Szczur Triples Smokies to Victory
Matt Szczur tripled twice, scored twice and drove-in a run, Justin Bour had two hits and three RBI, and Matt Cerda reached base four times on a double, two singles, and a walk, leading the Tennessee Smokies to a 6-4 victory over the Midland RockHounds (Oakland A’s AA affiliate) on Field #2, but the Sacramento River Cats (A’s AAA affiliate) took advantage of seven walks and bested the Iowa Cubs 9-6 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
In addition to reaching base four times (in four plate appearances), Tennessee 3B Matt Cerda also committed three errors. So he had a full day.
Just moved up to the Tennessee squad from Daytona after two strong outings, LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke got the start for the Smokies, and allowed two runs on three hits (two singles and a double) and a walk in 2.1 IP.
After starring as a two-way player (LHP-RF) at Ooltewah HS and signing a National Letter of Intent to attend Vanderbilt University, Burke was signed by the San Diego Padres ($950K bonus) after they drafted him (as an outfielder) in the Supplemental 1st round of the June 2006 Rule 4 Draft (2006 35th overall pick). At the time, coaches and scouts who had seen Burke play were split as to whether he was a better pitcher or outfielder. (The University of Tennessee recruited him as a pitcher, Vanderbilt was going to let him do both).
After spending the last part of the 2006 season and the first part of the next season in "A" ball with San Diego, Burke was acquired by the Cubs in the Michael Barrett trade in July 2007. He struggled to establish himself as a prospect with the Cubs, until he had a breakout year in 2009 when he was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year after hitting 303/405/505 with 15 HR, 43 doubles, 14 stolen bases, and 14 outfield assists for Peoria. He could not sustain the success at Hi-A Daytona in 2010, however, hitting just .212. After he was unable to win a job at AA Tennessee in Minor League Camp last year, the Cubs approached him about trying pitching, and he agreed.
Burke spent two months at Extended Spring Training getting re-acclimated to the mound, and then was assigned to Boise the last two months pf the season. He attended the AZ Instructional League post-2011, and was the most-impressive pitcher on the Cub squad, showing a 94 MPH fastball, a plus-curve, and a solid change-up. (i had rated him as one of my in my Cubs Top 15 Prospects this past off-season).
The thing to keep in mind about Kyler Burke is that he will be an MLB Rule 55 Minor League free-agent (6YFA) after this season if the Cubs do not add him to their MLB 40-man roster by 5 PM (EDT) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the 2012 World Series.
So when the Cubs think about whether they should add Burke to their MLB 40-man roster post-2012, it's not a question of whether he is a candidate to be selected in the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft (and that they might get him back if he were to get selected), but rather it's that he could walk away as a minor league free-agent three weeks before concerns about the Rule 5 Draft are normally addressed.
The Cubs Boise/Mesa squad (which will morph into the Cubs Extended Spring Training team next month) played a contest against the Langley Blaze (a Canadian junior amateur team, and baseball alma mater of Cub minor league INF Wes Darvill) on Fitch Park Field #1 while the other games were being played on the other two fields.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only)
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
1. Zeke DeVoss, DH #1: 0-2 (HBP, 3-U, K, BB, 2 R, 2 SB)
2. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-3 (F-7, F-7, F-7, BB)
3a. Matt Szczur, CF: 2-3 (3B, 5-3, 3B, 2 R, RBI)
3b. Eliecer Bonne, CF: 0-1 (K)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 2-4 (5-3, 6-3, 1B, 1B, 3 RBI)
5. Nelson Perez, RF: 0-4 (K, K, K, K)
6. Junior Lake, SS: 0-4 (K, 6-3, K, P-4)
7a. Rafael Lopez, C: 1-3 (HR, K, K, R, RBI)
7b. Chad Noble, C: 0-1 (6-3)
8. Matt Cerda, 3B: 3-3 (BB, 1B, 2B, 1B, R)
9. John Andreoli, LF: 1-2 (3B, K, BB, BB, RBI)
10. Taiwan Easterling, DH #2: 0-4 (L-6, F-9, K, 1-4-3 DP)
1. Kyler Burke: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 42 pitches (26 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
2. Ty’Relle Harris: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 37 pitches (19 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
3. Larry Suarez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 35 pitches (16 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
4. Frank Batista: 2.0, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 30 pitches (21 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
5. Tony Zych: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
TENNESSEE ERRORS: 3
1. 3B Matt Cerda - E5 (two base throwing-error allowed batter reach 2nd base)
2. 3B Matt Cerda - E5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base)
3. 3B Matt Cerda - E5 (errant throw to 1st base on infield single allowed batter to reach 2nd base)
TENNESSEE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rafael Lopez: 0-1 CS
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
1a. Leugem Barroso, SS: 0-2 (6-3, K)
1b. Nate Samson, SS: 1-2 (E-3, 1B, R)
2. Jonathon Mota, 2B: 2-4 (E-4, 1B, 1B, P-6, R, RBI, CS)
3a. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 0-2 (F-7, K, HBP, R, SB)
3b. Abner Abreu, CF: 1-1 (1B, RBI, SB)
4a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-3 (2B, K, P-4, R, RBI)
4b. Marquez Smith, 3B: 0-0 (BB)
5. Ty Wright, LF: 1-4 (1B, K, 6-3, 6-4-3 DP, 2 RBI)
6. Michael Burgess, RF: 1-4 (6-3, 1B, K, K)
7a. Jason Jaramillo, C: 0-2 (F-7, 4-3)
7b. Mario Mercedes, C: 0-2 (F-8, 6-3)
8. Jake Opitz, 1B: 1-4 (3-U, 1B, P-6, K, R, SB)
9. Greg Rohan, DH #1: 1-3 (1B, K, 5-3, PO)
10a. Micah Gibbs, DH #2: 0-2 (4-3, K)
10b. Rebel Ridling, PH: 1-1 (1B, R)
1. Brian Schlitter: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 25 pitches (15 strikes)
2. Jeff Beliveau: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 BALK, 32 pitches (20 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Alberto Cabrera: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 35 pitches (24 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
4. Casey Weathers: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 31 pitches (14 strikes)
5. Oswaldo Martinez: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 26 pitches (15 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
6. James Pugliese: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 18 pitches (8 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
IOWA ERRORS: 1
1B Jake Opitz - E-3 (errant throw attempting to complete 3-1 putout allowed batter to reach base safely)
IOWA CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Mario Mercedes: 2-2 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 70’s
Very nice. I saw him in Lansing in May. I'm still stunned that he hit a 400-foot foul ball onto Larch Street ... which is going the other way for a right-handed batter. It was perhaps the most amazing swing I've ever seen a minor league player take. I should also mention that it was about 40 degrees out at the time. Not that it's evidence of anything per se, but I feel his plate approach is way more advanced than Soler was at this stage in his development and that the comparisons aren't really fair to Jimenez. 50/50 chance I'll go to Midland tonight for the low-A debut of Oscar de la Cruz.
Eloy Jimenez grand slam tonight. Hoping Soler power returns and gets hot but future looks bright in the outfield regardless.
Finished the night 4-5, with two doubles - 32(!) on the season - along with the grand slam. Sick
Meanwhile, out West:
SF is 2-11 since the break, lead over LA is down to one game, and they are running out Cain and Peavy this weekend against the Nats. Challenging times by the Bay.
Thanks for the updates Phil. Too bad about Frazier.
The Cubs have released RHRP Scott Frazier (2013 7th round dfraft pick - Pepperdine).
A Cubs pitching coach told me in Spring Training 2014 that he thought Frazier had the best pure stuff in the organization. Absolutely electric fastball & breaking ball combo. Other pitchers would gather behind the screen just to watch him throw "live" BP. That's how amazing he was.
Got a chance to see Diamondbacks RHSP Zack Greinke (15-day DL - strained oblique) throw a rehab start at Sloan Park Friday night. Four of the first seven AZL Cubs hitters singled and the Cubs did score an unearned run in the bottom of the 1st inning, but then Greinke got serious and struck out five in a row.
ZACK GREINKE: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 4/0 GO/AO, 49 pitches (34 strikes)
Have fun - It may be good for Arrieta to be facing a team that doesn't know him as well as the NL teams. A nice shutout would do wonders for his confidence. He is confident in public but baseball is hard and he could use a boost, I'm sure.
Me too. I'll be at the game tomorrow and would love to see Good Arrieta.
Last few games have been the April version of the Cubs that disappeared completely the past two months.
Hope they can sustain it.
Don't sell yourself short, Judge.
I love this team.
Looks like Mother Nature is trying to call this fight.
Hey! I remember this team!
The key for Heyward's offense: get early leads. Heard a stat on Mike & Mike on the way to work that his avg/power much better this year when the Cubs have the lead. And true to form he gets the two run dinger with Cubs winning 3-0 ...
I'm sorry - I was probably not looking at the correct line, or spot, or...who knows!
I could blame it on the weed, but I stopped smoking many years ago.
Fortunately, I can rely on the rest of you sober and astute folks to bring the correct info forth.
Oh yeah! It just felt like one for some reason.
Agreed. I was not including Fowler or Heyward.
I'm just not a fan of 2016 Coghlan.....