Geiger & Amaya Lead AZL Cubs to Victory at Talking Stick

Dustin Geiger and Gioskar Amaya drove-in three runs a piece, leading the AZL Cubs to an 8-3 victory over the AZL Diamondbacks in Arizona League action at Whirlwind Field at Salt Rivers Fields at Talking Stick east of Scottsdale his evening.  


Geiger knocked-in his three runs on a two out two-run HR over the LF fence in the top of the 3rd, and a two out line drive RBI single in the top of the 7th. Another run scored on a Geiger 6-4-3 double play grounder in the top of the 1st, but of course there is no RBI credited on a GIDP.


Amaya had three hits (two singles and a double) and a walk in tonight's game, driving-in lead-off hitter Oliver Zapata (who reached base three times on a walk and two singles) three different times with three hits in three separate innings, including an opposite-field line-drive RBI double down the RF line in the top of the 1st (it would have been a triple except the ball rolled under the RF fence for a ground rule double), an RBI single to CF in the 5th, and another RBI single (this time to RF) with two outs in the top of the 9th. Amaya also stole a base, and played a solid defense at 2B, helping to turn two inning-ending double plays.


The Cubs eighth run scored on a Gregori Gonzalez solo HR over the LF fence leading off the top of the 3rd.


On the strength of tonight's performances, Oliver Zapata has taken over the Arizona League lead in runs scored and is tied for 2nd in walks, Gioskar Amaya has cracked the Top 10 in hitting, and Dustin Geiger is now 2nd in the league in RBI, tied for 2nd in HR and hits, 4th in SLG %, and tied for 6th in doubles and runs scored.


While the AZL Cubs offense had a good night, the pitchers (with one exception) also did very well.


21-year old Cuban defector LHP Frank Del Valle was masterful, allowing just one-hit (a harmless single) and a walk over his three innings (42 pitches - 26 strikes). He struck out only two, but that's a bit misleading because he got a lot of swings & misses early in the count (and broken bats when D'backs hitters did make contact) with his plus-fastball and filthy slider.


Like many Cuban players who have defected, Del Valle is polished and has obviously been well-coached. He is an excellent fielder, and he also has a really neat pick-off move (he picked two runners off 1st base tonight, but one of them got a reprieve when Del Valle was called for a balk). He was a member of the Cuban Junior National Team as a teenager, so he must have been given a lot of time and attention from the Cuban coaches over the years, and it shows. I doubt that Del Valle will remain in Mesa very long, and so it will be up to him to prove that he is more than just spit & polish once he hits the higher levels (Peoria or Daytona or wherever).


Del Valle is only 5'11, but his upper body is well-built. He looks like he has spent some serious time in the weight room. Fellow LHP Jeffry Antigua is probably the best comp for a current Cub minor league pitcher most like Del Valle, but at least physically Del Valle reminds me a lot of ex-Cub LHRP Felix Heredia.


18-year old RHP James Pugliese (Cubs 2011 18th round draft pick out of Mercer CC in New Jersey) made his third pro appearance, "piggybacking" with Del Valle and throwing three more shutout innings (40 pitches - 26 strikes). He did allow three singles and a walk, but he also struck out two and induced one inning-ending double play, and none of the runners got past second base. After tonight's outing, Pugliese is tied for the AZL league lead in ERA and is third in WHIP. As I have mentioned before, Pugliese throws with a max-effort over-the-top overhand delivery much like that of Arizona Diamondbacks rookie RHP Josh Collmenter.


2nd year RHRP Ryan Hartman (who is repeating the AZL) was wild (28 pitches - only 12 strikes) and was able to retire only two hitters (albeit both via the strikeout) in the bottom of the 7th before allowing three runs on two hits, two walks, and a HBP.


But Cubs 2011 32nd round draft pick RHP Pete Levitt (Mt. Olive College) relieved Hartman and did throw strikes (33 pitches - 25 strikes), working the final 2.1 IP to pick-up his first professional save. At 6'5 250+ Levitt looks more like an offensive tackle than a pitcher, but he works fast, throws strikes, and gets outs when he needs to get them. But he is really a load. When I say he's 6'5 250+ it's probably more like 6'5 270. He reminds me of Bobby Jenks.


But where are the rest of the Cubs draft picks? Time is a wastin'...

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Comments

So is it time to DFA Doug Davis, and Rodrigo Lopez...and see if any freaking Cub minor leaguer is ready? John Gaub? Blake Parker? David Cales? Jay Jackson? Nick Struck? Anyone???

Matt Clanton, Chadd Blasko, Bobby Brownlie, Luke Haggerty?

Wasn't that a great draft for the Cubs? Clanton pitched in about 5 games or so.....great miss that high in the draft....wow. At least Haggerty and Blasko can point to injuries..sheesh.

What made it worse is that we never tried to get any extra picks since.

Hey with guys like Mark Pawelek coming up, who needed extra picks?? Oh..never got past Hi-A ball? Um....look...new bathroom troughs?

Hayden Simpson is going to change our fortunes!

Er....yeah!!!!!! Go...um...Simpson!!!!

I don't really see any upside to DFA'ing Doug Davis and Rodrigo Lopez.

Never thought I'd ever say that.

The simple truth is the Cubs are (and try to contain your shock) out of contention.

If you are going to fail, you might as well have Doug Davis and Rodrigo Lopez fail than watch some minor leaguer get lit up. I'm just not a big fan of the baptism-by-fire method.

I suppose...but if they're 2 pitchers who won't be here next season, why bother? I'd even rather see Casey Coleman than Davis...

The reason behind DFA'ing Davis is to save the $.

He gets almost 2 million in incentives if he stays in the rotation. I'd rather JR Mathes or Ruben f'n Quevedo pitched, and we could maybe use some of that money to sign some Draft Picks or Latin prospects.

The ERA's of the starting "prospects" at Iowa are:

Austin Bibens-Dirkx 7.66
Jay Jackson 7.22
Robert Coello 7.16
J.R. Mathes 9.07

Ramon Ortiz by process of elimination with a 4.44 ERA would be the next guy. Unless you want more Casey Coleman (3.90 courtesy of a .268 BABIP - watch Dave's head explode).

In TN we have :
Trey McNutt 3.86, averaging less than 4 innings per start
Brooks Raley 4.54
Chris Rusin 4.24
Alberto Cabrera 5.36
Nick Struck 1.59 (50 innings of 3.42 in A+)

Mathes got released about a month ago.

...and the Garza trade still doesn't make any sense.

Let's say the Cubs are in contention at this time in 2013 (hey, I can dream) and Garza is pitching as well or better than he is now. Does it make sense then? Opponents of this trade never seem to talk about (or don't care, because of what the Cubs gave up) how he has two years left on his contract. The deal was made with the hopes of contending this year (delusionally, in retrospect) but also with the thought that he'll be around a while.

My personal feeling is that by 2013, you'd get more production out of Archer, Lee, Guyer and Chirinos than you will from Garza and Zach Rossup, and you'd do it for less money. The upside for all four of those guys, is a player approximately as good as Garza.

Maybe in 2012 if we sign Fielder and several other things that look unlikely at this point go right he helps us win. In 2013, we'd only save like a $1 to $1.5 million over what Garza would likely cost in free agency.

Lefthander Rosscup looking good, though.

At Daytona, 49.2 IP, 43 H, 19 BB, 50 SO.

get a #2/3 starter on a cramped budget for less than his real value.

that was the point of the quest for a starter before garza even entered into it.

he came at nearly 1/2 his market value in loot and he's got club control, too.

btw, rosscup don't look too bad, himself...perez seems to be nearing the end of his usefulness before he even sees the end of AAA...especially with campy around.

Here's a nice stat (from the Sun-Times):

The six pitchers filling the 4-5 spots (in the rotation) this season have gone a combined 4-18 with a 6.98 ERA. The Cubs are 8-23 in those 31 games.

If we had won all of those games, we'd be in first place!

The Cubs traded Tom Gorzelanny to save $2M in 2011 payroll, and then ended up spending it on Doug Davis and Rodrigo Lopez anyway.

For someone who throws the "you can never have enough pitching" line around like Jim Hendry does, trading Gorzelanny during the off-season just made no sense. And Gorzelanny would have been under club control through the 2013 season, too.

Even if he was stashed in the bullpen as the 12th man (and that's only if all of the projected starters were healthy and Carlos Silva had made the team and the starting rotation coming out of Spring Training), it still would have made no sense to trade Gorzelanny. Or if you do feel like you absolutely have to trade him, at least wait until the end of Spring Training to do it.

Even if you can't do that, at least get one prospect back for him who's going to play in the majors.

Hendry should have just released him rather than offering arbitration and saved everyone the effort.

I guess the real question is: What would Hendry have to do to be fired? Outside of something illegal, like harrassment or making death threats, I can't really figure it out.

What is left for him to bungle before the owners say "Hey, this guy is no good!"?

Setting aside the draft, free agency, trading, player development and contract negotation, I think it's safe to say Hendry's one of the top 5 GM's in the game.

Seriously, he's baseball retarded. You'd have to try to be this bad because accidentally it just couldn't happen. The odds would be astronomical.

Jim Hendry: The reverse Forrest Gump of baseball franchise management

"Life is like a box of doughnuts..."

You never know how sticky it's gonna get?

I fucking love this blog.

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