That Guyer Again

Brandon Guyer walked, singled, doubled, crushed a three-run homer, scored two runs, and stole a base, Ryan Flaherty doubled, tripled, and walked, drove-in three runs, and scored three more, Brett Jackson reached base three times, scored all three times he reached, and knocked-in two runs, and D. J. LeMahieu ripped a two-run triple, leading the Cubs to a 12-8 victory over the Giants in AZ Instructional League action at breezy Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon. 

20-year old Korean RHP Dae-Eun Rhee (July 2008 TJS rehab) got the start for the Cubs today, and surrendered three runs in the top of the 1st inning. The lead-off hitter grounded a single through the box on an 0-2 pitch, and then the #2 hitter reached base on a bunt single and the #3 hitter walked on four pitches to load the bases with no outs. One run scored on a FC grounder, another on a sacrifice fly, and the third on a two-out RBI double. 

The Cubs came roaring back in the bottom of the 1st, however, as Logan Watkins tripled to right, and scored on a Ryan Flaherty RBI double that just missed clearing the fence in left. 2009 1st round pick Brett Jackson (Cal) also doubled off the left-field fence, driving-in Flaherty, and then Brandon Guyer walked. After Kyler Burke struck out and Rebel Ridling flied out, D. J. LeMahieu (2009 2nd round pick out of LSU) smoked a triple off the CF fence, plating Jackson and Guyer, and giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead after one inning of play.

But the Giants came right back in the top of the 2nd, scoring two more runs off Rhee. The first two batters reached base on a line single to LF and a HBP, and both runners moved up on a Wild Pitch. Rhee struck out the next hitter, but then one run  scored on an infield ground out, and another on a two-out RBI single.  

The Cubs tied the game 5-5 in the bottom of the 3rd, as Brett Jackson walked and Brandon Guyer singled with one out, and then both runners move up a base on a double-steal. Kyler Burke then hit a sac-fly to CF, driving-in Jackson from 3rd.

The Giants threatened to take the lead back in the top of the 4th, as Trey McNutt (2009 32nd round pick out of Shelton State CC) surrendered three consecutive singles with two outs, but Kyler Burke (who has one of the top two outfield arms in the organization) made a pinpoint throw home to nail the runner trying score from 2nd base, as beefy catcher Sergio Burruel (2009 19th round pick out of Trevor Browne HS - Phoenix, AZ) blocked the plate so that nothing or nobody could get by. 

The Cubs took the lead 6-5 in the bottom of the 6th, as Ridling lined a lead-off double into the RF corner. LeMahieu did a great job of situational hitting  inside-outing a pitch down the 1st base line to advance Ridling to 3rd with just one out. PH Matt Cerda popped out to short CF, but then Burruel reached out on an 0-2 pitch and flicked the ball into short-center, scoring Ridling with the go-ahead run.    

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the Giants came right back in the top of the 8th, as Chris Dominguez (Giants 2009 3rd round pick out of U. of Louisville, the 2008 Cape Cod League and 2009 Big East Conference HR champ) cracked a tape-measure two-run homer over the LF fence off Cubs reliever Hector Mayora with one out, giving the Giants a 7-6 lead. (Mayora is a 20-year old Venezuelan in his second year with the Cubs, and he was the only member of the two Cubs DSL teams to get an invitation to AZ Instructs this year).  

Not to be denied, the Cubs offense got going again in the bottom of the 8th, as Ryan Flaherty led-off with a walk, and Brett Jackson reached base when the pitcher made an errant throw to 1st base on a sac-bunt attempt. Guyer then did some roofing work on a house across the street, blasting his game-winning three-run dinger.

The Cubs pitchers are still here, but at least a half-dozen of the position players have gone home, so those who remain should get more regular playing time in games than was the case the first three weeks of Instructs.

Also, catcher Matt Williams (Cubs 2009 18th round pick out of Duke) has retired to pursue a career in the Real World. The 22-year old Williams hit a paltry 203/264/241 (combined) at AZL Cubs (Mesa) and Boise in 2009, while throwing out just 11% of opposing base-stealers. He probably realized he was not in the Cubs long-term plans when he was not invited to Instructs.

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):

1a. Logan Watkins, 2B-DH: 1-4 (3B, K, K, L-3), R
1b. Justin Bour, PH: 0-0 (BB), R
2. Ryan Flaherty, 3B: 2-4 (2B, 1-3, K, BB, 3B), 3 R, 3 RBI
3. Brett Jackson, LF: 1-3 (2B, BB, P-8, SH+E1, 4-3), 3 R, 2 RBI, SB 
4. Brandon Guyer, CF: 3-4 (BB, 1B, K, HR, 2B), 2 R, 3 RBI, SB 
5. Kyler Burke, RF: 0-3 (K, F-8 SF, 3-1, BB, K), RBI
6. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 1-4 (F-8, K, 2B, K), R
7. D. J. LeMahieu, SS: 1-4 (3B, 6-3, 1-3, 4-3), 2 RBI
8a. Richard Jones, DH #1: 0-2 (K, F-7)
8b. Matt Cerda, PH-2B: 0-2 (P-8, 4-3)
9. Sergio Burruel, C-DH: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, 4-3), RBI   
10. Brandon May, DH-C: 1-3 (P-3, K, BB, 1B), R

1. Dae-Eun Rhee - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 5/1 GO/FO, 48 pitches (31 strikes)
2. Trey McNutt - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 5/0 GO/FO, 29 pitches (20 strikes)
3. Austin Kirk - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 3/2 GO/FO, 20 pitches (9 strikes)
4. Hector Mayora - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 1/1 GO/FO, 23 pitches (12 strikes)
5. Julio Pena - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 12 pitches (7 strikes)


Sergio Burruel - 0-1 CS
Brandon May - 1-1 CS

Kyler Burke - gunned down runner (9-2) trying to score from 2nd base on a two-out single to RF in the top of the 4th.   

WEATHER: 80's, partly cloudy, and VERY breezy



Az Phil: I get a feeling the Cubs have some really nice hitters in the pipeline from your reports. I don't get that feeling about the pitchers though. Can you run through your top 3 pitching prospects of the group that is pitching down there in the instructs, including projections as to what they need to develop into big league pitchers? Anyone with a really high ceiling that I'm not really getting a feeling for (say compared to the likes of Jay Jackson or Andrew Cashner)? Has the hitting been that much better than the pitching or is it just the bright Arizona sky that's helping the offense?

CUBSTER: The Cubs have a lot more position player prospects than pitching prospects at this time. FWIW, I would say that right now (today) there are only six pitchers among the Cubs Top 15 prospects, and only one of the six (Chris Archer) is at Instructs.  

If I had to pick the best three pitching prospects at Instructs I would say: 

1., RHP Chris Archer (92-94 MPH fastball, curve, and change), 4th in the Cubs minor leagues in 2009 in strikeouts, but #1 in walks (which is why he's here). Another red flag is that he repeated Intermediate-A with the Cubs in 2009 after being there with Cleveland in 2008 before the Cubs got him in the Mark DeRosa trade, although he is only 21. Archer has MAJOR command issues, but he has only walked one hitter in his last six innings here (although he also has no strikeouts over that span), Archer has the type of stuff that could get him to the big leagues as a starter, but I would say more likely as a one-inning reliever. But either way, he needs to throw strikes. Archer wil probably be in the Daytona starting rotation come Opening Day 2010 (D-Cubs #1 starter), but it is not inconceivable that if he continues to show improved command at Minor League Camp next March, he could skip Daytona and go straight to AA Tennessee.  

2. RHP Dae-Eun Rhee - Still rehabbing from July 2008 TJS, the 20-year old Rhee is throwing only fastballs, curves, and change-ups at Instructs, but not his killer splitter/slider thing, which he will (presumably) start throwing again when his arm is stronger next year. Prior to the TJS, Rhee was a Cubs Top10 prospect. (He got a $700K+ signing bonus from the Cubs in 2007). But if he doesn't throw his "falls-off-the-table" splitter/slider, he's nothing special. I thought "future closer" when I first saw him at Fitch Park a couple of years ago (pre-TJS), but the Cubs think he can be a starter (once he's 100%).    

3. LHP Chris Rusin  - Cubs 2009 4th round pick out of the U. of Kentucky, Rusin is a 23-year old super-polished college lefty with the full repertoire of a starting pitcher (upper 80's two-seam fastball with movement, curve, change-up) and he can really work the edges of the plate and the horizontal & vertical strike zone. He should start the 2010 season in the Daytona rotation, but he could get to AA very quickly. He probably doesn't have an exceptionally high ceiling (MLB #4 or #5 starter), so we'll have to see how he performs at the higher levels. Hopefully he's not just another J. R. Mathes-type LHSP. He is just toying with the kids at Instructs. Way too advanced. He really should probably be pitching in the AFL.     

LHP Austin Kirk and RHP Trey McNutt (both pitched today - see above) are definite prospects, too, and both have higher-ceilings than Rusin, although I believe both Kirk and McNutt will end up in the bullpen. I'm anxious to see how they progress next season (both will probably be at Peoria in 2010).  

Whats the scoop on Vince Perkins -- will the Cubs bring him back? He had a decent year at Triple A, but his control is not great.

Also does Rafael Dolis make it into the top prospects (at Instructs) conversation. He'll be 22 in January and had a solid year primarily as a starter at Class Hi-A Daytona

Phil, With Luis Montanez being the most glaring example, I have always looked at AFL success as something all good players have and many not-so-good players have as well. Does the quality of the league fluctuate much from year-to-year? I assume some years the pitching or hitting is better than others and so the stats would be more more impressive one way or the other. How would you rate things this season?

Submitted by tbone on Tue, 10/13/2009 - 8:28am.

With Luis Montanez being the most glaring example, I have always looked at AFL success as something all good players have and many not-so-good players have as well. Does the quality of the league fluctuate much from year-to-year? I assume some years the pitching or hitting is better than others and so the stats would be more more impressive one way or the other. How would you rate things this season?


T-BONE: I would say most every year the AFL is a hitter's league, partly because of the low Arizona humidity, but also because the pitching staffs aren't very deep. I don't mean they don't have bodies (there are 20 pitchers per team). I mean the starting pitchers (80% of whom aren't top prospects) only throw once a week and have a 75-max pitch count (most only throw four innings per start), and most of the bullpen pitchers project as MLB (or AAA) middle-relievers. There are exceptions, but the quality of the pitching just isn't very good in the AFL.

Submitted by skavoovee on Mon, 10/12/2009 - 7:28pm.
Whats the scoop on Vince Perkins -- will the Cubs bring him back? He had a decent year at Triple A, but his control is not great.


SKAVOOVEE: Vince Perkins was a Tim Wilken draft pick back in 2000 when Wilken was scouting director for the Jays, and then he developed into a BA Top 10 prospect for Toronto in the years 2003-05. But after battling arm problems for the last few years, Perkins was signed as a minor league FA by the Cubs last off-season and got a last-minute NRI to Spring Training with the big club in February while he prepped for the WBC (Perkins pitched for Team Canada).

Then Perkins had an OK year working as a middle reliever out of the bullpen at both Tennessee and Iowa (he got promoted to Iowa in May), before pitching for Team Canada last month in the World Cup in Europe.

Perkins is (once again) eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league FA, and while it's possible that he might re-sign with the Cubs, there probably won't be room for him at Iowa next year, so he will probably go elsewhere where he can maybe get an NRI with a different MLB club in Spring Training 2010.

Submitted by skavoovee on Mon, 10/12/2009 - 7:33pm.
Also does Rafael Dolis make it into the top prospects (at Instructs) conversation. He'll be 22 in January and had a solid year primarily as a starter at Class Hi-A Daytona


SKAVOOVEE: Rafael Dolis has been an intriguing guy since the Cubs signed him as a 16-year old during the International Signing Period in 2004, but he has battled shoulder and elbow problems throughout his career (he had thrown only 55 IP in the minors prior to 2009), but he finally got a full season of time at Daytona in 2009 where he didv OK. He's a big dude (6'4, 230+), not a mountain like Jose Ceda, but he's big.

I remember a couple of years ago (I believe it was in 2007) somebody showed me the list of max velocity readings for Cubs minor leaguers at Fitch that year, and Jose Ceda topped-out at 98, Rocky Roquet at 97, Rafael Dolis at 96, and Julio Castillo at 95, and then there were about a half-dozen at 94 (I remember Alberto Alburquerque and Julio Pena were two of the six at 94, but I can't remember the others).

Anyway, although he was used as a starter at Daytona in 2009 to get more innings and to force him to use his secondary stuff, Dolis projects as a power righty reliever, IF he can stay healthy (a big IF), and IF he can throw strikes (another big IF). Dolis will almost certainly get promoted to Tennessee in 2010, but I don't know if he will start or relieve.

BTW, I do know that some of the scouts from other organizations who have been at Instructs this year were watching Dolis more carefully than most of the other Cubs pitchers there, mainly because Dolis is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, and they wanted to get a current velocity reading (top/bottom/average) and to see how his breaking ball looked after working with Mark Riggins.

Giants might approve a Rowand/Bradley trade But for what it’s worth, I asked someone on the Giants’ side — someone with veto power — whether he’d approve a straight-up Bradley-for-Rowand deal. And he said yeah, he would. of course Rowand's owed $15M more than Bradley...

That's a decent starting point and/or last resort. The Cubs will get a better offer than Rowand straight up. This is eye-opening, though: There are definitely worse contracts floating around.

well same article said they probably wouldn't approach the deal because of Bradley's issues, but if the Cubs were willing to take on all that salary (which they won't be), this one guy would approve the deal.

well same article said they probably wouldn't approach the deal [Rowand for Bradley] because of Bradley's issues... lol They may be interested to know he's a solid .370 OBP.

Is there anyway we could send Fuku and Milton to SF? Put Rowand in Cf and Hawpe/Hermida in RF

Why would the Cubs want Hermida over Fukudome again?

I'm afraid we can't do that, Dr. Aaron B.

I'd take Hawpe or Hermida over Fukudome. 1. Hawpe 2. Hermida 3. Fuku Fuku is the worst hitter, with by far the worst contract of that group. Plus next year will be his age 33 season. So those of you expecting Kfuk "breakout" might as well root for Aaron Miles "breakout". Both are just as likely.

hawpe's going to be 31 next year, I wouldn't expect much of a breakout getting away from Coors from him either, but I'm all for getting out of Fuku's contract if possible and subsituting it for Hawpe's.

If KFuk continues to do whatever strengthening exercises he did last year, I wouldn't rule out adding another 30-40 points to his slugging percentage.

if you say so, the big difference for Fuku from 2008 to 2009 was 13 doubles...that could be as much as luck as anything else.

I like his approach and he can get very hot for big chunks of time, but if they can move the $24M left off his deal, I sure wouldn't mind.

He just looked "thicker" this year IMO. Bigger but not fatter. HGH? Some of it might have been luck, but mgmt. made a big deal out of his offseason strengthening program. Even though he definitely continued to be hot and cold, it didn't seem as chronological as it was in 2008. Sure, if they can move him in the right deal, I agree, do it. All I was saying is let's not assume he cannot continue to improve despite his advanced age.

KFuk stole 5% from his ground ball rate and gave it to his line drive rate between 2008 and 2009. Weirdness is that his average didn't improve... I don't know what to do with that. But I would guess that you've got a better to hit a double with a line drive than a ground ball. What caused the increase in line drives? I don't know. I guess it could have been strengthening exercises, but that's not an intuitive answer.

KFuk went through the expected adjustment year from the move from Japan. I expect another year from KFuk very similar to '09. And I don't think '09 was really all that bad of a year from Fukudome. jmho One thing that was clear to me, and I hope the front office got the message is Fuku needs to be in RF, not center.

"Fuku is the worst hitter" Not sure what's going on with the man crush on Hermida, but in which way is he a better hitter than Fukudome?

After looking, it seems they both put up very similar numbers. I would have trouble making the case Hermida is better, except he's a lot younger.

he any category but power upside. ...but those waiting on that upside have been disappointed the past 2 years while sitting through some ugly hacks and uglier D. you don't even have to trade for hermidia if you wait a second...hell, he'll probably be non-tendered because of how he's been swinging a bat and how badly he plays D, combined. someone might pick him up in trade. i think florida is kinda sick of marching him out there. ...and i could care less about his home/road splits...really. him swinging a bat is really ugly for someone who's got plus power. he's barely cashing in on it and making a lot of cruddy contact. he's young and left handed, though... *shrug*

Dude is 25 and put up an 860 OPS in a terrible hitters park in 2007. Plus he will probably make less than 3 mil next year, on a one year deal. If you can dump Kfuk, then you should do it. Upgrades can't happen unless we can pare payroll somewhere else.

dude is a dude, not a spreadsheet. i have no doubt he has room to improve but did you watch dude swing a bat this past season...or the season before? dude should have stayed in the minors a little longer, maybe. dude should be hitting 25+ homers WITH doubles even with a "meh" batting average...he's on top and under stuff he swings on. he's got a really messy swing...not for a month, or a couple months...but going on 2+ years now. plus his D sucks. kfuk can do everything dude can do except have a high power ceiling...and he does everything else better, even if only marginally better. that's an upgrade on anything but potential and there is a definite risk of regression involved...especially since you can't even count on dude's D.

But is Kfuk worth 4-5 times the money per season?

but what? how does that help his swing or D? heck, march jake fox out there to hit 20-30 doubles, 10-20 random homers, and K 150 times while playing cruddy 13-20x the money.

The Cubs will get a better offer than Rowand straight up. --- if they do, prepare for Armageddon, Hell Freezing Over and the Cubs winning the WS.

I can't see Rowand straight up making any sense - at this point the Cubs are better off just dumping Bradley for nothing and just see how much salary someone is willing to take. Fuku in CF and Fox in right is not a bad way to start the year, but I know Lou doesn't want Fox as the everyday RF'er for some reason. Fox would likely give better production in RF than any of the FA OF'ers available and at much lower cost. After a big year, then you can trade Fox to the AL and get some value for him. Trading him now, would be giving him away for free.

Carrie Muskat in talking to management got the impression that Fox has no future with the Cubs. He's gone.

With a $30MM contract, they are not going to "dump him for nothing". Put down the bong, please. No matter his poor performance in '09, Bradley is not Neifi. He has value (as a player) based on his career numbers and age.

but I know Lou doesn't want Fox as the everyday RF'er for some reason.

he won't even play Fox as an occasional or emergency RF'er...

I hate to say it, but Hendry needs to Nut up and be the boss. If Lou won't get on board with playing the best options. Then Hendry needs to do something about it. Celebrity manager or not. Bring back Jim Riggleman if you got to. I'm so sick of handedness and veteran presence. Play the best guys and stop making excuses.

Do we really want Fox as an everyday RF? I like the guy, too, but...

Both Carrie Muskat and Paul Sullivan are recently saying the same thing, "Jake Fox has no future with the Cubs and likely will be traded"

Do I want Fox playing RF every day.... NO Do I think he is useful as a backup corner guy 3b/1b/rf/lf/C..... Yes Do I think the cubs should dump him and his MLB minimum salary just because..... Hell no

I see Rotoworld is now speculating about Brad Hawpe leaving Colorado, apparently a cold second half, the emergence of Carlos Gonzalez, and Hawpe's $7MM salary make him trade bait. Could the Rockies be that dumb? I'd take Hawpe's 900 OPS all day long, he'd be perfect for RF in Chicago. Theriot and Fontenot would be plenty pleased, I'm sure.

doubt he'd have a .900 OPS away from Coors...although numbers away from Coors though don't take too big a drop.

of course Cubs don't look to be in any position to take on salaries..

doubt he'd have a .900 OPS away from Coors...although numbers away from Coors though don't take too big a drop. Well, as you said, his home/road slits are pretty close to each other: Career-Home: .286/.379/.508 OPS: .887 Career-Road: .280/.375/.489 OPS: .864 2009-Home: .297/.397/.520 OPS: .917 2009-Road: .275/.372/.518 OPS: .890

Coor's is still a nice place to hit, but not like it was 2 or 3 years ago. And if you call Coor's favorable, you must also admit Wrigley is often a favorable place to hit. Stats & splits aside, Hawpe is a nice hitter. He makes good contact in game situations. It's a shame the Cubs will be throwing money out the window on the shit contracts Hendry signed last year because, like Rob G said: the Cubs probably won't have payroll to spend on a guy like this.

well apparently he's not a 900 OPS guy even with Coors.

He also seems to be the worst of the three fielders, by a considerable margin. There may be a Coors factor in that as well, though.

For most of the year, it "felt" like the team needed a contact hitter. I think it would be a huge deal for the team to add a 300 hitter to the lineup hitting 5th or 6th, even if it meant taking a hit defensively. I'm not sure if Hawpe would be that guy or not.

Hawpe K'd more frequently (once per 4.1 PA's) than Fukudome (5.4) or even Bradley (5.0) He did drive in 15.2% of the runners he had on in front of him, about the same he did in 2008. Bradley drove in an anemic 9.7%. 15.2% is higher than just about everyone on the Cubs other than Fox, Lee and Ramirez. I wonder if Hawpe would be an upgrade over a Fox/Hoffpauir platoon.

it's almost not fair to have all this hawpe talk going on without talking about his "woah" arm.

I'm not convinced that Hawpe has enough Scrap and grit to be a cub? He does however have Lefthandedness. I say do it. Hawpe and Hardy as offseason upgrades.

What about subtracting underachievers (and terminally injured) instead of signing marginal players? Fontenot, Miles, Hell-man, Johnson Realistically, Sorry-ano and Dome are going no-where with the Hendry contracts. The trading chips worth anything are Bradley, Marshall, Fox, and maybe Hoff. It ain't much - and Ricketts ain't gonna be opening the treasury. I am not feeling optimistic again, with the current cast of characters - and the manager.