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July 2013

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Cubs Bid Farewell to Alfonso Soriano

Written by , Posted in General

The age of social media, especially Twitter, has changed the way transactions and rumors are reported. Now, we’re all but sure to hear about so many more deals before they are actually finalized and announced. As of this morning, there has not been a formal announcement on the deal to send Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees, but because it was being reported everywhere as being a sure thing, you see it. In my opinion, this is both good and bad. It’s great because it makes the trade deadline so much fun. I find myself checking Twitter so often for any updates on anything. At the same time, I feel like it has the potential to get hopes up before deals as truly final. We saw this in full effect last year with Ryan Dempster and this off-season with Carlos Marmol. Both trades were reported as being done and both fell through. It is what it is at this point so we have to live with it.

At this point, Soriano is on his way to New York for the series with the Rays that starts tonight. He hopped a plane last night after saying good bye. No word yet on who is coming back in return, but I’ve heard the Cubs are picking up the majority of the remaining money on the contract so that should increase the value of the prospect we receive. A deal should be announced today so I should have an update later. I thought this quote from Sori said it all “I got that kind of money just because the game gave it to me. I love the game and I respect the game. I love what I do.

There was still a game to play last night and the Cubs offense did everything they could to show solidarity in protesting the Soriano trade by leaving their bats in the dugout each time they came to the plate. As a result, just one run and a series split that could have been a series win.

Junior Lake had another hit in the game and now has 15 hits in his first seven games played, including a hit in each. According to ESPN Stats and Info, that is the third most all time in the first seven games played. Only Bo Hart and my childhood favorite player, Kirby Puckett had more. Next up is a very winnable series with the Giants. If we can take advantage with a win tonight, we can punt the Chris Rusin start on Saturday and close it out with a series win behind Travis Wood on Sunday.

by Rob Willer

The Future Looks Bright

Albert Almora – This young man is the first draftee by the Theo Epstein regime and quite possibly might have the highest ceiling of all the Cubs prospects. Almora was the number six overall pick in the 2012 draft and was taken right out of high school. As an 18 year old he hit .347 in 75 at bats in rookie ball, also contributed a .363 on base percentage and .480 slugging percentage. He then was promoted to Boise to finish out his first season in Short Season A Ball where he still hit .292 in 65 at bats. Early indications show that this man can absolutely hit for contact through his first 351 at bats in the minor leagues he has 113 hits which amounts to a whopping .322 batting average. Those numbers themselves are impressive but for being only 19 years and producing at that high of level provides us with great hope for our future. As the Cubs organization weighs September call-ups to the big league club Almora could earn a call up to Daytona in the coming weeks. Personally he has been just an absolute treat to watch at near by Kane County. Plays the game the right way and gets the job done all you can ask in a young player.

Performance Thursday Night at Kane County: Almora went 4 for 5 with two doubles and raised his batting average to .333 at Kane County.

Dan Vogelbach –  Vogelbach is an interesting prospect for the Cubs as they already have Anthony Rizzo at first base for the next seven years after he recently signed his 42 million dollar contract. He like Almora was drafted right out of high school in the 2nd round. After tearing it up at rookie ball he then made the move just like Almora did and moved to Boise. When he arrived at Boise nothing changed he batted .322 also hit 10 home runs and  drove in 31 runs. To sum up his 2012 season he put up an impressive 1.051 OPS with 21 home runs and 17 doubles in 245 at-bats last season. Those are all star numbers for a 19 year old kid who if all things go to plan projects as a Matt Adams type.  When you think of Matt Adams you think quality hitter and a ton of power with average defense and below average speed. Vogelbach emulates all four of those traits, he will continue to develop this summer at Kane County and we should see him at Daytona by the start of next year.

Performance Thursday Night at Kane County: Vogelbach went 1 for 5 with a double and a run scored. His batting average is still .288 at Kane County.

Javy Baez –  One of the most exciting prospects in baseball is 20-year-old Javier Baez. Baez recently got promoted to Double-A, he could be in line for an everyday big league job by next season. He has been getting high remarks from highly respected sites including Baseball America which ranked him as the No. 10 prospect in baseball in Baseball America’s Midseason Top 50 list. What sets Baez apart from others is possess some of the best bat speed in all of minor league baseball.. Baez has incredible power and has shown it between High A Daytona and Double A Tennessee where he has combined to hit 25 home-runs and 72 runs batted in.   A September call-up is not out of the question although I see unlikely at this point.  Some numbers that worry me though are his 101 strikeouts in 404 at bats which is right at 25 percent between the two levels. If Baez can cut down on the strikeouts to about a 17% rate and improve on his batting average no question he will be up with the Cubs by 2014.

Performance Thursday Night at Tennessee – 2 for 6 with 2 Home Runs and four runs batted in.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Rob_Willer for the latest on minor league news regarding the Cubs organization.

  • Doc Raker

    Good luck to Soriano and here is to a fine young Cubs team developing into a powerhouse. Soriano is right, it isn’t his fault the game throws money around like Obama with a surplus.

    • Tomas Checkosky

      awesome ‘bama jab Doc! You are my hero for the day!

    • PLCB3

      Dubya was still president when he signed that contract

      • Doc Raker

        I didn’t say Obama paid Soriano, it is an analogy da.

      • PLCB3

        The Cubs spent like Obama before it was cool

  • Just in case anyone was curious, I now have Shierholtz in a platoon as my favorite Cub. Sori can mash…best of luck to the guy.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      I’ll ask, Who is he platooning with?

      • Joe Aiello

        CAPS

      • Assistant hitting coach Rob Deer.

      • Cap’n obvious

        Assistant to the coach. Because Dave Kingman has a real job outside the Cub organization…

      • Dave Kingman’s resume reads a brief “I hit bombs.” If he is working elsewhere, I’d say he must be platooning with Murton or LaHair.

      • Doc Raker

        Dave Kingman hated the press and they hated him. Kingman is probably on a yacht somewhere fishing, that is all he wanted to do. Many will say no one hit a ball harder than Dave Kingman.

      • Tracked this down….he hits a porch on Waveland
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qijfudtUsR4

  • PLCB3

    Why isn’t ESPN all over Lake’s debut, but they are still all over ManBearPuig?

    Just more proof that ESPN hates Chicago

    • Chris

      Because Puig is helping the Dodgers make a push for the playoffs which makes the Dodgers relevant. The only thing relevant about the Cubs at this time of year is which of their players can help a contender.

      • Buddy

        Lake has 31 at bats. Let’s wait a bit before we punch his Hall of Fame ticket.

      • PLCB3

        After 21 at-bats, people wanted Puig starting in the All-Star Game!

    • Joe Aiello

      How many reasons do you want?

      1. Because Puig signed a big FA contract and Lake is league min.

      2. Dodgers are in the playoff hunt. Cubs are not

      3. Puig has done this for 45 games, Lake only 7

      4. Puig is better looking than Lake (so the ladies tell me)

      5. ESPN hates CAPS (it says so in my ESPN / DISNEY handbook) and will do everything they can to annoy him.

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        Also Puig has something like 9 homeruns so far…and we all know that chicks dig the long ball.

    • Darlin_Starlin

      Lake went 0-5 tonight. RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE.

  • Seymour Butts

    I’m kind of sad to see him go, but it’s for the best. I was just yelling at my mom about not understanding that last night. I fear I may have to do so again tonight.

    • PLCB3

      Lame

      • Eddie Von White

        But funny.

      • PLCB3

        But lame

    • Eddie Von White

      I’m kind of sad too.

    • Doc Raker

      Mom must be a republican.

    • PLCB3

      Did Mama Butts get it tonight?

      • Seymour Butts

        Been married for more than 50 years, what do you think?

      • PLCB3

        Nein? What’s next?

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    Since Raker did not bring this up yet, where was Rizzo when the Mets where throwing the ball all over the place thinking they had a triple play when because they stepped on the wrong base first all they had was one out. Did Rizzo not learn anything? He stepped on first before tagging Miley thus only getting one out instead of two! Costing Carlos a few more pitches. Rizzo should stop playing around with those Italians in spring training and actually learn some baseball.

    • Doc Raker

      I missed that low IQ play but I am not surprised to hear of it. How does one play baseball there entire life and have such a low baseball IQ? As the beloved Harry would say, “I just don’t understand.”

    • PLCB3

      What play are you referring to? The triple error when Soriano hit the grounder?

  • Sherm

    Alfonoso?

    • Doc Raker

      Sherm?

      • Sherm

        Smitty?

      • Berg?

      • Doc Raker

        Nate.

  • Doug S.

    Soriano’s leaving is a big moment for me as a Cubs fan. I see it as the last of the old regime and a fresh start with a lot of promise.