Baez Can Do Whatever the...
Javier Baez belted a three-run home run and Yasiel Balaguert stroked an RBI triple and scored on a Jair Bogaerts RBI single, as the Cubs plated five runs in the bottom of the 4th en route to a 5-1 victory over the Angels in Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.
The Baez HR was not without controversy.
Baez stood at home plate for a couple of seconds after absolutely walloping the gopher ball 400+ feet and off the roof of a house on the north side of 8th Street (Baez did the exact same thing on Tuesday when he launched a three-run homer over the LF fence at Indian School Park in Scottsdale), at which point one of the Angel coaches yelled, “Run the bases!”
Baez initially took the “advice” and he did run the bases (albeit a bit of a “Cadillac” trot that probably further irritated the opposition), but upon reaching home plate Baez stopped and yelled back at the Angel bench, “I can do whatever the fuck I want!”
Trey Martin and Gioskar Amaya (who were on base in front of Baez) and on-deck hitter Rock Shoulders pulled Baez back to the Cubs bench, avoiding a potential bench-clearing brawl on the field. (BTW, having a big dude like Rock Shoulders on the field might be the best deterrent to violence since Mutually Assured Destruction).
It was one of the only times I can remember something like this happening in an Extended Spring Training game. Sometimes players get upset, but this was more like what you see in the big leagues. I kind of expected Baez to get pulled out of the game and sent to the clubhouse to cool off, but he stayed in the game, and in fact he played all nine innings at shortstop.
LHP Sheldon McDonald had an outstanding outing, throwing three hitless-shutout innings (40 pitches), with six strikeouts. He now has 11 strikeouts in five innings of work over the last four days, and would seem to be on the top of the EXST Cubs list for promotion to Peoria or Daytona.
McDonald is no hotshot young prospect, however. He was a 22-year old “5th year senior” when drafted by the Cubs in the 33rd round of the 2011 draft out of the University of British Columbia (by way of Northeastern University). McDonald has considerable experience in international play, pitching for the Canadian Junior National Team as a teenager, and then for Team Canada while in college..
Now 23-years old, McDonald appears to be much too advanced to remain at Extended Spring Training. I would think he could possibly be a very useful lefty reliever for one of the Cubs full-season minor league affiliates.
20-year old switch-hitting Dominican OF Kevin Encarnacion made his U. S. debut today, coming into the game as a late-inning replacement in CF. He bounced-out to the pitcher in his only AB.
Encarnacion played in the Dominican Summer League (DSL) the past two seasons (2010-11), hitting 268/382/368 with 13 doubles, 12 triples, 71/67 BB/K, and 43 SB (21 CS), in 129 DSL games.
Mark Malave has also arrived and made his 2012 debut in today’s game, entering the contest as a late-inning replacement at 3B. Although he was signed as a catcher, the 17-year old switch-hitting Malave has been working-out exclusively at 3rd base since arriving at Fitch Park earlier this week.
This is not Malave’s first time in Arizona. The youngster attended the AZ Instructional League as a 16-year old last fall, hitting 143/250/143 for the Cubs in 10 AIL games, while playing both catcher and 3rd base. And he did show more promise (defensively) at 3rd base than at catcher at that time.
Malave received a reported $1.6M bonus (equivalent to “1st round money”) when he was signed by the Cubs at the start of the International Signing Period last July 2nd.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1a. Trey Martin, CF: 0-2 (6-3, BB, 6-3, R)
1b. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 0-1 (1-3)
2a. Gioskar Amaya, 3B: 2-3 (1B, 1B, F-9, R)
2b. Mark Malave, 3B: DID NOT BAT
3. Javier Baez, SS: 1-3 (P-5, HR, 5-3, R, 3 RBI)
4. Rock Shoulders, 1B: 2-3 (K, 1B, 2B, R)
5a. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 1-3 (K, 3B, 5-3-5 DP, R, RBI)
5b. Delbis Arcila, RF: DID NOT BAT
6. Trevor Gretzky, DH #1: 1-3 (1B, K, 5-3)
7. Jair Bogaerts, DH #2: 1-3 (6-4-3 DP, 1B, F-8, RBI)
8. Brian Inoa, 2B: 1-2 (F-7, BB, 1B)
9a. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-2 (K, P-6)
9b. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-1 (F-8)
10. Dong-Yub Kim, LF-DH: 0-3 (4-3, 6-4 FC, 6-3)
11a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
11b. Wilfredo Petit, DH #3: 1-1 (1B, PO)
11c. Jeffrey Baez, LF: 0-1 (L-5)
1. James Pugliese: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 2 PO, 38 pitches (23 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
2. Ramon Garcia: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 40 pitches (27 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
3. Sheldon McDonald: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HBP, 40 pitches (29 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Felix Pena: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 13 pitches (10 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 1
SS Javier Baez - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
CF Trey Martin threw out runner 8-2 trying to score from 2nd base on line-drive single to CF
WEATHER: Sunny & a bit breezy with temperatures in the 70’s
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
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