What's Up Down Under?
Halfway through the MLB Australian Baseball Academy Program (MLBAAP) season at Palm Meadows (Gold Coast), here's how the five Cubs players playing "down under" are doing:
19-year old RHP Ryan Searle leads the MLBAAP in wins, strikeouts, and IP, and 17-year old OF Sean Williams (bats & throws left) leads the league in hitting, and is tied for the league lead in doubles, tied for 3rd in hits, tied for 4th in runs scored, and tied for 5th in SB.
Former star cricket player (bowler) LHP Cody Hams (who was at Cubs Minor League Camp and EXST at Fitch Park for two months) has struggled with his control, although he does have 19 K in 14.2 IP. (The 6'5" Hams' pitching style closely resembles Rich Hill's, so I guess it's probably no longer a compliment to tell Cody that he is Rich Hill Redux).
RHP Ryan Searle: 3-2, 2.35 ERA, 30.2 IP, 24 H, 15 R (8 ER), 7 BB, 38 K, 0 HR, .197 OBA, 1.01 WHIP, in 6 games (6 GS)
RHP Adam Spencer: 2-0, 4.37 ERA, 22.2 IP, 19 H, 14 R (11 ER), 11 BB, 23 K, 1 HR, .224 OBA, 1.33 WHIP, in 5 games (5 GS)
LHP Cody Hams: 0-0, 4.91 ERA, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 13 R (8 ER), 15 BB, 19 K, 0 HR, .236 OBA, 1.91 WHIP, in 5 games (5 GS)
CF Sean Williams: 354/411/477, 6 2B, 6/13 BB/K in 73 PA, 7 SB (2 CS)
SS Hak-ju Lee: 286/444/500 (was at the MLBAAP on the "Two-Week Phase" program, played in only five league games before returning to South Korea).
The MLBAAP season ends on July 26th.
Based on the way he has pitched so far, it's possible that Ryan Searle (who has a full-year visa) could return to Fitch Park for the last month of the AZL season, and/or for the AZ Instructional League in September/October. While Cody Hams resembles a young Rich Hill, Searle would be most camparable to Sean Gallagher.
The other four are supposed to report to Cubs Minor League Camp at Fitch Park next March, although Lee (who received a bonus somewhere in the neighborhood of $1M) might get an invite to Instructs if it doesn't conflict with his school schedule.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.