Topics for a Thursday


In baseball, a new story is arriving every day.

In today’s stories, a young Dominican shortstop tears up the Arizona Rookie League, a young Cuban outfielder could offer the Cubs a chance to invest a lot of cash in a hurry, and a not so young Cub manager throws his young infielders under the bus and proceeds to drive over them.

Let’s take the bad news first.


Following yesterday’s game in which Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney lost a fly ball in the sun, Manager Mike Quade was apparently annoyed and proceeded to lay nearly all the blame for the 9-1 loss on that fly ball lost in the first inning. However, the lack of “intensity” apparently shown by Barney and Castro apparently did not spread to the veterans. After all, the veteran players on the team such as Pena (2 errors) and Soriano (0 for 3, 4 LOB) produced significantly better results than Castro or Barney. Or something.

Quade apparently praised Byrd and Ramirez who, all sarcasm aside, did have decent games. But to dump the blame for a 9-1 loss almost exclusively on Barney and Castro while apparently absolving Soriano and Byrd of all guilt is… interesting.

Am I the only one who is starting to be reminded of Lee Elia?


Meanwhile, way down on the farm in the Arizona Rookie League, an 18 year old shortstop from the Dominican Republic has been hitting .400 with an OPS of 0.923. There is no reason to start comparing Gioskar Amaya to Starlin Castro yet, even though Castro also had a lot of success in Arizona at the age of 18. For one thing, Amaya is currently striking out roughly 25% of the time, while Castro’s rate in Arizona was only about 15%. One of the things that helped Castro advance so quickly was his advanced eye and plate discipline. There are a lot of games to go in Arizona yet, so Amaya may make some adjustments and starting making contact more consistently. After all, he has only had 80 AB so far. Regardless, I think fans can expect to see Amaya in Peoria some time next season. If he finishes strong in Arizona, he might be with the Chiefs for Opening Day.


Phil Rogers reports this morning that Yoennis Cespedes has defected from Cuba and is in the Dominican Republic. If that is the case and everything goes through in time for Cespedes to be available on the free agent market this winter, he will draw some interest from several teams. The Cubs might be one of those teams.

I’m not familiar enough with Cuban baseball to try to translate his stats and compare him to anyone stateside, but his performance has been strong for several seasons now, and that is probably an indicator of good things to come. I don’t know if he would jump directly to the majors or if he would spend some time on the farm first, but a 26 year old outfielder who has been hitting 20-30 HR a season in Cuba is sure to be a nice addition to almost any team’s depth chart.

Under the Ricketts family the Cubs have proven that they are willing to open the wallet and sign international talent, include players from Cuba like Rubi Silva. The Cubs could also use some additional power in their lineup and I’m sure they will find room for him on a roster somewhere. Keep an eye out for more on this guy as the year progresses.