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'...

box score


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 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? bathroom troughs?

Hayden Simpson is going to change our fortunes!


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.

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.