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.