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.