The contest to win that signed Anthony Rizzo bat was announced yesterday, so make sure you check out how to enter if you want to win.
- Dexter Fowler knew Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler were studs long before he was playing with them. That’s the great anecdote here from Ken Rosenthal, who shares Fowler’s experience rehabbing at AAA in the Astros’ system when he played against the I-Cubs last year. “I was like, ‘Who are these kids?’” Fowler said, according to Rosenthal. “I told [John] Mallee (then the Astros’ hitting coach), I’ve never seen anything like it. In the minor leagues, you never see anything like that.” Mallee, of course, is now the Cubs’ hitting coach, and Fowler their center fielder. If you remember that time last year when Bryant and Soler were embarrassing opposing pitchers on a nightly basis with Iowa, you may not be surprised by Fowler’s reaction. But, still – this was a big league veteran, who played for a team with one of the best farm systems in baseball, and he was blown away by the two guys he saw on the other minor league team. I love it.
- (And, in case you’re wondering, Fowler’s stint came after Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara had already been promoted to the Cubs. So there’s no slight there.)
- Not that anyone who pays attention thought otherwise, but Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts confirmed yesterday at an event that he doesn’t get involved in player personnel or development decisions, and decisions about Kris Bryant’s readiness for the big leagues are up to Theo Epstein (ESPN). More here from Jon Greenberg on the Ricketts era, and how the expectations are turning.
- The Cubs and the two rooftops suing them were in court yesterday, fighting about whether the right field signs can go up before the case is fully resolved, which could take many months. In short, the rooftops argue their businesses will not survive without a preliminary injunction blocking the signs, and you can read more about those arguments here, here, and here. No decision has yet been issued by the court, but I’ll have more when that decision comes down.
- For now, the Cubs remain steadfast, by the way, that the left and center field bleachers will be open May 11, and the right field bleachers will be open in June (Sun-Times).
- Joe Maddon sums up a healthy portion of Javier Baez’s issues at the plate (Cubs.com): “It’s not even about strikeouts, it’s about organizing his strike zone a little better…. If he could somehow get to be a better decision-maker and then test that forceful swing he’s got in the strike zone, let’s see what happens there.” If only. Certainly, we’re not going to see Baez dramatically and fundamentally change from here on out. That simply doesn’t happen. But I remain of the opinion that small, incremental improvements in pitch-recognition and swing mechanics (I really think he’s got both issues) could leave him with a chance to have a big league strikeout rate in the 30% to 35% range, and he can be a very productive regular.
- Patrick Mooney on the man behind so many baseball men, Scott Boras. It’s always good to get a complete picture of people, rather than buy into the easy caricatures we all create in our heads.
- High schooler takes a fly ball off of the head, and his buddy uses the ricochet to turn a double play.
- The Dodgers and Diamondbacks engaged in a war of beanball yesterday in a damn Spring Training game. The clubs have a history of this kind of crap, not only generally, but with each other.
- Last night, Michael brought you down with thoughts of what could happen if Anthony Rizzo missed significant time (it ain’t good), but then brought you back up with thoughts on just how good and repeatable Jake Arrieta’s slutter is.