Dolis Shines in the Fitch Park Sun

Rebel Ridling had three hits, drove-in three runs, and scored two, and Rafael Dolis and Brooks Raley combined to throw six innings of one-hit shutout ball, as the Chiefs Cubs drubbed the A's 12-4 in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.

Pitching in front of a number of scouts from rival clubs and several members of the Cubs front office and player development staff, Dolis and Raley threw six innings of eye-poppin', bat-breakin', gun-totin', Texas Hold 'em, Dominicana country hardball.

The 6'4 230+ Dolis never looked better, allowing just a broken bat single to the first man he faced (who was promptly erased on a "room service" 6-4-3 DP), and then retiring everybody else he faced, finishing with a two-strikeout flourish in the top of the 3rd, where he appeared to really gun the velocity up a notch. 

Dolis showed outstanding command today, throwing 38 pitches (29 strikes) in his three innings of work. If the Cubs don't add Dolis to their 40-man roster by the November 20th deadline, he will be eligible for this December's Rule 5 Draft, and if he is eligible, he will be selected by somebody.

To get a 21-year old pitcher with a mid-90's fastball and improved command of his breaking ball and change-up for the $50,000 Rule 5 Draft price should prove irresistable for the Washington Nationals, San Diego Padres, and/or Pittsburgh Pirates of the world. Showing the velocity, command & control he did today in front of scouts from other organizations is all he needed to do to suddenly become a hot commodity on the scouting circuit.  

Now, I'm not saying the Cubs will add Dolis to their 40-man roster, just that they should, (or that they would be foolish not to do it).

2009 6th round pick LHP Brooks Raley (Texas A&M) worked innings 4-5-6, and while he didn't have the command of Dolis (Raley walked one and went to a three ball count on a few hitters), he also didn't allow any hits, and only one ball was hard off him (a line drive that was snared in a spectacular leaping catch by 3rd baseman Matt Cerda, today's Defensive Play of the Game). BTW, Cerda is looking more comfortable at 3rd base, which is good, because it appears that the hot corner will be his primary care position from now on (at least until further notice).   

The Cubs offense was on its game again today, scoring one run in the 2nd, then four more in the 3rd, and finally a seven spot in the 5th

The Cubs got on the board in the 2nd when Rebel Ridling punched a single to right with one out, advanced to 2nd base when D. J. LeMahieu walked. and scored on a Matt Cerda RBI single, a bloop fisted into short LF.  

Logan Watkins led off the bottom of the 3rd inning for the Cubs with a hard-hit single through the box into CF, and advanced to third on a ground out and a Wild Pitch. Brett Jackson, Brandon Guyer, and Kyler Burke drew consecutive walks to force-in a run (the Cubs drew seven walks today), and Ridling and LeMahieu lined singles to the outfield to plate two more. before Cerda drove-in the final run of the inning on a high-chopper to short that scored Burke from 3rd base (there was no other play for the A's SS).

The Cubs big 5th got started with a Brandon Guyer line single to CF and a Kyler Burke walk. Ridling followed with a two-run double into the RF corner, scoring Guyer and Burke. LeMahieu then ripped a single to right-center to score Ridling. The A's got two outs on a ground-out FC and an infield pop-up, but Brandon May was hit on the lower leg by a pitch, and Logan Watkins and Ryan Flaherty walked to force-in another run. Brett Jackson then laced a single to CF to drive-in May and Watkins, and finally Guyer roped a double down the LF line to score Flaherty with the 7th run of the inning.

2B Logan Watkins had an Inning from Hell in the field in the top of the 7th, commiting two errors on what should have been routine plays, resulting in three unearned runs scoring, and cutting the Cub lead to 12-4. Watkins had played virtually flawless defense at Instructs, up until the 7th.

The nightmare 7th also featured another very poor outing for 19-year old RHP Tarlandus Mitchell (2008 22nd round pick out of Alto HS - Alto, TX), who could not find home plate with a divining rod. Mitchell retired only one hitter, and was pulled from the game after walking the bases loaded  Mitchell threw 21 pitches in the inning, but only eight strikes. At 5'8, the stocky Mitchell cannot afford to continually struggle with his command, even if his fastball clocks at 94.        

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):

LINEUP
1. Logan Watkins, 2B: 2-4 (6-3, 1B, K, BB, 1B), 2 R 
2a. Ryan Flaherty, DH #1: 0-3 (K, 3-U, 4-6 FC, BB), R, RBI 
2b. Justin Bour, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
3. Brett Jackson, LF: 2-4 (1B, BB, K, 1B, P-6), R, 2 RBI 
4. Brandon Guyer, CF: 2-4 (5-3, BB, 1B, 2B, F-8), 2 R, RBI 
5. Kyler Burke, RF: 1-3 (1-3, BB, BB, K, 1B), 2 R, RBI
6. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 3-5 (1B, 1B, 2B, 6-3, 6-3), 2 R, 3 RBI 
7. D. J. LeMahieu, SS: 2-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, 1-3), 2 RBI 
8. Matt Cerda, 3B: 1-4 (1B, 6-3, 4-6 FC, F-8), R, 2 RBI 
9a. Michael Brenly, C: 0-3 (P-9, 4-3, P-3)
9b. Richard Jones, PH: 1-1 (1B)
10a. Brandon May, DH #2: 1-2 (K, 1B, HBP), R  
10b. Jovan Rosa, C: 0-1 (L-6 DP)

PITCHERS:
1. Rafael Dolis - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 5/1 GO/FO, 38 pitches (29 strikes)
2. Brooks Raley - 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 3/4 GO/FO, 42 pitches (24 strikes)
3. Tarlandus Mitchell - 0.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 21 pitches (8 strikes)
4. John Mincone - 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 21 pitches (14 strikes)  
5. Steve Grife - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 13 pitches (7 strikes)

ERRORS: (2):
1. Logan Watkins (E-4) - With one out and runner at 2nd base in the top of the 7th, overthrow at 1st base on an infield single (H+E), allowing batter to advance to 2nd base.  
2. Logan Watkins (E-4) - With runners at 1st and 2nd and two outs in the top of the 7th, bobbled ground ball that would have been the inning-ending out, and all three runs scored (all unearned runs) when the next batter cleared the bases with a bases-loaded triple.

CATCHERS DEFENSE: There were no stolen base attempts, passed balls, or errors involving Cubs catchers today. 

WEATHER: 80's & sunny

ATTENDANCE: 30  

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Comments

damn, it's going to be in the high 90s there for a couple days coming up.

enjoy that mid-october weather.

AZ Phil - Given your extensive knowledge of Cubs minor leaguers and the wealth of players eligible for the Rule V draft. Who do you think the Cubs would be foolish not to add to the 40 man roster? Specifically I am wondering about guys like Camp, Adduci, Castillo, Parker, Palpelbon, and Gaub -- I am sure there are others to consider as well.

Submitted by skavoovee on Wed, 10/14/2009 - 6:36pm.
AZ Phil - Given your extensive knowledge of Cubs minor leaguers and the wealth of players eligible for the Rule V draft. Who do you think the Cubs would be foolish not to add to the 40 man roster? Specifically I am wondering about guys like Camp, Adduci, Castillo, Parker, Palpelbon, and Gaub -- I am sure there are others to consider as well.

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SKAVOOVEE: If it were up to me (which it's not), I would make sure to add Welington Castillo, Rafael Dolis, John Gaub, and Blake Parker to the 40 on 11/20.

James Adduci might be an attractive 4th OF, Matt Camp a useful IF-OF-PR supersub, Steve Clevenger an OK C-1B-LHPH, Chris Robinson a cheap back-up catcher, LHP J. R. Mathes a passably-mediocre 5th starter, and Jeremy Papelbon a serviceable utility lefty out of the bullpen, especially for a small-market/low-revenue club, but I wouldn't lose any sleep if any of them got selected.

Holy cow, attendance 30?! What happened to those "attendance=6" days, Phil?

I know I'd like to bask in the sunshine and watch some baseball given our crappy weather here in the midwest........

BP's Kevin Goldstein has another AFL writeup...this time mentioning Cashner:

Andrew Cashner, Cubs (Solar Sox): The best college closer in the 2008 draft, the Cubs very cautiously began a conversion to starting this year for Cashner, who despite making 24 starts between High- and Double-A, still notched just over 100 innings. Trying to rectify his command issues has led to a reduction in velocity, but his slider is still a wipeout pitch at times, and his changeup was surprisingly solid.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?arti...

Mike Leake in AA? yeesh. really high on him over there.

The Mesa Solar Sox had their home opener tonight at HoHoKam Park, and lost to the Phoenix Desert Dogs 4-2.

But six of the seven Cubs assigned to the Solar Sox got into the game, with mixed results:

1. Starlin Castro, SS: Hit 2nd, and drove a sharp double down the RF line (opposite field) in his 1st AB, was fooled and grounded out weakly to 2B in his 2nd AB, grounded out to 2B with no outs to advance a runner from 2nd to 3rd in his 3rd AB, flied out (can 'o corn) to LF in his 4th AB, and popped up into short right to end the game in his 5th AB. Defensively, Castro just about ran over Solar Sox second-baseman Ryan Mount in the 1st inning going after a ball hit up the middle on the RF side of the second base bag, and he mishandled a ground ball that was ruled a hit but should have been scored an error later in the game.

2. Josh Vitters, 3B: Hit 6th in the batting order. Had three hits in four AB, and the hardest hit ball was a line-drive out to the SS his 1st time up! Then he lined a double into the LF corner in his 2nd PA, grounded a single between 2nd and 3rd his third time up (and then got erased in a Welington Castillo GIDP), and blooped a single into short left-center his fourth time up and (respresenting the tying run) was thrown out trying to steal 2nd base. Defensively, Vitters bounced a throw past 1st base for an error after fielding a rountine one hopper, leading to an unearned run scoring.

3. Welington Castillo, C: Hit 7th. Went 1-4, lined a rope off the LF wall in his 1st AB, a ball that was hit so hard he had to settle for a single! Then he struck out swinging (high fastball), grounded into a DP (erasing Vitters), and struck out swinging (again) in AB #4. On one SB against him the runner would have been safe anyway, but Castillo made an awful throw (a one bouncer to the LF side of the bag), and on the second SB Castillo had no chance to throw the runner out.

4. LHP James Russell: Pitched the 5th and 6th, and was hit fairly hard (almost like BP), although he also was the victim of the Vitters throwing error that led to an unearned run scoring. But Russell also gave up a double off the CF batter's eye (Green Monster), a double down the LF line that was hit so hard Vitters could only deflect it into foul territory, a HR over the RF fence into the upper bullpen, and a rope single. Well, at least he threw strikes...

5. LHP John Gaub: Might not look like it based on the stats, but he didn't look bad. Got a couple of strikeouts (one looking and one swinging), and gave up an infield "hit"(?) that should have gotten him out of the inning without allowing a run. Only hard-hit ball against him was a line single by Chris Marrero, who is a monster (he crushed the double off the CF Green Monster batter's eye off Russell). Also, all six batters Gaub faced hit RH. He did throw 27 pitches (18 strikes) in his one inning of work, and he uncorked a Wild Pitch on a strike three (a hard-breaking slider), although at least he didn't walk anybody. Looked like he had filthy stuff, especially the slider.

6. RHP Blake Parker: Also got two punchouts (one looking and one swinging), and a fly out to LF, but also gave up two singles, although no runs. Too many of his pitches were up in the zone, but he generally threw strikes.

7. RHP Andrew Cashner: Did not pitch tonight, scheduled to start for the Solar Sox on Friday.

Dolis is listed at 6-3 180 on Daytona roster. Makes me wonder about how big Castro really is. he's listed at 6-1 160 but have seen concerns that he might outgrow shortstop. Any estimate? Thanks for all the great info you provide.

Submitted by chuck on Thu, 10/15/2009 - 8:38am.
Dolis is listed at 6-3 180 on Daytona roster. Makes me wonder about how big Castro really is. he's listed at 6-1 160 but have seen concerns that he might outgrow shortstop. Any estimate? Thanks for all the great info you provide.

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CHUCK: Dolis probably weighed 180 when he was signed as a 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic in 2004. They also used to list Jose Ceda at 207, and he weighed 260+ his last year with the Cubs (and his weight problem was one of the reasons the Cubs soured on him, because they felt it contributed to his shoulder problems). And Ceda and Dolis were best-buddies, so it's not hard to understand how and why Dolis put on some pounds.

It's not unusual for 16-17 year old kids to have a final late-teen growth spurt of an inch or two and put on some weight as they improve their diet and spend time in the weight room. Hak-Ju Lee was just plain scrawny last year, but he grew an inch abd put on some muscle during the off-season. It's kind of like when a freshman college football player redshirts and hits the weight room.

BTW, Dolis doesn't look out of shape, he's just not thin. He kind of looks like a TE or OLB. (Ceda looked like a DT at the end of last season).  

Submitted by Arizona Phil on Wed, 10/14/2009 - 6:48pm.

If it were up to me (which it's not), I would make sure to add Welington Castillo, Rafael Dolis, John Gaub, and Blake Parker to the 40 on 11/20.

James Adduci might be an attractive 4th OF, Matt Camp a useful IF-OF-PR supersub, Steve Clevenger an OK C-1B-LHPH, Chris Robinson a cheap back-up catcher, LHP J. R. Mathes a passably-mediocre 5th starter, and Jeremy Papelbon a serviceable utility lefty out of the bullpen, especially for a small-market/low-revenue club, but I wouldn't lose any sleep if any of them got selected.

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

I totally agree on Gaub and Parker given their performance at Triple A. Castillo seems like a long shot to last on any roster given his overall poor hitting at Double A 232/275/386, although he did hit 11HR and was better the second half. I also agree that Mathes, Papelbon, and Robinson don't really have a shot. (They all seem like 4A players at this point) The Cubs have always been high on Clevenger but he seems at least a year away from the bigs. I think I am more interested in Camp and Adduci. Camp is probably too light hitting and not fast enough, which leaves me with Adduci. Do you think he has a higher ceiling than Fuld? (granted he is about 4 years younger)

Castillo had some poor luck in the first half. Granted, in the end, you gotta perform, but with a strong 2nd half and reports of positive development in his receiving skills, I still think you gotta protect him. He's too talented to not protect, and if Soto struggles again in 2010, Castillo could be in the picture to grab some time in 2011.

For me, I think Adduci/Fuld are similar, but Fuld might be a bit more well-rounded. Could Adduci have a higher ceiling? Perhaps, but I don't think it's by much, if at all.

Submitted by skavoovee on Thu, 10/15/2009 - 10:55am

I totally agree on Gaub and Parker given their performance at Triple A. Castillo seems like a long shot to last on any roster given his overall poor hitting at Double A 232/275/386, although he did hit 11HR and was better the second half. I also agree that Mathes, Papelbon, and Robinson don't really have a shot. (They all seem like 4A players at this point) The Cubs have always been high on Clevenger but he seems at least a year away from the bigs. I think I am more interested in Camp and Adduci. Camp is probably too light hitting and not fast enough, which leaves me with Adduci. Do you think he has a higher ceiling than Fuld? (granted he is about 4 years younger)

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SKAVOOVEE: While James Adduci is a fast runner, has a plus-arm, and can play all three OF positions, Sam Fuld is a Gold Glove quality defender (Adduci is just average), and is a better hitter than Adduci. I would say that while Adduici is a borderline MLB prospect, he is just a "4th OF" prospect, and probably not with the Cubs. And he still needs to prove he can hit AAA pitching.  .

Camp is an high-octane, offensive-first, super-sub type who might be attractive to Lou Piniella because he is a speedy left-handed hitter who can play CF, LF, & 2B (his best positions), he can PR and steal a base, and he can also play SS, 3B, or RF in a pinch (though not for an extended period). I would expect Camp to get an NRI to Spring Training in 2010 if he isn't selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and if Fontenot gets non-tendered or traded, and/or if Miles gets released, or if Fuld gets traded, Camp could conceivably win a spot on the Cubs 2010 Opening Day roster with a good Cactus League performance, but he has to prove he can hit big league pitching. I don't think he will get added to the 40-man roster on 11/20, because if the Cubs intended to add Camp, they probably would have done so in September and brought him up to Chicago after the close of the PCL season. However, if Camp hits really well in the Mexican Pacific League over the next month (he's playing for Mexicali), that could possibly influence the Cubs to put him on the 40 on 11/20.

Steve Clevenger is another guy who is very highly-regarded by the Cubs Player Development people. He will probably be a manager or a coach some day. Like Camp, Clevenger will almost certainly get an NRI to ST if he isn't selected in the Rule 5 Draft. I don't think Clevenger projects as an MLB front-line catcher, though, or even a primary back-up. He's more of a C-1B-LHPH type who can play 2B or 3B in a pinch. Because he has a short-stroke and is tough to strike out, he would probably be a good PH. If Clevenger does eventually make it to Chicago, he would probably replace Hoffpauir on the roster, although there would be a significant loss of power off the bench if Hoffpauir were to be exchanged for Clevenger. Hoffpauir is also a much better defensive 1B, and he can play corner OF, too, which Clevenger does not.

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