Down to Single Digits … and Other Cubs News and Notes

The countdown to pitchers and catchers officially reporting to Fitch Park has reached the single digits … just nine more days before Cubs Camp begins.

While Yoenis Cespedes was receiving a tour of the Marlins’ new stadium, the Cubs released their television schedule for the upcoming season. Opening Day from Wrigley Field against the Nationals (April 5) will be televised on WGN TV … along with at least 62 other games this season. The Cubs complete 162-game schedule will be televised this season with 63 on WGN TV, 80 on Comcast SportsNet, eight on WCIU and eight on FOX. The broadcast schedule currently lists three games as TBD (to be determined) that will either air on ESPN, WGN or FOX. The Cubs 2012 season concludes on WGN on Wednesday, October 3 against the Astros at Wrigley Field. Of course, Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland will call all of the games on 720 WGN.

The Cubs farm system was in the news again. MLB.com released their list of the top 20 prospects in the Cubs system for 2012 and Keith Law unveiled his annual organizational rankings.

Here is the update … that includes more on Yoenis Cespedes.

Yoenis Cespedes
Yoenis Cespedes spent Wednesday in Miami touring the Marlins’ new ballpark. According to ESPN, Wednesday was the first stop of his tour of interested clubs.

Cespedes told the Miami media, in Spanish, that he believes the Marlins can compete for a World Series championship this season. Cespedes apparently likes the idea of playing in Miami due to the support he figures to receive from the large Cuban community.

According to a report from Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, the Marlins would not say whether or not they offered Cespedes a contract during his visit. The Post reported that Cespedes is believed to have meetings scheduled with other teams Thursday and Friday before he returns to the Dominican Republic.

Yoenis Cespedes has not received his unblocking license from the OFAC. Cespedes can negotiate, and even agree to terms with a team, but until he is unblocked he cannot report to Spring Training or sign a contract.

Prospects and the Cubs Farm System
MLB.com released their list of the top 20 prospects in the Cubs’ system for 2012. After ranking Brett Jackson higher than Anthony Rizzo in their top 100 prospects in the game, they flipped Jackson and Rizzo for their Cubs’ list.

1. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
2. Brett Jackson, OF
3. Javier Baez, SS
4. Matt Szczur, OF
5. Chris Carpenter, RHP
6. Dillon Maples, RHP
7. Trey McNutt, RHP
8. Rafael Dolis, RHP
9. Rob Whitenack, RHP
10. Reggie Golden, OF
11. Junior Lake, SS
12. Josh Vitters, 3B
13. Ronald Torreyes, 2B
14. Ben Wells, RHP
15. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
16. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
17. Gioskar Amaya, SS/2B
18. Marco Hernandez, SS/2B
19. Dave Sappelt, OF
20. Pin-Chieh Chen, OF

Under the Radar: Gerardo Concepcion, LHP
Hitter of the Year: Javier Baez, SS
Pitcher of the Year: Ben Wells, RHP

MLB.com’s Cubs Organization Preview
MLB.com’s Top 20 Cubs Prospects

Keith Law released his ranking of the farm systems Wednesday. Law listed the Cubs has having the 20th best system in the game. As for the Cubs system, Law said, “An unfairly maligned system in my opinion – not a great system, but not a disastrous one. And I say that as someone who’s relatively bearish on some of the Cubs’ more famous prospects.”

And here is a video from the Smokies’ manager luncheon on Monday.

Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA Projections
Baseball Prospectus released their PECOTA player projections Wednesday. Here are the early PECOTA projections for several players on the Cubs’ roster … and how they might fare at the plate or on the mound during the upcoming season.

Marlon Byrd – .281/.332/.416 with 30 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs (570 PA)
Alfonso Soriano – .254/.304/.459 with 18 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs (343 PA)
Reed Johnson – .265/.313/.373 with 10 doubles, one triple, three home runs (203 PA)
David DeJesus – .274/.342/.404 with 25 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs (593 PA)
Geovany Soto – .259/.345/.453 with 26 doubles, one triple, 19 home runs (505 PA)
Jeff Baker – .256/.310/.390 with 18 doubles, two triples, eight home runs (366 PA)
Ian Stewart – .238/.319/.424 with 21 doubles, two triples, 20 home runs (527 PA)
Bryan LaHair – .263/.329/.463 with 17 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs (350 PA)
Starlin Castro – .298/.332/.410 with 36 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs (695 PA)
Darwin Barney – .274/.307/.353 with 23 doubles, three triples, three home runs (523 PA)

Kerry Wood – 3-2, 3.65 ERA/1.31 WHIP, two saves in 62 games
Carlos Marmol – 4-2, 2.74 ERA/1.22 WHIP, 38 saves in 71 games
Ryan Dempster – 10-14, 4.18 ERA/1.37 WHIP in 31 starts
Randy Wells – 8-12, 4.62 ERA/1.43 WHIP in 24 starts
Paul Maholm – 9-15, 4.83 ERA/1.45 WHIP in 29 starts
Chris Volstad – 8-12, 5.19 ERA/1.52 WHIP in 24 starts
Travis Wood – 5-8, 4.60 ERA/1.44 WHIP in 16 starts
Matt Garza – 11-15, 4.01 ERA/1.31 WHIP in 32 starts
Jeff Samardzija – 3-1, 5.29 ERA/1.61 WHIP in 62 games

Please note, due to the subscription only nature of this information only a small part of the long-list of detailed stats are listed. Baseball Prospectus provided projections for the entire roster including many of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system. While the projections are always interesting to look at before a season begins, these are only projections and should be treated as such.

WGN Radio Contest

WGN Radio has asked the CCO to help promote their latest contest … write the official WGN Radio Cubs Song for the 2012 season. For those baseball fans that are also musicians this could end up being your bring break.

All entries must be submitted by February 29, 2012.

Click here for more information and the official rules from WGN Radio.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver