Archive for the ‘ Vine Line ’ Category

ESPN’s Law names Bryant top prospect

KrisBryant_Futures

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Cubs prospect Kris Bryant announced his presence in a big way in his first full season of professional baseball in 2014. The slugger, who hit .325/.438/.661 (AVG/OBP/SLG) between Double-A and Triple-A, proved he was the top offensive player in the minors, with many publications naming him their unanimous Player of the Year selection. ESPN Insider’s Keith Law added to the chorus Tuesday, naming Bryant his 2014 Prospect of the Year. Here’s some of what he had to say:

Bryant blew away the field, dominating at two levels, leading the minor leagues in home runs and slugging percentage, finishing second in OBP (behind a 21-year-old in low-A) and ascending the rankings to become baseball’s top prospect, all in his first full year in professional baseball. The second overall pick in the 2013 Rule 4 draft, Bryant probably would have appeared in the majors in September if he were already on the 40-man roster, but the current collective bargaining agreement and major league rules gave the Cubs a real disincentive to promote him for a cup of coffee. He will almost certainly be up by May 2015, however, bringing his 30-plus-homer power and outstanding eye at the plate to the heart of the Cubs’ lineup.

The Cubs top prospect led the minors in home runs (43), extra-base hits (78), total bases (325), slugging percentage (.661) and OPS (1.098). His 118 runs scored were second among all minor league players, while his 110 RBI were third, and his .438 on-base percentage was fifth.

Cubs’ 2014 first-round pick Kyle Schwarber also received honorable mention in Law’s article for his solid campaign.

Rizzo nominated for Roberto Clemente Award

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Photo by Stephen Green

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball announced that Anthony Rizzo was named the Chicago Cubs’ 2014 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the major leaguer who best represents the game of baseball with contributions both on and off the field.

“We are pleased that Anthony has once again been selected as a national Roberto Clemente Award recipient,” said Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer. “His commitment to the community and his teammates the last three seasons with the Cubs has made a tremendous impact within our organization.”

Each club nominates one player who truly understands the value of helping others for the Roberto Clemente Award in an effort to pay tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character.

Rizzo started the nonprofit Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation in 2012 to raise money for cancer research and to provide support to children and their families battling the disease. As a cancer survivor, he understands the impact cancer has on the entire family. Through fundraising for research and providing support for pediatric cancer patients and their families, the foundation aims to help give every family a fighting chance against the disease.

Since its inception, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation has hosted two annual events, including the Walk-Off For Cancer held during the offseason in Anthony’s hometown of Parkland, Fla., and the Cook-Off For Cancer in Chicago, which raised close to $140,000 this year.

Together, these events have raised more than $500,000 for cancer research since 2012. Currently, the organizations selected as beneficiaries of this fundraising include Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Family Reach Foundation, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and The Lymphoma Program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Health System.

In addition to these fundraising efforts, Rizzo makes monthly visits to Lurie Children’s Hospital. He has become a welcomed and familiar face to those in the pediatric oncology floor, where he spends much of his time talking with patients and their families, signing autographs, taking photos and handing out Cubs memorabilia.

Wednesday marks the 13th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially recognize local nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award. The 15-time MLB All-Star and Hall of Famer died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Rizzo will be recognized for his nomination before the team’s Sept. 17 home game vs. the Cincinnati Reds. He will be presented a $7,500 grant to the charity of his choice, Cubs Charities, as a result of his nomination for this award.

Now Playing: In the Dugout with Rick Renteria, September 2014

The major league season can be a grind. After 162 games, 26 road series, and the inevitable ups and downs of a professional schedule, you could forgive a manager for being a little drained. But when we sat down with Cubs skipper Rick Renteria early in September, he was energized by his team’s recent run of good play. We talked with him about developing the organization’s young talent, managing the expectations placed on top prospects and learning on the job as a first-year big league manager.

Home Series No. 24 Preview: Cubs vs. Reds

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Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier (right) have been bright spots for an inconsistent Reds lineup. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Reds spent most of the first half pushing to make the NL Central a very intriguing four-team race, but a rash of injuries finally caught up with them. Since July, the team has been 28-40 and is now just 71-79 overall, a far cry from reaching the one-game NL playoff round like they did in 2013. Given Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Devin Mesoraco and Mat Latos have all missed significant time, it was almost inevitable the Reds would eventually fall off the pace. However, much like the Cubs, this year is hardly a complete loss, as they’ve seen several players emerge as key pieces that could help them contend in the near future.

PITCHING
(3.8 RA/G, 7TH IN NL)*

Tuesday’s starter Johnny Cueto has become the anchor of the Reds rotation and should be a legitimate Cy Young candidate. On Monday, the Cubs will see All-Star Alfredo Simon, who’s tailed off after having a strong start to the season. Despite the dropoff, he’s still 3-0 in four starts with a 1.40 ERA against the Cubs this year. Daniel Corcino is scheduled to make his second career MLB start Wednesday. His fastball/slider combo led to a 28 percent strikeout rate this year at Triple-A. The bullpen has had some issues this year as well. Aroldis Chapman is still one of the more dominant closers in baseball, but the innings leading up to Chapman’s have been troublesome. The Reds’ relief group is 14th in bullpen ERA and save percentage.

HITTING
(3.7 RS/G, 13TH IN NL)

The Reds have struggled to score runs for much of the season. A lot of that has to do with the absence of Votto and his career .417 on-base percentage. He’s only played in 62 games this season due to quad strains. Phillips has continued his downward trend, showing only modest on-base skills to go along with his diminished power. Mesoraco has had a good year, hitting .280/.366/.541 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 23 homers and 74 driven in, while Todd Frazier (.280 AVG, 26 homers, 75 RBI, 20 stolen bases) has helped carry the load. If inconsistent rookie Billy Hamilton can get his OBP to league-average levels, he could be a real asset.

Cubs name 3B Bryant, RHP Tseng organization’s MiLB Player, Pitcher of the Year

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The Cubs named Jen-Ho Tseng the club’s 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Kane County Cougars)

The Cubs named third baseman Kris Bryant and right-handed pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, on Monday.

The award should come as no surprise for the 22-year-old Bryant, as publications like Baseball America and USA Today have already named him their Minor League Player of the Year. The 2013 first-round pick dominated all season, batting .325/438/.661 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with a minor league-best 43 home runs in 138 games between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He also tallied 34 doubles and 110 RBI and led the minors with 78 extra-base hits, 325 total bases, a 1.098 OPS as well as the aforementioned .661 slugging percentage. His 118 runs scored ranked second among all minor league players, while his RBI total was third, his on-base percentage was fifth and his 86 walks ranked eighth.

A right-handed hitting third baseman, Bryant began the season with Tennessee and batted .355 (88-for-248) with 20 doubles, 22 home runs, 58 RBI, a .458 on-base percentage and a .702 slugging mark in 68 games. He was named the Southern League Hitter of the Week three times, including in consecutive weeks (May 26-June 1 and June 2-8) when he combined to bat .447 (21-for-47) with five doubles, eight home runs, 12 RBI and 15 walks. Bryant was named a midseason Southern League All-Star and led the league in batting average, home runs and RBI at the break.

On June 19, the top prospect was promoted to Iowa following the Southern League All-Star break and went on to hit .295 (72-for-244) with 14 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 52 RBI, a .418 on-base percentage and a .619 slugging percentage in 70 games. He hit five home runs in his first six career games at the Triple-A level and went deep in consecutive games on five occasions.

Selected by the Cubs with the second overall pick in 2013, Bryant owns a .327 batting average (203-for-620) with 140 runs scored, 48 doubles, three triples, 52 home runs and 142 RBI in 174 career minor league contests. He has a .428 on-base percentage and a .666 slugging mark to contribute to a 1.094 career OPS. Named the Cubs second-best prospect heading into this season by Baseball America, Bryant owns a .942 fielding percentage at third base (27 E/464 TC), including a .963 mark (7 E/190 TC) with Iowa this season.

Tseng, 19, was a key component in Single-A Kane County’s run to a Midwest League title in 2014. The right-hander went 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA (28 ER/105.0 IP) in 19 games (17 starts), fanning 85 and walking just 15. Tseng limited opponents to a .204 batting average (76-for-373), a .241 on-base percentage and a .308 slugging percentage.

In his first professional season since he was signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in July of last season, Tseng allowed three or fewer earned runs in 16 of his 17 starts and surrendered two or fewer walks in 15 starts. He finished the regular season on a nice run, posting a 3-1 record and a 1.65 ERA (10 ER/54.2 IP) in nine games (eight starts) from July 6. The run included a seven-inning complete game in which he allowed just one run on three hits while walking none and striking out seven on July 13 vs. Beloit.

Bryant and Tseng will be honored during an on-field ceremony prior to the Cubs 7:05 p.m. contest this Wednesday, Sept. 17, against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.

Cubs Minor League Recap: Cougars claim MWL title

Kane County’s solid play throughout the season was rewarded Saturday, when the Cougars topped Lake County to win the Midwest League title. Here are some highlights from Saturday’s championship-clinching victory.

Kane County Cougars
First Half (45-25, 1st Place, +6.5)
Second Half (46-24, 1st Place, +4.0)

Kane County won the Midwest League title, and went 7-0 in the postseason, thanks to Saturday’s 7-2 victory over Lake County to complete a three-game sweep. Add that to their 91-49 regular-season record, and the Cougars finished the campaign 98-49 (.666).

  • RHP Daury Torrez gave up one earned run over five innings, striking out three to earn the win.
  • 1B Jacob Rogers (.259) belted his second homer of the postseason and finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs, three RBI and a walk.
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.429) added three hits, one RBI and two runs scored.
  • LHP Michael Heesch (1.35) appeared in relief of Torrez and allowed one run in three innings to pick up the hold.
  • RHP Francisco Carrillo finished the game with a scoreless ninth.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 9/11/14

Kane County jumped out to a 2-0 series lead with a dominant pitching performance Thursday. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s game:

Kane County Cougars
Midwest League Championship
Kane County leads best-of-five series 2-0

The Cougars held Lake County to just two hits for a 6-0 victory in Game 2 of the best-of-five MWL Championship Series. Kane County can clinch the title with a win tomorrow night at Lake County.

  • DH Mark Zagunis (.435) registered a game-high three hits, going 3-for-5 with a run scored, a double (1) and one stolen base (1).
  • LF Shawon Dunston (.348) went 2-for-3 with three runs scored, a walk, one RBI (2) and two stolen bases (7).
  • RHP Duane Underwood recorded the win after holding Lake County hitless in six innings of work. He struck out eight.
  • LHP Tyler Ihrig came on in relief and surrendered two hits while striking out four in three scoreless innings of relief to earn his second save of the postseason.

Final Homestand Promotions and Guests: 9/15/14-9/24/14

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The Final Cubs homestand will include Big Ten Rivalry Week.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already time for the final homestand of the season. From Sept. 15-24, Charles Barkley, Joakim Noah, Larry King and more will help the Cubs welcome the Reds, Dodgers and Cardinals to town for a last hurrah. If you’re a fan of the Big Ten, this is the series for you, as the Cubs will be hosting Big Ten Rivalry Week games the entire homestand.

Here are the other guests and promotions you’ll find at the Friendly Confines during the 10-game set.

Final Homestand Recap, Sept. 15-24

Monday, Sept. 15, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Indiana vs. Purdue
  • First pitch: Shane Davis, Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball coach
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Members of the 2014 National Champion Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball team
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV+, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Tuesday, Sept. 16, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
  • First pitch: Charles Barkley, NBA Hall of Famer and current analyst on TNT’s Inside the NBA
  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Wednesday, Sept. 17, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Michigan vs. Ohio State
  • First pitch: Joakim Noah, All-Star Chicago Bulls center
  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Thursday, Sept.18, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Healthcare Professionals Night
  • Pregame ceremony: Recipients of more than $330,000 in Diamond Project grants from Cubs Charities
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Big Ten Network’s BTN Live host Dave Revsine, analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Friday, Sept.19, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 1:20 p.m.

  • Promotion: Cubs Travel Blanket presented by United Airlines (first 10,000 fans)
  • First pitch: Larry King, host of Larry King Now on Ora.TV
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Nick Digilio, Pete McMurray and Patti Vasquez, WGN Radio talents
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Saturday, Sept. 20, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 12:05 p.m.

  • Promotion: Cubs Tumbler presented by Pepsi (first 10,000 fans)
  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: FOX-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Sunday, Sept. 21, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 1:20 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Maryland vs. Rutgers
  • Promotion: Lunch Tote presented by Jewel-Osco (first 5,000 children)
  • First pitches: Actors Jason Beghe and Eamonn Walker from Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire
  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Monday, Sept. 22, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Michigan State vs. Penn State
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Tom O’Reilly, Cubs Charities Bricks and Ivy Ball auction winner
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Tuesday, Sept. 23, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Iowa vs. Nebraska
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Tom Dreesen, comedian, Chicago native
  • Broadcast: WCIU-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Wednesday, Sept. 24, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Illinois vs. Northwestern
  • Pregame ceremony: Military Take the Field
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Wrigley Field grounds crew
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Three-series homestand wraps up the 2014 home slate

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Wrigley Field will host the final homestand of its 100th birthday season from Sept. 15-24 as the Cubs take on Cincinnati, the Dodgers and St. Louis. Like in years past, the team will thank fans for their support throughout the season by giving away autographed baseballs in the stands before the season’s final home game on Wednesday, Sept. 24. The team will host fan appreciation giveaways on social media throughout the week as well.

On Friday, Sept. 19, the Cubs will pay tribute to longstanding radio partner WGN Radio before the game and during the seventh-inning stretch. WGN Radio aired Chicago’s first professional game on Oct. 1, 1924, when the Cubs and White Sox played the postseason City Series at then-Cubs Park. On April 14, 1925, WGN broadcast its first regular season Cubs game as Chicago beat Pittsburgh by an 8-2 margin. WGN carried the Cubs from 1924-43, then served as the exclusive radio home for the team from 1958-2014. The Cubs announced earlier this season WBBM 780-AM will be the team’s new flagship radio station beginning with the 2015 season. WBBM Radio had previously covered Cubs games at Wrigley Field from 1929-40.

Fans with tickets to the Cubs vs. Dodgers game on Saturday, Sept. 20, should note FOX has selected the game for their FOX Saturday Baseball Game of the Week broadcast. As a result, the game time has been moved from 3:05 p.m. CDT to 12:05 p.m. CDT. Gates will open two hours prior to first pitch.

On Sunday, Sept. 21, the Cubs and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund will encourage fans to donate new and gently used baseball and softball equipment for the 10th annual equipment day collection benefiting The Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club. To date, more than 100,000 pieces of equipment and approximately $1.6 million in total monetary donations from this league-wide program have benefited organizations in need. Fans can bring their equipment to Gate D at Wrigley Field beginning at 11 a.m. CDT.

On Thursday, Sept. 18, recipients of more than $330,000 in Cubs Charities Diamond Project grants will be recognized pregame for their commitments to improving the quality and safety of local baseball fields throughout the Chicago area. These grants were announced last week in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago.

Cubs Charities and Bank of America will host a group of military members and their families for a pregame batting practice experience, player meet-and-greet and private dinner during the team’s final home game on Wednesday, Sept. 24. Fans can help salute these troops during a Military Take the Field pregame ceremony that evening.

Starting this homestand, the Cubs will begin metal detector screenings of fans entering Wrigley Field as part of a league-wide initiative to standardize security procedures at each major league ballpark. These security screenings are in addition to the current bag checks in place and will be uniform throughout the league during the 2015 season.

Promotional Giveaways:

Fans have the opportunity to collect several promotional items this homestand, beginning with a Cubs travel blanket for the first 10,000 fans on Friday, Sept. 19. The following afternoon, the first 10,000 fans can collect a Cubs tumbler. On Sunday, Sept. 21, the first 5,000 children 13-and-under will receive a lunch tote. The first 1,000 kids can run the bases postgame as well, weather permitting.

Special Events:
The team will host three special events, which offer fans a chance to attend a game with others who share the same interests along with an exclusive promotional item and fan experience. Big Ten Rivalry Week kicks off on Monday, Sept. 15, and matches heated rivals against each other for bragging rights and access to a ceremonial first pitch. Attendees will receive a Cubs shirt in the colors of their favorite Big Ten team. The lineup of Big Ten Rivalry Week matchups follows:

9/15: Indiana vs. Purdue
9/22: Michigan State vs. Penn State
9/16: Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
9/23: Iowa vs. Nebraska
9/17: Michigan vs. Ohio State
9/24: Illinois vs. Northwestern
9/21: Maryland vs. Rutgers

On Thursday, Sept. 18, the Cubs look to recognize the outstanding patient care provided by the Chicago healthcare community at Healthcare Professionals Night. Doctors, nurses and hospital administrators are invited to join the team at this special event to receive an exclusive Cubs scrub top with the Wrigley Field 100 logo.

On Sunday, Sept. 21, guests from Historically Black Colleges and Universities are invited to participate in HBCU Day for a day of networking and fun. The school with the biggest turnout will win bragging rights and prizes at this inaugural event.

To receive each Special Event giveaway item, fans must purchase tickets through the dedicated Special Events page at cubs.com/specialevents.

Tickets remain available for the upcoming 10-game homestand at cubs.com or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827).

Cubs Minor League Recap: 9/10/14

Kane County jumped out to an early lead and grabbed the first game of the best-of-five Midwest League Championship Series Wednesday. Here are some highlights:

Kane County Cougars
Midwest League Championship
Kane County leads series 1-0

Kane County scored four runs in the first two innings to defeat visiting Lake County, 4-3, in Game 1 of the MWL Championship Series.

  • RHP Jen-Ho Tseng gave up two earned runs over five innings, fanning eight, to pick up the win.
  • DH Mark Zagunis (.389) put the Cougars up 2-1 with a first-inning, two-run blast. He finished 1-for-4 with the homer.
  • LF Shawon Dunston (.300) recorded a game-high three hits, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, one RBI and two stolen bases.
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.462) went 2-for-4.
  • RHPs Ben Wells (0.00) and Jasvir Rakkar (0.00) each recorded their first hold of the playoffs while combining to toss three scoreless innings of relief.
  • RHP Francisco Carrillo (0.00) earned his third save of the postseason with a perfect ninth inning of work.
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