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.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.