The Future is (almost) Here: Hendricks, Baez, Castro, and Alcantara lead Cubs

We will have a recap writer soon.  In fact, we have decided it is a two-man job.  An announcement will come in the next day or so.

But this game is too fun not to talk about.

We have preached patience for so long here that perhaps some of you may now qualify to be Buddhist monks.  And while the future may not have arrived quite yet, we at least caught a glimpse of it today.

The pitcher, Kyle Hendricks was once again masterful, mixing an 88-91 mph FB with a cutter and a change that had the Rockies making weak ground ball contact all day long.  He produced 11 ground outs in his 8 innings.  He was efficient, walking just one batter and needing 107 pitches to get through 8 innings.  He got the strikeouts when he needed them.  I asked a scout about Hendricks and whether he could legitimately be a part of this rotation in the long term…

Maybe. It depends if that break can be thrown for strikes. He pulls the string and works the ball around well enough to change eye levels.  Velocity is overblown and with his ability to induce ground balls with the change, he just needs to have an honest break to keep hitters from sitting on this fastball.

I then asked him if he could get by with just an average breaking ball…

Yeah. Might even get away with a slightly below average break as long as it is not loopy and back ended.  Back ended means that it sits at the back knee, not shoe strings. That is the wheelhouse break.

Put that on the to-do list for Bosio and Hendricks this offseason.

Meanwhile the bats and the defense were also on display.

Arismendy Alcantara got the Cubs on the board in the first inning with an RBI single and then later, showed he can also play a little CF.

But it was Javier Baez who was the star today. The Cubs 21 year old 2B went 3 for 4 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI. After flying out to LF in his first AB, Baez gave the Cubs a 2 run lead with a ground ball RBI single through the hole.

In his next AB, Javy went deep. The first HR was on an inside pitch that Baez turned on and hit down the LF line…

And then, 24 year old “veteran” Starlin Castro came to the plate and made it back to back. If that doesn’t get you excited about how these pieces fit together, then nothing will. Castro, however, is such old news on this young talent-laden team that he doesn’t even have an embed option on his HR. He gets a link. Move aside kid, I guess. Castro has had his time in the spotlight, it’s Javy’s turn now.

And Baez did it again in the 8th. After swinging and missing on a pitch low and away, Rockies reliever decided to try it again. Big mistake. Baez was ready and with his tremendous plate coverage and bat speed, was able to take that low away pitch and hit it on a line over the RF wall. It’s encouraging that Baez has hit 2 HRs to the opposite field. MLB pitchers are trying to work him away and he is showing that he can make them pay.

He’s now hitting .286 in his first 3 games and has not struck out since that first game, so in a very small sample size, he is at a 21% K rate for the year. Of course, it won’t always be this easy for Baez. The same scout made sure I didn’t get too excited. At least not yet anyway,

One thing to temper. Once pitchers get enough data on what he likes and does not, what he cannot square up, Javy will get exposed. Not saying he can’t overcome, but that is the guessing game you call baseball. It is a game of subtle adjustments.

He’s right, of course. but given Baez’s demonstrated ability to adapt in the minor leagues, the hope is that he will continue to do so in the majors.  Eventually pitchers will figure him out and Baez will have to adjust. All hitters go through it and we have seen Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro make needed adjustments this season.  Theo Epstein has said he is baseball mature beyond his years and we know Baez will do whatever it takes.  I think he will struggle at some point early in his career — and I think he will respond accordingly.

But we have worried about the future for too long here in Chicago.  Today, we were able to enjoy the team as it is now — young, athletic, exciting, and talented.  I have to admit that since I started writing this blog in 2011, the end of each season has come with some relief.  That will not be the case this year.  This year I have a feeling I am going to be left wanting more.

The future is finally here and it looks like it’s going to be a whole lot of fun.

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  • very nice win today!

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    August and September should be fun! Especially once Cole Hamels joins the team (just a joke, no flaming required!) Thanks, John.

  • "How would you like your potatoes, Mr. Baez?"
    "Like my baseballs... Mashed."

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:


  • In reply to Denizen Kane:


  • John - you said it: this year i am going to be left wanting more. it's going to be a LONG time until spring training starts. Yes, there may be some big acquisitions, but that's just icing. right now the excitement (the up and coming guys) is the cake!

    ok, time to go eat...

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    Hey, this Baez kid might not be a bad ballplayer! Where did he come from?

    All kidding aside, couldn't agree with you more, John. There is a new vibe around this team and it's exciting to think about all of the other changes to come. Young prospects like Soler and Bryant coming up later this year or early next year, the clear indication from the front office that they are ready to make a big splash to add pitching one way or another, the early contributions from Alcantara, Javy and Kyle Hendricks - all of these just keep building more and more excitement. The corner is being turned and the Cubs are coming hard!!

  • Great game! I sat right close to that kid with the sign a couple days ago.

  • Can't believe Baez is only 21. Think cubs called him up during Rockies and ray's stretch to get off to a good start?

    Would like to see better defense from Castro. Today had to plays that were called a hit that should be made.
    Hendricks will get that curve ball. Love watching a pitcher work the zone and mix speeds up. Rather see that then 95 down middle.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I think the call up to Colorado with absolutely calculated. Looking at the next three games though those are some pretty good Tampa pitchers he'll be facing.

  • In reply to Bobloblaw:

    I agree it was calculated give him a couple road starts before making his home appearance

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The little pop up was a super difficult play. Give him a break. He's played much improved defense this year.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I have been a big fan of Castro... Even all of last year. Don't need to give a break. Got to make those plays. Most ppl know that ball is going to have a spin on it. Had time to get the correct angle on the spin.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I think it is safe to conclude that the front office chose the right time and place for Javy to debut. A day after leaving Coghlan on base four times he drives in that many men to redeem himself. He capped off his two homer day with another oppo blast, his second visit to the Rockies pen in three days.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I had a thought while watching the game today that the FO had in mind this series and that's what prompted the timing of his move to 2B.

  • A fun win today.
    Does anyone know the waiver deadlines for Turner and Hammels? I think it is 48 hours, but when will that happen?

  • In reply to Cphil:

    Id guess Turner is tomorrow and Hamels is on Saturday

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    I think that's how it is. We could hear something late tonight.

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    Thanks, that sounds about right. Very curious how it all turns out. We are probably going to end up with Turner and not Hammels. Time will tell.

  • In reply to Cphil:

    I think your right they get Turner somehow be interesting to see what they would have to give up

  • In reply to Cphil:

    Ok let's say they get Turner , doesn't that mean he's on the roster (I think he's out of options) so what happens to the staff?

  • In reply to stix:

    Yes, they'll have to keep him at the major league level.

    Someone will have to go down that has options. If it's Junior Lake, that comes at a cost. He has one option year left. If they burn it this year, he can't go down to AAA next season without passing through waivers. With just a few weeks left before rosters expand, that would be pretty dumb. So most likely it will be one of the pitchers with options left.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Will cubs make 1 move or will the send down a player and a minor leaguer on 40 man gets released?

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    The 40-man is full, so if they get Turner, they'll have to do both.

    Sending someone on the 25-man who has options left to AAA shouldn't be a difficult decision (Rusin being the one I would choose), and there is plenty of dead weight on the 40-man (Josh Vitters & Brett Jackson) that can be released to make room for Turner.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Depends on who they trade for Turner. If he's on the 40 man that solves the 40 man, if not they need to drop someone from the 40 man. Seems as if Vitters/Jackson would be the prime candidates to be DFA'd. I would guess Rusin is the yoyo on the 25 man roster.

  • In reply to stix:

    That means he on the 25 man and 40 man so they have to make another roster move or 2 they also have Rameriz due back in a week or so that's another 25 man move

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    They might just keep Ramirez on the DL until the 25-man roster expands on Sept. 1st. We'll see.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    If they can but with him starting rehab today I think his time is up before Sept if so that means another move. I think Rusin gets sent down if were talking 25 but the 25/40 man question is interesting.

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    I'm not sure why they would have to bring him up if "his time is up before September". Not being snarky, just don't quite understand what you mean by that.

    Ramirez has options left so he could just be kept at AAA until September 1st or they could send Schlitter to AAA until rosters expand and bring up Ramirez. I don't think the Cubs will run into any trouble here unless I'm missing something (which wouldn't be the first time...).

  • In reply to Quedub:

    They can Rehab assignment Ramirez for another 15 days, which would take him til around Sept 1.

  • Great write up John. It's so much more enjoyable to actually look forward to the game and not to just watch a couple of guys' at bats. I know Baez will struggle but those moments when he shows that light tower power are so much fun!

  • In reply to Bobloblaw:

    Thanks Bob! Totally agree.

  • Yeah I expect Soler up Sept to get a jump start on '15. I'll be very interesting to see what the Cubs do this offseason as the kids have started to show they are ready and they will need to start clearing spaces for them

  • Really going to be fun to watch the last 45 games or so. Soler coming up to add to Castro, Rizzo, AA, Baez, Arrietta, Hendricks and the young bullpen. Add in Rivero, Vizcaino and Ramirez when he comes back, it will be appointement TV.

    BTW, the schedule in September is brutal. These young guys are going to be playing against teams vying for the playoffs and are going to see some of the best pitchers in the league. I think this development time is going to help them going into next season.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I think I'd rather they face that right now rather than AAAA pitchers they can hit and make it tough to evaluate. They might struggle, but the Cubs will have a good idea what they need to work on.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Very much so!!

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Doubt you'll see Rivero. Not on the 40 man and doesn't need to be protected from the Rule V draft. Hardly seems worth it to add him in September so that he can get in 5 innings of work. He'll probably have to wait until next April.

  • I've said it since he was drafted... only javier can beat javier. Yes they will adjust and exploit his aggressiveness. But you can't throw a FB by him, he's proven to hit curves, sliders, and change-ups off of the plate for HR's... So as long as he stays within himself and doesn't chase pitchers pitches... he is un-stopable.

    He will have hat trick kind of days, but several multi-HR days too.

    That fly ball to deep left was hit off the end of the bat. So he was an inch off of a 3 HR day...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    This is the reason why I have never doubted Javy. There is no pitch that he can't handle. There are no holes in his swing. Up, down, inside, outside, high velocity, and offspeed, he can hit them all. He can be as good as he wants to be.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    "There is no pitch that he can't handle."

    I thought the same thing while watching the game today. Both of his HRs were hit off pitches that were trying to bust him inside or get him to miss off the outside corner. He caught them solidly.

    The issue always has been can he figure out what to swing at and what not to. I'm guessing he'll struggle with that a bit in the beginning of his career, but since he's still 3-4 years away from his prime, he's got plenty of time to figure it out.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Yes, Javy definitely is not refined yet, but once he gets a better handle on how pitchers are going to attack him the sky is the limit. Its not even as important that he define his strike zone the same as other players because he can put a hurt on pitches outside the zone that others can only dream of. Vlad Guerrero was the same way. But if he does actually learn to only swing at strikes, I swoon at the thought about the type of player he can become.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    He has not looked good on pitches that are high and outside. That is a tough pitch to throw, but a lot of MLB pitchers can do it. They will also find other weak points as the season goes on.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I've seen him hit them 450+ft oppo... His only weakness in hitting is his approach. I think the mental part of it, is where he's really developing. Thats where Manny really made an impact. But also Duncan in Daytona.

    Both of his HR's tonight were good pitches. The FB was 2 inches off of the plate on the inside, trying to bust him on the hands. The other was decent slider at the knee maybe an inch or so off the plate...

    He will always have a lot of swing & miss to his game. But when he is locked in, he can cover all sections of the strike zone and then some with power.

  • Some people on the previous thread said Mooney had tweeted that the Hamels deal was dead. I couldn't find it on twitter. I am not saying it will happen, but until I hear/read something, I am holding out hope that Theo/Jed can steal Hamels away.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I think the comment was the prospect requirements the Phil's want is too high ,as of now, for Hamels.

  • In reply to stix:

    They asked the LAD for Pederson, Seager and Urias for Hamels. Id imagine they asked for Bryant Baez Russell and maybe Almora.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I don't see it happening they wanted 3 top 3 prospects in baseball for him from the dodgers

  • I am getting greedy now and am ready for Soler & Bryan. Just bring em all up!! Anything new on the Turner situation yet?

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    The thing about Baez that really impressed me today was how he already started adjusting to what Colorado pitchers have been doing to him. Yesterday he looked terrible when they pounded him inside. Today he was ready for it on the first homer.

    Then they threw him a breaking ball off the plate and he swung through it trying to crush it. But when they went right back with the same pitch, instead of looking awful a second time, he did what he could with it. Home run #2. I'm sure struggles are coming but from what I've seen of late, he'll adjust surprisingly quickly.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That was not a bad pitch he hit on his 2nd HR. It was a slider that was down and on the outer half. Maybe really good hitters take that pitch, but Javy hit 400 ft. Impressive to say the least.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Agree. Javy went down (with his legs too) and destroyed that pitch. Rizzo does that sometimes too. Instead of reaching, they get their entire body low and drive the ball. Rather impressive.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    My biggest Baez fear is that he will look like Soriano on that low and outside slider. If he can consistently wait back on outside pitches, that should give him the extra 1/1000000000 of a second (ok maybe thats an exaggeration) he needs to be able to lay off it. The homeruns are great, but I just want to see the approach and in terms of going the other way, he seems to be keeping himself contained. I have to admit though, I haven't been able to catch more than a couple at-bats.

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    In reply to nukee:

    Let's not forget that we got Soriano's downslope.

    Sori is still the last guy to go 40/40.

    We should be so lucky as to get Soriano's early production.

  • When Javy comes up to bat, it reminds me of one of those old baseball video games I used to have where you could put in a cheat code and make your players' bats glow bright red (complete with a silly sound effect) and they could literally hit the ball to the moon lol. His ABs are like an event already.

  • John, You hearing any news on Jacob Turner? I wouldn't mind seeing Bosio get his hands on him.

  • In reply to Mickey S:

    Love to get an update on Turner. Seems the news has gone silent since the Cole news...

  • In reply to Mickey S:

    Nothing right now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Come to think of it, John, what might you think is a realistic exchange for Turmer? Amaya or Hernandez?

  • In reply to Mickey S:

    no news might be good news.

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    I been saying it all along. (My posting name) :)

  • We can't deny that :)

  • This from Deadspin today... "Kid Called Up From Minors, Can't Stop Running In Circles"

    What an exciting day to be a Cubs fan. Really good plate appearances by Javy and good contact on all 4 ABs.

    Superb job of highly effective, efficient pitching by Hendricks.

    Good AB by Alcantara to take that pitch the other way.

    First HR for Casto since very late June.

  • Great game! Is it becoming realistic to think that the Cubs just might make it to the postseason next year, assuming we pick up 1-2 pitchers? Or does that window not begin until 2016?

  • In reply to October:

    Given the playoff format with two wildcards I don't think it's unrealistic at all. You don't have to be that many games over .500 to qualify for the playoffs and after that it's a crapshoot. I hope that is the front office's mindset heading into the off-season.

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    In reply to Bobloblaw:

    I don't think it's unrealistic, but I also don't want to see them stretch to win a wild card when the World Series is the goal and clearly 2015 is too early for that kind of talk. I'd like them to add a staff ace for 2015 if for no other reason that I don't want the young players to have to lose games 10-9 or the like. I'd like them to learn how to compete. If they win a WC slot, more power too them but this is exactly why I hate the extra WC. It allows too many teams to stay in the race when they should paying attention to development and the future. Still 2015 is going to be fun to watch.

  • Too bad Lake was never given a chance to show what he could do.
    Now he will likely be traded in a package. I hope they don't do this.

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    In reply to emartinezjr:


  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    You're kidding, right?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I have to disagree here. I think Lake was given plenty of opportunity. I figured he might struggle but what has bothered me is that he hasn't handled it well when he has gone well or when he has done poorly. Remember that he pouted because he wasn't playing enough early but in truth it seems evident now that the Cubs were trying to protect him. And with good reason. Now that he has struggled we have seen him outwardly demonstrate frustration. It's been a disappointing year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I love this blog! I'm actually addicted. Lol. I don't even read the sports section anymore. There is way more useful content here anyway. Keep up the great work and thank you!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I really wish Lake could get his head on straight - so much talent there. Perhaps another year at AAA next year would do it. But by then, he may have to compete for a bench spot.

  • In reply to Letsplay2:

    I would expect to see Lake start in AAA next year and spend most of the year there. His job will be to learn to recognize what to swing at and what not to while providing emergency OF depth for the big league club.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    What team have you been watching? Lake has played in 94 of the Cubs 113 games this year (83%), with 287 ABs. That's not a "chance?" Due to his terrible plate discipline, he's hitting only .216 with 101 strikeouts (35%). It's sad that he hasn't been able to work out his hitting issues, but a claim that he was "never given a chance" is simply not true.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Be interesting to see if the Cubs try and move Lake and Olt this offseason

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    In reply to Cliff1969:



  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Honestly, if the Cubs had kept Lake down on the farm last summer and this spring, and perhaps if Manny was around to reinforce the Iowa hitting coach's instruction, then Lake might have ended up making K. Law a fool. But Lake ended up being sacrificed for development of more well-rounded (potential) OF prospects like Soler and Bryant.
    No big loss. Lake always looked like F. Pie 2.0 to me.

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    I don't think Lake was ever going yo make the adjustments.
    He has some if the loudest tools on the team but athleticism is not synonymous with talent.

    He is three DAYS younger than Castro and was signed at the same time. He's faster, stronger, and has a better arm than Castro.

    He wasn't sacrificed. He was given a chance and thoroughly failed.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    His "chance," as it were, was based entirely on a freak succession of injuries to OFs in 2013 and some horrific gaps in the MLB lineup in 2014, both instances where mgmt had previously indicated that their wish was for him to get some significant development time in AAA, before they thrust him in that situation. So, yeah, he was sacrificed. "Sacrificed," as in tossed into the deep end of the pool without a decent probability of making it to the safety of the ladder, after saying that he needed additional swimming lessons before going into that part of the pool in the first place.

    And I agree, I doubt if even given enough time, he'd make necessary adjustments to parlay that into a MLB career. But perhaps he would have made enough progress to make a small noise for a couple of years before more talented folks came up through the system. But all that is speculation. We will never know if he would advance past the F Pie 2.0 template if he had additional development time in the minors. It's obvious that not giving him the additional time that mgmt said he needed in AAA sealed his fate.

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    Lake was a toolsy prospect that this particular management team never quite believed in but to say he wasn't given opportunities is disingenuous. Reading between the lines when Cubs brass was saying things like "we think he needs more time in AAA" they were actually saying that he wasn't really in their plans but you're not going to come out and say that. The Pie comparison isn't accurate in that he was actually a bonified 5 tool guy who's development was botched badly because there was no system in place in the minor league system overall. That combined with an ankle injury he sustained pretty much sealed his fate. You can't say that Lake's development was botched like Pie's was as he was worked through the "Cubs Way" like all teh other kids coming up now. He might have been rushed at the end but I think they knew who he was by then.

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    I like Hendricks but I worry about his low swinging strike rate. It's pretty hard, though not impossible, to be effective in today's MLB without missing bats. We'll see how hitters adjust to him, and maybe it's just a matter of developing that curve.

    But then again, if he can get popups like he did today in addition to loads of grounders, that is definitely a recipe for major league success.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    11 GOs and 4 Ks. Not a bad percentage!

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    In reply to MoneyBoy:

    That's a fair point although I'm talking in part about his swinging strike percentage, which has a little less variance than strikeout rate. He pitched really well no doubt, but I retain my overly pessimistic concerns

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    flipsie is he keeps his pitc counts down and the defense behind hi in the game, believe me guys like getting off te field after fast 1/2 innings.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Yes, I think developing that curve is essential for him, like the scout said, even if it is fringe average, it will be enough to keep hitters honest.

  • I don't remember feeling this good about the Cubs since the early days of Wood and Prior... really hoping it turns out better this time.

  • In reply to Henry Loose:

    Wood, Prior, Zambrano, Cruz was pretty close to Baez, Bryant, Russell, Soler. The first group got us close before they burned out. Hopefully the second group will reach the heights we all hope.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    This is an excellent contrast between development plans that target pitching vs. hitting. Back then, the Cubs banked on a pitching rotation that would dominate for years - only it didn't. Theo & Jed are building from the other direction, putting together an offensive team and developing / reclaiming / obtaining pitching as needed.

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    Hey John,

    I'd like to really thank your wife. You have been able to spend so much time on this blog since you started it. And I'm sure she would probably be doing something else than waiting for you to finish telling us all about these prospects over the past 3 years. Especially since you've told us that she was a White Sox fan.

    So please let her know how much we appreciate her patience in all of this. She must be a Saint!

  • So we have 48 hours to make a deal for Jacob Turner ? from yesterday. Hope it gets done tomorrow

  • In reply to Andrew444:

    I think it does. Then the Cubs have another roster move to make. It will also be interesting to see if that move involves a 40 man trade or not. I also wonder how many of the 40 that the cubs put on waivers actually cleared

  • Lets hope Theo claimed Hammel as a joke

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    And maybe Amaro accepts Junior Lake for Hamels as a joke. Oh wait that would be terrible...... LOL

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I have yet to see Theo do anything as a joke. When it comes to baseball he has a purpose for everything he does.

  • For the first time in a LONG time I am getting excited for an upcoming season. I've checked in on this blog (and Bleacher Nation) daily since I discovered them around the time of the 2011 draft. It's been fascinating following the rebuilding process, even with all the expected frustrations that come with such a painful and long process.

    I know there will obviously be some struggles ahead with the young guys but seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is freaking me out a bit. I absolutely can't wait until we are playing meaningful games again at this time of the year and it realistically could happen next season (wild card).

  • I'm a huge Castro fan. But that home run trot is brutal.

  • In reply to copinblue:

    Been a while since he's hit one…maybe wasn't sure what to do. :-)

  • In reply to copinblue:

    AT LEAST HE HAS ONE!!!!!!!

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    Guess the spam filter ate my main post. John can you free it?

  • A 4-2 western road trip, bookended by dominant starts by Kyle Hendricks, and given a nice big exclamation point by the unforgettable debut series of Javier Baez. Its been a good week.

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    In 3 games Baez has already out produced Barney...for his entire career.

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    In reply to Scott Buchanan:

    and that's ^^^^^^ why this site needs a "Like" button

  • Homers are sexy, and Baez's 3 hits were great, but Hendricks was the full-game star. Watching him pitch inside, change speeds, miss bats and induce so many weakly hit balls was awesome. Then throw in some cool-as-cucumber defense by him and laying down yet another bunt, and you saw a complete pitching performance seldom seen in a Cubs uniform. And no homers allowed at that altitude.

    Regarding Alcantara. It was a good CF catch, but he definitely showed his newness to the position. It's no knock, as it isn't easy to pick up the nuances of a new position. But an honest review of the play was his great athleticism made up for a slow (although not awful) jump and a meandering line to the ball. I certainly appreciate making up for that with an aggressive close and making the catch. It was one of the few good defensive plays among several duds (by other players) that underscored just how well and unflappably Hendricks pitched.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    He also needs work on his breaking ball. If you are going to be honest about Alcantara, you should do the same for Hendricks.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Something tells He is probably working on it. Seems like he's a cerebral perfectionist. Samardzija didn't get that last pitch (cutter?) down till this year What matters is that he did

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I was talking about today's game. So you think Hendricks game today was marred by a subpar curveball? If that was the case, shouldn't he have given up at least one home run? Not to say your point in general isn't right. Who can't improve, but really, giving up 2 runs, no HRs and going 8 innings in your first Coors Field appearance with No. 5 stuff is pretty impressive.

  • We must have great scouts to select all these good/great
    Hispanic/Latin prospects that are forming our future.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Yeah, who are the Cubs' Latin America scouts? For that matter, is there a link to a listing of scouts employed by the Cubs?

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    Are you talking about Javy?

    He's from Florida.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    he's from puerto rico, went to high school in florida

  • In reply to Giffmo:
  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I'm friends with his old HS coach and called several of their games, and the travel teams Javier played for as a teen. He never played CF like that Wikipedia page stated.

    It also doesn't mention that his older brother (also a catcher) played on the PR team with Geovany Soto. They became friends and Geo was the one who turned the Cubs scouts onto Javier initially.

    His HS team was kicked out of the FHSSA (rough bunch) so they traveled extensively throughout the SE US to play. Several regional scouts and cross checkers got their eyes on him and Ultimately, Wilken saw him play several times. Tim Wilken is the one who made the decision to draft him....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    The CF reference was taken from Patrick Mooney's article on Baez where he interviewed him, and it made it seem like it came from Baez himself...

    "Baez had starred at Arlington Country Day, a private school in Jacksonville that wasn’t part of the Florida High School Athletic Association, forcing the baseball team to barnstorm all over the Southeast. The future first-round pick was tough enough and athletic enough to play second base, shortstop, center field, even catcher.

    If you can play shortstop, you can play anywhere?

    “Pretty much,” Baez said."

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    ...and it does mention that his brother was drafted by the Padres in 2002 (9 years before Javy) ...but anyway, I linked it specifically to show that Javy was born and raised in PR until he moved over here with his family in 2005.(so his sis could regular treatments for her spina bifida). That's neat about Geo, but I'm surprised that with is brother getting drafted that they weren't onto Javy, especially considering the strong HS baseball in Florida and tons of scouts roaming.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I know your are just reporting what was reported, but Javier never played OF, at any level. Mooney either is mistaken or misquoted Javy. Javy said he has played everywhere but OF in an interview with Carrie Muskat during his first ST. I have no doubt, nor does Javy, (lol) that he could play any of the 9 positions. I even saw him throw a bullpen one time.

    His brother Rolando went to HS in Puerto Rico not the US. He never played above A ball and only lasted in MiLB for 2-3yrs. He was done long before Javier's HS career began. His other brother Gady also went to ACD and is now playing at a 4yr college in KS after playing JuCo. Neither of them have Javier's bat though.

    Anyways, ACD was a prestigious, small private school, near Jacksonville Univ. They had won several state championships under their old coach (now a LAD scout and friend of mine). In the last 10 years, that community has gotten really ghetto. When Ron (who is a minority himself) took over, they started recruiting a lot of minority athletes. They got kicked out for recruiting (and behavior) violations. The deep south doesn't exactly embrace a loud and rowdy crowd of brown/black skinned boys speaking Spanish that come into town and kick their HS teams butts.... so they have a bit of a reputation, a few bench clearing brawls, lots of verbal shenanigans, etc... [Google the brawl last year in Pensacola that involved Brain Navaretto (2013 4th round pick of MIN) to give you an idea].

    So some scouts shunned Javy. This is part of where the "make-up" issues originated. Guilty by association you could say. But Javy was never one to get caught up in any of that. He was solely focused/driven on baseball. That's where the persuasion of Geo came in. He convinced them to take a serious look at him. Geo is still friends with Rolando. Javy & his brothers would volunteer at Geo's baseball camps for kids in P.R. So Geo knew the make-up concerns were BS.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Interesting insight. Thanks

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Great background info HD, very interesting info...that's why I love the Den...I come for the articles...but stay for the community of posters.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    They've cleaned up their act a bit. But rather than make good with the FHSSA, they recruit actively in P.R. and other Latin Country's offering the kids a US HS education and a chance to develop their Baseball skills. Here's an article from a year and a half ago that talks about their recruiting & Javy's presence some.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Sounds like ACDS is the black sheep of the "prestigious" Florida HS circuit. I love that!

    "The deep south doesn't exactly embrace a loud and rowdy crowd of brown/black skinned boys speaking Spanish that come into town and kick their HS teams butts."

    Their is no doubt. Makes me like Javy even more, coming from the modern version of the Bad New Bears (after they were good).

  • It will be nice to see 2 contributors to the Cubs Den game recaps. Hopefully, both will have radically different styles.

    It ought to be a fun few weeks to watch Baez in Cubs games, before teams come up with a consistent "book" on targeting his weaknesses. I plan on recording every televised game this month until the inevitable "slump."

    Meanwhile, on the Farm:
    Manny being Manny, rounding the bases in triumph.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    You can't teach that bat speed and as long as he can stay semi-selective you can't defend it. Everybody hits a bump in the road

  • John, meant to comment initially on it, but other thoughts pushed it to the margins. The inside dope on Hendricks from the unnamed scout is gold. It's one big reason why I love this site so much.

  • I'll be at the game tomorrow. Pumped to see Baez..

  • Staying with the "The Future Is (Almost) Here" theme.

    Cubs have HRs from Bryant, Schwarber and Vogelbach so far tonight. McKinney went 3-for-4 with 2 walks tonight and is hitting .330 since being acquired. Underwood pitched 6 innings of 4-hit, 1 run baseball with 7 Ks against 1 walk. And Soler is 1-for-2 with a BB so far tonight giving him 8 walks in just over 50 AAA plate appearances all while OPSing over 1.000.

    The prospects are coming tra-la, tra-la.

    And some of them are already here.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Schwarber drank some Red Bull and got out of his doldrums. 3-4 *and* 2 walks.

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    What are everyone's expectations on Sept. call ups?

    I'm thinking Olt, Watkins, Soler, possibly Kalish since he was already up this season, for position players. Rusin, Parker, Rosscup and perhaps Viscaino for relievers. Beeler, Doubrant and possibly Straily among the starters, though that also brings a question on what to do with them. Do you shut down Arrieta? He doesn't have a ton of innings this year and there will be some "meaningful" games coming up. Go to a six man rotation? If J. Turner does come over do you put him in the pen the rest of the year or the rotation?

  • In reply to Michael Standaert:

    I would expect those roster guys to get a shot. And shutting down Arrieta may not be a bad idea.

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    Reasonable opening day lineup next year? Figuring out whether Olt is a keeper or not between now and the time Byrant comes up early next year will be a priority. If he can figure it out then you can move Byrant to LF and probably remove one of the three vet OFs. I don't think Lake makes the team out of ST, but they'll probably stash him in AAA to figure things out next year and use him as a trade chip or a call up if someone like Soler gets injured.

    CF Alcantara S
    2b Baez R
    1b Rizzo L
    RF Soler R
    SS Castro R
    3b Valbuena L/Olt R
    LF Coghlan L/Ruggiano R
    C Castillo R/Baker L

    1b/3b Olt R
    OF Ruggiano R
    C Baker L
    OF Sweeney L
    Util Valaika R

  • In reply to Michael Standaert:

    It doesn't look as though Bryant will be moving to the outfield. He looks like an a above average defensive third.baseman.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed. But if Olt sticks, then at that point you either trade one of the two or put Bryant in LF since he'd probably be a much better OF'er than Olt if you did want to keep both of them in the lineup.

  • In reply to Michael Standaert:

    I think Bryant will start out at 3rd in the majors next year upon his callup, as he has shown that he is plenty good enough to stick their this year...but by next September at the latest, I fully expect Russell to be called up to the MLB team, at which time I think that Bryant will move to the OF to make room for Castro or Russell at 3rd (I think Castro moves, barring a trade of course).

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    did anyone listen to javy interviewed on the pre-game show? this kid seriously needs either his own Crash Davis or a media coach. He comes across as an uninterested - well, dolt. Not very bright.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    He's a shy guy off the field, much like Castro. Though much like with Castro, I'm sick and tired of Latin players being labeled as "not very bright," because of how they come off in interviews.

  • In reply to Cubs2438:

    Why do you say that. I've never heard it put that way. They do have a language barrier problem that can easily be remedied

  • In reply to Cubs2438:

    At the Cubs convention he came off as a completely different person when he was speaking his own language. Much more animated and engaged. People tend to forget the language issue.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    From what little I've seen/heard of Javy, my impression is that he's a guy who mostly wants to let his bat do the talking. Nothing wrong with that. He doesn't have to be a media darling.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    And you come across as - well - a huge dick. He's a 21 year old kid without a college education currently being interviewed in front of a huge audience. Perhaps he is bright - perhaps he isn't. Regardless, your comment is completely idiotic.

  • Funny little game of baseball ...

    Iowa Cubs lose 16-4 (I believe) and the Daytona Cubs win 18-2 today.

    Bryant, Schwarber, and Vogelbach all went yard today (Manny did too!)

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    If an extra 40 man roster spot opens up somewhere down the road, I'd love to see Manny get a couple of pinch hit at bats at the end of September, maybe even a start or two.

    It could be a nice thank you for the work he's done with the young hitters.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Any time Bryant/Soler/Russell et al go's a win haha.

    I really feel like Bryant is so ready right now. I know that staggering the service time & having more prime years under control is paramount, but I also believe that the development of a player has to take precedence - is Bryant being challenged right now in Iowa?

  • In reply to garato8:

    Ya now Bryants numbers at Iowa are nearly identical to what he did at Tennessee this year. He has to have some of the best most consistant numbers historically in the minors.

  • You never know but Bryant compares favorably to Trouts minor league numbers.

    Bryant .340/433/.686/1.119 Trout .342/.425/.516/.941
    Trout had a lower k rate, Bryant has a higher bb rate and a lot more power.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Trout was also much younger.

  • cubs may 2015 lineup should be playoff worthy

    cf alcantera
    ss castro
    3b bryant
    1b rizzo
    2b baez
    rf soler
    lf veteran FA or coughlan/ruggiano combo
    c castillo

    i really like this lineups potential

  • "After swinging and missing on a pitch low and away, Rockies reliever decided to try it again. Big mistake. Baez was ready and with his tremendous plate coverage and bat speed, was able to take that low away pitch and hit it on a line over the RF wall."

    Not the same thing exactly, but this reminds me of a pitcher (name forgotten) talking about a time he faced Willie Mays. He throw a big curve ball and Mays swung through it, so he figured he should throw it again and Mays put it in the seats. The pitcher thought he was setting Mays up, but it turned out to be the opposite.

  • I've retired in East Tennessee, so it's hard to get a feel for the buzz in Chicago. I recall the buzz at work, bars and around the ball park when Kerry Wood was in his rookie season. What's the buzz like in the city? Are people interested in Baez; can you feel the buzz?

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