Kyler Burke Shows Rockies He Can Pitch

Reggie Golden had three hits, scored a run, and knocked-in another, and LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke threw a 1-2-3 inning in his debut as a pitcher, as a split-squad of EXST Cubs played the EXST Rockies to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


The game was stopped after eight innings with the score tied at six when both teams ran out of available pitchers. (The Cubs and Rockies played a doubleheader at Fitch Park yeterday, and the Cubs were playing a split-squad DH today).



The Cubs 2009 Minor League Player of the Year after hitting 303/405/505 with a league-leading 43 doubles at Peoria, Burke had a dismal year at Daytona in 2010, hitting just 212/279/328 with 131 K. He came into Minor League Camp vying for a spot on the AA Tennessee Smokies roster, but after being sent back to Daytona toward the end of March, he agreed to make the move to pitcher.


And Burke looked VERY sharp today, striking out the first Rockies batter he faced (swinging), and then easily retiring the next two hitters on a fly out to LF and a 4-3 ground out.


My immediate impression of Burke as a pitcher is that with his breaking ball being as good as it is, he should at the very least have a future as a lefty relief specialist. But he also has a quality fastball (he was throwing in the mid-90’s in bullpen sessions last month), and so if he can develop the stamina and endurance needed to throw 100 pitches in a game, he could possibly be a rotation starter. He just turned 23 last month, so he still has time on his side.


Burke was a two-way player (OF/LHP) in HS, and while the Padres drafted him as an outfielder (he was traded to the Cubs in 2007 in the Michael Barrett deal), some scouts had him rated higher as a pitcher. So it’s not too surprising that he looks like he knows what he’s doing out on the mound. Also, he had what was considered the #1 OF arm in the Cubs organization prior to making the move back to pitcher.


RHP Jon Nagel (post-2010 non-TJS elbow surgery) continued his rehab in today’s game, following Burke to the mound and throwing one inning. Nagel is not yet cleared to throw breaking balls, so his repertoire at present consists of a fastball and a change-up.


19-year old Korean bonus baby RHP Jin-Young Kim followed Nagel, allowing four runs on five hits (three singles, a double, and a triple) and an HBP, with no walks and three strikeouts, in four innings of work (50 pitches – 36 strikes). While he struggled to keep his fastball down early in his outing, he did recover nicely and retired the last nine men he faced.


After a lackluster performance by the EXST Cubs in yesterday’s doubleheader, AZL Cubs Manager Juan Cabreja (who was in charge at Fitch Park today) had the boys take a spirited infield practice prior to today’s game, and it seemed to pay off, as the Cubs kids hit the ball (12 hits), showed patience at the plate (four walks), ran the bases aggressively (three stolen bases), and made some nice plays in the field, showing considerable improvement over yesterday’s effort.


DH Dustin Harrington doubled to drive-in two runs in a three-run Cubs 2nd inning, but had to leave the game (with help) in the bottom of the 4th after fouling a ball off his left instep. He was transported to the clubhouse on a cart, and looked to be in considerable pain.


While one squad of EXST Cubs played the Rockies at Fitch Park, the other squad (managed by Boise Manager Mark Johnson) traveled to Diablo Park in Tempe to take-on the EXST Angels. Because the games were played simultaneously ten miles apart, I am unable to provide an eyewitness report for the game at Diablo Park.


Here is today’s abridged box score for the game played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only):


LINEUP:
1. Jose Valdez, LF: 1-4 (F-7, K, P-5, 1B, 2 SB)
2. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-3 (6-3, 1B+E-4, K, BB, R, SB)
3. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 2-3 (K, 3B, 1B, BB, 2 R, RBI)
4. Reggie Golden, RF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, 1B, L-6, R, RBI)
5. Brian Inoa, C: 2-4 (1B, 4-6-3 DP, 1B, 3-U, R, RBI)
6. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-3 (1B, K, P-6, BB, R, RBI)
7a. Dustin Harrington, DH: 1-1 (2B, 2 RBI)
7b. Johan DeJesus, PH-DH: 0-3 (F-8, E-5, 6-3)
8. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 1-3 (1B, BB, 4-3 DP, P-5)
9. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-4 (F-7 DP, 6-4-3 DP, K, F-9)


PITCHERS:
1. Kyler Burke: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 9 pitches (7 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
2. Jon Nagel: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 12 pitches (9 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
3. Jin-Young Kim: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 50 pitches (36 strikes), 5/4 GO/FO
4. Yilver Sanchez: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 34 pitches (26 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO


ERRORS: 2:
1. C Brian Inoa - E2 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner at 2nd base to score unearned run)
2. 1B Xavier Batista - E3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)


CATCHERS DEFENSE
Brian Inoa: 0-3 CS, 1 E (see above)


ATTENDANCE: 5


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s


 

Comments

Thanks, Phil.
I think I may stop blaming Michael Barrett for everything if Burke turns out to be something as a pitcher...

I've been waiting for something on Burke. Great news. Lefties with that type of stuff don't come around often. It would be amazing if he could resurrect his career as a LHP.

Thanks for the report, Phil. Glad to see Burke taking well to the conversion.

Weight issues aside, it looks like Golden can hit. Who could you compare him to as far as approach/potential goes?

watching b.beachy (ATL) go pitch for pitch with s.marcum (MIL).

it's weird. the guy throws almost nothing but a 90-94mph fastball. he has a change and i assume something else because he's a starter, but for the most part he's throwing 1 fastball at 2 different velocities and hitters just aren't seeing it.

he was undrafted out of college in 2008 and now he's a starter for the braves. neat.

Bill James on Colbert Report tonight for anyone interested

and barely talks about baseball...

has some new book called "Popular Crime"

cargo makes 2 kickass/athletic plays vs. s.drew on 2 separate ab's...it's funny stuff when a true CF quality guy gets to play LF.

Two quick questions -

a) What was Nagel's velo?
b) I'm curious if you know what happened to Craig Muschko? I don't recall seeing him on any released lists, but maybe I missed it.

Submitted by toonsterwu on Fri, 05/06/2011 - 10:58am.
Two quick questions -

a) What was Nagel's velo?
b) I'm curious if you know what happened to Craig Muschko? I don't recall seeing him on any released lists, but maybe I missed it.

==================================

TOONSTER: Jon Nagel is throwing in the upper 80's right now. He is still a ways away from being back to full strength.

Craig Muschko was supposedly in Japan in March preparing to sign a contract with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows when the mega-earthquake hit, and (apparently) the deal fell through as a result. I don't know if he will be returning to the Cubs organization or if they will ultimately put him on the Temporarily Inactive List or Restricted List until his future can be determined.

The Cubs got about $500K when Micah Hoffpauir signed with the Nippon Ham Fighters, and they probably would get at least half that much (probably about $250K) if Muschko does end up signing with the Swallows. MLB clubs make out very well financially when a player they have under club control signs with an NPB team.

Speaking of outfielders who can throw, Nelson Perez threw out the tying run at the plate with two outs in the ninth last night for Daytona.

Perez in right, Ha in center and Burgess in left: Daytona has quite a set of outfield arms.

Recent comments

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  • If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic

    jacos 50 min 1 sec ago view
  • I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.

    Charlie 1 hour 24 min ago view
  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 1 hour 37 min ago view
  • They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?

    QuietMan 3 hours 1 min ago view
  • Regarding Heyward--

    He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.

    What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.

    (All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 2 min ago view
  • Lester will probably be all right.

    I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.

    Seriously.

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 9 min ago view
  • I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.

    billybucks 3 hours 12 min ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 16 min ago view
  • He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.

    But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.

    billybucks 3 hours 25 min ago view
  • The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 26 min ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 3 hours 32 min ago view
  • QuietMan 3 hours 40 min ago view
  • I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 59 min ago view
  • O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.

    The E-Man 4 hours 38 min ago view
  • Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.

    Old and Blue 5 hours 22 min ago view
  • I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.

    Old and Blue 5 hours 33 min ago view