Kyler Burke Shows Rockies He Can Pitch

Reggie Golden had three hits, scored a run, and knocked-in another, and LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke threw a 1-2-3 inning in his debut as a pitcher, as a split-squad of EXST Cubs played the EXST Rockies to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


The game was stopped after eight innings with the score tied at six when both teams ran out of available pitchers. (The Cubs and Rockies played a doubleheader at Fitch Park yeterday, and the Cubs were playing a split-squad DH today).



The Cubs 2009 Minor League Player of the Year after hitting 303/405/505 with a league-leading 43 doubles at Peoria, Burke had a dismal year at Daytona in 2010, hitting just 212/279/328 with 131 K. He came into Minor League Camp vying for a spot on the AA Tennessee Smokies roster, but after being sent back to Daytona toward the end of March, he agreed to make the move to pitcher.


And Burke looked VERY sharp today, striking out the first Rockies batter he faced (swinging), and then easily retiring the next two hitters on a fly out to LF and a 4-3 ground out.


My immediate impression of Burke as a pitcher is that with his breaking ball being as good as it is, he should at the very least have a future as a lefty relief specialist. But he also has a quality fastball (he was throwing in the mid-90’s in bullpen sessions last month), and so if he can develop the stamina and endurance needed to throw 100 pitches in a game, he could possibly be a rotation starter. He just turned 23 last month, so he still has time on his side.


Burke was a two-way player (OF/LHP) in HS, and while the Padres drafted him as an outfielder (he was traded to the Cubs in 2007 in the Michael Barrett deal), some scouts had him rated higher as a pitcher. So it’s not too surprising that he looks like he knows what he’s doing out on the mound. Also, he had what was considered the #1 OF arm in the Cubs organization prior to making the move back to pitcher.


RHP Jon Nagel (post-2010 non-TJS elbow surgery) continued his rehab in today’s game, following Burke to the mound and throwing one inning. Nagel is not yet cleared to throw breaking balls, so his repertoire at present consists of a fastball and a change-up.


19-year old Korean bonus baby RHP Jin-Young Kim followed Nagel, allowing four runs on five hits (three singles, a double, and a triple) and an HBP, with no walks and three strikeouts, in four innings of work (50 pitches – 36 strikes). While he struggled to keep his fastball down early in his outing, he did recover nicely and retired the last nine men he faced.


After a lackluster performance by the EXST Cubs in yesterday’s doubleheader, AZL Cubs Manager Juan Cabreja (who was in charge at Fitch Park today) had the boys take a spirited infield practice prior to today’s game, and it seemed to pay off, as the Cubs kids hit the ball (12 hits), showed patience at the plate (four walks), ran the bases aggressively (three stolen bases), and made some nice plays in the field, showing considerable improvement over yesterday’s effort.


DH Dustin Harrington doubled to drive-in two runs in a three-run Cubs 2nd inning, but had to leave the game (with help) in the bottom of the 4th after fouling a ball off his left instep. He was transported to the clubhouse on a cart, and looked to be in considerable pain.


While one squad of EXST Cubs played the Rockies at Fitch Park, the other squad (managed by Boise Manager Mark Johnson) traveled to Diablo Park in Tempe to take-on the EXST Angels. Because the games were played simultaneously ten miles apart, I am unable to provide an eyewitness report for the game at Diablo Park.


Here is today’s abridged box score for the game played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only):


LINEUP:
1. Jose Valdez, LF: 1-4 (F-7, K, P-5, 1B, 2 SB)
2. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-3 (6-3, 1B+E-4, K, BB, R, SB)
3. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 2-3 (K, 3B, 1B, BB, 2 R, RBI)
4. Reggie Golden, RF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, 1B, L-6, R, RBI)
5. Brian Inoa, C: 2-4 (1B, 4-6-3 DP, 1B, 3-U, R, RBI)
6. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-3 (1B, K, P-6, BB, R, RBI)
7a. Dustin Harrington, DH: 1-1 (2B, 2 RBI)
7b. Johan DeJesus, PH-DH: 0-3 (F-8, E-5, 6-3)
8. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 1-3 (1B, BB, 4-3 DP, P-5)
9. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-4 (F-7 DP, 6-4-3 DP, K, F-9)


PITCHERS:
1. Kyler Burke: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 9 pitches (7 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
2. Jon Nagel: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 12 pitches (9 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
3. Jin-Young Kim: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 50 pitches (36 strikes), 5/4 GO/FO
4. Yilver Sanchez: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 34 pitches (26 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO


ERRORS: 2:
1. C Brian Inoa - E2 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner at 2nd base to score unearned run)
2. 1B Xavier Batista - E3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)


CATCHERS DEFENSE
Brian Inoa: 0-3 CS, 1 E (see above)


ATTENDANCE: 5


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s


 

Comments

Thanks, Phil.
I think I may stop blaming Michael Barrett for everything if Burke turns out to be something as a pitcher...

I've been waiting for something on Burke. Great news. Lefties with that type of stuff don't come around often. It would be amazing if he could resurrect his career as a LHP.

Thanks for the report, Phil. Glad to see Burke taking well to the conversion.

Weight issues aside, it looks like Golden can hit. Who could you compare him to as far as approach/potential goes?

watching b.beachy (ATL) go pitch for pitch with s.marcum (MIL).

it's weird. the guy throws almost nothing but a 90-94mph fastball. he has a change and i assume something else because he's a starter, but for the most part he's throwing 1 fastball at 2 different velocities and hitters just aren't seeing it.

he was undrafted out of college in 2008 and now he's a starter for the braves. neat.

Bill James on Colbert Report tonight for anyone interested

and barely talks about baseball...

has some new book called "Popular Crime"

cargo makes 2 kickass/athletic plays vs. s.drew on 2 separate ab's...it's funny stuff when a true CF quality guy gets to play LF.

Two quick questions -

a) What was Nagel's velo?
b) I'm curious if you know what happened to Craig Muschko? I don't recall seeing him on any released lists, but maybe I missed it.

Submitted by toonsterwu on Fri, 05/06/2011 - 10:58am.
Two quick questions -

a) What was Nagel's velo?
b) I'm curious if you know what happened to Craig Muschko? I don't recall seeing him on any released lists, but maybe I missed it.

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

TOONSTER: Jon Nagel is throwing in the upper 80's right now. He is still a ways away from being back to full strength.

Craig Muschko was supposedly in Japan in March preparing to sign a contract with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows when the mega-earthquake hit, and (apparently) the deal fell through as a result. I don't know if he will be returning to the Cubs organization or if they will ultimately put him on the Temporarily Inactive List or Restricted List until his future can be determined.

The Cubs got about $500K when Micah Hoffpauir signed with the Nippon Ham Fighters, and they probably would get at least half that much (probably about $250K) if Muschko does end up signing with the Swallows. MLB clubs make out very well financially when a player they have under club control signs with an NPB team.

Speaking of outfielders who can throw, Nelson Perez threw out the tying run at the plate with two outs in the ninth last night for Daytona.

Perez in right, Ha in center and Burgess in left: Daytona has quite a set of outfield arms.

Recent comments

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The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 7 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 19 hours 18 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 19 hours 24 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 19 hours 29 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 19 hours 40 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 19 hours 52 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 20 hours 17 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 20 hours 57 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 22 hours 9 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 22 hours 26 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 22 hours 30 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 23 hours 15 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 1 day 4 hours ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 1 day 6 hours ago view