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...

Recent comments

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  • Probably a good idea to give Rizz a couple of days off (slumps happen to the best -- Harper just broke a 4-for-33 with a HR yesterday). Never been a big fan of an all-RH lineup. The pitcher has the same look and same target for every hitter. At least, as a mediocre HS pitcher, facing a mixture of LH/RH hitters messed me up. A lack of talent and weak-ass stuff may have also been contributing factors.

    billybucks 26 min 10 sec ago view
  • Would you say Brooks doesn't have any upside going forward? Seems like he could be one of those hybrid starter reliever types maddon seems to like having in his bullpen. But I haven't seen a ton of him, and he got hit around pretty good last year in mlb

    Koyies Bansaw 27 min 45 sec ago view
  • Thanks, Phil!

    Charlie 1 hour 1 min ago view
  • Well executed!

    I've been wracking my brain to work a "Room With a View" reference in there but I just haven't gotten it to work.

    JoePepitone 2 hours 20 min ago view
  • Bryant might be playing SS during an infield shift, no? Usually he is moved to 2B but it could happen.

    Cubster 2 hours 31 min ago view
  • I won't really be happy until I see Bryant at shortstop.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats.

    Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on.

    South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 24 min ago view
  • Thanks Steve, I always forget about that.

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 27 min ago view
  • Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.

    The line-ups, by the way, appear in the Twitter box on the left and usually very soon after they are made available.

    CTSteve 3 hours 30 min ago view
  • Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 46 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.

    However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.  

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 47 min ago view
  • E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 2 min ago view
  • PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?

    The E-Man 4 hours 47 min ago view
  • Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.

    John Beasley 8 hours 5 min ago view
  • Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.

    Hagsag 8 hours 22 min ago view
  • Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.

    Hagsag 8 hours 27 min ago view