Luis Mops the Flores at Fitch Park
Luis Flores drilled two doubles and scored two runs, leading one squad of EXST Cubs to a 3-0 shutout of the other squad of EXST Cubs in a six-inning Extended Spring Training intrasquad game played at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.
One of the better defensive catchers in the Cubs minor league system, Flores is on an injury rehab assignment at Fitch Park after suffering a conscussion at Minor League Camp last month, and he looks to be about ready to rejoin the Daytona Cubs whenever the Cubs decide to move him up. He certainly is a man among boys at Fitch Park.
Today’s intrasquad game featured the U. S. debut of five more Dominican pitchers who were called up to Fitch Park from the Cubs Dominican Academy in Boca Chica, including 20-year old 6’2 lanky LHP Willengton Cruz, 19-year old stocky RHP Rafael Diplan, 21-year old RHP Santo Rodriguez, 22-year old RHP Jean Sandoval, and 20-year old RHP Yilver Sanchez.
The five newbees join RHP Ramon Garcia, LHP Luis Villalba, and RHP Starling Peralta, INF Gregori Gonzalez, and OF Eduardo Gonzalez, who arrived last week, and catchers Johan DeJesus, Brian Inoa, and Hector Suarez who reported to Minor League Camp in March. Peralta, INF Gioskar Amaya, 3B-1B Wilson Contreras, SS Marco Hernandez, and OF Oliver Zapata are back at Fitch Park after making their U. S. debuts at AZ Instructs last year, while all of the others are making their U. S. debuts this year.
Peralta, W. Cruz, Y. Sanchez, Sandoval, and Villalba were the “Big 5” starting rotation for the Dominican Summer League Baseball City Division Champion DSL Cubs #1 last season (the 2010 DSL Cubs #1 had the best record of the 34 teams that play in the DSL, while DSL Cubs #2 AKA "Bad News Cubs" had the worst record), and of the five Dominican hurlers who threw today, W. Cruz really stood out. He has some nasty stuff.
Here is today’s abridged box score:
NOTE: Luis Flores was SQUAD “B” DH #1 and batted 1st in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, and 4th innings
SQUAD “A” LINEUP:
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, DH #1: 0-2 (K, K)
2. Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-2 (K, P-1)
3. Wilson Contreras, 3B: 1-2 (P-4, 1B)
4. Dong-Yub Kim, 1B: 0-2 (1-3, 5-3)
5. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-1 (K, BB, PO)
6. Johan DeJesus, C: 1-2 (1B, F-8)
7. Oliver Zapata, CF: 0-2 (1-3, P-2)
8. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 1-2 (5-3, 1B)
9. Gregori Gonzalez, 2B: 0-2 (L-6, 6-4-3 DP)
10. Hector Suarez, DH #2: 0-1 (K)
11. Max Kwan, DH #3: 0-1 (F-9)
SQUAD “B” LINEUP:
X. Luis Flores, DH #1: 2-3 (2B, 2B, K, 2 R)
1. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-2 (1B, 4-3, CS)
2. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 1-2 (1B, K, RBI)
3. Xavier Batista, LF: 0-1 (FC, BB, SB)
4. Reggie Golden, RF: 1-2 (1B, K, SB)
5. Jesus Morelli, DH #2: 0-2 (K, L-4)
6. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-2 (5-3, F-8)
7. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-1 (5-3 SH, F-8, RBI)
8. Dustin Harrington, 3B: 0-1 (5-3)
9. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 0-1 (L-7)
SQUAD “A” PITCHERS:
1. Santo Rodriguez: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 19 pitches (12 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
2. Rafael Diplan: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 20 pitches (13 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
3. Jean Sandoval: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 24 pitches (14 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO
SQUAD “B” PITCHERS:
1. Luis Liria: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 28 pitches (21 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
2. Willengton Cruz: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 19 pitches (12 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
3. Yilver Sanchez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 1 PO, 22 pitches (13 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
SQUAD “A” CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Johan DeJesus: 1-3 CS
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
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.