babe ruthJunior Lake, who’s dealing with a stress fracture in one of his ribs, was cut from camp yesterday, which isn’t a surprise – both because of his injury and because of his need for AAA experience. Because of the injury, I didn’t want to count his cut as one of the “this cut is the blah-blah-iest” posts. Felt untoward. He’s not expected back into game action until May.

  • Scott Feldman on getting blasted yesterday by the White Sox (per the Tribune): “Everyone who’s a competitor wants to do well, but … it’s Spring Training. It’s not something to really hang your head about. It’s more about executing your pitches and continuing to build your pitch count up for the first game in April …. Results aren’t always that indicative of how you throw the ball, especially in spring training in Arizona. At this time of year, you evaluate your work on how you execute pitches and don’t get too concerned with results. If you have a game like that, get it out of the way now in Spring Training [and] learn some things from it.” He’s right about everything he said. I doubt that will comfort too many people, though.
  • Ian Stewart, who played in a minor league game on Thursday as he comes back from his quad injury, has full confidence in his surgically-repaired wrist (per Carrie Muskat): “It’s just been such a relief for me knowing that the surgery that I got worked and I have no lingering issues in my wrist and my bat speed feels back. The toughest part for me last year was I could hit [batting practice] all day because they were throwing it down the middle and you could control everything. Once the game came, and pitches were moving and breaking, and I just couldn’t adjust because the wrist was holding me back. Now there’s none of that. My confidence is really sky high right now as far as my hitting and everything goes. I was really surprised at how I was able to feel in the box [Thursday] and tracking pitches and some swings I put on the baseball.” He’ll still have to get in some Cactus League games soon to show it, and start running at full speed (which he hasn’t yet). I don’t think he’s in danger of being cut, though.
  • Javier Baez, who hit two homers yesterday against Japan, including a walk-off two-run blast, called the latter shot as he walked to the plate by telling on-deck batter Welington Castillo that Castillo’s services weren’t going to be needed. And then, boom, homer.
  • And in case you missed it last night, here’s video of the Javier Baez walk-off blast against Japan (full field). Tim over at Boys of Spring also got some video up close.
  • Team USA lost a thriller last night to Puerto Rico, and is now out of the WBC. The fact that this news makes me shrug is pretty much the precise problem with the US’s involvement in the WBC.
  • Brett Jackson is missing time right now due to a sore throwing shoulder, but one that does not affect his ability to bat. There still isn’t word on how many games/days this could cost him. Probably just a “rest” thing.
  • BN’er Bryan, who hooked us up with the Baez walk-off video, also got video of Dan Vogelbach legging out a double, which may be of some interest to those who wonder about his athleticism. I think he looks surprisingly nimble:

  • MichiganGoat

    According to THE source Javier Baez is the next Babe Ruth 😉 … sorry couldn’t help myself.

  • @cubsfantroy

    I can’t wait to see Stewart in some games.

    I think I am the only one here who likes him and wants him on the team.

    • Finner

      I’m with you, but I also think all/most Cubs fans want him to do well.

    • yield51

      You are not the only one that wants him to succeed. Although there are far more people that would rather him secede. Like Brett said the other day, a healthy productive Stewart will not only help this weak slugging team with some power, but is reliable at 3B, and makes the bench better and deeper, with the versatility of Valbuena being able to play multiple positions. If nothing else a productive first half from Stewart might bring a decent prospect come July.

      • waittilthisyear

        yea i want stewart to do well, but i certainly don’t like him

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    I personally like how comfortable Dan looked in with the lefty and going with the pitch. He is very comfortable at the plate.

  • PKJ

    Puerto Ricans are US citizens. Crazy that they have their own team. That’s about as ludicrous as Texas having their own team.

    • Die hard

      Thought Texas was a country after its governor lost the nomination?

    • Njriv

      Uhh not really.

  • Randy

    Did anyone notice that hit by Vogelbach was against a Lefty.

  • CubFan Paul

    eh, 9secs to second base.

    • cubchymyst

      I see I wasn’t the only one who decided to time his trip to second.

    • chirogerg

      9 seconds isn’t that bad. I think 4.1 is major league average to 1B, plus he kind of cruised into second

  • Manntastic

    That was a real bang bang play! jk

    I love the swing though, and I think he could get a spot with the Thunder from Down-under next off season if he keeps the physique up.

  • Fakko

    Wasn’t a double, was a single with an advance to second on the throw, in my eyes. Didn’t look at the box score.

  • Fakko

    Oh yeah, forgot to say that vogelbach got throw out at home after the next batter hit a single to center. Was out by at least 15 ft.

    • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

      Fakko, tell me about Javy’s walk. Was it 4 pitches in the dirt, or did he work the count? I’m surprized no one has asked.

  • another JP

    I’m afraid Vogelbach will never be a real athletic guy, but that bat will get him to the majors and keep him there.

  • mark

    correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s not a double right. That’s a single, he was barely at first base by the time the outfielder picked up the ball and and went home with it. heads up base running, but shouldn’t that be scored as a single.

    • Jim L

      That’s how I saw it too.

  • ETS

    Wasn’t it baez who told the angels in a spring training game “he does what he wants”?

    • db kyle

      It was even more awesome than that. It was “whatever the f%@” he wants.

      • Pat

        That was a sring training game though, he wasn’t invited last year. It was Arizona League.

        • Pat

          Wasn’t a spring

  • Jp3

    That is some swing Baez has… Also Sheffield like was his ability to pose on his follow through properly for his baseball card photo

    • db kyle

      He’ll have to make massive strides in plate discipline, but Sheffield is my dream scenario for Baez. The other elements are there.

      • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

        When I see Baez, I see Ryan Braun. REALLY hard swing. Hits for avg and power. Will end up in Left field.

        • ETS

          You misspelled second base.

        • BluBlud

          I think 2B is for Baez. He could possibly grow into the best 2B this side of Robinson Cano. He provides much more value as a 2B also, considering his offensive upside. Ithink left field will eventually belong to Josh Vitters if it goes to in house option.

          • ETS

            “I think 2B is for Baez. He could possibly grow into the best 2B this side of Ryan Sandberg.”

            I fixed your post.

            • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

              I hope you guys are right, his ‘projected’ production at 2nd would be great. I just have this feeling he may outgrow the middle infield. Just a gut feeling I have.

            • David

              A – Who is Ryan Sandberg?

    • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

      I know you jest about the pose, but actually it is a good indication of a very balanced swing, which is important. Now, if we really want to get into something about Baez that needs watching, it should be his home run trot. If he does that SLOW walk in the Majors, he’s going to be seeing a bunch of pitches coming at his ribs.

  • Tommy

    Thanks so much for the videos – it’s nice to be able to see this stuff.

    • N8theGr8

      tnx X 2

  • praying the cubs get ready to win

    I know Epstein doesn’t want the kids up but as a fan, I would love seeing Solar, Baez and Almora play, see how many core players we have. I love what they bring.

    • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

      It’s not that Theo doesn’t want them up, it’s because he knows they aren’t ready. We can’t go nutty because of a few good spring training games.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Pah! It’s people like you who warned us to not set up Hall of Fame Plaques for guys like Chris Pittaro and Gary Scott. Well, who got the last laugh on those guys?

      • praying the cubs get ready to win

        How does anyone really know they are ready. There are some amazing talented kids that are ready. Giving them playing experience can’t hurt and if they struggle we can then bring them down. I think we might be pleasantly surprised. In addition, it is not like it matters whether we win 85 games if we would have been lucky and we end up winning 70. With these kids I think there is a real chance or a much better chance we make the playoffs. I do like the direction the Cubs are going with young talent but you need to bring some up and see what they can do.

        • db kyle

          We’ll know Baez is ready when his last competitive action isn’t hitting .188 in Daytona and .211 in the Arizona Fall League.

          • Brett

            Even if it weren’t an hilariously small sample size (57 AB), I’d think you’d want to avoid the AFL numbers if you were trying to poop on him – his IsoP was a huge .244.

            Batting average … smh …

            • Westbound Willie

              Yet he has has a smaller sample size in st and some posters are going ga ga over him.

              • Brett

                I do think anyone who thinks this ST proves he’s ready for the bigs is mistaken. It’s fun, and it’s certainly a good sign, but it’s a tiny sample of questionable value. We agree there. But I am enjoying the show.

                • Westbound Willie

                  Always fun to see young guys who have dedicated their entire life to baseball have some success. All these guys have a dream and seeing some success must make them feel great.

                • Die hard

                  Ready is subjective. Could set him back by arbitrary time line…. One size doesn’t fit all is most applicable cliche’

            • db kyle

              I’m not trying to poop on him. I’m trying to rein in the irrational exuberance.

              Even in small samples, strikeout and walk rates stabilize very quickly. He struck out 24.4% of the time at A+ while walking 5.8% of the time.

              He struck out 23.7% of the time in the AFL with just a 3.4% BB rate.

              We already knew Baez had eye-popping power and amazing bat control. The excitement of spring training power displays hasn’t changed a thing about what we knew about him, which is that he has amazing raw talent and very real flaws that need to be corrected in the low minors.

        • David

          They are nowhere near ready and bringing them up early could destroy their confidence and/or harm their development.

  • Zach

    Baez was awesome yet again today! Can’t wait to see him at Wrigley in a couple years!

  • Jp3

    The AZL failure shocked me however if you look at the number of rainouts there were in August in Daytona it’s not shocking he had timing issues there. It’s going to be interesting either way this year watching his development, I’m stoked.

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