The Hill at Fitch Park

Starting for the AZL Cubs versus he AZL Angels at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning, Rich Hill worked five shutout innings (68 pitches, 47 strikes, 8/0 GO/FO), allowing three hits (all three singles) and a walk, with five strikeouts. He really had his roundhouse curve and efficient two-seamer working today, as he went to a three ball count on only two of the 17 Angels hitters he faced.

Hill was supposed to start yesterday's game versus the AZL Rangers, but the game was canceled due to wet grounds (a severe monsoon storm hit the Phoenix area Thursday night and Fitch Park was still flooded Friday morning).

If he doesn't get promoted to Iowa this coming week, his next AZL start should be Thursday at Fitch Park versus the AZL Padres. If he does stay in Arizona for one more start, it's possible that Hill will rejoin the Iowa Cubs when the I-Cubs play at Tucson the week of July 21st (the same week the Cubs play the Diamondbacks in Phoenix).  

Coupled with his previous outing last Sunday when he worked four innings of one hit ball with six K, Hill has now gone 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB and 11 K over his last two outings since modifying his delivery under the auspices of Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins and AZL Cubs Pitching Coach Rick Tronerud.       

Hill almost certainly could have gone longer today, but there is a limit of five innings or 75 pitches (whichever comes first) for AZL pitchers, including rehabbers.

Hill left with a 3-0 lead after five innings, and the AZL Cubs managed to just barely hang-on for a 6-5 victory.

2008 20th round draft pick LF Jericho Jones (Louisiana Tech) had three more hits (he's now hitting 452/500/690) before leaving the game with cramps. (Jones is a slow runner, but he sure can hit). Matt Cerda (4th round pick out of Oceanside HS) reached base three times on two singles and a walk and scored three runs, and Nelson Perez hit a monster solo HR over the right-centerfield fence.

Cerda, who hasn't been a full-time catcher since his Little League days, has made great strides behind the plate since arriving at Fitch Park last month, working daily with player-coach (mentor) Danny Fatheree, who was Kerry Wood's catcher in HS. 

At the plate, Cerda is an advanced hitter with an eagle eye at the plate, especially for a kid one month removed from high school. He reminds me of a young left-handed hitting version of Craig Biggio.  

Ryan Acosta, Toby Matchulat, Carlos Rojas, and Luke Sommer followed Rich Hill to the mound, but only Sommer (who was an outfielder as recently as two months ago) was effective, earning the save with 1-1/3 innings of shutout relief. Acosta allowed three runs in the 6th and left the game with one out in the top of the 7th with an injury (exact nature unknown). 

In AZL roster news, the Cubs have signed their fourth Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) and first NDFA position player of 2008, IF-OF-C Pat Mahoney (University of Connecticut).

A 22-year old right-handed hitter from Des Moines, Mahoney is the younger brother of ex-Cubs and ex-Iowa catcher Mike Mahoney. The younger Mahoney was originally an infielder, but was converted to catcher in his senior year at UConn, and I would expect him to serve as a "super-sub" utility player for the AZL Cubs. He supposedly can play just about anywhere.

Comments

Phil,
Is Rafael Dolis close to throwing in some games?

I still think that Hill returns to the Cubs before this season is over, and starting for the Cubs down the stretch.

Z
Harden
Dempster
Lilly
Hill

That is pretty damn good.

Who does Sean Marshall have to kill to get a spot in the rotation?

Don't get me wrong. I like Marshall.

And I would be content with him in the rotation.

But I am also content with Marquis in that role right not.

BUT... if Hill can come back and pitch like he did last year, he is and will be a better option than either Marquis or Marshall.

Great news about Hill.

That would be quite the comeback if Hill comes back to start for the Cubs..the question is will he be any better than Marquis? I'm intersted to see how he does in alot higher levels than Arizona Rookie League.

As long as he has his control back, we already know that Hill is good enough to get major league hitters out, and is much much better than Marquis.

Sure the 'old Hill' could get major league hitters out and was better than Marquis. From what I understand he was totally changed his delivery? Thats not a minor change that you can just put him right back in there. Maybe he can come back like nothing ever happened, but I don't see that scenario as likely.

Well... even the bad Hill was moderately effective, and was still difficult to hit. He just struggled to throw strikes.

If he can now continue to throw strikes, he should be back in the bigs sooner than later, and he should be effective.

That is one hell of a rotation, provided Lilly gets back on track as well.

AZ Phil, I read in the Des Moines Register that the plan for Mahoney was to have him head to Boise soon.

Any word on the arrival of Cashner or Shafer? Thanks for the report, it's great to see something optimistic to follow up on the box score.

AZ Phil: What's the latest on Angel Guzman? Is he close to a rehab assignment yet? Thanks.

Submitted by Hagsag on Sat, 07/12/2008 - 3:36pm.

Phil, Is Rafael Dolis close to throwing in some games?

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

HAGSAG: Dolis was supposed to pitch in an AZL game a couple of weeks ago but he got shut down again. He is at Fitch Park rehabbing from 2007 TJS, but his problems this year are all shoulder-related. I don't know when or if he will be getting into any AZL game action.

Submitted by Timmer on Sat, 07/12/2008 - 3:48pm.

AZ Phil: What's the latest on Angel Guzman? Is he close to a rehab assignment yet? Thanks.

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

TIMMER: Angel Guzman probably could have gone out on a minor league rehab six weeks ago, but the Cubs are apparently waiting until at least July 14th.

If they start the rehab no earlier than July 14th, and if he spends the maximum 30 days on the rehab assignment, and then he spends no more than 19 days on optional assignment to the minors, and then gets recalled on September 1st, his 4th minor league option will be preserved for 2009.

If he were to begin his minor league rehab earlier than July 14th, it would mean the Cubs would have to add him to their 25-man roster prior to September 1st, or else Guzman will be out of minor league options in 2009.

And I suspect the Cubs want to keep that last minor league option in their pocket for next season, in case Gooz isn't ready coming out of Spring Training or in case the Cubs get caught in a roster numbers crunch. 

Submitted by Raisin101 on Sat, 07/12/2008 - 3:45pm.

AZ Phil, I read in the Des Moines Register that the plan for Mahoney was to have him head to Boise soon. Any word on the arrival of Cashner or Shafer? Thanks for the report, it's great to see something optimistic to follow up on the box score.

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

RAISIN: I believe Aaron Shafer is at Fitch Park, but I haven't seen him throw "live" BP yet. He's probably still throwing bullpen side sessions, but he should be fairly close to being ready for game action soon.

Chris Carpenter (ankle) is finally healthy and he got into an AZL game this past week.

Andrew Cashner was supposed to arrive this weekend, but I haven't seen him.

Tarlandus Mitchell (sprained ankle) is close to being ready for AZL game action, and Kitt Kopach (2007 shoulder surgery) is throwing side sessions and will supposedly be cleared for full activity (including AZL game action) in August.

May he rest in peace.

AZ Phil: Have you seen Hill do that sidearm thing he had so much success with last season?

As always, thanks AZ Phil!

Have you heard of the Cubs signing anyone in Latin America with the July 2nd date passing? Seems like most of the news surrounded the A's, Padres and Yankees (and the bonus skimming by the Nationals and the White Sox).

crunch's buddy homered in the first. 3-0 Reds Bottom 1.

adam who?

adam dunn just took gagne deep...huge shot.

slo-mo replays show him chewing gum with his head slightly bobbing with the chewing motion.

solid no-doubt contact...what a weird hitter.

Is he there?If he is ,how does he stack up?

Great news about Hill.

Can he pitch the 8th?

Going to be really interesting to see how Lou handles the late innings tomorrow. No Wood. Marmol threw 36. He couldn't go even if Lou trusted him. So you've got probably Howry at the end, Gaudin, Cotts, Hart, and the long guys - Marshall and Lieber. Not a lot of dependability there.

Z and Lilly are also rested enough to use in the pen. Lets hope Demp can get us 7 so we can go straight to Gaudin and Howry.

Yeah, Z could throw an inning. Lilly could, but I doubt Lou & Larry would want to since he threw on the side/warmed up in the bullpen/both today.

ha!

walkoff 2 run homer for pitt...down by 1 in the bottom 10th. pitt wins. mil/stl lose.

there was another walkoff tonight with KC beating SEA...it was KC's first walkoff HR win since April 05 according to their announcer.

they were up 6 in the 8th...brutal bullpen work in the NL central today.

Way to go Bucs!! Nice scrappy performance tonight. You listen to the Pit announcers on Glaus' homerun and they sound just as convinced as the rest of us that the game was over.

Don't look now but the Cubs have the best record in baseball again. If we add a Hill that can once again throw strikes back onto this roster we're in pretty damn good shape heading into the 2nd half. Once Soriano's back I have a hard time figuring out what we need to trade for before the deadline. Maybe another lefty out of the pen? I don't ever remember feeling this stacked at this point in the season (no whammies!).

Hill could be that another lefty in the pen if he continues to produce. We are set right now in the rotation with Z-Harden-Demp-Lilly-Marquis-Marshall with Gaudin and Lieber strecthed out enough to be emergency starters. Marmol's struggles today are another sign we need to add a pen arm or two to be safe. We need another set-up guy and a LOOGY if the SU guy is a RHP, Hill could settle both roles if he is right and unlike Fuentes we dont have to give up two good young players to get him.

Arizona Phil......are they waiting for Jericho Jones to hit .500 before they move him up? The batting averages of the outfielders in Boise & Peoria aren't exactly tearing it up.Peoria only has 3 outfielders (with Johnston injured)

Just have to say it... best record in the major leagues ...again.

Submitted by Jumbo on Fri, 07/04/2008 - 7:36pm.

With Marmol coming down to earth and the so-so performances of Weurtz and Cotts & the "injury" to Eyre - the bullpen's smelling kinda shitty. So if Hill came back into form it would allow either Gallagher or Marshall to go to the pen. Gallagher would certainly be an upgrade over Ascanio, though he's done very well as a 22 year old MLB #5.

I'm sure Lou won't want to wait for Hill to prove himself before getting an extra pitcher, so if CC is a Brewer and Burnett or Harden becomes a Cub, the potential pitching staff is something like this: (If Hill comes back and pitches like last year, you can move Marquis to the pen. His family will starve, but Lou won't care.)

Z
Demp
Lilly
Burnett/Harden
Marquis/Hill

Wood
Marmol
Howry
Eyre/Cotts
Gallagher
Marshall/Weurtz/Marquis
Lieber

Down to minors: 2 of Weurtz/Cotts/Marshall (or all 3 if Hill is back)

Keep it up Rich. That would be a helluva rotation for the second half

--------------
Posted this on the last Hill Update. Harden came true and Marquis and Hill look to be legitimately fighting for the #5 spot. Marquis was terrific his last couple starts and Hill is capable of pitching like a #2 when he gets it together.

Obviously, if Marquis can continue as with his recent outings Hill will have to be out of this world to take it from him.

Marquis.
2nd half.
Hello Hill!

"So if Hill came back into form it would allow either Gallagher or Marshall to go to the pen. Gallagher would certainly be an upgrade over Ascanio, though he's done very well as a 22 year old MLB #5."

Gallagher is not on the team anymore.

BTW, Cubs got Kenny Lofton and Aramis Ramirez from the Pirates.

"Gallagher is not on the team anymore."

Jumbo was quoting from a post he initially put up on 7/4.

OH! Sorry JUMBO. My bad.

Didn't catch it.

GO CUBS!

I said it before, and I will say it again...
Send marmol to the 15 DL, let him rest up, energize and lets see what happens.

I mean the old marmol over 15 games, accounts for what? 1 win?
The new marmol would account for 3 losses. No risk as I see it.

AZ PHIL: Friend. Fellow Cubs sufferer. DeFacto scout extraordinaire - since the Cubs have now traded their #1 pitching prospect for a pitcher who is either brilliant, or hurt and can't pitch, can you please tell us who is the next in line?

In your opinion, who in the minors, has the best shot of being a 1-4 slotted pitcher in the majors within the next year or two?

I had thought it was Pawelek, but it does not seem like it will happen that soon. Veal? Still has control issues. JEff Russell? The Notre Dame wide-out? Not enough pitches developed yet. Kevin Hart? From what I've seen in-person, he has no confidence against major-league hitters.

Gallagher at only 22 years old, had some terrific stuff, and a bright future in the majors.

Please tell us what's down the pike.

This doesn't help Cub fans reputation as a bunch of drunks-

http://deadspin.com/5024562/cubs-fans-drink-early-...

Marmol replaces Wood on All-Star roster

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_relea...

Because that's exactly what he needs.

Feh.

Can't say that's who I'd pick. Odd choice.

from the press release...

Wood will not play in the 2008 All-Star Game but will attend the
festivities. Marmol (2-3, 4.13 ERA, 3 Sv, 52.1 IP, 29 H, 70 SO) was
selected
because he was the relief pitcher who received the next
highest vote total on the Player Ballot.

Yeah, I saw that a little later. Hadn't seen or heard the reasoning when that post was made.

Recent comments

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  • he subscribes to my twitter, he's beyond TCR. #yolo #swag

    crunch 27 min 53 sec ago view
  • Whoops. Maddon must have been reading TCR (for his daily crunch) and got confused.

    CTSteve 30 min 20 sec ago view
  • kuhl is a righty, not a lefty.

    i think maddon might think kuhl is a lefty, too. i wonder what the reasoning is for baez leading off vs a rightie.

    crunch 1 hour 11 min ago view
  • "trout's one of the best, and at this point should probably win over donaldson (and should have more MVPs in the past, too), but the defensive aspect of valuing WAR still needs more tweaking...imo."

    that's from my 1st post. there's no suck involved in that. maybe with a few less posts about bullshit that point would have jumped out more.

    crunch 1 hour 58 min ago view
  • crunch - you do know that, taking defense out of the equation, Trout has led the AL in wRC+ each of those years, right?

    And, if you want to complain about position adjustment (which would be serious #crunchsplaining), he's been in the top 3 in the AL in WC (not park/league/position adjusted). And the only players ahead of him (if there were any players ahead of him) in any of those years have been DHs or 1B that play lousy defense.

    But sure - Trout sucks (or at least isn't as good as WAR says). Because it factors in defense and position.

    big_lowitzki 3 hours 3 min ago view
  • early tim tebow stuff rolling in...

    ran a 6.7 60yd (above average)...shagging flies in RF and showed off a rather impressive arm a few times, but average-at best on most of his throws...hit a few over the fence (both fields), fouled or weak contact a few...he's got a touch of power

    it'll be interesting to see who bites on this project, if anyone. he probably projected himself out of RF and into LF/1st because of his arm, but unless he can make that power work on a steady basis it'll be hard for him to play himself up anyone's system.

    crunch 3 hours 48 min ago view
  • LHP Clayton Richard (released by the Cubs earlier this month) is pitching very well as a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres and could be a good candidate to get traded to a contender looking for a veteran SP before tomorrow night's post-season roster eligibility deadline.

    Because they released him, the Cubs are paying most of Richard's 2016 salary (the Cubs are on the hooks for $2M, minus the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary that is paid by the Padres).

    Arizona Phil 5 hours 35 min ago view
  • it is honestly awesome (for real) that anyone would even have a strong opinion on AZL playoffs. i guess if you invest enough time watching it, you want to see a fair/just playoff structure.

    plus, the kids deserve it.

    crunch 5 hours 36 min ago view
  • The AZL team with the best record over the course of the full 2016 AZL season and the only AZL team to play .600 ball (the AZL Dodgers) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, and the AZL East Division team with the best record over the course of the full season (the AZL Athletics) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, either. 

    That's because of the ridiculous "split season" schedule most of the minor leagues now play, a stupid system that rewards mediocrity at the expense of the worthy. 

    Arizona Phil 5 hours 42 min ago view
  • Despite good movement on his fastball, I think location kept him from getting Ks. Left some pitches up and away that got hammered up and away. Then of course Travis Wood gave up the 2-run double in the 7th, but both runs counted against Arrieta.

    Charlie 6 hours 19 min ago view
  • "i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date."

    This level of discourse is #charming.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 6 hours 19 min ago view
  • I would be having this discussion with anyone who (a) blathered on ad nauseum about the topic. (See, "Olt, Mike, not given an opportunity") or (b) responded directly to what I posted (which you did).

    Have a nice day.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 6 hours 22 min ago view
  • what would you do without me? aside from having your posting content here cut by 75%+?

    i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date.

    crunch 6 hours 25 min ago view
  • In this instance, yes, I care more about the result of this big thing that isn't really a big thing.

    #crunchsplaining

    #willlistentojeffsullivanmorethanyou

    #blessyourheart

    #hitler

    #tcrmartyr

    #billyhamiltonwar

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 6 hours 26 min ago view
  • Two things:

    Fangraphs WAR #s include baserunning and Hamilton is elite at that. He leads in SBs with the 54 and and has an 87% rate which is really good. I'm sure once he gets on base he's able to take the extra base quite often too. Both those things will up his overall WAR value.

    The differences between BR and FG WAR is pretty well documented online and thus If there are discrepancies it's fairly easy to figure out why. It's fairly well accepted that BR WAR is fine as a snapshot but FG is better at predicting future value.

    johann 6 hours 30 min ago view
  • i have no doubt at all you quit reading at that point. you're very enamored with outcomes without caring what it takes to get there.

    the fact it's exploitable, especially without someone to cover the running game for him, as well it's evolution in how people are testing possible exploits is interesting to some people...to me...i'm some people...hurrah.

    some people want to check the boxscore to see who won, some want to know how it went down.

    crunch 6 hours 42 min ago view