October 2010

Not Necessarily a Minor Matter

There is a tendency for fans to write-off older players in the minor leagues. But throughout the history of baseball there have been many players labeled “4-A guy” or "career AAA player” who became successful front-line players after being given a chance. And that's still true today, as many minor league players buried in the bush leagues long for the serendipity of being in the right place at the right time.

Angels Harmanize with 9th Inning Rally

Roberto Lopez laced a double into the LF corner to knock-in the tying run, and Drew Heid hit a sacrifice fly to RF to drive-in the winning run, as the Angels scored six runs in the bottom of the 9th and edged the Cubs 9-8 in AZ instructional League action at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this afternoon.  

Ha Stays Hot, and Crawford Saves the Day

Delbis Arcila, Oliver Zapata, and Evan Crawford ripped consecutive two-out doubles in the bottom of the 8th inning, plating first the tying run and then the go-ahead run, as the Cubs rallied to edge the Angels 8-7 in AZ instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.  

Cubs Score with Small Ball

Evan Crawford singled twice, stole a base, and scored a run, and Justin Bour reached base three times on two singles and a HBP, leading the Cubs to a 2-1 victory over the A’s Split Squad #1 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.  

Cubs Offense Tied in Nots at Papago Park

The A’s scored two runs in the bottom of the 7th to overcome a 2-0 deficit, and then neither team could plate another run, as the Cubs and the A’s Split Squad #1 played to a 2-2 tie in AZ Instructional League action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this afternoon.  

Cub Pitchers Mine Gold in Arizona Ball Fields

Five Cub pitchers combined to throw a two-hitter and Justin Bour drove-in two runs with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly, leading the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the A’s Split Squad #2 in AZ Instructional League action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this afternoon.


A Parallel Universe in Cubs Future?

With the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies set to move their Spring Training & Minor League operations from Tucson to a new joint/shared facility at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort next year, it is likely that the "Arizona Advanced Instructional League" (AKA "Arizona Parallel League" or "Junior Arizona Fall League") will be expanded to include at least two teams from the east-side of the metro Phoenix area (AZ and COL).


Cubs Throw No Hitter at Fitch Park

Five Cub pitchers combined to throw a no run, no hit game, but the Angels threw a three-hit shutout of their own right back at the Cubs, as the two teams played to a scoreless tie in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

Local Boy Makes Good, Makes Cubs Pitchers Look Bad

San Francisco Giants 2009 2nd round draft pick Tommy Joseph (Horizon HS – Scottsdale, AZ) blasted a two-run home run to cap a five-run 3rd as the Giants trounced the Cubs 13-2 in AZ Instructional League action at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale this afternoon. Local-boy Joseph also hit a two-run bomb in yesterday’s 12-1 Giants victory at Fitch Park.

Giant Bats Quiet Cubs at Fitch Park

Tommy Joseph cracked a two-run home run to lead the Giants to a 12-1 drubbing of the Cubs in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #1 in Mesa this afternoon. (Field #3 remains unplayable in the aftermath of the torrential rain and flash flood that hit Mesa Tuesday afternoon).

Family Feud at Camelback Ranch

Trayce Thompson crushed a towering home run and the White Sox scored five runs in the 6th to overcome a 3-1 deficit, as the Cubs dropped a 7-4 decision to their crosstown rivals in AZ Instructional League action at Camelback Ranch this afternoon.

Flash Flood Puts Damper on Festivities at Fitch Park

The Cubs and the A’s Split Squad #1 squared-off in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon, in a game that was halted due to a sudden, torrential rain storm after three innings, with the Cubs ahead 1-0. And it was a real gully-washer, too, as much of Mesa (including Fitch Park) was under water within minutes.


The Cubs scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the 1st inning. Logan Watkins lined a one-out double into the RF corner, advanced to 3rd base on a WP, and scored on a Josh Vitters sacrifice fly to the warning track in LF. (Vitters once again got the start at 1st base, and handled his one and only chance without incident).

Cub Pitchers and Hitters Shine under Overcast Arizona Skies

Hak-Ju Lee ripped a double and a triple, drove-in three runs, and scored another, Gioskar Amaya had three hits (two singles and a triple), two RBI, and two runs scored, and five pitchers combined to throw a four-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts, as the Cubs blanked the A’s Split Squad #1 7-0 in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.


The game was halted with two outs in the top of the 9th after a severe thunderstorm came roaring into Mesa, causing BP screens and tarps to fly across Fitch Park amidst high winds, heavy rain, and lightning & thunder, as the Cubs ran for their clubhouse, the umpires hot-footed it for their dressing room, the A’s loaded up their gear (and themselves) into their two maxi-vans, and the scouts in attendance made a beeline for their cars parked in the lot across the street.

Vote for the Cubs 2010 MVP and LVP

I do this every year, so might as well keep up tradition. In a season wrapped in disappointment and deep fried in irrelevancy, someone was still the best player on the Cubs. Someone was also the worst. Check out the numbers and cast your vote after the jump.

2009 - Lee (MVP) and Soriano (LVP)

2008 - Geovany Soto(MVP)

A's Use Long-Ball to Teach Cub Pitchers a Thing or Six

A. J. Kirby-Jones smashed a grand slam home run to power the A’s Split Squad #1 to a 6-0 whitewashing of the Cubs in AZ Instructional League action at Papago Park Baseball Complex Field #3 in Phoenix this morning.

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  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 14 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 17 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 2 hours 9 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 6 hours 55 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 6 hours 56 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 16 hours 37 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 19 hours 35 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 19 hours 47 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 19 hours 56 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 20 hours 1 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 20 hours 20 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 20 hours 56 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 21 hours 13 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 21 hours 15 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 21 hours 33 min ago view