AZL Angels Jett Past AZL Cubs at HoHoKam

Jett Bandy laced three doubles, including a two-run two-base hit with one out in the top of the 8th that drove-in the tying and go-ahead runs, leading the AZL Angels to a 4-3 victory over the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this evening.

box score

The Cubs went into the top of the 8th inning leading 2-1, thanks to a solo HR by Dustin Geiger in the 4th and a Ryan Durrence RBI ground out in the 6th. But AZL Cubs 8th inning set-up man Colin Richardson could not hold the lead, issuing a one-out four-pitch walk, followed by back-to-back doubles and consecutive singles, as the Angels took a 4-2 lead.

The Cubs did score a run in the bottom of the 8th on a leg-double by lead-off hitter Oliver Zapata, an Angels error, and a sacrifice fly, but it wasn't enough, as Angels closer Brandon Efferson threw a 1-2-3 9th for the save.

18-year old LHP Brian Smith (Cubs 2010 40th round draft pick out of Pickering, Ontario) got the start for the AZL Cubs, and threw a solid four innings (61 pitches - 40 strikes), allowing just one unearned run on five hits and a walk, while striking out three. A member of the Canadian Junior National Team prior to signing with the Cubs right at the August 16th signing deadline last year, Smith had his second quality outing in a row, especially significant since he was absolutely terrible in his pro debut at AZ Instructs last fall (30.00 ERA, 4.33 WHIP, and a .527 OppBA) and got a late start to the 2011 season, not pitching in a game until more than halfway through Extended Spring Training. But he has looked OK in AZL action so far (albeit just 7.1 IP over two games), displaying a high-quality curve and change-up, and the poise and stamina needed to throw multiple innings.

19-year old Dustin Geiger (Cubs 2010 24th round draft pick out of Merritt Island HS - Brevard County, FL) continues to be the offensive leader for the AZL Cubs. After two more hits tonight (including the 390-ft+ home run to left-center that gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead, and a picture-perfect hit & run single to right that advanced a runner from 1st to 3rd and led directly to the Cubs second run), Geiger is hitting a robust 400/423/769 (including three doubles, two triples, and a HR) through his first six AZL games, while playing adequate defense at both 3B and 1B (although he looks better at 1B). Geiger has showed tremendous improvement in his power stroke over the last few weeks (having hit 325/367/525 with three doubles, two HR, and 12 RBI over his last 13 Extended Spring Training games), and I had thought that just based on that he would get assigned to Boise, but the Cubs chose to place 3B-1B Wilson Contreras on the Boise roster instead, while keeping Geiger in Mesa. But if he keeps slugging the way he has over the last few weeks, I would expect Geiger to get a promotion to Boise (if not to Peoria) before much longer.

While Geiger has been the offensive star of the AZL Cubs, 19-year old Dominican switch-hitter Brian Inoa has struggled to find a position. Inoa was used mainly as a DH in the DSL last season where he hit 279/356/369 for DSL Cubs #2, but he was worked exclusively at catcher throughout Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training this year. However, it became quite clear over time that Inoa did not have the defensive chops to succeed as a backstop, so he was moved to 1B, and now (more-recently) to 2B, with poor results at each stop. Inoa made two more errors (on successive plays) leading to an unearned run in tonight's game, and was pulled out of the game in the top of the 7th. Next stop? Maybe LF. But to play LF Inoa will have to show the slugging he displayed at times in Extended Spring Training, like when he hit for the cycle against the Diamondbacks on May 23rd.



Az Phil, any news on possible signings of young Latinos on July 2 ? Thanks as always.

Iran announced today that their missiles can reach U.S. bases in the Gulf.

The Cubs pitchers countered by showing the Giants missiles can reach Waveland.

I swear in the post-game interview with Doug Davis while he was trying to explain why he sucked again today, he said something like, "The Giants kept hitting the ball over the fence and we didn't have anyone playing out there."


"I thought I'd have the jitters, but I didn't," Byrd told the Des Moines Register. "I got hit by a pitch. That was something I needed."

Tough SOB... can't wait til he gets back to push those crappy hitters like Castro and Ramirez out of the three hole.

"When you fall off a horse, get right back on"

--Christopher Reeve

"A good craftsman never blames his tools."

--Koyie Hill

"It is cheering to see the rats are still around; the ship is not sinking."
Eric Hoffer

"I'd like to see Quade given a chance to manage the team we broke camp with."
Shit-for-Brains GM

"When opportunity is in your hands. You have to reach out and grab it"

Steve Bartman

almost all of that was just f'n awesome. bravo tcr.

"It's getting a lot better," Wood told on Tuesday. "The skin around the finger is better. The nail is stronger. It's looking a lot better to me."

For all six teams (Boise and above) to win yesterday, a couple of improbable things had to happen: Peoria had to break a 10-game losing streak, and the suddenly impotent post-LeMahieu Smokies--punished by Jackson's and Lake's deep slumps and then KO'd by the Vitters beaning--had to actually score a run in thirteen innings. More impressive, though, were the seven consecutive scoreless innings spun by Maine and Gaub in Iowa's 15-inning 6-5 win over Albuquerque. Maine pitched three innings, Gaub four(!). Both gave up 1 hit, with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts. Add starter J. Jackson's 5 strikeouts and you get 19 total.

Peoria really hit the wall - their all-star break didn't even help. Daytona not scoring much either of late, but pitching relatively well.

Jason Parker(?) on SS prospects with all kinds of Hak-Ju Lee love. Puts him in his top 3...

TCF: Lee is one of my favorite prospects in the game, and a player with the potential to be Leader of the Pack (Future) in this crazy deep talent pool. At the plate, the 20-year-old Korean has great hands and hand-eye coordination, which leads to heavy doses of contact. The power isn’t there, and it might not show up, but he can sting a ball; he’s not an empty hitter. I like his overall approach: It’s aggressive yet under control, giving him some on-base ability and high-batting average projections. The glove is flashy and slick, though he still needs refinement, which he will find through repetition; the actions for a plus defender are already present. The arm is plenty strong for the position and his quick feet, natural instincts, and plus-plus raw speed given him excellent range. The total package could be an All-Star with a plus glove, the ability to hit for a very high average (not empty average), and enough strength to work the gaps. He’s not going to hit 15-plus home runs per season, but you can’t put him in the speed/slasher box, either.

Parker's been around since sometime last year. He loves the phrase "hit tool", which I think means not striking out without bunting.

Another couple about Cubs articles over at BP now, including a draft recap:

Later Picks of Note: With a mid-90s fastball that consistently touches 97-98, fourth-round pick Tony Zych was one of the hardest throwers in this year's draft, but he doesn't have another plus offering. Sixth-round catcher Neftali Rosario is a very good defensive catcher with a bit of pop. He'll be a nearly impossible sign, but many think 11th-round pick Shawon Dunston Jr. will be a first-round pick in 2014 after honing his skills at Vanderbilt.
Analysis: The Cubs focused more on teenage upside than in recent drafts, which fits well with the system needs. Tough signs like Dunston and seventh-round pick Trevor Gretzky give them a chance to make this an excellent crop.

better place to hone skills? Vanderbilt or Cubs farm system?

Vandy by far!!!!!

Cubs farm system or California Penal league?

I can sort of get his dad not wanting to run his life, but how could a son of a major leaguer not be a more advanced baseball player... I guess Shawon really just did rely on physical talent for his entire career.

Hopefully we dump some contracts and direct the cash towards signing some of these guys... I still don't get the Gretzky deal. I guess San Diego State is a pretty big-time program, so maybe he can play. Longer article on him, I missed if it's 3/44.

athlete first, baseball player second

The Cubs way...

supposedly a pretty good QB prospect as well until the shoulder injury. Said Miami, UCLA and AZ State were looking at him before the injury, although if he was that good, you'd figured they'd still offer him a scholarship even after he recovers.

"The Cubs focused more on teenage upside than in recent drafts, which fits well with the system needs."

We need more unsignable ballplayers who are five years away?? I may not be around to see them. What happened to "Wait 'til next year!"

Q-Ball to take Riggleman's spot on All-Star coaching staff according to Muskat

speaking of, I suppose only Marmol and Castro are the Cubs options at this point?

I would include Marshall on that list.

No Soriano love?


No Soriano love?


The Cubs should start an All-Star campaign for Soriano using that picture of him giving dual fingers.

Doug Davis on the verge of 1st inning implosion

first 4 get on for one run, but gets a GIDP that scores the second run.

they really need to move Pena before the 2nd game tonight...maybe to the Giants like that Joel Youngblood deal (although that was 2 different cities).

I'd rather see them move Doug Davis between innings :)

for the uneducated...

with Mets against Cubs in a day game

then made it to Philly to play for the Expos for the nightcap

Hill just hr'd, the world is definitely about to end.

Vogelsong has only given up 3 or more runs one other time this year against the Mets back in early May.

I think Davis is trying to use the Rocky Balboa game plan. Tire them out with running the bases early in the game, then come back late for a knock-out.

Doug Davis on the other hand, has given up 3 or more runs every fucking time he pitches (unofficial stat).

Aramis Ramirez now 1 for 36 driving in runners from third with less than two out.

So, so much pain....

Follow the I-Cubs game. That's going much better. Byrd 2-4 with a double, HR, a walk and 3 RBI's and Barney got two hits and a SB... I feel a mid-season trade simile coming on.

Byrd and Barney for?......... Something useful?

No, but getting them back will be like making a mid-season trade for slightly below average starters.

Andy McFail'd!!!

So, Andy? You are sitting at 32 and 50 on the year. Where do you feel this ball club is at this point?

Well Len, we certainly didn't figure that a rotation built around Mark Prior and Kerry Wood would have some many injury problems. But getting those two and Angel Guzman back will be like making a huge mid season trade.

How do feel about the direction of the franchise?

Couldn't be better Len!!!

13-7 first game. Any predictions on tonight's score? I figured we might not score 7 runs this entire series off the Giants pitching.

loss, 3-0 in 14 innings after jeff baker gives up a 3 run homer to pat burrell

I would actually like to see that.

Hey all - don't worry about game 1 of the double header. We have Rodrigo Lopez pitching in game 2, which should get the Cubs back on track.

Muskat says Mateo coming up for Game 2, Lamehieu being sent down...

There isn't much to cheer about this year, but I was hoping Castro could make a run for the batting title. However, I am upset every day when I see Q-ball put him in the third spot. When will he realize that for whatever reason, Castro is not comfortable there. I hope it doesn't ruin him.

So much for reinforcements...

Mateo's stats at Iowa:

1-3 with a 6.87 ERA in 18 1-3 innings over 16 outings.

mateo down, barney up should happen soon enough.

doug davis DFA will hopefully happen before that.

Submitted by crunch on Tue, 06/28/2011 - 5:31pm.
mateo down, barney up should happen soon enough.

doug davis DFA will hopefully happen before that.


CRUNCH: If Rodrigo Lopez has an (unexpectedly) reasonably decent outing tonight, I would think the Cubs might keep Lopez in the starting rotation and Marcos Mateo in the bullpen and DFA Doug Davis when Darwin Barney is reactivated tomorrow.

Davis has the potential to earn about $1M in incentives tied to GS and IP, so I doubt that the Cubs would think twice about releasing him. He has zero trade value.

As for other trade possibilities, I could see Kerry Wood going home to Texas once he proves his blister issue has been resolved, and (as I have mentioned here before) the Giants should have some interest in acquiring Geovany Soto. And Alfonso Soriano for Adam Dunn is just too supersilious for it not to happen.

Isn't it Hendry's philosophy to continue starting players having bad years in hope of increasing their trade value?

Sullivan has an article up about Colvin at Iowa:

Does he make any judgements about Colvin's timing? I know someone who he ought to get in touch with who has all kinds of unsolicited advice about jumping to such a conclusion...

Interesting to read Von Joshua analyzing someone's swing again.

Reminds me when he gave a long dissertation about Milton Bradley, on how the top half of his body was turned the wrong way and out of synch with his legs. "You can't hit like that."

He got that right.

I think I prefer him to Teflon Rudy. I find the whole Colvin deal very disturbing in terms of what the coach was doing in his day job. Here is a talented young hitter--maybe not too sharp--who is just floundering. He has to go to Iowa to get any answers.

Reminds me when he gave a long dissertation about Milton Bradley, on how the top half of his body was turned the wrong way and out of synch with his legs. "You can't hit like that."

LOL. Yea - Milton Bradly couldn't hit. The dude has a career 804 OPS. He sure can't hit.

Well let me amend that comment then..:
Milton Bradley is a guy who could get on base, and hit..
as long as you expect him to play 90 games or so, get hurt, have run ins with umpires, coaches, announcers....and put up 12 HR's and 55 RBI's or so....then yeah, he's your guy.

as long as you expect him to play 90 games or so, get hurt, have run ins with umpires, coaches, announcers....and put up 12 HR's and 55 RBI's or so....then yeah, he's your guy.

Which, of course, has pretty much nothing to do with the quote that VA Phil posted.

No....just I can't stand Milton Bradley, and his waste of talent ass....

So as the pitch was coming in, he turned the top of his body toward the catcher? What was Bradley thinking?!?

I'm interested to see if Joshua has more success with Colvin. I still maintain part of his problem was bad luck, but it didn't seem like he was making as much solid contact as last year either.

Guys with terrible plate discipline and poor approaches tend to get exposed at the MLB level.

Maybe Colvin can tighten up his overall approach? I doubt he'll ever have much discipline or pitch recognition though?

But that's the thing, he wasn't having any more trouble walking or making contact than he did last year.

Shawon Dunston, by your esimation would never hit MLB pitching.

Colvin's line drive percentage this year is 9.9 compared to last year's 17.0. His HR/FB this year is 6.3 compared to last year's very strong 19.4.

It looked to me like Colvin was making plenty of contact, it was just poor contact. And it looked to me like most of the time that he was in the majors he was hitting the very top of the ball a lot of the time that he was pulling it, resulting in weak grounders to the right (or into foul territory). The numbers also suggest that he was getting as much of the fly balls that he hit either. I would say that those are probably symptoms of some mechanical problems which may lead to, be caused by, or just combine with some small timing issues. I think some of it had to do with all the time he spent on the bench, but I don't have any evidence for that.

some might say he looked like his timing was off...

That's what Joshua said when he saw him. Wayyyyyy late.

It's one thing if TCR commentors don't know what timing is... it's really alarming if our hitting coaches don't.

I actually saw the opposite, at least early in the season, of what Joshua saw. It looked like Colvin was early on most things.

Shawon Dunston, by your esimation would never hit MLB pitching.

Well... he didn't really hit MLB pitching.

Aw come on....he hit them ok....he just couldn't get on base otherwise if his life depended on it....


Isn't that the Hendry/Wilkin prototype for the perfect prospect?

He looked good in a uniform.

Some guys like Dunston, Kpatt, Felix Pie,etc. Can have careers with bad plate discipline.

They just never have the careers that the tools folks hype them for.

Not mention that all of those guys are dead meat when it comes to trying to hit top level pitching. Which might have a little something to do with the Cubs playoff issues over the years?

Ah Felix Pie.....
I still would have like to have seen him get a season or 2 of at bats before shipping him off for nothing...
Yeah, it sure seems the Cubs have drafted these same types of players since....forever?

Everyone drafts them, it's just the Cubs that promote them without deleloping them.

It's really akin to the mediocre Numbers Big armed QB's we see in the NFL draft every year.

Jeff George
Ryan Leaf
Jamarcus Russell
Akili Smith

All the same basic story. Mediocre college careers. Teams fell in love with the arm strength tool. Busts as pro's.

Aw....c'mon now..Jeff George had a few good seasons? Lol...

He doesn't fit with the others so much. He is just the most shining example of that situation.

Well..ok...I spose....he did manage to throw 154 TD's..more than the other 3 combined is all.....

Anyway....I agree on the Cubs drafting these kind of players over, and over, and over....

"Which [bad plate discipline] might have a little something to do with the Cubs playoff issues over the years?"

Maybe, but I just took a quick look at the OBPs of the eight starting position players in Game 1 of the Cub-Dodger series in '08, and all were .359 or higher except Soriano's, with three OBPs above .375.

Soriano .344
Fukudome .359
Lee .361
Ram .380
Soto .364
Edmunds .369 (as a Cub)
DeRosa .376
Theriot .387

"LOL," etc.

Do you think Von Joshua was analyzing Bradley's swing when he was with Texas?

With the Cubs, he slugged .397. His OBP was fine, because he was focused like a laser on drawing walks. Fukudome draws walks, too, and many observers would look at him and say, "You can't hit like that."

I do find it odd that the Cubs get beaten up every day in these pages for not stressing plate discipline, after spending $80 million since '08 on the two most extreme non-producing OBP specialists in the game.

"He just didn't swing the bat. He didn't get the job done. His production, or lack of (production), was the only negative." --Hendry on Bradley

If the Cubs had a Fukudome batting 1-8 they'd be in MUCH better shape than they are now.

Their defense probably wouldn't suffer much either.

That 2008 team led the league in OBP%.

They also led the league in wins.

Any correlation ya think?

Hmmm....I'll go with....yes? Lol....

2008 Cubs:.278/.354/.443
2011 Cubs:.264/.319/.402

Interesting....the NL average?
2008: .260/.331/.413
2011: .251/.318/.386

Eh...they still need to get on base much more than they already do....

That would be nice, but they're a league average offense. What they really need to do is start pitching and turning batted balls into outs a lot better. They've walked 21 more batters than the 2nd worst team and have five more errors than the second worst team.

A powerful combination, caused, apparently by injuries?!?

Also a good point TRN..with a black hole in the 4/5 spots in the rotation, an average offense, and bad fielding, combined with...


At least Wrigley is a beautiful and structurally sound ballpark?

The offense is plagued by too many free swingers.

Here's Mike Quade's lineup for Game 2 vs. Barry Zito:

1. Reed Johnson, cf.

2. Starlin Castro, ss

3. Aramis Ramirez, 3b

4. Carlos Pena, 1b

5. Geovany Soto, c

6. Jeff Baker, 2b

7. Alfonso Soriano, lf

8. Lou Montanez, rf

9. Rodrigo Lopez, p

5. Geovany Soto, c

Haha, you almost got me there! Anyone got the real lineup?

that's been Soto's spot versus lefties for the most part

Going into tonight:

4th 4 PA's
5th 42
6th 50
7th 37
8th 66

Though I will buy he's batted there more against lefties than in the other slots.

If Quade had to pick one bad habit from Lou to steal, I wish it wasn't his names from a hat lineup construction.

awesome! lol...

Oh good, more embarrassing Mike Quade antics.

What did he do?

He argued the call at the plate, and apparently you have to look a certain way when you argue or else it's embarrassing.

Anyone have the replay of that play somewhere?

I was on a rooftop, with a TV that didn't work, so couldn't really see what happened.

Make it stop

Gammon tweet
Red Sox cannot add payroll, which means with RF washout and McDonald/Cameron 0 production, they can take no $. Dream Jeff Baker. period.


Fukudome was the latest in the succession of left handed hitting RF's that Hendry has failed in the quest to acquire anyone really good after Sosa shrunk.

Burnitz, Jacques Jones, Fuk and thinking Fuk can play CF, Uncle Milty. a few minor attempts to catch lightning in a bottle: Jody Gerut, Ben Grieve, Todd Hollandsworth, Matt Lawton

Fukudome's failure is that he came here with the expectation to drive in some runs and provide 20 HR power as well as the history of great April and meh May-Sept. He has succeeded in the OBP and RF defense areas.

Tyler Colvin is somewhere in that mix too although he was a farm product and should be lumped in with Pie and CPat.

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  • 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.

    johann 1 hour 59 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 2 hours 20 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 2 hours 25 min ago view
  • 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...

    crunch 2 hours 44 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 3 hours 20 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 3 hours 38 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 3 hours 39 min ago view
  • 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 he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 3 hours 57 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 4 hours 5 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 5 hours 44 sec ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 5 hours 18 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 5 hours 23 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 6 hours 32 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here:

    QuietMan 7 hours 11 min ago view
  • Per FanGraphs, Cubs have a 72.5% chance of winning today. Jinx! Next highest percentage on today's games is D-backs with a 64.7% chance (Greinke vs. Cesar Vargas, in Arizona.)

    Transmission 7 hours 12 min ago view