The Range of Scales & Other Things
And we thought his range was limited! Sayonara, Bobby, and thanks for the memories.
Again yesterday the Iowa Cubs had a worthy replacement for recently departed fan favorite Bobby Scales in the person of Darwin Barney. Barney, braced for impact by the contraption adorning his injured knee, logged six more full-tilt innings and pronounced himself ready to return to Chicago. He leaves behind a sizzling team that’s now won seven straight. I suppose trappings await to offset the change in barometric pressure he’ll notice as he segues from one clubhouse to the other.
Not far behind him on the road to full recovery will be Marlon Byrd who walked, doubled, homered and made a terrific gap-plugging, running catch that should have resulted in a double play except the first baseman at the other end, Tyler Colvin, failed to catch an accurate relay. No matter, the I-Cubs still advanced to 2-0 when Colvin mans that post.
The Iowa lineup started Byrd, Barney, Colvin. Apparently one of the perks that traveled with the first two to Des Moines was the prerogative to wear their pant legs at their shoetops, pajama style. Colvin, here rehabbing a swing and a psyche instead of a body part, tucks his just beneath the kneecaps like all the Cub farmhands do. Is that how he sees himself or how he is seen?
Barney intrigues me. After reaching on a fielder’s choice in his first at-bat he was doubled off on Colvin’s liner to short despite that he wouldn’t have advanced past 2nd even had the ball landed safely. So where was he off to in such a hurry? In less than three full innings his uniform was clay-caked from multiple dives and slides and as he stood on 3rd awaiting deliverance home he looked down and realized that his blouse had come untucked, something he quickly corrected before trotting home with one of the 10 runs the I-Cubs put up in support of Casey Coleman. No one would accuse Barney of mailing in his rehab assignment, but not all of his instincts are as endearing as his obvious zest for ballplaying.
Speaking of Coleman, he was efficient if not dazzling throughout his seven inning stint. Of his 86 pitches 62 were strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 28 hitters he faced. I am also glad to report that his only walk came in his last inning of work and that he turned in two fine defensive plays off the mound, once starting a slick 1-6-3 DP and later rounding out a 3-4-1 that caromed from the chest of Colvin to the gloves of first Barney, then the hustling pitcher.
The shortstop yesterday was Marwin Gonzalez, recently promoted from Tennessee where he was hitting .301. Besides looking fluid defensively he stroked three hits and may bear closer inspection.
Colvin could use more work at 1st. Besides the bobbled relay and the ball he ricocheted to Barney he also short-stretched a slightly elevated pivot throw from Barney that cost Coleman an inning-ending DP. I did see him make a fine running catch in the right field corner Friday night as an outfielder and his bat is warming in concert with the weather. His 32 hits have amounted to 65 total bases, 19 of them being more than mere singles.
The other name that bears mentioning here is Scott Maine. Each of his last two outings have lasted three innings and both of them merit adjectives like dominant and overpowering. Combined they have totaled but two hits allowed against 13 strikeouts. I mean, he may be no John Grabow, but – yeah…
I think while I get you're saying with moving around a lot of baseball is very rhythm based and for many players moving around a lot could disrupt that. It's the same reason many players aren't cut out for phing or dhing since they need to be in the rhythm of the game to hit.
Of course then you have players like LaStella who are terrible as starters and should only PH. Really hope Madden doesn't get enthralled with him starting too much.
KKVG: Among the players at Extended Spring Training, Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive position-player from the Cubs 2015-16 IFA class (I'm not including OF Eddy Julio Martinez, because he skipped EXST and began the season at South Bend). Paredes has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely eventually end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the Cubs 2015-16 IFA position players who could.
Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?
It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.
In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.
I hope Maddon can keep it going.
(It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.
bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...
felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size
13ip 4h 3bb 20K
remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.
this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.
Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...
also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.
also also, the wsox are 19-8.