Cubs Edge A's at Papago Park
Frank Batista threw four shutout innings and Carlos Rojas got the last four outs to nail down the victory, as the EXST Cubs edged the EXST A’s 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning.
Batista became the first EXST Cubs pitcher to throw four innings, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out one. The 21-year old Dominican RHP was the Cubs #1 pitching prospect in the DSL last season, going 4-2 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, with 7/63 BB/K in 58.1 IP for DSL Cubs #1. So far at EXST, Batista has thrown 9.2 IP, allowing four runs (three ER) on six hits, 2/4 BB/K, with a 2.79 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and .171 OBA.
EXST Cubs co-closer Danny Keefe (2009 14th round draft pick out of the U. of Tampa) had a rough day on the mound, allowing three runs on four hits (including three ringing doubles) in 1.2 IP, before Carlos Rojas extinguished the fire.
3B Charles Thomas (2009 10th round pick out of Edward Waters College) had two hits, scored a run, stole a base, and made two nifty plays at 3B (one a running catch in LF foul territory and the other a nice scoop & throw). The 21-year old 6’4 225 Thomas is now hitting .405 (.463 OBP), and leads the EXST Cubs in BA, OBP, hits, walks, runs scored, RBI, and stolen bases, and has struck out just three times in 41 PA. (He led the AZL Cubs in hits, doubles, and RBI in 2009). Thomas also has a cannon for an arm, one of the most-powerful throwing arms in the organization, making him a good candidate to get moved to the mound if things don’t work-out at 3B (he was a combination 3B/RHP in college).
The one negative against Thomas right now (besides the fact he is blocked at 3B by Matt Cerda at Peoria and Josh Vitters at Daytona) is that for a big guy, he just doesn’t seem to generate much power (he hit just one HR in 45 games with the AZL Cubs last season, and he had his first EXST XBH—a double--today). Because he is a big dude, Thomas also gets starts at 1B, and while he can play 1B, his arm is wasted there.
Catcher Luis Flores saw his first game action today since Minor League Camp in March, starting the game at DH before moving to catcher in the 6th. He did not reach base, but he did drive-in a run with an F-9 SF. The 23-year old Flores was reinstated from the Suspended List on Monday.
Here is today’s abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, DH #1: 1-3 (K, BB, 1B, 1-3, RBI, SB, CS)
2. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 0-4 (F-7, K-DP, 3-1, F-9)
3. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-3 (K, BB, K, K)
4. Charles Thomas, 3B: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, 2B, K, R, SB)
5. Bobby Wagner, 1B: 1-4 (P-2, 3-1, 1B, K, R, RBI)
6. Alvaro Ramirez, CF: 0-1 (4-3, BB, 1-3 SH, R, SB)
7a. Blair Springfield, 2B: 0-2 (K, K)
7b. Wes Darvill, 2B: 0-1 (FC, R)
8. Luis Flores, DH-C: 0-2 (F-9, K, F-9 SF, RBI)
9. Jose Guevara, C-DH: 0-3 (F-9, E-5, K, R)
10. Cody Shields, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 4-3, 5-3)
1. Frank Batista – 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/6 GO/FO, 52 pitches (37 strikes)
2. Alvido Jimenez – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 5/0 GO/FO, 25 pitches (13 strikes)
3. Danny Keefe – 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/3 GO/FO, 36 pitches (25 strikes)
4. Carlos Rojas – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 12 pitches (8 strikes)
SS Arismendy Alcantara E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base – did not score)
SS Arismendy Alcantara E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base, runner on 1st base to advance to 2nd, and runner on 3rd base to score unearned run)
CF Alvaro Ramirez: batter-runner thrown out 8-6-5 trying to stretch double into triple
WEATHER: Partly cloudy and breezy with temperatures in the 60’s
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
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!!!!!!