You Heard it Here First


Posted by Lionel on July 24, 2009.
UPDATE (7/25/09, 10AM): Theodore Roosevelt Lilly, also known as Ted, will be placed on the D.L. today with shoulder tendonitis. He is expected to be out for about two weeks. What is being discussed internally is whether Tedders should undergo arthoscopic surgery on his knee to get it cleaned out. If he opts to have the surgery, he'll probably be out an additional week. If he was a position player, I would say no, but we're likely talking about one start, so I say, get it done.
Initially, the Cubs are recalling Justin Berg from Iowa. Berg was added to the 40 man roster this offseason. He is 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 24 appearances at Iowa. Righties are hitting .167 off him. He was acquired in exchange for Matt Lawton from the Yankees.
I wonder if he's being showcased for a trade. Berg has been great this year, but injuries have inhibited most of his career. The Cubs have other options to call on, so this was a bit of an odd choice.

The Cubs reportedly have interest in the Pirates John Grabow to fill their need for a second left-handed reliever. Grabow is 3-0 with a 3.65 ERA in 44 innings of work this year. His 2.3M dollar salary makes him an attractive option for the Pirates to move.

But the potential loss of Ted Lilly (who will miss his next start and reports are that he's likely headed to the D.L.) may increase the Cubs interest in dealing with the Pirates, because they've also talked to the 'Rates about Tom Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny made a brief stint with Pittsburgh as a reliever this year without much success, but he has a 2.46 ERA in 14 starts at AAA Indianapolis. He has 2 complete games and has struck out nearly 1 batter per inning (79 in 80 and 1/3 innings).

There's even an outside chance that the Cubs will add Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez is a former batting champ who's hitting over .300 this year, but doesn't bring much else to the table. He doesn't draw walks (his OBP is .340) or steal bases (5 this year, but 10 total in his career). He's another right-handed bat in the lineup, but the amount of PT he logs would be the question. The Pirates offered him a 2 year contract, but he seems to want out of Pittsburgh, so the Pirates knowledge of this and his 6.25M dollar contract make his expendable.

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A Trip Around the Minors


Posted by Lionel on July 24, 2009.

David Patton sees what AA looks like, Andrew Cashner shows first round pick stuff, and a couple of guys working hard after demotions in this week's ATAtM...

Iowa



Steve Clevenger-Clevenger was only in three games this week, going 3 for 11, with a run, an RBI, a walk, and 2 K's. Since arriving in Iowa, he's shown an ability to hit lefties, but is struggling against righties. He's hitting .327 against the southpaws but only .240 against righties, and his OPS is over 300 points higher.


Bonus-On Tuesday, Vince Perkins gave up an earned run in two innings of relief, but notched the save. But the earned run was the first he'd given up in his last 24 1/3 innings. Between Tennessee and Iowa, Perkins has an ERA of 1.88 and has only allowed 1 HR in 67 innings of work.


Tennessee


Welington Castillo-Castillo has safely reached base 10 times in his last 5 games and hit 2 HR's this past week. Maybe he just needed a few days to relax; he's hitting .391 since the All Star break compared to .174 before the break. I know it's just six games, but maybe the time off allowed him to get his swing back.


Tyler Colvin-Colvin has been going through another rough patch with the stick of late. After a month of June that saw him hit over .300 with 6 HR's, he's hitting .197 this month with only 1 HR. While he's never been particularly patient at the plate, here's an odd stat: in the 45 AB's against lefties as a Smokie this year, he hasn't drawn a single walk.

Jay Jackson-Jackson's IP per start are slowly decreasing; he hasn't gone 6 complete since May 24th. My initial thought was that they were trying to keep his IP down since he's only in his 1st full professional season, but he threw roughly 110 innings last year between college and professional baseball, and he's only at 80 innings this year with about 7-8 starts left. It appears to be an issue of throwing a lot of pitches. Case in point was last Saturday, where he went 5 innings, striking out 7 and walking 4. He gave up 2 runs and notched his 5th win of the season.


Andrew Cashner-Cashner continues to dominate, and I think it realistically raises a slight possibility (I stress slight) that he could be in the Bigs come September. But everything I hear is that the Cubs want to make him a starter and will take that process slowly. On Tuesday, he had his best outing of the year: 6 IP, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 runs, 5 K's.


Bonus-David Patton is getting his first taste of AA. The Cubs Rule V pick had only pitched as high as High A ball before making his big league debut this year, so his rehab stint in AA is his first time in AA. Technically, a player can rehab for up to 30 days; I fully expect the Cubs to use all thirty (the Pirates did that earlier this year with former Cubs top prospect Donnie Veal). Patton struggled in his first appearance, taking the loss. He started the game for Tennessee, going the first two innings, giving up a hit, then a walk, then an HR.


Daytona

Josh Vitters-Still waiting to see Vitters break out and show that he can hit pitching in Advanced A ball. He played in 7 games this week, batting .258 with a double and a triple. He had 3 runs and 3 RBI's, but he also struck out 5 times. In 76 AB's at Daytona, Vitters has only drawn 2 walks.

Starlin Castro-Castro played in 7 games this week as well and an 0 for 5 last night ended what would've been a week-long hitting streak. He hit .281 for the week with 4 doubles. He also swiped 2 bags in 3 tries, making him 19 for 27 on the year. Impressively, Castro is hitting .299 against lefties and .303 against righties.

Bonus-When a guy gets demoted due to poor play, you hope to see him take that as a challenge to prove the decision wrong. Such is the case for Brandon Guyer. The fifth round pick in 2007 deserved to be demoted after hitting .173 over the first 2+ months at Tennessee. But since his demotion, he is hitting .361 with an OPS of nearly 900 for the D-Cubs. He has as many walks as he does K's and he's successfully stolen 15 of 16 bags.

Peoria

Ryan Flaherty-The good news for Flaherty was a 3 for 5 performance on Sunday that included a double. The bad news is that he only had 2 hits the rest of the week, giving him a .208 batting average for the week. He did steal his 7th bag of the season.

Bonus-After hitting just .220 for Daytona, the Cubs demoted 3-sack Jovan Rosa. He entered last night's game with a respectable .292 batting average and 5 RBI's in 13 games. Last night, he had a sac fly in the 2nd that scored a run, a 3 run HR in the 4th, and an RBI single in the 8th, doubling his RBI total at Daytona and accounting for all the Chiefs runs.

Boise

Hak Ju Lee-An 0 for 4 Wednesday brought to close an 8 game hitting streak for Lee. For the week, Lee hit .320 with 5 runs and 4 RBI's, but he also K'd 6 times. He stole two more bases, bringing his total to 13 and his success rate to 81%. He remains the league leader in SB's.

Bonus-A 25th round pick this year, Justin Bour was added to the Hawks roster just over a week ago. In 9 games, he's hitting .364 with 8 RBI's and 6 runs. But maybe more impressive, Bour has drawn a walk in every game but one, giving him an OBP of .476.

No News on Dae Eun Rhee.

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Cubs Bits

Posted by Lionel on July 22, 2009.

A few news and notes to get caught up on...
  • It's probably a little bit of old news at this point, but the Cubs signed their 2nd round pick D.J. Lemahieu. Lemahieu played for LSU, who won the College World Series a month ago, and was a key cog, leading the team in batting average.

  • By my count, the Cubs have signed 8 of their top 10 picks, the only unaccounted players being Austin Kirk and Brooks Raley. Kirk is a HS pitcher who was the Cubs third round pick. He is committed to Oklahoma, but has remained open to signing with the Cubs. Raley was the Cubs 6th round pick as a pitcher, but he also plays OF. If he doesn't sign, he'll return to Texas A&M for his junior year.

  • Vote Zonk. Anyone who caught the Cubs on TV just before the All Star break or has heard the Cubs on this road trip has already heard Keith Moreland doing the analysis. I have a feeling that the media execs are giving him a tryout, and from what I've heard, he's passed with flying colors. He gives great insight on to what the hitter should be trying to do (I stress should, because it's the Cubs) without cheapening the broadcast with stupid catchphrases or needless adjectives. If Brenly or Santo aren't back next year for any reason, I think Moreland will slide in.

  • A few rumors still keeping the Cubs rumor mill turning. Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Sun-Times suggested that the Cubs may pursue George Sherrill or Chad Qualls, and could inquire about catching help if Geo is out for a long time. Sherrill's name has been attached to the Cubs by other reports, and while JH and Andy McPhail are good friends who love dealing, most reports are saying a team would have to overpay for Sherrill and I don't think the Cubs have that great a need. Then again, the Cubs are still owed compensation for Rich Hill (I'm not saying it would go straight-up, but the Cubs could get Sherrill cheaper if that's part of the deal).

  • Honestly, I don't know that the Cubs need any bullpen help, unless they feel they need to give Marshall a break from being the lone lefty. As for catcher, I don't see much out there. Catchers are dropping like flies.

  • The Cubs were supposedly interested in Felipe Lopez, who was traded to the Brewers. Don't know if they were actually interested or were trying to drive up the price, knowing the Brewers were interested.

  • JH has called the Red Sox on Julio Lugo. Maybe JH is just looking to add DFA's to complement the team.

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