Tribe Trusts the Fungus, As Luigi Leads the Way
Luigi Rodriguez belted a two-run HR, tripled, scored twice, and made a run-saving diving catch, leading the AZL Indians to a 10-2 thumping of the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action tonight at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
An 18-year old speedy, switch-hitting Dominican CF, Rodriguez leads the AZL in batting average, is second in OBP, and is 4th in SLG, after leading the Dominican Summer League in triples and stolen bases last season. He is the likely front-runner for 2011 AZL MVP, and if the Cubs do make a stretch-drive deal with the Indians, and if I'm Jim Hendry, I'll take Luigi Rodriguez, thank you.
There weren't many bright spots for the AZL Cubs tonight, although Marco Hernandez did reach base three times (a single, a double, and a walk), Oliver Zapata (who was yanked out of Friday night's game after dropping a pop fly in the top of the 1st inning) reached base twice on a single and a walk (his AZL-leading 18th walk), and recently-signed 21st round draft pick LHRP Andrew McKirahan (U. of Texas) retired the Indians easily over his two innings of work, six-up and six-down. The 21-year old McKirahan was a lefty reliever for the Texas Longhorns, and pitched in the College World Series last month. No question he is WAY too advanced for the AZL, and in fact I would say he probably could handle a promotion to Peoria right now.
Another recently-signed collegian made his professional-debut in tonight's game, as 21-year old catcher Taylor Davis (2011 NDFA - Morehead State) got the start behind the plate for the AZL Cubs. He went 1-3 with an RBI single and a walk in four Plate Appearances.
Davis was an offensive force at Morehead State this past season (his junior year), putting up a staggering 414/510/736 line (with 13 HR) over 47 games, good for 6th in NCAA D-1 in SLG % (one spot ahead of current Boise 1B Paul Hoilman) and 9th in OBP %. However, Davis has a big leg-kick and an upper-cut swing that might not translate too well to pro ball, his receiving skills are just so-so (at best), and he has a weak & scatter-gun throwing arm. Maybe that's why he was not selected in last month's draft despite the rather gaudy offensive numbers at MSU.
Recently-signed 2011 13th round draft pick OF Trey Martin (Brookwood HS - Snellville, GA) is in uniform but has yet to make his game debut. The 18-year old Martin is a lanky (almost skinny) long-striding outfielder who gave up a chance to play college ball at Kennessaw State when he signed with the Cubs last week.
Tonight's game in Mesa was the last scheduled night game and the last home game at HoHoKam Park for the AZL Cubs this year. For the balance of the 2011 season the AZL Cubs will be playing their home games (and road games, too) at 11 AM (MST), and remaining home games will be played at Fitch Park.
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
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