Almora v. Buxton: Showdown at High Noon

Here’s a grab bag from recent days in the Iowa bush leagues:

 

*Junior Lake looks like a ballplayer but needs polish. He’s been getting on base a lot but his hits have included a swinging bunt here, a deflected ball there, a well-placed bloop, etc. With the glove his best game was in right field where he made multiple good plays. At 3B he’s made some diving and leaping stops but the arm’s erratic to the tune of five errors in less than a week. Still, he looks the part of a prospect.

 

*Took me a while to notice but The Cub Way no longer includes knickers in the farm system. Apparently the short pants look left town along with Oneri Fleita.

 

*Status quo with Brett Jackson. The other night his first three at-bats went as follows: solo homer, struck out swinging with the bases loaded, walk (stolen base). Also saw him  throw a guy out on the fly tagging up at 2nd on a fly ball to medium depth CF.

 

*Took the day off today and roadtripped the hundred miles to Cedar Rapids to eyewitness the battle of AA vs. BB, last year’s #’6 and 2, respectively, overall draft picks.  This round went decidedly to Byron Buxton who led the hometown/first-place Kernels to a 6-2 win over visiting Kane County. Not only did he single, double and triple at the plate, he also made an astounding Superman circus catch in the top of the 2nd; back-to-the-plate, full sprint, all-out dive robbery of extra bases as he skidded across the warning track to a stop against the wall. Proving he’s a nineteen year-old human in his first full season of pro ball, he was picked off first after his single.

 

Almora went 1-4, hustling a seeing eye single into a pants-ripping double when the Kernel infield left the bag at 2nd unprotected in pursuit of his bouncer up the middle. He also drove Buxton to the track in deep center on his hardest hit ball of the day but that running catch was ho-hum compared to the earlier highlight reeler. Almora was not tested defensively but I did notice how he positioned himself for a routine catch with a man at 2nd in such a way that he was perfectly aligned for the throw to 3rd.

 

Has it been mentioned previously how much Vogelbomb resembles Chris Farley? From my seat several rows behind the Cougar dugout it appeared that he, AA and Rock Shoulders are three amigos. Several times when Kane County was hitting and none of them was at the plate, on deck or in the hole, there they were; side-by-side on the top step with their elbows resting on the dugout railing. Almora was doing most of the talking. Far, er, Vogey laughed a lot.

 

The kid Amaya who plays 2B and bats leadoff ahead of Almora? Don’t know much about him but he made a sparkling play to snuff out a threat when the game was still scoreless and drew three walks, each of which included multiple foul balls. In his other AB the count went full before he lined out.

 

Pierce Johnson started for KC and looked good until Buxton busted the game open with his bases-clearing double in the 5th.

 

 

Comments

The Superman circus catch:

http://ht.ly/lU2Bs

every year that that ballpark ages in looks about 5 years due to lack of maintenance...it's hard to believe it's only 11 years old.

i bet the concrete there hasn't seen a power washer since it opened...and the numbers flaking off the OF wall is embarrassing.

...nice catch, btw. =p

castro finally gets a hit (deep RBI double, 1-4 on the day)

2nd hit of the month...both doubles (2 walks)...in 30 PA.

Interesting article, thanks.

I'm kinda thinking Ian Stewart should get on a plane w Buddy Holly, jim Croce and Payne Stewart.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130611&c...

Cubs brass seems highly annoyed with his BS to say the least.

already banished to 1B & the 8-hole - maybe they make him drive the cart for the hot dog gun on next homestand...

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  • The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.

    billybucks 1 hour 12 min ago view
  • I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.

    JoePepitone 3 hours 31 min ago view
  • Been quite the roller-coaster the past two days -- both games, plus the Chapman kerfuffel. How about a couple of nice, comfortable wins before facing Sale? Cubs should definitely wear throwbacks for that game.

    billybucks 4 hours 27 min ago view
  • The Cubs are stronger defensively than most of the teams they play. In order to capitalize on that, they have to a) put the ball in play and b) run the bases aggressively.

    That said, Cabrera has a strong, accurate arm, as witnessed by his 97 outfield assists over 12 seasons--mostly left field but also a lot of center. Bryant is rarely thrown out, but I guess you have to know who's throwing the ball.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 20 min ago view
  • On the other hand, Pries won his first start for Iowa, only giving up two HRs in the process. This trade has got some legs yet!

    Eric S 14 hours 29 min ago view
  • KB now with 0 RBI in his last 10 games and 1 in his last 15, despite having 19 hits in his last 15 games and raising his batting average from .278 to .286 over that span.

    Maybe have Zobrist hit 2 and KB hit 4?

    Also -- no HR in the last 15 games -- time for a bunch. Starting tomorrow.

    billybucks 14 hours 45 min ago view
  • Down a run. Fowler on first. Nobody out. KB singles to left, Fowler makes it to third, perfect throw from Cabrera nails KB trying to stretch for 2nd.

    So, instead of 1st & 3rd and no out, you have 3rd with one out. It was a perfect throw, but why take the chance with 3-4-5 hitters coming up?

    billybucks 14 hours 59 min ago view
  • Must be a Cub thing - our lefties can;t get lefties out.

    billybucks 15 hours 7 sec ago view
  • Splitting hairs, but Jake's pitch was poor execution, while KB's play was a poor decision (and the 2nd time he got thrown out trying to stretch in the game). Poor execution happens. Poor decisions are preventable. Speaking of poor decisions -- Baez's steal of 3rd made absolutely no sense.

    billybucks 15 hours 47 sec ago view
  • Didn't Jake cost them the game with a pitch to Frazier?

    The E-Man 15 hours 14 min ago view
  • Missed the play w/Bryant. What happened?

    The E-Man 15 hours 15 min ago view
  • Not a good decision by Bryant in the 9th. That may have cost them the game.

    billybucks 15 hours 19 min ago view
  • Can we un-do the Montgomery deal? Please?

    billybucks 15 hours 20 min ago view
  • THAT WAS TURRIBLE.

    crunch 15 hours 22 min ago view
  • Who is this Arrieta guy? Can I get the old one back please?

    The E-Man 16 hours 31 min ago view
  • Well, this is, once again, the whole season for the Sox.

    billybucks 16 hours 35 min ago view