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):
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)
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
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90’s
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
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.
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.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
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.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
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.
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.
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."
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