Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 01/31/11

The results are in, as the participants in the Caribbean World Series are set. To find out who made it, check out this week’s Down on the Farm Report …

Dominican Winter League
Congratulations to Toros del Este and their series sweep over Estrellas de Oriente, five games to none. Marcos Mateo made an appearance in the series’ final game. He gave up two walks and wasn’t able to record an out, but still ended up with a 0.00 ERA for the playoffs. The Bulls won the final contest 4-2 on January 23.

Toros now wait to see which team they will face in Caribbean World Series. Click Here for Box Score

Venezuelan Winter League

Leones de Caracas was eliminated by Aragua on January 22. Marwin Gonzalez finished the playoffs with a .295 batting average, five doubles, two triples, seven runs scored and 11 RBI for the Lions.

As Harry Caray would say “They’re dancing in the streets of Anzoategui (try spelling that backwards) tonight”. The Caribes hung on to defeat Tigres de Aragua in the decisive seventh game 8-7 on January 30. The Indians will now represent Venezuela in the Caribbean World Series. The Cubs’ farm hand, Eduardo Figueroa, had some key appearances for the Caribes during the series.

On January 23, Eduardo Figueroa came on to pitch four innings of relief. He gave up two earned runs on two home runs and two walks, but struck out three in the Indians 8-5 victory. Figueroa was credited with the win. Click Here for Box Score

Four days later Eduardo Figueroa was tapped by Manager Julio Franco as an emergency starter. He lasted 1.1 innings after giving up six earned runs on four hits and three walks, as the Tigers won in a laugher 16-0. Figueroa suffered the loss. Click Here for Box Score

Mexican Pacific League

Next stop, the Caribbean World Series for Yaquis de Obregon! Guasave extended the Tribe to the full seven games, but the Yaquis ended up on top with a 5-2 victory on January 29. The only appearance for Marco Carrillo was on January 24. He tossed 1.2 innings, giving up one earned run, with a walk and a strikeout in a 12-3 loss to the Cotton Pickers.

Puerto Rican Winter League

Onward and upward for Criollos de Caguas, as they secured a spot in the Caribbean World Series by defeating Leones De Ponce for the Puerto Rican title. Luis Montanez was an integral part of the Creoles’ success. His .286 batting average for the week mirrored his .287 average for the entire playoffs. With the Lions leading the series 3 games to 2, Montanez stepped up his game.

Montanez went 1-for-3, with a double and two runs scored in a January 26 in a 7-2 victory that evened the series. Click Here for Box Score

In the final game on January 28, Luis Montanez blasted a two-out, three-run homer that put Caguas up 4-1 in the third inning. Montanez later drove in another run and finished the night 1-for-3 with four RBI, as the Creoles snatched a 7-5 victory away from Ponce for the title. Click Here for Box Score

Australian Baseball League

The Bandits were eliminated from post-season play on January 22. Their final record of 14-22 was commendable, considering they had to contend with serious devastation in Brisbane due to flooding.

Ryan Searle ended the season 0-4 with a 5.77 ERA in eight starts. The 21-year old ended up striking out 25 hitters with 16 walks in 34.1 innings.

And so, CCO readers, this will be the final report on winter league results. A wrap-up of the winter leagues will be featured next week and updates on the Caribbean World Series will still be provided.

As Spring Training approaches, a focus will be placed on discussing prospects and their respective teams.

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Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney
  • Ripsnorter1

    Scotty Pods: HEADCASE

    Man, the balloon head does it again! Read this most enjoyable article about our favorite Bozo (who was–incredibly–traded for CARLOS LEE!!!!

    • Gary J

      Couldn’t happen to a sweeter guy :-)

    • paulcatanese

      Rip,read the article,hope I read it correctly. I interpeted as a comparison to Pena maybe not in so many words but in my mind. I am not against Pena,but I just do not want another strikeout added to a lineup that has a lot of them already there It’s not Pena’s fault for the 10mil contract,but the fact remains he is NOT someone who swings to contact. As far as his glove,they had Lee and got rid of him. As much as Lee digressed he still made contact. It was interesting about the foot problem and what seemed to happen with the production. Will it be more of the same here?,with Pena? I hope not, but we will see.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I’d think it would be easy to see that the Cubs went SOUTH by ditching Lee, whose bat was slowing but earning $7.5 million with a decent glove, to sign Pena, whose bat is slowing but earning $10 million, to strike out 2X as often as Lee, with a BA about 65 points LOWER. Furthermore Lee walked almost as often as Pena (73 vs 87). Man that Jim Clueless knows what he’s doing! LOL

        Furthermore, Pena has a career BA of .242 vs. Lee’s career BA of .282. CCO fans are hoping for .280 outta Pena, who has hit .282 only 1 time in his entire career. In 151 PA, Lee hit .287 for Atlanta after he left the Cubs.

        Just can’t see how Pena improved the team, the finances, the fielding, the strikeouts, the slugging, the OPS, the OBP, nuthin’. But then again, Jim Clueless is called Clueless for a reason.

        • paulcatanese

          Thank you very much,I didn’t think there was any comparison.I don’t
          understand the deal at all either.All I know is I cannot stand watching a
          ballgame when there are so many strikeouts and this was an addition to
          those. Maybe Pena will learn to bunt.

        • Gary J

          I’m certainly not figuring on Pena for .280 – I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone say that. But I don’t think .250 is out of the question and .240 is realistic.

          Even so though – there IS a comparison between the two – and favorable to Pena

          4 year statistical average comparison between Lee and Pena…

          Lee — .294 BA -.375 OBP – .494 SLG
          Pena — .238 (ugh) – .368 – .516

          Lee averaged 24 HR / 92 RBI
          Pena averaged 36 HR / 102 RBI

          So even though his batting average was really dragged down with last year’s abominable performance – he still got on base at about the same clip and slugged over 20 points higher.

          Both players during that stretch had a gold glove, all-star appearance, and two times garnered MVP votes.

          A one year deal is a one year deal… it is what it is. If he has a comeback to hit .240 with 40 HR and then walks, JH will get hammered for not having locked up a guy with his track record LOL

          Care to take a small wager Rip on his BA and power numbers this year? I’ll bet .230 / 30 HR / 90 RBI and take the over on all three :-) Assuming he gets a full season of ABs of course. Less than 550 and the bet’s off (or we could project if they’re short)

          What say you? :-)

          • Ripsnorter1

            You are a shrewd bettor. Pena ain’t had 500 AB in a single season in his entire career. And you want me to bet that he will in 2011? Hahahahhahahahaahahahahahahahahhahha!

            Now if you said 450 AB, I’d say that I’d buy you a cold Coke if he hits .230/30/90. I’ll take the under. :)

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            I think you mean Plate Appearances not ABs see below. in my reply to Rip.

          • Gary J

            Yeah – I meant plate appearances LOL – thanks Patrick. You’re on Rip… I’m only eight months away from a cold coke

          • Ripsnorter1

            LOL–A TWO LITER COLD COKE, I might add! LOL

            Hey, did you like my lineup?

            Pena–Mr. .196 batting 3rd
            DeWitt/Baker 2B

            Yes, Funko starts over Colvin. Why? $14.5 million reasons why!

        • The Maven

          There was no way that the Cubs were going to bring Derek Lee back. He had eroded too may of the fan’s confidence that he would have been a polarizing figure if he returned. Fans had gotten tired of his inconsistency and the perception (real or not) that he only “turned it on” once the Cubs were out of the race. He also popped off several times in the media last season and totally mishandled the supposed trade to the Angels. Had he just shut up and agreed to the trade, then signed some Kerry Wood-type of deal after the season, Lee would have had Cubs fans eating out of his hand. Instead, he left the Cubs in a lurch, as he had been doing for several years.

        • JedMosley

          No one is really thinking he’ll hit 280. With the power numbers he has and as many walks as he draws, I think fans would be happy if he got it around 250 again, at least I would. As far as Lee striking out less, I believe he hit into a lot of double plays, probably more than Pena, but I could be wrong. Considering it’s a one year deal, I think it was a solid move, if he sucks, oh well, it’s not like there was any sure thing out there instesd

          • JedMosley


          • JedMosley

            Lol I posted this before reading Gary’s post, I completely agree Gary

  • Patrick_Schaefer
  • Ripsnorter1

    Pena: the last 3 years has averaged:

    .223 BA 32.67 HR 95 RBI per season

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Sac Flys, Sac Bunts, and walks don’t count as AB’s! So A guy with 612 PA in 2007 with 490 AB’s means he walked a lot and had sac flys. (I don’t see Pena bunting) ( walked 103 times)
      in 2008 607PA 490AB 96 walks
      2009 570PA 471AB 87 walks
      2010 582PA 484AB 87walks
      So correct me if I’m wrong but the bigger the difference in PA to AB is a good thing. He walks a lot and is no stranger to the SAC FLY!

      • Keller

        Yeah, I’d like to see him with about 100-150 more PA than AB. Pena can do one of the things the Cubs were lacking last year. . .get on base and keep the inning going. I’m going to feel a little better this year seeing Pena up at the plate with 1 or 2 on and 1 or 2 outs than I did seeing Lee at the plate in the same situation over the past two seasons. Why? Pena RISP in 2010: .411, Lee in 2010: .322

        • Keller

          I should clarify that. . . that’s OBP with RISP.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Pena will be 33, Lee will be 35 I think Pena has a better chance of a rebound year than Lee!

      • Ripsnorter1

        Probably true that Pena has a better chance, if all things are equal (ie, age is the only variable).

        As far as Plate Appearances vs. Official At Bats, yes, I do know the difference, but Gary is trying to get me to agree to a friendly Coke wager with inexact terms. I was just trying to get him to be more exact in his language.

        • Patrick_Schaefer

          Sorry Rip you have good baseball knowledge I should have assumed you knew the difference.
          What do you think of this lineup?
          Lead-off _____? DeWitt? Barney?Baker?
          Pena except vs. Lhp
          Soto when he is in the lineup
          I Like to guys with good OBP and power in front of Ramirez(assuming his hitting returns to form). Also Soto was one of the more consistent bats in the lineup last year and Pinella didn’t take advantage of that and had him batting 8th, which I thought was really stupid. I like Colvin in the 8th spot until he learns more patience at the plate. Also I like Byrd in between Colvin and Soriano because he doesn’t strikeout nearly as much.

          • paulcatanese

            Not a bad lineup if thats all we have to put out there.Totaly agree with Byrd in the 8 spot,should have been there the whole second half of the season.

          • paulcatanese

            I meant Byrd where you put him,just washed my hair and my fingers didn’t respond.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I don’t know what they’ll do for sure. But your lineup is probably pretty close to reality. Here’s what I think they do:
            I think DeWitt and Baker will platoon at 2B and bat leadoff. If it is a strict platoon, we’ll be okay. I don’t like DeWitt, but I also don’t have a choice, either. Barney may not even make the team with Ojeda around. That would be a mistake to chose Ojeda over him, but I know Jim Clueless, and that’s what he’ll most likely do.

            Castro: I’d continue with him here in the 2 hole where he had success.
            I look for Byrd to bat #3.
            Pena: I don’t think he platoons with anybody, imho.
            Aram: looking for a return to form and a return to the DL.
            Sorry-oh-no: #6 is home for him now. At least in Quade’s mind.
            Funko over Colvin for $14.5 million reasons.
            Soto–he’s effective, therefore, he’ll bat #8.

            NOW, if it were my team . . . .
            Byrd. .289 .352 OBP career in #1 hole
            Pena–somebody needs to make the first out in an inning.
            Funko–career .291….381 OBP and.468 slugging in 368 AB
            Sorry-oh-no: 2nd out of any inning should be a k, so therefore I present to you ALfonso . . . .
            Soto: has best BA from #7 hole, with .514 slugging and .370 OBP
            DeWitt and Baker–strict platoon here.

            That’s how I’d do it.

          • Tom U

            I don’t want to seem like I’m overstating this, but the implication of Augie Ojeda making the final roster over Darwin Barney could be staggering. I could be not only devestating to the prospects involved, but all of the organizations prospects.

            Let’s start with the ripple effect. If Barney doesn’t make the team, he’ll start at AAA Iowa. That means Marwin Gonzalez, who deserves to be in AAA this summer, goes back to AA Tennessee. Junior Lake would stay at High A Daytona or move to another position, which causes a whole new set of problems. Arismendy Alcantara, who has an outside shot at opening in Daytona, would be moved down to A Peoria. Elliot Soto would remain at Low A Boise, with nowhere for Wes Darvill to play.

            The other part is that Augie Ojeda hasn’t, what you would say, “distinguished” himself in the majors. He’s been little more than a “cling-on”. If Barney, who hit .299 at AAA Iowa in the toughest defensive position, is passed over, what will this say to the rest of the the Cubs’ minor leaguers? They could take it as a sign that the parent club places no value on them, and that they would even prefer a player like Ojeda over them.

            Let’s hope that Patrick is right and that Ojeda is just there to mentor some of the young infielders in camp, and then is quietly released.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Frankly I think Ojeda “wins” a job. LOL. Jim Clueless does not like prospects. He wants veterans on the team. Barney gets the shaft, imo.
            We’ve seen it before–ask Aaron, he’ll tell you–and I think this is another installment of “more of the same.”

            Having said that, I agree with your post. DEVASTATING. DEMORALIZING.

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            I see NO possible way that Ojeda gets the job over Barney!
            I see this as a favor to Ojeda to showcase himself in hopes of getting picked up by another team. He will also be a spring training split squad roster filler. He’s a good fielder and I believe he speaks spanish, and could help Castro who had 27 errors in the Majors last year, and 5 in the minors, for a total of 32 errors, down from 39 errors the year before.

            Furthermore, at 36 with poor offense a .486 ops and declining range, I don’t think that he will get picked up by anyone. I could see him getting a job with the Cubs on some level as an infielders coach or maybe a player/coach but that is the only options besides retirement that I see for him at this point!!!!!

          • Gary J

            Didn’t want to reply to your lineup post twice :-) I actually think that’s a productive lineup other than leadoff – which is a gap everyone has been over and over again. We don’t have a leadoff guy. Then again – even without one on the roster SOMEBODY has to step into the box when the ump yells play ball and it might as well be Byrd.

            Whoever plays 2nd base hits 8th. Thought it was silly to hit Soto that low last year. He struggled to start the year but when he figured out a few things he never got out of the doghouse. Even if it’s Barney. You play 2nd on this roster – that means you’re offensively challenged – you get to hit 8th.

            Pena 3 and A Ram 4… maybe. I think if Fuku gets on one of his patented one month of the year streaks, they put him three in front of the boppers. But 5th seems better if he’s so so. I might even move Soriano in front of him and got Fonzie 5… but I dunno.

            I really wish we had more speed (sigh) but Perez is about the only major league ready talent with the wheels – and he’s got other deficiencies. I still think he makes the team over Johnson simply because there IS no speed in the everyday lineup. I think it’ll force their hand because you want that guy when down one run that can score from first on a gapper.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Where’s Aaron when you need an opinion? Car 54,WHERE ARE YOU?

    • Aaron

      Trust me…I don’t think you or anyone else wants my opinion on here until the season starts, and things start changing with the Cubs and around the league, because, it’s basically a broken record with what I’ve been saying. Our lineup sucks, it doesn’t stand up to the rest of the league, and we’ll have one of the worst lineups in all of baseball….Yes, ALL of MLB.

      I’ve already posted what I think will happen:
      Z, Dempster, Garza, Wells, and Silva for the rotation
      Samardzija, Wellemeyer, Russell, Grabow, Marshall, Wood, Marmol

      C-Soto, Hill
      2B-DeWitt, Baker
      SS-Castro, Barney
      CF-Byrd, Johnson
      RF-Colvin, Fukudome

      The only potential surprises for the roster are two spots in the pen (Wellemeyer and Russell), possibly Silva’s spot in the rotation, but I keep coming back to the $7.5 million owed, and I just think it’s a done deal, and the only other spot would be with Johnson. It could go to Perez, otherwise it goes to Montanez. There’s NO chance Jackson opens up on the roster, and there’s no chance Snyder, Camp, Adduci, or LaHair make it.

      Hendry has a boner for Johnson, and he wants to give Montanez a chance to prove not all Cubs 1st round picks are busts. But that’s just my opinion.

      As for the rest of it….

      The lineup will likely become:
      Pena-1B (offer ARAM protection)

      That lineup makes the most sense with what we have, even though I absolutely hate it.

      Based on splits, I’d have Byrd batting #1, but Quade already showed his cards early on when he still had a healthy team. He used almost that exact same lineup multiple games in a row. The only change would be versus lefties, when he’d have Baker leading off. He ran this lineup out there multiple times:

      We all know the Cubs love Hill, and unless his fingers fall off, he’s going to make the team (and even then, they’d probably just duct tape them on, so they have his “leadership”…LOL…sorry for the crude joke). And given the fact that Colvin and Fukudome are lefties, it’d appear they’re probably leaning more towards a righty so they can insert him in RF when necessary if facing tough lefties. That eliminates Adduci, Jackson, Camp, LaHair, Snyder.

      The ONLY righties among the NRI’s and roster players are Perez, Johnson, and Montanez. With their familiarity with Johnson, it’s really his job to lose.

      I’m telling you, it’s NOT rocket science in predicting the outcome of roster decisions, games, and even the outcome of the season. Hendry is one of the least creative and proactive GM’s out there, which makes him HIGHLY predictable.

      I love the Cubs, but I hate the management. They are one of the worst management/ownership groups in ALL of sports, and that is not an exaggeration.

      I read an article the other day with one team executive being flabbergasted as to why Lastings Milledge is still on the market. The executive said if they had an opening, they’d give it to him. Well….guess what….we have a spot for a righty in the OF, and Johnson is old and fragile, Montanez has no business being on an MLB roster, and Perez is a righty version of Joey Gathright. Unbelievable, isn’t it?!? And Milledge is still out there. LOL….soooooooooooooooooooooooooo Cub-like to ignore a talent like that while going the retread route.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        I’m not a big fan of Lastings Milledge but he is pretty decent against LHP and a Decent fielder

        • Gary J

          There’s a reason he’s still out there. He’s got attitude problems that have been well documented – heck he even got into a big brawl in winter ball this year. He’s worth a shot somewhere at the league minimum – but his ego thinks he’s worth more than that.

          He’s got a ton of raw talent – but he’s like Nuke LaLouche… Million dollar talent and a five cent brain.

          But I’ll grant you the talent is still raw. At 25 he’s still learning (well…. is he teachable is the question) and can continue to grow (if he wants). But at this point in his career he’s gotten shots with three teams and outstayed his welcome on each.

          While his average is decent enough, his pop hasn’t come around on the ML level and other than one pretty good year in 2008 with Washington – there hasn’t been much speed to speak of either.

          I’m with you Aaron that he’s got raw talent and that it can still be realized on the ML level due to his youth…. but his attitude is going to keep teams away and ESPECIALLY teams that recently had Milton Bradley on them. Talk about a PR nightmare. The minute he dogs a fly ball that drops in front of him letting a run score on Zambrano….. BOOM! Can you imagine the firestorm that comes down on the Cubs management if they bring in a guy with known attitude problems and he blows up? And seriously – it’s not if with this kid, it’s when. He will blow up loudly and publicly at some point.

          He’ll get a shot somewhere – but not on this team. Not with Milton fresh in everyone’s head.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You only mentioned Z. Don’t forget Garza and Silva–big bottles (esp. in Silva’s case) of nitro glycerin in human form.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Lastings Milledge: passes the eye ball test, but fails the I.Q. test.