Kubs Korean Konnection Keeps Klickin'
Hak-Ju Lee stroked RBI singles in the 6th and the 8th to help carry the Cubs to a 6-2 victory over the A’s Split Squad #1 in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
Korean bonus baby Jin-Yeong Kim got the start for the Cubs, making his professional debut. The 18-year old right-hander showed no evidence of nervousness or inexperience, as he displayed pinpoint control while mixing a 91 MPH two-seam sinking fastball with a curve and a change-up, keeping the A’s hitters off-balance through the first two innings (K-s, K-s, 1-3 in the 1st, then K-s, 2B, 3-1, 4-3 in the 2nd). Kim received a reported $1.2M signing bonus earlier this year, believed to be the second-largest bonus ever given to an international player to date by the Cubs. (Only RHP Jae-Kuk Ryu got more)
Cubs 2010 9th round pick RHP Kevin Rhoderick also made his professional debut this morning, pumping mid-90’s gas and a killer slider at the A’s while striking out the first four men he faced, the first two after he entered the game with runners at 2nd & 3rd and one out in the 6th. Rhoderick was the closer at Oregon State the past three seasons, and was a first-team Freshman All-American in 2008. He suffered from inconsistency this past season, but If he can continue to throw the ball in subsequent outings as he did today, he will be racing fellow fireballin’ 2010 draft pick RHP Aaron Kurcz (10th round selection out of the College of Southern Nevada) to see who can move up the pipeline the fastest.
In addition to the fine debut outings by Kim and Rhoderick, RHPs Austin Reed (Cubs 2010 12th round pick out of Rancho Cucamonga HS - Rancho Cucamonga, CA) and Matt Loosen (Cubs 2010 23rd round pick out of Jacksonville U.) threw two shutout innings a piece. Reed was recently named one of the Top 20 Prospects (#11) in the Arizona League (AZL) by Baseball America, the only AZL Cub to make the list.
The Cub defensive play of the day was a run-saving running catch on the warning track in the right-centerfield alley by CF Evan Crawford to close out the top of the 4th. (Possibly the fastest player currently in the Cubs system, Crawford was the gazelle the Cubs got back from the Giants in exchange for Mike Fontenot this past August).
17-year old 3B Dustin Geiger (2010 24th round pick out of Merritt Island HS - Brevard County, FL) was hit on the hand by a pitch in the bottom of the 5th and had to leave the game. Hopefully nothing is broken.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Evan Crawford, CF: 1-4 (2B, F-9, K, 1-5 FC, R)
2. Hak-Ju Lee, SS-DH: 2-4 (L-5, K, 1B, 1B, 2 RBI, 2 R)
3. Justin Bour, 1B: 2-4 (K, K, 1B, 1B, RBI)
4. Max Kwan, C-DH: 0-3 (K, HBP, L-4, K, CS)
5a. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 0-1 (K, HBP)
5b. Willson Contreras, PR-3B: 0-2 (4-3, E4, R)
6. Micah Gibbs, DH-C: 1-3 (K, 1B, BB, K)
7a. Wes Darvill, 2B: 0-2 (6-3, 6-4 FC, RBI, SB)
7b. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 0-2 (F-8, 5-3)
8. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-3 (BB, 4-3, K, K, CS)
9a. Chris Huseby, LF: 1-3 (6-3, K, 1B)
9b. Pin-Chieh Chen, PH: 0-1 (5-3)
10. Marco Hernandez, DH-SS: 1-3 (K, E4, 1B, 2 R)
1. Jin-Yeong Kim: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 28 pitches (20 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
2. Austin Reed: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 25 pitches (16 strikes), 1/5 GO/FO
3. Hunter Ackerman: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 31 pitches (19 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
4. Kevin Rhoderick: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 25 pitches (17 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
5. Matt Loosen: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 28 pitches (18 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
Max Kwan: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Hot and sunny, with temperatures in the 90’s
2010 CUBS INSTRUCTIONAL LEAGUE ROSTER:
ACTIVE LIST (47):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
* Hunter Ackerman
* Brent Ebinger
* Cam Greathouse
* Casey Harman
* Jeff Lorick
* Brian Smith
Alvaro Sosa (ex-C)
Charles Thomas (ex-3B)
* Sergio Burruel
# Micah Gibbs
# Engel Santana
* Justin Bour
* Ryan Cuneo
* Pin-Chieh Chen
* Wes Darvill
* Marco Hernandez
* Hak-Ju Lee
D. J. Lemahieu
* Logan Watkins
* Delbis Arcila
Chris Huseby (ex-P)
* Kyung-Min Na
# Oliver Zapata
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.