Baseball Diamond News

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Enrique Wilson era over!!!

The Enrique Wilson era has come to an end. I know like myself Cub fans are mourning all over the world. Ok, maybe not, can this mean the Cubs are starting to get serious? They brought up Ronny Cedeno and hopefully they are going to play him 4-5 times a week, though Dusty probably will prohibit that from happening.
Also leaving the Cubs is Joe Borowski. He is a casualty of Wood coming of the DL which allows Rusch to go to pen. Borowski was a very good setup man in 2002 and a very dependable closer in 2003. He got injured in Spring Training of 2004 and he never returned back to his previous form. I do wish him luck and hope he can catch on with another team and become reliable again as he for all I observed was a classy person.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Prospect Report V: Sean Gallagher

Sean Gallagher was a 12 round pick out of Ft. Lauderdale's high school St. Aquinas in June 2004. He was projected to go in the 1st three rounds, but was considered by many teams to be a difficult guy to sign, so he was passed on until the Cubs took him. In his first season his pitched for the Arizona Rookie team and went 1-2 in 10 games with an ERA of 3.12. During those 10 games he started 9, went 34.2 innings giving up 38 hits while striking out 44 and only walking 11.
This season the Cubs decided to start him out in Low-A ball with the Peoria Chiefs and he has been spectacular. In 14 starts Sean has gone 7-2 with an ERA of 1.56 in 81 innings, giving up 52 hits, striking out 82 and walking only 26. Another amazing stat is he has only given up 2 hr's in the 81 innings pitched this year and he had given up zero the previous year.
Currently Sean is projected at best in the majors as a #3 starter with no above average pitch, but a good feel on how to pitch for being only 20. The Cubs have no need to rush him to the majors and I don't think they plan too, but this is what I think they should do: Bring Sean up to High-A ball in mid-July if he is still dominating Low-A and give him some experience there and then start him off in High-A next season and let him get a complete season then in High-A.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Another Idea: Call up Ronny Cedeno

I know people have been campaigning for Nefi Perez to get All-star votes, but let’s be serious; he would better serve the Cubs on the bench. Being an everyday starter is starting to wear on him and he is becoming a liability at the plate lately. So why not call up Ronny Cedeno who did well in his brief appearance this year and since being sent down to Iowa he is tearing up the league. By calling him up and starting him at SS will he help us by giving Nefi a much needed rest and also let the Cubs release either Enrique Wilson or Jose Macias whom neither would be missed. Calling up Cedeno would also allow the Cubs evaluate if he is good enough to step in as starter next year and maybe saving themselves 8 million dollars by letting Nomar go as a FA. If that happens, maybe just maybe we could use that money to sign a bench player or 2 or even an OF.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Idea: Trade Sergio Mitre

The Cubs are suffering from their lack of bench these days and with Prior and Wood coming back within the week and Jerome Williams doing well enough to warrant another start, maybe the Cubs should think of trading Sergio for some bench help. I know this may seem short sighted, but I don't have much faith in Sergio to be anymore than a #4 starter and those are easy to come by, but bench players are a scarcity for the Cubs the last few years. The Cubs should trade him now before he has a few more starts like the last 2 and reduces his trade value to nil.
The Cubs also need to shore up the pen with some real pitchers, but the Cubs need to take babysteps at first and then maybe they will realize what they need to do. I also know people say they need a lead-off hitter, but I still think they have one in Todd Walker, but Dusty is too blind to see that.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fire Dusty now.

Jim Hendry should fire Dusty Baker right now. He should just walk down to the dugout and tell him to go home he is no longer manager. What the hell is Enrique Wilson doing starting at 2b in the 1st game of the Yanks series especially when Baker said we need to start the series off good? We had yesterday off so everyone on the team has had some rest. There is no excuse why Walker or Hairston aren't starting at 2b unless they both got hurt on the off day, which I have heard nothing about. Putting Walker at DH is just stupid as he should be starting at 2b and Jason Dubois should be the DH, especially since Henry is starting at catcher, the Cubs need all the offense they can get.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What Cubs need

The Cubs have plenty of needs, but the problem is they also have plenty of injuries. This causes a problem because it puts Hendry in a tough spot, go for short term fix or long term fix. My buddy Sean says,” Flags fly forever" and as much as I agree with that statement, but I don't think the Cubs have the ability to win the World Series this year. I think it would be silly if they go out and make a bunch of moves at the moment because to change this team you have to make way too many trades and that would kill the future and I think they still would come up short.
So what do I think the Cubs should do? Well first I think they should still acquire one more reliable reliever (a good lefty preferred) this way we might be able to dump Cliff Bartosh and/or Mike Remlinger. Next they need to get a hitting coach or manager that teaches players to take more pitches. The Cubs swing at the 1st pitch way too often especially when a pitcher is showing that he is not on the top of his game the Cubs take it upon themselves to swing early in the count. Now I know some people might be thinking right away, TRADE Corey because he fits that description. It is true he strikes out a lot, but I am not one that thinks trading Corey now is smart. Look at Jason Dubois, I don't hear anyone complain about him, but look at his ratio of strikeouts, it is one time in every 3 at-bats. I think the problem is since, Baker became coach the Cubs have a mentality to swing at everything and hopefully we make contact. Then when they don't Baker says some moronic thing about his player and why he is not reaching his potential, never him or his staffs fault. Did we ever here him put down "Wave him around" Kim? No, which in a way is a good thing not undermining your coaches, but when something fails over and over again with many players, maybe it is not the players and the coaches.
Next thing they need to do is get some bench players. No team in the world is going to go anywhere with Jose Macias, Enrique Wilson, and Henry Blanco on the bench and Nefi Perez starting (who I even have to admit is having a great year for Nefi). I keep saying this in my posts and people are probably tired of it, but this is Hendry's fault for slacking on the teams bench and pen problems. I don't blame Baker for the bench and pen's short comings because he is not the one that went out and signed these players.
People say the Cubs need a leadoff hitter, but I think they have one, they just don't bat him there, why not put Todd Walker there? I know he doesn't have a ton of speed, but who cares and when does Dusty tell his players to steal anyway? One of my favorite leadoff hitters growing up played for the California Angels and had no speed, Brian Downing. He got on and then it was up to the 2-3-4 hitters to do their job. The Cubs might benefit from this and help score more runs.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Quick little plug

Hey everyone,

I am going to keep being active posting here, but I am now also posting on another baseball site with many different writers from around the country covering all of basell BrownBullfrog .
Some of these articles will be posted on that website and vice versa, but over time I will be writing different articles for both sites.



Red Sox vs Cubs

Today the Red Sox come in town to face the Cubs in probably the best interleague match-up all year (and for those that don't know, I hate interleague play). Quick side note of why I hate interleague play, 2 major reasons: 1) The schedule is very unbalanced, some teams get to play TB or KC while others get stuck with the Red Sox or the White Sox, 2) When in the NL park it becomes a much bigger disadvantage for AL teams, then when in AL park for NL teams.
This will be the Red Sox first time ever in Wrigley and the last time these 2 teams met was in 1918 in the World Series (Red Sox won in 6) and was played in Comiskey Park due to more seating there. The history of both these teams and the agony of long droughts between championships also helps add to the intrigue of this series, though the Red Sox draught ended last year. I expect there to be as many Boston fans in the stands as Cub fans, as both fans are fanatics and would be willing to do almost anything to support their teams.
I expect the series to be full of excitement and have a few crazy plays happen during it. One thing though that is a let down is that Matt Clement won't be pitching in the series. I think that would have been great for him, the series, and the Cub fans, as I would expect when he took the field he would get a standing ovation from the Cub fans for the job he did hear the last few years. Though I understand Francona has a job to do and that is winning, not schedule rotation for Clement to pitch at Wrigley Field.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Cubs 2nd pick: Donald Veal

With their 2nd pick in the draft the Cubs drafted another lefty Donald Veal.

Here are some scouting reports:

From Baseball America
4. DONALD VEAL, lhp (National rank: 86)
School: Pima (Ariz.) CC.
Hometown: Tucson.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200. Birthdate: Nov. 18, 1984.
Previously Drafted: White Sox ’03 (12).
Scouting Report: Little righthander Gilbert de la Vara, a 15th-round draft-and-follow of the Royals, was the dominant pitcher on the Pima Community College staff this spring, leading the competitive Arizona junior college ranks with 109 strikeouts and a 1.28 ERA. But scouts showed more interest in Veal, a strapping lefthander whose long arms, imposing body and pitching style evoke a young Vida Blue. Veal’s velocity was inconsistent, but his running fastball sat at 94 mph when he was on top of his game, and touched 97. He also threw his curveball with more speed and command than in the past, though it remains a below-average pitch. Veal was one of Arizona’s top high school prospects in 2003, when he was drafted by the White Sox, but elected to attend college at Arizona. As a freshman, he didn’t pitch because he injured his labrum, didn’t throw strikes consistently and generally got lost in the shuffle on a team that advanced to the College World Series. He rebounded with a strong season at Pima, finishing second in the state to de la Vara in strikeouts, with 105, even as he had to endure the death of his mother because of stomach cancer. Projectable and anxious to get his professional career started, Veal projects as a second- or third-rounder. says:
COMMENT: Long arms and legs. Similar to Dontrelle Willis. Pitches come on a downward plane. Stays behind a FB that is usually 89-90 w/ natural riding life. Good spin and drop on his CB, especially when he stays on top. Has a live arm.

Cubs Pick: Mark Pawelek (updated)

The Cubs pick high school lefty Mark Pawelek, from Springville Utah. Now if you ever read the book "MoneyBall" and are a firm believer of it, then you will be very mad, because this pick is the anti-MoneyBall pick. The Cubs need some lefty pitching prospects especially since Luke Hagerty is rehabbing and the Cubs let Andy Sisco go to the Royals in the rule 5 draft this winter. I do know they have Renyel Pinto and Richard Hill, but Pinto was just demoted to AA and Hill though he was just promoted to AAA (he still needs time there) and though Pawelek probably won't beat either to majors, the Cubs still need more lefties in minors than righties and this is a step in the right direction. Another negative factor is that Scott Boras is his agent (I have a dislike for him, but if I were a player he would be my agent if the opportunity was there) and it might take some time for the Cubs to get him signed.
I had read before the draft that the Cubs might draft him or Luke Hochevar who also was a Boras client whose stock was falling a little. I am glad the Cubs picked Pawelek and hopefully in 4 years he can make it to the Cubs rotation.

Here are some scouting reports:

Baseball America:
Pawelek topped out at 94-95 mph this year with an effortless delivery. Scouts say his feel for pitching, presence and composure are so advanced for his age that he’s the equivalent of a college sophomore. He has command of four pitches and knows how and when to use his curveball and changeup. Pawelek is the only high school player in this year’s draft who is being advised by Scott Boras and that could have a profound impact on where he is picked.

According to the scouting report on :
LHP w/ ideal pitcher's frame. Tall and long w/ lean muscle. Explosive low-90s FB that sink and run come out of a quick, loose whip-like delivery. CB is out pitch, w/ 1-7 break that comes near the plate.

Update: One of my fears of drafting Pawelek was that Scott Boras was his agent, well looks like I was scared for nothing. When the Cubs made their 3rd round pick, they also announced that they had signed Pawelek to a contract. Currently those are the only details I have about it.

Draft Day: 1st round pick for Cubs since 1980

Today is draft day and hopefully the Cubs can pick a player in the 1st round who can make some impact on the team by 2009. Since 1980 they have not had the best of luck picking in the 1st round of the players draft these are the ones that have had useful major league careers: Shawn Dunston (1982), Rafael Palmeiro (1985, too bad not with Cubs), Doug Glanville (1991) , Joe Carter (1981, too bad not with Cubs), Kerry Wood (1995), Cory Patterson (1998), Jon Garland (1997, again not with Cubs) and Mark Prior(2001).
Other guys that played in majors were: Derrick May (1986), Don Schulze (1980), Vance Lovelace (1981), Kevin Orie (1993), Jon Ratliff (1993), Drew Hall (1984), Mike Harkey (1987), Brooks Kieschnick (1993) and Lance Dickson (1990).
Players drafted by the Cubs never saw the majors: Jackie Davidson (1983), Dave Masters (1985), Ty Griffin (1988), Earl Cunningham (1989),Tony Woods (1982), Stan Boderick (1982), Derek Wallace (1992),Jayson Peterson (1994), Todd Noel (1996) Ben Christensen (1999), Luis Montanez (2000, still in minors), Ryan Harvey (2003 in minors), Bobby Brownlie (2002, in minors), Luke Hagerty (2002,in minors, rehabbing arm), Chad Blasko (2002, in minors rehabbing arm), and Matt Clanton (2002,arm injury not sure about him).
This shows that the Cubs do not have a great track record. I remember reading the Tribune as a child the day after the draft seeing all these names in the paper and thinking ohh he sounds good. Well I am a lot older now and I know how to do my own research and hopefully so have the Cubs.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Just a thought.

With the Cubs finally looking like a team that won't finish under .500, maybe now Hendry should kick it into gear and now try to acquire a bat for the bench. I really like the trade he made dumping Hawkins, but that is done, now is the time to make the next move to improve the team. If the Cubs wait until the end of July they are going to be too far back to ever think about catching the Cardinals and while the wild-card spot might still be attainable, without improving the bench now it might be as attainable as it was last year (and we know how that went). The Cubs should inquire about Polanco from the Phillies as he would be a good fit for the Cubs as he could spell relief for Ramirez and Walker regularly and help rest Nefi too when needed. This then could allow the Cubs to release Enrique Wilson and I wouldn't be too upset if the Cubs dumped Jose Macias either and put Ben Grieve back on the roster to replace him. This would give the Cubs an extra lefty off the bench with Grieve and versatility with Polanco, at the same time preventing Cub fans from any further pain of watching either Wilson or Macias.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Prospect Report IV: Luis Montanez

Back in 2000 the Cubs had the #3 pick in the draft and picked Luis Montanez. I remember reading about it online at work and most people said it was a reach of a pick and has proven to be so at the moment. The one good thing is that besides Rocco Baldelli and now Chase Utley no other 1st round pick in the 2000 has done much either.
In his 1st season Montanez looked real sharp in the AZL with a line of .344/.422/.531 in 50 games, but struggled in 8 games when promoted to Lansing (Low-A). In 2001 Luis spent the whole year in Lansing and regressed at the plate. His BB/K rate went from 28/48 to 34/121 and his averages were .255/.307/.375. Meanwhile his defense was becoming a problem with a ton of errors and lack of range. In 2002 he went to Daytona were he spent the next 2 full seasons with OPS's of .686 and .638 and though his BB/K improved from the 2001 season, it still wasn't good. In 2004 Luis started in Daytona and got off to a horrible start batting .215/.292/.354 and continuing his poor defense. The Cubs management decided that some of Luis's batting troubles were attributed to him struggling on the field, so they decided to move him from SS/2b to LF. In doing this they sent to him to Boise, which is short-season A ball, and he started to hit the ball well .297/.381/.496 and showed some better plate discipline. This season he is in low A ball (Peoria) and is hitting the ball .319/.377/.483 and has no errors in the OF. These are not the ideal numbers for a corner OF and probably not what the Cubs envisioned they were getting when they picked him #3 overall, but maybe Luis can become a useful 4th/5th OF sometime in the future.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

5 in a row:

The Cubs have started to put some victories together finally and now have won 5 in a row and 8 out of the last 10. This still leaves them 6.5 games behind the Cardinals, but at least they are showing the ability to win even with all the injuries they have had. Tonight we are sending out rookie Koronka vs. Derek Lowe, and I have a feeling we are going to need a lot of runs to win. I hope Koronka does well because of him being on the 40-man roster this winter we lost Andy Sisco.

The Cubs need to dump Enrique Wilson and sign a player that is more useful and can help out at 3b. At the current moment Macias can only pinch hit and is wearing a knee brace and Ramirez has been plagued with nagging injuries and now we have no real backup at 3b. I know Ramirez is hot now, but I am sure he is going to need a game or two off soon and I am hoping not to have to see Enrique Wilson at 3b. If this is not enough reason to dump Wilson and sign another player or bring someone else up I am not sure what is.

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