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Chicago Cubs’ Fact Pack, Playoff Tidbits

October 19th, 2014 at 4:35 PM
By Tim Duxbury

1) Five former Chicago Cubs’ players participated in the 2014 playoffs (for the Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals): Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, Geovany Soto, Sam Fuld, Nate Schierholtz.

2) Since the formation of the National League central division in 1994, the Chicago Cubs have finished in first place just three times (2003, 2007, 2008).

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Sunday Spotlight: the Importance of Starlin Castro

October 19th, 2014 at 3:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

As the Cubs begin the “turn” in their rebuilding plan (the phase where they begin to compete), the most important player to keep an eye on will be Starlin Castro, without a doubt. So much of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s plan hinges upon, and will be dictated, by Castro. It appears that the Cubs’ fan base is divided over what they would like to see Castro’s future be, but here are three reasons why Castro is the Cubs’ kingpin.

1) For starters, Castro is right in the middle of, what should be, the fiercest position battle in recent memory. Right now, Starlin Castro has two of baseball’s best prospects breathing down his neck to become the Cubs’ next shortstop; Javier Baez (2014 pre-season #7 prospect in baseball) and Addison Russell (2014 post-season #5 prospect in baseball). Castro’s presence as the incumbent will dictate where both Baez and Russell will play, both on the field and within the organization, as well as what the entire Cubs’ lineup will look like in 2015. He is the centerpiece that will set all other balls in motion. Assuming Castro stays, it looks as though both prospects will have to learn to play new positions for the time being. But if Castro is traded, a whole flood of new scenarios will present themselves to the Cubs, particularly since he is Cubs’ most valuable potential trade asset.

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Cubs’ Prospects: Arizona Fall League Update

October 18th, 2014 at 3:55 PM
By Tim Duxbury

Only two major league teams are still playing baseball, but that doesn’t mean that the other 28 have nothing going on. Every fall, teams send six or seven of their top prospects to participate in the Arizona Fall League in order to get extra reps and improve their game. This year, the Chicago Cubs sent SS Addison Russell (who made his first career appearance at second base this week), 1B Dan Vogelbach, OF Jacob Hannemann, and pitchers CJ Edwards, Zach Cates, Ivan Pineyro and Gerardo Concepcion. The results have been very mixed thus far:

Player (age)

Games

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

Russell (20)

6

.227

.346

0

3

Vogelbach (21)

6

.167

.318

O

1

Hannemann (23)

6

.056

.100

0

1

Pitcher (age)

Games

IP

W-L

ERA

WHIP

Edwards (23)

2

5.0

1-0

1.80

1.20

Pineyro (23)

2

4.1

0-0

0.00

1.85

Cates (24)

3

4.1

0-0

2.08

1.15

Concepcion (22)

3

4.0

0-0

11.25

2.25

(Stats per MLB.com)

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Chicago Cubs Fact Pack, Opening Day Streaks

October 18th, 2014 at 12:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury

1. Ernie Banks started a Cubs’ record 17 consecutive times on opening day (1954-1970). However, Mark Grace (1B) and Sammy Sosa (RF) are tied for the most consecutive opening day starts at the same position, starting for 12 consecutive years at first base and rightfield; 1989-2000 and 1993-2004 respectively.

2. Since officially becoming the Chicago Cubs in 1903, the team has had 52 different managers. In that time period, Hall of Famer Leo Durocher has begun the season as the team’s manager a club record seven consecutive times (1966-72, he left mid season in 1972).

*Stats per baseball-reference.com

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Down on the Farm: Cubs’ Prospects Who Will Be Moved

October 18th, 2014 at 3:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

Reading into Chicago Cubs’ president Theo Epstein’s comments over the past month, it looks like the Cubs are just about ready to compete for a division title. Part of making that push could involve favoring major league talent over minor league talent, which means that the Cubs could look to move some quality minor leaguers this off-season. Here are some of the Chicago Cubs’ top prospects that we can expect to be moved before they begin their major league careers.

Billy McKinney, OF – 7th overall

The Chicago Cubs acquired the twenty-year-old Billy McKinney from the Oakland Athletics this summer in the Jeff Samardzija trade and, although he had a fine summer after joining the Cubs’ organization, there doesn’t project to be room for him at the big league level. McKinney hit .264 with 11 home runs on the summer and hit .301 for the Daytona Cubs (A+), but the Cubs outfield is accounted for with the presence of Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara, and either Kris Bryant or Kyle Schwarber for years to come. McKinney has shown some solid pop in the minor leagues but has also proven that he is not afraid to swing and miss, which is something the Cubs already have plenty of at the big league level. Look for McKinney to be in a package to land a frontline starter before he reaches the big leagues.

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