Amaya-zing Day for Gioskar at Talking Stick

Gioskar Amaya hit for the cycle and drove-in five runs, as the Cubs edged the Rockies 6-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick east of Scottsdale, AZ.



Amaya reached base on a bad-hop single with one out in the top of the 1st inning, and laced a two-run triple in the 3rd, a three-run home run in the 5th, and a one-out double in the 8th.


The 19-year old Venezuelan is now hitting 291/406/417 in 27 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (96 PA), with a team-leading 16 walks. He also has eight stolen bases (second only to Javier Baez), with 0 CS. (He hit 377/417/510 in 52 games and 227 PA with the AZL Cubs last season).


Amaya was a DH today, but his defense has shown marked improvement this season, possibly because he has been allowed to concentrate on just one position (2B) instead of being moved around the infield from game-to-game as he was last season. He has made only three errors so far at 2B, and has displayed decent range and arm.


He also has excelled in the #2 slot in the batting order.


On the EXST Cubs injury front, LHP Hunter Ackerman relieved starter Ian Dickson in the bottom of the 3rd, but left the game after throwing only one pitch. He appeared to strain something in his right side or hip.


Here is the box score from today’s game (Cubs players only):


CUBS LINEUP:
1. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 1-4 (F-9, 4-6 FC, 1B, K, 2 R)
2. Gioskar Amaya, DH #1: 4-4 (1B, 3B, HR, 2B, 2 R, 5 RBI)
3. Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-4 (L-5 DP, K, 3-1, P-3)
4. Wilson Contreras, C: 0-3 (5-3, BB, K, F-9)
5. Rock Shoulders, 1B: 2-4 (1B, 1B, 6-3, F-8, RBI)
6. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 1-3 (L-8, BB, F-8, 1B, SB, PO)
7. Brian Inoa, 2B: 1-4 (1B, K, F-9, F-9)
8. Dong-Yub Kim, DH #2: 0-4 (4-3, K, F-9, F-9)
9. Xavier Batista, RF: 1-3 (1B, 1-3, K, R)
10a. Jair Bogaerts, 3B: 1-2 (E-1, 2B, R)
10b. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 0-1 (5-3)


CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Ian Dickson: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 56 pitches (32 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
2. Hunter Ackerman: 0.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 pitch (0 strikes)
NOTE: Ackerman left game with injury after throwing one pitch
3. Rafael Diplan: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 31 pitches (22 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
4. Bryce Shafer: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 24 pitches (18 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
5. Pete Levitt: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 24 pitches (18 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO


CUBS ERRORS: 1
3B Jair Bogaerts - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)


CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Wilson Contreras: 1-1 CS


ATTENDANCE: 4


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90’s

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Comments

Phil,

Looking at the Chiefs Roster, Amaya really doesn't have a spot with DeVoss and Darvill there. But, does Darvill really need everyday playing time? Is he a potential late bloomer (only 20) or is he a LH Samson?

Tue, 05/29/2012 - 3:36pm — Childersb3

Phil,

Looking at the Chiefs Roster, Amaya really doesn't have a spot with DeVoss and Darvill there. But, does Darvill really need everyday playing time? Is he a potential late bloomer (only 20) or is he a LH Samson?

==================================

CHILDERS: Wes Darvill spent the last two off-seasons at Camp Colvin (Camp Buss) trying to bulk up and develop some HR power (he has a big frame without much muscle), but until he does (and he is only 20), he probably does project as a LH version of Nate Samson. And although he handles SS passably and 2B very well, Darvill has made a ton of errors at 3B this season, so he might not be a true utility infielder (one who can handle 2B-SS-3B). One positive thing about Darvill is that he is a VERY selective and patient hitter, and another good thing about him is that he is good base-runner and base-stealer.

I don't think Zeke DeVoss stays at 2B long-term. This is a lot like when Eric Patterson was coming up through the system and the Cubs insisted on playing him at 2B when he was clearly better-suited to play OF. I see DeVoss as a 2B-LF-CF-PR utility guy, and he could move to the OF at any time, especially if there is a reason to do it (like to make way for Amaya). BTW, when I saw DeVoss and Rubi Silva at Instructs post-2011 and both were getting reps at 2B, Silva clearly outplayed DeVoss at that position. DeVoss looked most-comfortable in LF.

Amaya is a legitimate everyday 2B. I believe he will push his way up through the system at that position, and he could be the best 2B prospect down there right now. Amaya is a good DP partner with Javier Baez, too. They work really well together turning the DP. Not "Trammell-Whitaker" good yet, but they could be if they can stay together for a few years.

Draft pending, Amaya/Hernandez in Boise?

"This is a lot like when Eric Patterson was coming up through the system and the Cubs insisted on playing him at 2B when he was clearly better-suited to play OF."

I wouldn't criticize the Cubs for trying to make a 2B out of Patterson or DeVoss, since that's their surest path to the majors and probably the only path. The game is not "well suited" for outfielders with no pop.

This is what I said about DeVoss (in its entirety):

"I don't think Zeke DeVoss stays at 2B long-term. This is a lot like when Eric Patterson was coming up through the system and the Cubs insisted on playing him at 2B when he was clearly better-suited to play OF. I see DeVoss as a 2B-LF-CF-PR utility guy, and he could move to the OF at any time, especially if there is a reason to do it (like to make way for Amaya). BTW, when I saw DeVoss and Rubi Silva at Instructs post-2011 and both were getting reps at 2B, Silva clearly outplayed DeVoss at that position. DeVoss looked most-comfortable in LF."

AZ Phil, any thoughts on Marco Hernandez getting demoted?

He had a very bad April. But was much much better in May.

Tue, 05/29/2012 - 6:33pm — QuietMan

AZ Phil, any thoughts on Marco Hernandez getting demoted?

He had a very bad April. But was much much better in May.

======================================

Q-MAN: It's not fair to Marco Hernandez, but it's like this...

Javier Baez is clearly such an extraordinary talent that wherever the Cubs believe he needs to be automatically means the shortstop who is there must be moved out of the way. So either the other shortstop at Peoria moves to another position, or he becomes a utility infielder, or he remains a starting shortstop and gets promoted or demoted.

It is fairly clear that the Cubs want both Hernandez and Baez to play SS, but they both can't do that if they are at the same place at the same time. So either Hernandez moves up to Daytona or down to Boise. And as much as he may have improved in May, he is still not ready for Hi-A. Ergo, he must go to Boise.

Baez gets to "cut the line."

And if he dominates at Peoria like he did at Extended Spring Training, he'll cut the line again.

Thanks Phil!

Keith Law's most recent mock draft (2.0) has high school lefty Max Fried going to Cubs

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/draft/2012/sto...

Appel, Buxton, Zunino, Correa, Gausman, Fried

then, Zimmer, Marrero, Almora

Fried is the only one of this draft's top three prep arms to make it through the spring unscathed, leaving him the most likely candidate to be the first high school arm off the board. He switched schools for his senior year because his old school, Montclair Prep, discontinued its baseball program, but didn't miss a beat despite the change.

He'll pitch at 89-93 with little effort and very good life to his arm side (albeit less to his glove side). Hitters don't pick the ball up out of his hands, helping it play above his velocity. Fried's curveball, while not completely consistent, can show very sharp downward break in the 73-76 mph range, ocassionally getting slurvy up towards 77-78. He has great feel for his 81-83 mph changeup with deception from his arm speed and late run (harder than the usual fade on a changeup).

Fried is an outstanding athlete with great body control and a repeatable delivery that gives him solid-average command today that should become more consistent as he matures; he's had a few outings this spring where he has had trouble throwing strikes, although that's the minority of his appearances, and he's usually a strike-thrower who's online to the plate. He has the projection left to add a grade of velocity, and with more consistency you can see a No. 2 starter with three above-average to plus pitches.

You mean Max Fried, SoCal 2011 Jewish HS Athlete of the Year. A little bias there from HoyStein, perhaps? ;)

He honestly has some pretty good stuff at the HS Level, though.

The Chicago Cubs will work out potential number No. 1 draft pick Carlos Correa at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, according to a source with knowledge of the workout.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/798...

Phil, I'm really encouraged by your reports on Baez. I can't think of a time you've used the phrase "such an extraordinary talent" in what are now quite a few years reading this blog. I remember you being impressed by Lee before he got traded, and Castro, but it seems to me Baez has impressed the hell out of you, even with his plate discipline issues. Is he somewhat like Vlad Guerrero, in that he can just hit the snot out of the ball no matter where it is thrown?

Indeed. It is the "Kiss of PHIL" - which can be a GOOD thing.

Wed, 05/30/2012 - 7:47am — Old and Blue

Phil, I'm really encouraged by your reports on Baez. I can't think of a time you've used the phrase "such an extraordinary talent" in what are now quite a few years reading this blog. I remember you being impressed by Lee before he got traded, and Castro, but it seems to me Baez has impressed the hell out of you, even with his plate discipline issues. Is he somewhat like Vlad Guerrero, in that he can just hit the snot out of the ball no matter where it is thrown?

===================================================

O&B: Javier Baez strikes out too much to be compared to Vlad. I would say Josh Vitters is more like Vlad.

What I like most about Baez is his bat-speed. He hits rockets, and he has plus-HR power. Very unusual to see a 19-year old with that kind of bat-speed.

He also is a good base stealer and a play-maker at SS. But he sometimes will try to make plays that aren't there. He tries to do too much, which is not unusual for a player with his cocky self-confidence.

And he is hyper-aggressive in all phases of the game. He plays baseball like a football player. Sometimes that's good, and sometimes it's not so good.

He's also a hard worker and will not accept losing. There are too many young players who don't think about winning. They think a lot about personal success, but not so much about team success.

Baez doen't need a coach as much as he needs a mentor, somebody with talent like his who can communicate with him. I think that's what the Cubs have lacked over the years. Their best prospects (the ones with the most raw talent) are coached just like every other player in the system, when they actually aren't just like every other player in the system. And then some get sidetracked and eventually end up in the gutter. No excuse for that.

SB and run scored. Perhaps the "plate discipline" was learned, they just moved him as soon as it he learned it!

3 more SB tonight for billy hamilton...amazing.

given that he's stolen 2+ in 5 out his last 6 games I guess it's not that amazing.

55sb in 48 games.

near .400 ob%...wish he was a Cub...he's going to be very exciting when he gets on base in the bigs.

Except his OBP is unlikely to be anywhere near .400 once he gets to the big leagues. If he can't hit the ball for much power his OBP will drop a lot when pitchers won't fear pitching to him. See Juan Pierre.

Is that the same Juan Pierre who's averaged 50 SB's a year?

No, it's the other Juan Pierre.

Just saying that his stolen base opportunities, and stolen bases, are going to drop a fair amount once he gets to the show.

we're talking about a pretty special player here, imo (and others).

not only is he fast, but he's in a system that will let him attempt 100sb a year. he's also learning (and this year showing) he can bunt for a base hit. this wasn't in his game too much last season.

he stole 103 last year and he'll probably pace 120+ this year, health pending.

in highschool he wasn't even stealing bases too much (or switch hitting). he's very adept at a rather new skill. this guy was a d.deshields pet project in 2010, turning him into a base stealer and finding out they had something special...they had joe morgan around this spring working with him.

just because you're really fast doesn't mean you're going to be a good base stealer (CPat). he's doing some crazy stuff with his skill...and he's spending this year putting in the practice to hone skills he started to realize 2 season ago. his contact is better, he can bunt with more accuracy for a hit, and his baserunning confidence is at a humble r.henderson level.

the guy could hit .270/.330 avg/ob% and still manage around 100 steals the way he plays.

...all that's left is to get him the hell away from SS cuz that ain't pretty.

Vitters has four home runs in his last 13 games. Average up to .281
BJax back to hitting leadoff but 1-5 with 2 K's
Lineup looking a little flat without Rizzo (Vitters played 1B yesterday).
I-Cub win based on 4 runs scored off last years castoff, Dud Davis
---
http://iowa.cubs.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ym...

If Hendry were still in charge, Vitters would be playing 3b for the Cubs in about a week or two at this rate.

soriano...pujols...vitters....

it's been a hell of 2 weeks for them.

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