Cubs Whitewash Dodgers at HoHoKam Park
LHP Anthony Prieto and three relievers combined to throw a three-hit shutout, Ben Carhart doubled, singled, walked, and drove-in a run, and Neftali Rosario singled, doubled, and scored two runs, as the AZL Cubs blanked the AZL Dodgers 4-0 in Arizona League action tonight at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
The 18-year old wispy 5'11 Prieto was the Cubs 2012 5th round draft pick out of Americas HS in El Paso ($200K bonus), and he features a low 90's fastball and secondary stuff that needs work (although he probably is still a bit rusty after missing much of his senior season with a forearm injury).
He had command issues in his first two starts (lasting only one inning each time, while walking four), but he retired all six men he faced tonight (P-2, K, F-8, K, 5-3, 6-3) and mostly threw strikes (26 pitches - 16 strikes).
Carhart was the Cubs 35th round pick in last month's draft out of Stetson University, and while he is listed as 5'8 180, it's probably more like 5'8 220. He is bottom-heavy and a slow runner, a third-baseman with a strong arm and occasional power, an ideal candidate to get converted to catcher at Instructs post-2012 or next year at Minor League Camp (but only if the Cubs offer him the opportunity and he agrees to do it).
The Cubs 6th round pick in the 2011 draft out of the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy, Neftali Rosario is comparable to Welington Castillo at a similar age (VERY raw... plus-HR power... a strong but erratic throwing arm... poor receiving skills... slow runner... will swing at anything...).
Tonight he showed off his raw power, blasting a double off the top of the CF "Green Monster" (Batter's Eye) 430+ feet from the plate. Then he committed an error making a needless throw to 3rd base.
Rosario will probably move very slowly through the system. He needs a LOT of polish. EARLIEST PROBABLE MLB ETA - 2018
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.
it's been a while since joe's over-managed a game...it's gotta feel good for him to be back in the saddle making people's scorecards look like their pens blew up.