So this is going to be a kind of catch-all for many of the things going on around the league and around this blog... a veritable hodgepodge, if you will.
Monday Morning Mailbag
I want to note here that I'll be starting a mailbag to answer questions. As you might imagine, I get quite a few questions via email and as much as I'd like to answer all of them, it is getting increasingly difficult as the blog grows. I will forward all questions into a mailbag folder and answer as many as I can on Monday mornings.
So if you asked me a question this week, I will have some answers for you on Monday. Thanks to everyone for their questions so far.
MLB Mock Draft Madness
The mocks are starting to come in pretty steadily now and there are a couple major players who came up with a new one today.
- Jim Callis of MLB.com has a new mock today and in it he has the Cubs taking Nick Gordon and passing on Tyler Kolek. This is not out of the question at all based on what I have been hearing of late (they really like Gordon...a lot). And keep this in mind -- the Cubs said they would take a prep pitcher this high if they felt he was a once in a generation type player. But then you had Keith Law mention in one of his previous mocks that the Cubs love Brady Aiken and Carlos Rodon (especially Aiken from what I understand), but only "like" Tyler Kolek. At first I thought, "Ok, he is their 3rd choice then." But if you couple that with the Cubs philosophy of only taking a prep pitcher this high if he is very special, then well, "like" isn't very special is it? We all heartbreakingly found this out in our high school days at some point or another -- the Cubs like Tyler Kolek as a friend, but they don't like like him, you know what I mean?
- Callis is the latest to mention a potential underslot deal for Max Pentecost but I have to think this is a fallback if Aiken, Rodon, and Gordon are all gone. There's 40 some picks until the Cubs 2nd pick comes and while they may save a lot of money, there is no guarantee there man will be there. One scout thinks that Jake Bukauskus is the only guy worth shoveling a lot of bonus pool money his way, so the Cubs could be taking a risk that he a) will still be there and b) will actually sign. Nobody has more firmly committed to college than Bukauskus, who has sent letters to all teams not to draft him. There are, however, some other interesting high ceiling arms and perhaps the Cubs could spread that money out to more than one of them.
- If you read my minor league recaps yesterday, you know that both the Cubs and Sox sent out their big guns to see Aaron Nola throw 7.1 impressive innings yesterday. I think that Nola is a greater possibility for the Sox than the Cubs given that one of the guys they sent to see Nola, Kenny Williams, has a penchant for drafting players who don't require much development. The Sox may still take either Rodon or Aiken if they are there (and Callis does mention they prefer a college arm), but if not, don't be shocked if they take Nola.
- Speaking of the draft, one last reminder here that tomorrow I will be at the Baseball Prospectus event at Pizza Serio in Chicago from 2 to 5 pm (or later). From 3 to 4 pm, I will be on a Q and A panel along with Bruce Miles, Dayn Perry, Sahadev Sharma, , Jordon Gorosh, and our own Mauricio Rubio. Matt Cassidy of FutureSox was also added while Harry Pavlidis will keep us all in line and moderate the panel. There will be free pizza and there were many Cubs Den readers at our last event, so come on by if you can. Read the details here.
Baseball Prospectus on Cubs Prospects
Austin Diamond of BP spent some time in Arizona and got a look at the Cubs two biggest IF A signings: Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez. Here are some snippets from that report:
...will no doubt get stronger, but body is closer to mature; well proportioned; athletic; medium frame; physically reminds me of Robbie Alomar, but Ruben Tejada was probably a better suggestion that I heard; looks very natural at the plate; stands slightly open; has a cocky bat wag, holding hands by back ear; high leg kick load with hands moving to back shoulder; shows natural balance and timing at the plate; short to the ball; strong base with good hip rotation and leverage; I would not project him to be a power hitter; but looks like he could eventually get to at least 10-plus...
...physical presence with a projectable body; big frame; strong hands; in the mold of a Jorge Soler or Vladimir Guerrero; big strong legs that look a little heavy; tough player to judge because he looks like he is still figuring out how to efficiently use his body; raw; stance at the plate is balanced and natural; loads his hands well, and stays relatively balanced on takes; stable lower, staying balanced through the swing; plus bat speed that should project to at least plus-plus raw power; swing is presently way too long and sweepy to the ball; has no present feel for the barrel against live pitching; ball jumps off the bat...
Baez ripped by Round Rock announcer
I don't often talk about announcers but I had to mention this...
In perhaps the most ridiculous display of announcing homerism and bias since the last time Hawk Harrelson spoke into the mike, the Round Rock announcer spent the entire game ripping Javier Baez. From "the longest, loopiest swing he has ever seen" to downplaying balls hit over the outfielders head that "wren't really hit that hard (including a "wind blown" HR that traveled some 450 feet)" to ignoring a spectacular stop to say that Baez had "no business throwing that ball than I had trying to throw a ball into a coffee cup on the field", it was about the worst display I've seen of bias against a player since Bob Brenly nitpicked every Starlin Castro imperfection. It was only Baez's flaws that were relentlessly pointed out.
Even as Baez pounded out 2 doubles, a long, long HR, and showed good strength and adjustment to fight off a pitch to RF for a single, the trashing continued. Even the color analyst, who had more valid criticisms early, seemed to grow weary of it, He pointed out that Baez's defensive play showed tremendous athleticism and skills, then later hoped out loud that Baez wouldn't bat the next inning because he was killing them (to which the play by play guy said nothing and changed the subject).
I'm fine with criticizing opposing players and Baez certainly has flaws...but for Pete's sake, show some professionalism and keep things balanced.
One positive: It made me feel lucky to have the excellent, professional announcers up and down the Cubs system that we do.
I know there are some Cubs trivia experts on this blog and some of you may be interested in a free trivia event. Here are the details.
- What: Printers Row: The Wrigley Centennial Trivia Showdown. The winner will receive a Wrigley Field prize pack.
- When: Next Wednesday (5/28)
- Where: Harold Washington Library (400 S. State St.)
- Who: Chicago Tribune's Rick Kogan and Stuart Shea, author of "Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines" will officiate the event to celebrate the centennial of the iconic stadium. Audience will be paired with
- Mark Jacob, Chicago Tribune deputy metro editor and co-author of “Wrigley Field: A Tribute to the Friendly Confines"
- Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune baseball writer
- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com
Additional information here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/printers-row-the-wrigley-centennial-trivia-showdown-tickets-11258730165
- Bonifacio, CF
- Lake, LF
- Rizzo, 1B
- Castro, SS
- Valbuena, 2B
- Castillo, C
- Schierholtz, RF
- Olt, 3B
- Jackson, SP
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