Socorro Pro Debut Should Make Marshall Proud
Making his professional debut, Cubs 2011 46th round draft pick Kenny Socorro (Marshall U.) had three hits and drove-in three runs, and Oliver Zapata drew four walks and scored twice, leading the AZL Cubs to an 8-5 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action at Connie Mack Field at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix this evening.
The AZL Athletics defense graciously committed five errors to aid the Cubs cause.
Cubs 2010 4th round draft pick LHP Hunter Ackerman got the start for the Cubs and continued to struggle to throw strikes, just as he has throughout his short pro career. He worked three innings (61 pitches - 35 strikes, including a 33-pitch first-inning), allowing three runs on three hits, three walks, and an HBP, while striking out four. Sometimes Ackerman will look like a world-beater against one hitter, and then can't throw strikes to next one. If he can't get his pitches-per-inning down to a reasonable number, he will likely be limited to being a minor league reliever (presuming he ever gets out of Arizona).
Cubs 2011 40th round draft pick RHP P. J. Francescon made his pro debut and had a much better night than Ackerman did, working two shutout innings (21 pitches - 14 strikes) to record the save. The 22-year old Francescon allowed a lead-off infield single to the first man he faced, and then easily retired the next five in a row (6-4-3 DP, K-swinging, F-7, K-swinging, and a 6-3 GO). Francescon does not appear to have anything exceptional in his repertoire, but he works fast and has four years of college experience (most recently at Trevecca Nazarene University, and at Middle Tennessee State before that) under his belt to aid him in his adjustment to pro ball.
NOTE: There is one very obvious mistake in the box score as it presently appears in MiLB.com, and that is that Johan DeJesus PH for Jose Guevara in the top of the 8th and popped up to the second baseman, and then remained in the game as the catcher. The box score shows Guevara playing the entire game.
Also, Kenny Socorro hit an RBI double in the top of the 8th (Socorro's second double of the game) to drive-in Eduardo Gonzalez from 2nd base. I guess the official scorer could have called it a single where Socorro took second on the throw, except there was no throw home on the play, and in the play-by-play account (as it presently appears) it does not mention Socorro advancing to 2nd base at all.
And in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Boras grounded out 6-3, Baez walked, Solano struck out swinging, and Stafford grounded into a 6-4 FC to end the inning. (This is different than what presently appears in the "play-by-play").
And here is what happened in the top of the 7th on the pop-out by Hernandez that resulted in Zapata being thrown out at the plate: A's first-baseman Leyland caught an infield pop-up and tried to double Zapata (who broke with the pitch) off second-base, but instead threw the ball over the shortstop's head into left-center field. Zapata advanced to third on the overthrow, but then got greedy and tried to score, getting caught in a rundown between 3rd and home, before being tagged-out for the third out of the inning...
For those of you who religiously read the box scores and play-by-play at Milb.com and presume the stuff you read there to be accurate, here is how the information you read is transmitted...
The official scorer who is present at the park calls the milb office every half inning and verbally recites what happened the previous half-inning and notes any lineup changes that might have occurred. This call is often made after the next half-inning has started, and so (quite obviously) it can lead to mistakes being made due to the official scorer being distracted, and these mistakes are then reflected in both the "official" box score and in the "official" play-by-play. When the official scorer does get distracted and realizes he missed something, he will usually ask the player who is running the scoreboard to tell him what he missed, but that presumes the player was actually paying attention, and it also depends on the official scorer realizing he might have missed something.
There has to be a better way to do this. The way it's done now is not working. Incorrect information is appearing in what are supposed to be "official" box scores and play-by-play accounts. The practice of official scorers calling the milb.com office every half-inning to recount the previous half-inning must be stopped, because it distracts the official scorer from doing his job. Maybe the scorer could just wait until the game is over before making the call, or maybe the information could be transmitted contemporaneously-electronically as it occurs (after each AB) instead of verbally by phone after every half-inning.
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
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.