Friday, March 11, 2011

Chattin' Up Bulls Basketball

As with the other posts, I'm going to discuss the past, present, and future of the Bulls. 


The Bulls don't have near the history of the Bears and Cubs (in terms of years in existence), but they have more true championships than both organizations (yes, the Bears have 9, plus one Super Bowl, but those 9 came prior to the merger). 

The Bulls are a rarity in professional sports, as they experienced success immediately upon their entrance into the league in their expansion season of 1966-1967, and they qualified for the playoffs. They were a fairly successful team from that point through the late 1970s with the likes of Jerry Sloan, Norm Van Lier, Chet Walker, and Bob Love, but they fell to the bottom of the league in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

The poor finishes were actually a blessing in disguise as they led the Bulls to selecting arguably the greatest player of all-time in the 1st round, 3rd pick overall of the 1984 NBA Draft, Michael Jordan

Jordan made a difference almost immediately, leading the team to the playoffs in his first season. They would go on to make the playoffs during the next 6 seasons before finally breaking through with a championship in the 1990-1991 season against the Lakers, then proceeding to 3-Peat, when Jordan suddenly retired from the game following the 1992-1993 season following his father's murder. 
*unsubstantiated rumors stated that Jordan was actually forced to "retire" (though it was a rumored 1 year suspension) by David Stern as punishment for his involvement in gambling that could've potentially brought down the NBA. It was rumored that the time that his father's murder was carried out by thugs looking to make a point to Jordan to pay up on his gambling debts. However, absolutely none of this makes sense, given the fact that Jordan now is the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. David Stern, and the NBA would simply never allow him to own a team if the rumors were actually true.

Jordan came back at the end of the 1994-1995 season, leading the Bulls to the playoffs, but they lost. He returned for the 1995-1996 season as the Bulls added a key piece to their success, Dennis Rodman, and led the Bulls to another 3-Peat, before retiring yet again. This would end the Bulls reign at the top of the league. 

It was rumored at the time that the Bulls GM Jerry Krause did not get along with many of the coaches (especially Phil Jackson) or players, and it was his decision not to pay Phil Jackson that led Jordan to retire, and the subsequent mass exodus of players from the team. In fact, the last remaining players from the championship teams were Ron Harper, Randy Brown, Toni Kukoc, Dickey Simpkins, and Bill Wennington
But Krause likely wasn't the only factor in the mass exodus, as the NBA had a lockout during the 1998-1999 season, which led to just a 50 game schedule. 

Even so, it was Krause's ill-advised hiring of his buddy, Iowa State University head coach, Tim Floyd, that resulted in terrible finishes the next 6 seasons, and ultimately led to Krause resigning from his position. It wasn't until the Bulls hired John Paxson, who subsequently hired Scott Skiles, a hard-nosed, defensive-minded coach, that the Bulls returned to respectability, making the playoffs his first 3 seasons on the job. Skiles was inexplicably fired over Christmas during his 4th season as head coach, and the Bulls would go on to hire a very inexperienced Vinny Del Negro as their coach. 


When the Bulls hired Vinny Del Negro for the 2008-2009 season, it was assumed that the young coach would be able to lead a young team for years to come. However, what many people didn't know is that Del Negro wasn't even close to being the first choice for head coach of the team. The Bulls originally wanted to interview Tom Thibodeau , but since the Celtics were in the playoffs, they weren't allowed to interview him, and other teams were filling vacancies very fast. They were forced to make a decision, and they ultimately decided against waiting. 

Del Negro did a very poor job of communicating with both management and the players, and GM John Paxson did not appreciate his arrogance, especially when it came to handling the injured Joakim Noah's excessive minutes upon his return from injury. 

The Bulls fired Del Negro after the 2009-2010 season, and finally got their man in Thibodeau, who has thus far led the team to a 45-18 record, which, at present, is good enough for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference. 

A good reason for the Bulls' success this year was their selection of Derrick Rose in the 2008 NBA Draft. His selection, combined with the strategic hire of a defensive-minded coach like Thibodeau, and the signings of very good complimentary players cush as Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, CJ Watson, Kurt Thomas, and the defensive-minded Keith Bogans have been very instrumental in the team's success. 

We'll see how far the Bulls can go in the playoffs this year. It will depend a lot on their health, and the ability of the complimentary players to hit shots when Rose is double-teamed. It will also depend on their defense, as the Bulls tend to struggle when the games become shoot-outs. Their success rate improves dramatically when they hold their opponent under 90 points. 


The Bulls are better positioned than most teams, because they have most of their lineup locked up long-term to team-friendly contracts with Boozer, Noah, and Deng. They will need to extend Rose soon, so they'll have to get a little creative, but in general, they are well-positioned for the future.

The Bulls also hold multiple first round picks over the next few seasons, which will also help them add depth via trade, or make multiple selections to get younger. 

It is abundantly clear that the Bulls are going to need some help at shooting guard next year. Unfortunately, there are no good options in the upcoming free agent class, so their best bet to find help is via the draft, or possibly via trade. The Bulls were rumored to be in discussions with the Rockets and Grizzlies this year in trades for Courney Lee and O.J. Mayor respectively. But both teams wanted big men, and the Bulls refused to give up Omer Asik or Taj Gibson in any trade. They have also been rumored to be interested in Rudy Fernandez of the Blazers in the past. Personally, with Boozer locked up long-term, I would've dealt Gibson, but the Bulls are probably thinking that come Draft Day, there will be lots of guys available, and trades to be made, so perhaps they felt it was best to hang onto him until that point.

It's also abundantly clear that the Bulls prime competition for years to come will be the Miami Heat and New York Knicks. The Heat, with Wade, James, and Bosh locked up long-term, would require defensive height to counter their offense, while the Knicks require a quick defense to counter their fast-paced offense under D'Antoni. The Knicks, however, really only have Stoudemire and Anthony locked up long-term, and both of them are relatively indifferent on defense, so it'd appear the best way to counter them would be to have a high-powered offense of your own, and a taller lineup to box out and get rebounds. 



If you expect the Cubs to make the prudent roster moves during Spring Training (or for that matter, the whole offseason), then you're a fan of the wrong team. The Cubs under Jim Hendry have made a lot of perplexing roster moves. The most recent example of this was Hendry's decision to DFA (designate for assignment) Casey McGehee when the Cubs had no clear back-up in the minors for Aramis Ramirez in the event he was injured (which ended up happening). McGehee would go on to play All-Star caliber baseball in both his abbreviated 1st season and certainly his 2nd MLB season.

Having said that, he made the right move by allowing Tyler Colvin to break camp with the team last year after a strong Spring Training, which almost never happens with the Cubs and young position players, so I give him credit for that. However, his ill-advised reliance on veterans to fill holes on the roster has been nothing short of perplexing, especially when you look around the league at what other teams are doing right now (going more with youth).

This offseason, there was a pretty impressive list of young talent available for a little over league minimum (or right at that level), including: Josh Fields-28 yrs old (signed with Pirates on MLB minimum minor league deal), Chris Carter-28 yrs old (signed with Rays MLB minimum minor league deal), Lastings Milledge-26 yrs old (signed with White Sox MLB minimum minor league deal), Jeff Francoeur-27 yrs old (signed with Royals for $2.5 million), Melky Cabrera-27 yrs old (signed with Royals for $1.25 million), Willy Aybar-28 yrs old (still unsigned)

The whole strategy of signing these type of young free agents that were non-tendered by their previous teams is really twofold: 
1) If the players do well, and get their once-promising careers back on track, you can always trade them at the deadline in July for more prospects, or if you think they'll have continued success, you can use them as solid players to build around for the future.

2) This is perhaps the most important of all considerations...The Cubs have Koyie Hill-32 yrs old, Jeff Baker-30 yrs old, Reed Johnson-34 yrs old, Augie Ojeda-36 yrs old, as their likely back-ups this season. 

 If the Cubs were actually committed to building for the future, they would've considered those young players I just mentioned instead of going with retread veterans that have absolutely no value to the team whatsoever, especially when you consider nagging injuries that start to appear in aging veterans. 

The best move I've ever seen Hendry make in terms of signing a young non-tendered free agent was Max Ramirez this year. Unfortunately, the young catcher hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell at making the roster, thus negating this good move. 

The thing I like about Josh Fields, is he's a former 20+hr guy with the White Sox, who's had his career derailed a bit by unfortunate injury. Francoeur is a former 20+hr, 100+RBI guy that improved with a change of scenery with the Mets, and also the Rangers. Cabrera was a solid performer for the World Series champion Yankees that can play all 3 OF positions. Carter has a career line in the minors of .307/.380/.514, and is a power hitting 1B, corner OF that has never been given a full chance at the MLB level. Milledge had a very bright future ahead of him with his minor league stats, and decent success at the MLB level, but for whatever reason has never really put it together. And finally, Aybar is a switch hitter than can play all IF positions, makes good contact, and has a decent amount of power.

I guess there really wasn't much of a point in bringing up those names, other than to let you all know that I believe the Cubs could've (and should've) done MUCH better than they did with their offseason moves. I also want others to keep tabs on these young guys to see how they do this year, and discover if I was right at the end of the year. I was actually VERY wrong last year when I predicted Rick Ankiel would've been a better option for the Cubs than Marlon Byrd. I couldn't have been more wrong, as Ankiel tanked, and Byrd was one of the few bright spots on the team, and is hitting over .600 thus far in Spring Training. 

At any rate, here are the candidates for the final spots on the roster:

Dempster, Zambrano, Garza, and Wells are locked in, leaving 1 spot available for...
Andrew Cashner
Carlos Silva *due $7.5 million from Cubs this year
Todd Wellemeyer
Braden Looper *due $3 million if he makes rotation
Jay Jackson
Casey Coleman
Trey McNutt
Chris Carpenter

Marmol, Wood, Marshall, Grabow (he might start season on DL), and Samardzija (due to contract) are locked in, leaving 2 spots available for...
Wellemeyer/Looper/Cashner (depending on the loser(s) of the rotation could be 2 of them)
Marcos Mateo
Angel Guzman (likely to remain in Extended Spring Training to build arm strength after surgery)
Justin Berg
Alberto Cabrera
Esmalin Caridad
Robert Coello
Thomas Diamond
Rafael Dolis
John Gaub
Scott Maine
James Russell (he's technically in rotation battle too, but given his performance thus far, he appears out of it)
Jeff Stevens
Kyle Smit

Soto, Pena, DeWitt, Castro, ARAM, Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome, and Colvin are virtual locks to make the team. The only wild card here might be DeWitt, who still has options. Given this, it leaves 4 potential openings for the bench
Koyie Hill-C*$850,000 contract makes it difficult for Cubs to outright release him
Jeff Baker-1B, 2B, 3B, LF/RF *$1.25 million makes him virtual lock to make team
Darwin Barney-2B, SS, 3B
Fernando Perez-OF
Reed Johnson-OF
Augie Ojeda-2B,SS,3B
Max Ramirez-C, 1B
Welington Castillo-C
Brad Snyder-OF
Bryan LaHair-LF/RF, 1B
Scott Moore-1B,2B,SS,3B,LF/RF
Bobby Scales-1B,2B,3B, OF
Marquez Smith-2B, 3B
Josh Vitters-3B, 1B
James Adducci-OF
Brett Jackson-OF
Matt Camp-2B, SS, 3B, OF
Lou Montanez-OF
Steve Clevenger-C, 3B, 1B
Chris Robinson-C

Given the stats thus far, the only position players that should be under consideration are: Barney, Perez, Ramirez, Castillo, Snyder, Moore, Scales, Smith, Vitters, Camp, and Clevenger. Because Perez, Barney, Castillo, Smith, and Vitters all have options left, I doubt they'd make the team.

Therefore, if I'm the Cubs, I'm strongly considering versatile guys like Camp, Moore, Clevenger, Ramirez, Scales, and Snyder. I really like Clevenger a lot, and the fact that he can play 1B and 3B in addition to catcher, really elevates him on my list. At this point, I don't believe Baker should make the team. Last year, his value was strictly as a guy that can hit left-handed pitching. He was dreadful against right-handed pitching. Given that fact, I believe Matt Camp should replace him, as he can play all the positions Baker can, as well as SS and CF. I'd definitely prefer Max Ramirez over Koyie Hill, and I believe Clevenger would be a great back-up at 3B, 1B, and catcher. For the final spot, I think the Cubs need to go with someone that can play all 3 OF spots, so I'd go with Brad Snyder, or I'd just pick Fernando Perez instead of optioning him. 

That would probably be one of the more exciting rosters the Cubs have had in a very long time, as you have several guys that can play multiple positions, allowing for greater flexibility in games, and the fact that Clevenger, and Camp rarely strike out, makes them even more valuable, considering that the Cubs are a team full of free swingers (Castro, Colvin, Soriano, Pena *though Pena actually takes a good amount of walks too, Byrd, Aramis Ramirez)

Here's hoping the Cubs can recognize this, and do the right thing. Koyie Hill, Jeff Baker, Reed Johnson, and Augie Ojeda are NOT the answer...I repeat...NOT the answer. In fact, my prediction is that if these guys make the team (as I suspect they will given the Cubs poor roster decisions), only Reed Johnson will hit over .250

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chattin' Up Bears Football

I'm going to do this just like the Cubs post, where I discuss the past, present, and future of the team.


If I had a dime for every time the Chicago Bears reminded me of the Chicago Cubs, I'd be a billionaire by now. The Bears, like the Cubs, have a long history, and are one of only 2 teams remaining from the inception of the NFL. They have won 9 NFL championships (pre-merger) and 1 Super Bowl. So, like the Cubs, they had a great amount of success in the early part of the 20th century. But the ties between the Cubs and Bears run deeper than most realize. 

George Halas was originally a managing partner of the team (along with A.E. Staley who owned the team and Edward Sternaman). He would go on to purchase the team, and it has been in his family ever since. Originally, he planned to have his son George Halas, Jr. run the franchise, but he died of a massive heart attack in 1979, and upon George Sr.'s death in 1983, the ownership passed to his eldest daughter, Virginia, who had married Ed McCaskey. Ed became Chairman of the Board upon George's death, but it was their decision to place their son Michael as president of the team thatwould go down as one of the worst moves in franchise history. In 1999, after a botched head coach hiring, Virginia would end up firing her own son and "promoting" (though it was seen as a demotion) him to chairman of the board. One can only wonder what the franchise could've become if George Jr. had survived. It's eerily similar to the Cubs when William Wrigley passed away, and left the franchise to his son, P.K. Wrigley, who proceeded to destroy the franchise and their reputation as winners.

Another connection to the Cubs would be their name. As was the custom with most football teams at the time, they derived their name from the baseball team in their city. Thus, Bears-Cubs are forever linked in namesake (and unfortunately the ineptitude of management). The Bears also played from 1922-1971 at Wrigley Field, until they outgrew it, and moved permanently to Soldier Field. 

Despite having some of the game's most recognizable talent in Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, Mike Ditka, Brian Urlacher, and pretty much the entire 1985 Super Bowl team, the Bears only have one Super Bowl title to show for it, and have only appeared in the game just 2 times. As was the case with the Cubs, one of the biggest problems with the Bears in recent history has been quality coaching and management, but also continuity in the two departments. This has led to a lack of direction and vision towards the future. 


Yet another similarity with the Bears is their insistence on rewarding coaches/players based on a small sample size of success versus sustained success. In football, this is more understandable with players, especially since their careers are short-lived. But one could certainly question the amount of guaranteed money the Bears have doled out to guys like Tommie Harris, and blindly committing to a failed experiment with Rex Grossman as their QB, and trying to create a patchwork offensive line to protect their new franchise QB Jay Cutler rather than investing the money necessary to give him enough time to release the ball.

I watched all of the Bears games the past 2 seasons, and I have never seen a QB run for his life more than Jay Cutler did. There were times where he literally had 2 seconds to get rid of the ball. I don't know what Bears management was thinking when they made such a large investment (in trade with draft picks) and money (Cutler's extension), but neglected to give him enough solid protection on the offensive line. The primary reason Cutler reached Pro Bowl levels in Denver was because his offensive line actually gave him more than 2 seconds to get rid of the ball.

I don't know what the future will hold, but the Bears have a window of about 2 years with Peppers, Urlacher, Briggs, and Tillman, to win a championship. Those 4 are the anchors of the defense, and they're all in their 30's. The Bears are running out of time. They either must commit to youth, or continue to fill holes with veterans. Given the fact veterans often succumb to injury, I'd much prefer the youth route, but that does not appear to be in the cards anymore with Jerry Angelo calling the shots.

The bottom line is, the Bears need to start planning for the future without those stalwarts on the defense, and they need to look for the offense with Cutler to really carry the team while they rebuild the defense...which brings me to the next subject....


As mentioned, the Bears need to get younger all around, and they need to do it quickly, or it could be disastrous in years to come. Here is a list of Bears players over the age of 30:
Maynard-P 37 *will likely not be back, as the Bears signed a 27 yr old Richmond McGee to a 2 yr deal recently
Clark-TE 33 *will likely not be back
Kreutz-C 33
Urlacher-MLB 32
Garza-G 31
Rashied Davis-WR 31
Taylor-RB 31 *might be released
Manumaleuna-TE 31
Peppers-DE 31
Adams-DT 30
Briggs-LB 30
Idonije-DE 30
Tillman-CB 30

That means, look for the Bears to either sign young free agents or draft guys at CB, DE, LB, DT, DE, WR, RB, and OL. In case you didn't notice, that's just about every position, other than QB, K, P, FS, and SS. That's quite a lot of positions that need attention, don't you think?

If you're wondering what free agents the Bears might be looking at this year (provided there's no lock-out), here's a good list for you:

Leon Washington-RB/KR Seahawks
Marcus Spears-DE Cowboys
Mathias Kiwanuka-DE Giants
James Jones-WR Packers
Malcolm Floyd-WR Chargers 6'5"
Roman Harper-S Saints
Barrett Ruud-LB Bucs
Dawan Landry-S Ravens
Matt Light-OT Patriots
Braylon Edwards-WR Jets
Tyson Clabo-OT Falcons
Paul Posluszny-LB Bills
Nnamdi Asomugha-CB Raiders
Sidney Rice-WR Vikings

As for the draft, I've seen varying reports of who they will target in the first round, but the consensus is that it'll either be an OT or a DT.

If I'm the Angelo, I'm looking at 2 guys from the Nebraska program for DB in Eric Hagg and DeJon Gomes, who should be available in later rounds. Both are ballhawks that come from a Huskers program under Pelini that has produced some very good talent at the safety and cornerback positions in the last few years. Obviously Amukamara will be selected in the high first round, otherwise I'd look to him as a future replacement for Tillman.

As for OT in the first round, it has been rumored the Bears will look at Carimi from Wisconsin, Costanzo from Boston College, Ijalana from Villanova,  or Sherrod from Mississippi State, and for DT Liuget from Illinois, Taylor from Baylor, and Austin of UNC.

Anything after that is really a crapshoot, although, I can tell you an excellent TE that could spread the field along with Olsen in a 2 TE set is Mike McNeill of Nebraska, who doubled as a WR this year. But above all else, if I were the Bears, I'd go after Colin Kaepernick a 6'6" dual-threat QB out of Nevada, who played huge this year. I can't stress enough how much I hope they go after this guy. I believe even with the breakdowns on the O-Line with the Bears, Kaepernick would actually thrive in the system as the pocket collapses and he's forced to move out. It's also the reason why I believe Michael Vick would thrive on the Bears, because teams would have to stop rushing 5 guys at a time, keeping the defense honest, and opening up both the running game and passing game. Kaepernick ran a 4.53 40 yard dash, which is outstanding for a QB. If you put Caleb Hanie and Kaepernick as the back-ups, I wouldn't be very worried if Cutler went down with injury again. Obviously, I wouldn't want him to get hurt, but those guys would be more than capable of carrying the team while he's out.

The other guys I'd consider would be DeMarco Murray who was a RB/WR for Oklahoma. Yes, most RB can be used as a WR in some patterns, but the Sooners actually lined him up as a WR on several occasions. I'd also consider the following: Christian Ponder-QB FSU, DeAndre Brown-WR Southern Miss. (6'6", 4.59 40 time), Mike Pouncey-C/G Florida, Jurrell Casey-DE USC, Casey Matthews-LB Oregon, Sam Acho-DE Texas, Kelvin Sheppard-MLB LSU, Martez Wilson-MLB Illinois (reminds me a LOT of Urlacher's size and speed 6'4", 250 lbs, 4.49 40 time), Shareece Wright-CB USC, Curtis Brown-CB Texas, Ras-I Dowling-CB Virginia, Jimmy Smith-CB Colorado, Jerrod Johnson-QB Texas A&M

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


josh%20vitters God Shows His Wrath in the Minors, Too: Josh Vitters Breaks His Finger


  1. Brett Jackson-OF 22 yrs old: Legitimate "5-Tool" prospect with good patience at the plate. The one issue with Jackson is he doesn't stand out in any of the 5 categories. He will likely be promoted to MLB in 2011. Here's his player page:
  2. Trey McNutt-RHP 21 yrs old: McNutt came out of nowhere when the Cubs selected him in the 32nd round of the 2009 draft. Prior to the draft, he was throwing in the low 90's, but with Cubs scouts in attendance, he was throwing mid-to-high 90's. He will likely go down in infamy as the pitcher the Cubs wouldn't part with in the Garza deal (they instead dealt the more least in my opinion...Chris Archer). McNutt throws a "heavy" fastball, but doesn't have much movement. He is rumored to be throwing in the low 90's, but the Cubs will likely try to promote him to MLB sometime in 2011 to justify the inclusion of Archer instead of McNutt in the Garza trade. Here's his player page:
  3. Josh Vitters-3B 21 yrs old: Vitters has one of the brightest futures of any position player to come up through the Cubs system in recent memory. He makes consistent contact, rarely strikes out, and has legitimate power. There are 2 glaring weaknesses in his game and defense. Furthermore, it always takes him about half a seasons to adjust to different levels upon promotion. The Cubs have also done him a disservice by aggressively promoting him before he can experience sustained success at any level. Here's his player page:
  4. Jay Jackson-RHP 23 yrs old: Prior to the start of the 2010 season, Jackson was probably the highest ranked pitcher the Cubs had in the system, displaying excellent poise and above average command. However, at the end of the 2009 season, he dealt with some character issues that resulted in him being demoted to Daytona near the end of the season. He got things straightened out, but his 2010 season did not go as well as expected. Jackson features a low-90's fastball with good command, and can reach mid-90's on occasion. He will likely be brought up at some point in 2011 in a relief role. Here's his player page:
  5. Christopher Carpenter-RHP 25 yrs old: 2011 is a make or break season for Carpenter. The Cubs have tried him as both a starter and reliever, and he's a rare case of a guy pitching about the same in both roles. He does, however, pitch with much higher velocity as a reliever, running it up to 100 mph in the Arizona Fall League this past year. If he's starting, he normally sits in the 93-94 mph range. Carpenter is also very rare in that he's considered a power pitcher, yet keeps the ball on the ground. In 298 IP in professional baseball, he's only given up 15 home runs, which is way above average for a starting pitcher. The question with Carpenter has always been health, which is why he dropped from a potential 1st round pick to a 3rd round pick in the 2008 draft. Given durability concerns, and his 100 mph fastball out of the pen, I believe his future is as a reliever. Here's his player page:
  6. DJ LeMahieu-IF 22 yrs old: DJ was a 2nd round selection for the Cubs in 2009, and has quietly risen to the top of their prospect charts. One of the major reasons for his quiet ascent is the fact that he lacks power. However, this past offseason, he attended "Camp Colvin", a program designed to build up muscle strength and baseball instincts that led to Tyler Colvin breaking camp with the big league team last year. LeMahieu, like Colvin did a year ago, packed on 25 lbs of muscle, and is now driving the ball with more authority. I am very high on this kid, as he makes EXCELLENT contact, rarely strikes out, and comes from a winning college program at LSU. Here's LeMahieu's line from last year: .314 avg, .346 OBP, .386 SLG, 174 hits, 24 doubles, 5 triples, 2 hr, 73 RBI, 15 SB, 29 walks, 61 K's. In his first Spring Training AB this year, he blasted a game winning home run over the LF fence. The fact that he hit it to LF is a tremendous development for a guy better known for hitting balls to the opposite field. I imagine he will end up as the Cubs 2B or utility man (a la DeRosa) by the end of the 2011 season at the latest. If he hits anywhere near what he did last year when he starts this year in AA, we might see a Castro-like leap to the big leagues for him even earlier, and in that case, we'd likely see DeWitt traded or optioned to Iowa. Here's his player page:
  7. Reggie Golden-OF 19 yrs old: Some might question the inclusion of a 19 yr old with just 4 games of pro ball experience under his belt, however, this 2010 2nd round pick, has some of the best raw power of anyone in the Cubs system. There is footage of him blasting the ball out of Wrigley Field during Area Code games in high school, and he displayed his power stroke further during the Fall Instructs League. The question with Golden will always be: Can he make enough contact to reach the big leagues. 2011 will be a huge year for this kid, and it hasn't gotten off to the best start to begin with. Rumor has it he showed up to the minor league Spring Training complex overweight by over 20 lbs, which means he'll likely be held back at Extended Spring Training until he loses the weight, further stunting his growth. I imagine he'll be a long-term project coming out of high school, and will likely reach MLB by 2014 at the earliest. Here's his player page:
  8. Hayden Simpson-RHP 21 yrs old:  *I struggle with this one, because he hasn't thrown a single inning in pro ball yet, but I've watched tape of him, and he looks good. He did not make his debut at all last year due to a bout with mononucleosis. The scouts said he looked like a Roy Oswalt type of pitcher in college. I doubt he'll even come close to that type of career, and this looks like yet another bad 1st round draft choice by the Cubs brass, as Simpson was rumored to have 3rd Round talent. I guess we'll see what happens this year. The only reason I am putting him up this high is because after McNutt, Jackson, and Carpenter, the Cubs lack a high ceiling type of starting pitcher. *there is no player page yet for him
  9. Marquez Smith-3B 26 yrs old: The fact that I'm including a soon-to-be 26 year old in the top prospects list really speaks volumes to the lack of positional player depth in the Cubs system. However, in a lot of ways, Marquez Smith's minor league career has resembled another that got away and will likely haunt the Cubs for years to come. The other guy's name? Casey McGehee. If you'll recall how dumb Hendry was in the offseason prior to the 2009 season, the Cubs were just eliminated from the postseason, and due to poor roster management, Hendry released McGehee without a true back-up to Aramis Ramirez even close to the MLB level. McGehee would go onto hit .301 avg, .360 OBP, .499 SLG, 16 hr, 66 RBI his first season, then .285/.337/.464 with 23 hr, 104 RBI last year. McGehee was 26 yrs old when he got his chance. The only thing that separates the 2 players is McGehee's versatility. He could play all IF positions except for SS. Smith really only has experience at 3B with a few games at 2B mixed in. Ironically, though, Smith has better minor league stats than McGehee. Here's the comparison...McGehee-6 seasons .279/.332/.409, 54 hr, 380 RBI vs Smith-4 seasons .283/.358/.481, 60 hr, 246 RBI. The other thing that sticks out to me is that neither player strikes out much, which means they are making contact even if they're getting out. This fact usually bodes well in projecting future success. If Aramis Ramirez leaves via free agency at the end of the year, or gets injured, I fully expect Smith to be the first in line to get the job at 3B. Here's his player page:
  10. Matt Szczur-OF 21 yrs old: Matt was drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 draft. He didn't play in many games, because he was a star running back/wide receiver/special teams player at Villanova, and expected to be drafted in the first 3 rounds of the NFL draft. He impressed the Cubs enough with a .347/.415/.465 line in the minors last year that they gave him over $1 million in January to give up football entirely, and he accepted. There isn't much data to review from last year, but supposedly he has good raw power, excellent speed, and makes good contact with the ball. Here's his player page:
  11. Welington Castillo-C 24 yrs old: What do I say here? A .260/.315/.411 line with 39 hr, 179 RBI is NOT a good stat line for 5 minor league seasons. However, the most games he's ever played is 98 in 2007 at Peoria (low-A) where he had a very respectable line of .271/.334/.423 with 11 hr, 44 RBI. Last year, in just 69 games in AAA, he had a .255/.317/.498 line with 13 hr, 59 RBI. But his best attribute is his defense, where he's gunned down 40% of base stealers in his minor league career. I see him as a less patient (offensively), but superior defensively version of Geovanny Soto. Both deserve the opportunity to start at the MLB level, so one of them has to go. If the Cubs continue having competitive and budgetary concerns at the MLB level, I could definitely see them trading Soto at some point during the next 2 seasons. If the Cubs can wake up, and do the right thing for the team (and for the prospects) and release Koyie Hill, I could actually see either Castillo, or the recently signed Max Ramirez as back-ups. But Hendry has an unjustified affinity for Koyie Hill that few GM's around the league would ever have with such an awful player. Here's his player page:
  12. Rafael Dolis-RHP 23 yrs old: Dolis is a flame-thrower that was added to the 40-man roster in 2009, after a strong showing in Instructs where he was throwing 100 mph, and the Cubs feared losing him in the Rule 5 Draft. At this point, the Cubs aren't sure if he projects better as a starter or reliever. He's always struggled with control, so It'll be interesting to see where he ends up. If you look at his stats last year in Daytona (high-A), he did a really good job, and received a promotion to AA. Like Carpenter, he rarely gives up home runs, which is a very good thing in relation to projections. Here's his player page:
  13. Austin Kirk-LHP 21 yrs old: The Cubs drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft out of high school. He projects as a starter, and given the lack of left-handed starting pitching in the system, it'd appear that he would be on the fast-track to the big leagues. However, the Cubs made a highly suspect and perplexing move last year with him when they promoted him from Rookie Ball (Boise) to Peoria and moved him from the rotation to the pen upon his promotion. Kirk throws in the high 80's and low 90's, and might be able to add a few mph on his fastball as he matures. Like most Cubs prospects, 2011 is a huge year for him in determining his career path. Here's his player page:
  14. Ben Wells-RHP 18 yrs old: The Cubs drafted him in the 7th round of the 2010 draft. Reports said he only hit 90 mph with his fastball, while others say he hit 95 mph+. It'll be interesting to see which reports were correct, as he's only seen action in the Instructs League in the fall. There have also been comparisons in body type, etc. to a young Roger Clemens. The Cubs would be thrilled to get a player like that in the 7th round, but for now, we'll see how he does in Rookie Ball (Boise) this season, which is his likely destination. *there is no player stats yet
  15. Alberto Cabrera-RHP 22 yrs old: The ONLY reason I am listing Cabrera this high is because I tend to rank players based on likelihood of reaching the big leagues. Cabrera isn't very impressive at all based on his stats. He's a lot like Dolis, in that the Cubs feared losing him in the Rule 5 Draft, so they added him to the 40-man roster this year. He has touched 98 mph with his fastball, so I surmise that was a major factor in his inclusion on the 40-man. I believe his future is in relief, and if the Cubs recognize this, he will likely make an appearance in Chicago this season. Here's his player page:
  16. Ryan Flaherty-IF 24 yrs old (will be 25 in July): Many have compared Flaherty to a left-handed hitting version of Mark DeRosa, and I believe that is a very accurate assessment. He can play all IF positions, and corner OF. Plus, he has above average power. The problem with Flaherty, quite obviously, is age. The Cubs started him at AA last year, but he struggled big time, and was demoted to high-A where he did well. I would classify 2011 as a make or break season for this 2008 supplemental first round pick. He needs to replicate his 2009 season where he hit 20 hr, 81 RBI. Flaherty makes good contact, and I love his walks-to-strikeout ratio. Here's his player page:
  17. Jeffry Antigua-LHP 21 yrs old: I actually remember when both Antigua and Larry Suarez were signed out of Latin America in 2006 when they were 16 yrs old. The Cubs were extremely high on both of them. Suarez drew comparisons to a young Carlos Zambrano and hit the mid-to-upper 90's, while Antigua had good command and pitched in the low 90's. Antigua will need to impress this year to be protected from the Rule 5 (where he will likely be selected if he has another strong season). **side note: any player signed 19 yrs and older, and has been in the organization 4 years, or any player signed at 18 yrs and younger, and has been in the organization 5 years, are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft. Famous selections in the Rule 5 include: Roberto Clemente, Dan Uggla, Johan Santana, Joakim Soria, Josh Hamilton, George Bell, and Jose Bautista** Here's Antigua's player page: 
  18. Chris Rusin-LHP 24 yrs old: Rusin's stats have been very good since his selection in the 4th round of the 2009 draft. He isn't flashy, but he's a lefty starter that rarely gives up a home run, and has advanced at a steady rate, culminating in a promotion to AA last season where he actually did better than his high-A stats. He will not blow any hitters away, and isn't outstanding in any particular category, but he has a knack for keeping runs off the board, so I fully expect him to reach AAA this year, and perhaps earn a promotion if he continues his success and Cubs starters have injury/effectiveness issues. Here's his player page:
  19. Brooks Raley-LHP 23 yrs old: Raley was also selected in the 2009 draft in the 6th round. Like Rusin, he doesn't stand out in any particular category, but he keeps runs off the board. However, unlike Rusin, he pitches to more contact, and his velocity is typically in the high 80's vs low 90's for Rusin. If pitching doesn't work out for Raley, he could always return to the OF where he was a two-way star in college. It's unlikely that would happen, but it's always an option. Here's his player page:
  20. Jae-Hoon Ha-OF 20 yrs old: Ha is a great example of the Cubs successful scouting efforts in Korea. His first season in Rookie Ball (Boise) was not impressive at all. However, after spending time in Extended Spring Training at the outset of the 2010 season, he came on strong at Peoria (low-A), and emerged with a .317/.334/.468 line with 7 hr, 46 RBI in just 77 games. That's an above average line for anyone, but extremely rare for someone that was just 19 years old at the time. He has a bright future, especially if he can cut back on his strikeouts (10 walks vs 45 K's  in 293 ABs). I expect the Cubs will move him along slowly, as they're likely expecting both he and Reggie Golden to compete for starting roles in the near future. Here's his player page:
  21. Aaron Kurcz-RHP 20 yrs old: I am actually higher on Kurcz than is suggested by his ranking on my list. The problem is, I don't feel the Cubs are that high on him, or they would've promoted him to Peoria last year, as he completely dominated Rookie Ball hitters at Boise. Last summer I was extremely excited when the Cubs took him, as I had the opportunity to coach one of his teammates (they attended the same school as Bryce Harper). I was told that scouts were drooling over his potential, as he reportedly hit 100 mph when they were in attendance. However, he lasted until the 10th round, as he was seen only as a reliever. I have not read any reports of him touching 100 mph as a pro, so I assume that my player was exaggerating, though I have heard he touched 97 mph in Boise at times. If he starts in Daytona, that means the Cubs are very high on him. If he starts in Peoria, then he'll have a tough climb ahead of him. Here's his player page:
  22. Robinson Lopez-RHP 20 yrs old: He was acquired in the Derrek Lee trade from the Braves. He supposedly hits mid-90's with his fastball, and while he was predominantly a starter, his future is likely as a reliever. I've watched scouting videos of him, and he does NOT impress me much. He has major control issues, and it's also worth noting that while the Braves normally have great prospects in their system, they RARELY make the mistake of trading solid players. But the reason I've included him on the list is his age. Given proper coaching, he might have a good future. Here's his player page: 
  23. Brett Wallach-RHP 22 yrs old: He was acquired in the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot deal with the Dodgers. I am not high on him at all, and I believe the Cubs got absolutely hosed on the trade, as Lilly was worth far more than the Cubs received. (the Cubs received Wallach, Blake DeWitt, and Kyle Smit in that trade). Wallach doesn't do anything particularly well, but like Lopez, I'm including him based on age and potentail, as he could increase his low-90's fastball as he matures. Here's his player page:
  24. Michael Burgess-OF 22 yrs old: The Cubs acquired Burgess, along with 2 minor league pitchers in the Gorzelanny trade with Washington. Burgess, like so many prospects on this list is in a make or break year. He must be protected in this year's Rule 5 Draft, and it's time to see if his potential is ever realized. He is the left-handed version of Reggie Golden. Both have similar body types, were selected in the draft straight out of high school, and have prodigious power with little plate discipline. If he can improve his plate discipline this year, he has a very good shot at making his MLB debut, possibly as early as this season. The major reason I feel this way, is the Cubs lack OF depth, and are especially deficient in run producers at the minor league level. Burgess fits that mold perfectly. Here's his player page:
  25. Junior Lake-IF 21 yrs old: This will be Lake's 5th season in the organization, meaning he'll need to be protected in the Rule 5 Draft. If Lake didn't come on strong last season where he hit something like 7 home runs in August, he might not even make this list. The Cubs have always been high on him, as he has the strongest infield arm in the system, but he lacks plate discipline entirely, and supposedly isn't very coachable. If he adds some muscle, and continues the success he had at the end of last season, he might develop into a Top 10 prospect, but I just don't see it right now. He has good size and can play all infield positions, so it'll be interesting to see if a team takes a chance on him in the Rule 5 if he isn't added to the Cubs 40-man roster. Here's his player page:
  26. Matt Cerda-IF 21 yrs old: Cerda was drafted out of high school, and is a very small guy. (5'9", 165 lbs), but has versatility, having played C, 2B, and 3B. However, he isn't above average in a single category, except for plate discipline (consider his 2010 stats: 68 walks vs 68 K's...a TREMENDOUS number). But he's a lot like DJ LeMahieu, where he doesn't quite have the power necessary to be an everyday player. In fact, his stats project more for a SS than a 2B or 3B, meaning he's likely destined for a utility role if he even makes it at all. He did have 5 hr, 80 RBI last year, which is VERY similar to LeMahieu's numbers. Here's his player page:
  27. Justin Bour-1B 22 yrs old (23 in May): If he wasn't going to be 23 yrs old this year, I'd have him ranked higher. He supposedly has above average power, though he only had 12 home runs last year (though he did have 31 doubles). Given the fact the Cubs lack 1B depth in the minors, they will need to see Bour do very well, and reach at least AA this year, or they will need to start targeting 1B prospects in trades and/or consider moving Colvin to 1B in the near future. Here's his player page:
  28. Marwin Gonzalez-IF 22 yrs old: The Cubs took a risk by not protecting him in this year's Rule 5 Draft, but no team selected him. The reason they took a risk, is he really came on strong in the Winter League play, otherwise, his stats thus far in his career are less than impressive. The only reason I'm including him on this list is based on his Winter League stats and the fact that he's a versatile switch-hitting utility player. Here's his player page:
  29. Steve Clevenger-C/IF 25 yrs old: Clevenger is an intriguing prospect, and if he was in AAA last year, I would have listed him higher. However, just like Aaron Kurcz, it appears the Cubs aren't even close to being high on him. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Cubs won't promote this guy to at least back-up catcher as he's clearly earned it. Here's his career minor league line: .305/.365/.406. He's also played catcher, 1B, and 3B, making him even more valuable. He doesn't hit for any power whatsoever, but gets his fair share of doubles, and despite being a utility/sub player nearly his whole career, he drives in an above average amount of runs. He's also a lot like Cerda, in that he rarely strikes out, and his ratio if very good.  I have no faith in Cubs management to recognize his potential, and I hope he gets a chance with another organization, as he's earned it. Here's his player page:
  30. Pierre LePage-IF 22 yrs old: LePage was drafted in 2010, and impressed immediately with a .331/.367/.453 line and 20 doubles, 4 triples, 1 hr, 38 RBI in just 65 games. Given his age, he'll need to really turn it on in 2011, or he won't have a prayer of making it to the big leagues with the Cubs given his small stature at 5'8" 168 lbs (though I've heard reports he's actually 5'6"). If you want to gauge what the Cubs really think of him, pay close attention to where he starts the season. If he starts at Daytona, they like him a lot. If he starts lower than that, he'll have a tough battle ahead of him. Here's his player page:


Overall, the strength of the Cubs system has improved dramatically over the last 3 years, which coincides with the Cubs hiring Tim Wilken, the architect of many solid Blue Jays drafts. However, the major complaint I have with Wilken's draft strategy is that he tends to target nothing but "high floor" players, which means they do not have the projected potential of "high ceiling" guys, but they're safer picks, because they'll be at least average players. He will also occasionally target those "high ceiling" players like McNutt and Simpson that essentially come out of nowhere after adding 5+mph on their fastballs late in the college season prior to the draft. But, in general, he tends to pick the high floor players. 

A quick look at the Cubs system would show you only about 3 potential stars with Vitters, McNutt, and Golden the only ones I'd project as having "star potential". All 3 of them would be considered "high ceiling" guys, where they could potentially become stars, or completely flame out (again, this is in contrast to "high floor" where they're not likely to flame out, but also not likely to stand out either). Hendry traded away 2 high ceiling players in Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee, so the 2011 draft this year will be especially intriguing as they will likely target more high ceiling guys to fill out the system. 

Several scouting services have said that the Cubs project to have the most future MLB players in their system than any other organization, and I absolutely believe this. The problem is, the 3 guys I just mentioned are likely the only ones that have a chance to become stars. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chattin' Up Cubs Baseball

I am going to break this team down in 3 different categories: Past, Present, and Future.

Many Cubs fans do not realize this, but the Chicago National League ballclub is one of the oldest in the league, and has been around since 1870. In the early years, they were a very good ballclub. In fact, they appeared in 4 World Series in the span of 5 years from 1906-1910, winning back-to-back titles in 1907 and 1908 (their last titles), and they also appeared in World Series in 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and their last appearance, in 1945. From 1947-1981, those years were referred to as the "Dark Ages" of Cubs baseball. 
After William Wrigley passed away in 1932, he bequeathed the Cubs and Wrigley Chewing Gum company to his son, P.K. Wrigley, who proceeded to destroy a franchise that likely would've been comparable to the esteemed Yankees franchise, had he not mettled with a good thing. While other teams were considering installing lights, P.K. initially resisted, then acquired lights, and proceeded to donate them to the Navy for the war efforts, which was admirable, but clearly a calculated move on his part to eschew adding lights. He also made the highly suspect move of doing away with the traditional "manager" position, and implemented the infamous "College of Coaches" where different coaches led the team on any given day, creating confusion and ridicule from both players and the media. The Cubs would not return to the postseason until 1984, resulting in a 39 year playoff drought. 

It was said at the time that P.K. Wrigley was too consumed with operating the chewing gum company and profits than concerned with putting a winning product on the field. That same type of ownership continued under the Tribune Company, but they created a lot of goodwill with Cubs fans by investing heavily in the front office and player development, signing good baseball people like Dallas Green and Jim Frey away from winning organizations. Unfortunately, ownership mettled too much with a good thing, and ended up driving both of them out of the organization they helped turn around in a relatively short period of time. 

Despite having some of the worst records in all of baseball from 1947-1981, the Cubs failed to land top talent in the MLB amateur draft that's been held ever since 1965. This trend would continue until recent years.


In the past 65 years, the Cubs have made it to the postseason just 6 times: 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, and 2008, putting into perspective just how poorly the franchise has been run over half a century. What's even worse, is they've had just 18 winning records during that span.

What has plagued the Cubs more than anything is their lack of baseball wisdom and common sense from the front office. This has led to poor drafts, trades, and free agent signings. If you look at all the players that have come through the Cubs system and played at the MLB level, it'd lead you to believe that the Cubs probably had some very good seasons, but that has simply not been the case.

One of the reasons for the long stretch of futility is the fact that the Cubs would either have all hitting and no pitching, or all pitching and no hitting. There was never really a happy medium, and when they did seem to have it all together, like 1984, 1989, and 1998, guys like 1998-Sosa, Morandini, Brant Brown, Glenallen Hill, Gaetti, Wood, Beck, Mulholland, 1989-Walton, Smith, McClendon, Maddux *up to that point it was a career best year, Bielecki, Lancaster, Mitch Williams, 1984-Sutcliffe, Dernier, Moreland *up to that point it was career best, Durham, Trout, and Sanderson.

That's a significant amount of players that had career years during playoff seasons. If you look at the names, that amounts to 6-8 guys in each of those playoff years that had career years. 

Might I submit this fact as Exhibit 1 as the primary reason why the Cubs have failed to reach the World Series in over 65 years. To be more precise, it is management's reliance on these type of players to even reach the playoffs in the first place, and then maintain that same level of competitiveness the following season that has led to terrible results. Quite simply, if you rely on veterans to perform at career best levels, you're playing with fire. Unless that player is an Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn, Bobby Abreu, Alex Rodriguez, where you look at their stats, and you have a very good idea of where they'll be at year in and year out. 

The Cubs last consistent hitter was Aramis Ramirez, circa 2004-2008, prior to his injury in 2009. Prior to that, it was Sammy Sosa, who was quite obviously on steroids a majority of his career. Prior to that, it was Mark Grace. The fact is, it makes it EXTREMELY difficult to field a competitive team if you have absolutely no idea what your offense is going to provide any given day. 

Jim Hendry absolutely loves going after players coming off career years, and this falls completely in line with the numerous questionable moves Cubs management has made over the years. Hendry has signed the likes of: Burnitz, Bradley, Dempster (re-signed after career year), Miles, Byrd, DeRosa, Lee (re-signed after career year), Hollandsworth, etc., and the results have been nothing short of disastrous. Miles, Burnitz, Bradley, and Hollandsworth (technically just 1 full year), only lasted a year before being released/traded/non-tendered. Dempster hasn't even come close to his career year numbers since signing the extension, and only Byrd and DeRosa could be considered successful signings.

In the case of just about every one of these signings, there were other more consistent players available on the free agent and/or trade markets. I don't think I need to describe this anymore than I already have, other than to say consistency matters, and that's one of the MAJOR reasons the Cubs haven't won much in recent history.


The Cubs are banking their future on a vastly improved player development team, and their ill-advised (in my opinion) hire of Mike Quade over Ryne Sandberg for the managerial position. Unfortunately, someone forgot to send the Ricketts family the memo showing how badly Jim Hendry has managed this franchise since 2002 when he took over, and they allowed him to make one of the more ill-advised trades I've ever seen in my life this offseason:
Matt Garza-27 years old, #3 starter (at best) for the Rays, Zach Rosscup (who?...EXACTLY), and Fernando Perez (better known as Joey Gathright Jr. You can't steal 1B, my must actually hit the ball)

in exchange for:
Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos, and Sam Fuld

The Cubs weren't even expected to contend this year, and given the fact that their offense was the culprit in their demise in 2010, a trade for a #3 starter, giving up 4 Top 10 prospects, was highly questionable. 

But even with that trade, the Cubs still have a bright future (prospects-wise) ahead of them, provided the Ricketts family does the right thing, and terminates Jim Hendry from any crucial, decision-making position. 

Here is a list of the prospects to keep on eye on this year:

  1. Brett Jackson-OF
  2. Trey McNutt-RHP
  3. Josh Vitters-3B
  4. Jay Jackson-RHP
  5. Christopher Carpenter-RHP
  6. DJ LeMahieu-IF
  7. Reggie Golden-OF
  8. Hayden Simpson-RHP *I struggle with this one, because he hasn't thrown a single inning in pro ball yet, but I've watched tape of him, and he looks good
  9. Marquez Smith-3B
  10. Matt Sczcur-OF
  11. Welington Castillo-C
  12. Rafael Dolis-RHP
  13. Austin Kirk-LHP
  14. Ben Wells-RHP
  15. Alberto Cabrera-RHP
  16. Ryan Flaherty-IF
  17. Jeffry Antigua-LHP
  18. Chris Rusin-LHP
  19. Brooks Raley-LHP
  20. Jae-Hoon Ha-OF
  21. Aaron Kurcz-RHP
  22. Robinson Lopez
  23. Brett Wallach-RHP
  24. Michael Burgess-OF
  25. Junior Lake-IF
  26. Matt Cerda-IF
  27. Justin Bour-1B
  28. Marwin Gonzalez-IF
  29. Steve Clevenger-C/IF
  30. Pierre LePage-IF
*I will post scouting reports of each of them soon


Dear Visitors,

Welcome to my new blog. Here's a little bit about myself:
  • Born and raised in the Chicago area
  • Avid Chicago sports fan, in particular the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and White Sox (if they're not playing the Cubs)
    • I'm an extremely jaded Cubs fan, and I disapprove about just about every move Jim Hendry has ever done. I believe he is one of the worst General Managers in the history of baseball given the large payroll and extremely questionable trades and free agent signings he's made.
  • Played college baseball in Chicago
    • Scouted by several MLB teams, with the Pittsburgh Pirates having the most interest
    • Blew out my shoulder and never pitched again
  • Pitching coach for 2 years at small NCAA Division II school
  • Pitching coach for NCAA summer league team
    • 2010 team made it to NBC World Series in Wichita, and placed 4th. 
  •  I have been a frequent guest writer and guest radio host for a few Chicago sports websites and blog sites
  • I conduct a lot of original research on stats in baseball. (I'm working on other sports, but this is my specialty obviously). 
    • With this research, I am able to predict a player's success (or lacktherof ) at the MLB level, and it has been highly accurate to date
  • I have connections to one MLB owner, and 2 GM's, and several player development people in a number of different organizations
  • I have thought about getting into scouting, so if any GM's are reading this and have openings, let me know... :)
  • At last count, I have at least 31 former teammates or opponents playing in MLB, and countless others playing in the minor leagues
    • I have kept in touch with a majority of them, and through this, I have valuable insight into how player relations work, and how political the game really is
Now...A couple ground-rules for this blog:
  1. No name-calling of other bloggers
  2. No swearing. If you want to drop the F-bomb or something else, I guess I'm okay with you putting asterisks, etc. in the word (Ex: f$##k)
  3. No talking about soccer, golf, NASCAR, or any lesser sports. If you want to talk about MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL, I'm fine with that...just don't expect me to comment much on NHL, as I am not an avid hockey fan at all.
Welcome! Now, let's start talking Chicago Sports