Peoria Chiefs Invade Arizona

D. J. LeMahieu singled, doubled, and tripled, and scored two runs, Ryan Flaherty reached base four times (double, two singles, and a walk), scored twice, and drove-in a run, Michael Brenly doubled and tripled and scored twice, Dong-Yub Kim singled and tripled, scored one run, and knocked-in another, and Rebel Ridling had four RBI, but it wasn't quite enough offense to provide a victory, as the Cubs and Brewers played to a 9-9 tie in Arizona Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon in sunny and VERY hot Mesa, Arizona. 



The Instructional League features a virtual all-star team from each organization, which for the Cubs means most of their best prospects from Peoria, Boise, and AZL Cubs (Mesa), plus a few older prospects at Instructs to work on specific aspects of their game. Other players are there to learn a new position (3B-1B Jovan Rosa and IF-OF Brandon May are being converted to catchers).


All of the Cubs minor league coordinators and instructors are present at Fitch Park each day (Monday through Saturday), as are many of the minor league managers, pitching coaches, and hitting instructors, so the kids get a lot of intense instruction on a daily basis. The players work out for several hours before each game, and then the players who are not in the lineup that day work with instructors on adjoining fields during the game.  .  


The Cubs got off to an early 5-1 lead today, as starting pitcher Alberto Cabrera threw two-hit one-run ball over three innings  while the Cubs scored a run in the 1st on a double by Flaherty and a two-out RBI single by Ridling, and then four more in the 3rd that featured two-run RBI doubles by Hak-Ju Lee and Ridling.


But the Cubs relief corps couldn't hold the lead, as the Brewers scored seven runs on four hits, three walks, two wild pitches, and a balk in innings 4-5-6-7 off Rafael Dolis, Jose Rosario, and Austin Kirk (although Dolis and Kirk did combine to strike out eight Brewers in just four innings of work). 


But the Cubs offense kept the pressure on the Brewers, scoring single runs in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th to take a 9-8 lead into the 9th, as LeMahieu doubled and scored on an RBI FC in the 5th, Brenly doubled and scored on an RBI FC in the 6th, LeMahieu tripled and scored on an RBI single by Flaherty in the 7th, and Brenly tripled and scored on a one-out infield single by Runey Davis in the 8th (and then Davis promptly got picked-off 1st).


Corey Martin entered the game in the top of the 9th with a save opportunity, but he surrendered three hard hit singles, allowing the Brewers to tie the game. Martin was saved from further damage thanks to a fine running catch by CF Kyung-Min Na that the little Korean turned into a nifty 7-6 DP to end the inning and give the Cubs a chance to win the game in their half of the inning, but the Cubs left LeMahieu stranded on the base in the bottom of the 9th.  


Outfielders Dong-Yub Kim and Kyung-Min Na are the latest Korean teenagers signed by the Cubs to big bucks bonus contracts, and it's pretty obvious why Kim was rated by many scouts as the top high school player in South Korea. He is a big kid, a right-handed hitter with plus-speed and plus-power, the protypical five-tool outfielder.


Na is a litlle guy, maybe 5'6 130. He is a left-handed slap hitter who uses a toothpick for a bat, but he is fast runner (although Hak-Ju Lee is faster), and an outstanding defensive CF with s plus-arm. Na is so small he makes Tony Campana look like the Incredible Hulk. I understand Na was lost for several hours last week until the Fitch Park ground crew could mow the lawn and give the kid a chance to see over the tops of the blades of grass and find his way to the clubhouse.             


While fellow Koreans Su-Min Jung, Hak-Ju Lee, and Jae-Hoon Ha were playing at Boise and Dae-Eun Rhee was rehabbing from TJS at Fitch Park, Kim and Na spent the summer at the MLB Australian Baseball Academy while waiting for their H2B visas to get processed.


The Cubs also signed three Taiwanese players this year (RHPs Tzu-An Wang and Yao-Lin Wang and 2B Pin-Chieh Chen), and they are supposed to participate in the AZ Instructional League, although they hadn't reported as of last week. 


Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):


LINE-UP:
1. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 1-5 (F-7, 2B, 4-3, 6-3, 6-3), R, 2 RBI 
2. D. J. LeMahieu, 2B: 3-5 (6-3, F-9, 2B, 3B, 1B), 2 R
3. Ryan Flaherty, 3B: 3-4 (2B, BB, 1B, 1B, F-8), 2 R, RBI
4, Rebel Ridling, 1B: 2-4 (1B, 2B, FC, F-9), 4 RBI
5. Kyler Burke, RF: 0-4 (FC, F-8, K, K)
6a. Jovan Rosa, C: 0-2 (K, 5-3)
6b. Michael Brenly, C: 2-2 (2B, 3B), 2 R
7. Justin Bour, DH #1: 1-4 (K, F-7, 1B, 4-3)
8. Runey Davis, LF: 1-4 (L-7, K, K, 1B), RBI, PO
9. Dong-Yub Kim, DH #2: 2-4 (1B, 3B, FC, K), R, RBI
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-3 (BB, 6-3, K, 3-U), R


PITCHERS:
1. Alberto Cabrera - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP,1 GIDP, 6/2 GO/FO, 44 pitches (25 strikes)
2. Rafael Dolis - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 1/0 GO/FO, 50 pitches (30 strikes)
3. Jose Rosario - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 17 pitches (8 strikes)
4. Austin Kirk - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 2/0 GO/FO, 37 pitches (24 strikes)
5. Corey Martin - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (11 strikes)


ERRORS: NONE


CATCHERS DEFENSE  No stolen base attempts and no passed balls


OUTFIELD ASSISTS: Kyung-Min Na (2) - 1) threw out runner trying to stretch single into a double, and 2) doubled runner off 2nd base on line drive to CF


WEATHER: 106 hot & sunny


ATTENDANCE: 19 (mostly scouts)

Comments

The fact that the Cubs have a player in their system named Rebel Ridling is pretty much the best news of the season.

Az Phil...so of these group of kids, which hitter will see the majors first?

Thanks. We've been eager for your posts. The last 2 weeks of this season seemed to have lasted months.

it's not even been a month, but it feels like months...thanks for the content all pre-season until now and beyond azPhil.

106 or not, arizona baseball sounds like it's great fun for those that bother to seek it out.

Submitted by Cubster on Mon, 09/28/2009 - 11:25pm.
Az Phil...so of these group of kids, which hitter will see the majors first?

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

CUBSTER: Probably Ryan Flaherty. He was the Supplemental 1st round pick (41st overall) the Cubs got for losing Jason Kendall post-2007. Besides playing SS at Vanderbilt, Flaherty also played 2B for Team USA in his college days. He's a big left-handed hitter with plus-power who is outgrowing shortstop. I suspect he will end up as a corner IF-OF (3B-1B-LF-RF) at the higher levels. He hit 20 HR with 81 RBI at Peoria in 2009, but he REALLY came on strong the second half of the season (308/372/498 post-All-Star Break), and so I wouldn't be surprised if he gets jumped to AA in 2010. His biggest negative is his mediocre splits versus LHP, giving some indication that he might be a platoon player down the line. I rate Flaherty the Cubs #10 prospect right now.

Rebel Ridling (2008 25th round pick out of Oklahoma State) could jump from Peoria to AA next season, too. Like Flaherty, Ridling really got hot the second half of the MWL season (353/397/516 post-ASB). There is no other legitimate 1B prospect ahead of him at Daytona, Tennessee, or Iowa, he's a good hitter with power, and even though he's as big as a horse, he's fairly mobile around the bag and is a Gold Glove caliber first-baseman (which is more than could be said about Brian Dopirak, for instance). Unlike Flaherty, Ridling hits both LHP and RHP equally well. I rate Ridling the Cubs #15 prospect at this time.

Interesting about Ridling's glove. Even the rare first baseman that Wilken drafts is a two-way player.

Hey AZ Phil. Thanks for the post.

When did Jovan Rosa start catching? Is he any good? How has his offense been this year?

Also, what's your impression of LeMahieu so far?

I'm surprised Flaherty got sent down to Fall Instructs. I suppose the more at-bats, the better though. Hopefully Burke can carry over his great year in Peoria. I'd like to see him spend most the year in AA, if he can mash at High A next year.

And thanks, AZPhil, for the updates. I really look forward to these. This Dong-Yub Kim sounds pretty interesting. I can't wait to see your report on the 3 Taiwanese players, especially Tzu-An Wang.

Great Stuff Phil -

Always love hearing about the farm (especially after a year like this). I'm very interested in your view of the top 10 or 15 prospects if you care to share. I am hoping that some of the top guys can come along quicker than it seems to contribute to the big club.

Any hope for a front line starter or top closer from Cashner or Jackson? Any chance we can actually count on a young stud to build around in the future (Castro, Vitters). Please give us some hope.

This post has made my post-minor league baseball withdrawal even worse. It was a lot of fun watching Peoria this year. Maybe there's a cheap Allegiant flight I could take down to Phoenix to get a fix... :)

Phil,
I have a few questions about Arizona (interested in moving out there someday, went there in '07 for Spring Training and loved it):

Can anyone get in to the Cubs workouts (like Soto, BJ Ryan, ect.) in Mesa? Is it free? Are the Mesa Cubs games free to get into? How about Mesa Solar Sox AFL?
Thanks!

Oh my gosh, I can't believe Kyung-Min Na is that small. He got the biggest bonus of any Cub Pac Rim player this year according to Korean newspapers.

Theriot, Fukudome, Lee, Hoffpauir, Baker, Fontenot, Soto, Fuld, Dempster

vs.

McCutchen, LaRoche, Jones, Doumit, Milledge, Moss, Young, Cruz, K. Hart

http://twitter.com/CarrieMuskat

Ramirez might be too...

Submitted by Charlie on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 5:06am.

When did Jovan Rosa start catching? Is he any good? How has his offense been this year?

Also, what's your impression of LeMahieu so far?

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

CHARLIE: Jovan Rosa just started catching a week ago, so he has a lot to learn. Unless the experinent is terminated early, he'll probably have to spend next April-May-June at Extended Spring Ttraining at Fitch Park, before getting assigned to Daytona. Whether catcher becomes just one other position he can play (in addition to 1B and 3B) or becomes his primary position is yet TBD. Rosa is kind of "bottom-heavy," which is probably why the Cubs thought he might make a good catcher.

Rosa struggled offensively at Daytona the first half of the 2009 season after leading the Midwest League in doubles in 2008 when he played for Peoria, and he ended up back at Peoria the last half of the '09 season. It would help if he could develop a bit of lift in his swing and/or learn to turn on the ball so that he can hit more HR, because he's basically a line-drive hitter with below-average speed right now.

D. J. LeMahieu is an offensive-first player, a good hitter with an opposite-field line drive stroke, and plus-speed. He's also a hyper-aggressive base-runner who puts pressure on the opposing team while sometimes running himself into outs. LeMahieu has lots of trouble turning the DP, so he may have to move to either 3B or somewhere in the outfield. He doesn't have the HR power needed to play 3B or a corner OF slot right now, but he does have the athleticism, speed, and arm to to play CF. So if he can't get the hang of turning the DP and if he doesn't develop HR power, I would say CF would probably be his best position.

Submitted by Raisin101 on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 3:48pm.

Oh my gosh, I can't believe Kyung-Min Na is that small. He got the biggest bonus of any Cub Pac Rim player this year according to Korean newspapers

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

RAISIN: Na is a fast runner AND a really good defensive CF with a plus arm, so maybe that's the little extra that made him a more-valuable prospect than (let's say) Tony Campana or Jose Valdez. Also, Na is still only 17, so he might have a growth spurt in him (maybe a couple of inches and 25 pounds?), as happened with Hak-Ju Lee last off-season.

Submitted by Cubbiefan07 on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 3:43pm.

Phil,
I have a few questions about Arizona (interested in moving out there someday, went there in '07 for Spring Training and loved it):

Can anyone get in to the Cubs workouts (like Soto, BJ Ryan, ect.) in Mesa? Is it free? Are the Mesa Cubs games free to get into? How about Mesa Solar Sox AFL?

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

CUBBIE FAN: Minor League Spring Training, Extended Spring Training, AZL, and AZ Instructional League games (and work-outs) at Fitch Park and the other minor league facilities are free, but AFL games cost $6 ($5 for seniors). You can buy an AFL season pass for around $75 that gets you into any game at any of the stadiums,, which is a good deal if you attend more than a dozen AFL games in any given season.

Thanks AZ Phil!

Submitted by Cubs Win on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 9:43am.
Great Stuff Phil -

Always love hearing about the farm (especially after a year like this). I'm very interested in your view of the top 10 or 15 prospects if you care to share. I am hoping that some of the top guys can come along quicker than it seems to contribute to the big club.

Any hope for a front line starter or top closer from Cashner or Jackson? Any chance we can actually count on a young stud to build around in the future (Castro, Vitters). Please give us some hope.

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

CUBS WIN: I'll do a Cubs Top 15 after Instructs and the AFL games are over in mid-November. Right now I would say Jay Jackson is the Cubs #1 starting pitcher prospect (possibly as soon as next season), with Cashner a future 8th inning set-up man or closer (also possibly next season). Both Vitters and Castro project as MLB every-day players, but exactly when they will be MLB-ready is still (as yet) unclear. Probably not before 2011, though.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • 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 20 min 4 sec 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 28 min 47 sec 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 56 min 51 sec 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 1 hour 18 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 1 hour 24 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 1 hour 53 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 2 hours 47 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 2 hours 50 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 3 hours 39 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 6 hours 27 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 7 hours 40 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 4 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 9 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 9 min ago view
  • Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.

    Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.

    The E-Man 12 hours 56 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 13 hours 30 min ago view