Cubs Pitching & Defense Frustrates A's at Fitch Park

Micah Gibbs ripped a solo home run and an RBI single, Danny Lockhart had three hits including an RBI double, and six pitchers combined to throw a five-hit shutout, as the Cubs whitewashed the Athletics 6-0 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.  

20-year old RHP Ian Dickson (Cubs 2011 35th round draft pick out of Lafayette College) made his pro debut today, getting the start and throwing one inning. Dickson pitched-around a first-pitch lead-off double, retiring the next three A’s hitters on a strikeout (swinging) and two 6-3 GO. Dickson missed the 2011 college baseball season after suffering a torn ACL in 2010, but Cubs scouts apparently had seen enough of him in previous years to offer him a contract at the 8/15 deadline once he proved he was 100%.

Besides the Gibbs HR and Lockhart’s three hits, today’s game featured two excellent defensive plays by Cubs players.

Reggie Golden showed-off his plus arm, making an outstanding pinpoint throw from CF to nail an A’s runner trying to score from 2nd base on a line-drive single to CF with two outs in the top of the 2nd inning, and 2B Rubi Silva made a terrific turn on a 6-4-3 DP in the 5th.

Although he played mostly OF this past season at Peoria and Daytona, Silva looks very comfortable at 2B, making four other nice plays on grounders to retire A’s hitters today (each play harder than the previous one), and showing off his plus-arm on two of them. Scouts in attendance were impressed (and apparently surprised) with Silva’s play-making skills at 2B.

While Cubs 2011 3rd round draft pick 2B-LF Zeke DeVoss (U. of Miami) is probably better-suited to play LF, it would appear that Silva does have the skills required to play 2B. So don’t be surprised if the Daytona Cubs 2012 Opening Day lineup features Rubi Silva at 2B.

Silva played for the Cuban Junior National Team and then later for Havana in Serie Nacional (the Cuban major league) prior to defecting, and received a reported $1M bonus when he signed with the Cubs last December.

Here is the abridged box score (Cubs players only):

1. Rubi Silva, 2B-DH: 0-4 (1-3, K, 3-U, 4-3)
2. Danny Lockhart, SS-2B: 3-4 (1B, K, 2B, 1B, R, RBI)
3a. Rafael Lopez, C: 1-2 (1B, 5-3)
3b. Alberto Mineo, PH: 1-1 (1B, RBI)
3c. Mark Malave, C: 0-1 (K)
4. Reggie Golden, CF: 0-3 (K, 1-3, 6-3, BB, R)
5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 2-4 (K, 1B, 3-1, 1B, 2 R)
6. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 1-4 (1B, K, F-7, 4-3)
7. Micah Gibbs, DH #1: 2-3 (HBP, HR, 4-3, 1B, R, 2 RBI)
8a. Yaniel Cabezas, DH #2: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, 5-3)
8b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-1 (4-3)
9. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-3 (1-3, 1-3, K)
10. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 0-2 (K, BB, L-5, R)

1. Ian Dickson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 24 pitches (16 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
2. Frank Del Valle: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 BALK, 30 pitches (18 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Dustin Fitzgerald: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 25 pitches (12 strikes), 5/0 GO/FO
4. Austin Reed: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 21 pitches (11 strikes), 3/3 GO/FO
5. Luis Liria: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 9 pitches (5 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
6. Andrew McKirahan: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 16 pitches (11 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO


Rafael Lopez: 0-2 CS

CF Reggie Golden threw out base-runner 8-2 trying to score from 2nd base on a line drive single to CF

ATTENDANCE: 18 (mostly scouts)

WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 90’s


My favorite time of the year (since the Cubs usually suck) -- AZ Phil Post Time.

Seems like every time I read one of these posts so far this year there's some guy I've never heard of who has signed a huge bonus. I guess Ricketts is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to player development.

I've always kinda wondered what would happen if a team focused on pouring massive amounts of money into player development as opposed to free agency. Instead of signing the Carl Crawfords of the world for $100 mil or whatever it was, pour that money into signing these Latin kids.

Things could get interesting in a few years if I'm still alive to see it. Cough cough.

Maddon names Matt Moore Game 1 starter, Shields for Game 2

Speaking of Moore, anybody know how an 8th rounder in 2007 becomes the most promising young lefty in the league in 2011? Not only the Cubs, but every other team including the Rays found other players to draft in the first seven rounds.

If you look at Moore's numbers, he's been great at every level since he was 19. It's not like they had to teach him something.

only a $115K signing bonus too

seems like they pretty much just got lucky, command was his big issue but has steadily improved year after year.

another writeup mentioning his mechanics and how they improved

nonetheless, certainly a lot of teams missed out on his ceiling. I wonder what he was throwing in high school? Command and mechanics issues aside, mid 90's fastballs get drafted in the upper 3-4 rounds regardless in most cases and judging by his signing bonus, college wasn't much of a factor.

Plus he's a lefty, that should have gotten him drafted before the end of the supplmental round... who knows though? Ryne Sandberg got drafted late because his brother went to college.

It's also possible his mechanical problems may have resulted in missing velocity as well as control.

fwiw, Keith Law says on twitter that Moore was smaller at time of draft and didn't have the arm speed.

He seemed to be listed at 6'2" at the draft and that's what he's listed at now.

Pena and Ramirez Type B's, although Ramirez pretty close to Type A

Dempster a Type A, Wood a Type B

Rob- how do MLB devise the ratings ?

It's in the CBA, but I think a healthy dose of Vodka is involved too.

So Aram is type b because his numbers not as good as 1b fa and/or fielding % and time on dl ?

A combination of the missed playing time, and that he doesn't get to as many balls as Placido Polanco or Brandon Phillips while playing third.

I commented the other day how his latest injury probably killed his chances. It looked like he was too far out to make up the ground as of Sept 14th but these rankings (I think)
are weighted, so because he was having a good season this year, he was bearing down on type A (moved up five slots, despite missing time).

The really really really stupid thing is grouping center fielders with DH's and 1st basemen.

How Ramirez is not a type A is a mystery to me. There are a number of guys who are much less valuable than him who appear to have reached type A status.

Over the last two seasons.

PA 1133 AVG .277 OBP .320, HR 51, RBI 176, Fielding percentage 94.6%, Total chances 560

PA 1125 AVG .288 OBP .323, HR 11, RBI 102, Fielding percentage 98.3%, Total chances 749

Polanco is the better player, obviously. Fangraphs has it Polanco 6.7 and Ramirez 4.0 over the last two years... I think a lot of us are forgetting how crappy Aram was last year.

Actually, I was thinking of Jeff Keppinger, Neil Walker, and Omar Infante (BABIP much?), all Type As. I've also been marveling at how Chase Headley could come up one slot ahead of Ramirez in the B rankings.

But none of these guys are free agents this year anyway. It just raises questions about the rankings for me.

If you compare middle infielders to banged up 3rd basemen using things like PA's and total chances, it's going to give you some funny results. I'd take Walker over Ramirez in a heartbeat, fwiw.

I assume you mean at current price levels?

Current price, defense, age, handedness... if you want HR's though, Aram is better.

Definitely a tale of Two A-Rams last season:
1st half: .207/.268/.380, 10HR, 32 RBI
2nd Half: .276.321/.562, 15 HR, 51 RBI

Ramirez OPS+ in 2010 95, in 2011 136
Polanco OPS+ in 2010 94, in 2011 85

Polanco is a better fielder, but really produces like a middle infielder.


The Aramis hate is a combination of sour grapes and revisionist history at this point. He's in the top 5-7 overall group for 3rd basemen in baseball over the last 10 years.


important things to remember

a) not official yet
b) they group the positions as if they are mentally challenged
c) it's 2 years worth of stats

I think b.) is the most obvious complaint to make. The fact that no one seems to be doing anything to remedy it is the annoying part.

is it march yet? :(

at least there's playoffs left...wish it was a WBC year...wish MLB network would telecast fall/winter local and international games...i don't even care if they don't have a pbp announcer...wood bat baseball woo.

Do the winter league games get broadcasted locally?

There should be some team USA games as well.

hell, team USA is local to me and they don't broadcast games.

well, they have a few times, but rarely once the durham bulls are done (they share a stadium). they pack up things for the year after the playoffs (if applicable...which, being the durham bulls it usually is). this year they started showing the games in HD, too...kinda cool.

That is pretty cool. I don't think I've seen minor league games broadcast locally with any regularity since Bo Jackson graduated from AA.

didn't they start showing the occasional AFL game last year? And I believe they started showing some of the winter ball games as well on MLB Network. I don't recall how consistently though.

Submitted by Rob G. on Fri, 09/30/2011 - 10:55am.
didn't they start showing the occasional AFL game last year? And I believe they started showing some of the winter ball games as well on MLB Network. I don't recall how consistently though.


ROB G: Yes.

The MLB network did broadcast some AFL games last year, and they also showed the Carribean Series in January.

f'n hell...we're going to have to hear about this crap being the next chicago suit for the next few weeks, too, i'd imagine...

"According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosnethal, the Red Sox are expected to part ways Friday with manager Terry Francona."

sweet, the next Cubs manager

Sox rumored interest
Theo Cub rumor also picinkg up steam

Red Sox fans say Theo Epstein is the number one reason for the September collapse

Lackey second
Crawford third
injuries fourth

Good, run them both out of town.

shit, they haven't won a World Series in 4 seasons, run him out.

Well, Epstein is largely responsible for reasons #2 and #3. And Epstein's inability to go out and get another pitcher in September was really, really odd to me.

But I still have him in the top 2 or 3 on my wish list.

What other pitchers were available in September?


I'm honestly not sure, but I find it hard to believe that there were no pitchers available that would have been better than Lackey and Wakefield.

LaRussa goes to DL...

(rolls eyes)

Hey AZ Phil,

How would you describe Gibbs as a hitter? Does he have a slow bat?

Thanks, as always!

Submitted by Charlie on Fri, 09/30/2011 - 10:40am.
Hey AZ Phil,

How would you describe Gibbs as a hitter? Does he have a slow bat?

Thanks, as always!


CHARLIE: Micah Gibbs has the proverbial "slider speed bat," but he also has an upper-cut swing & has improved his strength to where he can probably at least hit a few home runs. He already is a very good defensive catcher, so anything he can do to make himself more-valuable as a hitter would help improve his chances of making it to the big leagues.

While you would want a fast runner (like Tony Campana) to try and hit the ball on the ground as much as possible to take advantage of his speed, it is preferable for slow-footed catchers like Micah Gibbs to hit the ball in the air, and (if possible) have the power to hit home runs (if not line-drives).

BTW, with Luis Flores on the Restricted List (serving a PED suspension) for at least the first month of the 2012 regular season, it is very possible that Micah Gibbs could start the 2012 season at AA Tennessee (sharing the catching duties with Michael Brenly), at least until Flores is reinstated.

Best comp for Micah Gibbs is Koyie Hill.

Best comp for Micah Gibbs is Koyie Hill.


A day later in Chicago, the question became the same one uttered by a player amid the din that night: ‘‘You think [Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein] would leave to come here?’’

If the answer is yes — and one report Thursday suggested he has told friends he would ‘‘embrace the challenge’’ — the next sound could be the cheering coming from the Cubs’ boardroom.

Epstein has a 2012 option that has to be exercised by Oct. 8th

I think they fucked this up though, they said players originally drafted or signed, but not those that are past 6 years service time, but their Phillies blurb indicates Utley and Rollins did count.

I asked the dude on twitter if I'm missing something, but here were his rankings regardless

1. Rays (duh) - 28.1 WAR
2. Phillies
3. Brewers
4. Tigers
5. Rangers
6. DBacks
7. Yankees
8. Cardinals - 10.8 WAR

Cubs for 2011 (if I did this right): 5.1 from their hitters, 4.2 from pitching

9.3 WAR

and I was right at least on Utley and Rollins, can't be sure about whom else he may have missed

But that would knock them to 16.7 WAR and just barely ahead of Tigers

Suspect that will be higher in 2012 and probably 2013.

Soto, Castro, Barney, Jackson, Colvin, Campana, LeMahieu, Flaherty, Marwin Gonzalez, Vitters, Marquez Smith, Clevenger, Castillo. 13 position players.

Marmol, Marshall, Cashner, Wells, Carpenter, Russell, Mateo, Samardzija, Dolis, Cabrera, McNutt, Struck, Whitenack. 13 Pitchers.

Would it be a shock to see 12-15 of these 26 names on the MLB roster and contributing positively (if not extraordinarily) by 2013? And, I believe, these are all guys originally drafted or signed out of Latin America by the Cubs. I suppose we could toss Ha, Rhee, and maybe one of the other Pacific Rim pitchers in their, too.

more like Soto, Castro and ?

I'd say Brett Jackson probably has the best chance of making an impact.

Campana as a 5th OF isn't bad and probably Clevenger as a backup. I'm probably just wishcasting that Barney isn't in the lineup and if he isn't that likely means Flaherty or LeMahieu, but the rest are all who the fuck know's at this point.

fwiw, the bulk of the 9.3 from above came from Castro(2.2), Soto(1.8), Campana(1.4), Barney(1.0), Marshall (2.5), Samardzija (1.1), Marmol (0.9), Wells (0.5)


LOL, if we could just figure out a place in the lineup and field where he didn't have to hit or throw, he'd be a heckuva player.

I'd like to see him get more than sporadic as hell playing time to see if he can get on base enough to be a weapon.
Lol..I mean, I guess he'd prove himself to be a reserve guy, but geting a couple starts every 3 weeks is no way to evaluate a player is it?

Have you watched him swing the bat, though? He's just got very little going for him as a hitter. If he could learn to be an effective punch-and-judy slap hitter he'd be a fringe starter, but he's a guy who doesn't walk, k's too much, and barely has the power to hit the ball to medium-depth outfield.

He's got to learn to walk more or make more contact. A little weight in his shoulders and his forearms might actually help him control the bat a little more.

I agree Charlie. Absolutely. My point was just that I'd like to see how he does with 200-300 at bats of regular PT.'s not like the Cubs are going anywhere in 2012.

certainly not if Tony Campana is getting 200-300 PA's.

Meh..I'd rather see him full time, than Marlon Byrd. Fewer barely league average vets over 30 please.

The problem is that there's no league adjustment required for him.

"Here's a 90 MPH fastball, right down the middle, do your worst."

Walks aren't totally a function of pitcher respect, but they've got to respect you a little.

Good point TRN. I don't really think he'd be that great....just saying, I hate to write him off by judging his ultra-sporadic playing time this season.
I guess I'm really hoping for:
LF:Soriano/LaHair platoon
RF:Byrd/FA Outfielder
Bench: Skinny Dick or Byrd, Campana...someone else?

write him off because he's Tony Campana

are you excited to see Joey Gathright play?

that being said, especially if they keep Soriano around, he's a perfectly adequate 5th OF type

Unless the Cubs sign Fielder and Wilson for next year and make like they're trying to compete, I don't have any problem with sticking him out there for a good chunk of the season, unless he totally implodes. He's fun to watch the 30% of the time he gets on base.

Let's not forget that the Tampa Bays model we're all envious of starts with "get a top 10 pick for 8 years in a row". Campana can help there.

I'm totally ok with Campana being the 5th Outfielder/Defensive replacement/Late inning strategic tool on the 2012 Cubs.

He's like the white Ced Landrum/Eric Yelding of years past.

"I guess I'm really hoping for:
LF:Soriano/LaHair platoon
RF:Byrd/FA Outfielder
Bench: Skinny Dick or Byrd, Campana...someone else?"

I see the Cubs filling several starting spots with homegrown talent--Soto, Castro, Cashner, Wells, Jackson, Whoever Plays Second--and then having a steady supply of OK-to-Good minor leaguers to fill in for injured players or occupy the majority of the bench roles--Flaherty, Gonzalez, LeMahieu, Campana, Colvin, Clevenger, Castillo, Smith, etc., etc. And then there is the neverending parade of homegrown relief pitchers, who at some points may make positive contributions.

Campana managed a 1.4 contribution as a bench player this season and Samardzija a 1.1 as a middle reliever. Get a handful of solid performances from minor role players, and then you can stack that on top of whatever you get from Castro, Soto, and ?. I don't see the Cubs reaching 14 without a few homegrown stars, but they could get up to 11 or so.

I'm also guessing that Castro, Soto, Cashner, and maybe Wells will improve on their 2011 contributions. On the other hand, Samardzija and a couple others will probably regress a bit.

well I like to imagine a World Series win for the Cubs after I win the lottery.

and then having a steady supply of OK-to-Good minor leaguers to fill in for injured players or occupy the majority of the bench roles

that's been the theory for however long I've been on this blog and then Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker play instead.

but sure, it certainly should improve. We'll see what happens...

and then Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker play instead.

Too true. And there is the turd in my HopefulO's.

I've never understood the need for mid-30's free agent bench warmers when you've got a bunch of guys in the minors who could do the same thing. And I guess I am expecting a new manager to agree and replace Hill, Johnson, Baker, etc., with Clevenger, Colvin/Campana, LeMahieu/Flaherty, etc.

Also, I'm not so far into fantasyland that I'm saying the Cubs will be good simply because they may get another WAR or two from homegrown players in the next couple years. I think you'd better have cheap homegrown players giving you more WARs when you've got Soriano giving you 1.3 WAR in return for $17 million, Zambrano giving you .9 in return for whatever he makes, and then you pay Carlos Silva to go home.

Yes, Tony Campana and Darwin Barney provided more WARs this year than Soriano and Zambrano. That is sad. It also seems like a good reason to go all-in on player development at the cost of long contracts to free agents.

Nice list and excellent overall point. I took a look recently and came up with this list of NL Central elite homegrown position players: Votto, Bruce, Stubbs, Fielder, Weeks, Braun, Walker, McCutchen, Pujols, Molina. In this group only Stubbs was drafted as recently as '06, which is where Wilken's timeline begins.

You mentioned Ha. I would say his prospecthood arrow is pointing up with his excellent half-season and playoffs in double-A at age 20.

there isn't anything elite about Drew Stubbs except how well he misses pitches

he had an elite season last year, elite player that does not make him.

nothing too elite about Neil Walker, although he's at the right age to be a lot better. Corey Hart is one guy that's certainly been better than both.

Yeah...I really liked Stubbs..had him on my minor league reserve for a season, then in my lineup in fantasy baseball. I thought he was going to break out this season....not forget how to hit the damn ball. Ugh...205 K's? He's good defensively, and can steal some bases....but he'll have to get back to 2010 least.

2010 numbers were quite good for a CF'er and plays really good defense. But that K rate is is alarming for his future...still has age on his side though.

Bjax appears to have a very similar skill set.


Jackson showing more power at an earlier age though with a few more walks. Believe Stubbs was considered a really good defender coming up, Jackson merely adequate at center and Stubbs is supposed to be faster.

Jackson does have the advantage of being a lefty though. I can't say for sure of course, but that should give him a bit of an advantage with the K's and batting average.

Jackson has certainly shown more at a younger age than Stubbs in the minors.

I actually like both players quite a bit. Contact is a nice skill to have and all. I just think it fits in under Patience and Power on the Hitting skill totem pole.

Stubbs didn't really exhibit much of any of those this year.

I think his 2010 is pretty much what most of us expect out of Jackson.

You might be right Neal....if the Cubs CF hits 22 HR/Steals 30 bases, and plays decent defense next season, I don't think anyone would be unhappy.

Luckily we can look forward to the 4 WAR season that Hayden Simpson is sure to put up in the near future.

Someday he'll hit 90 again. And then, o boy, watch out.

Right now he's on the Mark Pawelek path to stardom. Let's hope he finds an effective detour.

It is kinda' silly to ignore players who stayed with teams after free agency eligibility. It is still homegrown talent.

Danny "I need a new headshot" Knobler indicates White Sox not willing to pay big money for a manager unless it's Tony LaRussa, so don't expect Francona there.

Also, "Epstein more likely to stay and 'fix what's broken'"

Don Baylor taken out of clubhouse on a stretcher

good perspective from Brandon McCarthy that isn't your run-of-the-mill analysis

Hardest thing for Moore will be the fact the Rangers don't strikeout. Can really mess with you mentally when Ks aren't there

The Rangers don't strike out when they're not facing strikeout pitchers.

Pineda 17K's in 19 innings
Gonzales 12K's in 10 innings
Hernandez 19K's in 25 innings

That's the three top 10 K/inning guys in their division. Price got 13K's in 14 innings off of them.

I like Moore's chances.

Best comp for Micah Gibbs is Koyie Hill.
Doctor, I want a second opinion:

OK...and you're ugly too.

I take that back.

Gibbs has not (yet) sawed-off his fingers.

I wonder if the Cubs player development people think of Gibbs as organizational filler. If Quade and his people stick around, they probably think they can trade Soto because they now have a backup for Koyie Hill.

I wonder if the Cubs player development people think of Gibbs as organizational filler.

Probably not yet. Wasn't he the third round pick a year or two ago?

3rd round pick of 2010 draft...350K bonus

Recent comments

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  • deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.

  • Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?

    NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.

  • If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.

  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.