The Olympics are over … now what sporting events am I supposed to watch at night, already knowing the outcome? I’d joke that I could watch Cubs games, already knowing that they were going to lose, but the Cubs are playing the Astros this week! The losses are not assured!
- The plan for 22-year-old third baseman Josh Vitters is becoming a little more clear. While I made my feelings relatively plain when Vitters was platooned – I am never a fan of calling up a hot-hitting young player just so that you can park him on the bench – the Cubs are sticking to their guns. Increasingly, it looks like the Cubs wanted to get Vitters up to work with the big league coaches on his defense, and getting him comfortable in the big league environment. And, then, once he was comfortable, he would start to get more starts. At least, that’s what it looks like the plan is after Dale Sveum yesterday said that he expects Vitters to start at least two, and maybe three, of the games in this week’s series against the Astros (against righty starters). The Cubs have obviously been concerned about Vitters’ defense at the big league level (“defense” is to Vitters as “strikeouts” is to Jackson), and they didn’t want to expose him too quickly to potential failure. But – and I’m sure the coaching staff is really awesome (hell, just look at what Dave McKay has done for Alfonso Soriano) – is a couple weeks of big league instruction going to magically take Vitters from a questionable defender to a capable one? I’m sure it helps, but, at some point, you’ve just got to get the kid out there and see what you have. It looks like that will happen this week.
- More thoughts from Sveum on Vitters here, and they are pretty complimentary.
- What did Brooks Raley learn from his first start to his second start that allowed him to pitch much better? Throw strike one and keep the ball down. Those are great tenets to pitch by, but here’s hoping that’s a canned response, and not actually something he had to come to the big leagues to learn.
- Scouting and Player Development Chief Jason McLeod says the Cubs will consider sending Jorge Soler to the Arizona Fall League (a league where each organization can send a small handful of their top, usually more advanced, prospects) this year, but only if his production compels it. I almost wish McLeod hadn’t said that, because now, if Soler winds up in instructional ball rather than the AFL, we’re going to know the Cubs think he didn’t really look great in his limited action this year (when, to be fair, I wouldn’t have originally thought the AFL was on the table anyway).
- The Born on Third Blog was at the Peoria game the other night (the one where Jorge Soler hit the grand slam), and has a full run down on the night, with pictures.
- A fascinating look at the Houston Astros’ 2012 Draft from inside the war room. Given how close the Cubs will be to the top next year, it provides some insight on how certain decisions might be made in the flurry of the Draft. (h/t OV.)
- The MLBullets at BCB catch up on which teams stand where right now – spolier alert: the Cubs are near the bottom.