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arodys vizcaino cubsIn Spring Training, the majority of the early hype went to reliever Arodys Vizcaino, two years removed from Tommy John surgery, and once again elevating that fastball velocity into the upper-90s. Given his long recovery, his youth (just 23), and his other elbow procedure last year, the Cubs were determined to take it very easy with such a potentially valuable long-term asset.

That is to say, despite the hype, Vizcaino was cut early from big league camp, and was eventually sent to sunny Daytona* to begin the process of working his arm back into big league shape. The early returns have been excellent.

First, there are the numbers (small sample size alert in the extreme): six innings, one earned run, four hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. That’s all pretty much exactly what you’d hope to see from Vizcaino right now.

And then there are the eyes-on reports. Check out this great read from Sean Kernan at the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona pitching coach Ron Villone describes Vizcaino as having “lightning in his arm,” and says the arm strength – in terms of where he needs it to be for upper-90s velocity – is there.

Vizcaino is still working on his command (a long layoff will do that), and he’s still limited to pitching only once every three days. It’s going to be a while yet before we see him in Chicago, but it sounds like he’s got a great attitude about the process (and is even helping in the learning/development process for some of the younger players). Seriously, read the Kernan piece. Really makes you feel good about Vizcaino’s future, assuming he can stay healthy.

With big arms like Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, and Hector Rondon already in the bullpen, and guys like Neil Ramirez and Armando Rivero (among others) waiting in the wings, the Cubs will have a whole lot of power arm options in the pen over the next few years.

*(Fun aside: despite having pitched in the big leagues three years ago, despite being on the prospect radar for a half decade, and despite pitching at High-A only because of the controlled, temperate environment, Vizcaino is still 0.4 years younger than the league average age in the Florida State League, according to Baseball Reference.)

  • AA Correspondant

    Send him to me in AA Tennessee. We can always use another solid bullpen arm.

  • Featherstone

    Are there any service time implications with Vizcaino that affect his availability to be called up this year should the Cubs want to?

    • ssckelley

      Yes, because Vizcaino was on the DL he has accumulated 2 years and 50 days worth of service time. Just taking a guess here but if the Cubs keep him down until June they have an additional 3 years of control after this one.

  • Darth Ivy

    Im so sure he’ll keep looking great until he makes it into the Cubs pen. Then….well….man, im still not over yesterday’s 9th inning. Being a cubs reliever is like being a bears WR before 2013.

  • Illini Cubbie Fan

    Does anyone want to take a guess where the Cubs land on this list before they click the link?
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-04-24/smartest-spenders-in-sports-2014

    • Illini Cubbie Fan

      My business professor actually opened lecture with this article today. It’s safe to say I wasn’t in the most optimistic mood throughout class…

    • Chad

      It has been mentioned in another thread already and from the little I saw from it I actually saw little value in the article just like they saw in the cubs so you know. It was only the last 5 years. If they do this again in 5 years I highly expect a different outcome.

      • Darth Ivy

        I bet the cubs would be around the middle if they started in 2012. Just a guess.

      • jp3

        Groan…rickets have owned the team for 5 years… And we’ve been dreadful for???? 5 years with exception to the 1st season I think we lost about 80 we’ll have lost close to 100 the other 4 they’ve been in charge…the business plan they went with sucks

        • Brocktoon

          This is the 5th season under Ricketts. We’ve been dreadful every season

          • jp3

            I know this is the 5th but I’m already assuming we’ll lose close to 100 games, do you disagree with that?

            • Brocktoon

              I had us at 93 losses preseason, probably push it to 94-95 after the poor start. I was more correcting you that every season has been dreadful, the ’09 season was the last with less than 90 losses (83-79 off the top of my head) and that was Zell’s last season

        • Darth Ivy

          I don’t think we can use the first couple years under Ricketts to judge them as owners. To do judge this ownership, we should start with 2012 when they started to make changes. Sure, the W/L record only got worse, but as far as this issue goes, I think it got better. Maybe I’m wrong about that, it’s just a guess.

          • jp3

            I agree but you want to say we’re better in what regard? Our prospects are better because 2 reasons 1) we’ve sucked and picked really high in the draft and 2) we’ve sold off any remaining talent we had for prospects. Thanks for that I guess? 2012 we were terrible, 2013 we were terrible, and 2014…terrible probably to the toon of 100 losses. All I’m sati his stop telling me about the labor and show me the baby.

            • jp3

              Shoot I meant the saying stop telling me about how hard the labor was and just show me the baby… Right now it’s just a lot of labor stories

            • Darth Ivy

              in regard to the businessweek article. My guess is that the Cubs would be higher in the rankings if they started from 2012. Again, I’m open to the idea of being wrong on that. Just a guess

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              Lame analogy time.

              Let’s say you’re baking a cake and the recipe calls for it to bake for 45 minutes. Do you pull it out at 30 minutes and dig in just because you really want some cake?? Well you could, but you’d have some cake that is underdone and not ready to eat. What you should do is wait the 45 minutes to allow your cake to fully bake and then enjoy your delicious results.

              • Darth Ivy

                plus you want to give it time to cool….ie, don’t expect rookies to hit 30 HR and bat .300

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  Great addition to my lame but true analogy!

            • Darth Ivy

              and I disagree about selling off any remaining talent. Castro, Rizzo, Wood, Samardzija (yeah, he’s probably gone this year, but as of right now he’s still there). They actually extended Castro and Rizzo. They signed a go-to, solid starting pitcher from the free agent market. It hasn’t been the fire sale that some people tend to think. who did they trade for prospects-only that they didn’t sign as a flip? Garza, Dempster…they let Aramis walk, that sucked. But that wasn’t a trade.

              • jp3

                In all fairness other than Soriano there wasn’t many people left to sell off than Soriano the last few years. I don’t really agree with the cake analogy, I’d liken building of a team more like skinny a cat and there is more ways than one to do that😉

                • Darth Ivy

                  oh yeah, soriano. How’d I forget about him?

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  And they’ve chosen this way. You may disagree with it, but almost everyone across baseball has praised the front office for how their rebuilding process is going.

                  • Kyle

                    “You may disagree with it, but almost everyone across baseball has praised the front office for how their rebuilding process is going.”

                    Incorrect. Almost everyone who is being reported has praised them, sure. But that’s the quotes the reporters are looking for.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Well considering most media (especially Chicago media) is looking for any way to trash the Cubs organization at the moment, that is not true at all.

                    • Kyle

                      Oh yeah, the media is *totally* out to get them and not in any way slobbering over their every move.

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_mrNQBLSMU

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Wittenmeyer, Morrissey, Sullivan, Rogers, and to an extent even Mooney have all been anti-Cubs lately in the Chicago media. Nationally you have a guy like Passan with the article he wrote. Keep believing what you want, and I know how highly you think of yourself, but you’re not always right.

                    • jp3

                      So fullcounttommy if ALL those writers are anti cub do you think it’s possible they think ownership is full of shit too or are they mistaken as well?

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      If you’re on Gordon Wittenmeyer’s side, you’re one step away from the nuthouse.

                    • Kyle

                      “Wittenmeyer, Morrissey, Sullivan, Rogers, and to an extent even Mooney have all been anti-Cubs lately in the Chicago media. Nationally you have a guy like Passan with the article he wrote. Keep believing what you want, and I know how highly you think of yourself, but you’re not always right.”

                      The only anti-Cubs gut on that list is Wittenmeyer.

                      If you screw up and a reporter accurately reports it, that doesn’t make you them biased against you.

                    • BT

                      The idea that the Chicago media slobbers over the Cubs is borderline delusional, considering their 2 main beat writers are Paul Sullivan and Gordon Wittenmeyer, who do almost nothing but mock the Cubs. Wittenmeyer calls them liars every chance he gets. If you think Dave Kaplan somehow is “the media”, I don’t know what to tell you.

                      Kyle, I’m also intrigued by your earlier statement that seems to imply that apparently we are supposed to be paying attention to all the horrible things that front office people are saying about the Cubs rebuild that AREN’T being reported, yet you somehow know about them.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Also, it’s very simple why they’re all taking that stance. At this point, negative articles get you more traffic than positive articles. The only reason guys like Wittenmeyer and Sullivan write what they do is to up their click rate.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Kyle what positive articles have you seen by Sullivan or Morrisey about the Cubs?? Are you making up stories in your head again??

                    • Kyle

                      “Kyle, I’m also intrigued by your earlier statement that seems to imply that apparently we are supposed to be paying attention to all the horrible things that front office people are saying about the Cubs rebuild that AREN’T being reported, yet you somehow know about them.”

                      I’m assuming they aren’t saying them. Because if I’m in a competitive industry, and one of my competitors wants to waste five years buried in R&D, I’m not going to discourage them.

                    • jp3

                      Kyle I totally agree, of course competitors are all going to say yeah they’re doing it right… Stripping it down to the foundation and building it the “right” way and they don’t care how long it takes…. The problem with that method of building an organization up is nobody else apparently will give a FO that kind of rope, I would have no problem with giving them the time if there was no other way but other teams get to the playoffs quicker than that all the time from the cellar. It just seems unnecessary to strip the car down to something the size of an atom. I feel like when they get done they’ll have reinvented the wheel.

                    • BT

                      So Kyle, you realize your opinion is unassailable, right? According to you, if they say it sucks, GM’s agree with you, if they don’t say it sucks, they agree with you, but in the end, we all just have to take your word for it, that GM’s agree with your opinion. Heck, we might as well just assume the one’s throwing bouquets are probably just lying, right?

                  • jp3

                    For a bunch of saber metric bean counting nerds everyone has become under this regime the only numbers everyone is ignoring is team wins and losses…

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Not ignoring, just understanding of the bigger picture, something you don’t appear to be capable of.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      in all seriousness, i’m amazed on how low the Cubs have been with OBP, given how important that is to bean counting nerds

                    • jp3

                      Hmmm I’m capable of a big picture, 5 years they’ve owned the team (this is the 5th),, we’ve sucked, what size masterpiece are you painting? I’m someone that looks for progress and in 5 years there have been almost none, at least we’ve got the renovations under way.. Oh wait?…

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      I have a solution, don’t follow the Cubs. If you can’t be patient and see what they’re doing, then why bother being a fan. No one has a gun to your head.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      the rebuild hasn’t been going for 5 years, though. Epstein is the one in charge of turning around the product on the field. It’s his plan.

                    • Brocktoon

                      As silly as the “bean counting” comments are the “how bout you root for somebody else if you’re not happy with multiple years of contending for the worst team in baseball” is obnoxious.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                  There’s more than one way to skinny a cat?

                  Diet+exercise is one.
                  Is there such a thing as feline liposuction?

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    Who wants a skinny cat? They aren’t cute. The rolly-poly ones are the best.

                    • CubsFaninMS

                      Every time I see my neighbor’s cat in my yard I say in my cat voice “Well hey there morbidly obese kitty kitty!” She apparently does not know when to put down the mouse burgers.

                  • jp3

                    Shit… Skin a cat duh;)

    • Darth Ivy

      this should just reinforce the need for careful, delibrate spending.

    • MightyBear

      Kind of stupid really. The Astros and Pirates are ahead of the Cubs and they have a .5 playoff win between them. The Astros are still probably going to be a poor team for a few more years and aren’t going to spend any money but they’re higher than the Cubs? This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

      • Brocktoon

        Basically They spent less money to be terrible.

    • Coop

      It’s determined by winning and largely weighted by playoff success limited to the past 5 years, so yeah, no surprise on the conclusions.

      • jp3

        So we earned being near dead last these last 5 years then

        • Darth Ivy

          if you’re gonna finish near the bottom, might as well do it on the cheap. I’d rather have them spend more money and have more wins. But you can’t change the past. I’m glad they didn’t spend $300 million to lose 197 games in two years

      • Coop

        So essentially, if I team, hasn’t been winning, then it is deemed to have spent money in a dumb fashion. No consideration to when the contracts were signed that factor into the payroll. A simple, how much money did you spend the last five years and how many wins (and heavier weighting to playoff wins) did that result in. I suppose it provides some superficial analysis of how well spent the money was, but you have to take it for what it’s worth based on the assumptions and sideboards.

        • Santos Toupee

          Coop, best comment I have read here. This is a stagnant…well it’s hard to even use the word analysis.

  • Kyle

    I hate baseball-reference for putting that stupid tool in there because now people can’t resist referring to it despite its utter meaninglessness.

    • J. L.

      It’s misleading if you don’t know much about the usual makeup of minor league teams and assumes every player is a legit prospect. But I don’t think it’s meaningless. You just have to make some mental adjustment to the number you see.

    • ssckelley

      For AAA I agree, but for the other levels a players age is relevant. I would love to hear your reasonings for it to be “utter meaninglessness”.

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