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I assume most of you are out Black Friday’ing among the crowds, so these Bullets are relatively limited. (Actually, there’s just very little news, what with yesterday being Thanksgiving and all.) I used to do the Black Friday thing every year at 4/5/6 a.m., mostly for the fun of it. But, with the crowds getting bigger, the hours getting earlier, and the family getting family-er, I couldn’t do it anymore. So, instead, I hit up Amazon’s Black Friday sale last night and got the first four seasons of ‘Breaking Bad’ and the first two seasons of ‘The Walking Dead’ for $60. Boom. Self-gifted.

Given the aforementioned lack of news, perhaps this is a good time to update the Winter League performances of a handful of Cubs players (plus a non-Winter-Ball Bullet at the end):

  • Shortstop prospect Junior Lake leads the Dominican Winter League in batting average, hitting .345. His overall line has fallen off a bit, as his .879 OPS (95 plate appearances) is sixth in the league (he was previously right up at the top).
  • Third base prospect Christian Villanueva, recently added to the 40-man roster, isn’t doing quite so well in the Mexican Winter League – he’s hitting just .205/.304/.410 (though that’s a nice IsoD and IsoP). It’s a fairly offense-heavy league, too. He’s had just 45 plate appearances, though.
  • Outfield prospect Jae-Hoon Ha is scuffling in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting just .246/.310/.292 over 71 plate appearances.
  • Luis Valbuena is having the most impressive Winter of all, hitting .341/.455/.593 over 113 plate appearances (he’s so feared, he’s been intentionally walked twice). He leads the VWL in just about everything, and it remains one of the better Winter Leagues, featuring a number of big leaguers. How much stock can you put in that line? Well, not a huge amount, but it’s certainly better than struggling.
  • Yoanner Negrin, the 28-year-old Cuban defector whom the Cubs signed and then had pitch almost all of last season in Mexico for some reason, has cooled off. After dominating in the VWL for a few weeks, he’s pulled back to a more modest 3.49 ERA and 1.42 WHIP over 38.2 innings of work.
  • Interestingly, Johermyn Chavez – the more prospect-y of the three players the Cubs recently signed to minor league deals – was raking in the VWL at the time the Cubs signed him. You don’t usually find too many super prospects on minor league deals, but 23-year-old outfielder might be worth watching next year. He takes a ton of walks, if nothing else.
  • The Vine Line Blog offers a humorous and interesting new stat: the “turkey,” which is essentially when a pitcher throws a three-pitch strikeout. The best Cubs pitchers in that arena in the bullpen? Scott Maine, Shawn Camp, and Alberto Cabrera, all of whom turkey’d more than 6% of the batters they faced. In the rotation, it was Travis Wood, at 4.5%. Matt Garza was next at 3.8%, and Jeff Samardzija came in at 3.6%. Give the article a read.
  • Fishin Phil

    Self gifting is great! Just don’t do it too much, or you’ll go blind.

  • Cerambam

    Brett, Brett, Brett… You bought DVDs of a show ? You know the Internet exists don’t you?!

  • mysterious4th

    I am sure Brett has no clue what the internet is….

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    I looked up the numbers for Chavez…could he be a diamond-in-the-rough? He doesn’t seem to be AAA fodder like most minor league signings.

  • myporsche

    I got every season of breaking bad for free from the internet lmao

    • King Jeff

      I don’t get it for free, but Netflix has all seasons of Breaking Bad and Walking Dead, if you don’t want to be a pirate or advocate it.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I like to own certain shows, because I’m a serial rewatcher, who only intermittently has Netflix. (And I prefer to pay for them…)

        • King Jeff

          I own both as well, some shows I would just prefer to have the dvd set(these two shows, Lost, The Wire). My Netflix suggestion was an alternative to the freebie internet suggestions.

  • Jeff

    By Christina Kahrl | ESPN.com, “The second move is to call up old friend Theo Epstein with the Cubs and make him an offer: Trade to get Alfonso Soriano’s next two seasons and the last year that Matt Garza is under club control, sending Chicago a package of Kalish, Saltalamacchia and minor-league prospects Alex Wilson and Matt Barnes.”

    Any comments on that proposed trade, seems like we would get the shaft on that one, no one really excites me other than Barnes, but minor league pitchers are too hard to project.

    • Professional_High_A

      I was on my way to BN to post the same thing. I don’t think that Soriano and Garza are worth two good (not great) MLB players and non-high impact pitching prospects.

      • Jeff1969

        Matt Barnes is ranked by Baseball America as the Red Sox 3rd top prospect. Other sites have him as 2 after Boegerts (sp). Alex Wilson is ranked just outside the Top 10. The other two I wouldn’t be so hot on, Kalish might tun out to be a decent guy, .260 ish, 12-15 homers, 12 -25 sbs, maybe. Salty? Ehh, he’s that age when some formerly crappy catchers kinda get a clue, and he seems like he could maybe improve a little. Also, are the Cubs sold on Castillo? As an everyday guy? I’m not so sure about that. Maybe the other catcher, Lavarnaway (again sp?), might be a better get. I just think Soriano in LF at Fenway would be tragic for the Red Sox and Soriano. I know he’s really worked hard to improve his game, but that would be like wicked evil to send him out there for 81 home games. They resigned Ortiz, so, it would LF for Sori.

    • Carew

      Getting Saltalamacchia would provide at power bat, although weak average…and Terry Francona is absolutely in love with Kalish, so there may be something there

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      I’d possibly make that trade and then get more aggressive in the FA market. We’d be trading 3 total years of control for 20…and be saving some extra fundage.

    • J-Nasty

      This is just an idea that a sportswriter came up with. I don’t think it is based on any talks between the Cubs and Sox. No reason to get too worked up about it. I will admit is fun to play around with ideas like this, but not going to happen.

      • Jeff1969

        I don’t think anybody is getting too excited…just reading, thinking, & throwing some thoughts around.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      heheh, we are getting a taste of our own medicine: this looks a lot like the “let’s dump Vitters, BJax & Clevenger on the DBacks for Upton” type of trades that get suggested here!

      • Dr. Percival Cox

        It doesn’t seem insane to me that Theo might be willing to accept a deal for Garza built around Barnes, but the others are pure fantasy. For that package, Allen Webster and Jackie Bradley need to be in the conversation.

        • #1lahairfan

          The funny thing is most Red Sox fans are saying that deal is outrageous.

          • Dr. Percival Cox

            The trick is this. Theo wanted quality pitching in return for Garza — and by quality I mean guys like Cody Buckel or Tyler Skaggs who are going to be ready in the very near future, and have a high degree of certainty of pitching in the big leagues. The price has probably dropped some, but not much. So if you’re taking a guy like Barnes with a ton of potential but who was just okay in high A ball (after dominating low A), you’re going to want some other pieces to trade down like that. And, given where the Cubs are, those pieces are going to be prospects.

            I can kinda see what Boston fans are complaining about, but they have nothing to worry about because the Cubs won’t want Saltalamacchia. And Kalish, well, from what I can tell he’s their version of Brett Jackson. They all want him to succeed — just no proof he’s going to.

  • cubzforlife

    My favorite box set is The Wire. Once a year I rewatch the entire box. Some of the best TV ever.

  • fromthemitten

    TREAT YO SELF

  • DocPeterWimsey

    A guy with a .205/.304/.410 line almost certainly is getting some bad luck. He’s basically averaging a double per hit, so he has to be hitting the ball with authority a lot. His singles rate must be really low.

  • Patrick W.

    Brett : we thank you for your patronage. Everyone else : do not discourage Brett’s buying choice. Join him!

  • Internet Random

    Breaking Bad is the best written drama series in the history of television… and maybe the best acted.

    • TWC

      The Wire and I raised an eyebrow at that claim.

      • Sweetjamesjones

        I agree with you TWC. Season 4 of the Wire is the best season in the history of television.

    • Spencer

      I’ve never watched The Wire; maybe I should start. But Breaking Bad is, for my money, the best show on TV.

      • Dr. Percival Cox

        Can I get a scrapple with that?

      • Rick Vaughn

        I like Breaking Bad, but I LOVE the wire. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        ‘The Wire’ is fantastic, but it requires a greater commitment than perhaps any other show – very demanding of the viewer, doesn’t help you out (I swear I got through three seasons without knowing a couple of the main characters’ names), and hyper realistic.

        The payoff at the end, though, is more than worth it. It’s not just entertaining, it’s one of those changes-the-way-you-think-about-things kind of shows.

    • Internet Random

      I fart in The Wire‘s general direction. Its mother was a hamster and its father smelt of elderberries.

      Not really. It’s long been on my to-watch list, but I’ve yet to see it.

  • Kevin

    Brett, keep up the great work with BN, it’s always my first choice getting the latest and most accurate information on everything that’s happening with the Cubs! Thank You!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Kevin.

  • Picklenose

    Brett, you might want to see if you can get your podcast on Stitcher. It is like Pandora for podcasts. I suspect they would accept it as they carry the Ivy Envy and Fangraphs podcasts already. It would make a nice addition to my cubs station.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, PN. I’ll have to look into that – wasn’t familiar with it.

  • http://Yes Dude

    I think Ryan Madson would fit nicely on the Cubs roster

    • J-Nasty

      If we deal Marmol he might be willing to come to the Cubs. He may be looking for a team that will make him a closer. Most competitive teams would use him as a set up man. Cubs have nothing to lose making him a closer.

  • FFP

    Sports Night is my favorite DVD box set. Try it if you haven’t yet. Tons of talent on screen and off. Fast-paced banter and peda-conferences — you see Sorkin getting ready for West Wing. Felicity Huffman’s laugh–

    I do have soft spot for Breaking Bad, though.

    • FFP

      I also like early seasons of Northern Exposure.

  • FFP

    Oh, Kahrl’s trade proposal:
    Kalish, No. Salty, maybe.

    I don’t see the Sox moving Barnes. (Or helping Theo; though they let some of that bad blood flow to LA).

    And as for Soriano in Fenway’s left? No problem for him; he’d be great there; but, I just don’t want to help them. (I am still pumping that bad baseball blood.)

    • jt

      I’m also in the Bean Town area (North Shore not Wistah).
      Agreed with everything, and I do mean everything, you said.

      • FFP

        Hey, jt. Good to know there is another Cubs fan nearby.

  • http://bleachernation.com frank hutch

    what about a marmol for porcello swap straight up? any thoughts

    • Carew

      I would love it, but no way that happens

    • cRAaZYHORSE

      This trade would help both teams – The Cubs rebuilding and getting a decent starting pitcher . The Tigers can easily replace Porcello through free agency or its farm system . The Tigers get a closer/ setup man with Marmol .

      People tend to forget ,when Marmol is dead on, he is nearly unhitable and The Tiger have better coaches than the Cubs. The Tigers can help Marmol curtail some of those mental pitching lapses.

      Will the trade happen ? i doubt it – but i feel it would be a good trade with the Cubs getting the better end of the deal only because Marmol walks after his contract is done

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      i’d definitely take it, I’m doubtful the Tigers couldn’t do a little better if they shopped him around, though.

      • cRAaZYHORSE

        Agree

  • DocPeterWimsey

    The Tigers can easily replace Porcello through free agency or its farm system

    Actually, the Tigers are trying to cut back on payroll, so replacing Porcello via free agency is not what they want to do. And although they’ve got a pretty good farm system for pitchers, there is a good chance that none of them wind up as Porcello already is.

    Besides, if it was so easy to get a Porcello on the free agent market, then it would make more sense for the Cubs to do that and then trade Marmol to fill another hole.

    • The Show

      I don’t get why the Tigers feel the need to always rush their pitching prospects? Other than Verlander it only shows it hurts their development.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I doubt that it has hurt their development. That is, I really doubt that Porcello is a worse pitcher now than he would have been had he stayed in the minors longer. After all, facing inferior minor league pitching would have provided him with less of a basis upon which to improve.

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    I was replying to the question. but i will reply to your answer.

    This deal would be good on both parties because the Tigers would get a closer in marmol and they can let their current closer walk. The Tiger would actually save money on Marmol and would have a few dollars to buy a low end Proven starter. Also the TIgers are not the Cubs The Tigers will increase payroll to improve its parent team because they too and the window of opportunity is today not tomorrow for Detroit.

  • die hard

    wouldnt be surprised if Toronto goes after Soriano as they are going for it all over next 2 yrs..wonder if Cubs could save $5 mil each year off of Soriano’s contract either flat or incentive based in such a deal?

    • cRAaZYHORSE

      How a season changes some minds . Too many ifs with Soriano The Cubs Front office is already the laughing stock Of the NL centrall since Houston was banish to AL West. and trading a productive Soriano for nothing would only add to the jeers ,yet trading for a poor production output from Soriano is the main culprit why the Cubs cant trade Soriano its a catch 22

      Soriano is paid handsomely for phantom production. He either produces or stays on the DL When Soriano plays to his potential he is a decent power ball player and great teammate but his bipolar work ethic is his main problem. that hurt everyone.

      Soriano will not be traded unless the CUbs give him away, and from a P.R standpoint the Cubs cant afford to that yet. Imagine if the Cubs traded Manic/depressive Soriano last year and received a player like VOLSTAD or Stewart the Cubs would only add to the laughs that most people snicker about anyhow. Thank the heaven For Rizzo its the only roster move that all of baseball can respect.

      • Dr. Percival Cox

        Oh, yeah, absolute laughing stock.

        Within one year, the organization added: Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, Arodys Vizcaino, Juan Carlos Paniagua, and Christian Villaneuva. And those are all guys that didn’t come in the June Draft.

        The other organizations in the NL Central want nothing to do with that record.

      • AB

        Geez your posts are hard to read.

        The best way to get intelligent responses is to take the extra 5 to 10 seconds to proofread your posts, make sure there are not words missing, and punctuation is in the right place.

        If you don’t take that extra 5-10 seconds to make your typed words more readable, most people will just skip over what you type.

        • Crazyhorse

          Then skip them.

      • Mike

        I had to read that a few times to decipher what you were trying to say. I should have made better use of my time.

        When rankings come out, the concensus I’ve seen from the Jim Callis’s and Keith Law’s of the world is that the Cubs are a top 10 system. That’s a 5-10 spot jump in a year. You’ve also obviously not seen any of the news coming out of the Pirates’ front office if you think the Cubs’ front office is the laughing stock of the division.

        • Mike

          *consensus*

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          Are you implying that boot camp might not be the best way to run a rookie camp? I can’t help but wonder if that impacted Appel’s decision at all.

  • J-Nasty

    Anybody hear anything about Fujikawa lately? He was in all the rumor headlines a couple weeks ago, but i haven’t hear anything lately. I’ve been guessing he goes to the Dodgers, but I would like to see the Cubs go after him if they deal Marmol.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nothing new. Seems like he’s on the verge of deciding, though.

  • http://Yes Dude

    You can add Sean Camp, Valbuena, David Dejusus and Scott Baker

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    All of those players down the road SHOULD improve the Cubs . if the tommy johns go well- drafted personal dont turn into Concepcion regrets , Injuries dont cut short careers . The Cubs have one of the best front offices in recognizing young talent but Baseball Operations on a daily basis is laughable . trades and squabbles. glaring holes at 3b-rf-C-Sp SP Sp Rp Rp RP heck lets throw some bench players bench, bench,bench Lets not forget Peoria- Arizona spring training, Trades with the Braves, Dodgers that well… leaked before being finale. The front office will improve but today they reflect the 101 lose record .

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Trades with the Braves, Dodgers that well… leaked before being finale.

      How is it the Cubs’ FO’s fault that the Braves FO leaked the Dempster trade? And what trade with the Dodgers was leaked?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I reckon he means Angels, which was also not the Cubs’ fault (they had to ask Marmol’s approval, told him it wasn’t final, and he spoke to the media anyway).

        • cRAaZYHORSE

          no

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Well, there was no trade with the Dodgers that leaked early, so …

            • Carew

              Something seems a bit trollolololol about this…

              • Internet Random

                Very much so.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      So what you’re saying is that opposing GMs ONLY value the quality of the major league team. So, when the Athletics were struggling, Billy Beane was also a laughing stock?

      • Crazyhorse

        Comparing Billy Jelly Beane to Cubs front office is an insult to Beane AND JED.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          That’s true. Theo has two more WS titles than Beane.

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    I guess those teams did not respect the Cubs front Office wonder wonder wonder why LOL . Listen the Cubs rebuilding is fundamentally sound . No person should ever give the Cubs a hard time because they want to improve its farm system. The 25 man roster is a different story- eventually if everything goes right and with a few added pieces the Cubs should be a contender . in the year ,,,,,,, whenever that year is.

    The Average paying fan only sees what is on the field. and the Cubs current25 Roster is always a reflection of the front office.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      the Cubs current 25 Roster is always a reflection of the front office.

      Look up “autocorrelation” some time.

      • Crazyhorse

        could care less

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          Obviously. To care would imply intellectual honesty on your part.

          • Crazyhorse

            one hundred and one loses is fact. the dishonesty is to claim that was improvement.

            • Dr. Percival Cox

              He didn’t make that claim. Perhaps you should try to understand his argument before you dismiss it? Just a thought.

              • Crazyhorse

                the reply was to you

                • Dr. Percival Cox

                  That makes sense.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      And by “Average paying fan” you mean cRAaZYHORSE.

      • mudge

        Statistically speaking, there may or may not be an “average paying fan.” Nearly all will either be above, or below, average. The chances of one fan paying exactly on the average is derived by employing the Higginbotham model, which replaces the Pszygzyschiewic-Lauser curve. The chances of this are one on 3,546, except on Thursdays. Happy Holidays, everyone.

  • Crazyhorse

    cORRECTION : I guess i should have typed. the fan that actually paid and attended the game . Forget about the fan that paid a ticket but decided it was less miserable to skip the game altogether. you are correct.

    • mudge

      If I am correct, it’s the first time. Sometime we should discuss on here, those who take losing personally and find it humiliating, and why.

  • RunningCub

    And boom goes the dynamite

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    I’m not sure why posters here bring up the minor leagues in our system like they are that great. I was listening to Rick Hahn a few months ago and he said that back in 2002 the white sox had five of the top 100 rated prospects in baseball and none of them except joe crede did anything.

    Most of these guys will be bust outs. It’s just a factof life in the world of baseball

    • arta

      which of the top 5 Cubs prospects do you say will be a bust? or how many of those 5 will not make it? just asking.

      • Nate

        Chris Volstad was drafted 10 spots later than Matt Garza in the 2005 draft, and you can see how differently their careers turned out. I think the point Westbound Wille was trying to make is that you can’t accurately judge what kind of career a player will have based only on what kind of player he is at age 19. (3 of the Cubs 5 Top Prospects are 20 or younger)

        • Bill

          Which is why to evaluate the big league club when evaluating the job Theo is doing. Sure, all these top prospects could pan out and Theo will be GM of the year, but it’s also possible non of them will pan out and we’ll have nothing (or little) in the farm system and a fairly neglected major league team. It’s why some of us have been saying Theo is playing a dangerous game putting all his eggs in the farm system basket.

        • FFP

          WBW, one of my favorite things about this site is the stuff I pick up about the minors. I guess one reason I like to read about those guys is that I am trying to be optimistic (here we are talking baseball in November; gotta be looking to the future).
          You are right that not all prospects turn into MLB contributors. But, most MLB contributors were once some scout’s new find. So, maybe we need twenty 20 year olds to find two great starters. I read here to learn those twenty names.
          Nate, ask your second sentence to read your first sentence. Just for fun.

          • FFP

            Nate, after my first coffee, I see your point that Garza and Volstad are near equals at 19, now not so much. True.
            That’s why scouting narratives are important. They were probably different kinds of prospects (I can imagine the word “body” appears in Volstad’s reports.) I also think that’s why MLB will be hard-pressed to give up on him (me, too). He has so many of the big fundamentals. Guys often progress (and decline) at very different rates. Unfortunately Volstad may begin his decline before his control or confidence or whatever that was he lacked matures.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Something to keep in mind about prospects: they have value independent of whether they bust out or make it to the bigs. While they are still prospects, they have trade value. That’s a huge part of why these prospect rankings (or, more specifically, what scouts think of certain prospects) matter.

      Even for folks who want the Cubs to focus on the big league roster and start putting good players on the field at Wrigley, these prospects matter: because they can be traded to pick up big league pieces. And, eventually, they will be.

  • Dustin

    I really hope the Cubs sign Angels’ right-hander Ryan Chaffee in the Rule 5 draft,”94-96 mph fastball with good life and he throws a slider that shows flashes of being a plus pitch”

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    First of all, look at a couple of teams that have tried to build through the draft, kc andpittsbug. They’ve been trying for twenty years. Kc has been bringing up a lot of players over the last few years that were highly touted yet they are still going nowhere. They have even tried to sprinkle in a fa once in a while and still nothing.

    Someone might say that the cubs are a big market team and will eventually fill out the roster with fa. FA, at least the really good ones don’t hit the market anymore. Everyone thought Cain and Hamels were hitting the market and the cubs would grab one of them. Didn’t come close to happening.

    The whole acquiring players landscape changed last yer in regard to loading up on draft picks or signing international players. The strategy that theo used in bean town no longer exists. Theos track record at signing FAs wasn’t that good in bean town anyway .

    The bottom line is that I grew up watching the UBS when they had banks, Williams, santo, Jenkins etc and all those guys won nothing. I would wager that there isn’t any banks or santos,or Williams anywhere in the cubs system.

    As for the person who asked which of the top five cub prospects are going to be busts the better question would be how many of the top five will be solid MLB players. The answer to that question is probably one of them, two if you’re lucky.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The bottom line is that I grew up watching the UBS when they had banks, Williams, santo, Jenkins etc and all those guys won nothing.

      True, but the good Cubs teams from that era always were sabotaged by completely falling off a cliff at the end of each season. Moreover, it’s sort of pointless to compare that era to this one: it was not until the end of that era that players got the right to sign with different teams, and that forever changed how winners constructed their teams.

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Another thing. I find it interesting that someone that hits .280 in the minors projects out that he might be a .300 hitter in the majors. That almost borders on being ridiculous. Brett Jackson struck out 30-40 percent in the minors. How could someone think that that percentage would go down in the majors. If a guy is a .280 hitter in the minors that should project out to something less in the majors. Look at starlin Castro. The guy tore it up in the minors and now is hitting a pretty solid .280 in the majors which is pretty good. Vitters was never anything special in the minors yet because he was a former number one he is still given a chance. If he was a number 24 pick he would be out of baseball right now.

    The bottom line is that the minors re a crapshoot at best. To think that a bunch of even solid players are coming is dreaming at its highest level. You hope there are diamonds down there on the farm but history will strongly argue against it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No one – anywhere – projects Brett Jackson to hit .300 in the Majors.

      • MichiganGoat

        I project that if he gets to hit off a tee

    • Kyle

      I love how Starlin Castro has a .297 career batting average but is merely hitting “a solid .280″ in the majors.

      • arta

        Ditto.

    • Byron Browne

      There is one line of thought that a player that will swing at anything will have more pitches in the strike zone in the majors, so he will get more hits. In the minors, he’d be swinging at balls a mile off the plate, even if they were inferior to major league pitching.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        There is one line of thought that a player that will swing at anything will have more pitches in the strike zone in the majors, so he will get more hits

        Modern pitchers pitch to the blue zones, i.e., the parts of the strike zone where individual batters do not fare well. In the case of the hitter you’ve just described, that blue zone will extend to a few inches off, above and below the strike zone, too.

        Remember, pitchers try to throw strikes: and that equals throwing a pitch “he can hit” only for the very best of batters.

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