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
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.