Cubs Say No to Winning Record
I think that was the first game I got to watch in its near entirety in about 2 weeks. My apologies for the outcome.
The Good: After Gorzelanny finished his warm-ups, he mowed the Nationals down through 7 innings. The problem was it took him 3 batters into the game to finish loosening up. Geovany Soto went 2/4 and Kosuke Fukudome reached base 3 times, twice on walks to set-up getting stranded by Lee, Byrd and Ramirez. Soto also gunned down two very capable baserunners in Wily Taveras and Justin Maxwell.
The Bad: Gorz is now 0-3 despite a 2.45 ERA and as mentioned, took 3 batters to get going. Those 3 batters included a stand-up triple by Nyjer Morgan to leadoff the game that he hit to left center. I didn't even know that was possible. Then Ian Desmond singled Morgan in, and stole off the lefty Gorz. Christian Guzman launched a ball into centerfield into the teeth of the wind that Marlon Byrd completely lost track of leading to the second triple of the inning. Gorz settled in and stranded Guzman and didn't run into much trouble the rest of the night. The bullpen gave up another run in the 8th, with Grab-Ass being the culprit thanks to his own throwing error. The 3 through 6 hitters went a combined 2/16 including Lee, Byrd and Ramirez all getting a crack with 2 runners on in the bottom of the 8th. Matt 'Could've Been a Cub' Capps nailed down his 9th save in 9 opportunities.
The Minors: Iowa picked up the 4-3 win in a shortened double-header in the first game.. Thomas Diamond throws 5 scoreless with 5 K's and Jeff Samardzija got the win with 1.2 scoreless innings and no walks with a K. Brad Snyder went 2/4 and Sam Fuld got on-base twice out of the leadoff spot. They won 4-2 in the 2nd game with Casey Coleman throwing 6 innings and giving up 2 runs. Mitch Atkins picked up the save in the 7th in that one. The white hot Smokies take a rare loss but Starlin Castro went 3/5 with a double. Ryan Flaherty, who is off to a poor start, did go 1/2 with 2 walks. Daytona won 3-1 with Alberto Cabrera throwing 5.2 scoreless innings with 6 K's. Aaron Shafer extended his scoreless streak to 16 innings in relief. Matt Spencer and Rebel Ridling homered, but B. Jackson, Vitters, LeMahieu and Burke were a combined 0/12. Peoria won 5-4 with Trey McNutt going 5 innings, giving up a run and striking out 5. Larry Suarez threw 2 scoreless innings. Greg Rohan homered and Hak-Ju Lee went 1/4 with a run scored and a double out of the leadoff spot.
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.