Here Come the Hawks, the Mighty... Boise Hawks!
6/15 UPDATE: BOISE OPENING DAY ROSTER HAS BEEN RELEASED (see COMMENT #11 below)
Arismendy Alcantara singled, doubled, and tripled, stole a base, drove-in three runs, and scored two more, Richard Jones and Wes Darvill had three hits a piece, and Alvaro Ramirez clubbed a two-run HR, but it wasn’t enough, as Kyung-Min Na had three hits, stole two bases, and scored twice, and Xavier Batista had three RBI, leading the upstart AZL Cubs (Mesa Cubs) to a 9-7 victory over the Boise Hawks at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning. The game was a pre-planned eleven-inning contest.
This was the final tune-up for the Hawks, who will fly from Phoenix to Boise tomorrow morning. Their first game will be Friday night at Yakima.
Some of the innings in today's game were terminated with less than three outs ("Roll It!") because the pitcher reached his maximum pitch limit for that inning, while other innings were extended beyond three outs ("Stay Out There!") to allow a pitcher to throw more pitches.
After the game, Boise Manager Jody Davis called Kyung-Min Na over to the Hawks post-game huddle from the Mesa Cubs bench ("Kyung-Min Na, come on down!"), as the speedy 18-year old Korean apparently won the Hawks' “4th outfielder” job (at least temporarily) with his outstanding play in today’s game. (Cody Shields would have been the 4th OF at Boise, but he will be left behind at Fitch Park after suffering a broken hand in an intrasquad game the last week of Extended Spring Training).
Infielder Brandon May was on the Boise bench today, but did not play due to a lingering sore left leg. I don't know if May will be traveling with the Hawks to Boise tomorrow, or if he will be remaining at Fitch Park for a few days to rehab the injury.
Also, 1B-3B Bobby Wagner will apparently be remaining at Fitch Park a while longer while he continues his conversion to catcher. He played with the AZL Cubs (Mesa) squad today, and he did not participate in the Hawks post-game meeting.
Here is today’s box score:
1. Alvaro Ramirez, CF: 1-5 (5-3, F-7, 6-3, HR, F-7, 2 RBI, R)
2. George Matheus, 3B: 1-5 (6-3, 6-3, 2B, F-7, K, R)
3. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-5 (5-3, L-3, 1B+E7, 6-3, 4-3, R)
4. Richard Jones, 1B: 3-5 (1B, 1B, P-7, K, 1B, R)
5. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 3-5 (6-4 FC, 3B, 1B, 2B, 5-4 FC, 3 RBI, 2 R, SB)
6. Runey Davis, LF: 2-5 (1B, K, 2B, K, F-8, 2 RBI)
7. Chris Huseby, DH #1: 0-4 (6-4-3 GIDP, 5-3, 5-3, F-8, BB)
8. Jose Guevara, C: 1-5 (1B, F-7, K, F-8, FC+E6)
9. Wes Darvill, 2B: 3-5 (3-6 FC, 1B, 1B, F-8, 1B, R, SB)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST THREE TIMES THROUGH ORDER
10b. Jeff Vigurs, DH #2: 0-2 (F-7, 4-3)
1. Chris Huseby: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO
2. Juan Yasser Serrano: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 6/6 GO/FO
3. Austin Kirk: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 7/4 GO/FO
4. Corey Martin: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 BALK, 2/1 GO/FO
5. Carlos Rojas: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 3/1 GO/FO
George Matheus E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base – eventually scored unearned run)
Jose Guevara: 0-3 CS
AZL CUBS (MESA CUBS)
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 1-7 (1B, 4-3, 4-3, 1-3, F-8, F-9, 4-3)
2. Kyung-Min Na, CF-LF: 3-7 (1B, 2B, 4-3, 1B, F-8, 6-3, 4-1, 2 R, 2 SB)
3. Albert Hernandez, 1B: 2-6 (5-3, 1B, 6-3, K, 1B, E-5, RBI, 2 R)
4. Xavier Batista, RF: 2-6 (K, 2B, F-8, 6-3, 4-3, 1B, 3 RBI)
5. Sergio Burruel, C-DH: 0-5 (4-3, F-9, L-7, K, BB, 6-3, R)
6. Bobby Wagner, 3B: 2-6 (P-6, F-8, K, K, 2B, 2B, 2 R)
7a. Rafael Disla, SS: 1-5 (1-3, K, L-3, 3B, K, R)
7b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FINAL TIME THROUGH ORDER
8a. Blair Springfield, LF, 2-6 (HR, K, 1B, 1-3, 5-3, F-9, RBI, R, SB)
8b. Melvin Camarena, CF: PLAYED DEFENSE ONLY - DID NOT BAT
9. Carlos Romero, DH-C: 0-6 (4-3, F-7, 4-3, 5-3, P-4, 6-3, 2 RBI)
1. Jose Rosario: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 1 BALK, 8/2 GO/FO
2. Jadel Mendez: 2.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R (5 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 3/2 GO/FO
3. Alvido Jimenez: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 2/5 GO/FO
4. Tzu-An Wang: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO
1. Blair Springfield E-7 (throwing error at 3rd base on single allowed batter to advance from 1st to 2nd base)
2. Rafael Disla E-6 (dropped throw at 2nd base on force attempt allowed runner to reach 2nd base safely – did not score)
Sergio Burruel: 0-2 CS, 1 PB
WEATHER: Hot and sunny, with temperatures in the 90’s
The Boise Hawks are the Cubs "Short-Season A" affiliate in the Northwest League. Besides the Cubs affiliate in Boise, ID, the other seven clubs in the league are the Tri-City Dust Devils (Rockies) in Pasco, WA, the Yakima Bears (Diamondbacks) in Yakima, WA, the Spokane Indians (Rangers) in Spokane, WA, the Eugene Emeralds (Padres) in Eugene, OR, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Giants) in Keizer, OR, the Everett Aqua Sox (Mariners) in Everett, WA, and the Vancouver Canadians (A's) in Vancouver, BC. All eight of the clubs have their minor league base in Arizona, so the players know the rival players pretty well from having played a lot of them in AZL, Spring Training, Extended Spring Training, and/or Instructional League games.
Per MLB Rule 51, a "Short Season A" club may have a maximum of four players on its roster age 23 or older, and a maximum of three players on its roster with three years or more of minor league service time coming into the season. (Seasons spent playing in DSL, VSL, Mexican League, or MLB international academies don't count toward minor league service time limit, the age limit does not apply to first-year players who sign after June 5th, and there is a one-year service time exemption for position players who are being converted to pitcher).
Generally speaking, players assigned to Boise would include college players selected in the recent Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft), and Latin, Pacific Rim, and U. S. high school and JC players who have "graduated" from Fitch Park (EXST Cubs & AZL Cubs).
Players assigned to Boise stay with "host families," which are local Boise residents who house and feed the young Cubbies (Hawks) during their stay in Boise. In return, the families receive complimentary season-tickets to the Hawks home games.
It's not unusual for players and host families to stay in touch for many years after the player has left and moved on to other things. Occasionally a player who stayed with a host family one year and another player who stayed with the same host family in a different season meet each other in later years and discover their "family connection."
The Boise gig is a lot different than Minor League Camp, Extended Spring Training, AZ Instructional League, or playing for the AZL Cubs in Mesa at Fitch Park. The players assigned to Fitch Park stay in the same motel (two players per room) with a curfew and no alcohol allowed in the rooms. Shuttle vans (maxi-vans) transport the players from the motel to Fitch Park and back, and road trips consist of maybe a 20-minute ride to another minor league complex in the maxi-vans.
But in Boise, the players are mostly on their own. They have to find their own way to the ballpark, and the Cubs rely on the host families to help keep the player on the "straight & narrow." (The Cubs probably wouldn't want a couple of meth freaks to be a host family). And Boise road trips consist of all night bus rides through the back roads and high deserts of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, with pre-made peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and/or Dominos Pizza (usually the only "restaurant" open late in most of the Northwest League towns) the in-bus meal.
The Boise club has a 35-man Reserve List (which is like a major league club's 40-man roster) and a 30-man Active List (which would be like a MLB club's 25-man roster).
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
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!!!!!!