cactusThe Cubs got off the Spring schneid today, beating the Brewers in Maryvale. They also tied the Giants 5-5 in a “B” game – i.e., not a real Cactus League game – to make up for the rainout this weekend.

  • Eric Jokisch threw a few scoreless, hitless innings to start things off. He doesn’t look overpowering, but he does have a nice, natural sink on his ball. Jokisch walked two and struck out one.
  • Arodys Vizcaino got in an inning of work, but threw only about six pitches. It was hard to get a gauge on his stuff, because the Brewers were eagerly swinging at his fastball. There was no radar gun on the broadcast I was watching, so I can’t tell you the velocity.
  • Blake Parker and Wesley Wright each gave up an earned run in their inning of work. Fringe-relief candidate Marcus Hatley threw a scoreless frame with one strikeout, one walk and one hit. Hatley has big league caliber stuff, but struggles with control.
  • Alberto Cabrera finished off the game with a scoreless ninth, but his command was a bit off. Out of options, Cabrera is going to have to make the team or be exposed to waivers.
  • If you didn’t already see what Javier Baez did, you should watch it here. And pray for that baseball. Baez also muscled a single out to right on a blooper with the outfielders understandably way back, and made a very nice running catch along the foul line in short left.
  • Christian Villanueva made a great defensive play at third base, and looks pretty beefed up (in a good way) this year. He has a very authoritative swing.
  • Ryan Kalish picked up a hit and a walk in late-inning duty.
  • In the “B” game, Jason Hammel made his debut, giving up a bunch of cheap hits. Kris Bryant and Albert Almora each had a couple hits in the game, as did Matt Szczur, who was all over the stat sheet. Mike Olt played first base (without issue that I’ve heard about), and took a couple walks. Jorge Soler and Josh Vitters saw action in the game, and although each got hit by a pitch, they didn’t do much else.
  • juniorlakefan2014

    Brett, it seems me to from what I’m seeing following the game on MLB At Bat that Brett Jackson is being very patient at the plate. Is this true, or is it just that I’m so used to him striking out instead of walking, that one walk seems like a lot?

    • jp3

      Jackson walked a lot, he has a plus eye if you can call it that but terrible contact skills.

      • section233

        Yeah – was going to say the same thing. Jackson’s never had an issue with understanding the strike zone, it’s the making contact part that he struggles with.

    • Mike

      Yeah he has been very patient but that is usually his game. He just has contact issues when he actually chooses to swing.

    • Luke

      He’s always had good patience. It’s just that he struck out so much that the strikeouts wiped out the benefits of that quality walk percentage.

      If he could just cut his K% down to something like 28% he’d be a quality fourth outfielder. Under 25% and he’d be a quality starter. Under 20% and he might just be All-Star material. All the other tools are there, except the ability to make consistent contact.

      • David

        What is his K% now?

        • Luke

          For which level?

          • David

            You have all levels? Greedy for data.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Here are his K-rates with 1-unit support bars:

            A-: 0.267 (0.130-0.441)
            A: 0.189 ( 0.140- 0.245)
            A+: 0.250 (0.200- 0.306)
            AA: 0.258 (0.236- 0.280)
            AAA: 0.324 (0.305-0.344)

            That trend is not pretty……

  • Funn Dave

    Score! I finally get to watch most of a game, and it’s a win against the Brewers! Although those Milwaukee broadcasters almost ruined it by essentially ignoring much of the game & arrogantly admitting that they wouldn’t even bother writing the names of the players on their scorecards after the 7th inning.

  • sleepy

    Congratulations to the Cubs who actually won a game today against an opponent who wasn’t themselves. May it be the 1st of many more to come.

    • ssckelley

      So who were they?

  • Cubz99

    Saw the last two games in Arizona and I think us fans are going to be in for a long year. The good news is that the younger prospects look terrific. Baez was put in after Castro was injured and Baez looked ready now. In the field he made every play and looked comfortable. At the plate, he is a beast. Both games he smoked the ball on almost every at bat. His swing is very violent, like he might come out of his shoes, but he was theist impressive hitter on the Cubs both games. The only knock some might have with him is that he is very eager to swing and swung at nearly every pitch. As long as he keeps squaring the ball up as well as he was this weekend, there will not be many detractors.

    The only Bryant AB that I saw, I don’t think he swung and quickly went down on strikes. The rest of the hitters were not impressive.

    In regard to the pitchers, Jokisch(sp?) was hitting 88-90 with the Fb and 84 with his off speed pitches in the three innings he pitched. Parker was not throwing much harder (90-92). The Brewers were squaring up Parker pretty good and he was spared a couple of hits from good defense. Armondo Riviero (sp) was throwing hard could not we the scouts radar gun.

    • Funn Dave

      Thanks for the firsthand account.

  • willis

    Baez had a great game. Made every play in the field and had a couple hits. The HR was a bomb. And as Brett said, as soon as he made contact you knew it was gone. I love him.

    Jokisch also was very impressive. He really stays in the strike zone. Nothing overpowering, but a ton of command.

    Vizcaino’s inning made me smile.

    • blublud

      Vizcaino’s inning was very impressive to me, despite only seeing 6 pitches. He did what he was supposed to do. If teams are going to be overly aggressive, then pitching to soft contact while saving your arm is a good thing. This is the one place where SO can be a little overrated.

      • willis

        And he came right after guys. Almost like he knew how aggressive they would be. He pounded the zone and gave guys things to hit. They just couldn’t hit it for shit. Which makes me happy.

  • half_full_beer_mug

    I just finished watching the game on DVR, and there were many positives but let’s hold off on making any rash decisions until the pitchers finally get ready.

  • blublud

    That Christian Villanueva play was great. He also showed good speed getting down the line on that groundout. It was much closer than I thought it would be.

    • ssckelley

      If CV hits the Cubs will have a hard time keeping him down at Iowa, I have been on this guys bandwagon since the Cubs traded for him.

  • Funn Dave

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    Post by DJ Billy Daniel Bunter.

    • Funn Dave

      yeah i had a feelig that wouldn’t work

      i have no idea who the hell that dude is. That was supposed to be a picture of a goat. But I bet that dj’s music blows.

    • mjhurdle



  • bbmoney

    Professor Park’s notes on his time spent in Mesa….

    Shiiiiittt. That’s exciting.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Mike Olt had better get his ass healthy and in gear because Christian Villenueva is going ot surpass him on the depth chart real quick. And if both get sent down to Iowa to start the season, then I have to believe Villenueva will be the 3rd baseman down there and Olt will be pushed to 1st base.

    • Luke

      Olt would be fine at 1B or DH in Iowa. His glove his fine, it is just his bat that is in question. He can demonstrate that he can hit while playing off of third without it having any long term meaning as far as his future position, place on the depth chart, likelihood of being traded, etc.

    • ssckelley

      It seems like every day you find some reason to dog on Olt first it was how Murphy and Valbuena were the starters and now this. NO ONE CARES! Olt was a throw in on the Garza trade. If he does not make the team the Cubs are out nothing as they have plenty of other good third baseman coming up. Even if Olt did surprise everyone and made the team it is doubtful he is the Cubs long term answer at third.

      You love betting against the long shot and pound the point into the ground to make yourself look like a genius, just like the Tanaka thing. Olt is a long shot to make this team and will more than likely go to Iowa. Everyone, and I mean everyone is aware of Olts hitting concerns.

      • Funn Dave

        Boom! Roasted!

        And, at the risk of being a total hypocrite, I have to ask…does he really think the FO is making any decisions based on less than a week of ST?

        • ssckelley

          Hell no! Which makes Blackhawks statements even more absurd. He was dogging on Olt the day the Cubs played an intra-squad game saying something to the effect that the Cubs not starting him was a sign of where Olt stands on the depth chart.

          • Blackhawks1963

            Take the medications please. I worry about the apparent involuntary twitch that afflicts you every time I post something.

            I never once said my opinion on Mike Olt is based on a week of spring training games. In fact, I just provided high compliment to a young Christian Villenueva who, to me, is about to lap Mike Olt. Why that induces such a chemical reaction within you is something I can’t diagnose on a message board.

            • ssckelley

              lmao, don’t give yourself too much credit as I do not respond to everything you post. Just the ones you get on a soapbox on, like this one and repeat over and over. You originally made a good point, an obvious one but still not bad. The problem is you keep on and on about it like you actually have some kind of inside information or are an expert.

              Tanaka was a long shot to sign with the Cubs, we all knew that and every day you kept reminding us of that point. Now that the Tanaka thing is over you are reminding us every day how much of a long shot Olt is. Well no shit Capt’n Obvious, Olt came into this spring knowing he was a long shot.