Soler Attacks Scoreboard with Laser at HoHoKam Park

Jorge Soler drove-in three runs with an infield single and a two-run home run, Ben Carhart blasted a three-run homer, and Shawon Dunston Jr doubled, tripled, and walked, and scored three runs, leading the AZL Cubs to a 9-2 thrashing of the AZL Indians in Arizona League action this evening at HoHoKam Park in Mesa. 

box score

Soler played RF and hit clean-up tonight, and went 2-4, hitting a high-chopper to SS in his first AB that should have been a 6-4 FC but was misplayed into an error (Soler would later score on Carhart's HR), before reaching base on an RBI infield single (still another high chopper to SS) that drove-in Dunston from 3rd with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd, as Soler beat the shortstop's throw to first.

Then with two outs and a runner on 1st base in the bottom of the 4th, Soler hit a laser-shot line-drive two-run HR off the iron fence ("clank!") at the base of the scoreboard (beyond the LF wall and over the berm) off Tribe RHP Dillon Howard (CLE 2011 2nd round draft pick), giving the Cubs a 9-2 lead. He struck out swinging (checked swing on a 1-2 pitch) in his final AB in the 6th.   

Cubs 1st round pick Albert Almora played CF and hit third in the order, and was hitless in five AB, but he reached base three times on errors (the Indians infield made a total of six errors in the game) and drove-in two runs and scored two more in the process. He hit one ball hard, a liner that bounced off the pitcher's leg and caromed directly to the Tribe 2nd baseman, who promptly fumbled the ball for an error. 

Almora also made one of two outstanding defensive plays by the Cubs tonight, a run-saving back-handed sliding catch in left-center with one out in the 6th. Almoira's catch immediately followed a sliding catch by 1B Ben Carhart in foul territory in front of the 1st base dugout. 

Carhart (normally a 3rd baseman) got the stert at 1B tonight, what with Dan Vogelbach having been promoted to Boise after last night's game. Prior to his promotion, Vogelbach was leading the AZL in doubles and RBI, and was second in HR. 

Cubs 3rd round draft pick RHP Ryan McNeil (Nipomo HS - Nipomo, CA) made his pro debut in tonight's game, getting the start and working one inning. He labored throughout the frame and had difficulty throwing strikes (29 pitches - 16 strikes), allowing one run on a lead-off single and a two-out RBI double. He also walked one batter, but then he also struck out two.

McNeil is a big, raw kid (6'3 215 with a HS basketball background), and he looks fairly athletic on the mound. He received a $425K bonus when he signed with the Cubs, giving up a chance to play college ball at Long Beach State.   

LHP Brian Smith made his first game appearance in almost a month (he is on the Boise DL, although he never actually left Mesa), throwing one inning (22 pitches - 14 strikes) and allowing one run. He surrendered a lead-off single and an RBI double to the first two men he faced, before striking out the side (one batter looking and two swinging) and stranding a runner at 3rd. Smith is a breaking-ball pitcher who uses his fastball as a "show-me" pitch to set-up his curve, and he got all three strikeouts with a "strike three" bender. 

Supplemental 1st round pick RHP Paul Blackburn (Heritage HS - Brentwood, CA) followed McNeil and Smith to the mound and threw two shutout innings (and he needed just 15 pitches to do it), allowing a lead-off double in his second inning of work (but then the batter was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple). The 18-year old Blackburn is a sinkerball pitcher, and he got four outs on grounders. Blackburn gave up an opportunity to play college ball at Arizona State when he signed with the Cubs last month ($900K+ bonus), and he is considered more-polished than the typical HS senior. 

Cubs RHP Justin Amlung (Cubs 2012 12th round pick) worked the 5th and 6th innings (33 pitches - 22 strikes), throwing shutout ball while allowing a two-out single in the 5th and a lead-off walk in the 6th. He struck out the side in his first inning, and benefitted from the Carhart and Almora catches in his second inning of work.

Amlung was drafted by the Cubs as a college senior (he was the #1 starter at the U. of Louisville and a one-time teammate of AA Tennessee RHRP Tony Zych), and looks ready to move-up to Boise right now. He is a short-armer who throws a mid-90's four-seam fastball in short bursts, so he probably profiles as a reliever in pro ball. (He was throwing gas in his first inning tonight when he struck out the side, but then not as hard in his second inning when Indians hitters started to tag him a bit).


Hanley and Choate to Dodgers for Eovaldi and yet to be named prospect.

Cubs still with same shitty team.

We are just waiting for all the top tradeable prospects to be swapped. Much easier to negotiate deals when only mediocre prospects are remaining.

Dodgers flipping Hanley to the Cubs?

I believe one of the reasons the Red Sox originally traded Hanley was concern over his attititude, It doesn't seem like he's improved upon that.

Funny how Ramirez' attitude wasn't an issue from 2006-2010 isn't it?

Eovaldi was scheduled to start for the Dodgers Friday night...

Cubs and Wrigley inch closer to the 20th century

Hamels gets 6/140.

That should work out well for the Phillies long term, huh?

@CarrieMuskat: Boise's Ian Dickson hurls six no-hit frames

via @Minorleagues Cubs

Thanks for the great reports from AZ. Can get box scores from but not your great commentary.

Atlanta GM says deal with Cubs has expired.

Radio report.

Again, well played, TheoCorp. Very nicely done. Keep earning that big handsome salary.

I don't think it's their fault that Dempster can veto a trade or that someone from Atlanta leaked it.

Demp channeling his inner Dwight Howard is Theo's fault how?

Link in twitter box says the same.


Paul Sullivan‏@PWSullivan

Randy Wells underwent artho surgery on elbow yesterday in Chicago. Done for year.

Please take this with a grain of salt.

Az Phil,
Any info on Carhart? I've heard he's got what they call a "bad body" but it seems like he is raking
right now. Think he'll be Boise bound soon?

Wed, 07/25/2012 - 8:40am — Dusty Baylor

Az Phil,
Any info on Carhart? I've heard he's got what they call a "bad body" but it seems like he is raking
right now. Think he'll be Boise bound soon?


DUSTY B: As a 22-year old college senior, it is not too surprising that Ben Carhart is hitting as well as he is in the AZL. Experienced, polished college players usually do well in rookie ball.

And it's not Carhart's fault that he's blocked at 3B by Jeimer Candelario (at Boise) and Dustin Geiger (at Peoria), and at 1B by Rock Shoulders and Dan Vogelbach (both at Boise) and Paul Hoilman (at Peoria).

That said, Carhart really does need to move up to Boise or Peoria.

The Cubs could move Rebel Ridling up to AA or AAA from Daytona and then promote Hoilman to Daytona and Shoulders or Vogelbach to Peoria. That would clear some playing time at 3B-1B-DH for Carhart at Boise.

Or the Cubs could move Geiger to RF (the Cubs projected him as a RF when they drafted him, but Geiger wanted to stay at 3B), except that move would probably have to be made post-2012 at AZ Instructs and/or next March at Minor League Camp.

As I have posted before, I believe Carhart actually should consider a move to catcher if the Cubs ask him. He has a catcher's body (he's listed at 5'8 180, but he's really more like 5'8 220), and even if he doesn't develop into an everyday catcher, being a C-1B-3B would give him a better chance of reaching the higher levels of the minors (or perhaps even MLB) than if he remains just a corner INF.

Recent comments

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  • from the Sunday Trib...

    Reliever Jason Motte waved as he left the visitor’s clubhouse at Miller Park on a golf cart en route to the airport to catch a flight to Arizona to start a rehab assignment.
    Motte has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 24 because of a right shoulder strain, but there’s a possibility he could rejoin the Cubs if they advance deep in the playoffs.
    Motte is scheduled to pitch in simulated games and in Instructional League games in Arizona.

  • 8 in a row to end the year...let's do this playoffs thing.

  • shelby miller (ATL) finishes the season with a win, snapping his 24-game winless streak...because ATL bats are non-existent.

    3.02 era, 1.25 whip, 205.1ip, 171K

    6-17 w/l...ugg.

  • Totally independent of the Cubs winning or losing today, Dan Haren came into today's game having earned $2M of his potential $3M in performance bonuses for 2015. 

    By making the start (his 32nd start of the season) he picked up $500K, and he'll get the remaining $500K if he can throw at least 8.2 IP in the game (he was at 181.1 IP coming into the game, and he needs to reach 190 IP to get the remaining $500K), 

    It's a bit like the old "Bowling for Dollars" TV show, but of course Haren is actually "Pitching for Dollars."

  • holy crap, MIL is just...awful.

  • i think he's currently playing for the Santo Domingo Meths. he's an Adderall-Star player there.

  • I'm longing for a Neifi sighting.

  • if you have stable/fast internet you can stream with and you don't mind giving up $20 a month check out "sling tv".

    TBS, TNT, ESPN 1+2, etc...100% legal.


  • 68 pitches (50 strikes)

    love seeing that...especially with the batters doing very little with it.

  • Yeah, keep him off the playoff roster.

  • Or, he's looked exactly like Ted Williams.

  • Lately he hasn't looked like Ted Williams...

  • Reading between the lines on some of his comments he seems to know his longish swing doesn't play well with a man on third and two outs, and two strikes on him. I doubt a playoff adjustment is happening, just something he'll need to figure out next year. I have this odd feeling he will.

  • Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 4m4 minutes ago
    Bryant leads NL rookies in HRs (26), RBIs (99), 2B (31) and runs (86). Last rookie to reach 26 HR, 99 RBI, 31 2bs, 86 runs and 74 BBs?

    Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 4m4 minutes ago
    Boston’s Ted Williams in 1939

  • Surprised and bummed that Mark Buehrle is retiring. One of my all-time favorite pitchers. I think he could pitch for 5 more years.