Results tagged ‘ DJ LeMahieu ’

Hot off the presses: November 2011 Vine Line sneak peek

It’s an issue you won’t want to miss. Theo Epstein graces the cover of our November issue, and we begin our offseason coverage with an in-depth look at a new era in Cubs baseball operations. Along with our cover feature—which includes exclusive quotes from our one-on-one interview with Epstein—we also take a look at the example Theo set in Boston and how his tack to modernize the Cubs organization echoes the circumstances in which Dallas Green did so 30 years ago.

We also continue our look from top to bottom of the Cubs organization with a pair of features. Marlon Byrd lends Vine Line readers an introspective look at his 2011 season and place in the game today in a series of blog posts by the Cubs center fielder. For those of you who have enjoyed Doug Glanville’s “The Game From Where I Stand” and other columns, Byrd offers an insight and competitiveness that sets an example worth following.

It’s one you hope is set for the next generation of Cubs, almost 50 of whom were getting one-on-one training in the Arizona instructional league last month.’s Carrie Muskat and Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks give an in-depth look at the work being done with some of the organization’s youngest players.

All that and more in the November 2011 issue of Vine Line hitting mailboxes this week. Be a part of an exciting new chapter at Wrigley Field by subscribing to or giving the gift of Vine Line today.

More inside this issue:

  • Picnic in the park: Fans fill Wrigley Field for a Ferris Bueller Movie Night.
  • Inside Pitch: Addressing the rotation.
  • Glory Days: 9 innings with Todd Hollandsworth.
  • The Profile: DJ LeMahieu.
  • Stretching Out with Martin Sheen.
  • Farm Report: Daytona Cubs win the Florida State League championship.
  • Minors Tracker: 2011 season statistics, plus Future Watch by Kevin Goldstein

Get to know: Infielder DJ LeMahieu

The 79th-overall pick in 2009, infielder DJ LeMahieu has impressed scouts with his hit tool and ability to play multiple positions in the field. Vine Line asked him about his approach to developing power—projected with his 6-foot-4 frame—and wanting to build a winner in the major leagues. It’s an exclusive look at the player development in the Cubs organization. Subscribe to Vine Line to read more from LeMahieu’s interview and everything from minors to majors. (Photo by Stephen Green)

THE RIGHT APPROACH I just work on getting hits. As long as I’ve played this game, I’ve always gotten hits. It’s something that hopefully will never leave me. In the meantime, maybe I’ll hit for a little more power. But I think that’s something that’s going to come, and it’s something I’m working on. Just as long as I’m getting hits, driving guys in, getting some good hits, some clutch hits for the team, I’m not worried about it.

POWER SEARCH Every coach I’ve ever worked with coming up through the system has been like, “Hey, we don’t want to change you; we just want to adjust this a little bit so you can find a bit more power.” Obviously I talk about it all the time, I work with Rudy [Jaramillo, hitting coach], I worked with all the guys coming up.

BUILDING FROM WITHIN It’s the feeling that, hey, when we meet up there [in Chicago], we really want to make a big impact. Obviously, everybody wants to win. And I think everybody knows how exciting it will be when this team gets on a roll. You know, even some of the older guys up here, like Geovany Soto and [Sean] Marshall, say this place is the best place to be when the team wins and makes the playoffs. I think when you hear that, it gets you motivated. It’s fun already, but when we start winning it’s going to be unbelievable.

Getting rerouted

Illustration by Tyler Hildebrand, and story by Jordan Ramos. Featured in the upcoming July 2011 edition of Vine Line.

One of the most thrilling moments in a baseball player’s career is when his manager tells him he’s been promoted to the big leagues—unless he has a skipper with a sense of humor. Two May call-ups, Tony Campana and DJ LeMahieu, both had their bags packed for other cities before hearing they were on their way to Wrigley.

Campana’s Triple-A manager, Bill Dancy, decided to break some bad news to him first. Dancy called the speedy outfielder into his office and said that, because of injuries, the Cubs needed someone to go down to Double-A to play every day …

“‘But first, we’re going to send you to the big leagues,’” Campana recalled Dancy saying. “It kind of made me mad—he got me! I was mad that I was going [down a level], and then he said that, and I was like, ‘All right.’ I didn’t know what to do. I was speechless.”

On May 17 against the Reds, Campana made his debut as a pinch-runner for Alfonso Soriano and scored his first run. An inning later, in his first at-bat, he lined a double for his first career hit and RBI. (more…)

DJ LeMahieu’s big-league introduction

While DJ LeMahieu wasn’t truly called up to Chicago until Monday, he got his first taste of the big leagues back in January, as a part of the Cubs Caravan and Cubs Convention. Vine Line trailed the 2009 second-round pick through a chilly week and published his first-hand experience this past March. The following are a few tidbits from that Cubs Crossover story.

DJ LeMahieu at Cubs Caravan 2011

“Obviously it’s fun when people recognize you, but being around some of the big-league guys in Arizona and in Chicago, you kind of get a taste of how they live and what they go through. That comes with being a ballplayer, and it’s something I look forward to.”

DJ LeMahieu at Cubs Caravan 2

“We did a Q&A session at a music and arts school. They did a presentation for us and sang some songs. You were once in their shoes as a kid, and now I’m in the Cubs organization playing professional baseball. It was great to see how excited they were when Cubs players come see them.”


Vine Line’s Minor League Prospectus on DJ LeMahieu

DJ LeMahieuWith the injury carousel spinning at Wrigley Field, the Cubs selected the contract of infielder DJ LeMahieu on Monday and made him the first player from their 2009 draft class to make the big leagues. The former second-round pick stood out even among the big-leaguers, boasting a large, 6-foot-4 frame that looked even more striking for how much weight he appears he could add to his 196-pound list weight.

Here’s what Vine Line’s Minor League Prospectus said this past February:

A versatile athlete, LeMahieu’s power might not be apparent in his home run total, but his large frame, .314 batting average and 24 doubles at high A in 2010 indicate power to come. His long arms offer good plate coverage, he knows the strike zone, and his quick hands allow him to drive the ball to opposite fields. As LeMahieu grows, his body will dictate where he plays, though he manned three positions last season. (more…)

Vine Line EXTRA: Two (of 50) names you should know

VL FEB 2010 CVR lr.jpgYear after year, Vine Line readers — not to mention Cubs minor-league instructors and staff — tell us that one of their favorite features is our annual Minor-League Prospectus. Nowhere else will you find so much depth on 50 of the organization’s most intriguing players.

We do that by talking to our player development staff, including those in the front office and on the field. And we’ll give you key components of their scouting reports and stats to tell you what development path these players are on.

It was an exciting year down on the farm, too: A number of hitters flourished, giving the system its most promising set of athletic position players in years.

Here’s a preview of two players who can be expected to make a “splash” in 2010.

DJ Lemahieu:

Though Cubs fans probably won’t see LeMahieu in Chicago that quickly, it won’t be long either. After a stellar prep career at Brother Rice (Mich.) High School, the former Michigan “Mr. Baseball” continued his winning ways at LSU, helping lead the Tigers to a national championship in 2009.

An elite hitter, LeMahieu shows terrific plate coverage, a selective eye and hits lots of line drives with a smooth level swing. While he hasn’t hit for much power, LeMahieu still is growing into his 6-4 body. Cubs brass is convinced his power will come later. They also are not worried about whether LeMahieu will stay at shortstop or move to third base.

“He’ll tell us himself when or if he needs to move by his performance. And so far the kid’s been great,” said VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita.

— Michael Huang

Thumbnail image for Cubs minor leaguers09.jpgHak-Ju Lee:

While the hype for Lee hasn’t exploded lit it has for fellow shortstop Starlin Castro, Lee might reflect the state of the Cubs system best. He’s not only ridiculously athletic but also a left-handed hitter signed out of South Korea, where the Cubs have built a stronghold.

As a raw 19-year-old at short-season Boise, Lee hit for average, got on base and stole bases efficiently. He might gain some power when he fills out his 6-2 frame, but his swing uses the entire field. Boise manager Casey Kopitzke praised Lee’s ability to battle deep into counts and take walks.

In the field, Lee’s fluidity and style are unmatched, but it is his instincts and plus-plus speed that make him seem more like a one-man infield. Kids with his size, ability and flair don’t come out of the Pacific Rim very often.

“He’s got his own style,” Fleita said. “Always in the right place, always in the center of all hte action.”

— Sean Ahmed

See the full list of 50 Cubs prospects as well as coverage of Andre Dawson’s trip to the Hall of Fame and the start of spring training by subscribing to Vine Line.

Photo by Jason Wise

Cubs select Cal outfielder Brett Jackson

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgWith the 31st selection of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Chicago Cubs selected Cal outfielder Brett Jackson.

Jackson is an elite athlete who plays like his hair’s on fire. Patrolling centerfield for the Cal Bears, the 6-2, 210-pound Jackson is strong and muscular, with above-average speed and excellent range.

While his arm is average at best, he will make up for a short arm with long effort, diving for liners, chasing down balls in the gaps.

Brett Jackson.jpg“I didn’t really model myself after any particular outfielder,” Jackson said during a teleconference. “But I’ve been most compared to Jim Edmonds. Honestly, I try to model myself after a bunch of players. I like how Derek Jeter is respected and goes about his business. But I also like how Edmonds played.”

Jackson hit .321 with eight homers and 41 RBIs and 11 steals for the Golden Bears this season.

However, Jackson also struck out a team-high 61 times in just 218 at-bats this year. Jackson believes his athleticism will allow him to overcome the strikeouts, and in fact, they were an abberation.

“I haven’t been a big strikeout guy in my career,” Jackson said. “But athleticism is one of my main assets….I continually work on all aspects of my game.”

On his 19th birthday, Jackson travelled to Chicago and took in a Cubs game. He was playing in the wood-bat Northwoods League in Wisconsin and on an off-day decided to visit the “Friendly Confines.”

“It was overwhelming,” Jackson said. “You just feel the history there–and the fans are the best in baseball.”

Jackson said he has always been a Cubs fan, but more so a fan of the mascot.

“Once a bear, always a bear,” he laughed.

The Cubs also selected LSU second baseman D.J. LeMahieu in the second round and Owasso (Texas) High School left-hander Austin Kirk in the third.

–Mike Huang