Arrieta Season Debut Scheduled for Saturday and Other Cubs News and Notes

According to multiple reports, Jake Arrieta will make his season debut on Saturday afternoon in the second game of the three-game series with the Cardinals. Jason Hammel has been pushed back to Sunday night and will have two extra days off in between starts.

Jake Arrieta posted a 4-2 record in nine starts with the Cubs last season. In 51 2/3 innings, he gave up 34 hits with 24 walks and 37 strikeouts (3.66 ERA, 1.12 WHIP). Arrieta feels he is ready to take the next step in his development and he knows the key to success is throwing strikes.

Jake Arrieta will not be eased into his season. Arrieta is scheduled to face Michael Wacha on Saturday afternoon. Arrieta beat the Redbirds the only time he faced them last season. Arrieta tossed seven innings of shutout ball while allowing two hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

The Cubs have moved Carlos Villanueva to the bullpen and he will be able for Wednesday’s finale in Cincinnati if Rick Renteria needs another reliever. The front office should wait until Saturday to make the corresponding roster move to activate Jake Arrieta from the disabled list.

Top 50 Draft Prospects

MLB.com released its ranking of the top 50 players in the upcoming draft. The Cubs have the fourth pick in the Rule 4 Draft this June. Most feel the Cubs will take a pitcher with their first pick. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod have said the Cubs will select the best player available with the fourth pick. And regardless of which direction the Cubs go with their first selection, the front office will add a lot of pitching to the organization through the draft like they have the last two years.

Here’s how MLB.com ranked the top 20 players. Click here for the complete list of all 50 players.

  1. Brady Aiken, LHP – Cathedral Catholic HS
  2. Carlos Rodon, LHP – North Carolina State
  3. Tyler Kolek, RHP – Shephard HS
  4. Jeff Hoffman, RHP – East Carolina
  5. Alex Jackson, C/OF – Rancho Bernardo HS
  6. Aaron Nola, RHP – LSU
  7. Nick Gordon, SS – Olympia HS
  8. Tyler Beede, RHP – Vanderbilt
  9. Kyle Freeland, LHP – Evansville
  10. Bradley Zimmer, OF – San Francisco
  11. Brandon Finnegan, LHP – Texas Christian University
  12. Grant Holmes, RHP – Conway HS
  13. Trea Turner, SS – North Carolina State
  14. Sean Newcomb, LHP – Hartford
  15. Kyle Schwarber, C/OF – Indiana
  16. Touki Toussaint, RHP – Coral Springs Christian HS
  17. Erick Feede, RHP – UNLV
  18. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP – Sandalwood HS
  19. Michael Conforto, OF – Oregon State
  20. Michael Chavis, SS – Sprayberry HS

Carlos Rodon is no longer the consensus number one in the upcoming draft. Lefty Brady Aiken and righty Tyler Kolek “have stormed through the opening” left by Rodon according to Jonathan Mayo.

The CCO will spend a lot of time profiling the players the Cubs could select this June (June 5-7) in the weeks leading up to the draft.

News and Notes

Patrick Mooney also caught up with David DeJesus while the Rays were playing the White Sox at the Cell. DeJesus told Mooney that the threat Dale Sveum made to send Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro to Triple-A Iowa did not have the motivational effect Sveum was looking for at the time. Instead, both players “had the Triple-A thing in the back of their brains and stuff like that.” DeJesus explained, “It’s tough to play when you’re thinking about who knows what’s going on behind you.”

Class participation is best for Mike Olt and Junior Lake according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

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  • Ripsnorter1

    The Cubs have the biggest market in the National League Central, yet they are spending less on its players this year ($75 million) than the Kansas City Royals
    ($90.4 million), Tampa Bay Rays ($82 million), Pittsburgh Pirates ($77.8 million) and Oakland Athletics ($77.2 million).

    Less than the Pirates?!? Now that’s a real eye-opener.

    • Bryan

      All part of Tom’s master plan. But hey, we have a beautiful new spring training stadium (that we use for 6 weeks annually) and new facilities in Latin America. Who cares what happens at Clark and Addison, right?

      • Tony_H

        The facility in Arizona is used year round and the new facilities in the Dominican is helping to sign players in that region by having a state of the art facility.

        • Swish23

          such as? name 1 player who came to the cubs because of it……..(not holding my breath for fear of affixation)

          • Tony_H

            It has been mentioned that it was a part of their huge IFA signings from last year. One player even took less money to sign with the Cubs because of the better facility. I will see if I can find the articles for you.

    • Tony_H

      I know how you came to that number, but their real payroll number is $89M and when you go young and stay away from the big money 30 something FA’s, your payroll will go down. Whether this is the result of Theo’s rebuilding plan or a necessary result of the Sam Zell sale or a combination of both really doesn’t matter anymore. And if DeJesus believes that if Theo had more money to spend he would still be in Chicago, if the plan was to spend their way to victories, I don’t thinks so. DeJesus would never have been in Chicago if that was the plan.

      • Swish23

        according to Cot’s Contracts, the payroll is 92M; which includes 2M of Ejax 8M bonus paid last year pro-rated over 4 yrs for a 90M payroll actually paid. 14M is going to the Yanks for Soriano. Almost 26M is wasted by team Theo in Ejax, injured Fujikawa, bad Veras, MiLB players like Soler and G Concepcion, & injured James McDonald. Of the 90M; 49M could be gone or not useful come July 31st in Soriano, Shark, Hammel, Veras, Villanueva, Schierholtz, McDonald, Fujikawa, ande MiLB players of Soler (2.8M to play in the minors and be hurt) and Concepcion. So for August and Sept; the payroll of 25 MLB players most likely will be under 50M. I see Tommy doing the Santo “jump and click his heels’ over those 2 months profits. 5th in revenues and 3rd in tix prices; yet the monies are no where to be found.
        (and there won’t be any big ticket FA signings in the off season; as Pitchers like kershaw, bailey are signed, shields is too old, masterson basically the same guy as Shark and neither Lester or Scherzer wanting to come to such a loser of a team. (no need for hitters as olt, lake, baez, alacantara and bryant at some point need places to play plus castro, rizzo and castillo.)
        It’s basically an expansion rebuild; while trading away home grown pitchers like Cashner and soon to be Shark.
        Patience is a virtue; for us Cubs fans; it’s hard to fathom or describe in words the patience (and frustration) we need and have.

        • Tony_H

          If you want to argue the difference between luxury tax payroll and actual payroll go right ahead. As for the rest, we all should know what this team is right now, and adding some overpaid 30 something vets to it is not going to change much of anything.

          • Swish23

            yes, the Ricketts battle cry to brainwash the fan base about over 30 FA who are leaving their prime; too bad its a bold face lie and really convenient to spit out to legitimize the losing on purpose “plan”.
            here’s 14 players; all 30 or under; who could of been signed or traded for; yet the “money was not there” to get it done.
            Tanaka
            Darvish
            Ryu
            Cespedes
            Puig
            Alex Guerrerro
            Jose Abreu
            keeping Cashner
            Keep Shark
            Anibal Sanchez
            trade for Fister
            trade for D Fowler
            Re-sign Garza
            U JImenez (albeit he looked better last year)

            All guys 30 or under; no Fielder or Pujols contracts; yet the cubs instead spend over 80M on this collection:
            EJax
            Ian Stewart (twice)
            Veras
            Fujikawa
            Scott Hairston (who was quickly traded)
            James Mc Donald
            Scott Baker
            G Concepcion (6M who is still in low A)
            Not to mention all the monies spent on the “flip” assets are expensive MiLB prosepcts; Hammel, Feldman, Veras, Baker,, etc have cost well over 30M; not sure the prosepcts gained back or to be gained back; are really worth 30M; that is 1st round money.

          • Tony_H

            Not saying that some of those wouldn’t have been good adds, but the players have a say in where they go as well as that is not the direction they wanted to go with rebuilding this organization. Many on the list they did go after or try to re-sign, not sure why you list them.
            This isn’t football, $30M is more than any team gets to spend on their entire draft. But they have done well on their trades for prospects.

    • cc002600

      Its embarassing. I totally agree. Every time I hear a promotion or commercial about the 100 year celebration I just roll my eyes. The team is so bad that that is the only thing that they can sell, but it rings so hollow.

      Its sort of like going to buy a used car and its a total piece of crap, but the salesman is trying to get you to buy the car because the floor mats are brand new. Its pathetic.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Great article on espn chicago make sure you read the article from the link.

    • John_CC

      Do you meant the Rogers article about playing Lake and Olt more? It is one side and opinion only. I wouldn’t call it a great article.

      It is a good debate though. I do struggle with what is the right way to handle these two. But since I’m not anywhere remotely close to being a ML player talent evaluator, I must defer.

      I do have some issues with what seems to be RR’s strict use of righty/lefty matchup platoons. I just do not think that all but the very best right handed hitters should sit against right handed pitchers. And it appears to be the way the lineup is currently managed. But again, I’m not privy to the amount of data that is crunched everyday.

      The quote from Junior is funny, I know what he is trying to say, but the point is that he needs to be more selective. So maybe he should consider trying to see more than 1 pitch per AB when does the start!

      “If you play every day, you see a lot of pitches every day. If you see one pitch here, one pitch tomorrow, you don’t make the adjustments.”

  • cubtex

    Glad to hear that you will be profiling potential draft picks for the Cubs Neil. The draft is really one of the few things to look forward to this year. Brandon Finnegan from TCU has been dominant this year. I see that Mayo has moved Aaron Nola ahead of Beede. It’s a deep pitchers draft for the top 20.

    • K_Gripp

      It looks like the pitching is so deep in this draft that the Cubs could walk away with two top pitching prospects with their first two picks.

      I know HS pitchers can be very risky but I am very interested in Aiken and Kolek. Hopefully between Aiken, Kolek, and Rondon one of them makes it to the Cubs at #4.

      • cubtex

        I agree. Rumor is the big Texan Kolek might be the hometown pick by the Stros at #1. Rodon had 15 K’s in his last start and the thing I like about him is that his velocity is as high in the last inning as it is in the beginning of the game. He won’t need much time in the minors and I would love if he somehow slid(but I doubt he will) Aiken has had a great year and he is a very hard worker. Check out this video on a day in the life of Brady Aiken. Seems like a good kid.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q51b6dHjMcg

        • John_CC

          a personal trainer at age 10?

          • cubtex

            sign of the times :) That’s California and Texas for you these days. It’s amazing how young the parents get the kids working on core,explosive movements etc.

          • John_CC

            I suppose. A bit sick and twisted in my opinion.

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

          I’m hoping the pick is Rodon…

      • Tony_H

        Remember that Pierce Johnson was a supplemental 1st round pick (#43), Paul Blackburn as well (#56) and Duane Underwood was a 2nd round pick (#67).

        With the first few rounds, I take the best player period, I don’t care if he is a high school or college player.

    • cc002600

      I know you really want the cubs to take a pitcher, but you do realize that the fail rate of pitchers taken at the top is VERY high, right ? Especially HS pitchers. It seems as though there aren’t any elite hitters this year, up to this point anyways, but I wish there were. I was so happy when the cubs took Bryant last year. Maybe someone will emerge in the next month. If they do, I hope they take a hitter instead of a pitcher.

      Keep in mind that if you pick a pitcher, it will most likely end up being a wasted pick and the cubs can’t afford that. Look at Appel and Gray from last year, they are doing horrible in the minors right now.

      • cubtex

        Did you see the pitchers in the 011 draft that I posted? Jose Fernandez, Sonny Gray, Gerrit Cole. All 3 of those guys are performing extremely well at the major league level. Clayton Kershaw was a #7 pick out of high school etc etc etc. You need to draft a pitcher high to get an ace. Just imagine if the Cubs drafted Jose Fernandez, Sonny Gray had signed with them, they kept Cashner. Do you think they would be closer to competing with those 3? And it is way too early to write off Appel or Gray. Appel had an appendectomy so he basically lost all of ST. And Gray has a very bright future. How do you think the Rays got Price?

        • cc002600

          You’re missing the point. I didn’t say there has never been a pitcher drafted high that turned out good. What I am saying is that look at the overall history. The fail rate of pitchers taken up high is awful. That is a fact, not opinion. For every Sonny Gray or Jose Fernandez I can rattle off 20 guys who were supposed to be the next great thing and either got hurt or were busts. There are ALWAYS exceptions, this is about taking the proper risk and managing it. And taking a pitcher up high is MOST likely going to be a bust. Look at the history.

          • cubtex

            Understood…but to get you got to draft that elite arm early. There have been plenty of positional player busts as well. Just look at the Cubs history :) From Ryan Harvey to Corey Patterson etc. You might get your wish because Theo has never drafted an ace and it wouldn’t surprise me if he drafted a bat.

          • cc002600

            Agree. The cubs have cornered the market on draft busts. :-)

            At this point, it looks there are no elite hitters to take up high, which is of course the cubs luck, so I think they will be forced to take a pitcher. And yes, no doubt there are plenty of hitters that don’t make it either, but the chances of striking gold on a hitter are better . And not to mention the injury risk with pitchers is so much greater, as we have all seen the TJ epidemic that is sweeping MLB right now.

            I know everyone is dying for the cubs to draft a pitcher, but be careful what you wish for. That’s all I’m saying.

          • cubtex

            If there was any way that scouts thought Alex Jackson could stick at catcher and project as another Joe Mauer…then no doubt I would take him…but most scouts don’t feel he can stick as a catcher and he will be an OF. It is his bat that will carry him not his defense.

          • cc002600

            Right. I have read the same thing about Jackson. That’s too bad.

            My biggest fear is that all the pain and suffering of watching them lose 96 games last year will go for nothing if they pick some pitcher and he ends up a bust. That would be “so Cub”. We’ve seen it a million times.

            Hope I’m wrong.

          • Denver Mike

            I agree that there is a ton more risk drafting a pitcher, but I had posted this a few months back when ‘tex and I were discussing this, and I was shocked at how many of the top pitchers are drafted in the first couple rounds:

            Taking a look at the top 20 SPs in terms of ERA from 2013 (min 140 innings pitched):

            Player (Round Drafted, Overall Pick)
            1. C. Kershaw (1st, 7th)
            2. J. Fernandez (1st, 14th)
            3. M. Harvey (1st, 7th)
            4. A. Sanchez (Intl FA)
            5. Z. Greinke (1st, 6th)
            6. B. Colon (Intl FA)
            7. H. Iwakuma (Intl FA)
            8. A. Cobb (4th, 109th)
            9 M. Bumgarner (1st, 10th)
            10. Y. Darvish (Intl FA)
            11. C. Lee (4th, 105th)
            12. M. Scherzer (1st, 11th)
            13. A. Wainwright (1st, 29th)
            14. S. Strasburg (1st, 1st)
            15. H. Ryu (Intl FA)
            16. F. Liriano (Intl FA)
            17. F. Hernandez (intl FA)
            18. S. Miller (1st, 19th)
            19. C. Sale (1st, 13th)
            20. A. Cashner (1st, 19th)

            I think the point is that if you are going to draft an Ace, it is almost a certainty that you have to draft them in the 1st round or by getting lucky in International FA.

          • cc002600

            As I was trying to explain to Cubtex, you are not looking at the whole picture. You just listed the successes from probably the last 15 years of drafts. Do you know how many pitchers that were drafted in those 15 years that were busts ? I will guarantee the list will be 10 times longer then the list of successes. You are only looking at the glass half full. The half empty glass is a 1000 times bigger. That’s my point.

          • Denver Mike

            Just because I don’t necessarily agree with you doesn’t mean that I don’t understand what you are saying. Look at it like this…

            You have no choice but to run a starting pitcher out there every game, and the success of that starter has as much to do with the outcome of the game as the guys batting 1-8. And while the success rates of pitchers are what they are, the success rate of pitchers drafted in the early rounds IS better than those drafted late in the draft. So if we could somehow find a way to win games without using pitchers, then great, but we can’t so all we can do is minimize the risk of drafting a bust, by drafting them in the higher rounds.

          • John_CC

            Papelbon, Bucholz, and Masterson are as close as he’s come to drafting an “ace.” They were all supplemental 1st rounders or later, Bucholz was quite a bit later.

            At any rate, he definitely does not like to take pitchers 1st. But keep in mind that they didn’t have any top 4 picks in Boston, they were all middle of the pack.

      • Denver Mike

        Without having read the rest of the replies to this, I just wanted to point out that Gray has performed very well so far this year. He is already at AA, and talk locally is that if he continues to perform he could be with the big club before the end of the year if they are contending.

        Appel, not so much.

        • cc002600

          Yes, I agree. But I’d still rather have Bryant a 100 times over.

          :-)

          and I know you agreed, but just for the record I read where Appel was actually demoted to extended spring training. Ouch !! That is a long, long, long way from the show, my friend. I know its early, but that has bust written all over it. :-)

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

    Wonder where AJ Reed of Kentucky will come in as a prospect? And as a hitter or a pitcher? The guy seems pretty special but I don’t hear any talk about him.

  • John G

    How did we miss it? Yesterday was the 31st Anniversary of one of the great rants in sports history. Thank you Lee Elia. It doesn’t seem like that long ago. But if you listen to it again, it’s still relevant. almost down to the letter (or word) except that we have some night games now, but the rest of it is still spot on.

    • cc002600

      YES, AND PRINT IT !!!!
      :-)

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