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.