cactusIt was nice to watch Carlos Villanueva in action today (even if he didn’t do the hilarious leg kick when he batted). The Brewers’ bats got good wood on him when they swung at early fastballs, but he otherwise looked pretty solidly in control. Villanueva allowed just five hits and one walk in his six scoreless innings, striking out four.

  • Yovani Gallardo was Villanueva’s equal, and would have held the Cubs scoreless, but for a dropped David DeJesus pop-up. To their credit, Cubs batters did make Gallardo work a bit, seeing a fair number of pitches in his 5.1 innings of work.
  • Cory Wade didn’t fare so well in his first post-big-cuts audition for the final spot in the bullpen. He gave up a homer to tie the game, and was hit relatively hard, even as he was recording outs.
  • Zach Putnam wasn’t much better in his inning of work, laboring while giving up a hit and a walk, and at least one very well struck out. He didn’t allow any runs, though.
  • Hector Rondon, who is already being given a bullpen job by virtue of his Rule 5 pick-ness, threw a scoreless inning while striking out two. Spring isn’t everything, but I’m cautiously optimistic that the Cubs may have actually found a nice piece.
  • Starlin Castro had another two hits today, raising his Spring average to .480. Seems like his skill set – great contact ability, good line drive authority – would play particularly well during Spring Training in Arizona. Hopefully it carries right on into the season.
  • Darwin Barney hit his second Spring homer, so his beefcake plan from last year seems to have carried forward. I don’t actually expect him to slug a whole lot this year, but even 10 homers would be a huge boost to his value.
  • Dioner Navarro went deep for the third time this Spring. If he hits like he did in (very) limited duty for the Reds last year, the Cubs will probably be no worse than league average, in total, behind the plate this year.
  • Patrick W.

    If Darwin Barney doesn’t hit at least 15 home runs this season I’ll eat my pocket.

    (note: I have replaced all my pockets with delicious jerky)

    • TWC


  • Rcleven

    Brett you slighted DeJesus. 10 game hitting streak.
    Hope he doesn’t leave all in AZ.

  • DarthHater


    Thank you for putting on your man pants today and listing the winning team first. 😉

    • college_of_coaches


    • Westbound Willie

      Yea what was with putting the losing team first. Chicks only do that once and when they do the whole world stops ant looks at them.

      I was shocked when I first saw that.

      • MichiganGoat

        Well know we know two things 1-you’re a sexist troll
        And 2-you can’t read this everything was answered the last time you said this.

        • Westbound Willie

          Grammar check, please.

          • MichiganGoat

            Hmmm ignore the reality of your faults then try to deflect it, yup that’s trolling 101. Time to take Advanced Trolling 201.

            • MichiganGoat

              And yes drinking a bracket of beer does cloud the rules of grammar, what your excuse for not understanding how scores are reporting?

              • MightyBear

                A bracket of beer? Please o’ wise Goat, enlighten me.

                • MichiganGoat

                  64 beers I barely got through the east egion

                  • MightyBear

                    Ah thanks. Brings new meaning to the term “Bracketology”.

  • Spriggs

    I am not a Barney fan by any stretch of the imagination. But I am guessing he WILL hit 10 or more HRs this year. He is definitely stronger than last year. I really, really hope so — since we appear to be stuck with him either way. I just hope the 10 HR version doesn’t try to hit homers every time he’s up… like Theriot did after he hit those 7.

    • Bret Epic


    • CubFan Paul

      Screw homeruns. Darwin needs more doubles. If he’s not going to roid up, then he needs more gap hits.

    • Big Daddy

      His hr yesterday was a bomb. He looked like Sosa up there.

  • ruby2626

    No mention of Rule 5 Rondon, 1 perfect inning with 2 K’s. How is he looking? One of the so called experts (Law, I believe) said he wasn’t throwing particularly fast. Loved this pickup, early returns at least statistically are good.

    • Brett

      He’s mentioned.

    • hansman1982

      According to Baseball-Reference, he is facing AA talent thus far.

    • Kyle

      From what I’ve seen in the spring in terms of scouting reports, I expect him to be better than Lendy Castillo, but not really anything special.

      I think the one time we had a velocity report, he was sitting in the low 90s. Hope he has another gear for the regular season.

    • Big Daddy

      He was dealing yesterday.

  • Kyle

    Here’s a bit of fun.

    Baseball America’s Jim Callis predicts the 2016 playoff races, no mention of the Cubs. Cardinals take the division and Reds a wild card

    • Bill

      Kyle (or anyone else),

      How did Vitters age last year, compare to the age of other AAA players? I’m asking because a guy on another site is saying that 22 years old is not young for a AAA player. I thought Vitters was relatively young compared to the other AAA players, but maybe I’m wrong. What is the avg age of the AAA player, and what would be considered young for the league?

      • Kyle

        Vitters was one of the youngest hitters in AAA for most of the season. Tell whoever told you that 22 is not young for AAA that Kyle says they are wrong.

        • Bill

          Thanks! You da man.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      After his 2002 writings, Callis will never predict future success for the Cubs again!

    • Brett

      Reds better than the Cubs in 2016? I’ll take that bet.

      • Kyle

        I don’t think I would.

        I like Walt Jocketty as a baseball guy, so we don’t have a big advantage there.

        They have their new TV contract in place, so we don’t have a big advantage there.

        Their farm system is ranked only a few spots behind us, on average, so we don’t have a big advantage their.

        Meanwhile, they have a huge advantage in already-in-place MLB talent, plenty of it fairly young.

        Honestly, I think the team that got overlooked there is the Pirates. They are about to hit their window of competitiveness, much like the Brewers from a few years ago. Sure, they’ll fade into obscurity again, just like the Brewers, after it’s over, but in 2016 that window should be open.

        • hansman1982

          “Honestly, I think the team that got overlooked there is the Pirates. They are about to hit their window of competitiveness, much like the Brewers from a few years ago. Sure, they’ll fade into obscurity again, just like the Brewers, after it’s over, but in 2016 that window should be open.”

          Decade 2 of this being true.

          • Kyle

            I don’t think that’s really true.

            BA doesn’t make all their archives available to the public, but in 2005 and 2006, the Pirates were 19th and 18th in the organizational talent rankings.

            Their current front office has been in place since 2007 and they went on an Epstein-style “build from the ground up” plan that is just about to come to a head.

            • hansman1982

              Exaggeration for effect.

              I guess a more apt team to point to would be the Royals, but I think the Pirates have more money and a better FO than the Royals.

              • Kyle

                I think the Brewers were a pretty fair comparision.

                The Pirates have a good front office and know their window is limited, so they are trying to time out a wave of prospects to give themselves a few years combined with smart FA signings. It won’t get them 10 years of contention, but it might get them 3 or 4, starting this year or next.

        • Brett

          Actually …

          The Reds don’t have their new TV contract yet (the current deal runs through 2016), though they’re expected to renegotiate soon, using the Indians’ new deal as a benchmark.

          The expected renegotiated deal for the Reds? $40 million per year. That’s less than the Cubs get now on their massively under-market deal. The Cubs’ TV deal advantage over the Reds come 2016, barring some tidal shift in baseball economics, is going to be gargantuan.

          • Kyle

            My mistake, I hard heard so much about it that I was thinking they’d already had it in place.

            $40 million is in the range of possibilities, but this article for example guesses it could be as high as $75 million:

            And betting on the high end with sports TV deals has been a safe bet of late.

            The problem is that while we can have a large advantage in nominal dollars, the advantage has shrunk considerably in practical terms because of the new CBA and other revenue streams. As long as teams like the Reds can lock up guys like Joey Votto, they will be OK. It’s not so much important that we feast, we lose our advantage when the others don’t starve.

        • hansman1982

          “Meanwhile, they have a huge advantage in already-in-place MLB talent, plenty of it fairly young.”

          Stubbs and Bruce are both high K guys. Although their pitching was scary good last year.

          2016 is just too far out for me to get too riled up about who’s contending for what. The Pirates building may fall flat on it’s, the Reds may fall off, the Cardinals may fall off, the Cubs rebuild may fall flat on it’s face. Or the Central could become the dominant powerhouse in the NL.

          • Kyle

            I wish we didn’t have to worry about the long-term future, because you are right that it’s pretty fickle. But unfortunately, that’s what our organization seems to be focused on.

            I’m not saying the Cubs have no shot, but I think it’s worth noticing that the rest of the NL Central (sans Brewers) have pretty bright futures ahead of them alongside us.

      • hansman1982

        How about this one:

        “Assuming the Rays find a way to sign David Price before he hits the free-agent market,”

        • Kyle

          I don’t think that’s as completely far-fetched as you’d think. I’m not expecting it to happen, but teams like the Rays are getting more money from revenue sharing and other league-wide sources.

          • hansman1982

            Yes; however, the Rays are cheap.

            There are certain things they seem to not want to do (or publicly don’t want to do): sign guys unless it’s absolutely necessary for market value and be buyers at the deadline.

            Since Friedman is having success with the way he does it, I doubt he is going to change his ways.

            With Price, he will be at 4.164 of service time after this season, giving them 2 more years of control. At this point he will be 30.

            I’d say it’s more likely they don’t trade him than they extend him.

  • http://Prospects IACub

    I’m happy for a spring victory – but it’s a little bothersome that most of our runs lately have been via home runs. It just makes me a little scared we aren’t producing them via base hits, steals, etc. Hopefully we can display some power this year, but if we have to rely on HR’s all year, uh oh.

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