Vogelbach Slims Down, Intrasquad Game Set and News from Day 13 of Cubs Camp

Dan Vogelbach is one of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system that is often overlooked. Vogelbach can hit and not only can he hit, he has an excellent eye and approach at the plate. Vogelbach is thought of as a one-dimensional player due to his body type. And apparently Vogelbach got tired of hearing and reading about it.

CubsMesaLogo-pubDan Vogelbach reported to camp 30 pounds lighter and ready to prove the critics wrong. Reports surfaced over the weekend that Vogelbach had dropped serious weight. Photos hit the net Tuesday that showed a slimmed down Vogelbach taking batting practice at the Cubs’ new facility.

Vogelbach has been tweeting that the upcoming season is a big one for him and that he is ready for it. And he showed the commitment to his career over the winter. Vogelbach told Carrie Muskat he lost the weight and got into better shape because he wants to play first base and not only be thought of as a future designated hitter.

According to the report from Cubs.com, Vogelbach dropped 15 pounds in the first six weeks, seven in November and 10 more during the holidays.

Desi Wilson said Vogelbach has not lost anything at the plate. In fact, according to the Smokies hitting coach, the core work Vogelbach did helped him both offensively and defensively. Wilson added Vogelbach has not lost any bat speed whatsoever.

Baseball America recently ranked the 21-year old Vogelbach the ninth best prospect in the Cubs’ system.

Intrasquad Game – Cubs vs. Cubs

The first exhibition game of the spring takes place Wednesday at Cubs Park. Kyle Hendricks and Eric Jokisch are set to start the six-inning contest. According to Carrie Muskat, “the youngsters are expected to play.” Last year, the veteran big leaguers squared off against the minor leaguers.

Cubs Park opens at 12:30pm MT (1:30pm CST) with first pitch scheduled for 1:00pm MT (2:00pm CST) and the team will not be charging admission.

Arodys Vizcaino, Armando Rivero, Neil Ramirez, Brian Schlitter, Tsuyoshi Wada, Chang-Yong Lim, and Marcus Hatley are also scheduled to pitch in the Intrasquad game. The hitters better be ready, there are a lot of hard throwers on that list.

Arodys Vizcaino

All eyes will be on Arodys Vizcaino when he takes the mound Wednesday during the Intrasquad game. Vizcaino has not pitched in a game since he has been in the Cubs’ organization. And while Wednesday is not even a full-length exhibition, Vizcaino wants to show he can pitch according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

Vizcaino has reportedly been impressive during Cubs Camp and he would like to be on the team’s active roster on Opening Day in Pittsburgh.

Arodys Vizcaino told Jesse Rogers his “arm feels great” and there is “no problem.”

Kyuji Fujikawa

Kyuji Fujikawa had Tommy John surgery on June 11 … and Monday he threw off a mound for the first time since his surgery. Fujikawa is under contract for the season ($4 million base with a $2 million performance based incentives package) and is not expected back until June. The Cubs have a club option on Fujikawa for 2015 worth either $5.5 million or $6 million with a $500,000 buyout.

Fujikawa reportedly threw 20-25 pitches and it went very well according to Rick Renteria. The Cubs’ skipper said Fujikawa gave him a “thumbs-up” afterwards.

Jeff Samardzija

According to a report from Bruce Levine, “the contract talks with the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija are still up in the air.” Levine also indicated the talks “have been stalled for weeks.”

The Cubs and Samardzija remain far apart in what the 29-year old is worth. Depending on the report, the Cubs have either offered a contract between $55-60 million while Samardzija is looking for a deal in the $80-90 million range. As has been reported, Samardzija is thought to be looking for some no trade protection and Levine reported the same Tuesday. Levine added the Cubs could be offering a five- to six-year contract.

Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to start the Cactus League opener on Thursday … but nothing official yet on Opening Day in Pittsburgh from Rick Renteria.

News and Notes

The Cubs will have sliding practice Wednesday at Cubs Park with the main objective to go over how the players must slide into home plate under the new rule.

Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins and Rick Sutcliffe addressed the team, both the Major Leaguers and the minor leaguers, Tuesday prior to workouts. According to Bruce Levine, Jenkins talked to the pitchers at Cubs Park at the request of Chris Bosio. And let’s hope the players heard what Jenkins and Sutcliffe told them. Ferguson Jenkins and Rick Sutcliffe are two of the four Cubs’ pitchers to win NL Cy Young Awards.

The Cubs see a bright future for C.J. Edwards according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. And Derek Johnson recalled seeing Edwards at a tournament in Atlanta before Johnson was part of the Cubs’ organization.

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  • GaryLeeT

    From the link on Edwards:
    “He’s gone 13-5 with a 1.72 ERA in 183.1 career minor-league innings, notching 240 strikeouts while giving up only one home run.”

    All his other stats are a bit freakish, but that one home run allowed, is just mind boggling .

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

    Vogelbach looks great. Kudos to him for his effort and commitment. No more Pillsbury dough boy references.

    • mutantbeast

      I said before Boat, Ive only seen dedication and self-motivation like that from one Michael Jordan. Heres to hoping Vogelbomb does in his career what MJ did in his.

      • Tony_Hall

        There is no comparison to MJ and Vogelbach…none! Vogelbach is dedicated to playing baseball and is showing he is willing to put the work in, but there is just no way to make a comparison between those two.

        • mutantbeast

          I was only talking about his committment to winning , Tony. Vogelbomb is nowhere near as accomplished as MJ at the age of 21. I never made comparisons on career accomplishements, only on the fact that MJ always did whatever it took to improve. Vogelbomb appears to have that similair quality.

          • Tony_Hall

            You compared MJ’s dedication and self motivation. Sorry I just don’t see that. Any comparison to MJ is almost impossible as almost everything he did was off the charts.

            The only prospect that I could even remotely compare their dedication and self-motivation to MJ’s is Almora. His workout routing and drive to be the best started as a prep, not after he realized he was 30 lbs overweight trying to a professional athlete.

          • Richard Hood

            I have decided that since Vogelbach has lost so much weight that he is in danger of his last name no longer fitting on his jersey that we should have a smaller nickname for him to put there instead. I vote for V-Bomb.

          • SuzyS

            I could live with V-Bomb.
            Maybe Vogelbach isn’t MJ or maybe Walter Payton running up the hill…But the dedication he’s showing says one should never bet against him. I believe we’re watching the early stages of a long career with Vogelbach…compare that with Vitters…and you can see a huge difference already.

          • Ripsnorter1

            V-Bomb is okay. Let’s not just go with V-Bust.

        • TinTin

          Not to start a silly argument with you here Tony but ANY two things can be compared Period! Nevertheless I see another Jake Fox here. Vogelbach could be a bench player at best. I hope he proves me wrong.

          • Tony_H

            LOL! Yes any 2 things can be compared, but he was saying similar in style.

      • Zonk

        They look so much alike it’s hard not to compare the two

        • paulcatanese

          Very observant Zonk:)

      • dicepaul

        Just hope he isn’t a cheapskate no tipping jerk like Jordan.

        • Denver Mike

          I was a valet in Chicago for many years, and I can attest that while MJ was not an extravagant tipper, he was still more generous than the average customer. It was Scottie Pippen that got the nickname “No Tippin’ Pippen”.

          That being said, MJ is a compulsive gamber, he cheated on his wife throughout almost their entire marriage, and he is just an overall bad dude. Thanks for the 6 trophies, but good riddance.

          • dicepaul

            I worked at a casino in Indiana that both Jordan and Pippen played at. I never saw Jordan play Basketball but I have seen him play BJ and can tell you that he was a stiff and didn’t tip the dealers. From what I have heard from other casino workers is that Pippen didn’t like being known as “No Tippin Pippen” and has now learned to tip.

          • GaryLeeT

            Some celebs think that just merely being in your presence is much better, than any monetary tip.

          • Denver Mike

            Haha, can’t say I’m shocked about MJ not tipping dealers considering how much money he’s supposedly lost gambling over the year. Glad to hear Pippen has changed his ways too, although that’s still one of my favorite nicknames.

          • dicepaul

            2 stories you will like:1. Pippen and his mother were playing at my friends table, when they were getting ready to leave Scottie’s mom told him to tip the dealer. After his mother repeated “tip the nice dealer” Pippen reluctantly gave my friend a $100 tip.
            2. I talked to some guys in Surveillance “the eye in the sky” a day after Jordan had played at the casino, they told me how Jordan was winning and had over $1,000,000 in chips in front of him and eventually lost it all. I smiled and said it couldn’t have happened to a better guy.

          • BillyFinT

            I stroke out whatever I said about people and mistakes. I don’t know Jordan’s personal life, and I can care less.

  • Chris K.

    Anthony Rizzo on notice?

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yeah. The Cubs noticed that he has thus far proved to be just a platoon
      player, and they are putting him on notice that they noticed it.

      • Swish23

        can we get Cashner bacK? home grown pitching is a premium; see Smardz too; anyone could be filling in at 1b now for a team tanking on purpose.
        what’s the phrase; poor roster management.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I have Cashner rated as the #48 best starting pitcher in MLB.
          That’s pretty high when you consider that there are 150 starters
          (30 teams X 5 starters). So he’s in the top 33%. But Rizzo isn’t
          in the top 33% at 1B; he is currently in the bottom 25%–rated about
          #22 to #25 among 1B in MLB. He could yet improve.

          • Tony_H

            I wouldn’t put out any ranking lists right now, you are off on Rizzo.

            ESPN player rater had Rizzo at 15th in 2013.

            Elias had him at 12th.

            Inside Edge had him at 16th

            Baseball Encyclopedia had him at 17th.

            Average this out and he is 14th and I don’t believe any of these include defense where his Gold Glove caliber D would move him up the rankings farther.

            And keep in mind this was just 2013.

    • triple

      I think that’s how any decently run organization should be. He shouldn’t be “officially” on notice, but I’m sure the big leaguers can usually sense when a prospect is in the rear view mirror… If higher end talent in the farm system is hungry, dedicated, and driven to succeed, and they are showing their progress, that only lights the fire under the major league players at their position. If the MLB player can’t handle the pressure to perform up to a certain standard while there is another guy who’s ready for his shot, it will force the issue, and something positive should come of it for that team.

  • Tony_H

    Tomorrow’s lineup for ST Opener vs Arizona

    1. Bonifacio 2B
    2. Valbuena 3B
    3. Castro SS
    4. Rizzo 1B
    5. Lake CF
    6. Castillo C
    7. Ruggiano LF
    8. Olt DH
    9. McDonald RF

    • Chris K.

      They need to let Darnell McDonald go…

      • Tony_H

        Just emergency depth, I think he only sees Wrigley due to injuries.

    • Eugene Debs

      Good to see we’re carrying only the best players…like Darnell McDonald.

      • Tony_H

        There are Darnell McDonald type players on every MLB spring training roster.

        • Eugene Debs

          Are they starting game one?

          • Tony_H

            It is spring training, not opening day.

          • Eugene Debs

            Sure, but we have 14 outfielders in camp (not including Vitters, Bryant, or Bonifacio). 17 guys total that have a shot at playing either MLB, AAA, or AA baseball for the Cubs organization this year and see time in the outfield. That’s 5+ guys for each of those levels. You’re right, teams have “filler guys” in camp, but why waste a single at bat on a 35 year old that struggled at AAA? There is no future in Darnell McDonald.

          • Tony_H

            I am not a McDonald fan and can’t wait for him to be cut just so we don’t have to hear people complain about having this vet on the roster. But there are a handful of guys that were brought in and many will likely be cut, some may be depth for Iowa and there is an outside chance one of them could be the 5th OF for the major league team, even though, I am not sure they will have a 5th OF to start the year with the flexibility of their infield options. Either way, it is just not a big deal.

          • Eugene Debs

            Fair enough.

    • SuzyS

      Interesting that Bonifacio gets the starting nod over Barney right from the get go. It’s just the start of ST…but it still speaks volumes.
      I hope Barney brought his best bat to ST…either way…I don’t expect him to survive the July trade deadline.

      • Tony_H

        I agree. It should tell him that he needs to hit, if he wants to start. A defensive based player is a bench player that comes in at the end of the game. I also like that Valbuena is at 3B and not Olt. Once again, showing him that he needs to produce if he expects to earn a job.

        Then having Lake in CF, as that is where I hope he spends a lot of time this year.

        • SuzyS

          I agree with you on Lake in CF.
          I’d also like to see Vitters make enough of an impact to come north as the 4th or 5th OF and back -up to Rizzo.

  • SuzyS

    Neil, when are you heading down to AZ? I’d be curious to learn how some of the lesser hyped minor leaguers are doing.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Suzy, I got here earlier today. You know I will report what I see.

      • SuzyS

        Cool…Have a great time!!!

      • triple

        Welcome to the beautiful AZ spring weather Neil!