Cubs Win! Cubs Win! (for Instructional Purposes ONLY!)

While most Cubs fans were watching some stupid, meaningless, late-September game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field, the REAL fans were gathered at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa. Yes, today is a big day here in Mesa: Opening Day for the Arizona Instructional League. Apparently the governor and mayor couldn't make it, but you can be sure AZ Phil and a couple or three other screaming fans showed up, not at all dissuaded by the absence of concessions, music, National Anthem, 7th inning stetch, lame between-inning contests, or a PA announcer. And you can be sure we were not disappointed! Cubs 2007 13th round pick Jonathan Wyatt drove in three runs with a two-run triple and solo home run, and Cubs 2007 #1 draft pick Josh Vitters drove in two more with a bases-loaded single, leading the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Angels. The Cubs AZ Instructional League team is essentially a post-season All-Star team made up (mainly) of the best prospects from AZL Mesa, Boise, Peoria, and Daytona. The boys play an exciting 17-game schedule from September 21st through October 13th against Instructional League teams representing the Angels, A's, Giants, Brewers, and White Sox, and in addition to the games, the youngsters receive intense instruction every day from the organization's special instructors, including Bobby Dernier (baserunning and outfield), Casey Kopitzke (catching), Tom Beyers (hitting), and Tom Pratt and Dennis Lewallyn (pitching). Cubs Minor League Coordinator Dave Bialas is the camp manager (director?). Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only): LINEUP: 1. Jonathan Wyatt, CF (2-4, 3B, SOLO HR, HBP, 2 R, 3 RBI) 2. Tony Thomas, 2B (2-3, 3B, HBP, SB, R) 3. Marwin Gonzalez, SS (1-4, 3B, R, RBI) 4. Kyler Burke, 1B (0-3, BB, R) 5. Brandon Guyer, LF (2-3, 3B, BB, R, RBI) 6. Josh Vitters, 3B (1-4, 2 RBI, K, GIDP) 7-A. Welington Castillo, C (1-1, 2B, BB, R) 7-B. Steve Clevenger, C (1-2, 2B) 8. Cliff Andersen, RF (0-4, K) 9. Jovan Rosa, DH #1 (2-3, 2B, BB, RBI, K) 10. Mark Reed, DH #2 (0-4, R) NOTE: They use two DHs and a ten-man batting order in th AZ Instructional League. PITCHING: 1. Ryan Acosta - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP (22 pitches) 2. Donnie Veal - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (20 pitches) 3. Chris Huseby - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K (16 pitches) 4. Casey Lambert - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K (32 pitches) 5. Jose Ceda - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K (31 pitches) DEFENSE: ERRORS (2): 1. Castillo (throwing - attempted pick-off at 2nd base sailed into CF) 2. Vitters (dropped throw from catcher at 3rd base that would have been a CS) STOLEN BASES/CAUGHT STEALING: 1. Castillo (1-1 CS) 2. Clevenger (2-3 CS) PICK-OFF: Castillo picked runner off 2nd base (this young man is a throwin' fool!) ===================================== 2007 CUBS AZ INSTRUCTIONAL LEAGUE ROSTER (effective 9/21/07): PITCHERS (21): Ryan Acosta Michael Bunton Jose Ceda Rafael Cova (25-year old ex-Mets prospect, pitched for Tijuana in 2007) Dumas Garcia (24-year old Colombian signed last week out of indy league in Georgia) Alan Guerrero Marcus Hatley Yuri Higgins Chris Huseby Casey Lambert Jordan Latham Matt Maradeo Marcos Mateo Mark Pawelek Hernan Ramos (NDFA Venezuelan signed in August out of Ellsworth CC in Iowa) Dae-Eun Rhee (signed this past summer out of Korea) James Russell Chris Siegfried Marco Tovar Donald Veal Stephen Vento CATCHERS (6): Welington Castillo (NOTE: Only one "L" in Welington!) Steve Clevenger (also plays 1B-2B-3B-SS) Josh Donaldson John Nelson (AAA Iowa utility INF learning to be a catcher?) Carlos Perez Mark Reed INFIELDERS (9): Darwin Barney (SS) Marwin Gonzalez (3B-SS-2B-1B) Gian Guzman (3B-SS-2B) Bryan Jost (1B) Josh Lansford (3B) Jovan Rosa (3B) Marquez Smith (3B) Tony Thomas (2B) Josh Vitters (3B) OUTFIELDERS (7): Cliff Andersen Kyler Burke (also is playing 1B) Brandon Guyer Leon Johnson Drew Rundle (also learning to play 1B) Ty Wright Jonathan Wyatt Also, OF Angel Pagan is on a DL injury rehab assignment at Fitch Park. OF Tyler Colvin was originally supposed to be at the Instructional League camp, but he is not.
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Comments

"The Cubs AZ Instructional League team is essentially a post-season All-Star team made up (mainly) of the best prospects from AZL Mesa, Boise, Peoria, and Daytona."

Was Jeff Samardzdija not an "all-star" this year, or is he on to bigger and better things this off-season?

There's a lot of physical talent on that roster. Should be some exciting plays, even if the level of baseball isn't that consistant.

Bryan — September 21, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

Was Jeff Samardzdija not an “all-star” this year, or is he on to bigger and better things this off-season?

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BRYAN: Normally, somebody like Samardzija would have been invited to attend Instructs, but I think I remember reading somewhere that the Cubs don't want the Shark to throw any more innings this season.

Other notable absences include OF Clark Hardman and Nelson Perez, 1B Russ Canzler, 2B Ryne Malone, SS Dylan Johnston, C Jake Muyco, and pitchers Alberto Alburquerque, Zach Ashwood, Miguel Cabrera, Julio Castillo, Hung-Wen Chen, Miguel Cuevas, Darin Downs, Arik Hempy, Robert Hernandez, Simon Lee, Oswaldo Martinez, John Muller, Jeremy Papelbon, Jake Renshaw, Jayson Ruhlman, Audy Santana, Joel Santo, Dustin Sasser, and Larry Suarez,

In the case of the absent pitchers, a lot of times the club just doesn't want a guy to throw any more innings. But to not see position players like Dylan Johnston, Russ Canzler, and Clark Hardman at the Instructs camp was a bit of a surprise.

AZ - whats the deal with Tyler Colvin is he MIA?

Rory — September 21, 2007 @ 7:08 pm
AZ - whats the deal with Tyler Colvin is he MIA?

=======================

RORY: Tyler Colvin and Eric Patterson are going to be playing for Team USA in a tour of Taiwan in November, and although the tour isn't until after the AZ Instructs are over, I suspect the Cubs probably decided to give Colvin some time off, especially since he had a sore shoulder this season.

On a random irrelevant off-hand note, I believe Welington Castillo uses one "l" in his name because in Spanish, using two "l"s would result in the awkward pronunciation of "Weh-yeeng-ton".

AZ Phil -- just curious whether you agree with the Lilly/Sunday analysis in the previous thread (#95)?

How is B. Jost doing?

AZ Phil,

The guy I can't wait to see next spring is Larry Suarez.

What do you think of him?

"lame between-inning contests"

you 3-10 people should totally get your own between-inning hacky/tacky thing going on.

3 guys doing a bat spin for a couple of fun-sized snickers bars.

the 2 fatest guys going at it in a sumo competition for a pool of change collected from people's cars.

=p

"On a random irrelevant off-hand note, I believe Welington Castillo uses one “l” in his name because in Spanish, using two “l”s would result in the awkward pronunciation of “Weh-yeeng-ton”." -Sheffield/Cornelia

Sheff,

it depends on which dialect of Spanish you speak (or where you're from). some don't pronounce the double L as Y. but yeah, many do say it that way.

Jose Ceda gave up a run? Unacceptable.

cubswinthepennant — September 21, 2007 @ 9:08 pm
AZ Phil,

The guy I can’t wait to see next spring is Larry Suarez.

What do you think of him?

==========================

CWtP: I've seen Suarez pitch maybe a dozen times going back to ST, EXST, and AZL, and almost every time I've seen him throw he has struggled with his command. However, the couple of times I saw him throw where he did throw strikes, he was dominating.

Of course, he's only 17, so he has a lot of time to smooth things out.

He has the same physique as Carlos Zambrano, but his personality is more sullen and serious. I've never seen him smile, and I've also never seen him display any emotion on the mound. At least not yet.

I think I heard Fleita on a radio show say, " that Colvin would be attending instructional league about October 1st and then join it into this deal with Taiwan.

Az Phil? It sounds like this team in instructional league has pretty good speed and skill and is geared more towards the offensive mindset?

Wes — September 22, 2007 @ 5:02 am
Jose Ceda gave up a run? Unacceptable.

==========================

WES: Yes, Ceda gave up a run. He also labored through his two inings, mainly because he threw a lot of breaking balls.

Most of the pitchers at Instructs are working on developing secondary pitches, so they sometimes don't look as sharp as the would during the regular season when they throw mostly only their best stuff.

For instance, in yesterday's game, the only pitcher who didn't labor was Chris Huseby. He looked VERY sharp, mainly because he was throwing three different pitches for strikes. There is probably no pitcher at the lower levels who has improved as much as Huseby from ST to Instructs.

Donnie Veal pitched one inning and retired the side in order with two strikeouts, but he also went 3-2 on all three hitters he faced,.and threw 20 pitches. I still believe Veal's future is as a late-inning reliever. He just throws too many pitches-per-inning to be a starter.

slamdog — September 22, 2007 @ 9:08 am
I think I heard Fleita on a radio show say, ” that Colvin would be attending instructional league about October 1st and then join it into this deal with Taiwan.

Az Phil? It sounds like this team in instructional league has pretty good speed and skill and is geared more towards the offensive mindset?

==============================

SLAMDOG: Offensively, this is the best Cubs Instructs team I can remember. The Cubs have some very impressive young position-players down here.

I do have some questions about Tony Thomas as a second-baseman (he looks stiff), Josh Donaldson as a catcher (I believe he will eventually be moved to 1B), and Josh Vitters as a 3rd baseman (Rosa has better defensive instincts than Vitters and he has plus-power, too), but most-all of the outfielders are athletic defenders and good offensive players, too, and Welington Castillo and Carlos Perez both appear to have futures as major league catchers. W. Castillo needs a lot of work to smooth out the rough edges, but he definitely has some major upside.

BTW, Kyler Burke made a couple of very fancy plays at 1B yesterday. It's kind of a waste of his plus-arm to play him at 1B, but he certainly looks comfortable there.

Also, I've seen him play a lot down here before, but Marwin Gonzalez continues to impress me. Gonzo would seem to have a future as a super-sub utility player. He's very athletic, he can already play any position in the infield, and he's a switch hitter with some pop.

Paul — September 21, 2007 @ 8:30 pm
How is B. Jost doing?

===========================

PAUL: Bryan Jost is taking BP only so far, but I hope to see him play in a game before too long.

AZ Phil... I asked this in the previous thread, but no one had an answer.

There was a rumor about Angel Guzman having Tommy John surgery last week, reportedly reported by Levine on ESPN 1000. I have only seen this one place (NSBB) and haven't been able to find any confirmation on it.

Have you heard anything about this?

dave — September 22, 2007 @ 9:38 am
AZ Phil… I asked this in the previous thread, but no one had an answer.

There was a rumor about Angel Guzman having Tommy John surgery last week, reportedly reported by Levine on ESPN 1000. I have only seen this one place (NSBB) and haven’t been able to find any confirmation on it.

Have you heard anything about this?

==============================

DAVE: I'll see if I can find out.

game thread up

Hey AZ Phil, thanks for these updates! Have you seen Dae-Eun Rhee and what are your thoughts about him?

NAVIN: I haven't seen Rhee pitch yet.

Also, in case the names are unfamilar, Rafael Cova, Marco Tovar, and Alan Guerrero pitched for Tijuana in the Mexican League in 2007 and were signed within the past few weeks by the Cubs, and Dumas Garcia (who is from Colombia) pitched for the South Georgia Peanuts of the indy South Coast League in '07. Cova is 25, Garcia is 24, Guerrero is 19, and Tovar is 18. All are RHP, except Tovar, who is a LHP.

You may remember Cova as a one-time hard-throwin' Mets pitching prospect (he even got an NRI to ST with the Mets a couple of years ago) who was suspended and then got released by the Mets in 2006.

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