Torres Collects Four Safeties, Cubs & D'backs Split a Pair at T-Stick

Gleyber Torres drilled four singles, stole a base, and scored three runs as the Cubs edged the Diamondbacks 5-4 on Whirlwind Field, and Fernery Ozuna (RBI single), Jordan Parr (two-run single), Jacob Mayers (two-run double), and Jose Herrera (RBI double) rapped run-scoring hits to highlight an eight-run 3rd and Eric Brooks and five relievers combined to toss a three-hitter, helping the D'backs throttle the Cubs 11-3 on Quail Field, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at Salt Rivers Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

This was the 8th multi-hit game for Torres and his second four-hit game, and he is now hitting 311/388/398 with four doubles and two triples, 14/18 BB/K, one HBP, and four SB (two CS and two PO) in 30 Cactus League EXST games (118 PA). He has committed 13 errors (11 fielding and two throwing) in his 30 games, however his errors tend to come in bunches and seem to result from carelessness, and then he'll play immaculate defense for several games in a row. He has also made a number of highlight-reel plays at SS, and his throws are always plus-strong & almost always accurate.

Eloy Jimenez returned to game action after a week's absence during which he was supposedly en route to the Cubs Dominican Academy. (He was a spectator at yesterday's game). Jimenez served as DH for Squad "B" (he has only played eight games in RF) and went 1-5 in the game on Whirlwind Field, collecting two RBI (one with a 1st inning single, and the other on a 4-3 GO in the 9th that ultimately proved to be the game-winner). While Jimenez is hitting a mediocre 236/266/348 (with 4/22 BB/K) in 25 Cactus Legue EXST games (94 PA), he is hitting a robust 333/355/567 with one HR, two doubles, and a triple, and ten RBI over his last eight games (31 PA) going back to 5/14, and he leads the EXST Cubs team in RBI with 18. (I know it's not a skill, but Jimenez does seem to have a knack for collecting RBI). Though I suspect they won't, I truly hope the Cubs will give Eloy a chance to remain in Mesa (with Gleyber Torres) and play for the AZL Cubs this summer. He does have defensive issues in RF and he did struggle offensively for a while (though certainly not lately), but so do a lot of players in the AZL.  

RHP Ben Wells (sent back to Extended Spring Training from Daytona a couple of weeks ago to try and "right the ship") made his 2014 Cactus League EXST game debut today and got rocked, allowing seven runs (all earned) on six hits (two doubles and four singles) and three walks in just 2.0 IP. Extended Spring Training is almost over, so it's difficult to predict what the Rx will be for Wells.   

RHP Scott Frazier (who has been unable to throw strikes going back to Minor League Camp) made his Cactus League EXST game debut as well, and threw a shutout inning with one strikeout, although he did walk two batters and threw two WP. There are some in the Cub organization who believe Frazier has the best (and nastiest) stuff in the system, but he just has all kinds of trouble finding the strike zone with it. He got by today, but just barely. Frazier would be the closer at Boise (heck, he'd probably be the closer at Daytona) if he could just throw strikes.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):


QUAIL FIELD

CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
1. Kevin Brown, LF: 0-4 (3-1, P-3, P-1, L-9)
2. Erick Castillo, C: 0-4 (3-U, 1-3, K, F-9)
3. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-4 (5-3, 6-3, K, 3-1)
4. Danny Canela, 1B: 1-4 (1B, 3-U, K, K, R)
5. Rony Rodriguez, DH #1: 0-3 (BB, P-4, K, K, R)
6. Alberto Mineo, DH #2: 0-2 (K, BB, BB, E-4)
7. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-3 (K, BB, 1B, 4-6-3 DP)
8. Giuseppe Papaccio, SS: 0-3 (E-6, P-6, F-7, R)
9. Zak Blair, 2B: 0-2 (BB, 6-U FC, P-5, RBI)
10. Oliver Zapata, CF: 1-2 (1B, K, BB, 2 RBI)

CUBS SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Ben Wells: 2.0 IP, 6 H, 7 R (7 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 4/1 GO/FO, 51 pitches (27 strikes)
2. Hector Perez: 1.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 2 WP, 2/2 GO/FO, 40 pitches (27 strikes)
NOTE: Perez's second inning was stopped with one out and runners at 1st & 3rd
3. Trey Lang: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 3/0 GO/FO, 28 pitches (18 strikes)
4. Alberto Diaz: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 23 pitches (15 strikes)
5. Francisco Carrillo: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 18 pitches (15 strikes)

CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: NONE

CUBS SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Erick Castillo: 0-1 CS

WHIRLWIND FIELD:

CUBS SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1. Gleyber Torres, SS: 4-5 (1B, F-8, 1B, 1B, 1B, 3 R, SB)
2. Bryant Flete, 2B: 1-4 (SH-E1, F-8, 1B, 5-3, E-6)
3. Shamil Ubiera, RF: 1-5 (F-8, 2B, K, 5-3, 6-4 FC)
4. Eloy Jimenez, DH: 1-5 (1B, 1-3, 4-3, 6-3, 6-3, 2 RBI)
5a. Tyler Alamo, 1B: 0-2 (4-6 FC, F-9)
5b. Roney Alcala, 1B: 1-3 (1B, 5-3, F-8, RBI)
6a. Antonio Valerio, C: 1-3 (P-6, 1B, K, R)
6b. Eufran Vargas, C: 1-1 (2B)
7. Adonis Paula, 3B: 1-4 (6-3, 3B, 5-3, K, R, RBI)
8. Ricardo Marcano, LF: 0-2 (K, F-8 SF, K, BB, RBI)
9. Charcer Burks, CF: 0-4 (6-3, K, L-9, 6-4 FC)

CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Tyler Ihrig: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 8/4 GO/FO, 53 pitches (35 strikes)
2. David Garner: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 21 pitches (13 strikes)
3. Yomar Morel: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 11 pitches (7 strikes)
4. Scott Frazier: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 1/1 GO/FO, 24 pitches (10 strikes)
5. Carlos Llano: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 PO, 1 GIDP, 2/0 GO/FO, 12 pitches (5 strikes)

CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 3
2B Bryant Flete - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely and unearned run to score)
SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely) 
2B Bryant Flete - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)  

CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Shamil Ubiera - threw out baserunner 9-2 trying to score from 2nd base on a single to RF 

ATTENDANCE: 18

WEATHER: Mostly sunny & hot with temperatures 100+ 

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Comments

AZ Phil - are the split squads starting to play into the Boise Group and Mesa Group?...in talking with Gary Van Tol last week, he was VERY impressed with Torres and Jimenez...

BTW - temps here in Boise are around 80-85...will be a respite for those heading North

MIKE: As far as the position players are concerned, Squad "A" is Boise and Squad "B" is AZL Cubs (subject to change).

The pitchers are still mixed together, but Ihrig, Leal, and Clifton will almost certainly be three of the starters at Boise (plus Conway, McNeil, and/or Masek if they're ready to go next week, otherwise probably Jose Paulino would get a slot), and it looks like Rakkar, J. Davis, Alberto Diaz, Carrillo, Lang, Garner, and Frazier will be in the Hawks bullpen, and Conway or Masek (if they are ready to go) could be used as relievers, too, if there isn't room for them in the starting rotation or for piggy-backers.

boni @2nd, valbuena @3rd, baker catching...cog LF, lake CF...

Well they won't be no-hit! Already have 1 hit and it's only the 5th inning! Woo!

One last mock draft link:
http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2014-mlb-mock-d...

Aiken, Jackson, Rodon, 4. Chicago Cubs — Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS (FL)

If it unfolds like this, my guess would be Gordon. Not only could he save the Cubs a little bit of money for later in the draft, he has some serious offensive upside and plays a premium position very well. With his plus speed, advanced approach from the left side, plus arm and overall instincts for the game, he’s a potential superstar in the making. Over 30 games this spring, Gordon hit .506/.613/.874 with 10 doubles, six home runs and 19 stolen bases. He drew 18 walks and struck out just three times. Committed to Florida State.

the list makers sure are buying into the "cubs going cheap to get a kickass 2nd rounder" thing.

might as well get trea turner if you're going to sink loot into nick gordon...he's slated to go 6-15 on most people's lists and they're similar projection players.

i hope rondon falls to 4th...doubt he will...whatever.

Im thinking AA lineup beats tonight Cubs lineup

bryant HR (19)...2bb...1K

Barney just ph
If they trade Shark and Hammel they might get worst record ever.

anyone know what's up with jose veras being released? seems odd.

since he's returned... 7.2ip 6h 1bb 8k, 2 r/er (2 r/er and his 1bb in 1 appearance).

Yeah, this perplexes me too. Quotes I have seen from players indicate he was a good clubhouse guy, etc. so that doesn't appear to be the reason. Do they save any cash by doing this now rather than holding on to him and trying to trade later?

hell of a game...especially for sureholds.

Castro's defense (And Arrieta's defense) probably won the game. It certainly wasn't Arrieta's pitching or the Cub's explosive offense. But yes, it sure was nice to see Sureouts do something awesome.

Sureouts is 15 out of his last 47, 11 singles, 2 2b, 2 HR...at least it's something.

Trade him quick.

"I know it's not a skill, but Jimenez does seem to have a knack for collecting RBI".

I'm sure the sabremetrics people have a good reason for not emphasizing RISP average, but I've always liked it. I remember when Aramis Ramirez came to town I was mostly excited about his RISP, and if you look at his stats over the last three years, he's continued to collect RBIs, despite his advancing age. The argument against the importance of RBI is that it is dependent on who sets the table. RISP shouldn't be affected by that. Rizzo's RISP is only .256 - but he does have a high OBP with guys on and a decent OPS, not stellar, but not bad. It's been nice seeing him willing to take those walks with men on. They're pitching around him, and eventually somebody like a Bryant will be hitting behind him and that'll have to stop.

In other words, in my very humble opinion, that's a nice knack to have, at any age.

I agree with that. I know that RBI is a result of people getting on base, but it's not you're automatically given the RBI's...you DO have to actually hit them in. Some players are better at this than others.

I think average with RISP can be informative, if taken into consideration with other info. Aramis's success with RISP seemed like an actual skill--or rather, a product of his approach. He was a hitter with good plate coverage, an ability to hit the ball the other way with authority, and an apparent adjustment (at least for a few years with the Cubs) when he had 2 strikes. His career numbers show he was not significantly better with RISP. But if you look at his peak years, let's say 2003-2009, he never put up bad numbers in that situation and in all but two years (2003, 2005) his numbers bumped significantly, including numerous SLG over .600.

I don't think I would expect to see Rizzo's numbers to get any significant bump with RISP. They may skew the way they are now--slightly lower average, somehow higher OBP--as pitchers focus on K'ing him in those situations. Castro is the player on the team I would think should most likely get a big boost from RISP, but he has been far to willing to swing at bad pitches and put them into play weakly in the past. His career SLG in that situation is about .020 lower than his career SLG across the board, while his other numbers are basically the same.

RISP is great, it's quite important on a season-by-season basis, but it hasn't held to scrutiny as a predicitive factor. Sure you can find a dozen players that maintain above or below averages, but most hit with RISP as they normally hit over a long enough sample (or pretty close to). So there's other stats to look at...

But generally good power (ISO around .200) and low strikeouts (20% or lower range) equals good with runners on and that was Ramirez.  But he's also probably good without runners on, let's see

Ramirez career #'s: 285/344/499

Ramirez career RISP: 295/372/530

Ramirez with no one on: 277/331/487

he ups his game a bit, but it's not particularly drastic

Ortiz

C: 286/381/547

RISP: 299/413/528

No one on: 271/355/552

I imagine the uptick in OBP for both with RISP is getting pitched around. Again, maybe a handful of players really do have a knack for it, but I think in most cases it's really just good players being good.

I'm sure it exists, but I don't recall too many players with a drastic drop between RiSP and no runners on over a significant amount of at-bats (say 6000 PA).

 

he ups his game a bit, but it's not particularly drastic

^This is actually my biggest problem with how some people refer to numbers with RISP. Having read enough of your writing, I'd guess you don't mean it this way, but too many people think good numbers with RISP are a result of a player bearing down and somehow becoming a better hitter in those situations. Instead, I would say it's more likely the combo of skills you mention above (good power, good contact rates) that make it very difficult for a pitcher to work around a batter without walking him and give a batter the ability to do serious damage if he gets a pitch to hit. That is, the batter is the same, the situation just puts more pressure on the pitcher and creates more holes in the infield.

If, as a hitter, a player does worse in RISP than he would in other situations, it seems to me indicative of his tendency to K or to chase pitcher's pitches and put them in play weakly. Basically, he just always has the weaknesses that the pitchers are focused on exploiting in that situation.

well yeah, you saw what I wrote, "ups his game" just meaning his numbers are slightly better with RISP than without, how any said player accomplishes that isn't something I'm concerned with because I imagine the reason how a player does or does not improve with RISP is different for each player.

Pitcher out of the stretch, inability to defensive shift as much, blind luck, hitter makes more of an effort to make contact, million reasons to accomplish the same thing. If they don't strike out and can hit for some power (which is the truly rare skillset), those are the guys I worry about when the game is on the line.

I agree 100%. That's also one of the reasons I like Rizzo's SO% in the majors. As excited as we all may be about Bryant and Baez, Rizzo's the one that might have that rare combo you mention.

Nice discussion, thanks guys. I'm pretty sure Rizzo is not at his ceiling yet.

and fwiw, the guys running the front office really, really don't care about RBI's

http://joyofsox.blogspot.com/2009/10/theo-we-ignore-rbi-in-front-office....

Re: JD Drew

Theo: That's not true. In RBI, yes. Based on his skill set, he's always going to have underwhelming RBI totals. I couldn't care less. When you're putting together a winning team, that honestly doesn't matter. When you have a player that takes a ton of walks, who doesn't put the ball in play at an above average rate, he's not going to drive in a lot of runs. Runs scored, you couldn't be more wrong. If you look at a rate basis, J.D. scores a ton of runs, and the reason he scores a ton of runs is because he does the single most important thing you can do as in baseball, as an offensive player -- and that's not make outs. ...

Look at his runs scored on a rate basis with the Red Sox or throughout his career -- it's outstanding. And you guys can talk about RBI if you want. We ignore them in the front office. ... If you want to talk about RBI at all, talk about them as a percentage of opportunity, but it simply is not a way that we use to evaluate offensive players.

Marlins purchased the contract of 1B Justin Bour from Triple-A New Orleans.

Good for him.

Kyle Schwarber to Cubs at #4 talk starting to take a dance around the rumor mill.

 ·  10m

The Cubs at 4 are still the biggest mystery for tomorrow morning's final mock draft. Now I'm hearing Kyle Schwarber is in their mix, too.

LH hitting catcher/OF/1B out of Indiana, can rake, but no real defensive position. Not a fit looking dude either.

http://www.mymlbdraft.com/2014/mlb-draft-profiles/Kyle-Schwarber

http://redsminorleagues.com/2014/05/13/2014-mlb-draft-preview-scouting-r...

if the cubs-draft rumor mill could stop feeding us pick 10-20 type talent as the #4 pick i'd be happy...

we all gotta wait until the actual draft to find out what's really going on, i guess.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/homegrown-bounty-the-best-picks-to...

your once a year how the Cubs have drafted article

college coach talking up his own player, I see no issues of self-interest there :)

if they really like a college bat and it saves them a million or so to load up on HS pitchers in Rounds 2-6, I can understand the thought process. We'll see what happens...

"We probably will take a lot of pitching over the course of the draft," Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. "What we do at No. 4 is still a mystery."

Bleacher Nation dude made an interesting point, the last non-capped draft was 2011 when teams went nutty spending and grabbed a lot of HS'ers that may have gone to college otherwise. Now it's 2014 draft and many of those would be coming out. Wonder where a Vogelbach or Dunston Jr. would go in this draft?

Cubs moving to WBBM-AM radio, 780.

Were with WGN radio for 90 years.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-cubs-radio-wgn-wbbm-...

It's sad to lose the tradition, but as someone who lives 200 miles from Chicago, 780 reception is way better than 720.

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