Mr. Rogers Not So Friendly at Fitch Park
On an injury rehab assignment in the Arizona League, veteran AAA 3B Ed Rogers doubled twice and drove-in two runs, leading the AZL Diamondbacks to a 7-1 victory over the AZL Cubs at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
Beefy Cubs 2011 2nd round draft pick Dan Vogelbach (Bishop Verot HS - Ft. Myers, FL) made his pro debut in the game, serving as the DH and batting clean-up.
Famous for winning the 2010 International Power Showcase at Chase Field in Phoenix with a towering 508-ft HR, the 18-year old lefty swinging Vogelbach--who gave up a chance to play college ball at the University of Florida when he signed with the Cubs last week--flied out to the warning track in right-centerfield in his first pro AB, struck out swinging (and looked bad doing it) his second time up, popped out to left in his 3rd AB, and grounded an opposite-field single through the 5.5 hole in his final AB in the bottom of the 9th. He reminds me a bit of ex-KC Royals 1B Bob Hamelin.
Both Cubs 2011 25th round pick Rock Shoulders ($294K signing bonus = "4th round money") and Vogelbach ($1.6M signing bonus) were in the lineup (Shoulders played 1B), hitting 3-4. Like Vogelbach, Shoulders also went 1-4, ripping a single down the LF line in the 7th. Shoulders is bottom-heavy and can barely run, stopping at 1st base on what should have been an easy double. The switch-hitting Shoulders led Florida JUCO in HR this season, and clearly has plus-power from both sides of the plate (his rope-single down the LF line today was hit RH).
While Vogelbach and Shoulders will probably be competing with each other for playing time at 1B as they work their way up through the Cubs system in coming years, it is conceivable that Shoulders could (if he can get into better physical shape) eventually end-up at another position (he was a catcher in HS, and has the arm to play 3B). He has the body-type normally associated with a catcher.
LHP Brian Smith (Cubs 2010 40th round draft pick - Canadian Junior National Team) got the start for the Cubs and threw three shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 3.40 (8th best in the AZL). While Smith did not surrender a run, he did allow two hits (a double and a single), three walks, a WP, and a balk, and was fortunate to escape unscathed (the D'backs stranded six runners over the course Smith's three innings of work). The 18-year old southpaw labored throughout his outing, throwing 59 pitches (only 33 strikes), including a 26-pitch 2nd inning. He did strike out four (three swinging), however.
While the Cubs offense was mostly quiet today, Gioskar Amaya had two more hits. The 18-year old Venezuelan is 6-12 over his last three games, and is now hitting a robust 359/401/495. He is 3rd in the AZL in triples, and 5th in the league in both AVG & RBI.
I think while I get you're saying with moving around a lot of baseball is very rhythm based and for many players moving around a lot could disrupt that. It's the same reason many players aren't cut out for phing or dhing since they need to be in the rhythm of the game to hit.
Of course then you have players like LaStella who are terrible as starters and should only PH. Really hope Madden doesn't get enthralled with him starting too much.
KKVG: Among the players at Extended Spring Training, Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive position-player from the Cubs 2015-16 IFA class (I'm not including OF Eddy Julio Martinez, because he skipped EXST and began the season at South Bend). Paredes has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely eventually end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the Cubs 2015-16 IFA position players who could.
Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?
It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.
In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.
I hope Maddon can keep it going.
(It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.
bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...
felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size
13ip 4h 3bb 20K
remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.
this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.
Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...
also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.
also also, the wsox are 19-8.