That Guyer Again
Brandon Guyer walked, singled, doubled, crushed a three-run homer, scored two runs, and stole a base, Ryan Flaherty doubled, tripled, and walked, drove-in three runs, and scored three more, Brett Jackson reached base three times, scored all three times he reached, and knocked-in two runs, and D. J. LeMahieu ripped a two-run triple, leading the Cubs to a 12-8 victory over the Giants in AZ Instructional League action at breezy Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.
20-year old Korean RHP Dae-Eun Rhee (July 2008 TJS rehab) got the start for the Cubs today, and surrendered three runs in the top of the 1st inning. The lead-off hitter grounded a single through the box on an 0-2 pitch, and then the #2 hitter reached base on a bunt single and the #3 hitter walked on four pitches to load the bases with no outs. One run scored on a FC grounder, another on a sacrifice fly, and the third on a two-out RBI double.
The Cubs came roaring back in the bottom of the 1st, however, as Logan Watkins tripled to right, and scored on a Ryan Flaherty RBI double that just missed clearing the fence in left. 2009 1st round pick Brett Jackson (Cal) also doubled off the left-field fence, driving-in Flaherty, and then Brandon Guyer walked. After Kyler Burke struck out and Rebel Ridling flied out, D. J. LeMahieu (2009 2nd round pick out of LSU) smoked a triple off the CF fence, plating Jackson and Guyer, and giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead after one inning of play.
But the Giants came right back in the top of the 2nd, scoring two more runs off Rhee. The first two batters reached base on a line single to LF and a HBP, and both runners moved up on a Wild Pitch. Rhee struck out the next hitter, but then one run scored on an infield ground out, and another on a two-out RBI single.
The Cubs tied the game 5-5 in the bottom of the 3rd, as Brett Jackson walked and Brandon Guyer singled with one out, and then both runners move up a base on a double-steal. Kyler Burke then hit a sac-fly to CF, driving-in Jackson from 3rd.
The Giants threatened to take the lead back in the top of the 4th, as Trey McNutt (2009 32nd round pick out of Shelton State CC) surrendered three consecutive singles with two outs, but Kyler Burke (who has one of the top two outfield arms in the organization) made a pinpoint throw home to nail the runner trying score from 2nd base, as beefy catcher Sergio Burruel (2009 19th round pick out of Trevor Browne HS - Phoenix, AZ) blocked the plate so that nothing or nobody could get by.
The Cubs took the lead 6-5 in the bottom of the 6th, as Ridling lined a lead-off double into the RF corner. LeMahieu did a great job of situational hitting inside-outing a pitch down the 1st base line to advance Ridling to 3rd with just one out. PH Matt Cerda popped out to short CF, but then Burruel reached out on an 0-2 pitch and flicked the ball into short-center, scoring Ridling with the go-ahead run.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the Giants came right back in the top of the 8th, as Chris Dominguez (Giants 2009 3rd round pick out of U. of Louisville, the 2008 Cape Cod League and 2009 Big East Conference HR champ) cracked a tape-measure two-run homer over the LF fence off Cubs reliever Hector Mayora with one out, giving the Giants a 7-6 lead. (Mayora is a 20-year old Venezuelan in his second year with the Cubs, and he was the only member of the two Cubs DSL teams to get an invitation to AZ Instructs this year).
Not to be denied, the Cubs offense got going again in the bottom of the 8th, as Ryan Flaherty led-off with a walk, and Brett Jackson reached base when the pitcher made an errant throw to 1st base on a sac-bunt attempt. Guyer then did some roofing work on a house across the street, blasting his game-winning three-run dinger.
The Cubs pitchers are still here, but at least a half-dozen of the position players have gone home, so those who remain should get more regular playing time in games than was the case the first three weeks of Instructs.
Also, catcher Matt Williams (Cubs 2009 18th round pick out of Duke) has retired to pursue a career in the Real World. The 22-year old Williams hit a paltry 203/264/241 (combined) at AZL Cubs (Mesa) and Boise in 2009, while throwing out just 11% of opposing base-stealers. He probably realized he was not in the Cubs long-term plans when he was not invited to Instructs.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1a. Logan Watkins, 2B-DH: 1-4 (3B, K, K, L-3), R
1b. Justin Bour, PH: 0-0 (BB), R
2. Ryan Flaherty, 3B: 2-4 (2B, 1-3, K, BB, 3B), 3 R, 3 RBI
3. Brett Jackson, LF: 1-3 (2B, BB, P-8, SH+E1, 4-3), 3 R, 2 RBI, SB
4. Brandon Guyer, CF: 3-4 (BB, 1B, K, HR, 2B), 2 R, 3 RBI, SB
5. Kyler Burke, RF: 0-3 (K, F-8 SF, 3-1, BB, K), RBI
6. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 1-4 (F-8, K, 2B, K), R
7. D. J. LeMahieu, SS: 1-4 (3B, 6-3, 1-3, 4-3), 2 RBI
8a. Richard Jones, DH #1: 0-2 (K, F-7)
8b. Matt Cerda, PH-2B: 0-2 (P-8, 4-3)
9. Sergio Burruel, C-DH: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, 4-3), RBI
10. Brandon May, DH-C: 1-3 (P-3, K, BB, 1B), R
1. Dae-Eun Rhee - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 5/1 GO/FO, 48 pitches (31 strikes)
2. Trey McNutt - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 5/0 GO/FO, 29 pitches (20 strikes)
3. Austin Kirk - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 3/2 GO/FO, 20 pitches (9 strikes)
4. Hector Mayora - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 1/1 GO/FO, 23 pitches (12 strikes)
5. Julio Pena - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 12 pitches (7 strikes)
Sergio Burruel - 0-1 CS
Brandon May - 1-1 CS
Kyler Burke - gunned down runner (9-2) trying to score from 2nd base on a two-out single to RF in the top of the 4th.
WEATHER: 80's, partly cloudy, and VERY breezy
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
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.
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.
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
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.)
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.
More on the Cub Way.
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!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
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.