Man. Quite the day of baseball yesterday. The Giants and A’s pull even in their series after being down 2-0 to the Reds and Tigers. The A’s do it on a walk-off after being down 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th. The Yankees do what no team could, like, ever do against the Orioles this year: they won a one-run game in extra innings, thanks to a game-tying homer in the bottom of the 9th, and then a walk-off homer in the 12th – both from Raul Ibanez, who pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez. There was also another series or something, but I can’t remember who it was or what happened …

  • John Sickels has revealed his very early top 5o positional, and top 50 pitching prospects for 2013. The Cubs score four on the positional list (Javier Baez at No. 5, Albert Almora at No. 35, Jorge Soler at No. 36, and Dan Vogelbach at No. 50), but none on the pitching list. While it wasn’t shocking to see no Cubs pitchers on the list – we all know the issues there – I was surprised that Arodys Vizcaino didn’t make the cut (he’s going to show up on most top 100 lists for next year, I do believe). I asked John about the omission, and he confirmed that it was because of the Tommy John surgery Vizcaino underwent in Spring Training. “Still a prospect, of course,” Sickels said, “but I never assume automatic Tommy John recovery.” Fortunately, increasingly, while it isn’t automatic, Tommy John recovery is becoming something like an 80/20 proposition.
  • Baez was behind only Jurickson Profar, Oscar Taveras, Wil Myers, and Xander Bogaerts on the list. That’s elite, elite company right there.
  • Speaking of Baez, he came in for some love from a number of folks in the organization, as collected in this Cubs.com piece. From Scouting and Player Development Chief Jason McLeod: “When you watch him play defense and watch him on the bases, he plays like a veteran who has been in the Major Leagues for a long time and at a very young age. That was the most pleasant surprise for me, and it’s really fun to watch him on defense. It’s like he sees things before it happens.” And from Cubs Minor League Hitting Coordinator Tom Beyers: “He’s got tons of talent and it’s not just hitting, it’s his overall game. One of his biggest strengths is aptitude. I was very impressed with how he took instruction and applied it right away in a ballgame. Some guys, that process takes longer than others. His is pretty quick, and the knowledge he has of how the game is played, he always seems to be a step ahead.”




  • Mesa voters have already approved the money needed to build the new Spring Training facility for the Chicago Cubs, but now they’re voting on funding for additional projects in the area (I believe this would be a portion of the “Wrigleyville West” concept, which would add shopping, dining, entertainment, etc. to the area immediately surrounding the park) to make it more of a destination – “regional attraction” is the phrase used. I say, whatever you want to do, Mesa. I’ll be there to see the Cubs, but, hey, I like to eat.
  • Positional reviews continue, with Doug Padilla looking at the catchers, and Paul Sullivan looking at shortstop.
  • You can vote for Alfonso Soriano for the Hank Aaron Award.
  • Bruce Levine is the first to mention something we’ve all probably been quietly thinking: if Bob Brenly (who is currently negotiating an extension) leaves the Cubs’ booth in favor of Arizona, the friction between Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone could push the latter to try and come back to the Cubs. I was a huge, huge Steve Stone fan when he was in the Cubs’ booth (who wasn’t?), but I’ve been very disappointed with his attitude since leaving the Cubs (who hasn’t been?). I’m not really sure a reunion is all that realistic or desirable at this point. I like Bob. I’m happy with Bob.
  • One more Baez bit. BN’er Northside Matt tracked down video of Baez’s monster shot homer in his AFL debut. Check that bat waggle – no wonder folks always mention Gary Sheffield:



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