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baez mercedes rookie prankIf you’ve been wanting to get a BN shirt for the upcoming season, there’s a special deal going on now through March 22 – basically, if you order any two or more products, you get free shipping. Use “EASTER2013″ as your coupon code when you check out.

  • Spring is a time for fun and pranks, especially for guys who aren’t clawing for a roster spot. To that end, Cubs catching prospect Rafael Lopez, together with some help I’d imagine, pranked Javier Baez with an addition to his nice, otherwise completely white Mercedes. All it’s missing are some baseball doughnuts tied to the bumper. The front end was taken care of, too.
  • Jeff Samardzija, who gave up four runs yesterday, offers yet another reminder of why you need to regard Spring stats, especially for established players, suspiciously (per ESPN): “If you’re in the environment of no anxiety and no pressure it allows you to be free on the mound with what you want to do. The results might not be what you want, but if you look back at your outing and say there are a couple things you did better than the time before, that’s what it’s all about …. Especially with facing Texas and Milwaukee, the next two starts, those are teams that we’ll face in the first month. It’s good to get some work against their hitters, but you don’t want to show them everything in spring training when you’re about to face them in a couple weeks.”
  • Speaking of Spring games, today’s an off-day – one of just a couple all Spring.
  • Baseball America’s Jim Callis answered a couple general questions with Cubs-related answers yesterday in his mailbag: (1) he projects Javier Baez to be the number three overall prospect in baseball at this time next year; and (2) he says the Cubs are the fourth most likely team to have seven top 100 prospects at this poing next year (he guesses Baez, Almora, Soler, Vizcaino, Vogelbach, Johnson, and whomever the Cubs select at number 2 this year).
  • Arizona Phil over at TCR has an update from minor league camp, and he notes that, sadly, Dillon Maples is dealing with yet another injury. Phil speculates that it’s an elbow or shoulder injury, though I’d heard through the grapevine that he might have a leg issue. Whatever the case, it’s horrible news (if true) for a young man who has been able to throw just 10.1 professional innings since being drafted in 2011. The other bit that’ll jump out at you in Phil’s update? Dan Vogelbach has been taking grounders at third base. Before you go too far with that, keep in mind that this is just Spring camp, and the Cubs would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t at least start to see how he looked at other positions. It doesn’t mean he’s moving, or that he’ll even see any game action anywhere other than first base in 2013.
  • FanGraphs’ top 100 prospect list is out, and only Javier Baez (22), Jorge Soler (50), and Albert Almora (51) make it for the Cubs.
  • Baseball Prospectus confirms what we’ve all suspected: Junior Lake has the best arm (on the positional side) in the minor leagues.
  • Modestly interesting within the context of ongoing Wrigley renovation funding discussions (including more night games): the debut of Northwestern baseball at Wrigley Field, against Michigan on Saturday, April 20, will be a 6:05pm CT start. I assume that night game counts against the Cubs’ neighborhood-dictated allotment for the year, so it’s interesting to see one used for the NU game. I’m sure the Cubs want to make sure the game draws well to generate buzz about the partnership with NU (indeed, it was probably agreed to in advance). Tickets to the game are just $7, by the way, so you should go.
  • I’ve made a decision about the Series She-View portion of the Series Preview posts for this season, and you can see the details over at the Message Board. In short, the She-View isn’t going away, but it’s moving over to the Message Board.

 

  • Cubbie Blues

    If Baez will be at #3, I assume Soler will be #1 or 2? :P

    • hansman1982

      Ehhh, Baez hit a home run in BP yesterday so he shot back up to #1…

      • BluBlud

        Yeah, but Vogelbach’s hit 2 in one game on MLB the Show, so he is definitely closing in on both of them.

        • hansman1982

          pfft, there is this kid, Hansman’s the last name, I believe. Hit 50 home runs in AA last year. Too bad the Cubs traded him to the Nationals for Zimmerman.

          • BluBlud

            Damn Jed, what the hell was he thinking. Must have made that move while Theo was on vacation.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Junior Lake’s arm has to be seen to be believed. It is worth the price of a minor league admission to watch him fire from deep in the hole at short.

    • Spriggs

      That is the truth. Looks good from third base too!

  • Cubbie Blues

    Also from BP, best all-time arm – Shawon Dunston

    • JB

      The best comment I ever heard about Shawn Dunston was from Herzog when someone asked him about Dunston being drafted ahead of Dwight Gooden…

      Herzog shrugged and said that Dunston had a better arm

      • DaveY

        Yes, it’s nice to see Dunston recognized as an all-time tool. All kidding aside, Dunston, along with Sandberg and Dawson are why I became a Cub fan in a non-baseball household. I liked them much more than Kittle, Baines and Guillen.

  • JulioZuleta

    This is probably old news, but I just noticed that the Cubs and Sox only play 4 (which I knew), and that the games are on consecutive days during a Monday-Thursday Home and Home series. Better yet, it falls on my one week off between school and work. Going to be four days of baseball glory for me.

    • Spriggs

      I didn’t realize that until yesterday. Did I see correctly that they play the Angels twice?

      • JulioZuleta

        Not sure, I just clicked on the scheduand went right to my week off to buy some tickets. Much to my delight, 4 Cubs-Sox games. That’d be odd if they played the Angels twice, but you can bet I’ll be front row, as close to Mike Trout as possible if the Angels come to Wrigley.

        side note: I have long had well established man crushes (Patrick Swayze, especially) and I’ve always been okay with it. I’m struggling to reconcile my new found man crush on Mike Trout, a younger man. Is this normal?

        • BluBlud

          I guess it’s ok. I have always had a man crush on Campana, who is not as young as Trout, but looks to be as young as Trout. I assume man crushes are ok. If not, someone let me know and I will take the proper steps in geting my problem fixed. ;)

        • MoneyBoy

          AL teams at Wrigley …
          Houston and Texas (April 16-18) – 3 times,
          LA Angels and White Sox – twice

        • Spriggs

          Normal.

  • Spriggs

    Sucks about Maples. Sort of waiting for that kind of news with him though.

    • hansman1982

      Yup, pretty soon all that will be left of the 2011 draft will be Baez and Vogelbach.

      The Cubs Way!

      • DB Kyle

        Throw in Zych, and we’re just three more busts away from Ben Klafczynski being the best prospect from that draft.

        • Spriggs

          Not a Zych fan and not expecting him to make any meaningful MLB impact.

          • Cedlandrum

            why is that? I wonder if your opinion would be different if you saw him outside arizona where his slider would be more effective.

      • Cedlandrum

        Usually I can tell if you are kidding but honestly I can’t tell with this post.

        • JulioZuleta

          I wonder what they’re going to do with Trevor Gretzky. Kinda old for EXST, but I can’t see him cracking Peoria. Non-prospect but still interesting to follow.

          • Cedlandrum

            It is going to be hard to remember but we won’t have a team in Peoria this year. As for Gretzky, I don’t think he should be looked at as a non-prospect. He was drafted knowing he had a shoulder injury. So his first year wasn’t even allowed to really throw a ball. He DH’d and played 1st in the instructs mostly.

            This past year he really was a 1st year player in some regards. He acquitted himself o.k. He hasn’t learned to use his power yet, but he hit alright. A ton of singles, but he is still raw. At any rate he isn’t a non-prospect. He isn’t a great prospect, but he will only be 20 this coming year and I can see him going to Kane County if he has a good spring.

            tough decision for that team as there are a lot of guys who legitimately could make a case.

            • JulioZuleta

              Yeah, I guess that’s a little bit of a rushed judgement. I guess I’ve just gotten to the point where he needs to recapture my attention. Starting your third season in EXST is not a good place to be.

            • BluBlud

              Gretzky actually put up some decent numbers in Rookie ball, and will probably start out in Boise. He has a decent hit stick, and if he ever finds some power, he could become a legit prospect. Not a top prospect, but somebody to watch.

            • Spriggs

              I wish he would add a little muscle to his frame. Or even fat. When he turns sideways, you can barely see him.

              • fromthemitten

                we need to start airlifting poutine and maple syrup from Canada down to Arizona and fill him up with that

                • Cubbie Blues

                  Apparently hamburgers do the trick.

                  • hansman1982

                    No, no, no, I think Gretzky needs Waffle Burgers.

        • hansman1982

          The suspense is terrible…I hope it’ll last.

          • JulioZuleta

            Anything that slightly tips the scales in the favor of me meeting Paulina Gretzky at a Cubs minor league game just dandy.

          • Cedlandrum

            ha!

      • BluBlud

        DeVoss, Dunston Jr and Shoulders are still around, so there is that.

        • JulioZuleta

          Jensen, Andreoli. McKirihan, Tayler Scott, Trey Martin, DeVoss…Four of those guys are at least mildly interesting.

          • mak

            In that same blurb, AZ Phil also mentions Austin Urban, another 2011 overslot guy from CC who is throwing well.

            • Cedlandrum

              I like Urban and Maltos-Garcia. Both are high upside guys.

  • cubzforlife

    The Cubs used to have a knack for turning position players into pitchers. Maybe Lake could be the new Marmol?

    • DB Kyle

      I’m still betting that’s what ends up happening.

      • JulioZuleta

        Almost too late for that. He’d be 28 or so, and several times a minor league free agent by the time he could contribute. I have a strong suspicion he’ll be traded this year as a a deal sweetener. A trade where they move someone like Feldman for a team’s 10th prospect, but including Lake gets them their fourth prospect instead. (Completely arbitrary numbers, please don’t overanalyze that).

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Gonna be tough to pull it off for roster reasons. He’s already on the 40-man, and it’s hard to see him clearing waivers (so the Cubs can take more than one year with the conversion), unless they get a gentleman’s understanding from other teams.

  • BluBlud

    I think the Cubs realize how good Vogelbach’s bat can be, but also realize how good Rizzo is. They are trying to do 2 things. 1) evenually at some point get both Vogelbach’s and Rizzo’s bat in the lineup, so they need to figure out if Vogelbach can play other positions, which I’m pretty sure he is athletic enough to at least attempt. 2) Convince the rest of the league that Vogelbach can play the field to maximize his trade value and try to make him the main piece of a trade instead of the secondary piece of a trade. While Vogelbach is a guy I don’t wanna see traded, if the Cubs are going to trade him to bring in proven top talent, then they need to do whatever possible to maximize his value.

    • King Jeff

      I know we shouldn’t read too much into it, but this isn’t the first time that I’ve read about Vogelbach taking fielding practice at a different position. I believe I have read that not only was he taking grounders at third, but he was also shagging flies in left a few weeks ago. I know he will probably end up at first or dh, but it is nice to see the Cubs being proactive in a players development for a change.

    • Greg

      I’m rooting for an NL DH just so Vogelbach can have a spot in the lineup in 3 years.

  • DB Kyle

    People are reading *way* too much into the Vogelbach thing. It’s a long spring training and people get bored. They do things like field some balls out of position just to amuse themselves. He’s never playing 3b in a competitive game.

  • JulioZuleta

    Is it weird to anyone else that Baez got the “rookie treatment” from a guy likely never even to become a rookie?

    • BluBlud

      I thought about this also. But what the hell, how else was Rafael Lopez going to get his fame.

    • Spriggs

      I was wondering if real veterans just made Lopez do the dirty work.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Boo on the She-View. Anybody have footage of Samardzida’s homerun yesterday? One other thing, boo on the She-View.

  • Karen P

    THANK YOU for moving the series she-view. As a woman, my feelings ranged from mildly amused to grossly offended depending on the females chosen, the given reasons, the photos themselves and the ensuing comments.

    The fact that I’ll never have to look at it again if I choose not to is a welcome fact.

    • King Jeff

      You could have chose not to look at it by, I don’t know, not clicking on the link to it?

      • Patrick W.

        Nah…the She view came as part of the very important series preview. Better now to separate the informative from the non-informative. For those of us who thought scrolling quickly down to the comments past the silly pictures this change is welcome. Everyone wins.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I think this is a pretty fair balance of things.

          (I should add that there will be a “fun” feature replacing the She-View in the Series Preview (teaser!), so you may still have to scroll past the silliness to avoid non-informative stuff.)

          • Patrick W.

            I guess I’m all for “non-informative” “fun” stuff. It’s when I can’t take my usual 10am PDT break at work to read the Series Preview without having to watch who’s behind me that I have to scroll.

            • CubFan Paul

              A girl holding a beer or a swimsuit model shouldn’t be an issue.

              You make me want to scream “Homo”

              • DarthHater

                Yea, that was really an appropriate response.

              • TWC

                That kind of reaction makes me want to scream “asshole”.

                • DarthHater

                  That kind of reaction makes me want to scream, “Well said, TWC.”

              • DarthHater

                This from the guy who, a few days ago, posted here: ” I didn’t know I was supposed to be a homophobe so I’m confused.”

                Glad you got your confusion sorted out there, bud.

                • CubFan Paul

                  How out of context Darth. Keep kissin’ ass.

              • Danny Ballgame

                You make me want to scream “dildo”

                • Edwin

                  Things said by Tom Cruise’s wife?

              • Patrick W.

                Hey man… scream it loud. Be proud!

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I can say for certain that with this new “fun” thing, the who-is-behind-you concern won’t be issue.

              • Coal

                This was an inevitable part of what success would look like for you and your career here. Sort of like the Ace/Brett phenomenon. So, I guess, congratulations! I do appreciate that you hit it head on. “Move along, nothing to see here.”

          • MightyBear

            I think the solution for the She View is a very good common sense approach. If you want to see the she view, click on over, it’s not hard. If you don’t want to, then don’t. I thinks its a good move.

            • Danny Ballgame

              Slow it down egghead. Tell me more about this “not clicking” that you speak of. I seem to recall being told something about “not following” people on twitter being an easy way to avoid their posts.

              • TWC

                Baby steps, kid. Just take it one not-click at a time, and you’ll be all right.

              • Danny Ballgame

                Breathing deep, drinking heavy, and clicking with caution. We’re gonna make it through this

  • fromthemitten

    Hey with an arm like that if Lake can’t hack it as a position player they could try him out as a pitcher.

    • hansman1982

      already discussed…moving on now…

      • fromthemitten

        you can probably understand why I skip a lot of the comments… I believe Nietzsche once said “battle not with Morkens lest ye become a Morken”

        • Jeff

          Don’t argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!

          lol

          • Edwin

            You don’t understand, someone is being wrong on the internet! This aggression will not stand!

            • Jeff

              They can’t put anything on the internet that is wrong..heard that on the internet.

              Got to go…….got a date with a french model, met her on the internet.

  • scorecardpaul

    I guess I will let my “diehard”edness come out in this post. I don’t especially like the fact that we are giving up a night game. understand it and all, so I’m ok, but we need more night games, not less.

  • CubbieBlue

    I think we could even see a surprise with Junior Lake and/or candelario in the top 100. Also I think we trade for at least one top 100 prospect. So it really wouldn’t surprise me if we had nine prospects in the top 100.

    • another JP

      Careful there CubbieBlue- that much optimism will only gain you scorn on this board from Mr. Know-It-All. But I must say I share your enthusiasm and hope the reason we don’t have that many top 100 prospects is because some have graduated to the majors.

    • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

      I love your optimism, and I too think the Cubs could have a few moew sleepers move up to near ‘Top 100′ status (think Underwood, McNeil or Amaya), but don’t forget chances are good some of our top prospects will decline.

  • Cheryl

    Could Vogelbach catch? There are some catchers that have gone on to play 1s. Before he was drafted did he play any other position in high school? I don’t really see at 3rd, maybe left or right field.

  • DaveY

    One of the real benefits of of Northwestern playing baseball at Wrigley will be scouting. Northwestern’s home field is about as nice as a small town highschool field. Well, at least it was when I was a student. More seating will be available for scouts. I remember watching NU play Notre Dame on a very cold and windy late March day. We beat Notre Dame and Aaron Heilman 20-10. I think tickets were $3 but students were free but really, anyone could just walk up and watch the game as if it were being played at a public park.

  • #23

    I am still hoping Lake puts it all together and becomes the Cubs’ 3rd basemen for the next decade. So much potential there.

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    Break out the LAKE-O-METER

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