cactusAs dominantly as the Cubs’ split squads performed yesterday, they showed the other side of the coin today, dropping both games.

  • It would be easy to look at Scott Baker’s results today and conclude that his recovery from Tommy John surgery is not going well. He lasted just one-third of an inning, giving up three earned runs on three hits and two walks. He hit his pitch count limit before he got his second out, and his day was over. But let’s keep this in perspective: Baker was pitching in an actual game against a real opponent for the first time in a year, and for the first time since the surgery. Some yips are to be expected, and that’s really all we should conclude at this point. (The camera angle sure didn’t help our evaluation, since there was no centerfield cam.) We’ll see how he feels tomorrow – I care far more about that. (He also just missed a called third strike to the second batter, which would have netted a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play, immediately before Chris Young hit a three-run homer.)
  • Casey Coleman cleaned up nicely for Baker, with 1.2 clean innings, striking out two. I know I keep saying it, but I’m going to be very interested to see what Coleman looks like at AAA now that he’s been converted into a full-time reliever. I think there’s real potential there, assuming whatever that injury was at the end of last year doesn’t have lingering/permanent effects.
  • Over against the Rangers, Carlos Villanueva had another rough start – four hits and three walks in his four innings (3 ER). I don’t think there’s any reason to worry, but, that’s what happened.
  • Rafael Dolis also threw a nice 1.1 innings, though I still don’t think he’s a threat to make the bullpen right now. Cory Wade has his first really ugly outing (3 ER on 3 H and 1 BB in 2 IP), and Jason Berken (yup, he’s still around) got beat up by the A’s as well. Jensen Lewis also gave up three earned runs in 0.2 innings. The A’s bats were just ferocious, I guess.
  • Javier Baez had a mere double and a single today, so I can see why he’s being cut from the Spring roster. Hell, he struck out twice.
  • Brent Lillibridge hit a massive homer as well as a double against the A’s, and Dave Sappelt also had a two-hit (including a homer) day. He’s heated up quite a bit, and Lillibridge has been hot all Spring. You want my guess at the 5th outfielder and the 25th man as of today? It’s these two guys.
  • Alberto Gonzalez had another couple hits. I think he’s an extreme longshot for the roster, but if Ian Stewart can’t make the Opening Day team – whether by way of release or a disabled list stint – maybe Gonzalez wins that extra final spot?
  • Tim Saunders, a young man who hit like a beast last year after being drafted, even if he was an older prospect who is considered “fringy” by most, had a two-run homer today. So that was cool.
  • Trey McNutt, who’s already been cut, threw a scoreless inning (1 H) and struck out two. We could see him mid-season if he really takes to the bullpen thing.
  • Rich H

    I never understood why it is that Saunders is considered so low on the prospect totem pole. All he did through 3 levels last year was hit.

    • db kyle

      He was much, much older than the kids he was playing against. It’s like a high school senior putting up big numbers on the freshman team.

      • Rich H

        He was still doing it at high A. Where he will probably do it again this year. The kid may strike out too much (about 25%) but then again it was his first and only time through these leagues.

        • Hansman1982

          Really? A .743 OPS is “…still doing it at high A”?

          The only thing working in his favor, from last years stats, is that it was a ridiculously tiny sample size. Just as noone should get too worked up about Baez’s Daytona numbers, Almora’s Boise numbers, no one should get too worked up by any of Saunders numbers.

          At best, he proved he doesn’t not belong in the minor leagues. (Double negative intentional.

          • Rich H

            I never said he was a superstar in the making. I just think that he is a legit pro prospect. This year will tell a lot about him.

            • Hansman1982

              And I’m challenging the assertion that he is becoming a legit prospect.

    • BluBlud

      Extremely high strikeout rate for a guy without much power. I like Timothy Saunders, but he has to bring down that SO rate to be a decent Major Leaguer. Can play the field and can hit for average though. I reckon it will be a little more difficult for him to hit for as much average as a Major Leaguer however with that SO rate.

    • Drew7

      It isn’t all that uncommon for a college senior to hit well against lower-level pitching.

    • another JP

      I’m with you, Rich… I really like Saunders. For all the love Logan Watkins gets- in fact many people are advocating that he compete against Barney this season- Saunders has put up better numbers thus far in limited time and is over a year younger than Watkins. Saunders profiles an awful lot like John Andreoli in that he’s a bit old for his level, but not so old that he doesn’t have a shot as a decent ML player someday. When you’re the 974th player taken in the 2012 draft in round 32 it’s difficult to climb the totem pole that quickly, but it’s worth noting that he very well at all levels and would be playing at his age level if he graduated to AA/AAA this year. And Watkins is generally considered to be a top 20 prospect in the organization.

      • AB

        Drew7 is right. Every year there’s literally dozens of guys that do what Saunders did as a college senior coming into the minors. See: Marquez Smith, Tony Thomas, etc.

        Watkins put up a 76:97 BB:K ratio in his first and only go-round at AA. That’s nothing to sneeze about or disregard, especially with increasing power he showed.

    • Jason

      Poor defense, high K-rate,ridiculously high BABIP last year. Still, you’re right, it’s hard not to be impressed by the numbers he put up.

  • curt

    brett rick reilly has avery good article today on espn saying why the cubs dont win at wrigley basically saying the rooftop owners are leeches which they are , and that no other business would be told how to run their businesses, its agood read, bc those rooftop owners deserve nothing, and the cubs shouldnt have to heel to politicians like rahm and tunney especially since is helping wth nada just sayin.

  • cubchymyst

    Dolis got pulled during an at bat due to an apparent blister

  • Jason

    What did everyone think of Len and JD today?

  • another JP

    I like JD… told a few stories, cracked some jokes, and made several good observations. Eventually he’ll grow on the fan base just like Brenly did.

    • Whiteflag

      I found myself missing Brenly, but it’s still to early to decide on JD. I’m sure as the season progresses JD and Len be a good pair.

      • Westbound Willie

        Len kasper is not very good.

        • Hansman1982

          Is there anything about the cubs you do like?

          At some point you will need to do an evaluation of your fandom since it appears you dislike more things than you like about the cubs.

          • fromthemitten

            Kasper rubbed me the wrong way at first because he just sounded like a generic “voice” but he really grew on me in the past couple years and I hope he stays for years and years

          • DarthHater

            “Is there anything about the cubs you do like?”

            Yes. Cubs provide more opportunities for pissing and moaning than any other team.

  • Die hard

    Olt Gentry and Tepesch from Texas to Cubs for Marmol DeJesus Soriano and Garza would be interesting if Texas pays $20 mil of Soriano salary

  • #1lahairfan

    How is Jason Bergen still here?

    • #1lahairfan

      I meant Berken.

      I thought the rangers picked him up?

  • Believe in 2015

    Baez and Soler continue to impress me. The maturity they show on and off the field really makes me believe that they can develop into future stars for the Cubs. The Cubs sure could use a few breaks their way.

  • Sillyrabbit

    No mention of somebody getting an MRI on Monday? wow-

    • Brett

      That didn’t have anything to do with these two games.

      And yes, there will be mention of Stewart, as with everything else in the Cubs’ world.

  • Jp3

    As much as I’d love to see what he can do when healthy… That stem end seems kind of redundant and he’s not really an “asset” that you can flip if he is never available to get on the field. He hasn’t played in over 55 games the last 2 season and wasn’t all that impressive when he saw the field the 2 years prior to that. By 3rd baseman standards 18 HRs and .256BA and 25 HRs and .228BA is not a very high ceiling

    • Jp3

      Stem end= statement. Sorry hAvent had my coffee yet

  • Die hard

    Yankees could bring Bryan LaHair back to the states to fill in this yr

    • Jp3

      Do they need a bat boy or bullpen catcher or something?