It was another busy weekend for the Chicago Cubs, only one more full weekend left in Arizona before the season opener on April 5.
Jon Lester and Kris Bryant dominated the news. While Lester was scratched from his start with a tired arm, Bryant was busy hitting three homers in two games. But Bryant wasn’t the only Cubs’ player that went yard. Arismendy Alcantara launched two home runs, and the Cubs had two games in which the team hit four longballs.
The Cubs have hit 29 home runs in Cactus League play, the second most in the majors behind the Dodgers.
Joe Maddon went all Tony LaRussa and batted a pitcher eighth for the first time Sunday.
MLB Pipeline named the Cubs system the best in baseball and released its top 30 Cubs prospect list.
And the best highlight of the weekend was Joe Maddon’s Respect Bald event Sunday at Sloan Park that raised over $12,000 for pediatric cancer research.
Cubs Can’t Close Out the Diamondbacks – Diamondbacks 9, Cubs 5
Thursday night in Scottsdale started out on the right foot for the Cubs. Edwin Jackson put together his best outing of the spring. Starlin Castro collected a couple of extra basehits and Dexter Fowler reached base four times. Welington Castillo was very good again, but the minor league pen could hold the lead and the Cubs dropped a Cactus League game.
Rambling about the Cubs as Boras is Boorish and Bright
The Daily CCO: Maddon’s Defense, Cubs Play a B-Game and Other News and Notes
Joe Maddon talked about the importance of defense and the Cubs had a good day playing the Angels on Thursday at Sloan Park. Kris Bryant and Albert Almora went yard in the B-Game and Boys of Spring posted proof on YouTube.
Daniel Bard had a rough time in the B-Game, however Joe Maddon was encouraged by what he saw. The Kris Bryant reaction continued to roll in … includes all of the news, notes and links.
Cubs Announce Futures Game against Texas Rangers at Sloan Park
The Cubs and Rangers announced Friday the two organizations will be playing a game at Sloan Park on March 30 featuring the top prospects from each system. A portion of the proceeds of the Futures Game will benefit Cubs Charities.
Does Starlin Castro Eventually Settle In as the No. 2 Hitter in the Cubs Lineup?
Joe Maddon’s not sure which players will hit in the two-hole in the lineup this season. Starlin Castro may hit in the middle of the order until Kris Bryant is called up. Castro would seem to be a fit hitting behind Dexter Fowler based on career numbers.
Jon Lester Scratched from Saturday’s Start with Dead Arm, Expected to Miss Only One Spring Outing
The Cubs jolted the fan base Friday when it was announced Jon Lester was being scratched from Saturday’s start. Lester is dealing with a dead arm, which is not uncommon and he’s not supposed to miss any more time this spring or Opening Night against the Cardinals.
Cubs Smack Four Home Runs, Beat the Sox – Cubs 10, White Sox 7
Joe Maddon ran out a lineup full of backups and minor leaguers. Travis Wood was shaky and gave up four runs on 11 hits, but appeared to get squeezed. Arismendy Alcantara hit one of four Cubs home runs, his two-run shot in the seventh broke a 5-5 tie.
David Ross went yard for a two-run blast and Tommy La Stella collected two hits, including a triple. Albert Almora stayed hot at the plate in the Cubs first win of the year over the White Sox.
MLB Pipeline Names Cubs System the Best in Baseball
The accolades for the Cubs’ system continued Friday. MLB Pipeline ranked the organization the best in baseball and joined publications such as Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN and The Sporting News that think the Cubs’ have the No. 1 system in baseball.
MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Cubs Prospects for 2015
Not only did MLB Pipeline name the Cubs the best system in the game Friday, it also released the ranking of the top 30 prospects in the system. Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler, C.J. Edwards and Kyle Schwarber made up the top five … and 14 of the 30 players are pitching prospects.
The Daily CCO: Epstein and Maddon Discussing Creative Solution for Fifth Spot in Cubs Rotation
Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon have discussed a way to keep Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson on the roster. Speculation is the Cubs are talking about piggybacking the two starters. Right now, Travis Wood is the fifth starter in Maddon’s rotation … but stay tuned.
The Cubs have a great problem, a three-time All-Star at shortstop in Starlin Castro and arguably the best shortstop prospect in the game. Addison Russell is pushing Castro in a good way and the front office is going to have to make a decision soon on where Castro and Russell will play.
Report includes all of the news, notes and links plus an update on local providers that have picked up Cubs games.
Jon Lester Says No Pain, No Worry and Plans to Make Next Spring Start
Jon Lester talked to the media Saturday about his “tired arm.” Lester said he’s not experiencing anything different from what he does every year. He’s not concerned and Lester is scheduled to make his next spring start on Thursday afternoon.
Bryant Launches Two Longballs, Russell and Castillo Go Deep, Cubs Win – Cubs 12, Mariners 10
Kris Bryant returned to the lineup and hit two more home runs, one off Felix Hernandez. The Cubs hit four longballs on the day … two from Bryant and one from Addison Russell and Welington Castillo.
Eric Jokisch was shaky early. The bullpen and defense was bad late. But the Cubs outslugged the Mariners with eight runs scoring on four home runs.
Cubs Trying to Get Javier Baez on Track
Joe Maddon batted Javier Baez at the top of the order Saturday and he responded with a 1-for-4 game at the plate. Baez struck out twice in two of the other three at bats. Maddon is talking to Baez, so is Starlin Castro and Baez is trying to get his timing right at the plate.
The Daily CCO: Castro a Little Banged Up, Bryant a Little Fired Up and Other Cubs News
Starlin Castro was a late scratch from Saturday’s game with tightness in his right groin. Castro said Sunday he’s okay and will be back in the lineup Tuesday. Kris Bryant, after hitting two more home runs Saturday, admitted he’s been playing with a chip on his shoulder.
More spring roster cuts are coming, another B-Game was scheduled and news, notes and links.
Cole Hamels Update: Phillies Just Keep Talking and Listening
Ruben Amaro Jr. hasn’t found a team willing to give him what he’s looking for in return for Cole Hamels. All signs with two weeks to go in Spring Training are pointing to Hamels staying with the Phillies and taking the hill on Opening Day. But Amaro Jr. keeps talking to teams about Hamels.
Jason Hammel Good, Cubs Bullpen Bad – Padres 6, Cubs 1
The weekend wrapped up with a Spring Training loss, but with an excellent performance by Jason Hammel. Facing a less than everyday Padres lineup, Hammel had very good command and struck out nine batters in five innings. Arismendy Alcantara hit a home run, and it wasn’t a cheap shot.
The Cubs offense didn’t do much against Padres’ pitching. Javier Baez had one of his better games of the spring with an excellent at bat against James Shields that ended with a walk. Mike Olt also walked and didn’t chase with the pitcher hitting behind him. And Jorge Soler picked up another hit.