What's Up Down Under?
Halfway through the MLB Australian Baseball Academy Program (MLBAAP) season at Palm Meadows (Gold Coast), here's how the five Cubs players playing "down under" are doing:
19-year old RHP Ryan Searle leads the MLBAAP in wins, strikeouts, and IP, and 17-year old OF Sean Williams (bats & throws left) leads the league in hitting, and is tied for the league lead in doubles, tied for 3rd in hits, tied for 4th in runs scored, and tied for 5th in SB.
Former star cricket player (bowler) LHP Cody Hams (who was at Cubs Minor League Camp and EXST at Fitch Park for two months) has struggled with his control, although he does have 19 K in 14.2 IP. (The 6'5" Hams' pitching style closely resembles Rich Hill's, so I guess it's probably no longer a compliment to tell Cody that he is Rich Hill Redux).
RHP Ryan Searle: 3-2, 2.35 ERA, 30.2 IP, 24 H, 15 R (8 ER), 7 BB, 38 K, 0 HR, .197 OBA, 1.01 WHIP, in 6 games (6 GS)
RHP Adam Spencer: 2-0, 4.37 ERA, 22.2 IP, 19 H, 14 R (11 ER), 11 BB, 23 K, 1 HR, .224 OBA, 1.33 WHIP, in 5 games (5 GS)
LHP Cody Hams: 0-0, 4.91 ERA, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 13 R (8 ER), 15 BB, 19 K, 0 HR, .236 OBA, 1.91 WHIP, in 5 games (5 GS)
CF Sean Williams: 354/411/477, 6 2B, 6/13 BB/K in 73 PA, 7 SB (2 CS)
SS Hak-ju Lee: 286/444/500 (was at the MLBAAP on the "Two-Week Phase" program, played in only five league games before returning to South Korea).
The MLBAAP season ends on July 26th.
Based on the way he has pitched so far, it's possible that Ryan Searle (who has a full-year visa) could return to Fitch Park for the last month of the AZL season, and/or for the AZ Instructional League in September/October. While Cody Hams resembles a young Rich Hill, Searle would be most camparable to Sean Gallagher.
The other four are supposed to report to Cubs Minor League Camp at Fitch Park next March, although Lee (who received a bonus somewhere in the neighborhood of $1M) might get an invite to Instructs if it doesn't conflict with his school schedule.
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.