Results tagged ‘ Nick Struck ’

Bogusevic at first, Cubs demote three

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs outfielder Brian Bogusevic knows a thing or two about the city of Chicago. Born in the south suburb of Oak Lawn, the 29-year-old attended De La Salle High School before going to school at Tulane University. Now the 2005 first-round draft pick by the Astros is hoping for an opportunity to play in the city where it all started.

The outfielder got his first taste of the big leagues in 2010, playing in only 19 games for the Astros. He was solid in 87 games for Houston the following season, hitting .287/.348/.457 with 14 doubles while rotating between the corner outfield spots. In nearly a full season in 2012, however, he hit just .203 despite drawing 41 walks in 404 plate appearances. But that’s not to say he doesn’t have a shot at making the Opening Day roster for the Cubs.

This spring, Bogusevic has been on a tear, hitting .429 with a homer and four RBI in 24 plate appearances. Manager Dale Sveum called him this year’s Joe Mather, a reference to the utility player who broke camp with the Cubs last season despite being a non-roster invitee. The Chicago native is penciled in to start at first base Friday against the Reds, though rain will likely prevent any action from taking place.

Nick Struck is scheduled to throw for the Cubs. The organization’s 2012 minor league pitcher of the year has made two appearances this spring, giving up one run over five innings and striking out two. Opposite Struck will be lefty Tony Cingrani for Cincinnati. The game is slated for 8:05 CST and fans can listen to the webcast at Cubs.com. Here’s the lineup Cingrani could face:

LF Dave Sappelt
2B Darwin Barney
CF Scott Hairston
DH Alfonso Soriano
SS Luis Valbuena
C Dioner Navarro
RF Jorge Soler
3B Junior Lake
1B Brian Bogusevic

Cubs Notes: Earlier in the day, the team sent catcher Michael Brenly and pitcher Dayan Diaz to minor league camp, and outfielder Matt Szczur to Double-A.

Now Playing: Top prospects on the rise in Mesa

Every season at the outset of Spring Training, organizations invite their top prospects to big league camp. The benefits are twofold: the prospects gain valuable experience watching how major leaguers prepare for the season, and coaches and staff get an opportunity to watch future contributors firsthand.

Top prospect Javier Baez, minor league player of the year Logan Watkins, minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck, Brett Jackson, Cuban import Jorge Soler and many others have spent the first few weeks of camp with the Cubs’ major league club. This week, Vine Line talked to some of the talented young players who are trying to make a name for themselves in Mesa.

Here are the other videos from out Spring Training series:

Mesa Cubscast: Kicking Back with the Cubs, Part 2

Mesa Cubscast: The Cubs Core

Mesa Cubscast: Kicking Back with the Cubs, Part 1

Mesa Cubscast: The New Guys

Mesa Cubscast: The Coaching Staff

1000 Words: Coach K holds court

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(Photo by Steve Green)

Minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck gets some pointers from Cubs great Kerry Wood (who knows a thing or two about pitching).

Cubs invite 22 non-roster players to Mesa

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Reliever Jaye Chapman was one of 22 players invited to Spring Training Friday.

(Photo by Stephen Green)

The clubhouse in Mesa, Ariz., will be a little more crowded later this month as the Cubs have invited 22 non-roster players to major league Spring Training camp. For some of the younger ballplayers, the invite serves as a chance to get acclimated to major league hitting or pitching. For the veterans, it could be another shot to break camp with a big league team.

The Cubs non-roster invitees include a mix of top prospects (Javier Baez, Nick Struck), familiar faces (Jaye Chapman, Casey Coleman, Blake Parker) and former major leaguers (Brent Lillibridge, Brian Bogusevic, Darnell McDonald).

Pitchers and catchers report to Mesa Feb. 12, and the first full squad workout is Feb. 17. Below is the complete list of non-roster invitees:

Right-handed pitchers: Drew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, Casey Coleman, Dayan Diaz, Jensen Lewis, Barret Loux, Blake Parker, Zach Putnam, Nick Struck, Cory Wade

Left-handed pitchers: Hisanori Takahashi

Catchers: J.C. Boscan, Michael Brenly, Rafael Lopez

Infielders: Javier Baez, Alberto Gonzalez, Brent Lillibridge, Edwin Maysonet, Brad Nelson

Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Johermyn Chavez, Darnell McDonald

Prospectus Preview: Close to the Majors, Nick Struck

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Other Prospectus Previews: Down the Pipeline/Jeimer Candelario

Who wants it? That’s the question being asked in the system’s upper levels, where opportunity knocks.

It was just one year ago that Triple-A hosted the system’s most exciting lineup—featuring Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo, Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. The first two already have established themselves as big league starters, while Jackson and Vitters both got crash courses in what they need to do to stick. Lump in toolsy Junior Lake, and there’s still a trio of capable prospects who should make a push for Chicago this year.

But for all the promise at the plate, it’s the dearth of ready impact arms that has received the most focus. That’s why the front office recently debated whether to try Alberto Cabrera as a starter again, after a career year in relief. The development team saw the makings of a good secondary arsenal, and he’d be a power starter (something every organization covets) if it’s there. Whether it’s Robert Whitenack, Matt Loosen or some of the other intriguing arms in the system, everybody wants to know who will break out and answer the call.

At last weekend’s Cubs Convention, Assistant General Manager Randy Bush identified Nick Struck as a pitcher Chicago fans should keep an eye on. Struck is just one of more than 60 players covered in Vine Line’s annual Minor League Prospectus. The issue will hit newsstands in February, with single issues are available by calling 800-618-8377. It’s an exhaustive rundown, perfect for Spring Training and beyond.

P | NICK STRUCK
Ht./Wt.: 5-11/185
B/T: R/R
Born: 10/7/89 in Damascus, Ore.
Acquired: 2009 Draft (39)
Tools: Pitchability, Fastball
2012 STATS (Double-A): 3.18 ERA, 155.2 IP, 140 H, 44 BB, 123 K

Struck, the Cubs’ 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, doesn’t have big stuff but pitches like he does, to paraphrase McLeod’s end-of-season report. Struck’s ultra-competitive approach helped him put together a phenomenal 155-inning year at Tennessee. He stands only 5-foot-11 but is big, strong and durable. His fastball touches 92 mph with heavy movement, and he’s not afraid of contact. He also mixes in a change-up and slider. A former 39th-round pick, Struck provides starting depth, though his best role may be as a swingman who can spot start or eat a couple of innings at a time from the bullpen.


Other players featured in this section: Infielders Junior Lake, Logan Watkins and Josh Vitters; outfielders Brett Jackson and Matt Szczur; and pitchers Alberto Cabrera, Trey McNutt, Brooks Raley, Rob Whitenack and Tony Zych.

Plus, tidbits on LHP Frank Del Valle, IF Justin Bour, OF Jae-Hoon Ha, LHP Austin Kirk, LHP Chris Rusin, RHP Marcus Hatley, RHP Dallas Beeler and RHP Matt Loosen.

Sean Ahmed

Top rookies learn to play the Cubs Way

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Infielder Logan Watkins participated in this week’s Cubs Rookie Development Program.

(Photo by Rodger Wood)

Since Theo Epstein was named Cubs President of Baseball Operations in November 2011, the organization has been stressing the Cubs Way. After getting a full season to view their minor league talent, upper management decided to give a select group of prospects a small crash course on what Cubs baseball is all about.

Starting last Friday, 12 prospects the organization feels are knocking on the major league door have been in Chicago for the club’s first annual Rookie Development Program. The prospects have spent their time going to seminars, practicing at Northwestern University and getting better acclimated to the ways of major league baseball.

“The whole thought behind it really is to get some players in the minor leagues … expose them to the market, get them in a smaller group and talk about what to expect when they get here, how to be professionals, how to handle the media, how to deal with the fans,” said Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod.

The minor leaguers, including notables Javier Baez, Matt Szczur and Trey McNutt, have received instruction from former pitcher Kerry Wood, Bears linebacker Nick Roach and current pitching coach Chris Bosio. Former Cub Mark Prior was scheduled to fly in and speak to the group Thursday, though he is unable to make this weekend’s Cubs Convention.

Today’s low-key practice saw the pitchers throw a little long toss before getting on a mound, while the position players took fielding practice and eventually got some rounds in the batting cages.

The organization’s player and pitcher of the year, Logan Watkins and Nick Struck, were both in attendance. Others joining them were Dallas Beeler, Jae-Hoon Ha, Marcus Hatley, Barret Loux, Zach Rosscup, Robert Whitenack and Tony Zych. All players at the program are scheduled to be at this weekend’s Cubs Convention.

Watkins can’t help Mesa overcome deficit

Mesa had its four-game winning streak snapped Monday afternoon as the Solar Sox fell 8-4 to Salt River at home.

Logan Watkins reached on a walk and scored from first on a three-run double by Nick Castellanos (Tigers). Watkins was 0-for-2 on the day with three walks, boosting his on-base percentage to .444 in the six games he’s played in the AFL. He did commit an error at second.

Nick Struck pitched in the top of the sixth and surrendered two runs, one earned, on a hit and a walk. He struck out one. In the bottom of the sixth, he was ejected from the game.

Tony Zych pitched the ninth, giving up a leadoff double to Anthony Rendon (Nationals). Rendon moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Carlos Sanchez (White Sox) sacrifice fly for the only run of the inning.

Mesa hosts Surprise on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.

How the Cubs have fared:

Zych strong as Solar Sox rally to top Phoenix

The Solar Sox let a three-run lead over Phoenix slide into a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth, but Mesa got a run back in the bottom of the frame and held on for a 4-3 victory Thursday afternoon. Outside of Tony Zych, however, it wasn’t the most exciting day for Cubs farmhands.

Zych kept his solid fall going with two scoreless innings of relief. The righty surrendered just a pair of hits and walked none.

Matt Szczur went 0-for-1 with a pair of walks. Logan Watkins was 0-for-4 but reached on a fielder’s choice and crossed the plate as the eventual game-winning run. Rubi Silva pinch-ran for Aaron Westlake (Tigers) but was forced out on a fielder’s choice.

Cubs minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck got roughed up in his 1 1/3 innings on the hill. He retired the side in order in the seventh but ran into trouble in the eighth. The leadoff hitter singled and the next batter drew a walk. After a flyout to right, Grant Green (Athletics) homered to center to tie the game.

Mesa heads to Salt River Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.

How the Cubs have fared:

Struck earns win in Watkins’ AFL debut

Mesa loaded up its lineup with Cubs prospects Monday night as the Solar Sox rallied in the seventh and earned a 5-4 win over Scottsdale.

Five Cubs farmhands got into the action. None of them fared better than the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck, who pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh inning, allowing no hits, striking out two and walking just one batter. His efforts earned him his first win of the season.

Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Cubs’ Rubi Silva ripped a one-out triple to center. Matt Szczur walked two batters later and Logan Watkins, making his fall league debut after replacing the injured Javier Baez, walked to load the bases. Silva scored when L.J. Hoes (Orioles) drew a walk, and Szczur scored to tie the game on Jonathan Singleton’s (Astros) free pass. Jonathan Schoop (Orioles) then drove in Watkins and Hoes with a two-out single to give Mesa the lead.

Silva finished the game 1-for-4 with a triple; Watkins was 0-for-2 with a pair of walks; and Szczur was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Starting pitcher Dae-Eun Rhee allowed two earned runs, giving up three hits and two walks in four innings for Mesa. He allowed just two hits in the first three innings before getting into trouble in the fourth. Rhee also struck out two batters.

Mesa hosts Surprise Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.

How the Cubs have fared:

Baez, Zych named Rising Stars, Mesa rallies for tie

The Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game rosters were announced Wednesday, and a pair of Cubs prospects made the East Division All-Star team. Former University of Louisville product Tony Zych was selected for his relief efforts this season. The righty is 1-0 with a save and boasts a 2.25 ERA in eight fall innings, allowing just two earned runs. Javier Baez, who was leading the league in homers and RBI, also made the All-Star team, but a thumb injury sustained over the weekend ended his fall campaign early.

On the field Wednesday, the Solar Sox scored in the bottom of the ninth to force a 2-2 tie with Salt River. Dodgers prospect Rafael Ynoa scored Astros farmhand Jiovanni Mier from second on a bloop single to tie the game.

Cubs outfielder Matt Szczur returned to action and went 1-for-5 with a single in the fifth inning. Nick Struck pitched two scoreless frames, scattering two hits and a walk.

Mesa hosts Peoria Thursday with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.

How the Cubs have fared:

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