I’m finally going to see ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ today after weeks of avoiding spoilers. I don’t see too many movies in the theaters these days, so I’m pretty excited.

  • Matt Garza threw yesterday, but not for as long as he or the Cubs might have hoped. The birth of his daughter this week naturally caused him not to do much work for a few days, so he was coming in pretty cold. He’ll throw again today, and the Cubs are still waiting to see if he can start on Tuesday. At this point, the Cubs would be best served letting him get to 100% before he starts. A dominant stretch of starts from here on out would be quite the good thing for both Garza and the Cubs.
  • As I hinted at in the post about Chris Volstad’s call-up, and then again in the post about the Cubs looking at Derek Lowe, Sveum says he anticipates giving Chris Volstad a long look in the rotation from here on out so the Cubs can see what they have.
  • Cubs’ brass and Dale Sveum met yesterday, as planned, to discuss the organizational plan for guys like Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. “We didn’t determine anything, but we had some good conversations about some of the guys that will be up in September for sure,” Sveum said, according to the Tribune. “But when and how all that’s going to play out … they’re still in the development process … The development clock is where we want it …. [Jackson and Vitters] have gotten their development in. It’s just a matter of when we decide to do it- this month or wait until September.”
  • Javier Baez and Brooks Raley are your Cubs’ position player and pitcher of the month for July. From the announcing press release, on Baez: “Baez, 19, batted .368 (39-for-106) with six doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 20 RBI and 21 runs scored in 28 July games for Peoria. Last month he led the Midwest League in hits (39), total bases (72) and slugging percentage (.679), and was second in extra-base hits (16), batting average, runs scored and OPS (1.076). Baez was named Midwest League Player of the Week for July 9-15, and his 39 hits were the most in a month by a Peoria player since Justin Bour had 40 in August of 2010.” On Raley: “Raley, 24, posted a 2.12 ERA (7 ER/29.2 IP) in five July starts for Iowa, walking just 12 while striking out 28 and limiting opponents to a .254 batting average. His 2.12 July ERA ranked fourth-lowest among Pacific Coast League pitchers. Raley allowed two or fewer runs in each of his five outings while recording three quality starts, and surrendered just two home runs in 132 batters faced.”
  • Ben Badler chatted at Baseball America, and there were plenty of nice Cubs-related tidbits. The best? It wouldn’t surprise Badler if the Cubs had a top 5 farm system by next Spring. (Edit: I’m awesome at reading. Ben said that WOULD surprise him. I say it depends on the trades the Cubs can make, but quite unlikely. That’s why I thought it was so nice of him to say….)
  • A feature on former Cubs prospect/player Adam Greenberg, who’s still playing baseball after his scary debut with the Cubs (he’s the kid who had one plate appearance in the bigs, and it was a fastball to the helmet).
  • A feature on Boise prospect Dan Vogelbach, including quotes from his hitting coach, Bill Buckner.
  • Tim Sheridan over at Boys of Spring has an *excellent* video package on Cubs’ prospects who’ve made their way through Arizona this year, including an interview of Albert Almora. It’s pretty much 7+ minutes of Cubs prospect porn, and if you’re remotely into that kind of thing, you should get some popcorn and enjoy:

  • http://www.boysofspring.com Tim

    Just a couple notes on the video. First, glad you like it! It was fun putting it together. This is only the first AZL Rookie season being played at Hohokam, so many fans have no idea they even play there. Also, it’s mid summer in Mesa and it’s freakin HOT, over 100 degrees when the games start. Also we are in our Monsoon season right now, so it’s more humid than the normal dry desert heat. This tends to keep the spectating down to the families of players, scouts and team members, and the hard core fans like me.

    Vogelbach has lost weight and plenty of it, last year he was rumored up around 280lbs (and looked it), I’d say he’s playing at about 255 right now. I would ask him, but he went up to Boise last week. On Almora, I talked with his mom and she independently confirmed that he was hoping to be drafted by the Cubs. They had a big party and when the call came from the Cubs, there were huge cheers all over the Almora house. Albert’s dad is pretty solidly built in the shoulders and chest, so I can see Albert putting on another 20lbs of muscle in the next couple years. If that happens he would hit Wrigley (if he pans out) at about 190lbs on his 6’1 frame. In watching Albert and talking with him, I have no doubt he will work hard to reach his goal. He’s all about winning, and said that attitude is what sold Theo on him.

    Soler is just a plain freak of nature, all the tools! Speed, power, big arm. When he hits the ball it even sounds different than everyone else here. He hit a rocket grounder to third that bad hopped the opponent and I thought the guy may have been seriously injured. luckily he turned out to be ok after being on the ground for about 5 minutes. Soler is still raw, but he is one of the prospects that really has off-the-charts potential!

    Tim S

    • scorecardpaul

      I’m a big fan of your work. It became one of my sites(like this one) that I think almost wears out my computer. I bet I kept checking for about a month when you became to busy to post during the season. I am a Cub Junkie, and I just can’t get enough. Keep up the good work.

      • http://www.boysofspring.com Tim

        Thanks Paul and everyone else for the compliments! It really is cool to see the Cubs building the minor leagues with solid prospects, that is the Theo plan. It’s also fun to see these young guys as they are just beginning their pro careers. I will be having a follow-up episode on the AZL Cubs pitchers, look for that in about 10 days or so. Gretzky had that shoulder surgery and still can’t throw normally, I saw him chuck two balls into the stands (not on purpose) just doing long toss. Literally 10 feet over the guys head. Gretz also needs to put on some lbs, he’s thin. It says he weighs 190 on his 6’4″ frame, but I’d say more like 180.

  • WNebCub

    put this on the other story regarding baez, figured i’d put it here too…lots of good stuff here today on the prospects. makes you feel good about the future of the franchise.

    One thing i wanna say is that was an awesome video to watch from Tim Sheridan! Almora is very polished in his media game and presence. no doubt about that. i’m sure it has something to do with the lack of crowd and the video but in all the videos we’ve seen from these guys in arizona the sound of the ball coming off the bat is different. when Almora or Vogelbach are either crossing home plate or waiting on Soler to cross home plate when he high fives them they look small. loved the video. love the Baez promotion…this kid seems like a player with some of that flare to go along with it.

    I was at Wrigley for all three cardinals games and it’s apparent how talented Castro is and that Rizzo already seems like a grizzled vet. his approach and even more than that the way opponents are treating him. i got twitter response from Goldstein the other day on his swing change…said it’s definitely elevated his ceiling from the start of this season. both Castro and Rizzo are perennial stars, in the making or almost there in the case of Castro.

    Very excited about the future…and i agree with those that are talking about prospects being looked at as trade chips. we appear to be really lacking in the starting pitching dept in the minors and i’m sure some of this over abundance of positional talent will be used to acquire young arms, along with Garza this offseason.

    all things considered, dempster fiasco included, the future of this franchise appears to be bright. great leadership determined to get it right. and not just one person making the decisions. a talented groug of guys who are proven winners.

  • Ken

    Tim, thanks for the great video on the AZL Cubs. Very informative and gives me a lot of hope for the future. Can’t wait to see a piece on Blackburn, Maples, Underwood, P. Johnson, etc. Also, how about an interview with Solar, maybe with an interpreter if he’s still learning English? It’s great to see the Cubs future in action.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Wow that video was great. Almora seems to be polished when it comes to the PR aspect of the game. Seems like a great kid with a great attitude. Soler seems like the type that will be a flat out BEAST! Huge potential their. That catch he made impressed me more then his HR. Vogelbach is the closest minor league player I can see to Prince Fielder. Huge frame, huge power, good eye at the plate, and surprising speed for the guys size. The Cubs definitely got some good position prospects in the minors… Im looking forward to seeing the next video on Cubs pitching.

  • FromFenwayPahk

    Tim Sheriden’s video was terrific. Thanks, Tim.

  • FromFenwayPahk

    SheridAn. Man deserves proper credit. I’ll know it from now on.

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    this is my favorite movie ever! i love the cubs and im so excited to see the youngsters! thanks tim! cant wait to see the pitching video.