Rhee Keeps Laying Goose Eggs

Dae-Eun Rhee tossed three shutout innings as the Cubs took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 4th at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, but the Angels came back to win this afternoon's AZ Instructional League contest by a score of 5-1.



Rhee's three shutout innings followed his last start on the very same field last week, when the young Korean threw three perfect innings at the Angels. Rhee, who is in the final stages of rehab from 2008 Tommy John Surgery, once again did not throw any of his killer splitter/change-ups (his strikeout pitch), instead mixing a sinking fastball with a curve, throwing both for strikes and pitching to contact. The Angels hitters did not get good wood on the ball, and Rhee was able to get seven ground outs (he had no strikeouts). Both of the hits he allowed were singles.  


The key for Rhee in his last two starts at Diablo Park has been control, something he lacked in his rehab outings at Mesa and Boise over the last few weeks of the 2009 minor league regular season. I would presume that Rhee will add the splitter back to his repertoire next season, giving him the array of stuff needed to once again be a Top Ten Prospect. Kudos should go to Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins and pitching coaches Rick Tronerud and Jeff Fassero for getting Rhee to the point where he can once again throw strikes consistently and be successful on the mound.


Hard-throwing RHP Trey McNutt (2009 32nd round pick out of Shelton State CC) followed Rhee to the mound and gave up an opposite field game-tying home run to the first batter he faced in the 4th, and then RHP Nick Struck (2009 39th round pick out of Mt Hood CC) was the victim of an Angel rally in the 7th, as the Halos turned a walk, two singles, and a stolen base into two runs, giving the boys from the O. C. a 3-1 lead.


The Angels led 3-1 after the Cubs went down in the 9th, but the game was extended an extra half-inning to allow 18-year old Taiwanese RHP Yao-Lin Wang to get his pre-scheduled inning of work. Wang was not very impressive, showing just pedestrian stuff while allowing two runs on two hits and a walk.


The Cubs signed not one but two Wangs out of Chinese Taipei this year (Yao-Lin and Tzu-An), and both were invited to Instructs, where they join fellow countryman 2B Pin-Chieh Chen making their U. S. debut. 


Yao-Lin is a stocky kid, with the same body-type as Sean Gallagher and Ryan Searle, while Tzu-An is a lanky 6'6 with a body more like Chris Huseby or Toby Matchulat. Tzu-An is (supposedly) the better prospect of the two, and I would expect him to get a shot at throwing an inning or two sometime later this week.


The Cubs offense was mostly dead today. They scored their only run in the top of the 1st, as D. J. LeMahieu lined a single to CF with one out, and, after LeMahieu advanced to second on a PB and to third on a WP, Brandon Guyer got the only RBI of the day with a run-scoring ground out.


The Cubs did get the potential tying run to 2nd in the top of the 9th with no outs (Blair Springfield and Hak-Ju Lee ripped singles, and then both runners advanced a base on a PB), but LeMahieu and Guyer fanned, and Kyler Burke popped out to the shortstop in shallow LF to end the threat, as the Cubs came up empty. 


2008 4th round pick Matt Cerda returned to the lineup after a three-month absence due to a broken hand suffered at Boise, and  played 3B. He made one nice play on a slow chopper, but on a couple of others he was slow to react to hard-hit balls that skipped past him for base-hits. Cerda may not have the split-second reaction time and one-step quickness needed to play the hot corner.  


Josh Vitters and Welington Castillo are working out at Fitch Park in preparation for the Arizona Fall League, and they might get an AB or two in an Instructs game to help them get ready for the start of the AFL season next week. 


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


LINEUP:
1. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 1-4 (4-3, L-8, K, 1B)
2. D. J. LeMahieu, DH #1: 2-4 (1B, 1B, 1-4-3, K), R
3. Brandon Guyer, CF: 0-4 (6-3, K, F-9, K), RBI
4. Kyler Burke, RF: 1-4 (F-7, 1B, K, P-6), PO 
5. Richard Jones, DH #2: 0-3 (3-1, K, 4-3)
6a. Jae-Hoon Ha, C: 0-2 (4-3, 5-3)
6b. Brandon May, C: 0-1 (5-3) 
7. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-2 (K, L-5, BB)
8. Matt Cerda, 3B: 1-3 (F-7, 3-1, 1B)
9. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 1-3 (1B, 4-3, 4-3)
10. Blair Springfield, LF: 2-3 (6-4-3 DP, 2B, 1B)


PITCHERS:
1. Dae-Eun Rhee - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 7/2 GO/FO, 31 pitches (21 strikes)
2. Trey McNutt - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1/3 GO/FO, 34 pitches (23 strikes)
3. Julio Pena - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 13 pitches (9 strikes)
4. Nick Struck - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 2/1 GO/FO, 33 pitches (19 strikes)
5. Yao-Lin Wang - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 16 pitches (10 strikes)  


ERRORS (2):
1. Jae-Hoon Ha - E-2 (overthrow at 2nd base on stolen base attempt, allowing runner to advance to 3rd) 
2. Hak-Ju Lee - E6 (bobble allowing batter to reach base).  


CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Jae-Hoon Ha - 0-2 CS, E (see above)
Brandon May - 1-2 CS


WEATHER: 80's, sunny, breezy


ATTENDANCE: 14 (mostly scouts)  

Comments

I hope the web site keeps stats on how many viewers each page has, as opposed to the site in general. What I'm trying to say is that it would be a shame if one would just looked at the amount of comments on each article as an indication of that article's readership. I, for one, rarely add a comment to AZ Phil's articles simply because I usually have nothing to add to his fine observations but I always look forward to his reports and consider his contributions as immediate "must read" material. In my opinion, AZ Phil adds a dimension (and a source of information) to TCR that none of the other Cubs sites I've seen can match.

Just my $.02.

I agree but would amend that Dr. Hecht provides the same insightfulness in plain English.

Agreed 100%. I only recently signed up to make posts on here, but I have been reading the site for quite a while now. AZPhil's updates were the main reason I started visiting the site, and I sincerely hope he keeps up the great work!

I agree, but he doesn't have Rob's awesome body.

Thanks, AZ, for yet another fantabulous update.

Maybe you've answered this before but I'll ask anyway. Often, a decent prospect is shifted to another position because of a weakness in the field. Jake Fox comes to mind of course, but I've seen you mention several others. I'm getting the impression, though, that Hak-Ju Lee is a genuine shortstop prospect. Is that on the spot? How far away is he from a spring training visit with the parent team?

I agree, but I could be wrong.

We don't keep any stats, we prefer to go by our guts and intuition when deciding how to payout our meager revenues. My guts tell them Arizona Phil is first ballot HOF'er.

Almost all are articles get roughly the same hits, most of it depends on how long we keep one up before the next one since we have so many return visitors and comments. Occasionally we get a link from a major website that boosts an article. If you go up to the navbar and Arizona Phil's latest articles, that gets a lot of hits...

AZ Phil is a rock star.

Submitted by Old and Blue on Wed,
10/07/2009 - 6:37am.

Maybe you've answered this before but I'll ask anyway. Often, a decent prospect is shifted to another position because of a weakness in the field. Jake Fox comes to mind of course, but I've seen you mention several others. I'm getting the impression, though, that Hak-Ju Lee is a genuine shortstop prospect. Is that on the spot? How far away is he from a spring training visit with the parent team?

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

OLD & BLUE: Depending upon what other players get through the system to the big leagues (Castro, LeMahieu, B. Jackson, et al), Hak-Ju Lee could stay at SS, or he could end up at 2B, or he could play CF. He is the fastest player in the organization, and a really good hitter who should develop some power as he matures (he's only 18).

As for when he gets an NRI to Spring Training, that depends on who the manager is in a couple of years and how Lee does at Peoria and Daytona, but if all keeps going according to plan, probably ST with the big club in 2011 or 2012, with Castro probably getting an NRI next year.

wow ... Hak-ju Lee is faster than Tony Campana? I knew he was fast, but dang.

Personally, if Castro pans out defensively, I'm thinking that, because he's ahead, he'll get short, and thus, I'm looking at Lee as our CF of the future right now, where his range could be awesome.

AZPhil,

I was wondering the same thing! I was fortunate enough to see Campana at Peoria this past summer and the kid was blazing fast. He was a complete disruption to the opposing pitcher when he was on the basepaths. If Lee is anywhere near as speedy as Campana, I can't wait to see his stop in Peoria!

BTW - Thanks for the great updates! Everytime I read one, I want to jump a flight to AZ and take in a game!

AZ Phil

What is the inside scoup on Kyler Burke? Coming off a great year and being named the Minor League Player of the year, do you have any ideas about the Cubs plans for him?

thanks BBPassion

Recent comments

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  • he'd actually have to get through these last 2 innings in 13 or less pitches to pull off an actual Maddux (CG in less than 100 pitches)...and I probably jinxed the whole game with my comment so I'll shut up now.

    Rob G. 1 min 55 sec ago view
  • An efficient one-hitter through seven innings - seems reasonable to me.

    Quite the contrast from last night

    Eric S 4 min 24 sec ago view
  • It's really quite enjoyable watching Lester dissect the strike zone and a lineup like this...dare I say Maddux-like?

    Rob G. 9 min 14 sec ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez and Jeimer Candelario named to Futures Game...

    See past Cubs' participants here. Let me know if you see a mistake or any other info that may prove useful and I can add it.

    http://wiklifield.thecubreporter.com/Cubs_that_Played_in_Futures_Game

    Rob G. 58 min 55 sec ago view
  • Now pitching for the Cincinnati Reds:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwbUCI9bEvA

    QuietMan 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • Sorry if I made it sound like a Schwarber for Sale straight up deal was reasonable, obviously Cubs would need to give up more than that. You don't trade Sale unless you're rebuilding and if you're rebuilding you want more than one piece. Easily 3-4 pieces with Schwarber being the main one...but that type of an ace arm or All-star talent with a few years of control is the type of return the Cubs should look for if they move Schwarber. I don't think they'll move him until he's healthy though. TheJedi are pretty good at maximizing trade value.

    Rob G. 1 hour 18 min ago view
  • I think you're very much overvaluing Schwarber if you think he can fetch Sale by himself. An unproven rookie with demonstrable offensive flaws he hasn't had the chance to show he can overcome and with no defensive upside will never fetch an ace of the quality of Sale in today's market where pitchers are fetching insane prices, especially with Sale's team friendly contract. You'd for sure need to throw in a pitching prospect in return at least.

    johann 2 hours 10 min ago view
  • best relievers in baseball tend to not be the best relievers for very long though...

    also, when you start just trading away guys for marginal benefits, that window will shrink. The window is easily through 2021, just have to look how long Rizzo is signed for and how long they have rights to Bryant, Russell and so on down the line.

    Can't say I'm too worried about the SP, they've done nothing but land guys on the cheap and on the expensive since they've arrived. TheJedi will figure that out.

    Rob G. 2 hours 47 min ago view
  • Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).

    Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.

    Rob Richardson 5 hours 29 min ago view
  • Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.

    In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?

    Rob G. 5 hours 41 min ago view
  • Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.

    billybucks 5 hours 50 min ago view
  • Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.

    Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.

    Rob G. 6 hours 1 min ago view
  • I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.

    Ryno 6 hours 6 min ago view
  • peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.

    unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.

    they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.

    crunch 6 hours 39 min ago view
  • Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester

    Cubster 6 hours 47 min ago view
  • damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice

    crunch 7 hours 7 min ago view