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.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.