What a Guy!-er

Brandon Guyer ripped a two-run home run over the LF fence in the 5th, made a spectacular run-saving diving catch in right-center in the 7th, and sliced a game-tying single to right with two outs in the top of the 9th, but the A's took advantage of a Ryan Flaherty error in the bottom of the 9th to score an unearned run and edge the Cubs 5-4 in AZ Instructional League action at the Oakland A's Papago Park Sports Complex Field #2 in Phoenix this afternoon. 



The 23-year old Guyer is one of the most experienced players at Instructs (he has a half-season of AA experience), and he was invited to Instructs specifically to work on improving his arm strength, HR power, and outfield play in CF and RF.   


Guyer was a third-baseman in HS before enrolling at the University of Virginia in 2004, where he was moved to LF because some guy named Ryan Zimmerman had already staked-out 3B for the Cavs. The Cubs drafted Guyer in the 5th round of the 2007 Rule 4 Draft, and kept him in LF at Boise.


Guyer began to display HR power at Peoria in 2008, hitting 14 dingers in just 88 games (he missed the first half of the season rehabbing an elbow uinjury at Extended Spring Training),.and he was so impressive at Minor League Camp this past March that he was jumped to AA Tennessee to start the 2009 season. 


But Guyer struggled at Tennessee and was demoted to Hi-A Daytona in May. Then after hitting 347/407/453 in 73 games for the D-Cubs, Guyer was moved back up to Tennessee again in August. Combined at Daytona and Tennessee in 2009, Guyer hit 282/339/385, with 28 doubles, five triples, 3 HR, and 30 SB (7 CS) in 130 games. 


Even though he is not a "natural" outfielder, Guyer plays OF with the "crash & burn" spirit, energy, and enthusiasm of a football free-safety (like a Reed Johnson or an Eric Byrnes), which has (unfortunately) resulted in all too-frequent injuries  But when healthy, Guyer can make the run-saving or game-saving spectacular catch, as happened today.  


It's likely that Guyer will begin the 2010 season back at AA Tennessee (where he finished the 2009 season), probably playing all three OF positions to help him develop the versatility he will likely need once he reaches the big leagues. The fact that he has also played 3B in HS and both 3B and 1B occasionally in college could mean that he might morph into a super-sub IF-OF at some point, especially if he can learn to play 2B.  


Although I have no specific reason to believe this will happen, it's possible that the Cubs will add Brandon Guyer to the "taxi squad" of the Mesa Solar Sox next week, once Instructs is over and the AFL season commences. They did this two years ago with Steve Clevenger, after he completed Instructs. (Players on an AFL team's "taxi squad" are permitted to play in games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only, although taxi squad players often will end up being elevated to "full time" status to replace an injured player). 


Besides Guyer's big day, 2009 6th round pick Brooks Raley got the start in this afternoon's game, and threw three shutout innings. The 21-year old lanky 6'3 lefty struggled with his command (throwing 56 pitches, but only 29 strikes), although he did get lots of ground ball outs, especially when he really needed them.


Raley is not overpowering (89-91 MPH sinker, with a decent breaking ball and an OK change), and while he is not as polished as fellow LHP Chris Rusin (Cubs 2009 4th round pick out of the U. of Kentucky), he does seem to understand the concept of mixing his pitches and working hitters. As things stand right now, I would expect Raley to begin the 2010 season in the Peoria Chiefs starting rotation, with Rusin probaly getting jumped to Daytona . 


What's interesting about Raley is that he was probably the best "two-way" player in college baseball in 2009, a "draft-eligible" sophomore who played OF on days he wasn't pitching (Raley is a good hitter with plus-speed and an outstanding OF arm). Of the scouts out here who saw Raley play at Texas A & M, about half liked him better as an outfielder (CF), although (obviously) the Cubs see him as a pitcher (at least for now).   


Raley's $750K signing bonus was more than what most 2nd round picks got this year, so his bonus was WAY above the slot where was selected (6th round, #200 overall selection in the draft). In fact, among the Cubs 50 draft picks in 2009, only 1st round pick Brett Jackson received a larger bonus than Raley,.But the Cubs had to pay over-slot to persuade Raley to turn pro (and he didn't sign until July), since he had two years of eligibility remaining at A & M. Now it's up to Raley to prove the Cubs weren't fools.   


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


LINEUP:
1. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-4 (K, K, 4-3, 1B), R
2a. D. J. LeMahieu, 2B: 1-3 (L-4, 1B, 6-3), CS
2b. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-0 (BB), R
3. Ryan Flaherty, 3B: 1-4 (F-7, 1B, F-8, 1-3), R
4. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 1-4 (F-9, P-6, 1B, 5-3), RBI
5. Brandon Guyer, RF: 2-4 (4-3, HR, 5-3, 1B), R, 3 RBI
6a. Michael Brenly, DH #1: 0-2 (K, 5-3)
6b. Runey Davis, PH-DH: 2-2 (1B, 1B), SB, PO
7a. Brandon May, C: 0-2 (K, K)
7b. Jae-Hoon Ha, C: 0-1 (K)
8. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-2 (K, L-9, BB)
9a. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-2 (K, 4-3)
9b. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 1-1 (1B)
10. Pin-Chieh Chen, DH #2: 1-3 (K, 2B, F-7)


PITCHERS:
1. Brooks Raley - 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 6/1 GO/FO, 56 pitches (29 strikes)
2. John Mincone - 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 2/1 GO/FO, 33 pitches (18 strikes)
3. Yao-Lin Wang - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 28 pitches (16 strikes)
4. Julio Pena - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 16 pitches (13 strikes)
5. Corey Martin - 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 1/1 GO/FO, 27 pitches (19 strikes)   


ERRORS (1): Ryan Flaherty (E-5) - juggled ground ball allowing batter leading off the bottom of the 9th inning to reach base, and the runner moved up to 2nd base on a WP and to 3rd on a balk, before scoring the (unearned) winning run on a one-out line single to CF.


CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Brandon May: 1 PB
2. Jae-Hoon Ha: 0-2 CS   


WEATHER: upper 80's & sunny (it's getting hot again!)


ATTENDANCE: 36 (SRO)

Comments

An interestring sight at today's game was the A's Outfield Instructor standing next to the LF, CF, or RF while the A's were in the field, offering real time instruction. Which gave us the idea that perhaps that might be something the Cubs might consider doing with Soriano. Have Sam Fuld stand next to him in LF, and if the ball is hit that way, let Fuld make the play... Just a thought... 

haha.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=...

pretty intense class-ism/economy/humor article.

it's a week old, fwiw.

Thanks for the link, Crunch. It's an aspect of sports that's rarely touched on these days. Of course, everyone going to pro sporting events doesn't come from a household making over $75,000/yr. So they no doubt lay it off on plastic which leads to all kinds of other problems we're seeing. Nice to see a sportswriter even talking about class in America. Sports and class are intertwined in many interesting ways.

Phil, is Jeff Fassero now a Cuns minor lge pitching coach? Thanks.

he's in mesa as an instructor.

also, quit calling me phil.

for those that might care, game 3 phi/col is off because of snow.

PHIL: Re "two-way players", I believe I was watching ESPN for a couple minutes and saw Colin Kaepernick, who is the QB for Nevada Wolfpack. The announcer said he was drafted by the Cubs. In fact I looked him up and he was taken in the 43rd round. So, maybe he would be in the "team photo" for best young "two-way player", although, I have only seen him on the grid-iron.

Thanks as always for your AZ coverage, AZ PHIL.

Finally, do you think you will get around to your "AZ PHIL'S TOP PROSPECTS" soon? I'm sure many of us would enjoy an update on your perspective since the season is over for our MLB and MiLB affiliates. GO PHIL!

Worst article I've partially read in a long time. The criticism is absolutely inane. Could have been written by a resident of Bridgeport.

I thought the Red Sox one was pretty accurate, I have to say. Only read three or four myself. "English Football Fans" like there's one team is a bit stupid. Fantasy Football fans are 10X worse than any individual team's fans if you're just making non-sense groups.

They were talking about this on local (Houston) radio yesterday... the main reason that people don't like Cubs fans, from what I can tell is that it's because they exist.

If you look at ticket sales and merchandising sales to actual baseball fans, Cubs fans are by far the #1 team in America. Yes, more Yankees hats are sold, but walk up to someone in Texas (or Colorado or New Mexico or Canada or UK) with a Yankees hat on and ask him who their second basemen is, and he'll most likely not going to know. Ask a guy with a Cubs hat, an he'll know (as well as who the Cubs second basemen of the week is).

1- the yanks arent on this list for some reason
2- it's put together by/for a social scene that lets Maxim Magazine tell them how to act and dress like "real men"

i bet the guy who wrote it wears various Axe for Men scents depending on the day of the week.

"If you look at ticket sales and merchandising sales to actual baseball fans, Cubs fans are by far the #1 team in America..."

I don't know if I would agree with this statement. Do you go around to these states to take straw polls?

To a degree, the teams that win regularly sell more merchandise, and have deeper, knowledgeable fan bases.

After the Yankees make it to the WS this year, people will know who their 2B is. Red Sox, during their Playoff and WS runs, same.

When the Braves were on their "clock", Forbes had them ranked as more "popular" than the Cubs. According to gate receipts, from 2009, the Cubs rank #1 in "away" attendance.

But, the Cubs really don't even have a 2B TO remember. Unless you count Jeff "whats-his-name" - oh yeah, BAKER. And, the other three guys!

Just visit towns and walk around - go to sports bars and see which games people ask to put on, go to a festival and see 5 Cubs hats for every Red Sox hat, and people yelling "Cubs!" if you walk by with a Cubs shirt on.

The Cubs and Yankees are the biggest away draws - but the Yankees attract people to cheer for their home teams against the Yankees, whereas the Cubs attract people to cheer for the Cubs.

Yeah, if you win a WS it helps you pick up some fans with no allegiance, but the Cardinals have won their share, and they're nowhere near as popular as the Cubs or Yankees.

Yep, Cubs fans suck. We're bigots and whiners. May we rot in hell because our team can't win and we bitch about it.

I guess I should just care less, but the whining about Cubs fans gets really old.

It's the eternal optimism I think that is supposed to allegedly get on people's nerves, not the bitching.

Is it the eternal optimism, or the falseness--the ironic optimism: "There's always next year"?

I don't like the media reputation of most Cubs fans, and I'd rather not listen to many lackadaisical Cubs fans talk about the Cubs--but the people who watch most of the games and love baseball, there as good a set of baseball fans as you'll find anywhere else. And other teams have those fans who go to games and don't pay attention but still pretend to be fanatics.

Submitted by The E-Man on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 1:49pm.
PHIL: Re "two-way players", I believe I was watching ESPN for a couple minutes and saw Colin Kaepernick, who is the QB for Nevada Wolfpack. The announcer said he was drafted by the Cubs. In fact I looked him up and he was taken in the 43rd round. So, maybe he would be in the "team photo" for best young "two-way player", although, I have only seen him on the grid-iron.

Thanks as always for your AZ coverage, AZ PHIL.

Finally, do you think you will get around to your "AZ PHIL'S TOP PROSPECTS" soon? I'm sure many of us would enjoy an update on your perspective since the season is over for our MLB and MiLB affiliates. GO PHIL!

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

E-MAN: Colin Kaepernick was a "two-sport" player (football QB & baseball RHP) in HS, but he hasn't played baseball in college. The Cubs drafted him off an old scouting report from when he was in high school.

But Brooks Raley was a "two-way" baseball player in college (at Texas A & M), playing OF on days he wsn't pitching. Top pitching prospect RHP Jay Jackson is another guy the Cubs drafted who was a true college "two-way" baseball player (at Furman). Jackson played CF on days he wasn't pitching.

We'll do a Top 15 after the season is over. There is still another week of Instructs, and about six weeks of AFL baseball left.

Thanks AZ PHIL.

Is this common?:

"The Cubs drafted him off an old scouting report from when he was in high school."

I am assuming they based this on his football arm currently, then, and he must have had some success at the HS level?

Submitted by The E-Man on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 5:00pm.

Is this common?:

"The Cubs drafted him off an old scouting report from when he was in high school."

I am assuming they based this on his football arm currently, then, and he must have had some success at the HS level?

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

E-MAN: 6'6 Colin Kaepernick was a highly-regarded RHP prospect in high school, although he went undrafted because he had committed so strongly to football.

I suspect the Cubs selected him just to let him know they were thinking about him, and that he is still considered an MLB pitching prospect even though he isn't currently playing baseball. (Or maybe Hendry was hoping to sign Kaepernick so he wouldn't be available to play against Notre Dame last month).

The Cubs did the same thing with OF Glenn Cook (2009 46th round draft pick), who was a "two-sport" player in HS (LB in football and OF in baseball) before playing just football at the U. of Miami. (Cook was a starting LB at the U. and worked out at the NFL combine last February, but went undrafted).

Cook was worked-out by the Cubs South Florida Area Scout prior to the '09 Rule 4 draft (supposedly a couple of impressive BP sessions), but they were basing the selection mainly on an old HS scouting report.

And the Cubs did sign Cook after drafting him, although he got released after the close of the season (he hit just 167/311/238 in 34 games for the AZL Cubs, plus he's 24 years old).

 

84 at bats after having not played baseball competitively for 4 years and they release him? I guess I shouldn't complain, though, since I am always railing about them drafting athletes instead of baseball players, but it would have been nice to at least let him have a crack at Instructs.

"Or maybe Hendry was hoping to sign Kaepernick so he wouldn't be available to play against Notre Dame last month..."

HAHA! Probably the truth, AZ PHIL. Yep.

Recent comments

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  • I agree -- I think if you are a soft-tosser, you need a track record before you are taken seriously. If Kyle posts sub-3.00 ERA consistently and wins 15+ games a few times (and pitches more innings), he may have a shot at the award in a few years. Hopefully, he gets in the top 5 this year -- would be deserved and a nice boost for his confidence.

    billybucks 11 min 3 sec ago view
  • It's also possible that the Cubs have no intention of recalling Spencer Patton. Perhaps Maddon has seen enough of him, and Patton will eventually be one of the players cut to make room for others who will be added to the 40 in September.

    Arizona Phil 12 min 53 sec ago view
  • I doesn't know what your talking about.

    Sonicwind75 17 min 27 sec ago view
  • Maybe it's to get him some game action. He's only pitched for the Cubs once in the last 10 days. I don't really care much about him going down since he's sucked when up here.

    I really want Rivero to be called up.

    chitownmvp01 22 min 35 sec ago view
  • CHITOWNMVP01: It is indeed odd that the Cubs did not just wait one more day to recall LaStella.

    As far as Spencer Patton is concerned...

    Arizona Phil 31 min 14 sec ago view
  • Why didn't they wait until tomorrow to call up TLS? Don't they have to wait 10 days to bring Patton back up now?

    chitownmvp01 52 min 14 sec ago view
  • Cubs assigned to Mesa Solar Sox (AFL):

    Victor Caratini, C
    James Farris, RHRP
    Ian Happ, 2B-OF
    Eloy Jimenez, OF
    Ryan McNeil, RHRP
    Steve Perakslis, RHRP
    Duane Underwood Jr, RHSP

    Brian Lawrence, Pitching Coach

    Jimenez, Happ, Caratini and Underwood are among the Cubs Top 10 Prospects, and playing in the AFL should help speed their development.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 25 min ago view
  • Outstanding.

    Jackstraw 1 hour 38 min ago view
  • So presuming he remains on the MLB Active List for the balance of the MLB regular season, Tommy LaStella will be at 2+102 MLB Service Time at the end of the season, far short of what he would have needed to accrue to have a chance at "Super Two" status post-2016. (Even if he had remained on the MLB Active List for the entire season and finished at 2+124 MLB Service Time, he still would have only been "on the bubble" for possible "Super Two" status post-2016).

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 14 min ago view
  • I don't know about the defensive part of the equation, the fact all the Cubs pitchers are so ahead of their FIP makes me think it's a lot more defense than anything special Hendricks is doing.

    Rob G. 2 hours 17 min ago view
  • Thanks, jacos! I love a good Alice Cooper group performance video -- especially when it corresponds with a shrinking, division-clinching magic number!

    JoePepitone 2 hours 18 min ago view
  • TLS up and playing second today. Spencer Patton to Iowa to make room.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 51 min ago view
  • Yeah that article describes what I said in my other post about WAR. BR WAR is fine as a snapshot but FG is a better predictor of future performance.

    I also get what you mean by FIP being independent of luck but my point is all the soft contact Hendricks gives up negates a lot of that luck and defense aspect. In other words I believe he could pitch in front of any defense and have similar #s because for the most part he isn't giving up the screaming liners or hard hit liners to the gap.

    johann 2 hours 56 min ago view
  • Down on the farm:

    "Dealin'" Cease with another good outing for Eugene. Last 4 outings: 16IP, 1ER 29K. But, 10BB. Throw strikes, kid.

    Candelario is killing it at Iowa after struggling at AA: .320/.406/.941 in 241AB. At age 22. Where the heck to put him next year?

    billybucks 3 hours 59 min ago view
  • SF now only 1 game ahead of the Cards for home field in the WC game.

    billybucks 4 hours 9 min ago view
  • For a start:

    "lets" should be "let's".

    billybucks 4 hours 11 min ago view