A's Score Often and Late to Trump Cubs at Fitch
Chris Bostick, Kelvin Rojas, Rhett Stafford, and Miguel Marte ripped consecutive two-out RBI hits in the top of the 8th to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead, as the AZL Athletics scored six runs over the final two innings to defeat the AZL Cubs 8-4 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
Cubs 2011 17th round draft pick John Andreoli (U. Conn) made his pro debut today, playing RF and batting 6th. He reached base in each of his first three plate appearances, lining a first-pitch opposite-field single into RF in his first pro AB, grounding a single sharply between short and third in his second AB (and then stealing 2nd base), and walking and later scoring a run his third time up. He popped out to the catcher on a bunt attempt on his 4th PA.
Andreoli displayed a strong arm in RF and plus-speed on the bases. The big question with him is how much he will hit at the higher levels, and whether he will ever hit for power. He reminds me of a RH version of Jim Adduci.
18-year old LHP Brian Smith (Cubs 2010 40th round draft pick - Canadian Junior National Team) got the start for the Cubs today, and worked three innings (59 pitches - 40 strikes). He allowed two first-inning runs with one out on a single, a double, and a triple by Bostick, Rojas, and Stafford (respectively), but left Stafford stranded at 3rd and threw shutout ball in the 2nd and 3rd. Overall Smith allowed two runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out five (all swinging). He threw a lot of pitches (59) in his three innings, but he also got a couple of big strikeouts when he needed them.
In 12 games (10 GS) in what is definitely a hitter's league, Smith is 3-3 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP, with 19/37 BB/K and only one HR allowed in 39.1 IP.
After having a 16-game hitting streak stopped last Thursday, Marco Hernandez has started another one, this time five games and counting (and 21 out of 22). Hernandez smacked an RBI double (near HR) down the RF line and off the fence in the bottom of the 3rd today (although he was thrown-out trying to stretch the double into a triple), and is now 9-22 over his last five games. Overall he is hitting 354/392/516, and is tied for second in the AZL in doubles, is 3rd in RBI, 6th in runs scored, 7th in batting average (teammate Gioskar Amaya is 6th), and is tied for 8th in the league in triples.
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!