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):

CUBS LINEUP:
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)

CUBS PITCHERS:
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

ATTENDANCE: 13

WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 80’s

Comments

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.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/mo...

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.

http://www.soxprospects.com/dh0403.htm

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

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/201...

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.

http://bullpenbanter.com/rtmenu/770-game-repo...

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?

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  • He was a big key to the crazy start, a big key to the end of last year, a big key in not beating the Mets (although lots of help from a tired inexperienced team there), so although the team as a whole can get through a series with a good Jake it will be tough with a bad Jake. I don't think it's realistic to have the insanely great Jake again, but maybe it is. Seeing today's box score it appears maybe it is - but I haven't been able to tune in yet.

    Old and Blue 5 min 6 sec ago view
  • IMO Jake is really the key to winning the World Series, but maybe I'm putting too much emphasis on one player.

    Rob Richardson 36 min 12 sec ago view
  • The reports that they offered EITHER Jimenez or Torres for Chapman are a little disconcerting. I hope 1) Those reports are wrong, and 2) if they are not wrong, that they will hold on to him, as the team could use the outfield depth. I have only seen him in the futures game, but he looks like a keeper.

    Old and Blue 58 min 34 sec ago view
  • 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.

    John Beasley 2 hours 47 min ago view
  • 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

    Eric S 4 hours 9 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 4 hours 56 min ago view
  • Thanks for the updates Phil. Too bad about Frazier.

    Hagsag 8 hours 51 min ago view
  • 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. 

    Arizona Phil 14 hours 3 sec ago view
  • 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)

    Arizona Phil 14 hours 14 min ago view
  • 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.

    Old and Blue 19 hours 6 min ago view
  • Me too. I'll be at the game tomorrow and would love to see Good Arrieta.

    Brick 19 hours 30 min ago view
  • Last few games have been the April version of the Cubs that disappeared completely the past two months.
    Hope they can sustain it.

    blockhead25 19 hours 57 min ago view
  • Don't sell yourself short, Judge.

    Jackstraw 20 hours 24 min ago view
  • I love this team.

    Looks like Mother Nature is trying to call this fight.

    Rob Richardson 21 hours 52 min ago view
  • Hey! I remember this team!

    billybucks 22 hours 55 sec ago view
  • 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 ...

    Eric S 23 hours 27 min ago view