Junior Lake Set to Join Iowa on Thursday and Other Cubs News and Notes

According to a report out of Des Moines, Junior Lake is expected to join the Iowa Cubs on Thursday to make his Triple-A debut. Lake has been rehabbing at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa after suffering a stress fracture in the top right rib on his right side back in March. Lake was supposed to be out four to six weeks at the time the injury was announced.

Junior Lake played in 103 games for the Smokies last season and put together a .279/.341/.432 slash line with 26 doubles, two triples and 10 home runs along with a .773 OPS. Lake has a lot of ability but the 23-year old needs time in the minors to work on his raw skills.

According to the report, Lake is expected to primarily play third base and centerfield. With Lake now in a Iowa Cubs’ uniform, the question becomes what will happen with Ian Stewart. Even with Josh Vitters on the DL, Stewart has not received all of the playing time at third base and when he has played he has continued to struggle for the most part.

The D-Cubs All-Stars

The Florida State League announced their first half All Stars on Tuesday and four prospects in the Cubs’ system made the team. While John Andreoli made the end of the season FSL All-Star team last year, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Dustin Geiger have been named to an All-Star team for the first time in their professional careers.

Javier Baez, Dustin Geiger, John Andreoli and Jorge Soler will represent the D-Cubs on Saturday, June 15 at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin.

Dale Sveum

Dale Sveum was not happy with the pitch that was thrown to Albert Pujols that still has not landed … and he voiced his displeasure to the media following Tuesday night’s loss.

Sveum said the 89 mph fastball that Carlos Villanueva threw to Pujols was not supposed to be called and somewhere the scouting report was lost between the bullpen and the mound.

According to the Sun-Times, a frustrated Sveum said, “We seem to beat a lot of people for seven innings.”

Starlin Castro

Dale Sveum addressed Starlin Castro’s struggles prior to Tuesday night’s game shortly after the lineup was announced and Starlin Castro was hitting seventh in the lineup for the first time this season.

Sveum acknowledged that all of the work the coaching staff is doing with Castro in the cage and in the video room “could be getting in his head” according to the Sun-Times. Sveum told Castro that the move down to the seventh spot in the lineup is a temporary one, that he isn’t being put on notice or is the move “suggesting he’ll suddenly be trade bait next month.”

The Cubs are hoping that dropping him down in the lineup will help Castro relax. Dale Sveum would like to see Castro scrap the leg kick.

Castro’s manager compared the very talented shortstop to Derek Jeter in that both players play a prime position in a big market and are going to be dissected.

News and Notes

The Cubs announced Tuesday that the game on the South Side that was rained out back on May 28 will be made up on Monday night, July 8 at U.S. Cellular Field with a first pitch scheduled for 7:10pm CDT.

Jeff Samardzija addressed the comments made by Arizona manager Kirk Gibson following Saturday night’s game. Samardzija did not think the back-and-forth between him and Matt Williams was a big deal at the time but admitted on Tuesday that apparently he was wrong. Samardzija did not understand why the D-Backs thought that Samardzija was trying to hit Ian Kennedy. Samardzija said he was having trouble with his mechanics at the time.

According to the Sun-Times, there will be no more hugs for Albert Pujols from the Cubs.

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"Baseball is drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast." - Joe Garagiola
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  • redlarczykg

    Lefty Jeff Beliveau, who the Cubs threw away this spring has a 2.87 era on the Ray’s AAA, with 32 so in 15.2 in. But that’s ok. The Cubs pen is doing just fine.

    Frank Bastisa has a 1.78 era with 8 saves at AA Tenn, where he had a 2.22 era with 24 saves in 2012 at the same AA Tenn. It’s called Cub player development.
    “We don’t need no stink’n relievers”

    • 07GreyDigger

      If Beliveau was “thrown away”, how come he’s playing in the minors? And with his second team this season? (Started with the Rangers). You also left out he has a 1.528 WHIP in the minors and has walked 12 guys in 17.2 IP. Not a guy I’d want in my bullpen. We have enough of those guys.

      • Tom U

        To clarify, Beliveau was traded by the Rangers to the Rays, for C Robinson Chirinos.

        So, if you want to, you can include Beliveau as part of the Matt Garza deal.

      • 1908Champs

        might as well try our guys instead of picking up every scrap heap released player like they have been doing for 2 years. at this point i don’t beleive Jed can build a pen when this team is good; if that happens by 2016.
        74 million so far has been wasted on ejax, baker, fujikawa and that cuban kid concepcion……….disgusting.

        • 07GreyDigger

          That’s my point. Beliveau is a scrap heap player.

          • redlarczykg

            Beliveau has a good chance to be better than our current scrap. You don’t need to be a professional scout to see he has good stuff. It all about locating his pitches, which could come in time. He’s still young.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Same could be said for Alex Burnett, Eduardo Sanchez or Zach Putnam couldn’t it?

          • redlarczykg

            Yes, but the Cubs Farm is short on Left-handed relievers.

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

            Yes it could. Camp worked out very well last year didn’t he. Some moves work some don’t. So far Team Theo has made more good than bad. We need to stop with all the generalities both good and bad.

          • 07GreyDigger

            We’re talking about Jeff Beliveau again like he’s the next coming of Fergie Jenkins. If he was so good, how come when he was DFA’d he’s not in some MLB bullpen instead of AAA? Also, when the Rays needed bullpen help, how come they haven’t brought him up?

    • Tom U

      What the Cubs have done with Frank Batista is a crying shame. You can basically consider Batista the Cris Carter of the minors: All he does is save ballgames.

      Management has been trying to force feed Trey McNutt, Tony Zych, and Zac Rosscup into the closer role with no success. McNutt can’t throw strikes consistently, Zych doesn’t do well under pressure, and Rosscup has injury and stamina issues. Even though Batista doesn’t have overpowering “stuff”, he gets batters out. Isn’t that what you want from your closer?

      • Ray Ray

        Tom, What is the deal with Zych? Is his fastball flat? He has terrible K numbers for someone who is supposed to be a shut down closer.

        23.2 IP and only 14 K’s

        • Tom U

          Ray, everyone has a fastball, the trick is how you set it up and how you locate it.

          Late inning relievers need to come in throwing strikes and, most importantly, not be afraid of giving up hits. That’s what Zych’s problem seems to be. He seems afraid of giving up hits.

      • redlarczykg

        Right ON! Tom
        It’s probably explained by the long baseball tradition of an organization labeling a player. There are plenty of “power arms” that can’t get batters out.

    • Ray Ray

      Speaking of bullpen arms, Wasn’t Robert Coello who got the win last night for the Angels once a Cub? They traded for him from the Red Sox a couple of years back if I recall. He has some good numbers so far (though it is very early)

  • Ripsnorter1

    Rick Ankiel….CF…Mets….

    Started the year with Houston…

    62 AB…12 H…5 HR…11 RBI…..194 BA….35 K’s

    Then he went to the Mets….

    62 AB….12 H….2 HR…7 RBI…194 BA…22 K

    He’s swinging and missing at 42.5% of everything thrown at him this year. MLB pitchers are swinging and missing at 32.5% of everything thrown at them this year.

    I think he’s done.

    • 07GreyDigger

      But he’s such a great story!

      • 07GreyDigger

        Total sarcasm by the way.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Maybe he could go back to pitching.

  • Ray Ray

    Miami Marlins are clearly establishing themselves as the worst team in baseball and the favorite for the #1 pick in 2014.

    Miami 16 wins
    Houston 21

    Milwaukee 22
    Mets 22
    Cubs 23
    KC 23

    • Ripsnorter1

      Are you saying that we don’t have a chance?

      Our luck.

      The Cubs can’t even win the race for last place.

      • Ray Ray

        Hahaha. I think Miami is the shoe in for the 1st pick. Houston just swept a 4 game series against the team the Cubs are now playing. If they are not careful they could have more wins than the Cubs this year.

  • Ray Ray

    Jim Callis from Baseball America is now saying that the Astros will take Appel with the #1 pick. He then says the Cubs will take Gray. If Appel goes #1….I would take Bryant #2. I would then draft pitching the next 2 picks.

    • Ray Ray

      The Cubs cannot afford to whiff on this pick. Gray might have a high ceiling but he also has a low floor and the adderrall issue. I would take the safer pick with Bryant if the Astros take Appel.

      • cc002600

        Totally agree with you

        I hope they don’t pick Gray

        If they can’t get Appel, I hope they take Bryant.

        There’s something about Gray that screams bust to me.

        Between the Adderall, injury risk, shorter track record, etc.,….that pick worries me.

    • calicub

      IMO if the Cubs don’t go for Appel, the most near ready guy in the draft, the only reason I see the cubs going after Gray is if thy can get him under slot due to his recent indiscretions. Given the FO prior statements about position players in the first round I’d have to say your right on Bryant

      • Ray Ray

        I agree with that, If Gray will sign under slot then it makes sense.

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

          I agree with all of the above. I feel better about Gray than you do but I would slot Appel followed by Bryant.

          Honestly I wouldn’t be disappointed with any of the 3 though.

    • DWalker

      I just don’t know if the astro’s will pony up for Appel. I have a hard time thinking thet will. If Appel is on the board at #2, I don’t know if they can pass him up, but I think Bryant really might be Cubs #1 choice. I just hope whoever they pick, its a good one and not yet another regret.

      • Ray Ray

        Remember, the Astros can generally afford to pay Appel more than anyone
        else, so even if he gets under slot from them, it’s probably more than
        he’d get if he slipped a spot or two in the Draft (which is to say he’s
        got a strong incentive to play ball with them).

  • paulcatanese

    I thought it was said that no one is messing with Castro? Seems as though they are, I have to admit, I don’t like the leg kick either, it commits him too often to swing when he really doesn’t want to, but hard to hold up.

    Simple solution, draw the zone for him and try to get him to recognize that zone, period. Forget about anything else, just swing between the zone.

    That would be easy if Castro knew what a zone is, but it’s a lot simpler to adjust to if he can recognize it..

  • paulcatanese

    Maybe Sveum should be less of a “Monday morning QB” and keep those things to himself. That’s one thing I don’t care for about him, always pulling the blame away from himself. Pujols has been a pain for years, it never was recognized by Quade, and maybe someday a manager will learn to walk him,or hit him, but not let him swing the bat to hurt you.

    • Ray Ray

      Sveum…..”The players aren’t listening to me. “Waaaaah!!!

    • Roland Bowman

      I agree with you on the Monday Morning QB. Hopefully he pulled Castillo and Carlos aside and talked to them together about it. Those kind of statements to the press I don’t like.

  • Ray Ray

    Was looking at Starlin Castro’s stats and had to re-check it a couple of times. It is really remarkable to see. It makes no sense to what he is hitting in certain counts. This is usually reversed. He has about 100 AB’s in a couple of these categories so it is not that small of a sample size to have these averages.
    2013

    Castro
    After a 1-0 count .222 Avg
    After 2-0 .167
    After 2-0 .200

    That is remarkable! Now check out after he gets a strike on him. Which means a lot of times he goes up swinging right away.

    After 0-1 count .286 Avg
    After 1-2 count .281

    After 2-2 count .333

    You would think those averages would be reversed.

    After 1-2 count

    • SomeGuy27

      I think this kind of proves why they are tinkering with his approach. Based on these numbers Castro shows he can hit when his back is against the proverbial wall–he can save an AB in the pitchers favor with a knock. I would bet though that most of those hits are not being driven and are singles.

      As a hitter in a 2-0 or 3-1 count you should really be looking to do damage with an extra base hit. The problem still boils down to pitch selection and putting himself in positions where the pitcher has to give in and throw him a pitch he can drive. Right now, pitchers know they don’t have to give in because even though Castro is 3-1, 2-0 you can get him to chase out of the zone resulting in weak contact or a miss.

      • Ray Ray

        this is an anomaly from ealier in his career. That average of .200 should also say after a 3-0 count.

        You are right about one thing…It shows you what kind of talent the kid has to put up those averages being down in the count. Take a look at Rizzo’s and it is almost the complete opposite.

        The only thing that I can come up with is that he is interpreting from the coaching staff to take more pitches and then when he gets a favorable count….he makes up his mind to swing at the next pitch. Once he figures it out again(hopefully still with the Cubs) he will be a .300 plus hitter again. He needs to stop thinking and hit.

        • SomeGuy27

          I think you are correct in that he probably believes that once in good count he HAS to swing rather than identifying a good pitch first and then driving it. That’s why walks are a good thing. If a guy is willing to walk pitchers at some point have to pitch in the zone.

          Best advice I ever had about pitching was that to be effective you don’t HAVE to throw strikes; you just have to throw sh&% that LOOKS like a strike.

          • Ray Ray

            agreed. I think since Castro has been talked to about being more selective it has messed with his head. He was probably showed charts on what pitches to lay off and pretty soon you start questioning every at bat and think too much. Sometimes the best advice is to hit the sh## out of this guy! Crush his a##. Then you react instead of think. Baseball has gotten way too technical is a lot of aspects and players are becoming too robotic and not using their natural ability to succeed.

    • Ray Ray

      Compare those numbers with Anthony Rizzo to really see what a talent Castro is.

      2013 Rizzo

      After 1-0 .293 Avg
      After 2-0 .250

      After 3-0 only 5 AB’s .200 or 1 for 4

      Now after he gets down in the count.

      After 0-1 .158 Avg
      After 1-2 .127
      After 2-2 .180

      Remarkable when you compare what Castro can do down in the count as opposed to Rizzo.

      • Ray Ray

        before anyone corrects me…meant 1-5 is .200. Typo

  • Tom U

    1B Dan Vogelbach, 1B Rock Shoulders, OF Bijan Rademacher, RHP Tayler Scott, RHP Felix Pena, and LHP Nathan Dorris have been named to the Midwest League All-Star game.

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

      Congratulations to all of them! Hopefully of these seven, one or two will make it to the show.

  • Ripsnorter1

    All of this crying over Dominic Brown…..

    Buster Olney and Jason Stark were talking about Dominic Brown. Stark is from Philly, and here’s what he said in response to this question: “Stark, You live in Philly. You’ve seen Brown for 3.5 years. Are you surprised?” He said, “Very surprised. Before May this year, he was a very confused young man…etc.”

    • 07GreyDigger

      Who’s Wally Joiner? Does he live next door to Wally Joyner the baseball player? Must have gotten advice from him.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yeah. He runs a wood shop…..LOL

  • gary3411

    Jonathan Gray would be the home run tomorrow. Especially if Bryant has to move over to first base that severely liimits his upside and potential value. Gray’s ceiling is higher than Appel’s and we need a game-changer numero uno starter. I don’t think Appel has that kind of upside. Plus, Gray hardly walked anybody last year so it isn’t as though the guy has great stuff but doesn’t know where it is going and we are ‘banking’ on trying to ‘fix’ his command issues which is a lot of times the big risk teams run with taking great ‘stuff’ guys (Dillon Maples).

    I’m rooting fr Gray or Moran. Plus, both can probably be signed for less than Appel and Bryant so that doesn’t hurt.

    Appel can go be a number 3 starter for the Astros!

    • Ripsnorter1

      We’ll see. It is going to be very interesting.

      I personally think Team Theo takes Appel. I want them to take Bryant.

      • Sonate

        Me too!

  • triple

    I really think the cubs will take either Bryant or Moran. And at this point I’m hoping Moran is available. Maybe it helps them save some slot money for a later round when they can draft some higher potential high school pitchers who could cost more money that other teams pass up becuse they won’t be able to sign them without going into the penalty. My reasoning for Moran is because he really is a better pure hitter who also already has a great approach, which we all know that the FO will be looking for in thier offensive players. Plus, it sounds like Moran is more of an athlete than Bryant so he may have better staying power in the MLB. And he may still develop more power, especially if his approach is as good as the scouts say.

  • Tbarker

    Anyone who thinks Appel, Bryant or Moran should be taken ahead of Gray should turn in their scout cards. By far, Gray has the biggest upside, we are talking potential here, there are not any guarantees but Appel’s stuff is similar to Edwin Jackson, though he is smarter than EJax and is able to pitch and not just throw.Gray has an upside comparable to Verlander, he maintains his velocity late in games and has insane fastball movement. Appel is a finished product and Gray is getting better with each outing. Bryant is a DH, he will never play 3rd in the majors. 1st is the only place he remotely fits defensively. Which basically puts him behind Rizzo and even with Vogelbach. Moran is a more advanced defensively but does project at 3rd, horrible feet. He is athletic enough to play a decent LF. Gray is a no brainer for a team in search of an ace.

    • gary3411

      AMEN!

      If the high school hitters are not being considered, Gray is by far the best option.

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