Golden Rules at Instructs

Cubs 2010 2nd round draft pick Reggie Golden slugged a two-run HR over the LF scoreboard and onto 8th Street to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the 6th, but the Brew Crew rallied for four in the 8th as the Cubs and Brewers played to a 7-7 tie in the Cubs 2010 AZ Instructional League opener at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.

There are 47 Cubs minor leaguers participating in Instructs at Fitch Park (22 pitchers, five catchers, 12 infielders, and eight outfielders), including eight players who are making their U. S. debut after spending the 2010 season playing in the Dominican Summer League, four draft picks and one non-drafted free-agent who signed too late to get into game action in August, and one Korean bonus baby. Also among the 47 is Cubs 3B prospect Josh Vitters, who is at Instructs rehabbing his broken hand and preparing for play in the Arizona Fall League next month.

Two of the newcomers made their pro debut in today's game, as LHP Casey Harman (2010 29th round draft pick out of Clemson) threw 1.1 IP of hitless shutout ball, walking one while striking out two, and catcher Max Kwan (2010 NDFA - U. of Washington) went 1-3 with a single and an RBI.

Harman was Clemson's #1 starter ("Friday night starter") in 2010 and beat #1 ranked Arizona State at the College World Series in June. Although he was selected in the 29th round, Harman received a $150,000 bonus (equivalent to "5th round" money) when he signed with the Cubs at the August 16th deadline.

Kwan suffered through an injury-plagued college career at Tulane and then later at Washington, but he has good size for a catcher (6'3 220), and helps provide depth at the catching position going into the 2011 season.

The Cubs will be playing a 21-game AZ instructional League schedule, with the last game on October 16th (they play every day Monday-Saturday up through 10/16, with no games on Sundays).

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


1. Evan Crawford, DH-RF: 1-4 (L-5, 2B, 4-3, 1B, HBP)
2a. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 0-3 (6-3, 4-3, E5, CS)
2b. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 0-2 (4-6-3 GIDP, K)
3. Micah Gibbs, C-DH: 0-3 (K, F-7, BB, BB, K, R)
4a. Justin Bour, 1B: 1-3 (F-9, F-7, 2B, RBI)
4b. Ryan Cuneo, 1B: 1-1 (2B, BB)
4c. Kyung-Min Na, PR
5. Xavier Batista, DH-LF: 1-4 (1B, K, K, F-7, BB)
6a. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 2-3 (F-8, 1B, 2B, R, SB)
6b. Oliver Zapata, CF: 1-2 (1B, K, R)
7a. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 0-1 (F-9, HBP, R, SB)
7b. Willson Contreras, 3B: 1-2 (6-3, 2B, RBI, R)
8. Reggie Golden, LF-DH: 2-3 (BB, FC, HR, 1B, 2 RBI, 2 R, SB, CS)
9. Max Kwan, DH-C: 1-3 (1B, 6-3, K, 5-3 SH, RBI)
10. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-4 (4-3 GIDP, L-6, 5-3, 1-3, RBI)

1. Aaron Kurcz: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 27 pitches (13 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
2. Charles Thomas: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 11 pitches (6 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
3. Alvaro Sosa: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 41 pitches (26 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
4. Tarlandus Mitchell: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 35 pitches (21 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
5. Casey Harman: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 21 pitches (12 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
6. Brent Ebinger: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 42 pitches (29 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
7. Amaury Paulino: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 8 pitches (4 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO

1. 3B Willson Contreras: E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base – eventually scored unearned run)
2. CF Oliver Zapata: E-8 (bobbled line-drive single to CF, allowing batter to reach 2nd base)
3. CF Oliver Zapata: E-8 (overran ground single to CF, allowing batter to reach 2nd base)

Micah Gibbs: 2-3 CS
Max Kwan: 0-3 CS

ATTENDANCE: 23 (mostly scouts)

WEATHER: Hot and sunny, with temperatures in the 90’s



Dave Bialas

Jeff Fassero
Franklin Font
Dave Keller
Greg Maddux
Carmelo Martinez
Marty Pevey
Tom Pratt
Mark Riggins
Min-Kyu Sung

Juan Cabreja


* bats or throws left
# bats both

* Hunter Ackerman
* Brent Ebinger
Dustin Fitzgerald
* Cam Greathouse
* Casey Harman
Ryan Hartman
Jin-Yeong Kim
Aaron Kurcz
Luis Liria
Matt Loosen
Robinson Lopez
* Jeff Lorick
Tarlandus Mitchell
Amaury Paulino
Starling Peralta
Austin Reed
Kevin Rhoderick
Jhon Rodriguez
* Brian Smith
Alvaro Sosa (ex-C)
Charles Thomas (ex-3B)
Ben Wells

* Sergio Burruel
# Micah Gibbs
Max Kwan
Chad Noble
# Engel Santana

Gioskar Amaya
* Justin Bour
* Pin-Chieh Chen
Willson Contreras
* Ryan Cuneo
* Wes Darvill
Dustin Geiger
* Marco Hernandez
* Hak-Ju Lee
D. J. Lemahieu
Josh Vitters
* Logan Watkins

* Delbis Arcila
Xavier Batista
Evan Crawford
Reggie Golden
Jae-Hoon Ha
Chris Huseby (ex-P)
* Kyung-Min Na
# Oliver Zapata


Phil - I heard at one time that Simpson would be playing in the Fall instructional league, but he is not on the roster. Do you know if he is recovered from his mono?

Also, how does Thomas look as a pitcher? What kind of stuff does he have?

Finally, do you have any opinion on Crawford?

DAVID P: Hayden Simpson was hoping to participate in the AZ Instructional League if he could get medical clearance to play, which he apparently has not (yet).

Charles Thomas looks a bit like Lee Smith and throws 93-95 but with command issues, and his breaking ball & off-speed pitches are works in progress. He projects as a set-up man or closer if he can master a second pitch and improve his command. He was a combination 3B & closer in college, so he isn't exactly a stranger to the mound. He said once last year that he actually preferred pitching, so I think right now he is where he wants to be and where he needs to be.

I saw Evan Crawford quite a bit back when he was with the Giants. He is VERY fast (may be the fastest player in the Cubs organization), he covers a lot of ground in the outfield, and he has good base-stealing technique & instincts. He has a line-drive stroke and can put the ball into the gaps, but he is a bit hyper-aggresive and/or anxious at the plate, he has no concept of the strike zone, and he swings & misses too much. He reminds me of Doug Glanville.

Phil, some of these players had full, productive seasons at Peoria: Bour, Lee, Watkins. What is the thinking behind bringing them to Instructs? And what is LeMahieu doing there? He finished the season in the Southern League (AA) championship series.

Submitted by VirginiaPhil on Thu, 09/23/2010 - 8:52pm.
Phil, some of these players had full, productive seasons at Peoria: Bour, Lee, Watkins. What is the thinking behind bringing them to Instructs? And what is LeMahieu doing there? He finished the season in the Southern League (AA) championship series.


VA PHIL: Players at Instructs are there for various & different reasons. Sometimes it's just a matter of a player selected in the previous draft making his pro debut, or getting a chance to pitch a few more innings or get some additional ABs. Or giving a promising Dominican kid a chance to play in the U. S. and get some instruction from the Cubs roving instructors.

But other players at Instructs are there to work on a specific aspect of their his game. HJ Lee is working on his footwork and his defensive play around SS, while Bour is trying to develop a more consistent HR stroke (he hit one double off the fence and two fly ball outs to the warning track in today's game). Lemahieu needs to smooth-out his play at 2B (he is a much more confident fielder at SS, but he projects as a 2B at the higher levels), and he also is trying to learn to drop the bat-head and turn on balls more consistently, like he did the last week of Instructs last year when ghe spent a lot of time working with Barbaro Garbey. (He natural approach is an extreme opposite-field line-drive stroke). Another thing to remember about Lemahiieu is that he was a draft eligible sophomore when the Cubs drafted & signed him out of LSU last season, and so he has only two years of college ball and one full year of pro ball under his belt. He is still very raw.

BTW, it's interesting to note that both Brandon Guyer and Chris Archer were at Instructs a year ago (Guyer working on his strength & conditioning and Archer working on command), and then Guyer ended up being named the Cubs 2010 Minor League Player of the Year, while Archer was the Cubs 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Rafael Dolis came into Instructs a year ago as a near-forgotten man, but by his laat outing he was hitting 100 MPH in front of a dozen MLB scouts and being projected as the #1 pick in last December's Rule 5 Draft, which is why the Cubs added him to their 40-man roster last November. And Starlin Castro made his Giant Leap Forward at Instructs post-2008.

As for why some minor leaguer prospects are at Instructs and some aren't, sometimes it might be a matter of a pitcher having thrown too many innings during the season, or a pitcher has a tired arm or a position-player is nursing a minor injury, or sometimes a player declines an invitation to Instructs in order to return to college (Charles Thomas did that last year), And then again, sometimes a pitcher or a position player just doesn't project much, or is considered "uncoachable."

AZ Phil- Two names I see missing that I certainly would have thought would show are Arismendy Alcantara and Junior Lake. As two players that you had described as raw, I certainly figured they would be there. Both players seemed like they were hitting their strides at the end of the year and I assumed they would also continue it on into the fall. Do you have any idea why these two would not be here, especially considering what instructs has done for some many latin american kids careers? Also, where is Pierre Lepage? I feel like he should be a candidate to move to Daytona or even Tennessee this year. He seems like one of those players that really needs to be challenged as he is a college guy and could probably stand to be a little more challenged. Any thoughts? Also, where is Dong Yub Kim? I got excited about him then he fell off the face of the earth.

I remember Fleita saying in an interview that they bring young players to instructional camp with the intention of their skipping one level of the minors. Also, they bring in some older players to work on specific things, ie pitchers working on a new pitch, catcher working on blocking balls, outfielder working on hitting breaking balls, etc.

They may have LeMehieu there to work on pulling the ball with power.

Cubs among 9 teams that watched #6 pick Barrett Loux throw today

declared a free agent after failing a physical and DBacks given compensatory draft picks

nice header...

Wrong sport...

I know this is 3/44, but if any of you haven't checked this out yet, these articles are laugh-out-loud funny (especially the eckstein one)


This lineup sucks

I saw this game yesterday.


needs a mute Bud Selig button on this player

he obviously loves the game and knows his history, but at the same time he's always got that "i come from the business side" vanilla-answers to some questions and this weird desire to make sure he makes a lasting mark on the game from behind a desk.

Brenly criticizing umpires for future blown calls. Hahhaaha. "we've got this technology, they need to use it. umpires can't be everywhere and see everything."

Agreed, but I don't want 25 instant replay delays every game.

i cant believe i was at work late yesterday so i could take this afternoon off to "enjoy" this...

murton in japan...hits #153-184

hey, it's better than the cubs game.

hit #200

good to see japanese baseball is still weird as all hell, btw.

Here's a Murton grand slam, check out the black dirt infield. When they show the CF camera view it looks like the pitcher is CGI. It looks weird.

hahah! it does.

the contrast is so sharp between the 2 colors and planes.

I love how the announcer goes nuts after the grand slam. The Cubs should hire that guy.

Here is a cf view of that stadium, it's Murton's (Hanshin Tigers) home stadium. Notice the bullpens are in the 3b/1b line stands.

byrd day-to-day after fouling one off his face. it wasn't too bad because his helmet and sunglasses deflected the brunt of it, but he had some obvious swelling going on near his temple/eye area.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.

  • Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.

    Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.

  • Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.

    Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.

  • that game sounds fun as hell.

  • I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.