Trey Doubles the Fun at HoHoKam Park
Trey Martin doubled twice, the second one a laser-shot off the RF fence that drove-in the go-ahead run and capped a four-run 7th, as the AZL Cubs rallied to edge the AZL Indians 6-5 in Arizona League action this evening at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
In addition to Martin's heroics, 1B Jacob Rogers (2012 40th round draft pick out of Mt Olive College) pulled two hard-hit ground RBI singles into the 3.5 hole, one in the 2nd and one in the 7th, to the aid the Cubs offense. (Rogers was 6th in NCAA Division II in HR in 2012).
And DH Dan Vogelbach belted his 4th double in three AZL games--a line shot down the RF line--and then came around to score the Cubs first run of the evening on Rogers' first RBI single.
Vogelbach's approach at the plate was way out of kilter at Extended Spring Training (189/306/379 in 111 PA) and he displayed a lot of visible frustration with how things were going (not to mention the ten errors at 1st base), but it looks like he's got the old Vogelbomb swing back now. Hopefully it's just matter of time before he starts depositing baseballs over the fence.
RHP David Cales (2011 shoulder surgery rehab) saw his first game action in over a year (not including a couple of Extended Spring Training "sim" games and an intrasquad game), and he did not look good. He allowed a run on two hits (a lead-off double and an RBI single) and two walks in just 2/3 of an inning (26 pitches), and he kept pinwheeling his arm like he couldn't get it loose. That's never a good sign for a guy coming back from a shoulder injury.
Another rehab hurler had a different problem, as veteran RHP Shane Lindsay (sent down from AAA Iowa to iron-out some "mechanical issues") continually fell behind in the count over the course of his 2.1 IP. The Australian fireballer did throw shutout ball (allowing a single and two walks) and got lots of swings & misses at his extreme heat, but he also needed 49 pitches (only 25 strikes) to get his seven outs. He threw seven consecutive balls when he entered the game with one out and a runner at 1st in the top of the 3rd, and then he threw seven consecutive balls again to open the 4th.
20-year old RHP Jin Young Kim threw two no-hit innings for the save, as the one-time Korean bonus baby ($850K signing bonus in 2010) is apparently being tracked into the closer role in Mesa. One unearned run did score off Kim, but that was thanks to a two-base error that put a Tribe runner on 2nd base with no outs in the top of the 9th (with the runner eventually scoring after a couple of 6-3 ground outs).
RHP Tony York (2012 NDFA - UCSD) made his pro debut tonight and threw a 1-2-3 12-pitch 6th. York was UCSD's closer in 2012, and indeed he does look like your typical RH college reliever (warms-up quickly, works fast, throws strikes).
RF Bijan Rademacher (Cubs 2012 13th round draft pick out of Orange Coast CC) also made his pro debut in tonight's game, and went 1-4 with a double and a run scored. He has a nice line-drive stroke and sprays the ball all over the yard. He looks like he might be a decent hitter (although HR power is always preferred in a corner OF), and he displayed a plus-arm in RF.
Rademacher was recruited by perennial D-1 baseball powerhouse Cal State - Fullerton out of HS and spent his freshman year there, before transferring to Orange Coast CC. He was set to transfer to Oral Roberts University if he hadn't signed with Cubs.
CHILDERS: Dylan Cease and Bryan Hudson are probably the Cubs top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80'sslider), but has trouble commanding his stuff.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17, and his fastbball sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.
For some reason