The 'Pen, Part III

Posted by Lionel on February 17, 2009.

The Cubs have 39 guys on their 40 man roster, so the NRI's (non roster invitees) have at least a small chance of being added and making the squad. And the way I see it, some of these guys would actually be better in the 'pen than some ofn the 40 man roster. So, that's how I wrote it up; I ignored the extra burden of being added to the 40 man roster, and instead focused on their chances of being in the 'pen in determining the odds.

Jason Waddell-This is a bit of a noodle-scratcher. If you had a 3.67, 1.84, 3.38 season ERA over the past three years, respectively, and you played for an organization (the Giants) that finished 3rd, 5th, 4th in the past three years, you'd think you'd get a sniff at the Bigs. But that wasn't the case for Waddell. All I can say is that he must be a guy whose stats don't show what the scouts see. Waddell struck out 70 in 64 innings pitched last year, holding opposing hitters to a .209 BAA. He was solid in winter ball as well, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 10 relief appearances. If the Cubs need another leftie, I wouldn't be surprised to see this 27 year old get the call. Odds: 30 to 1

Esmailin Caridad-Caridad started the '08 campaign in Daytona. He was 6-4 with an ERA near 4 and a half. But after his promotion to Tennessee, he took off. He started 14 games for the Smokies with a 7-3 record and a 3.16 ERA. He was one of the Cubs representatives in the Arizona Fall League, where he pitched exclusively out of the 'pen. He amassed a 3.94 ERA and struck out 17 in 16 innings. He was one of the Cubs better pitchers in '08, but being righthanded, he would need a slew of injuries to see the ivy (other than the Iowa game at Wrigley). Odds: 40 to 1

J.R. Mathes-Mathes is 27 years old and has spent the last two seasons in AAA. While he is no longer considered a prospect, he had a solid season last year. He went 9-5 with a 4.29 ERA and was named to the PCL All Star team. He spent his winter in Venezuela, starting 5 of the 9 games he pitched a compiling a 3.86 ERA. And while Winter ball is usually hitter friendly, his .354 BAA stands out against him. The lefthander could be a long reliever if the Cubs get desparate, but he's probably headed for a 6 year free agency this November. Odds: 45 to 1

Rocky Roquet-Roquet had a solid '08 campaign, until the Arizona Fall League. He started the year in Daytona. After 7 appearances with a 1.74 ERA, he was promoted to Tennessee. He made 39 relief appearances there with a 3.70 ERA and averaged more than a K per inning. But when he went to the AFL, he gaves up 9 earned runs in 13 and 2/3. He actually allowed another 9 unearned runs cross the plate, but the AFL is also a hitter's league. If he was lefthanded, he would be closer to the Bigs. Odds: 45 to 1

Mike Stanton-Stanton appeared in 69 games, with an ERA near 6. On top of that, those were 2007 numbers. See, on the close of Spring Training last year, the Reds cut Stanton. So, the lefthander sat out last year. Maybe the opportunity to stick to the Reds will make him determined, but a 41 year old who didn't pitch last year and was pretty bad the year before isn't likely to be in Lou's plan. But he is lefthanded. Odds: 50 to 1

Matt Smith-Smith is only 29 years old, but seems to have already established himself as a journeyman. The Cubs will be his third organization in the last 4 years. He was lights out in '06, throwing 20 and 2/3 while allowing only 2 earnies. But in '07, the leftie reversed course, giving up 5 runs in 4 innings of work. He didn't crack the roster in '08. Even if he gets back to '06 form, he hasn't shown any ability to stay healthy. He was limited to 21 innings in '07 between AAA and the Bigs, followed by 15 and 2/3 last year, all in rookie or A ball. Of all the non-farm system guys, he is probably the most worth the risk. Odds: 50 to 1

Bill White-The 4th Bill White in baseball history would rather me show his AAA numbers from '08 than his MLB numbers. In 50 games, he had 3.54 ERA and only allowed 4 HR's, while striking out over a batter per inning. But the September callup for the Rangers gave up 9 earned runs in just 4 innings of work, walking 11 and K'ing only 1. He is lefthanded, but with 4 guys ahead of him (based on stats and experience), the 30 year old isn't likely going to be wearing the blue pinstripes. Odds: 60 to 1

Andrew Cashner-The 6-6 righthander was the Cubs first round pick last June. Given that he had pitched exclusively out of the 'pen at TCU, most fans thought that was his future, and some even thought he would be called up last September. But JH said they were going to stretch him out as a starter and 6 of his 8 professional appearances have been starts. 23 walks in 20 innings among his three stops say he has some control issues to work out. If his future is in the rotation, the Cubs will take it slow. His invite was simply to showcase one of the Cubs better prospects. Odds: 60 to 1

Chad Fox-Fox is back for Round II. An NRI in '07, Fox made three appearances in May last year before hurting his elbow once again. Fox is 38 years old and righthanded. Maybe he pitched well enough last year to warrant a callup, but he's now pitched in 3 games in the last 3 years. This has to be Fox's swan song and it may be heard only in Iowa. Odds: 75 to 1

Ed Campusano-Campusano split time between Daytona and Tennessee last year. The 26 year old lefthander thew in 43 games with a combined ERA of 4.98. 34 walks in those 43 appearances didn't help. If he wasn't lefthanded, he probably wouldn't have a big league camp invite. Campusano is a longshot, period. Odds: 100 to 1

Ken Kadokura-I don't understand this. Kadokura is essentially being brought in to help Fukudome feel more comfortable. For what, a month? So Fukudome can feel comfortable until he gets in games that count? Kadokura is a 35 year old righthander with no MLB experience. He pitched in 11 games for the Komiuri Giants last year with a respectable 3.55 ERA and 16 K's in 12 and 2/3 innings. But that is in Japan and in limited action. Odds: 100 to 1

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