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)
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

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)

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


it might be time to send g.concepcion down for phil's viewing pleasure...or at least to low-A ball.

4ip 2h 5bb 1k

but hey, only 1er (2r) and no loss earned tonight so that's...something.

baby steps ... or something like that .... seriously, the Cubs really did their damn best to over-sell Concepcion's potential when many other outlets suggested far less potential. Granted, no one thought he'd struggle this much in Low A.

That said, to give Concepcion some benefit of the doubt, he is in a new environment, and a far cooler environment. It's already been suggested that Marco Hernandez's struggles in April had some to do with the cold weather being a new thing for him (still ... doesn't explain the K's, unless it's a factor of cold weather leading to slow start leading to him pressing).

"Granted, no one thought he'd struggle this much in Low A."

i wouldn't say "no one"...unless you want to discount a dozen or so writers who's brains exploded when he actually got a MLB 40-man roster contract.

we're talking about a high-80s fastball finesse pitcher that doesn't have control or miss bats with a stealth pitch. it was/is a very odd signing to many.

Of course, we could also give the kid more than a few starts before declaring him a complete and total failure. But hell what fun is that?

a total failure would be "release the dead weight" rather than "omg, get him away from the drowning pool he can't swim yet."

it's only 4 starts, but he's showing nothing to his competition worth mentioning. his 2 starts before that he couldn't even make it to the 2nd inning.

I think by now we know who is/isn't for the Concepcion signing. Personally, I'm in the 'don't give a shit' category. It's $6M spread over 5 years which would be A LOT for a franchise with revenues in the bottom 15-20 teams. Obviously, that is NOT the Cubs. Ricketts probably spends more than that for fuel for his cruiser on Lake Michigan.

I'd rather this team spend money this way and the draft, player development, etc. than their track record with MLB free agents. A risk/reward scenario for me.

As to the 40-man slot he got, Theo's group has shown so far they're not losing sleep over players 37, 38, 39 or 40. As the talent finally improves (hope, hope), I would like to believe that will change.

Jim Callis' latest mock draft.

Predicts Cubs taking high school CF Albert Almora, with plan B Carlos Correa SS from Puerto Rican Baseball Academy

If he looks good after medical tests (and hasn't already been picked), I predict the Cubs take Lucas Giolito, the HS RHP who could have been the number 1 pick had he not gotten hurt. Even in Callis' intro, he discusses that Giolito was the top prep pitcher (he hit 100 mph earlier this year and has good breaking ball and decent changeup) and in a weak draft, might be a great grab for us at #6.

McLeod/Epstein ever take a prep pitcher in the first couple of rounds?

Honest question that I don't have time to look up.

Here is a link to the Red Sox draft history.

So short answer is yes, Epstein definitely took at least a handful of high school pitchers in the early rounds - I think I counted roughly 4-5 in the first round/supplemental round.

Of course, he also never had a top 10 draft slot either.

H. Owens #36 (2011)
Casey Kelly #30 (2008)
Caleb Kay #43 (2006)
Michael Bowden #47 (2005)

McLeod certainly didn't have an issue with it in San Diego though, so it certainly remains a possibility.

That being said, they'd be numbnuts to take a HS pitcher who already has arm injuries and throw #6 money at them. I don't think Giolito is going to take a discount. Those are the guys you use supplemental picks for.

here's a good look from BA on his draft status after the injury

I'd be fine with either. I simply hope that they take the guy they feel has the most upside. Yes, we need pitching upside, but we need upside overall, and considering the age of Almora, by the time he could be ready, Brett Jackson/Matt Szczur would be in their late 20's.

With the state of the Cubs team and farm system, IMHO they should go best player available. Outside of possibly 1b and SS (depending on what you think of Castro) there are needs pretty much everywhere.

Catchers and pitchers seem to be the biggest needs. Plenty of OFs right now, IFs for the most part, too.

lame. they need pitching, pitching, and pitching.

also, if they pick A.Almora that early then *sigh*

kevin gausman, lance mccullers, max fried, kyle zimmer...doubt lucas giolito will last.

they don't need another low-power decent-fielding SS or OF'r, imo...

Totally agree.

There really is not one "#1" pitching prospect in the entire system apparently.

It does not seem like McNutt is turning into one, either. Same holds true for Archwr, it would seem.

cubs minors pitching is really really weak...unless you want to count travis wood...and even then there's not much upside left on him that he hasn't already showed.

mcnutt is the "star" and that's kinda scary...dillon maples is interesting, but seemingly far away and kinda absent right now...nick struck and ben wells...*shrug*

Most of these kids are so far down the pike, too...

Frustrating for us STH that are waiting for Hell to freeze over already.

*double shrug**

i like what theocorp did securing a slew of 3-5 type pitchers for the time being. along with wells, it gives a chunk of flexibility for those slots in years to come.

the support crew is nice, but the team needs more than support crew coming up through the system. there's a lot more legit-looking bats than arms in the system right now.

Yep. Which is why imo, no real big loss losing Hak JuJu in the Garza trade with Castro and Baez, et. al., in the org.

I sure hope they either sign Garza, or get fucking amazing, near-term prospects for him.

That's actually why, deep down, I believe that it is best for the Cubs continue on their current production (good SP, good LaHair and Castro, little else) and hopefully are in a position where they are sellers at the trading deadline. If we can trade Dempster (a big if), he could bring us a pretty good prospect. Garza could bring significantly good prospects. LaHair could brings us another pretty good prospect.

Truly I'd rather have that for our future. That said, I am a fan, and thus want the Cubs to win every game. So weird cognitive dissonance.

thorough scouting report on Hak-Ju Lee at AA.

Chiefs playing an early game, Hoilman already extended his franchise record hitting streak to 24 games.

Time to move him up.

Richard Jones has OPS below .600 at Hi-A and Greg Rohan is 26 and in his third year of Hi-A (past 2 were short stints to be fair).

Hoilman is pretty interesting as prospects go. He potentially has no future, because he's even less defensively skilled than the infamous Jake Fox, but he has major power, loves to walk, and has improved so far this year (perhaps only a hot streak, though) on making contact. DH prospect. So weird.

What kind of 1B is Anthony Rizzo? Is he able to dig throws out of the dirt? Does he field his position well or is he one of those guys that play first because it's where he does the least amount of damage?

No. From scouting reports and video I have seen, he is "a natural" at the position.

I have seen him do the DLee Splits, and digging out scoops for errant throws.

Bears have already signed all 6 of their picks.

Hopefully it's equally as painless in baseball now.

Wondering if all 6 equal one good one, under KC PHIL?

Recent comments

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  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:

    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined). 

  • BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.

    If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).

    As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).

  • I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.

  • Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.

    Arietta though.

  • I felt the same way, too, but...

    I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.

  • Absolutely-It was tense. And when the Pirates couldn't push any runs across, you could see the frustration boil over.

  • I meant December.