cactusIt’s the first Spring Training Miscellany of the year, a feature that will make more sense – and be slightly more useful – once the “real” Spring Training games begin. The gist, however, is that the feature catches you up on what happened in that day’s game(s), with a look at ongoing story lines as they develop.

Today’s game was considerably less “real” than a Spring Training game (note the excessive use of quotation marks around the word “real” – Spring Training games aren’t quite real, either), as the Cubs took on the Cubs. Insert joke about the Cubs being so bad that they lost to the Cubs.

The veteran squad took on the younger squad, and put it to ’em in a shortened game (5 innings). Among the highlights:

  • Jorge Soler debuted with a bomb off of starter Nick Struck. You can see the homer here, if you haven’t already. Irrational¬†exuberance¬†hit a high point, and Soler immediately overtook the number one prospect spot in the system according to all rankings services.
  • Starlin Castro dominated the game, with some stellar defense and a 3 for 3 effort at the plate, and scored three times.
  • Nate Schierholtz homered off the foul pole, and Brian Bogusevic (whose terrible 2012 season is partly an unlucky BABIP story – just throwing that out there) took Rafael Dolis deeeeep to right center. I’m thinking Dolis’s sinker probably isn’t sinking quite yet.
  • Dioner Navarro and Welington Castillo each had fine offensive showings, so I guess we’ll have to wait another day or two to officially declare the catching competition closed.
  • Javier Baez didn’t have a great day at the plate or in the field (Dale Sveum called his defensive effort “a little shaky”), but he did rip a ball into the hole … which Starlin Castro dove and snagged. Thanks to BN’er Eric Pauly, we’ve got more video:

  • hansman1982

    So what you’re saying is that Baez has busted as a prospect…


    • Danimal8

      Hee-seop Baez! One game in and he seems to have hit his ceiling. I, for one, think his bat speed seems a little slow

  • cjdubbya

    Brett… in this time of continuing the “build” (as opposed to the rebuild), you gotta look at the positives.

    *harnessing my best Will Ferrell impersonating Ryan Dempster impersonating Harry Caray*

    Cubs win! Cubs win! Holy cow!

    Today was an abject success, and there will be many more wins to come. (as far as when…ah, screw it, focus on today!)

  • TWC

    I. Want. An. EBS.

    • TWC

      (And, yeah, I know there won’t be one. But I still *want* one.)

    • Brett

      I can pass the buck on this one, since there was no box. But you’ll be giving me grief come Saturday, because I’m very likely to stick to my “no Spring EBS” thing …

      • Fishin Phil

        Who cares about the EBS? Bring back the girls!!!!

  • Tim

    I absolutely love the way the ball booms off the bat with Soler

  • Steve

    Was at Ho Ho Kam Today for Soler’s absolute Bomb! A moonshot to left center that seemed like it would never come down. Excited to see some of the youth that the Cubs have and look forward to the continued rebuild of the farm. By the way, met Soler and he is one HUGE dude!

  • John (ibcnu2222)

    Any videos of the other homeruns?

  • cubchymyst

    Love to see Soler doing well which improves the chances of him starting off in AA. If he starts in AA and does well he might make AAA by the end of the year. That would lead him to making his major league debut some time in 2014 as a best case scenario. That leaves what 4 years on his contract he signed.

    • Rcleven

      Saw that he will be starting in Florida.

      • cubchymyst


      • Bric

        They’re All Starters in Florida you F-ing moron! JK, bro.
        I just read a response to one of your other postings that I thought was little harsh but kinda funny, too.

        • TWC

          Yo, where YOU been, kid? Glad you’re back.

          • Bric

            Thanks, Bud! I’ve still been reading but took a break from responding for a while. Non-coincidentally, the overall intelligence and rationality of the postings as a whole also went up in my absence.

        • Rcleven

          Ha. Meghan did a pretty nice job posting the action today.
          She just made grammatical error.
          As far as what was said he has a right to his opinion.
          Just express it for all to read.

    • cubbiesOHcubbies

      Soler signed a 9 year deal and this is only his second year of it so IF he were to make the 2014 team he would still be under control for 6 years, not 4.

      • Saving Grace

        Soler has an out clause after 5 years I think.
        So he wouldn’t be under control for 6 years
        Brett what are the details of the Soler contract?

        • Brett

          His “out” clause is just about opting into arbitration (i.e., getting paid more money). He’s under team control for the full nine years that he signed – i.e., eight more years including 2013.

          • Blublud

            So, lets just say he makes the team this year out of ST(which I know he won’t), his six years will expire before his contract, will the Cubs still have him for 2 more years or will he become a free agent then?

            Also, lets say he doesn’t make his debut until, 2016(I expect he’ll be in the bigs before then). That will be 4 years gone form his contract. Will the Cubs still have him for his 6-7 years, or will he still be a free agent after 5 Major league seasons and 9 total years.

            • Brett

              Those are spot-on questions, and I don’t know that we have the answers yet, since his contract is so unique (and obviously hasn’t been released publicly). It is believed that the Cubs get nine years, regardless of service time, and Soler gets free agency after those nine years, regardless of service time. But, once he arrives at the big league level, I’d imagine those are the questions that will be asked of management, and they might reveal the answers.

              • hansman1982

                I thought that once he became eligible for arbitration he could opt out into free agency?

                • Brett

                  No – he can opt “out” of his contract and into arbitration if he thinks he can make more money that way than his contract rate.

                  • hansman1982

                    That’s right…I was thinking that he could renegotiate his contract or become a limited FA to just the Cubs but for whatever reason the arbitration process was NOT popping out into my head.

  • CubFan Paul

    I think BABIP is more if not all about adjusting than luck. Luck isn’t/can’t be a stat (in my unnerdly opinion).

    Adjustments at the plate and defensive positioning explains BABIP to me.

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      There are definitely ways to effect BABIP one way or another, but the tremendous amount of noise in BABIP cannot be explained by two factors.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, it’s easy to quantify “luck”: all of the statistics describing parameters on a normal curve, for example (variance, skewness, kurtosis) are describing the range of standard “luck” you expect.

      If there were guys with chronically high or chronically low BABiP, then I suppose that we could look for other factors (speed, slugging, whatever). However, the patterns are so weak or so contradictory as to not really demand explanation.

  • Die hard

    Liked the way Struck shook it off and went after the rest- he’s a sleeper keeper

    • Rcleven

      Next hitter (Lake) hit a triple off the wall.
      Still looking at fastball this time of year.

  • mjhurdle

    I live in STL, and work not even a block from the local ESPN radio affiliate. A couple nights i have been in the local bar that sits underneath said radio station and have had the opportunity to meet more than one current or former Cardinal that had just finished some interview at the station.
    The person i have talked to the most is Chris Duncan. former OF, he had a really good power year, then injuries and the inability to hit anything but a fastball caught up to him.

    Point of the story is that Duncan told me that Spring Training was his favorite time of the year, because pitchers came out throwing mainly fastballs, with not-quite-season-ready breaking balls in between.
    He used to mash in ST. he stressed how not up to speed pitchers are in ST, and how easily it is to over-estimate someone’s hitting ability based on these rusty pitchers. i knew that pitchers were rusty, but did not realize the gap that exists. if Duncan is right, right now it is simply unfair how ahead hitters are than pitchers.

    I just use that to temper my excitement, though everything i see about Soler makes me think he might be the real deal.

  • Mick

    Just read a note that Vitters sat out of the game with a sore quad and is listed day-day. Does anyone have a stat line of Lake’s game?

  • Marc N.

    Castillo/Navarro really is interesting. I could see either one being the guy who starts 100 games or I could see neither starting 100 games. There’s also the outside shot one of them takes 120 starts as both are capable of good offense and passable defense. Quality depth with either one being a very good backup.

    I do not hate Lillibridge as much as I hate Mathis. Even at his best Mathis sucked, while Lillibridge was another piece of quality depth at his absolute best in the majors. Only have to go back to 2011 for the last time he was a useful ML player.

  • another JP

    Soler might start the season in Daytona but I don’t think he’ll be there long. He’ll show more talent than BJax this year in ST and be with the Smokies by June.

  • Jimbo

    I just got to az for a long weekend. Are they doing another intra-squad game tomorrow? Any idea on a start time?

    Thanks for the help

    • Rcleven

      Inter squad 1:00 AZ time.