Angels Show Baez-less Cubs No Respect

Hank Conger blasted a solo home run and an RBI double, Zach Borenstein hammered a three-run HR, and Mike Sodders cracked a three-run double, leading the Angels to a 17-1 Memorial Day thrashing of the Cubs this morning at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, AZ.


Shawon Dunston Jr belted a home run leading off the game, and that was the only Cub run of the day.


19-year old RHP Tayler Scott (Cubs 2011 5th round draft pick out of Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, AZ) had another rough start today, allowing nine runs (six earned) on six hits (including three doubles, a triple, and a home run) and two walks in 3.1 IP. He also commited a costly throwing error in a four-run Angel 4th. In his previous start last Wednesday, the young South Africa native surrendered two runs (both earned) on five hits (including four doubles) and a walk in 3.0 IP.


In EXST Cubs roster news, SS Javier Baez (Cubs 2011 1st round draft pick) has been promoted to Peoria after hitting 330/351/725 in 27 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (94 PA), with 8 HR & 28 RBI, six doubles, three triples, 11 SB (one CS), one walk, two HBP, and 23 K. He also made eight errors.


Here is the box score from today’s game (Cubs players only):


CUBS LINEUP:
1. Shawon Dunston Jr, DH #1: 2-3 (HR, 3-1, 1B, BB, R, RBI)
2. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 1-4 (5-3, 1B, 6-4 FC, 5-4 FC, SB)
3a. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 1-3 (6-3, 1B, F-7)
3b. Danny Lockhart, 3B: 0-1 (4-3)
4a. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-2 (K, K)
4b. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 0-2 (K, E-6)
5. Dustin Geiger, DH #2: 0-4 (K, K, 4-3, 4-6-3 DP)
6. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 1-2 (1B, 1-3, HBP)
7. Trey Martin, CF: 0-3 (F-8, P-6, L-9)
8. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-3 (5-3, F-7, F-8)
9a. Neftali Rosario, C: 1-2 (K, 1B)
9b. Justin Marra, C: 0-1 (K)
10. Trevor Gretzky, LF: 1-3 (1B, 3-6 FC, P-4, PO)


CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Tayler Scott: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 9 R (6 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 62 pitches (33 strikes), 6/2 GO/FO
2. Arturo Maltos-Garcia: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 25 pitches (15 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
3. Alvido Jimenez: 1.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 28 pitches (13 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
4. Luis Villalba: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 34 pitches (19 strikes), 0/6 GO/FO
5. Matt Spencer: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 9 pitches (5 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO


CUBS ERRORS: 4
1. 1B Dan Vogelbach - E-3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)
2. P Tayler Scott - E-1 (errant throw on attempted 1-2 FC with bases loaded allowed two runs to score)
3. SS Carlos Penalver - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)
4. 3B Danny Lockhart - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)


CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Neftali Rosario: 0-1 CS
Justin Marra: 0-1 CS, 1 PB


ATTENDANCE: 11


WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 80’s

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Comments

Phil,

What's AMG got as a pitcher? It's been almost two years since he's pitched, right?

And, do any catchers out there show any promise? Who's your favorite in the system? I'm hoping that Zunino of UF slips to 6th in the draft (highly unlikely I know).

Mon, 05/28/2012 - 3:41pm — Childersb3

Phil,

What's AMG got as a pitcher? It's been almost two years since he's pitched, right?

And, do any catchers out there show any promise? Who's your favorite in the system? I'm hoping that Zunino of UF slips to 6th in the draft (highly unlikely I know).

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CHILDERS: RHP Arturo Maltos-Garcia throws a low-90's fastball that he uses to set-up his curve (which is his strikeout pitch). He looks like a reliever type (6'1, two-pitch pitcher), but he had TJS last July (he last pitched in a JUCO Tournament game in Casa Grande, AZ, exactly one year ago) and he only began throwing in EXST games about three weeks ago, so he hasn't been stretched-out yet.

As for catchers below W. Castillo and Clevenger, there isn't much.

Daytona Cubs switch-hitting Micah Gibbs is a good defensive catcher (excellent receiving skills but only a so-so-arm) who has a very slow bat with a loft swing (LH) and a punch-stroke (RH). He does walk a lot, though.

Peoria's #1 catcher is Rafael Lopez, an ex-3B who was converted to catcher when he transferred to Florida State from Indian River CC in 2009. (He was at Boston College before that). He has OK defensive skills (especially for someone who hasn't been a catcher very long). He is a LH hitter with a plus-bat and occassional HR power. He's also a bit old (24). He was drafted by the Cubs as a 5th year college senior.

EXST Cubs Wilson Contreras is likely headed for Boise. He was a catcher on a top amateur team in Venezuela prior to signing with the Cubs in 2009 ($850K bonus), but the Cubs moved him to 3B immediately after they signed him. Then he received a 50-game PED suspension prior to the 2010 season. He struggled defensively at 3B and at 1B last season at Boise, and was moved back to catcher this year. And he really seems to like it. Most guys who are moved to catcher struggle with the bat, but not Contreras. He actually has hit better as a catcher than he did as a third-baseman. He also runs well for a catcher. But we'll have to see how he fares at Boise. (BTW, he is a below-average defensive catcher. I can see why he was moved to 3B).

Neftali Rosario (Cubs 2011 6th round draft pick) is a younger version of Welington Castillo, but much more raw (if that's possible). Rosario has two plus-tools... HR power and arm strength. That's it. Otherwise he is mostly lost at sea. He swings at everything, and may even be a less-patient hitter than Javier Baez. He really needs to work on his receiving skills, too.

So if Mike Zunino is there when the Cubs make their selection, there is no reason not to take him. Unless the Cubs are targeting a pitcher with their #1 pick.

I think you might have overlooked an interesting catcher, Phil.

Taylor Davis was called up to Daytona last Friday. He played Saturday and had a double in three at-bats. (Daytona did not play Sunday or Monday, so for all we know Davis might be their starting catcher, for the time being, in place of Gibbs.)

Davis had a .902 OPS at Peoria in 76 PAs leading up to his promotion. He also nailed 6 of 14 would-be base stealers.

Apart from his recent success, all I know about Davis is what you wrote in early April:

He was highly-regarded enough after the 2010 season that he was on the Johnny Bench Watch List going into the 2011 season (his junior year) at Morehead State, and then despite finishing in the Top 10 in SLG % among D-1 players (one slot ahead of Cubs 19th round draft pick Paul Hoilman, BTW), he was not drafted.

The Cubs signed a NDFA catcher out of the U. of Santa Clara named Patrick Terry after the June draft, but his contract was subsequently voided, and so they offered Davis a contract and he accepted it, and he spent the summer with the AZL Cubs in Mesa.

Davis began Minor League Camp last month with the Tennessee squad, then got moved down to Daytona and finally to Boise/Mesa, before getting a last minute reprieve and a spot on the Peoria Opening Day roster.

It will be interesting to see how Taylor Davis performs at Daytona and if he actually takes playing time away from Micah Gibbs behind the plate there. My guess is he won't, although he might get a lot of starts at DH if he swings a hot bat.

What was kind of obvious with Taylor Davis last season at AZL Cubs and at Minor League Camp this past March is that he is an offensive-first catcher whose receiving skills are below-average, and although he had a good CS % at Peoria, the Cubs Player Development people value a catcher's receiving skills and handling of the pitching staff over hitting or CS%, which is why offensively-challenged guys like Michael Brenly and Micah Gibbs get regular playing time.

You the man, AZ Phil.

Phil - I notice that you didn't mention Luis Flores. Is that because he isn't worth mentioning, and if so, did his suspension make much difference.

Mon, 05/28/2012 - 6:03pm — DavidP

Phil - I notice that you didn't mention Luis Flores. Is that because he isn't worth mentioning, and if so, did his suspension make much difference.

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DAVID P: Luis Flores would be a better prospect if it wasn't for his history.

He got nailed for a 50-game PED suspension by MLB last year, and he was suspended twice by the Cubs prior to that for something different (not as significant).

If Flores can stay clean for the rest of this year and maybe score a slot in the AFL or in a Latin Winter League post-2012 and do well there, then that would shed a new light on his future.

But otherwise he is just one misstep away from getting released. You might say he is on a "short leash."

3sb for billy hamilton (CIN, A+) today.

that's 52sb in 47 games (11cs). if he can keep up the hitting/getting on base (near .400 ob%, currently) we might have the first legit 100+sb guy to roll into the bigs in a few decades.

With a name very much struck in MLB past as a basestealer...Billy Hamilton from around late 1800s to early 1900s stole 912 bases.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Hamilton_(baseball)

What's the story on Matt Spencer? Is he just dominating younger players or is he a realistic prospect on the mound at a higher level?

Tue, 05/29/2012 - 5:48am — Justin Tyme

What's the story on Matt Spencer? Is he just dominating younger players or is he a realistic prospect on the mound at a higher level?

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JUSTIN T: Matt Spencer was a two way player (OF/LHP) in HS and at the University of North Carolina, but was used exclusively as an OF after he transferred to Arizona State. He was also drafted as an OF by the Phillies and played OF & 1B on his way up through the minors with the Phillies, A's, and Cubs, before the Cubs asked him if he wanted to try pitching again (full-time) after last season.

He agreed and went to AZ Instructs post-2011, where he was throwing 98 MPH gas with zero command and no secondary stuff. He continued to struggle with command at Minor League Camp this past March, before just recently returning to game action at Extended Spring Training.

So far he looks great. The command still needs work, but he has generally been throwing both his fastball and his breaking ball for strikes.

Spencer is 26 and will be a minor league FA post-2013, so the Cubs need to find out ASAP if he has a future on the mound as a lefty reliever. So don't be surprised if he gets jumped quickly through the system.

One thing to keep in mind is that lefty relievers can be found anywhere (HS coach at a tryout camp like Jim Morris in The Rookie, or in Independent ball as happened with George Sherrill and Joe Thatcher).

No question Matt Spencer could be dominating.

A 6'5 250+ dude with a 98 MPH fastball and a reputation for not being able to control it would scare anybody.

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