Keeping an Eye on the Cubs Prospects

The 20th season of the Arizona Fall League (AFL) kicked off on Tuesday. The Cubs have seven players and coach Brian Harper on the Mesa Solar Sox roster. Javier Baez, Matt Szczur, Rubi Silva, Kevin Rhoderick, Tony Zych and Nick Struck have seen action in the first two days. Dae-Eun Rhee is the only Cubs’ prospect yet to play.

Javier Baez, the second youngest player in the AFL, kicked his season off with a tape measure blast in his first at bat on Tuesday night. Baez played shortstop and went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBI in the opener. Baez suited up again Wednesday and went 0-for-4 while playing third base. Matt Szczur (1-for-6 with two walks, a stolen base, a sac bunt and HBP) and Rubi Silva (2-for-6 with a run scored) have also played in both games.

The AFL season runs through November 15.

The Instructional League games wrap up this week in Arizona, with the last game on Saturday.

Baseball America’s Top Prospects by League
Baseball America is releasing top prospect lists for each league throughout the minor league system. The Cubs have a lot of talent in the lower levels and several of the Cubs’ best young players made their league’s lists.

2012 AZL Top 20 Prospects
2. Albert Almora, OF
4. Jorge Soler, OF
14. Dan Vogelbach, 1B

2012 Northwest League Top 20 Prospects
2. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
6. Marco Hernandez, SS
7. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
9. Gioskar Amaya, 2B
15. Stephen Bruno, INF
16. Trey Martin, OF
17. Taylor Scott, RHP

2012 Midwest League Top 20 Prospects
1. Javier Baez, SS

2012 Carolina League Top 20 Prospects
9. Christian Villanueva, 3B

Baseball America also included scouting reports for several of the players (by subscription only).

MiLB.com’s Cubs Organizational All-Stars
MiLB.com is taking a look at each team’s minor league system this winter and naming an all-star team for each organization … regardless of age or prospect status. MiLB.com released their report on the Cubs’ system on Wednesday.

Cubs Organization All-Stars

  • Juan Apodaca – Catcher
  • Dan Vogelbach – First Base
  • Stephen Bruno – Second Base
  • Javier Baez – Shortstop
  • Josh Vitters – Third Base
  • Matt Szczur – Outfield
  • John Andreoli – Outfield
  • Greg Rohan – Outfield
  • Nick Struck – RHP
  • Eric Jokisch – LHP
  • Frank Batista – Reliever
  • Anthony Rizzo – Utility
  • Logan Watkins – Honorable Mention

The report from MiLB.com includes quotes from Jason McLeod on each player. McLeod told MiLB.com that he envisions Stephen Bruno as being more of a second baseman. Logan Watkins “really encompasses a lot of what we want our players to do – control the zone, get on base, hit for average, and he played good defense.” Matt Szczur reminds McLeod of Reed Johnson and Nick Struck is a bulldog on the hill according to McLeod.

Full Report from MiLB.com

News and Rumors
According to Bruce Levine, the White Sox tried to trade for Tony Campana and were told that Campana was not available.

The Cubs were happy with the progress Welington Castillo made during the season. Castillo will likely begin Spring Training as the favorite to be the Cubs everyday catcher next season. The Tribune did not rule out the Cubs acquiring a veteran back-up catcher but acknowledged that a veteran backup is not a priority on a rebuilding team like the Cubs.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are in Mesa this week with the Cubs’ scouting staff for the end of year meetings. Epstein and Hoyer have been attending Instructional League and AFL games.

According to Bruce Levine, Bob Brenly is negotiating a long-term deal to stay with the Cubs’ broadcast team.

According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs believe Darwin Barney can be an integral part of the team for years to come and from all indications Barney is considered a part of the core, despite trade rumors last July. The Cubs want to see him make improvements at the plate, but as of now, he is in no danger of losing his everyday job at second base.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

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  • Tony_Hall

    Thanks for the updates, made me look around and see what else people were saying. The Tribune pieces by position are interesting to read.

    Keith Law on ESPN Insider did a piece on the Top 10 guys he is most excited to scout in AFL.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/law_keith/id/8482237/javier-baez-leads-list-most-intriguing-players-arizona-fall-league-mlb

    #1 on his list is our own Javier Baez

    Others of note to us,

    #4 Billy Hamilton SS Reds
    #5 Hak-Ju Lee SS Rays
    #8 Castellanos 3B Tigers

  • Tony_Hall

    Congrats to Darwin Barney on leading ALL of MLB in Defensive WAR. He led most of the year, only to fall behind Brendan Ryan, SEA, in August. But he overtook him to finish the year with a 3.7 Defensive WAR to Ryan’s 3.6.

    Mike Trout ran away with the overall WAR with a 10.7 to 2nd place Cano with an 8.2. And that is why Trout should win the AL MVP, Cabrera finished in 6th place (4th in AL) with a 6.9 WAR. Cabrera didn’t even outpace Trout on just offense as Trout had a 8.6 versus a 7.5. I know Cabrera won the triple crown, but that is just not the same measuring stick as WAR.

    • cubtex

      Which goes to show you that WAR can be very misleading. No offense to Barney…..but there is no way he is the best defensive player in baseball. Eyeball test! Range, turning double plays(although he has improved) are huge factors.
      As far as MVP……..Right! I would give the MVP to a player who’s team didn’t make the playoffs and the other player won the TRIPLE CROWN! That makes perfect sense.

      • cc002600

        I agree with you
        I think people go nuts over some of these new stats like WAR like they are gospel….and yet, most people wouldn’t even have a clue as to how its calcuated. I’ve read about it and I thought I was reading something akin to brain surgery. Holy crap was it complicated. And just because its complicated, people almost always assume it then must be valid. But I am skeptical. It’s sort like your real estate bill. They make it complicated intentionally so you don’t question it. But in the end, its all BS.

        I’ll give you another one that drives me nuts. Now that everyone only looks at OBP as being gospel, I hear people say now that batting average is now irrelevant. Really ?

        So here’s my question. If there are 2 guys with the same OBP, but one guy has a BA that is much higher, does that matter ? I guess the OBP nuts would say no. But then I ask, since when does a walk have the same impact as a hit ? I must have missed that in all the 45 years I have been watching baseball. I don’t recall a walk driving in guys on 2nd / 3rd, call me crazy but I believe a single would.

        and I’m not saying I don’t like OBP, just saying batting average still matters in my mind.

        • paulcatanese

          I am just as confused as you are. I would venture to say that OBP is the amount of times that a hitter reaches base, and would include
          errors,walks,
          fielder’s choice, and hits vs total at bats.
          Not sure but thats what I think it is.
          Also think runs scored would be more rellevant
          than RBI’s.

          • cc002600

            I am not confused by OBP….I was being sarcastic.

            My point is that I have heard some people now say that BA is irrelevant, and that OBP is the only thing that matters to measure a guy’s production. For example: if a guy (like Adam Dunn) has an OBP of .350, its ok, even though his BA is .205. His OBP is good.

            To me, that’s ridiculous. So if a guy batted .275 with the same OBP of .350, (i.e he has more hits, less walks) there is no difference ??? ridiculous

          • Aaron

            There’s a big difference when you factor in other things. How many runs did DeJesus account for? How about Soriano? What about some other players on different teams like Pujols, Fielder, Cabrera, etc.?

            The rundown would probably surprise you:
            DeJesus=126
            Soriano=176
            Pujols=190
            Fielder=191
            Cabrera=248
            ……and Dunn=183 (in fact, over his career, he averages between 190-200 runs accounted for). This year, he led the league in both walks (105) and K’s (222).

            You can’t win if the opposing pitcher is constantly getting into the 7th inning every damn start. That’s where walks and PPA (where Dunn led the league with 4.42 pitches per plate appearance) matter. You also can’t win if you don’t drive in those players that get on base by wearing down the opposing pitcher. That’s why just OBP alone won’t win you games. I am a HUGE fan of OBP, being a pitcher myself, because I know the impact it can have on a pitcher’s arm. If you have to throw 8-10 pitches in a single AB to one guy (even if you end up getting him out), it takes a toll on your arm.

            The only guy on the Cubs that even came close to Soriano’s production was Castro, with 156 runs produced.

            By comparison, the Yankees had 5 guys in their everyday lineup that accounted for 150+runs (Texeira=150; Cano=199; Jeter=157; Granderson=208; Swisher=168). The Cardinals almost had 4, with Freese accounting for 149. The Tigers had 3. The Nats had 3, narrowly missing on 4 with Desmond’s 145….etc., etc.

            To drive my point home even further that you need at least 3 guys that produce more than 150 runs in your lineup to make a good run at the playoffs, the 2007 Cubs had 3: Soriano, Lee, and ARAM. The 2008 Cubs which were and even better team, had 5: Soto, Lee, DeRosa, ARAM, and Soriano.

            Incidentally, that team also had the #1 OBP, SLG, OPS, and runs scored in the league with the #2 average. In 2007, they were ranked 9, 8, 8, 8, and 7 respectively.

            Do you see how there is a direct correlation with OBP, runs produced, and victories?

            That’s why the Cubs need to look at guys like Swisher and Hunter (who hasn’t had a season of less than 150 runs produced since 2005 when he played in just 98 games). Swisher, also has just 1 season of less than 150 runs produced, which happened his first full season.

            So how do you produce runs? It’s a byproduct of a few things…..either you’re getting on base at a very good clip, and being driven in by others in the lineup, or you’re hitting for power, driving in others.

            Let me put it to you this way…..would you rather have Swisher or DeJesus in your lineup? How about BJ Upton vs DeJesus? How about Torii Hunter vs DeJesus? Adam Dunn vs DeJesus?

            I know what you’d say on the last one, and you couldn’t be more wrong if you picked DeJesus over Dunn.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Nobody in their righ mind would pick DeJesus over any of those guys you mentioned.

            Of all 20 RF in MLB with 500 PA, DeJesus ranked….
            14 in BA
            14 in Runs Scored
            17 in slugging (thanks to Houston’s Pitching)
            13 in SB with 7 (but caught 8 times)
            16 in OPS

            He’s FUNKO. Just like I told you all when they acquired him. He’s Funko’s replacement, with Funko’s stat line.

            You cannot win with corner OFs with that mediocre production.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Please stop with the nicknames. Thank you. Last time I ask.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            It’s interesting because they talk about team chemistry and say “winning cures all.” I think the same applies here. I’m always surprised at the vitriol I see on this site between two people that support the same team. I wonder if we were winning that would still be the case?

          • Brp921

            What bothers me on this website boardrider, are the contributors who put down or dismiss the contributors who disagree with or are dissattisfied with the current front office and how they are running the team, as unknowledgable baseball fans or consider them disloyal Cubfans. I think most everyone who comments on this site are both knowledgable baseball fans and loyal Cub fans. They just disagree with some of the other contributors on this site. My wish for this site is that everyone would respect each others opinions. If one can’t be respectful then just don’t comment back. I am in no way directing any of this to you boardrider, your comment above just motivated me to say what has been on my mind for a while now. I really enjoy most of the comments from most of the contributors here and have picked up some very interesting points of view from a very diverse group of Cub fans across the nation, that I would never have an opportunity to see if it weren’t for the CCO. So to quote what I have seen on here many times Cubfans “Let’s keep it classy” .

          • brent carmona

            Well said thank you for posting.

            I don’t respond as much as I should to posts, maybe its because I disagree a lot and I don’t want to cause a ruckus. I like reading the debates on here though for sure.

          • cc002600

            you obviously didn’t read what i wrote….you went off this tangent that had nothing to do with what i said.

            all I said was that BA is now being shoved under the rug by all these new sabremetricians who go ga-ga over OBP. I DIDN’T SAY OBP is not an important stat. It absolutely is. But BA still matters too….

            and I think WAR is some complicated concoction that is not the be-all end-all. I have seen some WAR stats that have made absolutely ZERO sense. So I question the validity of it, and question the importance that people place on it now. I think its WAY over rated.

            That’s all I said.
            Reading is a skill

          • Dorasaga

            BA is part of Ops. Ops matters. The thing is not about which of these summary stats speaks about a batter’s talent. The thing is about how well the stat represents a batter’s ability to produce runs, year-in, year-out (“positive correlation”). Obp is more accurate than Ba. Ops is better this way than obp. Woba is even better than ops, and so on.

            War, well, is about a lot of things, such as translating baserunning, batting, pitching, and defense ALL into one happy and simple summary stat. I’ll live without it for now. :-)

          • Tony_Hall

            Actually it’s not so much that AVG is irrelevant, but that OBP and OPS tells you more than the old days of showing the batters AVG, HR’s and RBI’s.

        • cubtex

          You need guys to hit the ball. A team with low BA and high OBP is fine……but who will drive the runs in? That is why it is ridiculous to say that Soriano is a 1.0 WAR or whatever he is. He hit 30 bombs and 100 RBI. Are you telling me that DeJesus is more valuable to the Cubs than Soriano? It is harder to find a guy to hit 30 HR’s and drive in 100 RBI than a guy to hit .260 with a .350 OBP.

          • cc002600

            Totally Agree !!!
            Walks are great, but its like there is an over emphasis on them now. Its crazy.

            and yes, I know it makes the pitcher work harder by throwing more pitches etc, etc…I get that, but come on……

          • cubtex

            Bring back Eddy Gaedel :)

          • Ripsnorter1

            DeJesus is a loser. 50 RBI with no power, no speed, no batting average, high strikeouts (89) to boot.

            Good post, Cubtex.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Please stop with the name calling and nicknames. Thank you.

          • mutantbeast

            OBP is only valuable leading off an inning. After that, give me the BA guy, much more likely to drive in runs, which is what wins games.

        • Brp921

          I absolutely agree cc002600.

      • Tony_Hall

        I will look up the final numbers for you, but with 1 week to go in the season, from the day that Trout was recalled, the Angels had the best record in baseball, yet didn’t make the playoffs, due to their poor start with out him. That says an awful lot right there.

        • Cubtex

          Not knocking his improvement……I am knocking WAR stating that he is the best defensive player in baseball. You don’t really believe Barney is the best defensive player in baseball….do you? Here is my point. He has average athletic ability. Average range. Average arm. Average skills,

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t believe Barney to be a “core player”, like we are hearing. But he is much better on defense than you give him credit for by calling him average.

            Use the new metric Def. WAR he leads the league, use the old style of Fielding pct, he leads the league. Use the eyeball test, I think you need to watch some of his plays in the last 20 games of his errorless streak, when many players would have not taken chances, and see some of the great plays he made, night after night.

            As far as is he the best defensive player in the game, of course not. No 2B will ever be the best defensive player, as if they were they would still be at SS. But don’t assume WAR says that, just like the best hitter might not lead the league in AVG.

          • Dorasaga

            THank you for pointing these out! I wonder why all of these factors weren’t obvious enough. Barney is a good defensive player. He can’t hit. But so was Rentaria. Guess what happened in October, 2010? A team is not built in a perfect world. All 30 teams want 12 high ops PLUS high ba guys on their roster. Won’t happen. That’s why teams were built and amalgamated with diff. talents and specialists. Barney is valuable in this way. He already made Castro comfortable. He mad pitchers comfortable. Hey, who knows, he might be good enough to get hot in October one day. I hope he’ll be with the Cubs then. :-))

        • Aaron

          So….supposedly the Tigers will be looking to non-tender Boesch (27 yrs old OF):
          http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/boescbr01.shtml?utm_campaign=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-www.typepad.com

          and

          Porcello (23 yrs old SP):
          http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/porceri01.shtml?utm_campaign=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-www.typepad.com

          According to MLBTR, they will likely just non-tender Boesch, while first attempting to trade Porcello. I personally believe Porcello would thrive in the NL.

      • Tony_Hall

        You really still want to knock Barney’s defense. Sorry but the eyeball test says he looks pretty good out there. His improvement since last season is huge and it should earn him the Gold Glove award this year, easily.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I fully agree with you, Cubtex. Cabrera is the MVP.

        And defensive WAR is, ahem, misleading.

      • Tony_Hall

        Here you go.

        http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/8484381/reflecting-mike-trout-historic-rookie-season-los-angeles-angels

        The Angels record was 6-14 when Trout was called up.

        The Angels record was 83-59 the rest of the way, the best record in baseball over that span.

        He became the first major leaguer to steal 45 bases, score 125 runs and hit 30 home runs in a season. He’s also the first player to hit .320 or better with 30 homers and 45 stolen bases in a season.

        There are all sorts of statistics to measure this phenomena. Things such as Trout’s obscenely low 9 percent first-pitch-swing percentage (the MLB average is 26 percent). Or the way his batting average goes up each time he sees a pitcher: .291 in his first at-bat versus the starter, then .381 in his second at-bat, then .387 in his third at-bat.

    • paulcatanese

      Tony, although certainly deserving,Barney will not get the gold glove award (unless I missed something here), it will go to Phillips again since they are in the playoffs.
      If it is not decided yet, as it should be, before the playoffs start, Barney has a legitimate chance.But if the playoffs are included in the decision, I think it will go to Phillips.
      Just am not clear how the decision is reached.
      Pulling for Barney.

      • calicub

        im pretty certain votes go in prior to end of the regular season.
        when this article was published alot of coaches had already voted:
        posttrib.suntimes.com/…/darwin-barney-might-be-on-track-to-win-a-…

  • paulcatanese

    What really irk’s me is the rumor that the White Sox wanted to trade for Campana and were told by the Cubs that he is not available. Why not? The Cubs don’t use him, and many on this site have said he dosen’t figure in the future plans of the team.
    What role is he going to play,? except to rot on the bench and fill in for defense ONCE in a while.
    I for one would like to see Campana away from the situation he is in now and have an opportunity to run the opinion the Cubs have in him into the ground(a pun intended here).
    Regardless of how he hits or reaches base, if played regularly would produce in the 60-70 stolen base range, makes things happen and will score runs.
    But then the Cubs don’t really need that type of player, they have all the speed they need, ha!

    • cc002600

      Paul….

      I think if he played everyday, he would be way above 60-70 SB’s.

      I think he could steal 100 bases in his sleep.

      Heck, he stole 30 this past year, and he barely played

      I am with you, I wish they would have given him a chance. He really does change the game when he’s in there which doesn’t show up in the box score.

      and I don’t agree when people say he can’t hit…..if he just hit .250 he would be a force and make an impact, and I see no reason why he couldn’t hit that.

      Not only that, he looks a heck a lot better to me than BJax right now.

      I’m glad they kept him…..maybe they will have a change of heart over him at some point and give him a chance…..or maybe platoon him

      • Dnuge

        Campana needs to learn to hit and get on base more , other than his speed he has little to offer with his defense, he has no arm and takes strange routes at times to catch a fly ball .

        • paulcatanese

          A little late in responding to you Dnuge. While Campana does need to get on base more, you have to admit that when he does he makes the other team pay with his speed.
          And while you think he takes strange routes to the ball, he does catch it, and what is lost in you’re obsevation is the fact that he is standing
          under the ball to make a catch, getting there quicker than most others.
          And where has it shown up that his arm strength has cost the Cubs?
          This was the point I was trying to make in an earlier post, if he is so bad, as you say, trade him(they could have) or release him as I had said. But don’t just let him sit, serving no purpose to him or the Cubs.
          Name one player on the present Cub roster that produces more distress to the pitcher or the defense when he is up or reaches first base.

      • John_CC

        I don’t see it man. If Campana got 500 plate appearances, and improved his OBP from .308 to .320 that would put him on base 160 times. No way is a guy going to steal 100 bases out of 160 times getting on base. No way.

        • Brp921

          John, if I did the math correctly (thats questionable:)) then his stats this year would carry out to about 90 stolen bases with 160 times on base. I think he could improve his base stealing as he learns the art of base running. I wouldn’t want to predict 100 steals, but I definately wouldn’ want to bet against it either.

          • John_CC

            Hard tellin’ not knowin’! Stealing a base 62% of the time you reach seems insane and I think would have to correct itself on the season. You also have to take into account the number of SBs Campana had w/o and plate appearances; the pitch running times he’d come in and swipe 2 bases in a row without and AB. That really skews the ratio when trying to compare SBs with PA or ABs.

            I think that Campana is most useful and dangerous is as a pinch runner.

    • cc002600

      Paul….
      I think Campana could steal 100 bases in his sleep if he played every day. easily.

      I wished they have given him a chance too

  • Aaron

    Anyone see this?:
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/10/shohei-otani-deciding-between-japan-mlb.html

    I would sure hope the Cubs go all out after him. They need more power arms like that. I also believe Japanese players are exempt from the spending limits, though I could be wrong.

    • SuzyS

      I’m all for the Cubs acquiring any power arms…but my understanding is the Japanese players are exempt only if they are a signed by the Japanese leagues and require a posting fee….This guy hasn’t signed with anyone yet…as such…he would go against the spending limits.
      Neil or anyone…is that correct?

      • Dorasaga

        Please read my reply to Aaron below.

        • SuzyS

          Thanks Dorasaga, It ‘s definitely something to ponder.

    • Dorasaga

      The problem is with the “gentleman’s agreement” that our 30 club owners and Japan’s 12 club owners made before the turn of this Century. A high schooler CANNOT be signed by a MLB club, until he went through the draft with Japanese clubs (NPB).

      You don’t want a retaliation act from Japan’s side. Their governing body of high school baseball is VERY tough to deal with; even NPB had problem with it, and they wrestled for decades. That’s why the Tazawa signing was a huge fuss when Theo snapped him from the amateur (“Industrial League”), before he joined the draft. But there’s always a way to get around. There were precedents.

      BTW, I’m still curious of this topic:

      http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2012/10/cubsnewsrumors_81.php#comment-676186362

  • Ripsnorter1

    Looks like Dusty’s Reds found a way to blow a good season….just like he did with the Cubs.

    That has to hurt. And I wonder if Walt Jocketty brings him back after this disaster…..leading 2 games to none, with three games to go at home, and they blow it. And he blows it the usual way, by mishandling his pitching staff.

    CLASSIC.

    • paulcatanese

      Inside information leads me to believe that retirement is not
      out of the question for Dusty. I wish him well.

  • cc002600

    Cardinals – Wow !!!!!!!
    They just always find a way
    Truly amazing

    • brent carmona

      *cues the why shouldn’t we contend and rebuild comments*

    • Tony_Hall

      It truly is amazing. But watching those long grinding AB’s has to show everyone why that is so important.

      I hate Yadier Molina, the Cardinal, but love Yadier Molina the ballplayer and wish we had more guys that had his style at the plate of grinding AB’s until the pitcher makes a mistake, yet don’t sneak a fastball down the middle against him on the first pitch, because he will hit it.

      • paulcatanese

        Cmon Tony, just take you’re buddy from work out and buy him a beer,as again this year his team is in it.
        It does give credibility to the extra team added this year.
        I just hope because of the sucess of Baltimore and the Cards that they don’t decide to add two more teams next year.
        The long grinding at bats are fine and important, but only if the hitter has the ability to hit those mistakes.

        • cubtex

          Agreed Paul. Molina had 159 hits. He only walked 45 time in 560 or so at bats or 1 every 12 AB’s. He is a good hitter. There is a difference between a grinder and a good hitter. Too many people are looking at all these new stats instead of just seeing if a guy can hit.

          • Tony_Hall

            Boy, you can make anything sound bad…

            Remember he is one of the best, if not the best defensive catcher and has a 48% CS rate this year.

            Yadier Molina
            315/373/501/874
            22 HR’s
            76 RBI’s

            And in their wins
            341/408/564/972
            15 HR’s
            56 RBI’s

            That’s the type of guy I want on my team. We can only dream of Castillo developing into this good of a player.

          • John_CC

            He is a legit MVP candidate this year. Is he arguing that his “grinding” style at the plate doesn’t have anything to do with him being a good hitter?

          • Tony_Hall

            I really have no idea what he is trying to say bad about Yadier…. it just goes to show you how he can be negative about just about anything….even the best catcher in baseball isn’t good enough for him.

          • cubtex

            What are you talking about? I said Yadier Molina is a very good hitter. He is not a grinder. He is an all star!

          • Tony_Hall

            Actually you said he is a good hitter, not a very good hitter.

            Also you said he had 159 hits and only walked 45 times….just your overall post sounded like you were knocking Molina.

            He is a grinder, maybe not to the point where he walks 100 times,but if you watch his AB’s he is one of the best grinders in baseball.

            Carlos Pena walked a lot and K’d a lot because he took lots of pitches on the edge and just off the strike zone, So I wouldn’t call him as much of a grinder as Molina. Molina will have long AB’s by fouling off pitch after pitch, then finally put one in play.

          • Cubtex

            I said he got 159 hits. He only walked 45 times. He batted over .300. I am not knocking Molina…. I am knocking the description of diminishing his ability by calling him a grinder. I didn’t think that was too hard to understand.

          • Tony_Hall

            I really don’t understand how calling Molina a grinder is diminishing his ability. A see it as a positive…don’t you?

          • Cubtex

            Your definition of a grinder would be anyone who doesn’t strike out a lot. Don’t agree. Look up the stats of players who see the most pitches per ab. Many of those K a lot and don’t come close to hitting .300. Why can’t you ever just say he is a great player? Why do you always have to say he grinds out ab’s like what the Cubs should do? It is exhausting trying to make a point on here!

          • Tony_Hall

            Actually that is not my definition of a grinder at all. Many grinders will strikeout alot, it happens.

            Molina is a grinder.

            BJAX and Pena who see lots of pitches are not, because they take close pitches and hope for balls, where a grinder would foul off the close pitches and make the pitcher keep throwing.

            I actually have said many times that Yadier is a great player. I really didn’t see what you wrote as being prasie for him, nor did others. Sorry if we misinterpreted what you were saying.

            What is wrong with saying he grinds out AB’s like what the Cubs should do? That would be great to see players on the Cubs with that style.

            It is exhausting trying to make points on here, as if you don’t write every disclaimer about every little thing you write, someone picks a hole in it.

  • AGUSTIN

    MBN to be a Cardinals Fan, Yuck! What a ballgame, what a franchise… Total envy.

  • Tony_Hall

    I feel so bad for the Nationals and their fans. 6 run lead, one pitch away for 13 pitches.

    Desmond had 2 plays tonight that he should have played better, one to his right in their 2 run 5th and the one in the ninth that tied the game.

    Let the second guessing begin, Mr. Rizzo. He knew that he could never be told he made the right decision by Strasburg staying healthy over the years, as there won’t be one thing that would be looked at, but losing in 5 games, has to make you wonder if Strasburg would have made the difference and stayed healthy for the future at the same time.

    Also, speaking of second guessing, what was Davey Johnson doing pitching to Kozma with a base open and Jason Motte on deck and the only pinch hitter available being Cruz, the back-up catcher, who had to go in the game after Molina was pinch run for earlier in the inning? Cruz hadn’t had an AB in 9 days. Big, big mistake in managing at the most crucial time. That would have forced Matheny to either bat Motte or pinch hit his last batter, and have to remove Motte, (he had already used his best 4 relievers in the game) and would have moved the pitchers spot to come up sooner in the potential extra innings.

    • Brp921

      Those damn Cardinals! As much as I dislike them I just can’t help but admire that franchise and what they’ve been able to accomplish down through the years. I hope they are what this ownership aspires the Cubs to be.

      • SuzyS

        The Cardinals amaze me. They consistently find a way to win.
        they’re on their way to their 7th NLCS since 2000. No LaRussa. No Puhols. No Duncan. No excuses…JUST WIN. 6-0 deficit in game five…No problem.
        My very envious hat is off to them.
        I hope after the next decade…the same can be said of the Cubs…but I sure have my doubts.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jim.canavan.14 Jim Canavan

          Fortunately, The BoSox took them out in 4 back in 2004:)

          • SuzyS

            Warms my heart! :)

      • Dorasaga

        Well said. First thing first, the club must be competitive and leading the league with some edge. Then they’ll finally get on a long-term winning track. The Cards always had good scouting and great farm that produced Major-ready talents.

  • SuzyS

    The debate on Strasberg and Washington’s decision to shut him down will go on ad nauseum all winter.

    I never liked 5 game playoff series…with the format for the wild card (one game playoffs)…I like the setup even less….
    With the World Series in November…Baseball needs to revisit and change the whole thing.
    Baseball is a summer/warm weather game…True talent levels can’t be displayed in November cold…and the fans are cheated

    • http://www.facebook.com/jim.canavan.14 Jim Canavan

      Suzy: I love love the WC playoff. It puts a premium on winning the division.

      • SuzyS

        Jim (from Tinley)….:) We all have our opinions. The WC playoff does indeed put a premium on winning the division. But in a one game playoff, the vagaries of the game, (umpires/bad calls/bad hops etc.),may determine the outcome…not necessarily the better team.
        I agree there is no better drama….(See the Boston/NY one game playoff in the late seventies…or the Cubs/SF in (was it ’89?). But it does not always translate to the best team entering the playoffs.
        For that reason…I am not a fan of a designed one game playoff system.
        On the other side of the coin, baseball is design to be played in the summer…starting the WS in November is ridiculous.

        • Tony_Hall

          I hear you on the length of the season, but Game 7 of the World Series (if necessary) will be on November 1st, so at the most their will be one game in November.

          Being in the Midwest, baseball is played in the cool weather quite a bit in the spring and the fall and it is just a part of the game and actually is better than the 100+ degree heat of this past summer to play in.

          • cubtex

            disagree my man. I’ll take the heat over the cold any day! And…..I am sure 90% of the players feel the same way. The pitchers are the 10%

          • Tony_Hall

            I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Texan, my friend.

            But up in the Midwest, those 100′s aren’t much fun with the humidity added on top.

            I agree pitchers prefer the colder temps and hitters like the hotter temps, but all in all, I will take 50 over 100. When it gets down to 40 and below, that is not much fun, but there are more ways to stay warm nowadays versus ways to cool off. Once you are overheated or have heat exhaustion, you are done for awhile and is dangerous. But if you can keep your hands and feet warm, you are fine, as the rest of the body is easy, with all the under armor type products available.

          • cc002600

            sorry, but I respectfully disagree.
            There’s a reason baseball is played throughout the summer.

            Playing in November, at night no less, is absolutely idiotic. You will be EXTREMELY lucky to get 50 degrees around here or in the northeastern cities for a game in November at night. That’s not how baseball should be played.

            I think they should try and finish the regular season with a week to go in Sept…then maybe they could finish the WS by Oct 20th or so……maybe schedule 2 or 3 day-night DH’s, and start a few days earlier, that should allow them to end reg season by late Sept.

          • Tony_Hall

            You do realize the difference is only days from October 20th being finished and finishing on November 1st? I know it sounds good to say how they are playing in November, but there is only 1 game scheduled for November this year, and it is not likely to be needed, but if it is, I am sure no one that is playing will not want to play, due to a 40 degree game time temperature.

            I would love for it to be over sooner as well, but I really see very little difference in your suggestion. I can tell you from experience the last few years, that September can have just as cold and actually some years has had colder nights than October. Unless we want the season to start in mid-May and end in mid-September there will be baseball being played below 50 degrees. And since they have been doing it this way for a very long time, I don’t see them shortening the season enough to matter.

          • cc002600

            well, we’re talking about more than just a few days. It’s really 12, which is almost 2 weeks. That to me makes a big difference. At some point, the weather will take a turn for the worst and never get warm again. Sorry, but your chances are a lot better by being done Oct 20th, than by Nov 1st.

            The farther you go out, the more risk you take. There are always exceptions, but you have to look at your overall risk. It’s really quite simple. Remember the 2008 WS ? They had to postpone it for about 4 days due to snow. Every game that was played in Philly was about 30 degrees. That’s just ridiculous. That’s not baseball.

          • Tony_Hall

            Do you remember last winter? It was nice in December and January, more than enough to play baseball, yet there have been years year it has snowed in April and games have been postponed.

            Should we not play in April as well then?

            The average temp ranges in Chicago

            April average Highs 59, Low 42
            October average Highs 63, Low 46
            October 25th average Highs 59, Low 43
            October 31st’s average Highs 57, Low 41.
            November 1st avearge Highs 56, Low 41

            Looks like to be safe we should not play in April, it is colder than October on average and it has snowed before. Let’s just play Mid May to Mid September, to be safe. 3 game series for the playoffs so we don’t have to play any games in October even.

            Look, I get that playing baseball in 30 degrees is not good and changes the game. But they have played baseball well into October forever. The last time the Cubs won the World Series, their last game was October 14th, and they had really nothing to help with colder temps except putting on thick uniforms that would greatly affect mobility. Really, until it gets below 40, it just isn’t that bad with today’s under armor type clothing that keeps you warm.

  • paulcatanese

    Travelling Sec. Jimmy Banks dismissed after 20 yrs with the Cubs? Deserved?

    • paulcatanese

      I expected a response on Banks and his dismissal,rather than a dislike. The dislike is okay, not challenging it but just
      felt that it seems that the cleansing of former Cubs is going
      overboard. I would like to know what this man did not to fit into the future plans of the Cubs moving forward.

      • calicub

        Do you think we could get George Costanza from the Yankees?

      • cubtex

        He refused to go to Starbucks to get Theo his grande non fat extra hot 5 pump latte

        • Brp921

          To funny. Maybe Neil can put in a laugh link.

      • Brp921

        I agree Paul. Theres really nothing to dislike about your comment. I’m thinking maybe someone disliked the fact that he was dismissed.

      • SuzyS

        Paul, the like/dislike feature is a cosmic question mark…with neither rhyme nor reason in it sometimes.
        I don’t really pay that much attention to it.
        As to Banks dismissal…we will never know. It could be as simple as a personality clash with one of the manager types…or maybe they have someone sexier in mind???.
        It’s not something we’ll be able to truly judge…and only be able to guess at once we see his replacement.

      • Tony_Hall

        The house cleaning will continue and honestly Paul as much as you may be curious about why, it really is none of our business what the reason was for the dismissal. This was traveling secretary, not anyone in the baseball operations department.

        They really don’t need to air out the reasons in the press, especially if it is something that could be embarasing to the employee that has been dismissed.

  • SuzyS

    I’ve always hated the Yankees…being from Boston. That being said…My hat is off to Andy Pettite…I remember watching him in the 96 WS….and here he is 16 years later pitching relatively well in a playoff game…NO known PEDS….Where do WE find OUR Andy Pettite?
    Jeter breaking his ankle is a tough break. 2 big money teams going at it…just not as interesting.

  • cubtex

    My 2 cents……….. MLB needs to implement instant replay for the playoffs and WS. We have it in football and basketball and baseball needs to get with the times. You don’t want a call to cost a team a championship after playing 162 games to get there.

  • paulcatanese

    I would love to see Detroit and St Louis in the World Series,
    two teams from the original 16 teams before all of this expansion
    bull.

    • Dorasaga

      Haha. Yea, you wonder why they play baseball in Denver and Phoenix.

    • Tony_Hall

      Not sure that the fans West of the Mississippi would agree with you, since originally Chicago and St. Louis were the Western teams.

      Not sure what you have against having 30 teams today with a US Population of around 311M today, versus 152M in 1950 and 76M in 1900. The population 4x larger than 1908, yet the teams have only grown 88%. Plus the game is a world wide game with players from all over the world.

      The game is played at a much higher level because of all of this.

      • paulcatanese

        I am still angry with the decisions of the Dodgers and Giants moving to the west coast and deserting what was a profitable place for both. That move was simply for money and destroyed the fans there for years.
        As for the game being played on a higher level, I doubt it as the level of play is spread out to the degree that “fringe” players are in the Majors now versus a smaller venue where the cream really does rise to the top.
        The more it’s spread out, the lesser the talent IMO.
        I’m old school Tony, and if people prefer what is out there now, I can’t change that. But do see a lot of empty seats at some of those games in expanded cities, VS the older venues still keep them coming out.
        Cub fans are an example, generations keep growing into their fanbase.
        Dodger fans are the opposite, show up in the fourth and go home in the seventh.

        • Tony_Hall

          Can’t speak on the NY market back when the Dodgers and Giants moved.

          There are a lot more people in this world today, and a lot more that work at being an athlete than ever before. The talent level of the fringe player today is pretty high. So as far as being more spread out, I completely disagree. Back in the day, it was just white US athletes playing baseball. Today it is all US athletes and all of worlds athletes, committed to playing this game year round. Back in the day, most of those white US athletes had jobs in the off-season, and didn’t spend it training to be a better baseball player. Back in the day, a pitcher pitched the whole game, today a batter may only see a pitcher 2-3 times before specialists start coming in,many who throw upper 90′s with nasty breaking pitches.

          I will give you the game was simpler, but in no way was the talent in MLB the same back when we had 16 teams, at any where near the same level it is at today. No where close.

          As far as attendance, MLB’s overall attendance is at going up, up and up.

          Take a look.

          Scroll down to attendance stats and ALL Total attendance.
          http://michaelbein.com/baseball.html

          Not sure if it will open directly, but here it is.
          http://michaelbein.com/Baseball/slide_frame.html

          Attendance is up in the 80-90 M fans a year. 1940′s is was around 10M. Quite a big difference.