The Candy Man Can Do
Jeimer Candelario singled and doubled and knocked-in a run, helping the Cubs defeat the Angels 3-1 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe.
A 17-year old switch-hitting corner infielder who was born in New York City and raised in the Dominican Republic, Candelario has had an impressive Instructs so far, hitting 298/366/459 while playing mostly 3B and occasionally 1B (as he did today).
Signed by the Cubs for a reported $500K bonus during the International Signing Period in 2010, Candelario had a smashing pro debut, hitting 337/443/478 for DSL Cubs #2 during the 2011 regular season (he ended up tied for second in the league in both walks and RBI, and was 4th in OPS, 5th in doubles, 6th in OBP, and 7th in batting average), and while it’s not likely, it’s also not totally out of the realm of possibility that he could open the 2012 season at Peoria.
Candelario is an advanced hitter, especially from the left side. He has a large frame that could eventually translate to plus-HR power as he fills out. He already has plus bat speed from the left-side, with solid gap power. The only question is if he has the glove to play 3B, or if he might have to move to another corner (1B, LF, or RF) somewhere down the line.
With Candelario playing 1B, 16-year old switch-hitting Venezuelan bonus baby Mark Malave saw his first action at 3B.
A 6’3 wide-body who received a reported $1.6M signing bonus at the start of the International Signing Period this past July (and who probably would have been a highly-sought after HS recruit as an offensive tackle had he grown up in the U. S.), Malave will likely get playing time at C-1B-3B over the next few years while the Cubs figure out if he can remain a catcher and/or if he has the bat needed to play corner infield. He has raw power and a good eye at the plate right now (although inability to make consistent contact is an issue), and even if he remains a catcher, having the versatility to play 1B & 3B will come in handy on days he is not catching.
Here is the abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Rubi Silva, 2B-DH: 1-4 (1B, 2-U, 3-U, F-7, R, RBI)
2. Danny Lockhart, SS: 1-4 (2B, 3-U, 1-3, K, R)
3. Jeimer Candelario, 1B: 2-4 (4-3, 2B, F-9, 1B, RBI)
4. Dan Vogelbach, DH #1: 1-4 (2B, K, P-5, 3-U, RBI)
5. Jeffrey Baez, DH #2: 0-4 (K, 5-3, 6-3, 5-3)
6. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-3 (K, 4-3, 6-3)
7. Shawon Dunston, Jr, LF: 0-3 (4-3, 3-U, 4-3)
8. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-3 (K, F-9, K)
9. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-2 (BB, 1B, L-5, R)
10. Trey Martin, CF: 1-2 (4-3, 1B, BB, SB)
11a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 1ST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
11b. Carlos Penalver, 2B: 0-1 (K)
1. Luis Liria: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 20 pitches (13 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
2. Austin Reed: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 32 pitches (22 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
3. Tayler Scott: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 32 pitches (24 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
4. Starling Peralta: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 31 pitches (19 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
5. Jose Arias: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (11 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
P Starling Peralta - E-1 (throwing error on sacrifice bunt attempt allowed batter to reach base safely)
Neftali Rosario: 0-3 CS, 1 PB
WEATHER: Sunny with a gentle breeze and temperatures in the 90’s
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.