#Cubs instructs begin in Mesa

The Cubs instructional league begins today in Mesa, Ariz. Besides the daily drills, a select group will combine with Angels players to play games versus other teams in the Valley. The Cubs prospects on that team include pitchers Dylan Cease, Jared Cheek, Oscar De La Cruz, Jordan Minch, Kyle Miller, Tommy Nance, James Norwood, Carson Sands, Justin Steele and Jen-Ho Tseng; catchers PJ Higgins, Alberto Mineo and Ian Rice; infielders Carlos Sepulveda and Jason Vosler; and outfielders Donnie Dewees and Eddy Martinez.

The Cubs’ top 2016 Draft pick, right-hander Thomas Hatch, who was selected in the third round, will take part in the workouts at the team complex in Mesa.

— Carrie Muskat


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Just recently we discussed how diving into bases can be risky business. (I reckon that was the title of a Tom Cruise movie back in the 80`s, but I digress.) Last night Giants` shortstop Brandon Crawford dislocated a finger on his left hand, his glove hand, in a contest versus the Dodgers. He did so in the second inning of that game when he dived into third base. He was forced to leave the game. Crawford is perhaps the Giants most indispensable player, and the club can ill-afford to lose him for long, given the team is in a heated battle with the Mets and Cardinals for the NL Wild Card. The three clubs are tied as I type. You may have observed our David Ross dive into home plate last night when he was driven in by Lester with his impressive knock. The veteran catcher`s need to dive head first was more a function of his being gassed after having run the bases than anything else, After all, he`s 39. Still, I suggest that was an unwise decision Rossy made. We can ill-afford to lose our backup catcher and Lester`s personal batterymate with the postseason looming.

Gleyber Torres has been solid but not spectacular at the dish, posting a .282 batting average, and a .356 on-base percentage through 1,147 at-bats. I mention this because some of you fans have expressed regret that the 19 year-old shortstop was included in a trade with the Yankees for Chapman. It`s yet to be determined if he`ll one day become the star some have projected.

Aloha jhosk- Yes, the Giants are hurting after the Crawford injury, one of the best ss’s in the league; they are going to have a tough time getting one of the spots unless they can pull it together along with some luck (which has happened in the past for them). I hope the team has a good day off tomorrow and come in well-rested for the Cardinal series, it is time to for this team do deliver a decisive blow to them Cardinals! Oh I know Mat B may not like this but we have to give Lackey kudo’s tonight, he pitched a very good game. Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. Do you have a preference when it comes to the Cubs` opponent in the NLDS beginning Friday October 7 at Wrigley? From your past comments, I`ve deduced that you are not wanting it to be the Mets. Also, do you know where I can find the batting averages for all our current position players` with RISP? I recall our friend, Bruce from Brazil, commenting that he was especially interested in those stats. Would be much obliged. {Aside: sometimes baseball players perform at a higher level in the majors than they do in the minors. A current example is Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez. He played 71 games at AAA this 2016 season, many of which I saw, and clouted a modest 11 home runs. He`s played 43 or 44 games with the major league club and has 19 and counting. I`ve heard it said no major league player has ever done anything like that before.}

Aloha jhosk- I think the good thing is that any of the 3 teams the Cubs might see: Cardinals/Giants/Mets, thank goodness they come at the beginning! Another reason why it is so important that the team finishes the season well because there is the 1-game WC playoff then the series begins. Not a lot of time in between, so you want the Cubs riding on a high in addition to the team that wins from the wild-card. Tomorrow are them pesky Cardinals, it is time to let them know there is a new era that has begun! Take care. Mahalo!

Carrie, what time do drills start at the Instructs? What time do the games start?

I hear you, k.g. Also, the two Wild Card teams will both likely start their aces in that one game showdown October 5, meaning the winning team`s best pitcher will not be available for the Cubs` series until the third game. I noticed you ignored my RISP question. Since you covet working with numbers and stats, could you possibly tackle that stubborn and elusive RISP matter?

Aloha jhosk, did not ignore that request, thought I addressed it. Will do so when I have a larger device to work from! Good point about the WC teams throwing their aces at eachother! Mahalo!

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Also, it looks as though Hendricks is going to get the start in that second game of the first round playoff series (October 8), after all. That is the way the manager is setting up his rotation in these last regular season games (Lester, Hendricks, Arrieta, Lackey, with Hammel being the odd-man out, if you like). This is what many of us wanted. Apparently, the opponent is not going to be a major factor in determining the order of the rotation. {I suspected that right along, and believed Lester would pitch the first game of any playoff round even if the opponent were from Venus or Mars.}

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