Giants Hitters Teach Cubs Pitchers a Thing or 12
The Giants battered four Cubs pitchers to the tune of 12 runs on 17 hits, en route to a 12-6 victory in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.
2009 4th round pick LHP Chris Rusin (U. of Kentucky) got the start, and had an easy ten-pitch 1-2-3 1st inning (two strikeouts and a ground out). The Giants then scored twice in the second on two singles and a double, although Rusin only had to throw 12 pitches (total) in that inning. Rusin had another easy 13-pitch 3rd, striking out two more around a single, while catcher Jae-Hoon Ha gunned down a potential base-stealer with a picture-perfect throw to shotstop Hak-Ju Lee's glove as the base-runner tagged himself out for the 3rd out of the inning. (BTW, Hak-Ju Lee was named the top prospect in the Northwest League by Baseeball America today).
Jae-Hoon Ha was a catcher in high school in South Korea, but the Cubs moved him to the outfield immediately after signing him to take advantage of his speed and athleticism. But he (Ha) looks OK behind the plate--certainly better than recent converts Jovan Rosa or (especially) Brandon May have looked so far, and it will be interesting to see if the Cubs used Ha more as a catcher now that Matt Cerda has apparently been moved to 2B full-time
As for Chris Rusin, the 22-year old is a polished college lefty, with a full array of pitches in his arsenal and an ability to work fast and throw strikes. Rusin is the type of guy who should move quickly through the Cubs system at least until his stuff gets challenged and tested at AA. So I would not be surprised one bit if Rusin jumps from Boise to Daytona on Opening Day 2010, with a possible mid-season promotion to AA if he proves that he has mastered Advanced-A by that time.
Peoria RHP Chris Archer (one of three young pitchers the Cubs acquired from Cleveland for Mark DeRosa last off-season) pitched the 4th & 5th innings, and while he didn't walk anybody, he did labor through both innings, throwing 29 pitches in each inning while allowing four runs on six hits. Not a good outing for Archer.
Dominican RHP Julio Pena threw the next two innings and had an OK outing, but then Venezuelan RHP Eduardo Figueroa got clobbered in the 8th and 9th (allowing five runs on three singles, a double and a home run, a walk, and an HBP), as the Giants salted the game away
AA Tennessee Smokies 2B Tony Thomas and CF Brandon Guyer got starts today, and Guyer had a nice game, reaching base three times, including a double and a triple, plus a sacrifice fly RBI. Thomas went hitless, but did score a run after reaching base on a FC.
It's unusual for AA guys to get assigned to Instructs, but in the case of Guyer and Thomas, it's to work on parricular aspects of their game. In the case of Guyer, it's a Strength & Conditioning Program designed to help him develop more strength and power, and for Thomas, it's a crash course in base-stealing with Organizational Base-Running Instructor Bobby Derrnier.
Guyer showed some signs of driving the ball today, as he slammed a double and a triple, while also making an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch while running full-bore toward dead-center. Guyer reminds me of Reed Johnson or Eric Byrnes (pre-torn hamstring), playing all-out on every play and leaving it all on the field. If he could add some XBH to his gear bag, he could be an MLB OF.
Tony Thomas reached base only once today (on a FC), and he did attempt to steal 2nd once he did reach base, but Guyer fouled the pitch off. Then Thomas advanced to 2nd on a Wild Pitch before he could take another shot at stealing 2nd base.
20-year old LF Runey Davis had a nice day at the plate today, with a single, a double, and a triple, and a hard line-drive out to RF in his last AB. Davis was the Cubs 12th round pick out of NJCAA National Champion Howard JC (which beat fellow Cub Trey McNutt's Shelton State club to win the 2009 National JC title), but he struggled at the plate at both Mesa and Boise this Summer. Davis started his college career at the University of Texas before transferring to Howard JC, and would have transferred to Mississippi State if he hadn't signed with the Cubs
And Bobby Wagner smacked a solo home run over the RF fence with one out in the bottom of the 5th. The 23-year old Wagner was the Cubs 38th round draft pick this past June. A native of British Columbia, Wagner played JC ball in at Panola JC in Texas in 2009. The 6'3 left-handed hitting 3B-LF has plus-power, but he strikes out a lot and is a poor defender no matter where he plays (he is a "natural" 3B, but LF is his best position if he can't DH). Because of his age, he could (like Rusin) jump past Peoria and move from Boise to Daytona in 2010.
Cubs Organizational Infield Instructor Franklin Font continues to work with 2009 #2 draft pick D. J. LeMahieu (LSU) on Field #5 (the "half field" located north of the clubhouse), as the Cubs try to teach LeMahieu the proper way to turn the DP, especially from the 2B position. He was apparently never forced to learn this at LSU, so now he has to learn the technique at the pro level. It's fairly obvious that the Cubs would prefer that LeMahieu play either SS or 2B (preferably 2B), since he has not (yet) displayed the power required of a third-baseman or a corner outfielder, and since be doesn't have any experience playing CF (the other position for which he might have some aptitude).
And speaking of CF, #1 draft pick Brett Jackson (Cal) is progressing with his rehab (sore wrist) and should return to the lineup sometime next week, joining 2009 11th round pick LHP John Mincone (missed three months after June shoulder surgery) and 2008 4th round pick 2B Matt Cerda (missed three months with a broken hand) as recent additions on the Instructs Active Roster. (While Hak-Ju Lee was named the Northwest League's #1 best prosprect by Baseball America today, BA named Jackson the 3rd best prospect in the NWL).
RHP Dae-Eun Rhee (2008 TJS) is still not throwing in Instructs games, although he is participating in daily PFP drills. Rhee made a few rehab appearances at Mesa and Boise at the end of the season, but struggled with his control and got hammered when he did throw strikes (9.35 ERA and 2.08 WHIP). Hopefully Rhee will be back close to 100% in 2010.
Fellow Korean RHP Su-Min Jung returned to South Korea in August to attend college so he is not at Instructs, but he is expected back at Fitch Park next Spring.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only): .
1. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 2-4 (1B, 3-U, L-4, 1B)
2. Tony Thomas, 2B: 0-4 (K, F-8, 6-3, 4-6 FC), R
3. Brandon Guyer, CF: 2-3 (K-WP, 3B, 2B, F-9 SF), R, RBI
4. Jovan Rosa, 1B: 2-3 (6-4-3 DP, HBP, 1B, 1B), R, 2 RBI
5. Justin Bour, DH #1: 1-4 (4-3, 4-6-3 DP, L-6, 2B), RBI
6a. Jae-Hoon Ha, C: 0-1 (P-1)
6b. Sergio Burruel, C: 0-3 (P-6, 3-1, K)
7. Bobby Wagner, 3B: 1-4 (P-5, HR, K, K), R, RBI
8. Runey Davis, LF: 3-4 (2B, 1B, 3B, L-9), R
9. Dong-Yub Kim, DH #2: 0-4 (6-3, 6-3, 6-3, K)
10. Blair Springfield, RF: 1-3 (K, K, 1B), R
1. Chris Rusin - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 35 pitches (27 strikes)
2. Chris Archer - 2.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 58 pitches (43 strikes)
3. Julio Pena - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 44 pitches (31 strikes)
4. Eduardo Figueroa - 2.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 38 pitches (26 strikes)
ERRORS (2) -
1. Chris Rusin (E-1) - overthrow at 1B on pick-off atemnpt with no outs in top of the 2nd, allowing runner to advance from 1st to 3rd.
2. Bobby Wagner (E-5) - bobbled chopper hit to 3B, allowing batter to reach base with two outs and runners at 1st & 2nd in the top of the 6th.
Jae-Hoon Ha - 1-2 CS, 1 PB
Sergio Burruel - 0-1 CS
Blair Springfield - threw out batter-runner 9-3-4 trying to advance to 2nd base after throw to plate was cut-off by first-baseman on RBI single to RF
WEATHER: breezy & sunny, mid-90's (cold front moved through town)
ATTENDANCE: 17 (mostly scouts)
crunch 6 hours 35 min ago (view)
without fail, at the end of every minor league spring training period (which is extremely poorly paid, not at all for the most part) there comes some retirements that seem to be a bit "early" in their development when players slog through weeks of low/no pay only to find out they're being assigned to a low level that barely pays them. it's a real morale crasher after going through weeks of poverty that breaks some guys. that's no way to run things...
JustSayin' 7 hours 54 min ago (view)
So true. The minors these days is an odd mix of the few who get big bonuses with Hispanic guys for whom $1,200/month might be good money and college guys being partly subsidized by middle or upper-middle class families. You don't hear much about minor league economics when the discussion turns to lower participation by black players but I believe it's a big factor. If you need to use sports to get ahead, would you rather have your "internship" involve a free college education, or $6,000 a year?
crunch 8 hours 24 min ago (view)
there are more than a few minor league players that have to "retire" from minor league ball in order to start making real money in the real world for their real lives while those from more wealthy families get to follow their dreams a bit longer.
that's a real shame.
JustSayin' 13 hours 30 min ago (view)
Theo got a good question at the conference on minor league salaries and went on record that they are unfair. That was followed by "keep your ear to the ground" or some similar cliche. I find this interesting. Fan dissatisfaction this offseason is maily focused on ownership being cheap but you have to admit there is a (slim?) chance that the baseball moves we want to see are not currently possible. It's hard to say the same about MiLB salaries. Those don't even factor in the luxury tax. You could raise every player in the system to middle class for the cos
Dolorous Jon Lester 13 hours 56 min ago (view)
As part of the 2019-2020 Cubs offseason dumpster diving extravaganza, I wonder if they will kick the tires on Zack Cozart. Can handle 2B SS 3B and isn't far removed from being a great defender and at least decent hitter. 2 years of injury is a concern, but he'd receive only ML minimum.
crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
WAS is now floating c.kieboom as a 3rd base option...along with asdrubal cabrera backing him up there.
the bryant service issue delay may end up lessening his trade value as teams (especially his #1 rumored suitor, WAS) prepare their teams in the offseason.
it's unfortunate that the cubs major offseason team building is based on waiting to find out how much getting rid of bryant is worth because of service time concerns.
Arizona Phil 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
Another possible unintended consequence of the new restriction on September call-ups is that contending clubs will send MLB-ready pitchers and position-players who in previous seasons would have been called-up to MLB in September to the Arizona Fall League, just to keep them in game shape in case the pitcher or position player is needed as an injury replacement in September or in the post-season.
Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
One thing about Josh Phegley is that not only is he out of minor league options but he also has Article XIX-A rights (he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), so he can't even be outrighted to the minors without his consent if he were to be added to the 40.
Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have reportedly signed veteran MLB catcher Josh Phegley (ex-OAK and ex-CHW) to a minor league contract and an NRI to Spring Training (contract is pending because it has not yet been filed with MLB).
CubbyBlue 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
Yeah but that person figured out a way to make a profit off of it, so... hey WAIT!
crunch 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
"Cubs' pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said Friday that Brandon Morrow (elbow) will be on the same schedule as the rest of the Cubs' pitchers during spring training."
that's cool. no restrictions unless the team chooses to be cautious, evidently.
Arizona Phil 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
The Danny Hultzen and Carlos Asuaje minor league contracts have been filed with MLB, but no Jason Adam or Tyler Olson contract filings (yet).
cubbies.4ever 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
My son's name is Tyler Olsen (obviously spelled different, and only 6 but a future Cub), so I am rooting for Tyler to make the team.
Arizona Phil 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
And Tyler Olson has a similar profile as Casey Sadler (out of minor league options and has Article XX-D rights if he is added to the 40), the only difference being (unlike Sadler) Olson will come to Spring Training not on the 40 so he can be sent to Iowa without restrictions, but if & when he's added to the 40 he isn't a Des Moines - Chicago shuttle-rider candidate.
Arizona Phil 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
Unfortunately (for the Cubs) Casey Sadler doesn't fit as a Des Moines - Chicago shuttle-rider because he is out of minor league options and he can elect free-agency if he is outrighted (he has Article XX-D rights because he been outrighted previously in his career).
cubbies.4ever 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
I agree, this offseason has been a disgrace. If I'm Theo I'm thinking I am in OAK or CHI? This ownership has given him nothing this year. Even the cheap Twins are willing to sign Josh Donaldson and the Cubs biggest transaction this offseason may be adding Miguel Amaya to the 40 man.