Cubs Drop Contest at Diablo
Matt Cerda reached base three times on a single, a double, and a walk, but there just wasn't much other Cubs offense on display, as the EXST Angels defeated the EXST Cubs 3-1 in Extended Spring Training action at the Angels Minor League Complex at Diablo Park in Tempe this morning.
Three converted position players saw action on the mound for the Cubs today, and while RHP (ex-3B) Josh Lansford struggled with his control, 20-year old Dominican RHP (ex-SS) Gian Guzman and LHP (ex-OF) Ryan Sontag (2008 23rd round pick out of Arizona State) looked good, particularly Sontag, who worked quickly, fired strikes and punched out all four Angels batters he faced.
Exclusively an outfielder in his college days at Arizona State and in his first season in pro ball at Boise last year (where he hit an anemic .218 with only five XBH), Sontag was a combination OF/LHP in high school (8-3 1.45 ERA), and he also pitched occasionally in his freshman year at Michigan State before transferring to ASU and moving the outfield full-time. So it's not like pitching is a foreign language for him.
But the crew-cut 5'10 200+ 23-year old Sontag hardly fits the classic image of a pitcher. A few stocky lefties have had successful big league pitching careers (1954 A. L. MVP Bobby Shantz was only 5'6 145!), but it is unsual to see a body-type like Sontag's throwing off a mound these days.
Nevertheless, Sontag decided to give pitching a whirl in Minor League Camp this past March, and so far the results have been quite promising. He has pitched well in all of his EXST game outings so far, and he looks like he could advance rapidly through the system s a lefty reliever.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Jose Valdez, CF: 1-3 (1B, BB, 5-3, K - 1 R)
2. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 1-3 (SH, K, 2B, K)
3. Matt Cerda, DH #1: 2-3 (2B, 1B, BB, F-8 - 1 RBI)
4. Chris Weimer, LF: 0-4 (FC, FC, K, K)
5. Juan Medina, 1B-C: 1-4 (GIDP, FC, 4-3, 1B)
6. Kevin Soto, RF 2-4 (2B, 1B, F-8, K - 1 CS)
7. Alvaro Sosa, C-1B: 2-4 (F-8, 1B, F-8, 1B)
8. George Matheus, 3B: 0-4 (E-5, GIDP, K, FC)
9. Robert Bautista, SS: 0-2 (BB, F-7, K)
10. Jose Made, DH #2: 0-2 (BB, 4-3, 4-3)
1. Tarlandus Mitchell - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR
2. Josh Lansford - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HBP, 2/2 GO/FO
3. Cedric Redmond - 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 3/2 GO/FO
4. Gian Guzman - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 4/0 GO/FO
5. Ryan Sontag - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Alvaro Sosa - 1-2 CS
Juan Medina - 1-1 CS
At the start of the season the book was that he was trying to pitch to more contact so he could stay in the game longer and it seems to be working so far. Contact against is 77.5% this year and it was 70.2% the year before. He averaged 6.7 IP/game last year and so far it's 7 IP/game. His actual pitches per game are only down to 106.1/game from 107.2/game last year but if he's able to go a bit farther into games without throwing more pitches and without giving up more runs that is a good thing.
sale's skills and insane value makes it almost too hard to have a market for the guy...he's got 3/38m owed to him over 3 seasons (2 team options). he could easily pull in 30m/yr if he was on the market as a FA.
he's throwing a bit differently this season, especially with more sliders and less changeups like earlier in his career, but all his stuff still looks great even if the HRs are a little elevated and the Ks are down.
Torres, Happ, McKinney, Jimenez, and Candelario for Sale. Deal or no deal?
"The White Sox are reportedly asking for “five top prospects” for Chris Sale, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports."
Unless he develops 30+ HR power and keeps his walk rate close to his K rate at the MLB level, he's not going to turn into Prince Fielder. And even if he does turn into Prince Fielder, he's gonna have a short prime. His very limited athleticism is likely to also detract some value from his ability to reach base--I don't buy making an out as being preferable to base clogging, but you'd certainly prefer just about any base runner other than Vogelbach, David Ortiz, etc.
seeing as arod has played a total of 27.1 innings of D at 1st/3rd and somehow managed a -0.5 dWAR with his 1 error at 1st and an overall positive total zone rating...he might end up even more in the shitter via the characteristics/flaws/whatever of how some sites determine various WAR values. dWAR doesn't directly lead to a WAR value, but the 2 main entities pushing the most popular variations of WAR sometimes lead to some interesting discrepancies in value.
I have a lot of faith in Baez that he's going to turn into a more consistent, solid player. It looks like it took him about a half season or so of futility at the plate to figure out he was not talented enough to get away with the crazy approach he had. I think his running game will eventually have a more measured aggression.
I hope the D and bullpen show up. Cubs haven't had much luck against Davies, and he's been going well lately. A little uncomfortable with the Cards only 6.5 back--feels like they're right on our tails compared to the 11 game lead I've grown accustomed to.
Cardinals, stop that. Right now.
In a year or two, a lot of fans are going to point at trading him as a mistake. He'll probably be slashing something like 280/400/480 for Seattle at the time. Of course, by WAR, he'll still be worth less than 3, since we're talking zero defensive value.
vogelbomb debut for tacoma (AAA SEA)... 3-3, 1bb, 1 HR, 1 double...DH'd.
while he mostly played 1st considerably more than DH for AAA CHC, DJ Peterson is probably going to see most of the time at 1st for AAA SEA.
Carl Jr.! Very nice!
Baez with another "WTF?" play trying a delayed steal with a runner on 3rd and one out.. Remarkable talent, needs to make better decisions.
m.montgomery up in the pen with a man on 2nd, 2 out, and rondon 20 pitches into the inning.
...and rondon ends it 22 pitches in with a popout to RF.
I gotta say with the crappy defense the Brewers have displayed outside of Fowler I'm pretty disappointed the offense hasn't shown more and Rizzo seems to be very swing happy lately. That said my god am I happy Madden has finally given Carl Edwards a chance after multiple times up with nothing. I don't think he could handle a starting role with his body frame but his stuff plays so well in a relief role and he seems to be able to handle high stress situations very well.
2nd at bat. Fowler is good for the Cubs run differential.
welcome back fowler.
More slow news...
Did Davey Martinez have to bring the shotgun?