1st Round Pick Leads Cubs to Victory in 1st Pro Game
In his third AB in just his first professional game, Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick Albert Almora (Mater Academy - Hialeah Gardens, FL) blasted a two-run HR over the LF fence and onto the berm in front of the scoreboard to cap a three-run 5th, leading the AZL Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the AZL Brewers in Arizona League action tonight at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix.
In addition to Almora's heroics, Ben Carhart had four hits (all singles) and scored a run, and Shawon Dunston Jr singled, doubled, and walked, and scored twice.
Almora played CF and batted 3rd in the lineup.
Hitting with a 0-1 count, the 19-year old RH hitter reached base on an E-3 (easy roller fumbled by the Brewers 1st baseman) with one out and a runner at 2nd in his first AB in the top of the 1st, and then he hit a soft line-drive back to the pitcher on an 0-2 pitch with a runner at 2nd base and two outs in the top of the 3rd, before connecting on his two-run blast off Brewers RHP Zachary Quintana on an 2-0 pitch with a runner at 2nd base and two outs in the top of the 5th.
Almora looked a bit shaky in the outfield, however, fumbling a line-drive hit to CF (the ball was retrieved by RF Yasiel Balaguert and the runner was thrown out trying to take the extra base, so no error was charged), and taking a bad route on a line drive hit to his left that turned what should have been either a long single or possibly a double (with perhaps a play at 2nd base) into a stand-up triple.
Almora was removed from the game after the 5th inning (after he got three AB).
One night after hitting his first pro HR and knocking the Reds third-baseman out of the game with a bouncing rocket off the youngster's nose, Jorge Soler was the DH and hit 5th, and went 0-5.
He struck out his first two times up (the first time swinging on a 3-2 pitch, and the second time looking on a 1-2 pitch), before grounding out three consecutive times to SS (all three high infield choppers) in his final three AB (first pitch swinging on the first one, then hitting with a 1-0 count, and finally on a 2-2 pitch).
Cubs 2012 5th round draft pick LHP Anthony Prieto (Americas HS - El Paso, TX) made his fourth pro start, and labored through one inning of work (30 pitches - only 14 strikes). He went to ball three on four of the five hitters he faced and walked two of them, but he also struck out two and did not allow a run,
Although he had difficulty throwing strikes, Prieto had no trouble turning a couple of nifty back flips (a la Ozie Smith) in the outfield before he began his pre-game warm-up in the bullpen. The East German judge only gave him a 6.5, but Prieto is obviously quite an athlete (for a pitcher).
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.