Rosey Debut for Cub Draft Pick in Mesa
Making his professional debut, Cubs 2011 6th round draft pick Neftali Rosario (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy) belted an RBI double to drive-in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 5th, but the bullpen could not hold the lead as the AZL Mariners rallied to score six runs over the final four innings, defeating the AZL Cubs 10-6 in Arizona League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this evening.
The 17-year old right-handed hitting Rosario struck out in both of his first two at bats (and looked bad doing it), before delivering a laser-shot liner off the top of the LF fence on a 2-2 slider that drove-in Dong-Yub Kim from second-base, and missed being a two-run HR by inches.
Rosario also looped a single to right-center in the 7th, and lined a rocket (unfortunately) right at the third-baseman for the final out of the game.
Rosario showed-off his arm from behind the plate, too, nabbing two base-stealers, and throwing out another trying to take an extra base on a Wild Pitch.
On the negative side, while he has a strong arm, he has a lot of work to do on his catching mechanics & receiving skills. He was charged with one Passed Ball (could have been two), and was consistently unable to block pitches in the dirt, resulting in four Wild Pitches charged against Cubs pitchers.
Rosario also is a sucker for high fastballs, swinging through most every one he saw. But when he did connect, he displayed outstanding bat-speed and plus-power.
He reminds me a lot of Welington Castillo.
While the Cubs pitchers struggled throughout the game, the offense did not.
Playing 3B tonight (he moves around between 2B-3B-SS, but his best defensive position is 3B), Gioskar Amaya had three more hits, raising his slash line to 400/435/488 (he is now 4th in the AZL in hitting). The 18-year old Venezuelan also scored two runs, stole a base, and laid-down a picture-perfect textbook sacrifice bunt. He is a magician with the bat, an ideal #2 hitter.
With Taiwan Easterling having been promoted to Peoria and Zeke DeVoss having been moved up to Boise, 18-year old Dominican CF Oliver Zapata is back in his accustomed lead-off slot, where he has excelled all year. He reached base three more times tonight on two singles and a walk, and he also stole a base and scored a run. A 5'9, round, bowling ball of a young man with a Kirby Puckett-like physique, the speedy switch-hitting Zapata has taken the lead-off gig very seriously, shortening his swing and following each pitch into the catcher's glove, just like Pete Rose used to do. As a result, he leads the AZL in walks. He also has been running the bases with abandon, having stolen 10 (good for 3rd the AZL) while getting thrown-out just twice.
After missing six weeks with a broken hand suffered when he was hit by a pitch in the final game of Extended Spring Training, OF Jesus Morelli returned to the AZL Cubs lineup Monday night versus the AZL Dodgers, going 0-3 with a walk. But he had a very good game tonight against the Mariners, driving-in a run with an RBI single in the bottom of the 3rd, and clubbing a game-tying 400+ ft solo HR over the left-centerfield fence in the bottom of the 5th. He also threw out a runner trying to score on a fly ball out to LF. (Morelli has a RF arm, so it's almost "no contest" when the opposition tries runs on him when he's playing LF).
Morelli was seemingly destined for a return trip ticket to Boise when he suffered the broken hand (he spent most of last season at Boise, too), so he probably won't be staying in Mesa too much longer. It would just be a matter of clearing a roster slot for him at Boise. (Actually, when he leaves, he really should be going to Peoria).
And after spending most of the season on the AA Tennessee Smokies DL with a broken hand, OF Jim Adduci has finally returned to action over the past few days in Mesa, and he continued his rehab tonight, playing RF and getting five plate appearances for the AZL Cubs. He popped out, flied out, grounded out, singled, and was called out on strikes. While he looks like he is probably ready to return to Tennessee, there may not be room for him there at this time, what with Jae-Hoon Ha, Matt Spencer, Ty Wright, and Nelson Perez all vying for playing time in the crowded Smokies outfield.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.