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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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 3 hours 24 min ago view
  • 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.

    johann 6 hours 22 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 6 hours 34 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 6 hours 43 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 6 hours 48 min ago view
  • 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...

    crunch 7 hours 6 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 7 hours 43 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 8 hours 44 sec ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 8 hours 2 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 8 hours 20 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 8 hours 27 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 9 hours 23 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 9 hours 41 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 9 hours 45 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 10 hours 55 min ago view
  • 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."

    In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...

    QuietMan 11 hours 34 min ago view