 1B
  9. Darnell McDonald, RF

SP: Eric Jokisch, LHP

What to watch:

  • Jokisch gets a vote of confidence by getting the nod as a starter today.  He was 11-13 with a 3.42 ERA (3.62 FIP) at AA Tennessee last year.
  • Junior Lake's defense in CF.
  • Javier Baez -- whatever he's doing.

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Comments

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  • who do they play in the B game right now?

  • In reply to Csanad:

    The Giants.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    thanks John. what was the final score?

  • Where has Kalish been this spring? I was excited to see if he could find some magic early this year.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    They could just be brining him along slowly. He's missed a lot of time and probably needs some time to get his timing back.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I thought he came in as the LF replacement in the first game.

  • In addition to his already stellar game, Szczur also tripled off the wall to deep left.

  • In reply to Mike:

    Thank Mike. He's making a nice impression today.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would absolutely love it if he turned into a faster version of Reed Johnson. Probably doesn't have that kind of power though. Regardless, I'd take it.

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    Szczur should start the year in AAA, but I wouldn't count out seeing him pretty quickly as a reserve OF. He's older, he's already on the 40-man roster, and is proving he can play a ML CF. He's also out of options next year, IIRC.

  • Hamstrings are tricky, I'd give Castro a lot longer off than 7-10 days. Thats the kind of injury that could ruin a season if they bring him back too fast.

  • It is a pretty weak lineup today for the 2nd game. I am excited to see Baez though and also to see Jokisch pitch. DId you see the comments Jason Parks said about Baez having the possibility of developing into a "generational talent"? I was pretty excited to hear that.
    What type of puppy did you get?
    Have a great day!

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Got ourselves a French Bulldog...big difference from out Doberman and Rottweiler we used to have. But she's a feisty one.

  • Saw this in a piece on ESPN regarding th Sloan Conference. They were discussing the impact of the increase in strikeouts and use of defensive shifts and how it might correalate to high contact spray hitters to become more valuable because you can't shift effectively against them and it was mentioned that Astros GM Jeffrey Luhnow acquired prospect Ronald Torreyes from the Cubs specifically because he had the lowest strikeout rate in the minors last year.

  • Bummer about Castro being on the shelf for a week or more - he looked like he had some of his batting timing and swagger back. But,... at least it gives the management time to take a longer look at Baez and maybe see how well Bonifacio can cover SS in a pinch.

    Was reading another article on Castro's injury - and there was some chatter on that article about moving Barney over to cover SS and giving Beaz and Bonifacio some PT at 2B.

    I assume that as Castro is the incumbant and NOT theoretically badly laid up - he's in no danger of losing his spot if he is ready to go.

  • Not at games today, but my only issue with Baez and his def, is he takes a little too long to transfer the ball to his throwing hand. A minor issue that could be fixed with coaching, but that little extra time cost them a DP the other day which turned out to be an extra run or two that inning.

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    It seems like Castro's often in the news for the wrong reason.

  • Great catch by Baez on a pop-up.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    He's going to be hard to keep down for long.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Any ideas when the super 2 date is? And could Arb Eligible dates affect other guys like AA or Bryant?

  • Now Baez just launched one deep over the right center field wall. Man, that guy is fun to watch.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He's maturing and making some adjustments for certain... but I think the rest of the world is starting to get a feel for how I've felt about this kid since we drafted him. I've watched him make jaw dropping play after jaw dropping play since he was 14....

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Said from day one Baez has the easiest opposite field power I have ever seen from a guy that small. It really is incredible to see.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Saw him 2 years ago in Peoria get fooled and "poke" a line drive triple in that same right-center gap. Bat speed can do all kinds of nice things for you.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    That's the second time I've seen you refer to the 6'1", 210 LB Baez as "small". Actually, I think last time you used the word "tiny".

    Do you really think he's small, or do you mean it in comparison to other "traditional" power hitters like Thomas, Thome or Dunn?

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I saw Baez play at Kane County, his calfs were huge, really, really strong legs, I would imagine that's where he gets a lot of his power from.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    What I mean is he isn't a classic power hitter size. He is the size of an athletic infielder. He isn't Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn, Dave Kingman, Jim Thome, etc, etc, etc. And he is able to hit the ball the opposite way as hard or harder than any one of those guys.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I agree, he is a thick guy already. I still wonder if he can stay at shortstop because of possible weight gain as he ages.

  • In reply to seankl:

    I agree. He is thick and muscular, certainly not "small' and much less "tiny". His body type is not that of your prototype SS. But I think it will work at 3B just fine because he does seem to be quick on his feet. I'd like to see him take some plays over there, and I'd like to see Bryant in LF. I don't think Bryant is a 3B in the long run.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Mike Schmidtt was 6,2 200. Never heard anyonew call him small. Wasnt the Babe 6,2 and 215 during his heyday? Aaaron was what , 5'10 and 175 or so? Don Sutton oncew said it best, hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I have been making a lot of still frame photos of these guys swings, and one thing I can say about Baez, Bryant, Almora, and Lake all keep their "head on the ball" excellently! That may sound strange to some readers, but not all ML players do so. That bodes well.

  • Baez hits a first pitch out of the park.

  • BAEZ!!!!

  • And no cars were damaged during that home run.

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    Not sure how you guys are going to handle the contest as far as free agent signings for the opening day tickets - since there were none. I am open to suggestions.

    Let me know how you want to proceed and where to send the tickets. I am out of town through Thursday (Tulsa - gonna get me a Jonathan Gray Drillers jersey lol ). Please advise.

    Go Cubs!

    Mike

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    We'll have to figure something out. It's an 8 way tie right now. People guessed either Wada or Hammel, but nobody guessed both.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The guy that didn't have Tanaka wins.

  • If Baez moves to 2nd, what happens to Alcantara? Does he become trade bait? I have a man crush on Baez, but Alcantara could be a real asset to the club as well.

  • In reply to supercapo:

    Alcantara would be able to transition to the OF without any issue. And despite what some will claim, his bat would play in LF just fine (assuming he plays to his potential).

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I don't think a guy who's ceiling is prob .280 with 12-15HR's profiles anywhere in the OF except CF. Having him in LF would essentially negate most of the added value Baez has over other 2B...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thank you.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Starling Marte better retire then

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Or get traded so he can play center field where he has much more value. He's a bit of a problem for the Pirates, since they need some power and he isn't providing it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think they are ok with marte in left. If they can keep alvarez and McCutchen with there power numbers and get some power from first base and hope polanco is the real deal they are in good shape.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yep. They hate that 3rd best WAR he provided out there. I'm sure they can't wait to get rid of him and replace him Ibanez, Carter or Soriano.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I am sorry, but this is just so inaccurate that it boggles my mind. Please take a look around the production received from LF last year around MLB. It is terrible. This is not 2001. There was barely any teams that received an 800 OPS.

    280 with 12-15 HRs (not to mention the 30-40 SBs that Alcantara would provide) is as good or better than 20 teams received from LF last year.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Here are LFs ranked by home runs. 12 have 20 or more HR. You'll notice Starling comes in a big #24. Also, a lot of the guys above him played in fewer games than he did. If we look at ISO, he's 19th.

    Offensively, he's in the bottom 1/2 to 1/3 of all left fielders.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=lf&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=300&type=c,4,6,11,12,13,21,-1,34,35,40,41,-1,23,37,38,50,61,-1,111,-1,203,199,58,39&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=5,d

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    OPS by LF by team last year

    ARI 763
    ATL 781
    BAL 706
    BOS 790
    CUB 741
    CWS 732
    CIN 687
    CLE 757
    COL 880
    DET 708
    HOU 736
    KC 739
    LAA 722
    LAD 698
    MIA 662
    MIL 790
    MIN 697
    NYM 701
    NYY 692
    OAk 718
    PHI 788
    PIT 764
    SD 672
    SF 651
    SEA 734
    STL 873
    TB 745
    TEX 722
    TOR 667

    You don't think Alcantara, again assuming he plays to his abilities (because if he doesn't the discussion is moot anyway), could rank in the middle or above average in that pack?

    A lot of the teams that got 20+ HRs from LF sacrificed OBP and defense to get it. Guys like Soriano and Ibanez and a couple of other teams didn't get much production even with the HRs. And again, Alcantara would provide speed and his athleticism should tranlate to plus defense as well.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Yes, and you sacrifice OBP and defense in left field specifically to get home run power. That's the nature of that position.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    And the by-team numbers are highly deceptive. Look at the PAs. If a center fielder plays an inning in left, every one of his at-bats is counted into the total.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    9 teams got a 750 or better OPS from LF. Alcantara has the ability to be a 750 OPS guy in the majors. So that looks to me like he has the ability to be a top 10 LF in the majors.

    And its not like I am suggesting the Cubs should move him out there. I think we will have better options. But it is not the ridiculous notion that you suggested it was a couple of weeks ago. LF is just not an offensive juggernaut postion anymore. Alcantara would not be out of place there if he is forced out of the IF by better players.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah, I look at that list and see the bad teams were sacrificing obp and defense for power. Soriano, Brown, Ibanez, Carter. Amazing WAR numbers those guys put up.

    Outside of the a handful of guys like Gonzalez, Upton, Trout, Gordon, Harper, Holliday the guy that Alcantara projects to be is not out of place with any other player on that list.

    And Starling Marte, for his 24th ranking in HRs, was 3rd in WAR. Marte could be a pretty solid comparable for what Alcantara could do out there.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Last year's playoff teams:

    Rays: Kelly Johnson/DDJ -- 18 HR
    Indians: Michael Brantley -- 10 HR (A WC team that snuck in from a weak division. They would have finished near the bottom in the AL East.)
    Pirates: Starling Marte -- 12 HR
    Reds: Helsey/Paul/Ludwick -- 18 HR (This was something they were looking to improve)
    Red Sox: Gomes/Nava 19 HR (Assuming 1/2 of Nava's HRs came as a LF)
    Tigers: Dirks/Tuiascopo: 16 HR
    Oakland: Cespdes 26 HR
    Cardinals: Matt Holiday 22 HR
    Dodgers: Crawford/Van Slyke 13 HR (Again, this is not a position they're particularly happy with.)
    Braves: Upton 27 HR

    60% of the teams had 18 or more HR out of LF. You can fight this all you want: power production is absolutely paramount to that position.

    You mock Soriano: the Yankees went out and got him for a pennant run. And they had to give up a relatively valuable piece to do it.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    2012 Giants won the WS with their starting LF having 11 HR on the season. Only 1 player on the team had over 12 HR and that was their catcher. They were a below average power team across the board.

    They won because they put together a team that works, not because they went by the book "ok a slow slugger has to play LF"

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Its not letting me reply to your post Moody so I have to reply to my own.

    LF production is the defining trait of playoff teams, huh? I'm not sure how I can even reply to that without coming off as insulting.

    The Rays will lose HR production without Johnson this year.
    The Indians were so unhappy with Brantley they extended him.
    The Yankees extended the power deficient Gardner.
    Pirates are more than happy with Marte
    The Reds are doubtful to get much better production this year as they return the same group for the most part.
    Red Sox have the smallest LF in baseball, they can afford to sacrifice defense more than any other team.
    Tigers, like the Reds figure to get similar production
    Oakland: Cespedes is one of the best
    Cardinals: Holliday is one of the best
    Dodgers: See Reds and Tigers
    Braves: Upton one of the best

    I see three playoff teams with good LFers. The others as you say were unhappy and want better. But improve with who? Who are they going to get? They all want to improve but there are not enough of the type of LF types you want to go around. There are only about 10, maybe. So in other words, everyone else has to make do and Alcantara would be just as good in the make do department as any other team trots out there, including playoff teams.

    I have never once claimed that Alcantara would be among the best at the position, in fact it would be a last resort of sorts, but it you act as if his productivity out there would be so unacceptable that he wouldn't even be worth considering. And that is just so narrow minded. Plenty of teams (including plenty of playoff teams) receive less than what he is capable of. If all we want is a bat out of LF, we might as well just put Vogelbach out there, you ready to make that argument?

    P.S. I have never once mocked Soriano that I can recall. I have always been one of his bigger defenders.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Their are more Marte, carl crawford, and Parra types now. Good obp, plus speed, excellent defense, and 10-15 hr power.

    I think alcantara could be a 15-18 hr type. Similiar to Carl crawford with a worse avg but more walks.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    I think Alcantara would be ok in left. However he'd be way better in the infield w/Soler, Almora and Bryant in the outfield.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Why is it so mind boggling? You're saying that "IF" he hits his ceiling of .280 with 12HR's that he profiles in LF. even using last years stats (which by your own admission is down from years past) that would put him right in the middle of the pack. Or put it this way, "Nate McClouth Territory". A less than 2 WAR player is not what we are shooting for. "IF" he hits his ceiling and is blocked out at 2B/CF, then he has more value to US as a trade chip than as an middling LF'r.

    To put this in perspective, CarGo is a name that has been bantered about on this site a lot. he OPS'd in excess of 900 last year. With out double checking, I'd guess there were several others that were above 800. But I don't think .280 with 12HR's gets you to 800. So I'm not sure why mentioned that.

    None of this isn't a knock on Alcantara, but rather a n honest and objective statement that he does not ideally profile as an everyday LF'r, even if he hits his ceiling...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    CarGo is the best LF in baseball. We shouldn't be expecting that. I'm not trying to say Alcantara would be among the Top 5 in the league at the position. But once you get past the top 5-8 guys production at the position across the entire league drops off a cliff. And Alcantara isn't any worse an optin than 75% of MLB teams are playing in LF.

    Nate McLouth was an above average LFer last year. I think a 750 OPS from Alcantara is reasonable. Combine that with plus speed and defense and he is better than a 2 WAR player. Seriously look at that list that Moody linked above. There is not 10 guys on that list that I would take above a fully developed Alcantara.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Late to the party - seems to me after a quick research of top teams and left fielders, a lot of guys had down years last year, and a lot of teams trotted out less than stellar players out there. There were injuries as well as steroids for Mr. Braun. At any rate, I'd be okay putting Alcantara out there if there weren't other options or the rest of the team was so stacked that OPS is taken care of from other positions. He's not ideal, though. David Dejesus is starting for Tampa. Don't want him. Andy Dirks in Detroit (coming off an .857 in 2012 OPS in a more limited sample size). I think 2013 was a bit of an abberation from normal years. Here's a decent read from fangraphs (albeit a year old):
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2013-positional-power-rankings-left-field/

    I think OPS is still wanted and expected from teams in LF. It is the goal. Can you get by without it? Yes. But the idea is that you don't have to be as great of an athlete in LF. Putting a great athlete in left with a low OPS can be detrimental, but everything is on a case by case basis. So I don't disagree with MJVZ, but I more side with Moody. Both of you bring up great points.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    With potential power hitters like Soler, Bryant, Rizzo and Baez in the line-up a switch hitting table setter look good to me, even if he does play LF. We have enough potential clean up hitters.

    He might be below average power wise but he negates that with above average defense, average, and speed making him better than average overall.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I could think of ten guys easily, w/o even looking at his list. My point was and still is, his ceiling places him at average on a down year for the position. He provides much better value as a trade candidate than he does as a middling LF'r. It's just not his ideal position, and really thats if he hits his ceiling and maxes out power wise. Whereas he would be a very valuable commodity as 2B or Cf even if he doesn't max out his power potential.

    Again, we're not shooting for average here. Theo said in an interview one time when asked "how to build a championship team" (I'm paraphrasing obviously) but it was surprisingly simple, "get players who are better than league average at every single position."

    I never intended to argue that he couldn't play the position, or even be average.... but again, we're not shooting for average and his value is maxed at 2B/CF.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    There's another point here Hoosier. Let's say Rizzo slots in at .270 20-25 HR. I think that's a pretty fair ceiling for him at this point. We desperately need another lefty middle of the order hitter. In the AL, this is where they stick the DH. Not having that alternative, there are surprisingly few places such a hitter fits on the Cubs. 3B is locked down tight by righties. (One of Olt/Villanueva/Baez/Bryant.) Assuming they like Castillo as much as they say they do, catcher is a righty. Even there, if we're looking at left-handed power-hitting catchers, the list pretty much starts and ends with Carlos Santana and Matt Wieters. Finding a lefty power hitter that plays second or short is possible, but I can't think of one off the top of my head now that Robinson Cano is in Seattle. Corey Seager might get there but (a) from everything I've heard he's headed to third base and (b) the Dodgers don't seem to be in the business of trading prospects at the moment.

    That leaves right, center, and left. Assuming one of Bryant or Soler takes right, that leaves center and left. The math is pretty simple, he just doesn't fit into the lineup as a left fielder.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    .280 10-15 and 30+ steals would place him as a better than league average player at LF.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Hoosier,

    I am not advocating playing Alcantara out in LF. But in the event Baez plays 2B, Bryant plays 3B, Soler in RF and Almora in CF would we necessarily have a better in house candidate than Alcantara to play in LF? I don't see one. Of course we could alwys go outside the org and get CarGo, Heyward (the most realisitic get IMO), or someone like that and I would be more than willing to do that.

    I am not someone who even wants Alcantara to play everyday. I am on record many times on that account. I do not believe he can successfully hold up over a 162 game season at his size year after year. To me he is ideal as a super sub, sort of a Bonifacio with more power that can play 2B/3B/SS/LF/CF on a semi regular basis. But in the hypothetical scenario he is an everyday player and where all the other positions are covered, it is not inconceivable that Alcantara would be adequate in LF. That is all I am saying.

    I will admit that I was taking a not too subtle jab at Moody with my original comment because we had this same argument a few weeks ago when I made an assertion that Alcantara would make a good CF and then could even conceivably move to LF when Almora arrived if Alcantara reached his ceiling, he made a proclamation that Alcantara's production would be along the lines of so woefully inadequate it shouldn't even be considered an option. An assertion I obviously disagree with.

    Basically the three most important things to me when determining whether a player can be a starter at a position: 1) Hitting for above average power, 2) Getting on base, and 3) Playing above average defense. If a player can do one of these things, he can be a short term solution (Darwin Barney for example) if they are cheap. In order to be a solution worthy of a reasonable long term investment he needs to be able to do 2/3. Guys that can do 3/3 are superstar/core players.

    Using the above criteria, I can see Alcantara being capable of no worse than 1/3 (defense and maybe OBP) of those categories if he reaches his ceiling. I wouldn't have any problem using in LF if better options aren't available. Just like the Tigers use Dirks, and the Rays use DDJ, and the Giants use Blanco, etc.

    My whole point is simply that not every team is going to get to have a 300/350/450 out of LF. Most teams don't. Some get by with power only guys, others choose to get by with defense. Alcantara would be just fine as a get by type of option.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I think there's something here between you & Mike that I was not aware of. Alcantara is IMO, getting a little too much love as many seem to penciling him as our #1 option for replacing Barney. I do not think so. I think he falls behind Castro/Baez at 2B, and will certainly fall behind Almora in CF. Lots of things will happen between now and the time they're all ready.... So we shall see. I like A.A. and certainly am pulling for him. I just think he provides the team with more value as a trade chip at 2B/CF than he does as a LF.

    You seem to indicate a similar opinion of him now. I never said he wouldn't be acceptable as a stop gap. But he is ideally suited as a super sub, with regular & frequent PT. I had the impression you were arguing that he would be an average to plus LF long term... I saw flaws in several of the justifying points about that, especially the team OPS that you originally used as your basis.

    Nonetheless, we're assuming he hits his ceiling = average for LF. The point being, you shoot for better than average. Doesn't sound like our opinions of Alcantara and his potential are all that far apart. Not sure why we're arguing that he's not an everyday LF l/t, when we both agree that he's not....

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    In reply to mjvz:

    @Hoosier. What's going on is he enjoys insulting me and because my life is falling apart I bite. But, from now on, he's a ghost. Just not worth it.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I couldn't respond to your post below, but I agree that AA gets to much love like the second coming of jose reyes. Like you im pulling for him but like you said he is not better than baez or castro so to me that out weighs him being a switch hitter. We always talk about the way the cardinals do things well they some how find positions for there prospects(position or pitcher).

  • In reply to seankl:

    Yeah, I get it... I like rooting for him too. he is our best natural lead-off and speed guy in the upper minors. But if all of them work-out, he's the odd man out to me. Would make an awesome super sub in a young Bonifacio cost controlled sorta way though...

  • In reply to supercapo:

    I still think Baez ends up at 3rd, Castro at short, Alcantara at 2nd (assuming no busts).

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    To start the season, Castro will be at SS, Baez will be at SS in Iowa, and Alcantara will be at 2B in Iowa.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    We are going to need a good nickname for Arismendy, Castro to Alcantara to Rizzo just does not flow off the tongue.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    "Double A"
    "Canty"

  • In reply to mrs howell:

    How about going saying "CasCanZo" as a doulbe play catch phrase?

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    In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Castarazzo?

  • In reply to supercapo:

    I would think Alcantara is extremely important as the top prospects that are developing are primarily right handed hitters. Having a switch hitters / LH bats is something to watch in the system. I still question if it puts a premium / extra focus on development of Alcantara, Vogelbach, Candelerio, Chen, Rademacher, Dunston JR, Marra Shoulders and any other key lefties?

  • Jokisch is pitching nicely as well. Has a real nice change up and mixes speed and location well. Not much of a FB or breaking pitch, but locating FB and change, keeping hitters off balance.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Were those two walks more or less intentional? I mean - was he 'nibbling' and missing around the edges, or just off?

    Regardless - a nice outing with no runs or hits - just a couple of walks.

  • Baez just hit a bloop single into RF. Ball got in on his hands but he fought it off.

  • The Cubs/Brewers game is on now on MLB Network, if anyone is interested.

  • In reply to Alex:

    I'm looking forward to seeing Baez's blast.

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    Excellent read on the Cubs at MBLTR.

  • How did Vizcaino look?

  • Nice win,..... good pitching throughout,... some timely hitting.

    What's the take on Ibarra? Don't know much about him.

  • John,
    Any update on Soler? I've been hearing some positives on the other big three.
    Thanks...

  • Here are a couple links of Javy's highlight plays from today.

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v31426641/chcmil-baez-opens-the-scoring-with-a-solo-blast

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v31426427/chcmil-baez-races-for-overtheshoulder-catch/?query=baez

  • Mr. Moody,

    I apologize if I was coming across as insulting to you above. I really have/had no ill intentions. I disagree with you regarding the positional expectation from one position on the field. And I can't remember having any other disagreements with you in regard to anything else in particular so I hope I nothing I have done is being misconstrued as a grudge of some sort. I really thought the back and forth we were having was in good fun. If I took something too far then I sincerely apologize. I hope you can believe me when I say I never intentionally look to insult anyone.

    I have no desire to be an annoyance to you or any of the other contributors to this blog. The time and effort you put into this (I am assuming unpaid) is much appreciated. I am more than willing to bow out of commenting any further if that is what you desire.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Okay dude. Over the last two weeks I've had things go about as wrong as they can go. I'm laying awake nights trying to figure out what to do. This is neither here nor there, to be honest, but it is my state of mind.

    In such a state of mind, comments like the following: "I will admit that I was taking a not too subtle jab at Moody with my original comment" just don't go over that well.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Please believe me, it was intended to be a playful "jab".

    Since your email is not listed among the contributors I just finished sending an apology to John's in the event you did not see my post. I was upset to learn my comments were insulting to you. I am glad to see now that I checked back here to find that you did see it.

    Sorry to hear of your recent circumstances. When life is tough you certainly don't need some faceless clown on the internet making it rougher. I hope better days (and better weather) greet you soon.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    But, please, keep posting. I just reacted badly to that statement.

  • just get the best 8 bats on the field and find them spots , and i have a very hard time seeing the Cubs in the next 2-3 years being able to put 8 guys on the field better than Alcantara , Cubs havnt had a switch hitting , speed based player with pop since...... find him a spot like everyone else .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I like your thinking.

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