Cubs Keep Heat on the A's in Arizona

Carlos Penalver and Shawon Dunston smacked back-to-back two-out doubles and Ben Carhart followed with an RBI single to plate the first two runs in the top of the 5th, and Jeffrey Baez poked an opposite-field RBI single to drive-in the final run in the 8th, leading the AZL Cubs to a 5-2 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action at Papago Park Baseball Complex Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field" ) in Phoenix this evening. 



box score


The Cubs clinched the AZL Wild Card slot with their victory over the Giants last night, but with tonight's win, the Cubs closed to within one game of the AZL East Division leading A's (albeit two back in the "loss column"), and they still have a chance to win the East Division and finish with the league's best record (insuring "home field advantage" in the AZL Playoffs).


Home Field Advantage is especially important to the AZL Cubs, because they have the league's best home record in 2012.


Both the Cubs and the A's have only two games left, and so the Cubs need to win both of their games and hope that the A's lose both of their games.  


Tonight's game was scoreless until two outs in the top of the 5th. Carlos Penalver lined a rope-double into the LF corner, and then Shawon Dunston Jr smoked an RBI double into the RF corner to score Penalver. Ben Carhart followed with a line-drive RBI single over a leaping A's shortstop to plate Dunston with the second run of the game (and the inning).


The A's narrowed the score to 2-1 with a run in the bottom of the 5th, but the Cubs took advantage of a throwing error by the A's catcher to score two unearned runs in the top of the 6th.


With two outs and Cub runners at 2nd & 3rd, Danny Lockhart swung & missed at a 1-2 pitch in the dirt. Lockhart then took off for 1st base, requiring the catcher to throw him out. But the throw overshot the 1st baseman by a mile and rolled into the RF corner, allowing both runners to score easily and Lockhart to advance all the way to 3rd base (standing up).


The Cubs scored their 5th and final run in the 8th.


Yasiel Balaguert reached base on a throwing error by the A's shortstop, advanced to 2nd base on a ground out, and then stole 3rd base. Jeffrey Baez (called up from DSL Cubs #1 last weekend) then shot a ground single past the 1st baseman and into RF, scoring Balaguert.   


Cubs 2012 2nd round draft pick Duane Underwood (Pope HS - Marietta, GA) got the start for the Cubs, and the 18-year old RHP labored through 2.1 IP (47 pitches - 26 strikes, including a 25-pitch 2nd inning), allowing two hits (a single and a double) and two walks, plus a HBP. 


Underwood was relieved by 22-year old Dominican Hombre Misterio Juan Carlos Paniagua with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 3rd, and the recently-signed right-hander promptly struck out the next two batters (both swinging) to escape the jam. Paniagua also worked a 1-2-3 4th and recorded another punch-out, retiring all five men he faced (20 pitches - 12 strikes). He absolutely tied the young A's hitters in knots.


Paniagua has nasty stuff, including a 94-97 MPH heater, a plus-change, and a hard-breaking slider. He was known as "Juan Callado" back when he signed a contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009, and although he spent two seasons pitching for the DSL Diamondbacks (2009-10), his contract was never officially approved by MLB (the contract was "pending" the entire time) and was eventually voided due to "fraudulent documentation." (BTW, players are no longer permitted to play in the DSL with a contract "pending").


Callado was suspended by MLB for one year, and then signed with the New York Yankees in 2011 (this time as "Juan Carlos Paniagua") for $1.1M, but the contract was voided again because his age could not be documented. 


The Cubs signed Paniagua last month ($1.5M bonus) after they were satisfied that all of his papers were in order, and Paniagua received a work visa from the US INS almost immediately. His contract was approved by MLB about ten days ago. 


Paniagua is not a big guy (6'1 175), but he has a "live" arm. He also is athletic and fairly polished (after all, he has been pitching professionally off-and-on since 2009), and so he could move quickly through the pipeline, especially in a Cubs system devoid of legitimate MLB-caliber starting pitcher prospects. 


Because his prior contracts were never approved by MLB, Paniagua was designated by MLB as a "First Year Player" when he signed with the Cubs in July, meaning his $1.5M bonus will count against the Cubs 2012-13 International Signing Bonus Pool. On the other hand, because he was designated a "First-Year Player" by MLB he will not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft until December 2015. (If Paniagua had not been designated a "First-Year Player" prior to signing with the Cubs, the contract signed with the Cubs would have been a so-called "second contract," and while the $1.5M bonus would not have counted against the Cubs 2012-13 International SBP, Paniagua would have been eligible for selection in the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft, and thus the Cubs probably would have felt the need to add him to the their 40-man roster immediately to protect their investment).  


Most of the AZL Cubs have nicknames associated with the player's last name (Carlos Penalver is "Penny," Danny Lockhart is "Lock," Steve Perakslis is "Percolator," et al), but everybody calls Juan Carlos Paniagua "Juan," probably because nobody really knows for sure whether his last name actually is Paniagua. 

Comments

here is the Ben Badler (Baseball America) link (from the previous thread) on his writeup of Paniagua

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects...

...also note the Keith Law twitter comments regarding Paniagua in the TCR twitter box:

the velocity was easy like Sunday morning

Boise may have a squad next year, also? Carhart intrigues me.

I have Paniagua at #2 in my SP Rankings in the system (behind Vizcaino). But then, I did before reading your reports as well. Daytona next year?

Thanks for another great report, AZ.

True Cubbery would have Paniagua as a Rule 5er next year, so maybe there's some progress, after all.

Includes interesting comments about Theo.

http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/8/25/3266544/bos...

Pretty dang 3/44 there, Mr. Richardson. This is not CCO. The article from yesterday in the Boston Herald talking about Theo"s "Clean Getaway" is an interesting read, as well.

never mind. This post is old! Sorry.

AZ PHIL: Thanks for the eye-witness on the new guy.

Am curious how your scout friends (and yourself) project Callados - er Paniagua? As a starter or reliever? If the latter, does he have Closer stuff? Thanks!

i-cub season ends by TKO when entire final series @ new orleans canceled in wake of isaac...geez, talk about dismal/dreary

Was going thru withdrawal symptoms

I hit reply and now I have two comment boxes.

The reply box shows up in addition to the new comment box. I guess I don't need to post as jumbowang for a while, yet.

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  • Happ was the #9 pick last year, and he moved from OF to 2B in the same offseason that Castro was traded.

    Gleyber also in the picture at second.

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 59 min ago view
  • jacos 3 hours 18 min ago view
  • Co-sign

    Ryno 3 hours 19 min ago view
  • Transmission 3 hours 28 min ago view
  • O&B: I think D. J. Wilson is a legit MLB prospect.

    He is a hyperactive dynamo on the field, a protypical lead-off hitter who is looking to get on base any way he can, a triple machine (if there is such a thing) when he does make solid contact, a daring baserunner who goes berserk once he is on base, and a CF who plays a "no fear" crash & burn style of defense.

    Guys like that sometimes get injured more-often than the average player, but if he can stay healthy and continue to progress, I believe he will be an MLB CF, or at worst a 4th OF. 

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 40 min ago view
  • The hot start was nice, but it won't always come easy. It's nice to see them have to work for it every once in a while.

    Ryno 5 hours 47 min ago view
  • Hey, AZ, are you as high on DJ Wilson as your pal John Arguello is?

    Old and Blue 6 hours 4 min ago view
  • Phil, I just wanted to say thank you for diligently tracking the Cubs prospects in extended spring training and sharing your knowledge with us. It's remarkable how you're able to keep box scores for multiple games at once. I, and I'm sure others here, appreciate the data and insight you provide for us.

    K Dub 8 hours 58 min ago view
  • Thanks PHIL.

    Boy, that is a nifty K:BB ratio Hudson has going at almost 4:1!

    I hope he continues improving.

    The E-Man 14 hours 55 min ago view
  • And of course the Bucs won again playing AZ (not PHIL). They dont seem to have a problem yet with the bottom feeders.

    They picked up 3 games this last week.

    I'm looking forward to them coming to the Chi.

    The E-Man 15 hours 23 min ago view
  • Don't mess with the SI jinx. Since the Javy/Cubs cover came out, he is 2-for-20 with no walks.

    billybucks 15 hours 34 min ago view
  • BRADSBEARD: If all three are assigned to Eugene, the Cubs can play Galindo, Paredes, and Paniagua at the same time by moving Paredes between SS-3B-DH, Galindo between 3B-1B-DH, and Paniagua between 1B-LF-DH. 

    The Cubs like to have their players (including their minor leaguers) learn to play more than one position even if they eventually are projected to settle at one spot, and I suspect that will be reflected at Eugene, with just about everybody who will be assigned there able to play at least two positions. 

    Arizona Phil 15 hours 55 min ago view
  • Thanks - at least the scorer was consistent

    Eric S 16 hours 8 min ago view
  • I don't think the error call was completely out of the blue but the ball took a very bad hop and would have taken a very good play to get it. Same with one of the Stella throws where I think it could have easily been ruled a hit. Neither were cut and dry calls though imo.

    johann 16 hours 37 min ago view
  • chased a high fastball...

    I think his BABIP during his run has been around .950

    Rob G. 16 hours 53 min ago view
  • Great stuff CubbyBlue!!! I think it inspired today's six spot as well.

    Eric S 16 hours 57 min ago view