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):
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)
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
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)
Brian Inoa: 0-3 CS, 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.
Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.
HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.
However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.
E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader.
PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?
Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.
jeebus... that's terrible.
*clap* *clap* *clap*
Thanks AZ. If you like him, I like him.
Awesome report, and good to see Beeler on his way back.
I'm also very happy to hear about the bi-level bump for Daniel Lewis. In the Name of Theo, he was the Last of the Full-Season Cuts, and There Will Be Blood for those who unnecessarily slow his development. Sure, he might end up in independent ball pitching for Lincoln. But if everything breaks right, he may even have a shot at joining up with the Gangs of Chicago. I wouldn't bet My Left Foot on it, though.
CHARLIE: The Cubs did the same thing with LHSP Eric Jokisch last month, and it has nothing to do with needing the player's 40-man roster slot.
The hope is that another MLB club will claim the player, so that you aren't on the hook for any termination pay (which you would be if you release him) AND you pick up $20,000 from the claiming team, all for a guy you don't want going forward anyway.
Moosetacos, I like it. All I can think of is a bearded lumberjack dude operating a Mexican style taco truck with a Canadian accent.