Dos Cabezas RBI Better Than Uno

Yaniel Cabezas lined a walk-off bases-loaded RBI single into the LF corner with one out in the bottom of the 9th, as the Cubs rallied for two runs in the final frame to edge the Giants 3-2 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.  



Down 2-1, the EXTREMELY patient Garrett Schlecht led off the bottom of the 9th for the Cubs by drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Rubi Silva then laid down what was intended to be a sacrifice bunt, but it turned out to be a bunt single as the Giants third-baseman could not make a play. Danny Lockhart followed by laying down another bunt, and this time the ball was fielded by the third-baseman, but the throw to 1st base ticked-off the second-baseman’s glove and into RF foul territory, allowing Schlecht to score from 2nd base with the tying run, Silva to advance to 3rd, and Lockhart to take 2nd base. The Giants opted to pitch to hot-hitting (429/551/857) Micah Gibbs, but he drew a walk anyway, loading the bases with no outs. Neftali Rosario then struck out swinging with the bases loaded, leaving it up to Yaniel Cabezas. And Cabezas came through, hammering a line-drive into the LF corner to score Silva from 3rd base and give the Cubs the victory.


Cabezas drove-in the first Cubs run as well, ripping an opposite-field RBI single over the second-baseman’s head with one out in the bottom of the 4th, driving-in Micah Gibbs from 3rd base. Gibbs had reached base on a lead-off triple (near HR) off the right-centerfield fence.


The 22-year old Cabezas was a Cuban defector who signed with the Cubs last December for a reported $500K bonus. Cabezas played on the Cuban Junior National Team and for Los Vaqueros de La Habana (Serie Nacional) with fellow Cubs minor leaguer 2B-OF Rubi Silva. Cabezas and Silva defected together, and both players signed with the Cubs on the same day (12-15-2010), with Silva getting a reported $1M bonus.


While Silva had a good first year in the U. S. (he hit 285/305/392 combined between Peoria & Daytona, and he was 4th in the MWL in triples), Cabezas struggled at the plate with the AZL Cubs and at Boise (combined 202/284/260). However, Cabezas did hit a team-leading 356/402/520 with a team-leading 17 RBI in 82 PA with the EXST Cubs in April & May prior to the start of the short-season leagues in June, and was arguably the EXST Cubs MVP. (Cabezas also threw out 27% of opposing base-stealers in 44 games behind the plate with AZL Cubs & Boise).


Cabezas is currently hitting 348/423/391 and playing solid defense behind the plate at Instructs (which is approximately equivalent to Boise), and despite his offensive struggles with the AZL Cubs and the Boise Hawks in 2011, I think it is likely that he will be the #1 catcher at Peoria on Opening Day 2012.  


RHP Dillon Maples (Cubs 2011 14th round draft pick - $2.5M bonus) made his second Instructs appearance, throwing two shutout innings (28 pitches - 15 strikes). He allowed a single and a double, and he hit a batter (and almost hit two more). He was behind on almost every hitter, and the outs he did get were mainly ground balls on low-90's two-seamers (and he did not rack up any strike outs). He also benefitted from a CS. But at least he looked better than he did in his pro debut last week, when he walked three and couldn't retire the side before reaching his pitch limit.


Ex-Cubs Shawon Dunston, Sr and Lee Smith were at the game today (both are serving as instructors with the Giants), so Shawon Sr got a chance to see his son play (although Shawon Jr is presently buried deep in a 1-25 slump). 


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


LINEUP:
1. Rubi Silva, 2B: 2-4 (4-3, 1B, 5-3, 1B, R)
2. Danny Lockhart, 3B: 0-3 (L-1, 6-3, 4-3, SH-E4)
3. Micah Gibbs, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 3B, 1-4-3, BB, R)
4. Neftali Rosario, DH-C: 0-4 (K, K, 6-3, K)
5. Yaniel Cabezas, C-DH: 2-4 (K, 1B, 4-3, 1B, 2 RBI)
6. Shawon Dunston, Jr, LF: 0-2 (4-3, 1-3 SH, 3-1)
7. Trey Martin, CF: 0-3 (6-3, K, F-7)
8. Justin Marra, DH #2: 1-3 (1B, P-4, L-1)
9. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-3 (6-4-3 DP, 1B, F-8)
10. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-2 (1B, F-8, BB, R)


PITCHERS:
1. Zac Rosscup: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 21 pitches (10 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
2. Dillon Maples: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 28 pitches (15 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
3. Matt Spencer: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 30 pitches (18 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Amaury Paulino: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 22 pitches (13 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
5. Felix Pena: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 23 pitches (18 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
6. Scott Weismann: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 13 pitches (9 strikes)


ERRORS: 2
1. SS Carlos Penalver - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. C Neftali Rosario - E-2 (dropped pop foul fly)


CATCHERS DEFENSE
1. Yaniel Cabezas: 1-3 CS
2. Neftali Rosario: 1 E (see above)


ATTENDANCE: 21


WEATHER: Sunny with a gentle breeze, and with temperatures in the 80’s

Comments

Any velocity readings on Paulino? The line looks really nice - did the stuff match up with it?

Submitted by toonsterwu on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 1:00am.
Any velocity readings on Paulino? The line looks really nice - did the stuff match up with it?

====================================

TOONSTER: I don't have any velo readings on Amaury Paulino from yesterday, but he got lots of swings & misses with his fastball and breaking ball.

Yesterday was Paulino's first decent Instructs outing after three poor ones:

1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K
1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K
1.0 IP, 1 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP

After struggling at EXST, Paulino spent most of the Summer on the AZL Cubs 60-day DL, before getting reactivated on August 20th.

2011 has been pretty much a lost season for Paulino, so finishing strong should be good for his confidence going into next season.

Hey Phil,

Any thoughts on who might be the most exciting player at instructs this year?

Submitted by Charlie on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 8:34am.
Hey Phil,

Any thoughts on who might be the most exciting player at instructs this year?

================================

CHARLIE: Certainly it's Dan Vogelbach.

When he comes up to the plate everybody stops talking and watches him hit. You never know when he's going to drop a tape-measure bomb.

The more I see of Vogelbach, the more I think of John Kruk, although Vogelbach has more pure power than Kruk did in his playing days.

Vogelbach seems a really good-natured kid, nothing seems to bother him. I guess he knows that he can silence any teasing he might get by just dropping the head of his bat on a pitch.

Thanks, AZ!

Just wondering, what are your thoughts on Rosscup and Weismann? Any chance they could make it to Chicago, or are they just organizational guys?

Rosscup and Weismann are dead.

Submitted by Koyies Bansaw on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 8:48am.
Just wondering, what are your thoughts on Rosscup and Weismann? Any chance they could make it to Chicago, or are they just organizational guys?

==================================

K-BANSAW: Zac Rosscup probably has a better chance of making it to Chicago than Scott Weismann.

When healthy, Rosscup is a control guy with three solid pitches (a 90 MPH sinker, a curve, and a change-up) who throws strikes and keeps the ball down (he had not surrendered a HR in 80+ IP in pro ball prior to this season). I would compare him to Chris Rusin.

Scott Weismann was a rotation starter at Clemson until mid-season 2011 (he and Cubs LHP Casey Harman were rotation starters on the Clemson Tigers CWS team in 2010) when he was moved to closer, and he really took to the job. He throws a low 90's sinker, a slider, and a cutter, and while he might be used as a closer or set-up guy at Peoria and Daytona, he probably projects as a middle-reliever at the upper levels.

What does Spencer hit on radar gun? Listened to Smokies broadcast one night when he did mopup/blowout duty and announcer said stadium gun showed 99. Likely inaccurate, but he threw in low 90's as 18 year old at high school near here. Can he help as pitcher?

Submitted by Justin Tyme on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 10:09am.
What does Spencer hit on radar gun? Listened to Smokies broadcast one night when he did mopup/blowout duty and announcer said stadium gun showed 99. Likely inaccurate, but he threw in low 90's as 18 year old at high school near here. Can he help as pitcher?

====================================

JUSTIN: I don't have velo readings on Spencer, but he definitely throws hard (sort of like Wild Thing in Major League). The problem is he has a lot of difficulty controling his fastball.

His curve ball is actually a much better pitch, because at least he can throw it for strikes.

I don't know if this us 3/44, but Pete Gammons says the Astros are moving to the AL. I always thought it was bullshit having 6 teams in the NL Central. This certainly can't hurt the Cubs chances of making it to the promise land, even though the Astros are turrible.

This certainly can't hurt the Cubs chances of making it to the promise land

Couldn't it? Doesn't the extreme suckitude of one (or more *ahem Pirates) team in the division increase the chances of winning the Wild Card?

If it happens, I'll miss watching games played in that park. I'll also miss Cubs domination of the shitty-ass Astros lineup. Wood's 20-k game and Zambrano's no-hitter both came against the Astros. Even Ryan O'Malley managed 8 innings of shutout ball against them in 2006 and had casual fans around the net campaigning for him to have a rotation spot in 07.

They were also NL champs in 2005.

Yeah, too remember that shitty-ass Astros lineup that Wood dominated. This was a team that only won 102 games and lead the league in runs scored.

They only made the playoff six times (and as noted the WS once with 6x2nd place non playoff finishes) since the NL Central started. They're definitely much worse than our beloved Cubs (4 playoffs, no WS and no additional 2nd place finishes).

Yeah, the Wood case was different. The shitty Astro offenses I'm remembering are mostly the last 3-4 years. And the Astros are not the perennial losers that the Pirates have been. The only way the Astros not being in the division could even hurt the Cubs slightly is in the short term--as their franchise rebuilds--and that's only in the sense that having a couple teams to beat up on slightly improves a team's chances for the Wild Card.

Zambrano did seem to love to face the Astros, especially in Houston. But Zambrano is probably gone, too.

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  • Here are some possible corresponding minor league moves we might see in the aftermath  of the Chapman trade: 

    SOUTH BEND to MYRTLE BEACH: OF Donnie Dewees and INF Bryant Flete  

    EUGENE to SOUTH BEND: OF Robert Garcia and INF Vimael Machin 

    There is really no reason to replace Billy McKinney at Tennessee because both Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler are doing their rehab at Tennessee.  

    And there are plenty of pitchers at Iowa. No need to replace Warren at AAA. .  

    Arizona Phil 8 min 38 sec ago view
  • I am 70 years old. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. I was born in 1946. I hate to lose a prospect like Torres, but when the opportunity is there to get that World Series ring, you go for it. This was the idea in stock piling all this young talent. I would like to see Reddick added now and the Cubbies should be done.

    Hagsag 39 min 5 sec ago view
  • I would expect Richard to accept an optional assignment because based on how he's played this season, there is a decent chance that he won't find work elsewhere. Rather stay and potentially get a ring. Same goes for Coghlan since he's struggled mightily this year.

    Edwards should not go down. He's pitched very well and Maddon is very impressed with him. I would expect Grimm to go down for Cahill so he can get back on track (he's pitched better in July, but he's not getting enough appearances).

    chitownmvp01 42 min 39 sec ago view
  • chitownmvp01: Indeed Clayton Richard would seem to be odd man out once Chapman reports, but Richard might accept a minor league assignment if he is promised a return to Chicago on 9/1 when MLB Active List rosters expand (Richard has minor league ioptions left).

    Arizona Phil 45 min 39 sec ago view
  • The only player in the deal that would cause me a second thought is Gleyber Torres.

    McKinney and Crawford are decent prospects but both are redundant/replaceable in the system and Warren was really only a middle-reliever or #6 starter, so to me it's really just Torres for Chapman.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 6 min ago view
  • There is no Comp pick for players traded mid-season. 2+ months of Chapman is it.

    mbauer 1 hour 8 min ago view
  • to get one of the best you have to give up one/some of your best...but it's a bit painful to watch the system's best prospect walk for any 2-3 month rental, especially one that's not an everyday player.

    crunch 1 hour 10 min ago view
  • I assume Chapman will replace Richard on the roster, but who goes down when Cahill gets activated? Maybe Grimm?

    And when Soler and Coghlan get healthy, how do they fit them on the roster when they're ready to be activated?

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 13 min ago view
  • We are giving up a lot, but it's not like we're trading Addison Russell for 2+ months of Jason Hammel. When impact players become available, they are going to cost you. The other bids could also have been high.

    Having Chapman as a rental is potentially less disruptive than having him come in with an extension in place. 

    CTSteve 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • Billy McKinney had season-ending knee surgery last August and came to Minor League Camp this year somewhat restricted. (He was used mostly as a DH in Cactus League Minor League Camp games), and I'm not sure he's 100% right now (he's repeating AA, and his XBH numbers are way down, like he's not getting good rotation in his lowev half). That might have been part of the reason why the trade wasn't completed right away.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 23 min ago view
  • Rashad Crawford was a basketball star in HS (he was known as "Baby Jordan", and baseball was only his second sport) and he has plus-speed and athleticism, so when the Cubs drafted him (Keith Lockhart was the scout)  he was seen as a long-term project.  

    I was at Fitch Park the day that Rashad Crawford became a LH hitter, He waa never a switch-hitter, He went directly from being a RH hitter to a LH hitter, which I had never seen before. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 30 min ago view
  • I'm with Rob G and Johann here. It's not about Chapman as a pitcher. I just don't want to have to block out a real problem (the domestic violence) in order to try to enjoy the frivolous ball and stick game.

    Charlie 1 hour 39 min ago view
  • ROB G & BOB R: You're right. The QO can only be extended if the player spends the entire previous season with one club, so only the Yankees could have offered one to Chapman (if he wasn't traded). If an Article XX-B FA is traded during the season, the new club can't offer a QO. .

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 39 min ago view
  • i was going off what AZPhil said above...they keep talking about tweaking the rules, i didn't know if that had been changed or not. my winter/spring was way too hectic aside from a couple weeks vacation in janurary and i missed a lot of stuff.

    if not, this is one hell of an expensive trade for what looks to be 30-40 innings of play...including the playoffs. damn.

    crunch 1 hour 51 min ago view
  • Did the QO rules change?

    unless there's a TARDIS involved, I dont believe that's a possibility

    Rob G. 1 hour 55 min ago view
  • I didn't think you could offer a QO to a player who was traded during the season? For example, Lester was not offered a QO when the Cubs signed him.

    Rob Richardson 1 hour 56 min ago view