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Dwayne Kemp ripped an RBI single to drive-in Robert Bautista with the game-wining run, as the AZL Cubs rallied with three runs in the bottom of the 9th to defeat the AZL Angels 6-5 in Arizona League (AZL) Opening Day action at Fitch Park on Sunday. Kemp also clubbed an RBI triple earlier in the game, and Bautista drove in three runs with a squeeze bunt, a FC grounder, and a single, while also stealing three bases.


20-year old 2B D. J. Fitzgerald had a memoraable pro debut, going 4-4 with two doubles, two runs scored, and a stolen base. The Cubs 22nd round pick in the 2009 Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft) out of Dyersburg State CC, "DJ Fitz" was a star baseball player at Ocean Lakes HS in Virginia Beach, VA. He signed an NLI with Georgia Southern, but ended up at a Tennessee JC instead.

20-year old RHP Toby Matchulat got the start for the AZL Cubs, and was stellar, throwing four shutout innings (7/1 GO/FO), while allowing just two harmless singles and no walks, with four strikeouts. Matchulat just missed making the Boise Opening Day roster, after having an impressive Extended Spring Training at Fitch Park. An 11th round pick out of Wabash Valley JC in 2008, the lanky 6'5 right-hander struggled big-time with his command in his pro debut last year (29 BB in 18.2 IP), but he has really turned it around this year. Kudos to AZL Cubs Pitching Coach Rick Tronerud and Minor Leagure Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins for helping Matchulat find a better arm slot and a more consistent release point.

The Boise Hawks begin play tonight, kicking off their 2009 season. They will play 77 games (76 "league" games plus tonight's Opening Night exhibition game versus Treasure Valley CC) up through the first week of September, with one game scheduled each and most every day (they get only three days off for the entire season!). 

ROUND 31 (950): Andrew Clark, 1B (Louisville) 

L/L, 6'3, 220, 21 years old

COMMENT: College junior... Transferred to Louisville after spending freshman year at Ole Miss... Hit 350/479/555 with 9 HR & 55 RBI, with 21 doubles and two triples, and 55/27 BB/K in 317 PA for Cardinals in 2009... 2nd Team All-Big East... Was named Gatorade "Indiana High School Player of the Year" and was an AFLAC All-American his senior year in HS...


ROUND 32 (980): Trey McNutt, RHP (Shelton State CC)  

R/R, 6'4, 205, 19 years old

COMMENT: JC freshman... Helped lead Shelton State to 2009 JUCO World Series... Went 7-2 with 3.38 ERA, with 42 hits allowed in 61 IP, and 31/75 BB/K for the Bucs in 2009...   


ROUND 33 (1010): John Lambert, LHP (NC State)  

L/L, 6'7, 220 21 years old

COMMENT: College junior... Struggled in 2009, going 1-5 with a 7.05 ERA in 20 games (8 GS), allowing 47 hits in 47.1 IP (254 OBA but only one HR), with 36/52 BB/K, 10 WP, and 7 HBP... Started college career at Wright State, then spent sophomore year at Santa Fe CC, before transferring to NC State for junior year... Was named a PUMA High School All-American and 1st team All-State his senior year at Chesterton HS - Chesterton, IN... Was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2006 draft and by the Washington Nationals in 2008 draft, but did not sign...  


ROUND 34 (1040): Rett Varner, RHP/OF (UT - Arlington) 

R/R, 6'4, 190, 21 years old

COMMENT: College junior... Went 2-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 16 games (10 GS) for the Mavericks in 2009, with 65 hits allowed in 57 IP (.286 OBA), and 24/44 BB/K... Transferred to UTA after spending freshman year at BYU... 


ROUND 35 (1070): Kevin David, C (Oklahoma State)  

R/R, 6'1, 190, 21 years old

COMMENT: Draft-eligible sophomore... Hit 311/390/529 for Cowboys in 2009, with 6 HR & 47 RBI, a team-leading 23 doubles, two triples, and 23/44 BB/K... Threw out only 13% opposing base-stealers in 2009... Missed 2008 season due to arm injury, which gave Luis Flores (Cubs 2008 7th round draft pick) the opportunity to be the #1 catcher at OSU... Older brother Brad was a teammate of Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot on LSU National Championship team in 2000...   


ROUND 36 (1100): Brandon May, IF-OF (Alabama)  

R/R, 6'1, 205, 21 years old

COMMENT: College junior... Hit 347/424/608 for Crimson Tide in 2009, with 12 HR & 69 RBI, 18 doubles and two triples, and 30/52 B/K in 256 PA... Versatile player, has played 2B-3B-1B-SS-LF-RF in college career... First-team All-SEC in 2008...


ROUND 37 (1130): Peter Mooney, SS (Palm Beach CC)  

L/R, 5'8, 168, 18 years old

COMMENT: JC freshman... FCCAA "Defensive Player of the Year"... This is the type of player clubs used to draft when the "Draft & Follow" rule was still in effect (where clubs would retain the rights to a drafted JC player until one week prior to the next year's Rule 4 Draft)... 


ROUND 38 (1160): Bobby Wagner, 3B (Panola JC)  

L/R, 6'6, 230, 22 years old

COMMENT: Big lefty power-hitter batted 313/418/615 with 13 HR & 52 RBI, 12 doubles, two triples, and 29/30 BB/K, with 9 SB (2 CS), for the Ponies in 2009... Is from British Columbia (Canada)... Attended Douglas JC in BC prior to transferring to Panola...  Was drafted by Angels in 2006 but did not sign...   


ROUND 39 (1190): Nick Struck, RHP (Mt. Hood JC)  

R/R, 5'11, 195, 19 years old

COMMENT: JC freshman... Named NWAACC All-Star in 2009... Was the Oregon 6-A Player of the Year his senior year in HS in 2008... Will transfer to Hawaii if he doesn't sign with Cubs...  


ROUND 40 (1220): Eric Whaley, RHP (Cardinal Gibbons HS - Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 

R/R, 6'3, 175, 18 years old

COMMENT: Signed NLI with LSU...


ROUND 41 (1250): Jake Schmidt, RHP (Concordia U. - St. Paul)  

R/R, 6'3, 200, 22 years old

COMMENT: College senior... Went 7-2 with 3.78 ERA for Golden Bears in 2009, allowing 69 hits in 69 IP (.258 OBA), with 26/103 BB/K... Was NCAA Division II Honorable Mention in 2009...  


ROUND 42 (1280): Trey Ford, SS (Chaparral HS - Scottsdale, AZ)  

R/R, 6'2, 200, 18 years old

COMMENT:  A 4-A Desert Sky Region "Player of the Year"... Will attend Chandler-Gilbert CC if he doesn't sign with Cubs... Would be a perfect "Draft & Follow" candidate, if D&F still existed...


ROUND 43 (1310): Colin Kaepernick, RHP (Nevada)  

R/R, 6'6, 180, 21 years old

COMMENT:College junior... Hasn't played baseball since high school... Is star QB on Wolf Pack football team... Threw for 2,849 yards in 2008... Was named WAC Freshman of the Year in 2007...  


ROUND 44 (1340): Frank DeJiulio, RHP (Daytona State JC)

R/R, 6'3, 185, 19 years old  

COMMENT: JC freshman... Went 6-4 with 5.27 ERA for Daytona State in 2009... Father says they want "3rd or 4th round money"...  


ROUND 45 (1370): Addison Dunn, RHP (Warren Area HS - Warren, PA)  

R/R, 6'0, 18 years old

COMMENT: Has signed NLI with Kent State...


ROUND 46 (1400): Glenn Cook, OF (U. of Miami)

L/L, 6'1, 220, 24 years old

COMMENT: College senior is oldest player selected by Cubs in 2009 Rule 4 Draft... Was a starting LB on the Cane football team for several seasons after being rated the No. 26 LB prospect in the nation by Super Prep coming out of HS in 2002... A P/OF at Chaminade-Madonna Prep, he did not play baseball at "The U"...    


ROUND 47 (1430): Joey Jocketty, 3B (Ladue Horton Watkins HS -  St. Louis, MO)

R/R, 5'10, 165, 18 years old

COMMENT: Son of Reds GM Walt Jocketty... Was third-team All-Conference at LHWHS... This was obviously a "fun" pick for Hendry/Wilken...


ROUND 48 (1460): John Nasshan, RHP (Niles West HS - Skokie, IL)  

L/R, 6'6, 195, 17 years old

COMMENT: Signed NLI with Bradley University... Went 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA, 6/46 BB./K in 44 IP in his junior year at NWHS... Also a member of the Nles West golf squad...   


ROUND 49 (1490): Christian Segar, CF (McQuaid Jesuit HS -  Brighton, NY)

R/R, 6'1, 185, 18 years old

COMMENT: Also has signed NLI with Bradley University...


ROUND 50 (1520): Zach Cleveland, RHP (Central Arizona JC) 

R/R, 6'1, 20 years old

COMMENT: JC sophomore... Went 3-2 with a 0.50 ERA for the Vaqueros in 2009, allowing just 27 hits in 36.1 IP, and 15/31 BB/K... Throws 88-92 MPH fastball & a slider... Will transfer to New Mexico if he doesn't sign with Cubs... Was drafted by Phillies out of Golden HS (Golden, CO) in 2007, but did not sign...

ROUND 4 (140): Chris Rusin, LHP (Kentucky)
L/L, 6'2, 190, 22 years old
COMMENT: College senior was the Wildcats' "Friday night starter" (#1 starter)... Workhorse went 7-4 with a 4.20 ERA, 14 games (14 GS, 4 CG), 94.1 IP, 95 H, 27/108 BB/K, and a .258 OBA for Wildcats in 2009... 87-89 MPH fastball and decent curve, but change-up needs work... Had elbow surgery in 2008...  


ROUND 5 (170): Wes Darvill, SS (Brookswood SS - Langley Blaze Baseball Club - Langley, BC)
L/R, 6'3, 175, 17 years old
COMMENT: Member of Canadian Junior National Team... One of the best teenage (secondary school) position players in Canada... Fast runner (6.87 60) with a line drive stroke... Signed NLI to attend Bossier Parish CC (Bossier City, LA)...


ROUND 6 (200): Brooks Raley, LHP/OF (Texas A&M)
L/L, 6'3, 185, 20 years old
COMMENT: Draft-eligible sophomore... Two-way player in HS and in college... Was Aggies "Friday night" (#1) starter... Went 7-3 with 3.76 ERA, and allowed 80 hits (.237 OBA) with 26/95 BB/K in 93.1 IP in 15 GS (1 CG)... Throws 90 MPH sinker, 93 MPH four-seam fastball, slider, curve, and change-up, although no pitch stands-out... As position player, has plus-speed, plus-arm, and gap power... Played OF and hit 304/420/424, with 1 HR & 26 RBI, 19 2B, 2 3B, 41/32 BB/K in 273 PA, with 25 SB (4 CS) and 11 SH on days he wasn't pitching... Played corner OF at A&M, but would project as a CF in pro ball... Was named "Big 12 Freshman of the Year" in 2008... My guess is Cubs will probably try him as CF, and then move him back to pitcher if he struggles with the bat...


ROUND 7 (230): Blair Springfield, CF/SS (MacArthur HS - Decatur, IL)
R/R, 5'10, 187 18 years old
COMMENT: "Athletic" defender and aggressive hitter with good bat speed... Has signed NLI to attend Illinois State...


ROUND 8 (260): Robert Whitenack, RHP (SUNY- Old Westbury)
R/R, 6'5, 185, 20 years old
COMMENT: College junior was named 2009 ECAC "Pitcher of the Year"... Went 5-2 with a 2.87 ERA, with 79 K and only 46 hits allowed in in 67.1 IP... "Out" pitch is a knuckle-curve... Had his usually high-80's fastball up to 93 MPH this Spring...


ROUND 9 (290): Richard Jones, C (The Citadel)
L/R, 6'0, 210, 21 years old
COMMENT: College junior is big-time lefty power-jacker, hitting 378/449/673 with 17 HR & 69 RBI and 27/52 BB/K in 285 PA for the Bulldogs in 2009... Offensive-first catcher who only threw-out 13% of opposing base-stealers... Was used as a DH quite a bit...


ROUND 10 (320): Charles Thomas, 3B (Edward Waters College)
R/R, 6'4, 225, 20 years old
COMMENT: College junior is a powerfully-built corner infielder... Hit .336 with 8 HR and 30 RBI in 45 games for EWC in 2009... Played 3B in college, but may be moved to 1B in pro ball...


ROUND 11 (350): John Mincone, LHP (Suffolk County CC West)
L/L, 6'1, 215, 19 years old
COMMENT: JC sophomore went 6-0 with a 0.92 ERA, allowing just 32 hits in 59 IP, with a 13/91 BB/K for the Longhorns in 2009... Good hitter, played1B & DH on days he wasn't pitching... Transferred to SCCC after spending his freshman year at James Madison...


ROUND 12 (380): Runey Davis, OF (Howard JC)
R/R, 6'0, 185, 20 years old
COMMENT: Selected by Pirates in 11th round of 2007 draft, but did not sign... Transferred to Howard JC after spending freshman year at the University of Texas... Was hit by a pitch 14 times and stole 34 bases for JUCO World Series champion Howard JC in 2009... Will transfer to Mississippi State if he doesn't sign with the Cubs...


ROUND 13 (410): Chad Taylor, SS/RHP (Jefferson HS - Tampa, FL)
R/R, 6'1, 175, 18 years old
COMMENT: Tremendously-versatile and athletic all-around baseball player, he made his HS All-Conference team as a shortstop, but he also has played CF and has been used both as a starter and as a closer on the mound... Signed NLI with South Florida...


ROUND 14 (440): Danny Keefe, RHP (U. of Tampa)
R/R, 6'4, 185, 21 years old
COMMENT: College senior... Spot-starter and part-time closer for Spartans in 2009, Keefe went 4-5 with a 4.13 ERA and two saves, allowing 69 hits (.264 OBA) with a 19/70 BB/K in 65.1 IP...


ROUND 15 (470): Cody Shields, CF (Auburn U. - Montgomery)
R/R, 6'4, 190, 21 years old
COMMENT: College senior... NAIA 2nd team All-American was the Southern States Athletic Conference "Player of the Year"... Hit .461 with 7 HR and 43 RBI for the "other" Auburn in 2009...


ROUND 16 (500): Keenyn Walker, OF (Judge Memorial Catholic HS - Salt Lake City, UT)
B/R, 6'2, 185, 18 years old
COMMENT: Hit .517 in his senior year at JMCHS... Also played safety on Bulldog football team... Has signed NLI to play baseball at Central Arizona JC...


ROUND 17 (530): B. J. Dail, RHP (Mt. Olive College)
R/R, 6'2, 205, 21 years old
COMMENT: College junior was 1st Team All-Peach Belt Conference... Was ace of Mt Olive staff, going 7-0 with a 2.97 ERA in 63.2 IP, 18/64 BB/K and 43 hits (.188 OBA)... Transferred to Mt. Olive after spending two years at U. of North Carolina...


ROUND 18 (560): Matt Williams, C (Duke)
R/R, 5'11, 220, 22 years old
COMMENT: A typical veteran college senior backstop with strong receiving skills and a questionable bat, hit 345/421/475 with 5 HR & 47 RBI, 12 2B, 1 3B, 24/20 BB/K in 261 PA, and threw out 48% opposing base-stealers for Blue Devils in 2009...


ROUND 19 (590): Sergio Burruel, C (Trevor Browne HS - Phoenix AZ)
L/R, 5'11, 17 years old
COMMENT: Lefty slugger hit 15 HR with 55 RBI for TBHS in 2009... Member of Class 5-A All-State team... Like Cubs 16th round pick Keenyn Walker, Burruel has signed NLI with Central Arizona JC...


ROUND 20 (620): Eric Erickson, LHP (U. of Miami)
R/L, 6'0, 174, 21 years old
COMMENT: Freshman All-American... Had Tommy John surgery post-2008 and missed his junior season (2009) at "The U".. Was a combined 19-5 3.27 ERA with 34/131 BB/K in 168 IP and 26 GS pre-TJS (2007-08)... Cubs took a similar gamble on another pitcher rehabbing from TJS a year ago, drafting RHP Jon Nagel in the 17th round of the 2008 draft and then having him continue his rehab at Fitch Park... 


ROUND 21 (650) Greg Rohan, 1B (Kent State)
R/R, 6'0, 205, 23 years old
COMMENT: 5th year senior... Oldest player selected by the Cubs through the first two days of the draft... Hit 349/436/609 with 15 HR and 63 RBI, and 29/32 BB/K in 282 PA for the Golden Flashes in 2009... Was 2008 MAC Player of the Year and was also an All-American in 2008... Was college teammate of Cubs 2008 3rd round pick RHP Chris Carpenter...


ROUND 22 (680) D. J. Fitzgerald, SS (Dyersburg State CC)
R/R, 5'11, 195, 20 years old
COMMENT: Speedy middle-infielder, has played both 2B and SS for DSCC... Hit .304 in 2009...  Was a two-time PUMA All-American at Ocean Lakes HS in Virginia Beach, VA... Was a Georgia Southern recruit out of high school, before ending up at a JC... 


ROUND 23 (710) Jeffrey Pruitt, CF/RHP (Cal Sate - Northridge)
R/R, 6'5, 220, 21 years old
COMMENT: College junior has plus-arm & plus-speed, is a solid defender in CF, and has the look of a power hitter, but he can't seem to do anything with the bat, hitting just 212/332/268 with two doubles and four triples, no HR, and 26/53 BB/K in 215 PA, and 24 SB (only four CS)... This guy is what hitting instructors call a "project"...  


ROUND 24 (740) Gerardo Esquivel, RHP (De La Salle Institute - Chicago, IL)
R/R, 6'1, 170, 18 years old
COMMENT: Has signed NLI with Kansas State, so Cubs will have to pay over-slot to sign him...


ROUND 25 (770) Justin Bour, 1B (George Mason)
L/R, 6'4, 250, 21 years old
COMMENT: College junior... First team All-Colonial Athletic Association... At 6'4 250, Justin Bour is this year's Rebel Ridling... Bour hit 339/420/633 with 17 HR & 66 RBI and 14 doubles, with 24/33 BB/K in 257 PA (not a high "K" total for a power hitter) for GMU in 2009... Just turned 21 last month...


ROUND 26 (800) Steve Grife, RHP (Mercyhurst College) 
R/R, 6'0, 177, 22 years old
COMMENT: College senior.. Went 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA for Lakers in 2009, with 33/73 BB/K and 62 hits allowed (.244 OBA) in 66.2 IP...


ROUND 27 (830) Corey Martin, RHP (Western Carolina)
R/R, 6'3, 195, 22 years old
COMMENT: College senior had a disappointing 2009 season at WCU, going 7-4 with a 5.56 ERA for the Catamounts, with 29/56 BB/K and 76 hits allowed (.283 OBA) in 68 IP...


ROUND 28 (860) Jordan Petraitis, INF (Miami of Ohio)
R/R, 6'3, 225, 22 years old
COMMENT: Hit 343/434/478 with 0 HR & 13 RBI, seven doubles, one triple, and 9/11 BB/K in 83 PA for Golden Flashes in 2009... College senior will turn 23 in August... Was selected by the Cubs in 41st round of the 2008 draft but did not sign, so the fact that the Cubs drafted him again at a higher slot than last year must mean they are almost positive he wants to sign this time around (a player must give his permission before he can be drafted again by the same club)... Probably projects as a utility infielder, presuming he ever gets out of "A" ball... ...


ROUND 29 (890) Tim Clubb, RHP (Missouri State)
R/R, 6'2, 195, 22 years old
COMMENT: College senior... Was the Missouri Valley Conference "Pitcher of the Year" in 2008 when he went 11-0 with a 2.52 ERA, but he dipped to 4-5 with a 5.11 ERA in 2009, allowing 98 hits in 88 IP (.284 OBA), with 36/74 BB/K.... Cubs will have to hope that the 2008 Clubb was the real deal, and that the 2009 Clubb was just an anomaly... Was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 but did not sign... Younger brother Ryan is pitching for the University of Missouri...


ROUND 30 (920) Daniel Sheppard, C (Downers Grove North HS - Downers Grove, IL)
R/R, 6'0, 180, 18 years old
COMMENT: Star football player (MLB/QB) and baseball player at DGNHS, Sheppard is headed to the University of Iowa and it is unlikely that the Cubs can sign him, mainly because what Sheppard would probably want to give up his free ride to Iowa is more than what he is worth as a baseball prospect right now... Look for the Cubs to watch Sheppard's progress at Iowa and maybe revisit this in 2012, next time Sheppard becomes eligible for the Rule 4 Draft...


The draft resumes tomorrow, with the final 20 rounds (31-50).

ROUND 1 (31): Brett Jackson, OF (Cal)
L/R, 6'2, 210, 20 years old
COMMENT: College junior was named 1st team All-PAC-10 in 2009... Also was a pre-season All-American... Above-average defender with enough arm to play CF or LF, but not RF.... Above-average speed... Aggressive baserunner... Outstanding bat speed, but he strikes out a lot... Hit 321/407/564, with 8 HR & 41 RBI, 17 2B, 6 3B, 29/61 BB/K in 253 PA, and 11 SB (5 CS) for the Golden Bears in 2009... A similar type player as Cubs OF prospects Cliff Andersen and Drew Rundle...


ROUND 2 (79): D. J. LeMahieu, INF (LSU)
R/R, 6'4, 190, 20 years old
COMMENT: Draft-eligible sophomore... Played SS as Freshman at LSU, then was shifted to 2B as Soph... Has power potential, but so far has been intent on hitting ball to opposite field... Will probably have to learn to pull the ball if he wants to progress... Has average speed... Below-average arm for SS, and struggles with footwork at 2B... Might have to be moved to a corner IF-OF spot at some point... Hit 340/408/462 for Tigers in 2009, with 4 HR & 39 RBI, 12 2B, 3 3B, 27/38 BB/K in 286 PA, with 10 SB (3 CS), and nine errors... Played HS ball in Michigan... Follows in the footsteps of LSU Cubbies Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot...


ROUND 3 (109): Austin Kirk, LHP (Owasso HS - Owasso, OK)
L/L, 6'1, 205, 19 years old
COMMENT: Went 9-1 with a 0.45 ERA and 21/111 BB/K in 62 IP for the Rams in 2009... Showed an overpowering fastball that was clocked at 95 MPH in state semi-finals, as well as a sharp breaking ball and solid change-up... Has signed NLI with University of Oklahoma... Played OF & 1B when he wasn't pitching, and hit .400+ with 5 HR in 2009...

The draft will resume tomorrow, starting with Round #4.   

The MLB Rule 4 Draft (AKA “First-Year Player Draft”) starts at 6 PM ET tomorrow (Tuesday) and will continue Wednesday and Thursday. The first three rounds (plus supplemental rounds) will be televised “live” on the MLB network Tuesday night (round #1 on the MLB cable channel and the other two rounds and supplemental picks on TV), with the balance of the draft to be conducted via conference call (rounds 4-30 on Wednesday, and rounds 31-50 on Thursday). 

The Cubs will have the 31st pick in the 1st round, followed by the 79th overall pick (2nd round), pick #109 overall (3rd round), and #140 overall (4th round), and then every 30 picks (#170, #200, #230, #280, etc) after that until the 50 rounds are completed. More than 1,500 players will be selected by the 30 MLB clubs before the drafting is finished.

Luis Rivas singled, doubled, and homered, scored twice, and drove-in four runs, and Ryan Freel reached base four times and scored three runs, leading the EXST Cubs to a 7-4 victory over the EXST A's at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.  

Aaron Miles got four at bats and reached base twice, and four Cubs pitchers combined to throw a four-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts, as the EXST Cubs blanked the EXST A's 5-0 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 under mostly-cloudy skies. 

The EXST Cubs and EXST Giants split a simultaneous doubleheader played at Fitch Park this morning, one game on Field #1 and one game on Field #3. Both games went seven innings.  

The EXST A's defeated the EXST Cubs 6-1 in Extended Spring Training action at Field #2 at the Papago Baseball Complex in Phoenix this morning.


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