EXST Cubs Showcase Infield Defense at Fitch Park
With Cubs Roving Minor League Infield Instructor Bobby Dickerson at Fitch Park this past week to help the young infielders improve their defensive technique, the EXST Cubs apparently decided to give Bobby D. an appropriate going away present by playing stellar defense that included a sharp 5-4-3 triple play in the top of the 7th, en route to a 5-2 victory over the EXST Mariners at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.
In addition, Iowa 1B Micah Hoffpauir (on the DL with a strained oblique since before PCL Opening Day) had such a great pre-game BP session hitting against Dickerson and Boise manager Tom Beyers on Field #1 that he was penciled into the starting lineup of the EXST game, and (hitting 3rd in both the 1st and 2nd innings) got two ABs, flying out 400 feet to the warning track in dead center in his first PA, and striking out on four pitches in his second AB. But he says he feels great and expects to be out of Fitch Park and on his way back to Des Moines to rejoin the I-CUBS ASAP.
2005 #1 draft pick LHP Mark Pawelek, who has struggled with his mechanics and control for much of the past three seasons, got the start today, and threw two innings. In his last outing he struck out the side in one inning of work, but he wasn't anywhere near as sharp today, showing the control lapses that have plagued him since 2006.
Pawelek worked two innings, throwing 28 pitches (but only 13 strikes). The Mariners didn't hit the ball hard off him (he gave up only one hit), but he had one four-pitch walk and he also hit a batter (HBPs seem to be one of his biggest problems). He benefitted from two outstanding throws by catcher Alvaro Sosa to gun-down potential base-stealers, one to end the 1st inning and the other to help Pawly get out of a jam in the 2nd. So while he didn't allow a run, he wasn't sharp, either.
RHP Marcus Hatley followed Pawelek to the hill, and had a mediocre outing, giving up a run on two hits before he got an out in his first inning of work, and then walking the bases loaded with two outs in his third inning.
But AA Tennessee RHP Jim Henderson (rehabbing at Fitch Park) came into the game in relief of Hatley, and got the third out, leaving the bases loaded.
LHP Arik Hempy pitched the final three innings for a rare "three-inning save," and he was helped by the 5-4-3 triple play after surrendering a solo HR, a walk, and a SH-FC to start the 7th inning. Hempy ended up retiring seven of the last eight men he faced.
Shortstop Starlin Castro had a big day in the field and at the plate, making a spectacular diving catch to his right with the bases loaded to end the 5th and an excellent stop & throw from the hole to start the 9th, while also clubbing a two-run HR over the LF fence in the bottom of the 7th.
LF Luke Sommer reached base all four times he batted, walking three times, and driving in a run with a 5th inning single before also scoring a run that same inning.
For the day, the EXST Cubs drew eight walks.
Here is today's abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only).
And remember... Hoffpauir was permitted to hit 3rd in both the 1st and 2nd innings...
1. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 1-2 (R, BB, SH, K, CS)
2. Luke Sommer, LF: 1-1 (RBI, R, 3 BB)
3a. Micah Hoffpauir, DH #1: 0-1 (F-8 - advanced runners to 2nd & 3rd)
3b. Roberto Sabates, PH-C: 1-3 (2B, RBI)
4. Nelson Perez, CF: 0-4 (RBI, 2 K)
5. Carlos Perez, DH #2: 0-3 (HBP, K)
6. Bryan Jost, 1B: 0-2 (BB)
7. Junior Lake, 3B: 0-2 (BB, K)
8a. Micah Hoffpauir, DH #3: 0-1 (K)
9. Andres Quezada, RF: 0-2 (R, BB, 2 K)
10. Starlin Castro, SS: 1-2 (HR, 2 RBI, R, BB, CS)
11. Alvaro Sosa, C-DH: 1-3 (R, K)
1. Mark Pawelek - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP (3/0 GB/FB)
2. Marcus Hatley - 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 WP (4/1 GB/FB)
3. Jim Henderson - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (2/2 GB/FB)
4. Arik Hempy - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 GITP (4/4 GB/FB)
Alvaro Sosa 3-4 CS, but with one error (totally unnecessary attempted pick-off at 2B was thrown into CF)
WEATHER: High in the upper 80's with nary a cloud in the sky
ATTENDANCE: 9 (including the EXST Mariners bus driver)
BEE REPORT: AZ Phil noted another hive of Africanized (killer) bees located in a tree behind the home team bench at Field #3, so the ground crew put up warning tape around the area until an exterminator can respond to remove the hive.
Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.
jeebus... that's terrible.
*clap* *clap* *clap*
Thanks AZ. If you like him, I like him.
Awesome report, and good to see Beeler on his way back.
I'm also very happy to hear about the bi-level bump for Daniel Lewis. In the Name of Theo, he was the Last of the Full-Season Cuts, and There Will Be Blood for those who unnecessarily slow his development. Sure, he might end up in independent ball pitching for Lincoln. But if everything breaks right, he may even have a shot at joining up with the Gangs of Chicago. I wouldn't bet My Left Foot on it, though.
CHARLIE: The Cubs did the same thing with LHSP Eric Jokisch last month, and it has nothing to do with needing the player's 40-man roster slot.
The hope is that another MLB club will claim the player, so that you aren't on the hook for any termination pay (which you would be if you release him) AND you pick up $20,000 from the claiming team, all for a guy you don't want going forward anyway.
Moosetacos, I like it. All I can think of is a bearded lumberjack dude operating a Mexican style taco truck with a Canadian accent.
How strange is this for May? Is it insignificant, or does it suggest some sort of trade might be in the works?
The Cubs have sent LHRP C. J. Riefenhauser outright to Iowa.
Cubs MLB 40-man roster now stands at 37 (three slots open).
yow...the a.gordon/m.moustakas collision now makes the schwarb collision look minor in scope.
gordon broke his wrist, expected to miss 4+ weeks...and today moosetacos has been diagnosed with a torn ACL. fun times in KC.
dodgers calling up julio urias for tommorow's game. neat.
fernando-mania might have a new heir...dude is 19 (turns 20 in august) and he's got a legit argument for being MLB-ready.
Tony LaRussa, still an idiot