Gallagher's Dirty Dozen
The season here in Des Moines has had a hard time getting started this year. Bad weather, bad team and bad schedule; you're out!
Yesterday was an exception.
Sean Gallagher served up a tasty lunch in a nooner matinee at Principal Park on one of the very few days so far when the elements didn't cross-up the schedule makers.
After seven innings Gallagher had thrown 86 pitches, allowing one run on three hits with no walks and 12 strikeouts. All 12 K's were swinging, most of them on a nasty breaking ball.
His pitch counts by inning were as follows: 11, 13,13, 14, 16, 9 and 10.
They trotted him back out for the eighth, the only frame when he failed to fan anybody. He walked the leadoff man, erased him on a DP grounder, gave up a base hit and called it a day after 101 mostly carveaceous, to coin a word, pitches.
The lone run he allowed came on a 3-1 fastball that Chris Shelton swatted into the parking lot in the fourth [you might remember Shelton; the erstwhile Tiger who briefly led the majors in homers a couple of Aprils ago].
Gallagher's foils were the Oklahoma Redhawks, apprentices of the Texas Rangers. They came into the game with a record of 15-4.
Nelson Cruz, to name one, had been tearing it up and only been whiffed six times in nineteen games. Gallagher popped him up in the first, then fanned him in the fourth and seventh without ever throwing him a fastball.
He struck out two in every inning from the 4th through the 7th
The scoreboard gun had his curveball in the low 70's and his fastball topping out between 91-93, but a Cleveland scout behind the plate said his readings were 2-3 MPH faster. By the way, another scout told me he works for Baltimore, but was only there because his routine territory is the PCL.
CRUMBS: Eric Patterson played CF on Monday night. Yesterday he was at 2B and already had two hits when he left in the third after pulling up lame on the basepaths with what was described afterwards as a strained hamstring; no prognosis yet...Sam Fuld is listed as active but hasn't played on this homestand due to a bad right thumb. He's only had 20 AB's in 18 games...no one around here expects Micah Hoffpauir back any sooner than 2-3 more weeks. They claim he's in Arizona rehabbing...Jose Ascanio looks good as a closer-in-training. Yesterday he notched his fifth save. He's fanned 11 and walked just two in 10 innings while holding batters to a BAA of .179...Sidney Ponson beat the I-Cubs on Monday night with a nifty seven innings of work...don't yet know why, but the whole team wears their pants tucked up under the knee, a la Reed Johnson; the team looks better than it is...MW
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This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.