Cub Youngsters Beginning to Learn the Value of Patience?
Yasiel Balaguert singled, doubled, and walked, drove-in three runs, and scored another, and Xavier Batista drilled a two-run double, walked twice, scored a run, and notched another outfield assist (he now has five in 17 EXST games), leading the Cubs to a 9-4 victory over the Giants in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Indian School Park Field #4 in Scottsdale, AZ.
The Cubs drew 11 walks in the game (and five of the runners scored), with each of the first eight batters in the starting lineup drawing at least one base on balls. The 11 walks were (by far) the most for the EXST Cubs in any one Cactus League Extended Spring Training game in 2012. (The previous high this season was six, and they did that twice, once in their very first game on April 9th, and then again yesterday).
Of course it helped that Javier Baez wasn’t in the lineup today, since the Cubs 2011 1st round draft pick has yet to draw a walk in 101 professional Plate Appearances (includes AZL Cubs, Boise, and AZ Instructs last year, and EXST Cubs this season).
Anthony Giansanti was in the starting lineup today and played all nine innings in RF, the first time this season he hasn’t been either a DH or the catcher. Giansanti is learning the art of catching (beginning the course at Minor League Camp, and now continuing his education at Extended Spring Training), and he has shown some definite aptitude for the position.
Signed by the Cubs as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) out of Siena College in 2010, the 23-year old Giansanti already had one of the best OF arms in the Cubs organization (he had 24 outfield assists last season), and he has put it to good use from behind the plate, too, throwing out 36% of opposing base-stealers in EXST games.
It appears that Giansanti could emerge as a valuable C-1B-3B-LF-RF with some HR pop (he had 11 in 126 games at Peoria last season), and he will probably be assigned to Peoria or possibly to Daytona when Extended Spring Training concludes next month. He has increased his value greatly by adding catcher’s gear to his tool-box.
Here is the abridged box score from today’s game (Cubs players only):
1a. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 0-3 (BB, P-3, K, F-8, R, SB)
1b. Justin Marra, C: 0-1 (FC)
2. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 0-3 (F-9, F-8, 5-3, BB, BB, R)
3. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 1-4 (3-U, BB, 4-3, 1B, F-8, 2 R, RBI)
4. Xavier Batista, LF: 1-3 (K, BB, BB, 2B, 5-U FC, R, 2 RBI)
5. Anthony Giansanti, RF: 0-3 (6-3, BB, P-4, F-8)
6. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 1-3 (F-8, F-9, BB, 3B, 2 R)
7. Yasiel Balaguert, DH #1: 2-3 (1B, 5-4 FC, 2B, BB, R, 3 RBI)
8a. Wilfredo Petit, C: 0-1 (BB, L-7)
8b. Dong-Yub Kim, PH-DH: 1-1 (2B, BB, RBI)
9. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-4 (4-6 FC, 1B, F-8, F-7)
10. Trevor Gretzky, DH #2: 2-4 (K, 1B, 1B, K)
11a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST THREE TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
11b. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 1-1 (2B, R)
1. Ian Dickson: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 43 pitches (23 strikes), 5/3 GO/FO
2. Ethan Elias: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 18 pitches (8 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
3. Jorge Diaz: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 30 pitches (15 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Daniel Adrian: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 47 pitches (24 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
5. Alvido Jimenez: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 23 pitches (14 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. SS Carlos Penalver - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. SS Carlos Penalver - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter reach base safely)
CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
LF Xavier Batista – runner thrown out 7-6-2 trying to score from 1st base on a double
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible