Peoria Chiefs Invade Arizona
D. J. LeMahieu singled, doubled, and tripled, and scored two runs, Ryan Flaherty reached base four times (double, two singles, and a walk), scored twice, and drove-in a run, Michael Brenly doubled and tripled and scored twice, Dong-Yub Kim singled and tripled, scored one run, and knocked-in another, and Rebel Ridling had four RBI, but it wasn't quite enough offense to provide a victory, as the Cubs and Brewers played to a 9-9 tie in Arizona Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon in sunny and VERY hot Mesa, Arizona.
The Instructional League features a virtual all-star team from each organization, which for the Cubs means most of their best prospects from Peoria, Boise, and AZL Cubs (Mesa), plus a few older prospects at Instructs to work on specific aspects of their game. Other players are there to learn a new position (3B-1B Jovan Rosa and IF-OF Brandon May are being converted to catchers).
All of the Cubs minor league coordinators and instructors are present at Fitch Park each day (Monday through Saturday), as are many of the minor league managers, pitching coaches, and hitting instructors, so the kids get a lot of intense instruction on a daily basis. The players work out for several hours before each game, and then the players who are not in the lineup that day work with instructors on adjoining fields during the game. .
The Cubs got off to an early 5-1 lead today, as starting pitcher Alberto Cabrera threw two-hit one-run ball over three innings while the Cubs scored a run in the 1st on a double by Flaherty and a two-out RBI single by Ridling, and then four more in the 3rd that featured two-run RBI doubles by Hak-Ju Lee and Ridling.
But the Cubs relief corps couldn't hold the lead, as the Brewers scored seven runs on four hits, three walks, two wild pitches, and a balk in innings 4-5-6-7 off Rafael Dolis, Jose Rosario, and Austin Kirk (although Dolis and Kirk did combine to strike out eight Brewers in just four innings of work).
But the Cubs offense kept the pressure on the Brewers, scoring single runs in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th to take a 9-8 lead into the 9th, as LeMahieu doubled and scored on an RBI FC in the 5th, Brenly doubled and scored on an RBI FC in the 6th, LeMahieu tripled and scored on an RBI single by Flaherty in the 7th, and Brenly tripled and scored on a one-out infield single by Runey Davis in the 8th (and then Davis promptly got picked-off 1st).
Corey Martin entered the game in the top of the 9th with a save opportunity, but he surrendered three hard hit singles, allowing the Brewers to tie the game. Martin was saved from further damage thanks to a fine running catch by CF Kyung-Min Na that the little Korean turned into a nifty 7-6 DP to end the inning and give the Cubs a chance to win the game in their half of the inning, but the Cubs left LeMahieu stranded on the base in the bottom of the 9th.
Outfielders Dong-Yub Kim and Kyung-Min Na are the latest Korean teenagers signed by the Cubs to big bucks bonus contracts, and it's pretty obvious why Kim was rated by many scouts as the top high school player in South Korea. He is a big kid, a right-handed hitter with plus-speed and plus-power, the protypical five-tool outfielder.
Na is a litlle guy, maybe 5'6 130. He is a left-handed slap hitter who uses a toothpick for a bat, but he is fast runner (although Hak-Ju Lee is faster), and an outstanding defensive CF with s plus-arm. Na is so small he makes Tony Campana look like the Incredible Hulk. I understand Na was lost for several hours last week until the Fitch Park ground crew could mow the lawn and give the kid a chance to see over the tops of the blades of grass and find his way to the clubhouse.
While fellow Koreans Su-Min Jung, Hak-Ju Lee, and Jae-Hoon Ha were playing at Boise and Dae-Eun Rhee was rehabbing from TJS at Fitch Park, Kim and Na spent the summer at the MLB Australian Baseball Academy while waiting for their H2B visas to get processed.
The Cubs also signed three Taiwanese players this year (RHPs Tzu-An Wang and Yao-Lin Wang and 2B Pin-Chieh Chen), and they are supposed to participate in the AZ Instructional League, although they hadn't reported as of last week.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 1-5 (F-7, 2B, 4-3, 6-3, 6-3), R, 2 RBI
2. D. J. LeMahieu, 2B: 3-5 (6-3, F-9, 2B, 3B, 1B), 2 R
3. Ryan Flaherty, 3B: 3-4 (2B, BB, 1B, 1B, F-8), 2 R, RBI
4, Rebel Ridling, 1B: 2-4 (1B, 2B, FC, F-9), 4 RBI
5. Kyler Burke, RF: 0-4 (FC, F-8, K, K)
6a. Jovan Rosa, C: 0-2 (K, 5-3)
6b. Michael Brenly, C: 2-2 (2B, 3B), 2 R
7. Justin Bour, DH #1: 1-4 (K, F-7, 1B, 4-3)
8. Runey Davis, LF: 1-4 (L-7, K, K, 1B), RBI, PO
9. Dong-Yub Kim, DH #2: 2-4 (1B, 3B, FC, K), R, RBI
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-3 (BB, 6-3, K, 3-U), R
1. Alberto Cabrera - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP,1 GIDP, 6/2 GO/FO, 44 pitches (25 strikes)
2. Rafael Dolis - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 1/0 GO/FO, 50 pitches (30 strikes)
3. Jose Rosario - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 17 pitches (8 strikes)
4. Austin Kirk - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 2/0 GO/FO, 37 pitches (24 strikes)
5. Corey Martin - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (11 strikes)
CATCHERS DEFENSE No stolen base attempts and no passed balls
OUTFIELD ASSISTS: Kyung-Min Na (2) - 1) threw out runner trying to stretch single into a double, and 2) doubled runner off 2nd base on line drive to CF
WEATHER: 106 hot & sunny
ATTENDANCE: 19 (mostly scouts)