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).
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?