Giant Gaffe and Cub Smoke Combine to Produce Opening Night Victory

Four AZL Cubs pitchers combined to throw a six-hitter with 16 strikeouts, and the Cubs took advantage of a gaffe by the AZL Giants manager to push across two runs in the bottom of the seventh, en route to a 3-1 Arizona League Opening Night victory at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.  

box score

There is a 35-man roster limit in the AZL, but only 30 of the players (of which at least ten must be pitchers) can be designated as "active" for each game. However, AZL Giants manager Derin McMains apparently failed to list one of his pitchers as "active" before tonight's game, and then he called that pitcher into the game.

RHP Jake Shadle entered the contest in the bottom of the 7th entrusted to protect a 1-0 Giant lead, but after he completed his warm-up pitches, home plate umpire Reid Gibbs called McMains out onto the field and told him that Shadle was not listed on the official Giants game roster submitted by McMains prior to the game, and so Shadle could not pitch in the game. As a result, LHP Randall Zeigler (who had been sitting quietly in the bullpen) was brought into the game "cold" (albeit only figuratively, since it was 109 degrees on the field), but because Shadle did not leave with an injury, Zeigler was permitted only eight warm-up tosses. And it showed

Zeigler labored through his 2/3 of an inning of work, allowing two runs (both unearned) on two hits and a walk, but he really gave up the ship (and was immediately pulled from the game) because he failed to cover 1st base on a two-out bases-loaded grounder down the 1st base line by Trevor Gretzky, where 1st baseman Leonardo Fuentes bobbled the ball and then did not have enough time to beat Gretzky to the bag after he recovered (although Gretzky would have been out if Zeigler had covered the bag and had been available to receive the throw from Fuentes).

The four Cub pitchers who worked in the game were really sharp tonight, although three of them (Zach Cates, Zac Rosscup, and Shane Lindsey) were rehab guys from higher classifications. Rosscup (biceps tendinitis) was especially impressive, striking out four in 1.2 IP (19 pitches - 16 strikes) with 94 MPH gas. I've never seen Rosscup throw that hard before (he usually sits 89-91), but he was unhittable tonight. (Rosscup was one of the "other" players acquired by the Cubs from Tampa Bay in the Matt Garza deal). Rosscup was at Extended Spring Training, but had only thrown in "sim" games prior to tonight.

6'5 RHP David Henrie (2011 NDFA - Trinidad State JC) made his "official" pro debut tonight and threw three shutout innings (7-8-9) for the victory, although to say it was the big right-hander's pro debut is only technically true, because he saw action in 12 games (21.2 IP) combined between AZ Instructs last fall and Extended Spring Training earlier this season.



Vogelvach on the bench? Replaced ny a 40th Rd draft pick?

Props to the ump for making the right call.

Nice to have you back.

Rosscup tweets he's Boise-bound.

woo! the "crafty lefty" returns.

he needs to get to AA asap...after his "rehab work"...

not anywhere close to a top prospect list, but i like his stuff (or rather, what he does with what little he has).

AZ Phil,
Have you even seen Maples throw this Spring?

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 5:01am — Hagsag

Vogelvach on the bench? Replaced ny a 40th Rd draft pick?

Have you even seen Maples throw this Spring?


HAGSAG: Dan Vogelbach was in uniform but he was the only position player who did not participate in pre-game warm-ups, so he must have tweaked something.

I have not seen Dillon Maples throw this year, although he may have thrown some bullpen side-sessions that I did not see.

BTW, Ben Wells, Marcos Mateo, and Jonathon Mota have all had TJS within the past couple of weeks.

Oh no, Ben Wells did??

That really sucks.

very much so... he was a guy a lot of people thought could break out this season...a "wait and see" type projection that was expected to be positive.

good news, though...casey weathers is healthy again! woo...sigh...ugg.

Shame of it all was that, he was having a fairly solid season. Perhaps not a breakthrough season yet, but a very good season.

This is a follow up on the previous thread where I got hammered for making that suggestion. His numbers at Iowa @Bruce M:

Keep an eye on third baseman Josh Vitters. He hit his 10th homer of the year. He's at .280/.330/.468 for an OPS of .798. In June, he has 3 homers and 11 RBI.

Now, I'll bet you're going to think that I am going to say that reinforces my claim he should be brought up. But no, I was convinced by the other arguments, and even more so, now. Seems like something is starting to click for him down there. It would be silly to shake things up. I also said I didn't think he'd amount to much but I'm no expert, especially based on the tiny sample size I've got when it comes to actually eyeballing the kid.

I'll be seeing him play in Round Rock tomorrow night along with Rizzo (thank you, Theocorp, for not calling Rizzo up yet, although, shit, it's not Friday yet).

One thing we've seen with Vitters over and over is that it takes him a while to adjust to playing at a new level. It would be nice to see him make his MLB adjustment this year as opposed to 2013.

However, considering his age and limited at-bats above A-ball, I also feel like he could use more time at AAA, even if he's mashing. He's still not taking walks or winning any defense awards.

It's definitely a tough call, maybe damned either way.

I say wait until the smoke clears from the trade deadline, then see how he's doing at AAA. If he is still doing better, bring him up and see how he does for the rest of the season. He'll probably struggle, but it's not like Stewart is doing better than he would...

I've got a tiny sample for ya, alright...

Just saw LeMahieu's numbers for Colorado this season
.216 .275 .243 .518

Good god that is shitty. Only 18 games, SSS, etc, but wow. The roto article said he's "holding down" 2B

still just 23 years old though...

I doubt he'll ever be even average, but could be a second division starter or utility player. He'll have to find that power stroke to ever be something more.

I just never bought into the idea that he would find that power stroke. There was a brief stretch, when I think he was in AA, when there were some positive reports in that regard, but his approach is such that, it's hard to buy him finding that power stroke, and people have been waiting for it for awhile. Without it, he's really ... not that interesting.

Theo just said he wants guys to get a full 162 games in AAA, so Vitters isn't coming up. Maybe in September when rosters expand but doubtful he'd play much. Cubs certainly don't need to rush things.

2013 will be the year of the Vitters.

"2013 will be the year of the Vitters."

For which organization, is what I'm wondering. A big difference between now and before is that Bush and Fleita don't go around blabbing any more. We actually have no idea what the Cub higher-ups think of Vitters. Maybe their plans for him are similar to the plans they had for Colvin, LeMahieu and Flaherty, who were also high picks, although not as high as Vitters (though that just makes Vitters easier to trade).

I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to trade him in the right deal, his approach doesn't fit what they want and they already have Castro hacking at everything. But if he continues to hit from now through the beginning of next season like he has recently (850-900 OPS range), they'll also know that 22/23 year olds in AAA that hit like that are a good bet to be successful in the majors.

His defense is also an issue of course.

I doubt there's any destiny plan for him, just wait and see how he does. You've got nearly 100 AAA games worth before they have to make any real decisions.

There was some chatter about when Soriano was good or bad in a recent discussion and I remembered looking up his career stats on Baseball Reference. I especially like his summary by teams:

NY 284/322/502/824
TEX 274/316/498/814
WSH 277/351/560/911
CHC 266/319/497/816

I was amazed at how, on the whole, similar he's been between his time with the Yankees, Rangers and Cubs. I realize that pointing out his career year with the Nats is old news, but my impression of him had typically been that he got to the Cubs and promptly sucked balls like he never had before. I guess it's worth pointing out that he's pretty much the same hitter he was for the Yanks and Ranger that he is with the Cubs.

No--because base stealing doesn't show up anywhere in the slash line. (It's a slight problem with OPS.)

Soriano lost 40-50% his value when he left his speed back in Washington.

Soriano lost 40-50% his value when he left his speed back in Washington.

LOL - 40-50%, eh? How exactly do you go about make these things up?

This analysis was brought to you by 19th century baseball.

He still is a helluva shadow ball player

All right, hold that thought. There are a couple of things wrong with Jumbo's analysis.

First of all, if you compare Soriano's five years with the Cubs with the five previous, all the raw numbers are way down: runs, RBI, HR, etc. The most egregious example might be total bases: Soriano averaged 344.2 total bases in the five years that ended with the season in Washington. With the Cubs, he averages 247.2.

The numbers that are roughly comparable, that Jumbo cites, are the percentages, because they don't take into account the time Soriano loses to serial nagging injuries. Injury-prone players lose a lot of their value. Check out Scott Podsednik, whose OPS has remained the same while his dollar value to a team has plummeted.

I don't think 40 stolen bases are as great a thing as 40 home runs (although I think SBs are a greater thing than YOU do). I do believe that the high minors are full of 30-something guys who could hit 20 HRs and play LF in the majors. There are many examples but a few local ones are Dubois, Hoffpauir and Jake Fox. None of these guys had a single memorable year in the majors, but if you extrapolate Dubois's 9 home runs in 202 PAs in 2005 over 508 PAs--508 was Soriano's total in 2011--you get 23 home runs. Do the same with Hoffpauir's 10 HRs in 257 PAs in 2009 and you get 20. Also in 2009, Jake Fox had 11 HRs in 241 PAs, which comes to 23 home runs in 508 PAs.

None of these players is a major leaguer, but that's my point. Twenty home runs at a non-defensive position like LF has zero value to the major leagues. That's the baseline. Soriano is a little above the baseline because he hits around 25 HRs. But on the bases and in the field, he has nothing over the minor-league players I mentioned.

So yes, if he could still lead off and steal bases, he would probably double his value. Soriano may be worth (for next season) roughly what Hideki Matsui got from Oakland at the age of 37 last year: 4 and 1/4 million. But if Soriano can run, it's somewhere between Matsui's deal and what Carl Crawford gets (although Crawford also gets paid for his glove, which Soriano never did).

Sigh... you said that Soriano lost 40-50% of his value because he lost his speed. And you talk about how is value as a 20 home run guy, rather than 35-40 HR guy that he was.

But all of his value was lost because he lost his speed, not because he hit half as many home runs.

Pretty sure that Soriano would still be pretty damn valuable if he were hitting 35-40 home runs.

BTW... you're wrong about how I value stolen bases. I love stolen bases. As long as the guy stealing them does so at an effective enough rate.

Anyone know if there has ever been a study to show if a guy stealing bases has any effect on the guy batting during the stolen base?

My gut thoughts:
- It might hurt the guy batting because he typically has to take pitches during steal attempts
- It might help the guy batting because the infielders get pulled to the base and the pitcher has to pay more attention to the runner

Thoughts? Is there a quantifiable impact of base-stealing for the team beyond simply adding extra bases at whatever success rate?

Good question. You can see a pitcher who is cruising through a game thrown off balance when a runner is at first and he has to pitch from the stretch and is distracted by a runner on base.

One other thought -

With a well-known base-stealer on first, the batter often gets a free ball in the form of a pitch-out, thus skewing towards a "hitter's count". Anyway, I'd love to see an actual study, and I bet it wouldn't even be that hard to put together.

Control - all ABs with a runner on first who does not steal (this will eliminate any variables of a pitcher from the wind-up vs the stretch)
tested against all ABs with a runner on first who attempts to steal 2nd

You could get really fancy and test with good base-stealers on base (e.g. >75% success rate) versus poor base-stealers. Shit, now I'm tempted to try to do this.

Sorry for replying to myself, but I found this in Baseball Prospectus:

The vaunted secondary effects of stealing bases--distracting the pitcher, putting pressure on the defense--do not appear to exist. In fact, most secondary effects argue in favor of keeping the runner of first base. A runner on first is more disruptive to a defense, with the first baseman holding and the second baseman cheating towards second for a double play, than a runner on second. Additionally, studies show that stolen-base attempts negatively impact the performance of the batter at the plate, presumably due to hitters getting themselves into negative counts by taking pitches or swinging at bad balls to protect the runner.

Now if only they had quantified this into some sort of drop in OPS or something.

I don't buy this for a second. I say that Campana at first base is EXTREMELY distracting to the pitcher, and absolutely helps the hitter, whether he tries to steal or not. I think this is especially true for less dominant pitchers. I have no stats to back this up! Eat it!

I don't buy this for a second.

I have no stats to back this up!

you have summed up 90% of the arguments on the Internet in those 2 sentences.

One could argue that it is also distracting to the batter to have another moving part in your peripheral vision. At least that's what happens to me when I'm playing The Show, lols.

All right, now someone has to do a study of RHP vs LHP. Seems like a lefty would be a lot more distracted since they have to actually watch the runner.

I'm with you on this one, statistics be damned.

Not sure I agree with the methodology 100%, but lefties have less issues with runner on 1st than righties...which is what I myself would have guessed.

Personally, most of the damage that is attributed to speed on the bases is really just guys having to pitch out of the stretch and that most teams put their fast guy near the top of the order in front of the good hitters.

There's maybe 3-5 guys in the league at any point that make a real impact with their legs and most give it back by not getting on-base enough.

This is a great example of a place where you should not use statistics to arrive at a conclusion. There are simply too many variables- the system is too chaotic.

Further, I agree with Jace- as would most people who sit in the stands and watch a pitcher throw a couple pickoff attempts, glance at first in the middle of his delivery, and rush his delivery... the guy on first is on his mind (or at least he should be).

Or another great example of perception not meeting reality.

So my perception is not reality, in your opinion? I'm just trying to understand the snark in a respectful way.

So my perception is not reality, in your opinion?

No... it is based on the fact that all studies that have looked at this say that reality is different than your perception.

Hendry etc. paid for a guy who could produce a .900 OPS, steal 30+ bases a year, and maybe stretch himself defensively to cover CF for a while. What they got was a guy who can produce an .800 OPS and plays at best average LF--and they should have known that was a likelihood when they signed him to that contract. He was already (at least) 31 years old and his numbers in WAS were the outlier. I can see why they thought that maybe he could get better in the outfield, but why would you pay that much for maybe? It was a poor contract from day one. Matt Murton or Angel Pagan might've been able to produce almost as well for nowhere near the money or years committed. I'll be happy if our new regime does not overpay for guys coming off of career years. As far as I can tell, that strategy only worked out once for Hendry (Mark DeRosa).

(Not trying to bash Hendry too much, though. Obviously that regime made a lot of great moves during their time. Speaking of--how come we never talk about what a great deal it was for them to pick up Michael Barrett? Damian Miller and cash for a guy who had 3.5 solid offensive seasons with the Cubs. Barrett's never on that list of solid pickups Hendry made.)

Michael Barrett? The "catcher"?

because Michael Barrett ruined everything...

considering the reports of a 6-year offer, I presume Hendry was hoping for 5 good years of Soriano, the Cubs got two. What he's doing this year is about what you'd expect from him and it's not bad, other than the price. It's not like the Cubs would find a whole lot better out there at this moment. Problem is he's been at this level or worse since 2009.

Life in free agency.

how come we never talk about what a great deal it was for them to pick up Michael Barrett?

I blame Michael Barrett.

Is that a dilemma or a conundrum?

That question just exploded my brain.

Just because I hate baseball conversations that completely ignore defense (because we don't have the numbers to talk about defense), I want to throw out the fact that he's pretty terrible at playing his position. He still has a hell of an arm and still nails runners from time to time, but he's a huge defensive liability on the field. He was given the contract because he hits a shit ton of home runs. The speed? Meh, he was given a career contract with the expectations that he would belt a gazillion homers but probably get slower with age.

"expectations that he would belt a gazillion homers"

I would say they wanted a leadoff man/catalyst, a guy who would be up this inning and get you a run by hook or crook. He was never a middle-of-the-order guy.

I was at RFK for a couple of the Cub games in 2006 and Soriano was far and away the best player in the stadium. He just sizzled. For one thing, he swung much harder than anybody else. During one at bat on TV in spring training this year, Soriano took an unusually violent swing, and I remembered, for the first time really since he put on a Cub uniform, what he looked like six years ago and why I was happy they signed him.

He's just gotten old. It's difficult to remember the player he used to be, the coffee he must have been drinking back then.

We could probably bicker about the finer points back and forth for days, but what's the point- I think we both agree he's just gotten old and he didn't age into the serious 30-40HR hitter we were hoping for.

career WAR numbers for Soriano from BR, which factors in baserunning and defense.

5.1 in 709 games as Cub (.007 p/game)
8.9 in 501 games as Yankee (.018)
3.1 in 301 games as a Ranger (.010)
5.9 in 156 games as a National (.037)

6 WAR in 244 games in his first 2 seasons as a Cub (.025 p/game)

Thanks, Phil, for reminding me that Rosscup came back in the Archer trade. After seeing the kid last night, I've been having a Real-Neal moment, thinking about the trade. Let's just say that Archer made a good first impression on me. Can we still offer them McNutt(in') in Archer's place?

Tom Seaver to Darryl Strawberry- OHHH SNAAAPPPP!!

Garza and maybe some interest in Dempster

Cubs third baseman Jeimer Candelario was born in New York. Had he stayed in the United States, there's a good chance he would have been a first-round pick earlier this month.

Instead, Candelario moved to the Dominican Republic and signed with the Cubs two years ago for $500,000, which is already looking like a potential bargain.

says he's a potential break-out candidate

Do you or AZ Phil know how Jeimer pronounces his name? The Hawks announcer was going with "Jay-mare" last night. Spanish pronunciation would appear to be "Hay-mare." Ben Badler tells me scouts have been saying "Hi-mur." This is important because I'd like the nickname Hi-C to stick. Thanks!

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 3:35pm — bradsbeard

Do you or AZ Phil know how Jeimer pronounces his name? The Hawks announcer was going with "Jay-mare" last night. Spanish pronunciation would appear to be "Hay-mare." Ben Badler tells me scouts have been saying "Hi-mur." This is important because I'd like the nickname Hi-C to stick. Thanks!


BRADSBEARD: Unfortunately I have never heard Jeimer Candelario called anything but "Candy." Everybody at Fitch Park called him that, just like everybody calls Neftali Rosario "Rosie" and Carlos Penalver "Penny."

As for how to pronounce "Jeimer," however it is actually might be pronounced, it should be pronounced "hammer," because he hammers the ball all over the yard.

if anyone was looking for Brett Jackson arrival date and if this 162-AAA thing is for real, he's got at least 46 games left which puts it sometime at August. And at that point, you probably just wait until rosters expand unless there's a spot open for him in the outfield.

... and i think he has K'd at least 10 times in the past 4 games. Still has plenty to work on down there.

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  • Nicely done! I think in my 10-14 games I went .500 or a little over. Strangely, I went to the Cards games they mostly lost (incl Saturday) and the one SF game they lost, plus a couple Brewers games they lost, too. I should have gone to just Reds games. But still - saw mostly very good baseball on the North Side this year. Regardless of what happens come October - the Cubs are positioned for some good times in the next 3-5 years.

    The E-Man 1 hour 6 min ago view
  • Attaboy!

    billybucks 1 hour 58 min ago view
  • First Cub victory at home this year for me!
    Saw all four starters this year

    jacos 3 hours 22 min ago view
  • RIP Arnie. We could use a lot more like you -- a man who succeeded and failed on his own terms, a true original, and, finally, a remarkable example of graciousness towards others.

    billybucks 11 hours 18 min ago view
  • Cubs finish 33 over at home. I was, personally, one game over at 3-2, which was one of my better years in a while.

    I do hope that's the last time we see the Cardinals this year. A lot of power, which is dangerous, particularly in a short series, and they have really shut down KB all year.

    Oh, and Jon Lester? Damn!

    billybucks 11 hours 29 min ago view
  • Yes. Boating accident at 3AM. Very sad, but stupid. Young men do stupid things.

    billybucks 12 hours 25 min ago view
  • lester puts 2 on and is taken out at 96 pitches. oh well.

    edwards in.

    crunch 13 hours 9 min ago view
  • 2 out in the 7th, lester at 84 pitches, ross taken out for the standing O.

    it's possible contreras will catch lester for another inning+.

    crunch 13 hours 16 min ago view
  • What a weird day.  Jose Fernandez and Arnold Palmer, but then Scully and, on a much more modest level, Ross....

    Transmission 13 hours 49 min ago view
  • d.ross gets his 2nd standing O on the night (last home game of the season)...hits HR #10...curtain call. baseball.

    crunch 13 hours 52 min ago view
  • as a fan, he only "owes" us the game on the field and not getting in the way of others on his team being ready to play (imo).

    it's exponentially worse to his family and friends, but this dude most likely had 15+ years of play left and even though he just turned 24 a couple months ago he had already established himself as a top guy in the game.

    crunch 17 hours 14 min ago view
  • Carrie Muskat [email protected]

    Updated #Cubs probs vs Pirates: Mon, Hendricks vs Kuhl; Tue, Lackey vs Vogelsong; Wed, Arrieta vs Taillon; Thu, Zastryzny vs Nova

    crunch 17 hours 36 min ago view
  • I know what you're trying to say, Charlie, that none of us feels what his loved ones must be feeling.

    On the other hand, what makes a death like this tragic is precisely the loss, based on Fernandez's youth and brilliance, to the baseball world.

    So, for example, we can say that Princess Diana's death meant more, in aggregate, to millions of admirers who didn't know her personally than to her loved ones.

    VirginiaPhil 17 hours 37 min ago view
  • boston pitching snags a couple of mlb team records...

    "Over nine innings of play, Boston's staff struck out 11 straight Tampa Bay Rays hitters Sunday, breaking the major-league record for most consecutive strikeouts in a game.

    The previous record was held by former New York Mets right-hander Tom Seaver, who struck out 10 straight hitters in 1970.

    Not only that, but with a strikeout to end the ninth, sending the game into extras, Boston's staff also struck out an MLB-record 21 batters over nine innings."

    crunch 18 hours 2 min ago view
  • What a loss to baseball, which I'm sure pales in comparison to the personal loss to his loved ones.

    Charlie 19 hours 46 min ago view
  • Somehow I am sensing alcohol was involved. The highest number of boating accidents by a wide margin...

    The E-Man 20 hours 29 min ago view