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hohokam-park-signFinally, we have a live TV game. Today’s split squad matchup in Glendale against the White Sox will be on WGN TV, assuming you can stomach the White Sox broadcast team. Hey, man, it’s worth it. (And, if you can’t stomach it, you could put the game on mute, and listen to it on Cubs.com/MLB.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillespie (the game is also on The Score).)

The Cubs’ other split squad game is in Mesa against Team Japan, who is getting some practice in as they await the next round of the WBC. That’s probably the game you’d rather see on TV (not just for the Team Japan thing, but also because, well, check out the lineup below), but beggars can’t be choosers. Plus, given the vast international interest in Team Japan, it’s possible there’ll be a feed of the game somewhere online.

Scott Feldman starts against the White Sox, and Travis Wood gets Team Japan. The latter is a very serious and good team, so, again, don’t be surprised if the Cubs struggle.

Dan Vogelbach gets an actual start in today’s game against Japan (like I said, how much do you wish that game was televised?), which says a lot about how highly he’s regarded by the Cubs as a prospect. Minor league players are often brought along for split squad action, and, yeah, sometimes they start. But the Cubs have plenty of other guys to observe at first base this Spring (they’re still trying to figure out who Anthony Rizzo’s backup will be), and they’re giving this start to Vogelbach. It’s quite cool. Man, I just made myself even more bummed this one isn’t televised.

(You can follow the Cubs/Japan game on MLB.com’s Gameday thing, though.)

Lineup versus the White Sox:

1. Luis Valbuena, 3B

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Scott Hairston, DH

6. Dioner Navarro, C

7. Brian Bogusevic, LF

8. Darnell McDonald, CF

9. Brad Nelson, 1B

Lineup versus Team Japan:

1. David DeJesus, CF

2. Javier Baez, SS

3. Welington Castillo, C

4. Alfonso Soriano, DH

5. Dave Sappelt, LF

6. Josh Vitters, 3B

7. Jorge Soler, RF

8. Dan Vogelbach, 1B

9. Alberto Gonzalez, 2B

(Brett Jackson was also going to be in this prospect-heavy lineup, but he was scratched with “minor” soreness in his throwing shoulder. We’ll follow up on that one later … )

  • http://www.chicagobearscentral.com Brent

    Baez walk-off HR.

    • Die hard

      And please again why he can’t start at 3B to open season ?

      • db kyle

        Because the last Cubs 3b prospect to have a spring this exciting was either Kevin Orie or David Kelton.

        • Die hard

          Slamming Baez by comparison to them is not the reason— maybe it’s because the master plan is to have the renovations move at same pace as team is upgraded so higher salaries don’t interfere with construction contracts over runs that could double the cost… Having good players go free agent before the paint is applied wont work

          • db kyle

            The reason is that they are smart at baseball, relatively speaking, and they know that you don’t spaz out and put a talented but very raw kid in the big leagues just because he excites the fanbase in spring training.

            An even better comparison would be Corey Patterson, who was a better prospect at the same age and was ruined, in part, but overexuberant promotions that never allowed him to work on his plate discipline.

            • Die hard

              Some good players play up to their competition- this kid seems to be the type….

            • another JP

              No… Corey Patterson was not a better prospect at the same age. They were both ranked #16 by BA at the age of 20 with similar numbers in A ball and Baez actually plays SS instead of CF, so I’d say at best it’s a push with an edge to Baez based on position. And with Baez bat speed and CPat’s long swing I’d bet you that Baez’ ML career will dwarf Pattersons.

              With 509 PA @ A, 506 @ AA, and 403 @ AAA I don’t know if Corey’s problem was overexuberant promotions as much as it was a flaw in plate discipline that exists to this day. Some players (e.g., BJax) just have a problem making contact, and even when the Cubs tried making CPat a more patient hitter he always regressed to his old habits. Just the way it is-

              • another JP

                whoops, more like Patterson’s career will dwarf Baez. A little dyslexic there.

              • db kyle

                Incorrect.

                Patterson was rated No. 16 before his age-19 season, which was his pro debut. After he put up a .better OPS and lower strikeout rate at A-ball than Baez just did, he was rated No. 3 overall going into his age 20 season, which is where Baez is now.

                Patterson had everything that Baez has and then some. He had the same bat speed, maybe a tiny bit less power potential, but way more defense and baserunning potential.

                • another JP

                  If you’re going to play sophomoric I-know-more-than-you games at least by honest. Baez had a better OPS in the Midwest League than CPat.

                  • db kyle

                    Sophomoric? You corrected me with incorrect information and I recorrected it. Patterson was the higher-rated prospect at the same age by 13 spots.

                    You are correct that Baez had a better OPS if you take only his Midwest League, but I was referring to his combined season across both levels of A-ball. Patterson wins .949 to .888.

              • db kyle

                But the problem is that the lack of plate discipline was exacerbated by the overexuberant promotions. Players like Baez and Patterson need to be taught to recognize and lay off breaking balls they can’t hit, and that is a slow process that involves a learning curve at every step. If you speed through it, you end up with a Patterson.

              • db kyle

                Also, not to be sophomoric, but Patterson’s AAA time came after he was demoted from the majors.

                He skipped A+ and went straight to AA. Then he skipped AAA and was called up in September before making a AAA appearance. He started the next year at AAA, was called up in June, sent back down in July, then called up again in August.

      • http://www.wavesoftalent.webs.com tim815

        He is weak against off-speed stuff. He was clueless last year in High-A Ball.

        I say that as a very big Javy Baez fan.

      • DarthHater

        Even Castro didn’t get called up before he had put up good numbers in 387 PAs in High-A and 243 PAs in AA. Baez, to date, has 86 PAs in High-A (with weak results) and 0 PAs in AA. He still has a lot to show before making the jump to Chicago.

  • Fakko

    Baez with the walk off 2 R homer. Cubs win!!! Got that video too.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      WANT! (brett AT bleachernation DOT com).

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