Cubs have their way with the Giants, may not lose in 2019

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Two spring games, and two victories for the Cubs as they wiped the floor with the Giants today.  Now I’m sure the Cubs will lose at some point this year (maybe?), and spring doesn’t mean much of anything but it’s nice to see two wins on the board early.

The second inning told the story in this one as the Cubs exploded for eight runs, six of those runs off postseason world beater Madison Bumgarner.  The Cubs implemented the death by a thousand cuts attack as only two of their thirteen hits were of the extra base variety.  Albert Almora had a good day out of the lead-off spot going 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.  Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber also made their 2019 debut today and were effective at the plate.  Schwarber looked particularly good going 1-for-1 with two walks, and an RBI double off Bumgarner.

Tyler Chatwood got the start today, and only managed to walk one batter.  That number is a bit deceiving as Chatwood worked behind in the count repeatedly, hit a batter, and gave up a two run shot to Brandon Belt.  At this point the results mean little for Chatwood, it’s more about finding the strike zone, and today would have to be summed up as… meh.  Two intriguing arms that could factor into the Cubs 2019 bullpen tossed scoreless innings today.  James Norwood worked his way out of some trouble after giving up two hits, and walking one in his inning of work.  Meanwhile, Dillon Maples was spitting hot fire, he struck out two without allowing a base-runner in the victory.

Next up for the Cubs, split squad action in the desert.  Christian Bergman will get the start against the Dodgers while Jon Lester gets his first crack at spring action against Manny Machado’s Padres.

The pen and the power; Cubs roll in opener

One pitch, one loud noise, welcome to the 2018 championship season.  Ian Happ decided to send that special first pitch of the season baseball into the right field stands to set the tone today.  The Cubs’ bats were in midseason form as they cranked out three dingers en route to an 8-4 opening day victory.  Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber supplied the rest of the power in this one as both launched solo shots.

Jon Lester didn’t have it, period.  It looked like the velocity wasn’t there, and he found himself nibbling the zone way too often, looking a lot like Jon Lester circa 2017.  I wouldn’t read too much into it, Lester typically starts slow and as Maddon said after the game the little extra finish on Lester’s pitches just wasn’t there today.

Aside from the power surge the strong work of the bullpen grabbed the rest of the headlines.  Newcomer Steve Cishek was tremendous as he was forced into early duty when Lester couldn’t get out of the 4th (my Dad shakes his head in disgust).  Cishek worked and inning and two-thirds giving up one hit while walking one, and striking out two.  The bullpen combined to go five and two-third scoreless innings while giving up just one hit.

Good start.  Welcome back, baseball.

Spring Training 2016; Arms Impress in Opener

cubs 3-3 line score

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It wasn’t the desired result for the Cubs but there were plenty of things to like in the Cubs spring training opener today against the Brewers.  Travis Wood, Kyle Hendricks, Clayton Richard, Rex Brothers, C.J. Riefenhauser, and Spencer Patton combined to four hit the Brewers while walking one, and striking out thirteen.  The bats were slow to get going in this one as the Cubs group of hitters could only push across one run on seven hits.  Javier Baez got the start in center today, and struggled in the early going.  He played an out (maybe a double) into a triple right off the bat, then one hitter later he dropped a fly ball, it’ll get better.

Some of today’s standouts:

Kyle Schwarber:  1-for-3
Kris Bryant: 1-for-2
Miguel Montero: 2-for-2 with a double
Dan Vogelbach: 1-for-3 with a double, and an RBI

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Dexter Fowler Signs With Cubs, Coghlan Traded; Weeeeeeee!

Well, it’s been an interesting last hour.

Dexter Fowler is a member of the Chicago Cubs, again.  Earlier this week it was widely reported that the Cubs’ 2015 CF was signing a 3 year $33M deal with the Baltimore Orioles.  Apparently that is not the case as Fowler has just signed a 1 year deal to return to the Cubs!  Per Mark Gonzales Fowler will get $8M in 2016, and then there is a mutual option for $9M with a $5M buyout.

This news is coming on the heels of a trade that the Cubs announced earlier this morning.  The Cubs have traded Chris Coghlan to Oakland for pitch Aaron Brooks, not the point guard for the Bulls.  The outfield situation seems to be unfolding for the Cubs now and not later in spring.  The acquisition (re?) of Fowler means that Heyward goes to RF which pushes Soler into LF, and that could be to share time with Schwarber out there when he is not catching.  Crazy stuff going down right now, and I think the Cubs just got better, again.

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Fantasy Baseball 2016: The Cubs Infield Rankings from Baseball Prospectus

Russell Hi

There are plenty of reasons why I love this time of year. The weather is starting to warm up (marginally), spring training is just kicking off, and fantasy baseball is emerging from its off-season hibernation.

If you are in to fantasy baseball then I suggest you keep reading because I will provide some knowledge from one of the best brains in the game, Mr. Bret Sayre from Baseball Prospectus; follow him on twitter @dynastyguru). Bret specifically focuses on dynasty league rankings so you can expect that these rankings were put together with the idea that you might be freezing/keeping these players after this year. Typically that could mean that a player with a better future ahead of him might be more valuable in the long run than a player expected to achieve greater success in 2016. That’s just a heads up as some of you might notice that these rankings could be a little different than your average run of the mill fantasy baseball rankings. Because this is a Cubs blog we are going to focus on where Bret has said Cubs in his rankings, get excited!

** Rankings listed next to player are the positional ranking, not overall player ranking. Notes about the ranking are my own.


2. Kyle Schwarber – All the way up to second, that’s pretty awesome. Obviously a popular topic is whether or not Schwarber will stick at catcher, regardless Schwarber should have eligibility at C heading into this year’s draft. If he does stick at catcher or at least has the eligibility there then his value is through the roof compared to if he was strictly an outfielder. His value would still be high, but you aren’t going to see the numbers he is going to put up from the position behind the plate typically.

14. Miguel Montero – Miggy falls just outside the normal range for your everyday starting catcher (typically top 10-12 are going to be your #1). It’s not a bad value for Miggy as he is still going to get a large amount of playing time in the middle of a lineup that looks to be very dangerous heading into 2016.

31. Willson Contreras – The Cubs number one prospect is getting some love from Bret and looks like someone to target late in drafts because of his future value behind the plate.

First Base

2. Anthony Rizzo – Only Paul Goldschmidt ranks ahead of Rizzo which seems reasonable giving how awesome that guy is. I love the ranking for Rizzo and it makes a lot of sense because he seems to be getting better with each season and now sits in the middle of a lineup that is ripe for production for the foreseeable future. Entering his age 26 season Rizzo looks to improve upon some gaudy numbers from last year, (38 doubles, 31 homers, 101 RBI, 17 stolen bases, 78 walks, 94 runs).

23. Dan Vogelbach – I’m not surprised that Vogelbach continues to receive favorable rankings in the dynasty leagues. The big man at first base is a threat across the board but he’ll probably have to find another team to play for in the National League, or move to the American League as first base/DH are his only options.

Second Base

9. Javier Baez – Baez has always been an intriguing option but this year his value takes a bit of a hit because of the acquisition of Ben Zobrist and the versatile Cubs roster. That doesn’t mean that Baez is void of value, he made improvements to his game last year and has been rumored to play a little CF this year. The more time on the field the better for Baez and his owners moving forward.

18. Ben Zobrist – The newcomer to the Cubs has never really had a ton of value at one position because he is so versatile. Teaming up with Joe Maddon this year means that Zobrist will be utilized to his full potential wherever the Cubs skipper needs him. Because of that I expect him to be in the lineup the majority of time which will give Zobrist plenty of value to be drafted as a utility/bench guy this year.

32. Arismendy Alcantara – Yes, he does still exist! Alcantara has been floating around these lists for a few years and is kind of the forgotten man in the Cubs organization. He still has a World of talent but needs to prove he belongs on the field as the next wave of Cubs prospects are nipping at his heels.

Third Base

2. Kris Bryant – Depending on what kind of league you play in Bryant might be the number one overall pick. No one in the game can match the pure power that he has, but he comes in on this list right behind Manny Machado. The fact that 2015 could be the bottom of the barrel in terms of production is enough to invest highly in Bryant as the cornerstone of your fantasy franchise.

34. Jeimer Candelario – The thing that has impressed me with Candelario is that he is a prospect that has seen a fair amount of failure only to learn from it and get better. Candelario has made some solid strides in the past year or so which gives him some value moving forward.


4. Addison Russell – I still contend that when it is all said and done Addison Russell might be the best of the bunch when it comes to the recent group of Cubs prospects. Russell does everything well, and flashed brilliance in 2015 before seeing his season end early in the playoffs due to an injury. I see no reason why Russell can’t get better with experience as he has shown the ability to make adjustments through his minor league career.

25. Gleyber Torres – Don’t look now but the Cubs have another shortstop that is making noise in the minors. Torres is the next big thing coming out of the Cubs’ system and he could be ready to make some sort of impact earlier than initially expected as he made it all the way to High-A Myrtle Beach last year as an 18 year old. Torres is definitely a guy that I would have no problem stashing in a minor league spot and waiting to see that investment pay off in a big way.

Once the full outfielder rankings, and pitching rankings are released I will put something similar together for you.  Thanks for reading!

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Spring Training 2016: Rizzo, Heyward, and Schwarber are Already Crushing Baseballs (PHOTOS)

Cubs Spring

It’s hard to believe, but the 2016 season is just about ready to bust down the doors as Cubs pitchers, and catchers are scheduled to report later this week.  I will have full coverage, well as much as possible, starting this week.

A few players have gotten an early start, and my buddy John Arguello of Cubs Den and Appraising Arizona is capturing the action.  Have a look at the pictures below, and give John a follow on Twitter.

Full set of pictures at Cubs Den.

Now with VIDEO!

Heyward and Rizzo

So this pic should whet your appetite for Cubs baseball #Rizzo #Heyward

— John Arguello(@CubsDen) February 15, 2016

Heyward and Schwarber

This may be my favorite pic of the day #Heyward #Schwarber #Cubs

— John Arguello(@CubsDen) February 15, 2016

Jake Arrieta tank top alert

A glimpse of you 2015 NL CY Young Award Winner

— John Arguello(@CubsDen) February 15, 2016

** Header picture from

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Riding the Bus: May 7, 2015 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Riding the Bus Header

THURSDAY • MAY 7, 2015

Myrtle Beach 5-7 Final

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Walk-off!  The Pelicans improved to a seasons best seven games over .500 with a 2-1 win over Salem thanks to a Billy McKinney walk-off dinger!  You can also thank Duane Underwood for dominating on the mound.

At the Plate:

  • Mark Zagunis is an on base machine, he was 0-for-2 with three walks in the win.
  • Billy McKinney is similar to Zagunis in regards to being one of those on base machines, he was 1-for-1 with FOUR walks, said walk-off dinger, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Jacob Rogers, and Trey Martin each had one hit, both singles.

On the Mound:

  • Duane Underwood Jr. got the start tonight, and was brilliant.  He worked seven innings, giving up one run on three hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Juan Paniagua was solid out of the pen, he worked two scoreless innings while striking out one.
  • Michael Heesch picked up his second win of the season, he worked a scoreless inning in doing so.

Tennessee Smokies 5-7 Final

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A tough loss for the Smokies as they saw an early 4-0 lead slip away in a 5-4 loss.  The Smokies scored four times in the first inning and couldn’t find anymore offense the rest of the way.

At the Plate:

  • Albert Almora has picked up where he left off before the injury, he was 1-for-4 with a run scored, he’s hitting .310 on the season.
  • Kyle Schwarber was solid in this one, he went 1-for-4 with a run scored.
  • Bijan Rademacher had the big hit for the Smokies, he was 1-for-4 with a double, and three RBI’s.
  • Elliot Soto was the best of the bunch tonight, he was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

On the Mound:

  • Corey Black got the start, and he struggled with his command, he worked five innings, giving up three runs on four hits while walking four, and striking out seven.
  • Fernando Cruz was outstanding out of the pen, he worked three scoreless innings, giving up one run, unearned, on one hit while striking out four.
  • Stephen Perakslis picked up the loss in this one, he worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up one run on three hits.

South Bend 5-7 Final

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Things got a little close late in this one but the South Bend Cubs hung on to beat Bowling Green 3-2.  Not many teams can say that as Bowling Green boasts a 17-11 record on the year, tonight the Cubs had just enough.

At the Plate:

  • Charcer Burks has been great this year, it continued tonight, he was 1-for-3 with two walks, and two RBI’s.
  • Justin Marra found some extra base magic, he was 1-for-3 with a double, and a walk.
  • Jesse Hodges was solid as well, he went 1-for-3 with his fifth double of the year, a walk, and a run scored.
  • Jeffrey Baez had a nice game, he went 1-for-3 with a walk, and a run scored, maybe that will get him going.
  • Gleyber Torres continues to get on base, he was 1-for-4 with a walk in the win.

On the Mound:

  • Zach Hedges got the start, and he does what he usually does, put up zeroes.  He worked five scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking two, and striking out four.
  • Ryan McNeil was decent out of the pen, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up one run on two hits while striking out two.
  • Jordan Minch was touched up, he worked 1.2 innings, giving up one run on one hit while walking one, and striking out two.
  • James Farris had his shortest outing of the year, but it was all he needed to pick up his third save of the year.  He worked a third of an inning to shut the door.

Iowa Cubs 5-7 Final

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The Iowa Cubs didn’t have much going in this one, but found a way to push four runs across the plate in the seventh for a 4-1 victory in Nashville.

At the Plate:

  • Arismendy Alcantara has been flashing the power in Iowa, he was 1-for-4 with a walk, his fourth dinger, two RBI’s, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Mike Baxter has been solid all year, he was 2-for-4 with a run scored, he’s now hitting .314 on the season.
  • Jonathan Mota was right in the middle of the action, he went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the win.
  • John Andreoli, Chris Valaika, and Taylor Davis all had one hit tonight.

On the Mound:

  • Tsuyoshi Wada got the start, and continues to make a push to be promoted, he worked 5.2 innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking two, and striking out six.
  • Gonzalez Germen has been awesome in Iowa, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings to pick up his third win, he struck out two in the process.
  • Blake Cooper worked a scoreless inning to pick up his second hold of the year.
  • Brian Schlitter worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his first save of the season.

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