Dos Cabezas RBI Better Than Uno

Yaniel Cabezas lined a walk-off bases-loaded RBI single into the LF corner with one out in the bottom of the 9th, as the Cubs rallied for two runs in the final frame to edge the Giants 3-2 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.  



Down 2-1, the EXTREMELY patient Garrett Schlecht led off the bottom of the 9th for the Cubs by drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Rubi Silva then laid down what was intended to be a sacrifice bunt, but it turned out to be a bunt single as the Giants third-baseman could not make a play. Danny Lockhart followed by laying down another bunt, and this time the ball was fielded by the third-baseman, but the throw to 1st base ticked-off the second-baseman’s glove and into RF foul territory, allowing Schlecht to score from 2nd base with the tying run, Silva to advance to 3rd, and Lockhart to take 2nd base. The Giants opted to pitch to hot-hitting (429/551/857) Micah Gibbs, but he drew a walk anyway, loading the bases with no outs. Neftali Rosario then struck out swinging with the bases loaded, leaving it up to Yaniel Cabezas. And Cabezas came through, hammering a line-drive into the LF corner to score Silva from 3rd base and give the Cubs the victory.


Cabezas drove-in the first Cubs run as well, ripping an opposite-field RBI single over the second-baseman’s head with one out in the bottom of the 4th, driving-in Micah Gibbs from 3rd base. Gibbs had reached base on a lead-off triple (near HR) off the right-centerfield fence.


The 22-year old Cabezas was a Cuban defector who signed with the Cubs last December for a reported $500K bonus. Cabezas played on the Cuban Junior National Team and for Los Vaqueros de La Habana (Serie Nacional) with fellow Cubs minor leaguer 2B-OF Rubi Silva. Cabezas and Silva defected together, and both players signed with the Cubs on the same day (12-15-2010), with Silva getting a reported $1M bonus.


While Silva had a good first year in the U. S. (he hit 285/305/392 combined between Peoria & Daytona, and he was 4th in the MWL in triples), Cabezas struggled at the plate with the AZL Cubs and at Boise (combined 202/284/260). However, Cabezas did hit a team-leading 356/402/520 with a team-leading 17 RBI in 82 PA with the EXST Cubs in April & May prior to the start of the short-season leagues in June, and was arguably the EXST Cubs MVP. (Cabezas also threw out 27% of opposing base-stealers in 44 games behind the plate with AZL Cubs & Boise).


Cabezas is currently hitting 348/423/391 and playing solid defense behind the plate at Instructs (which is approximately equivalent to Boise), and despite his offensive struggles with the AZL Cubs and the Boise Hawks in 2011, I think it is likely that he will be the #1 catcher at Peoria on Opening Day 2012.  


RHP Dillon Maples (Cubs 2011 14th round draft pick - $2.5M bonus) made his second Instructs appearance, throwing two shutout innings (28 pitches - 15 strikes). He allowed a single and a double, and he hit a batter (and almost hit two more). He was behind on almost every hitter, and the outs he did get were mainly ground balls on low-90's two-seamers (and he did not rack up any strike outs). He also benefitted from a CS. But at least he looked better than he did in his pro debut last week, when he walked three and couldn't retire the side before reaching his pitch limit.


Ex-Cubs Shawon Dunston, Sr and Lee Smith were at the game today (both are serving as instructors with the Giants), so Shawon Sr got a chance to see his son play (although Shawon Jr is presently buried deep in a 1-25 slump). 


Here is the abridged box score (Cubs players only):


LINEUP:
1. Rubi Silva, 2B: 2-4 (4-3, 1B, 5-3, 1B, R)
2. Danny Lockhart, 3B: 0-3 (L-1, 6-3, 4-3, SH-E4)
3. Micah Gibbs, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 3B, 1-4-3, BB, R)
4. Neftali Rosario, DH-C: 0-4 (K, K, 6-3, K)
5. Yaniel Cabezas, C-DH: 2-4 (K, 1B, 4-3, 1B, 2 RBI)
6. Shawon Dunston, Jr, LF: 0-2 (4-3, 1-3 SH, 3-1)
7. Trey Martin, CF: 0-3 (6-3, K, F-7)
8. Justin Marra, DH #2: 1-3 (1B, P-4, L-1)
9. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-3 (6-4-3 DP, 1B, F-8)
10. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-2 (1B, F-8, BB, R)


PITCHERS:
1. Zac Rosscup: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 21 pitches (10 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
2. Dillon Maples: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 28 pitches (15 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
3. Matt Spencer: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 30 pitches (18 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Amaury Paulino: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 22 pitches (13 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
5. Felix Pena: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 23 pitches (18 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
6. Scott Weismann: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 13 pitches (9 strikes)


ERRORS: 2
1. SS Carlos Penalver - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. C Neftali Rosario - E-2 (dropped pop foul fly)


CATCHERS DEFENSE
1. Yaniel Cabezas: 1-3 CS
2. Neftali Rosario: 1 E (see above)


ATTENDANCE: 21


WEATHER: Sunny with a gentle breeze, and with temperatures in the 80’s

Comments

Any velocity readings on Paulino? The line looks really nice - did the stuff match up with it?

Submitted by toonsterwu on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 1:00am.
Any velocity readings on Paulino? The line looks really nice - did the stuff match up with it?

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

TOONSTER: I don't have any velo readings on Amaury Paulino from yesterday, but he got lots of swings & misses with his fastball and breaking ball.

Yesterday was Paulino's first decent Instructs outing after three poor ones:

1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K
1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K
1.0 IP, 1 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP

After struggling at EXST, Paulino spent most of the Summer on the AZL Cubs 60-day DL, before getting reactivated on August 20th.

2011 has been pretty much a lost season for Paulino, so finishing strong should be good for his confidence going into next season.

Hey Phil,

Any thoughts on who might be the most exciting player at instructs this year?

Submitted by Charlie on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 8:34am.
Hey Phil,

Any thoughts on who might be the most exciting player at instructs this year?

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

CHARLIE: Certainly it's Dan Vogelbach.

When he comes up to the plate everybody stops talking and watches him hit. You never know when he's going to drop a tape-measure bomb.

The more I see of Vogelbach, the more I think of John Kruk, although Vogelbach has more pure power than Kruk did in his playing days.

Vogelbach seems a really good-natured kid, nothing seems to bother him. I guess he knows that he can silence any teasing he might get by just dropping the head of his bat on a pitch.

Thanks, AZ!

Just wondering, what are your thoughts on Rosscup and Weismann? Any chance they could make it to Chicago, or are they just organizational guys?

Rosscup and Weismann are dead.

Submitted by Koyies Bansaw on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 8:48am.
Just wondering, what are your thoughts on Rosscup and Weismann? Any chance they could make it to Chicago, or are they just organizational guys?

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

K-BANSAW: Zac Rosscup probably has a better chance of making it to Chicago than Scott Weismann.

When healthy, Rosscup is a control guy with three solid pitches (a 90 MPH sinker, a curve, and a change-up) who throws strikes and keeps the ball down (he had not surrendered a HR in 80+ IP in pro ball prior to this season). I would compare him to Chris Rusin.

Scott Weismann was a rotation starter at Clemson until mid-season 2011 (he and Cubs LHP Casey Harman were rotation starters on the Clemson Tigers CWS team in 2010) when he was moved to closer, and he really took to the job. He throws a low 90's sinker, a slider, and a cutter, and while he might be used as a closer or set-up guy at Peoria and Daytona, he probably projects as a middle-reliever at the upper levels.

What does Spencer hit on radar gun? Listened to Smokies broadcast one night when he did mopup/blowout duty and announcer said stadium gun showed 99. Likely inaccurate, but he threw in low 90's as 18 year old at high school near here. Can he help as pitcher?

Submitted by Justin Tyme on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 10:09am.
What does Spencer hit on radar gun? Listened to Smokies broadcast one night when he did mopup/blowout duty and announcer said stadium gun showed 99. Likely inaccurate, but he threw in low 90's as 18 year old at high school near here. Can he help as pitcher?

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

JUSTIN: I don't have velo readings on Spencer, but he definitely throws hard (sort of like Wild Thing in Major League). The problem is he has a lot of difficulty controling his fastball.

His curve ball is actually a much better pitch, because at least he can throw it for strikes.

I don't know if this us 3/44, but Pete Gammons says the Astros are moving to the AL. I always thought it was bullshit having 6 teams in the NL Central. This certainly can't hurt the Cubs chances of making it to the promise land, even though the Astros are turrible.

This certainly can't hurt the Cubs chances of making it to the promise land

Couldn't it? Doesn't the extreme suckitude of one (or more *ahem Pirates) team in the division increase the chances of winning the Wild Card?

If it happens, I'll miss watching games played in that park. I'll also miss Cubs domination of the shitty-ass Astros lineup. Wood's 20-k game and Zambrano's no-hitter both came against the Astros. Even Ryan O'Malley managed 8 innings of shutout ball against them in 2006 and had casual fans around the net campaigning for him to have a rotation spot in 07.

They were also NL champs in 2005.

Yeah, too remember that shitty-ass Astros lineup that Wood dominated. This was a team that only won 102 games and lead the league in runs scored.

They only made the playoff six times (and as noted the WS once with 6x2nd place non playoff finishes) since the NL Central started. They're definitely much worse than our beloved Cubs (4 playoffs, no WS and no additional 2nd place finishes).

Yeah, the Wood case was different. The shitty Astro offenses I'm remembering are mostly the last 3-4 years. And the Astros are not the perennial losers that the Pirates have been. The only way the Astros not being in the division could even hurt the Cubs slightly is in the short term--as their franchise rebuilds--and that's only in the sense that having a couple teams to beat up on slightly improves a team's chances for the Wild Card.

Zambrano did seem to love to face the Astros, especially in Houston. But Zambrano is probably gone, too.

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  • 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.

    johann 1 hour 6 min ago view
  • 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.   

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • 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

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • 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.)

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 5 min ago view
  • 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.  

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 2 hours 40 min ago view
  • 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!

    Old and Blue 3 hours 34 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 3 hours 36 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 4 hours 26 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 7 hours 14 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 8 hours 26 min ago view
  • 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.

    tim815 8 hours 50 min ago view
  • PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.

    The E-Man 8 hours 55 min ago view
  • Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?

    azbobbop 12 hours 55 min ago view
  • Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.

    Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.

    The E-Man 13 hours 43 min ago view
  • Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.

    While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.

    billybucks 14 hours 16 min ago view