Bogaerts Knows How to Whistle, Blows Out Three-Run Blast at Fitch Park

Jair Bogaerts crushed a 420-ft HR over the CF fence to cap a four-run 5th inning and James Pugliese (four innings of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts) and three relievers combined to throw a three-hit shutout, as one squad of Cubs blanked one squad of Giants 4-0 on Field #2, and Javier Baez and Jeimer Candelario each doubled and drove-in two runs, Dong-Yub Kim doubled and tripled and scored two runs, Brian Inoa doubled and tripled and knocked-in two runs, and Wilson Contreras belted a solo HR, but Stephen Yarrow blasted a solo home run and Hector Mercedes hammered a three-run shot to propel the other squad of Giants to victory over the other squad of Cubs by a score of 11-9 on Field #3, in a Memorial Day Weekend Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader extravaganza played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Both games were seven-inning affairs.

Jair Bogaerts was the PTBNL in (what turned-out to be) the rather convoluted Theo Epstein compensation trade that saw the Cubs send RHRPs Chris Carpenter and Aaron Kurcz to the BoSox, and is the brother of Boston's #2 rated prospect, SS Xander Bogaerts. But unlike his brother, Jair is a big dude (6'2 240+) who could be Rock Shoulders' twin brother, a lumbering corner INF who has played mostly 3B (and none too well, either) since joining the Cubs, while hitting 189/302/243 with only two XBH (both doubles) and just one RBI through 17 EXST games (43 PA) coming into today's action.

Meanwhile over on Fitch Park Field #1, five Cub pitchers (Bryce Shafer, Amaury Paulino, Roderik Pichardo, Loiger Padron, and Ramon Garcia) threw an early-morning four-inning “sim” game prior to the EXST twin-bill.

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Felix Pena and OF Yasiel Balaguert have been promoted to Peoria, and RHP Rob Whitenack (June 2011 TJS rehab) has been moved-up to Daytona.

Cubs VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita has been at Fitch Park all week, getting a first-hand look at the Cubs Extended Spring Training squad, so it probably didn’t hurt Balaguert’s cause that he went 5-7 with a HR and five RBI in EXST games this past Monday and Wednesday. He was hitting 338/384/492 in 23 EXST games (73 PA). Some of you may remember that the 19-year old Balaguert as one of two Cuban defectors signed by the Cubs last December 7th (RHP Carlos Martinez was the other one).

The solidly-built Balaguert has played mostly RF and LF at EXST (he has a decent arm but doesnt have the range to play CF), and shows occasional power but with a body & a swing that should produce home runs at a more substantial rate as he matures. He was a teammate of highly-regarded Cuban OF prospect Jorge Soler on the Cuban Junior National Team.

RHP Felix Pena put up a 5.68 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with 6/11 BB/K in 19.0 IP (10 games) at Extended Spring Training prior to getting the call-up to Peoria.

Fleita also had a chance to watch Rob Whitenack throw “lights out” at Maryvale on Tuesday, when the right-hander tossed six innings of three hit ball at the Brewers, throwing 56 pitches (45 for strikes)

Here are the abridged box scores from the two EXST games played at Fitch Park today (Cubs players only):


1. Trey Martin, CF: 0-3 (5-3, F-8, K)
2. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-3 (L-6, F-8, K)
3. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 0-3 (K, E-6, F-9, SB)
4. Rock Shoulders, 1B: 1-2 (1B, K, BB)
5. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-2 (BB, L-7, F-7)
6. Dan Vogelbach, DH #1: 0-1 (K, BB, BB, R)
7. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-3 (P-6, 1-3, 6-3)
8. Wilfredo Petit, C-DH: 1-3 (4-3, 2B, K, R, RBI).
9b. Justin Marra, C: 1-2 (1B, K, R, RBI)
10. Jair Bogaerts, 3B: 1-3 (F-8, HR, F-9, R, 3 RBI)
11. Trevor Gretzky, DH #3: 1-1 (BB, 1B, SB, CS)

1. James Pugliese: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 GIDP, 54 pitches (34 strikes), 4/3 GO/FO
2. Brian Smith: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 13 pitches (7 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
3. Ethan Elias: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 13 pitches (6 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
4. Pete Levitt: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 20 pitches (15 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO

1B Rock Shoulders - E-3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)

Wilfredo Petit: 0-1 CS


1. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 2-4 (3B, 1B, P-4, 4-3, 2 R, RBI)
2. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 1-3 (6-3, BB, K+WP, 1B, 3 R, RBI, 2 SB)
3. Javier Baez, SS: 1-4 (5-3, F-9, 5-3, 2B, 2 RBI, SB)
4. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 1-3 (F-8, 2B, BB, K, 2 RBI)
5. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 1-4 (5-3, 5-3, 1B, P-6)
6. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 0-2 (BB, 4-3, 4-3, CS)
7. Wilson Contreras, C: 1-3 (F-7, HR, K, R, RBI)
8. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 1-3 (2B, K, F-7, R)
9a. Neftali Rosario, DH #1: 0-0 (HBP)
9b. Dong-Yub Kim, PH-DH: 2-2 (2B, 3B, 2 R)
10b. Brian Inoa, DH #2: 2-2 (3B, 2B, 2 RBI)

1. Jose Arias: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR, 63 pitches (43 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
2. David Henrie: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 25 pitches (20 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
3. Ryan Hartman: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 7 pitches (5 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
4. Carlos Martinez: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR, 23 pitches (14 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO

1. SS Javier Baez - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)
2. P David Henrie - E-1 (errant throw on what should have a 1-6 FC allowed runner to reach 2nd base safely – eventually scored unearned run)

CF Shawon Dunston Jr - runner thrown out 8-4-2 trying to score from 1st base on a double


WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 70’s


They weren’t Cactus League Extended Spring Training games so the stats don’t count, but the EXST Cubs did play a six-inning intra-squad game Thursday morning and a three-inning intra-squad game Friday morning at Fitch Park Field #3, mainly so that Ian Dickson and Hunter Ackerman could get stretched-out to near 60 pitches, and so that Rafael Diplan, Jin-Young Kim, Matt Spencer, and Luis Villalba could stay on-schedule out of the pen RHP Justin Berg (September 2011 TJS rehab) was scheduled to pitch on Thursday, but was scratched because of illness. All of the active EXST Cubs position players saw game-action in the game on Thursday, and three of them had a noteworthy day in the game. Another had a noteworthy performance on Friday. Javier Baez hammered an RBI triple and a solo HR, Rock Shoulders belted an opposite-field solo HR, and Carlos Penalver tripled and scored in his first AB and then drove-in a run with a 6-3 GO his second-time up in Thursday’s game, and Eduardo Gonzalez slugged a two-run home run and drove-in another run with a squeeze bunt in Friday’s game. And Dan Vogelbach walked in all four of his Plate Appearances over the two days, showing the patience at the plate he seemed to have lost over the past six weeks. 26-year old ex-OF Matt Spencer showed-off his lefty power-arm in Friday’s game, striking out five in just two innings of work. The 6’5 250+ Spencer is a formidable presence on the mound, and when he throws his 96-98 MPH heater and curve for strikes he is virtually unhittable (as he was on Friday). If Spencer can harness his command and throw strikes more consistently, he could advance quickly through the system as a lefty reliever. The southpaw is eligible to be a minor league FA post-2013, however, so the Cubs need to find-out ASAP if he has a legitimate future on the mound. The Cubs gave one-time Korean "bonus-baby" RHP Su-Min Jung another chance to pitch in the intra-squad contest on Friday, and he continues to struggle to command his fastball. In fact the only pitch he can throw for strikes is his curve ball, but you just can’t throw a curve on every pitch. Here are the box scores from the two intra-squad games: INTRA-SQUAD GAME - THURSDAY 5/24: SQUAD “A” LINEUP: 1. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 0-3 (K, F-7, 4-3) 2. Trey Martin, CF: 1-3 (3B, 6-3, 6-3) 3a. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-2 (P-5, 3-U) 3b. Justin Marra, PH: 0-1 (K) 4. Xavier Batista, LF: 0-2 (6-3, F-8) 5. Rock Shoulders, 1B: 1-2 (K, HR, R, RBI) 6. Wilson Contreras, C: 1-2 (5-3, 2B, R) 7. Eduardo Gonzalez, DH #1: 0-2 (K, F-7) 8. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-2 (3B, 6-3, R, RBI) 9. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-1 (F-8 SF, L-4, RBI) 10. Garrett Schlecht, DH #2: 0-2 (3-1, K) SQUAD “B” LINEUP: 1. Shawon Dunston Jr, RF: 0-1 (BB, 4-3, R) 2. Gioskar Amaya, 2B-DH: 1-2 (1B, 4-3) 3. Javier Baez, SS: 2-2 (3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) 4. Yasiel Balaguert, CF: 1-2 (1B, P-5, RBI) 5. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 0-1 (BB, E-5, PO) 6. Dan Vogelbach, DH #1: 0-0 (BB, BB, SB) 7. Dong-Yub Kim: LF: 0-2 (K, 6-5 FC) 8a. Sergio Burruel, DH #2: 0-1 (4-3) 8b. Wilfredo Petit, PH: 0-1 (3-U) 9. Brian Inoa, DH-2B: 0-2 (4-3, F-7) 10. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-1 (K) 11. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 1-1 (1B) 12. Jair Bogaerts, DH #4: 0-1 (K) SQUAD “A” PITCHERS: 1. Hunter Ackerman: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 PO, 55 pitches (31 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO NOTE: Ackerman’s first inning was stopped with one out (“ROLL IT!”) 2. Rafael Diplan: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 34 pitches (21 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO SQUAD “B” PITCHERS: 1. Ian Dickson: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 55 pitches (42 strikes), 5/4 GO/FO 2. Jin-Young Kim: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 26 pitches (15 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO NOTE: Kim’s second inning was extended an extra AB after third out was recorded (“STAY OUT THERE!”) SQUAD “A” ERRORS: 1 3B Jeimer Candelario – E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely) SQUAD “B” ERRORS: NONE SQUAD “A” CATCHERS DEFENSE: Wilson Contreras: 0-1 CS SQUAD “A” OUTFIELD ASSISTS: CF Trey Martin - threw out batter 8-4 trying to stretch a single into a double INTRA-SQUAD GAME - FRIDAY 5/25 SQUAD “A” LINEUP: 1. Brian Inoa, DH-2B: 1-2 (1B, 3-1, SB, PO) 2. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 1-1 (1B, BB) 3. Gioskar Amaya, 2B-DH: 0-1 (BB, K, SB) 4. Javier Baez, SS: 0-2 (K, K) 5. Justin Marra, C: 0-0 (BB, R, SB) 6. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-1 (3B, RBI) 7. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 0-0 (BB) 8. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-1 (K) 9. Neftali Rosario, DH #2: 0-1 (K) 10. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 0-1 (K) SQUAD “B” LINEUP: 1. Trey Martin, CF: 1-2 (P-3, 2B, RBI) 2. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-2 (F-7, 1B) 3. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 1-1 (BB, 1B, R) 4. Xavier Batista, RF: 1-2 (P-6, 1B, R) 5. Rock Shoulders, DH #1: 1-2 (P-6, 2B, R, RBI) 6. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 0-0 (BB, BB, 2 R) 7. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 1-1 (HR, SH-E1, R, 3 RBI) 8a. Jair Bogaerts, DH #2: 0-1 (K) 8b. Wilson Contreras, PH: 0-1 (E-3) 9. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-0 (HBP, R) 10. Wilfredo Petit, C: 1-1 (2B, R) SQUAD “A” PITCHERS: 1. Jorge Diaz: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR, 1 WP, 49 pitches (29 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO 2. Luis Villalba: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 BALK, 30 pitches (15 strikes) NOTE: Villalba’s second inning was stopped with no outs SQUAD “B” PITCHERS: 1. Su-Min Jung: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 31 pitches (14 strikes) 2. Matt Spencer: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 29 pitches (17 strikes) SQUAD “A” ERRORS: 2 1. P Luis Villabla – E-1 (throwing error on sacrifice bunt attempt allowed batter to reach base safely) 2. 1B Trevor Gretzky – E-3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely) SQUAD “B” ERRORS: NONE SQUAD “B” CATCHERS DEFENSE Wilfredo Petit: 1-2 CS, 1 PO

bleh...east coast feed for Fox's Sat. night game is PHI/STL. well, it's not a bad pick, but meh.

b.dewitt to DL (AAA), for those still keeping track. they also signed IF'r diory hernandez (released HOU, AAA) because they're bored or something.

Phil Rogers‏@ChiTribRogers SS Javier Baez, Cubs' 1st-rounder, is being freed from ext spring. Will make debut for Peoria this weekend.Nice work on plate discipline.

Nice work on plate discipline?

d.bundy (A+, BAL) is human. 5ip 6h 0bb 6k (2er, 1hr) ...he gave up 5h (0hr) in 30ip in low A.

cubs losing in new and interesting ways... walkoff HBP...bravo dolis.

I hate this team.

This just in... Cubs still suck.

First place. For the 2013 draft.

The Cubs can't even do that right. They'll be first in a year of no Bryce Harpers or Joe Mauers.

Breaking News... 11 game losing streak

What's the record for losses in a row? Let's shoot the wad if we're going to be a national embarrassment.

I propose a contest predicting how the Cubs will lose their next game.

runner reaching 1st after a K on a wild pitch, 2 sac flies moving the runner to 3rd, balk for the loss. i give it a 50/50 chance of happening by season's end if not tomorrow.

t.mcnutt (AA) 4ip 5h 2bb 1k (2er) g.concepcion (A) 4.2ip 12h 1bb 4k (5er)

@CarrieMuskat: Looks like SS Javier Baez, Cubs No. 1 pick in last year's Draft, is headed to Class A Peoria. He announced it @javy23baez

When he comes up to play SS and they move Castro to 2B, maybe our long national nightmare will be over.

In 2017? I doubt Baez's defense is gonna push anyone out of their position but if Castro is ever going to switch positions, I think it's far more likely 3b than 2b IMO.

Why? Castro's range is fine, it's his throwing that gets him into trouble. He'd be better off making shorter throws, not longer.

Teams rarely waste strong arms at 2b and the whole switching sides of the diamond, turning double plays, etc. We'll one currently in the Cubs system is gonna push him out of SS at the moment.

Why would you want to put a 2nd Base/ Shortstop bat at 3rd base? Might as well move Castro to 1st.

indeed, 22-year old Castro has reached his peak offensive skills. I forgot.

What kind of expectations do you have for the kid? Maybe we should shift Koyie Hill to first base and see if his bat reaches a new peak while we are at it?

Maybe we should shift Koyie Hill to first base and see if his bat reaches a new peak while we are at it? maybe you shouldn't jump to pathetic straw man arguments...

Yes. Because a 33 year old catcher with 1 1/2 hands = a 22 year old .300 hitting shortstop.

Point being that Castro is much more valuable at SS or 2nd offensively. He becomes no better than an average asset if he has to move to 3rd or 1st base. the point...just wasn't sure about using Koyie Hill...I'm not sure where he's improve....AA?

Agreed. Baez defense at SS is projected to be worse than Castro's ever was. Besides, Castro is already starting to make great strides this year.

Having seen Starlin Castro play SS, 2B, and 3B extensively at EXST, AZL CUBS, and AZ Instructs in 2008, absolutely no doubt his best position is 2B (he is actually an above-average defensive 2B). and if you ask them, you will find that the Cubs minor league infield instructors who have worked one-on-one with Castro will agree. That said, Castro CAN play SS (it's just that he's better at 2B), and there is no reason to move him at this time unless the Cubs want to switch Castro and Barney, but then Barney is the Cubs #1 SS until whenever Baez arrives. As for Javier Baez, reports that he would have to be moved to 3B just don't jibe with his play at SS at EXST. He does make too many careless errors because he plays too fast and tries to do too much, but he has the range and arm to play SS, and he also has the leadership & field command presence preferred in a SS (like a point guard in basketball). Baez is Derrick Rose. Castro is Carmelo Anthony. Pre-draft reports that Baez would have to move to 3B in pro ball are puzzling, because if they were both on the same team right now, Baez would push Castro to another position (not the other-way around). The player that Baez reminds me of (at a similar age) would be Alex Rodriguez, but without A-Rod's patience at the plate. Baez hates to take a walk, and he needs to work on learning to let pitches that are out of the strike-zone go by. Baez is high-strung and sometimes even combative, and he is hyper-aggressive at the plate, on the bases, and in the field, but his bat-speed and HR power are very rare, and he has the speed to steal 20-30 bases. Nobody worked harder in EXST pre-game (early morning) BP, infield, and base-running drills than Javier Baez. He pushes himself very hard and expects others around him to do the same. Baez also does not suffer fools or bad baseball easily, and he is the kind of player who will not accept losing. What really impressed me with Baez was how he handled his 0-20 slump (with ten K) after beginning the Cactus League EXST season hitting for the cycle versus the Angels and going 9-15 with three doubles, with triples, and three HR in his first 15 PA. His 0-20 (10-K) slump was caused by him trying to pull everything and pulling off the ball, and so other teams suckered him and made him look foolish with a steady diet of breaking balls. But then he made an adjustment and began to intentionally hit every pitch back through the box (sometimes nearly taking the pitcher's head-off in the process), cutting his power numbers down for a while. But it got him back on track, and he hit two gargantuan 420-ft+ home runs over the right-centerfield fence and onto Field #5 (the half-field infield) located north of the clubhouse at Fitch Park last week (with Oneri Fleita watching).

AZ Phil, This is fantastic information and provides much more insight into some of the Cubs' players than I've seen elsewhere. Where does Junior Lake fit into this? I believe he is playing (and hitting well) at SS in AA. Are they planning for him to take over SS at the major-league level before Baez gets there? Thanks!

Not AZ Phil, but the reports I've heard on Lake is that his defense isn't great, so even if the plate discipline is real, it's hard to see him pushing Castro anywhere rather than getting some playing time at 3B himself. And that plate discipline is probably going to have to be real for him to be useful.

Your April and May coverage this year has been especially excellent due to the event that has been Baez @ EXST. As always, much appreciated.


Thanks, Phil. The reason for my comment of Castro at 2B and Baez at SS was I actually remembered you writing some time ago that Castro's natural position was 2B. My reasoning was if both remained with the Cubs by the time Baez was MLB-ready, he projected as a better SS than Castro. And, if Theo's crew was as astute at player development as their reputation, they would figure out Baez at SS and Castro at 2B.

Sun, 05/27/2012 - 9:58pm — George Altman Thanks, Phil. The reason for my comment of Castro at 2B and Baez at SS was I actually remembered you writing some time ago that Castro's natural position was 2B. My reasoning was if both remained with the Cubs by the time Baez was MLB-ready, he projected as a better SS than Castro. And, if Theo's crew was as astute at player development as their reputation, they would figure out Baez at SS and Castro at 2B. ================================ GEORGE A: I realize this projects a long way down the line and makes a lot of assumptions (and what happens when you assume?), but once the Soriano contract is off the books and the Cubs can concentrate on developing a lineup from within, here is what the Cubs position-players could look like in 2016: C: Welington Castillo 1B: Anthony Rizzo 2B: Starlin Castro 3B: Josh Vitters or Jeimer Candelario SS: Javier Baez LF: Brett Jackson, or Bryan LaHair, Josh Vitters, or Jeimer Candelario CF: Matt Szczur or Jae-Hoon Ha, or Brett Jackson RF: Junior Lake or Jae-Hoon Ha, or Brett Jackson BENCH: 4TH OF: Tony Campana, or B. Jackson, Ha, or Szczur (whichever one isn't a starter) 3B-1B-LF-RF: Vitters or Candelario (if not a starter), or Campana as "5th OF" UT INF: Darwin Barney, Arismendy Alcantara, Marco Hernandez, or Gioskar Amaya IF-OF: Junor Lake (if not RF), or Adrian Cardenas, Logan Watkins, Rubi Silva, or Zeke DeVoss C-1B: Steve Clevenger Obviously the Cubs could (and probably will) sign free-agents sometime over the next three or four years (including Cuban RF Jorge Soler) that would change all of this or at least kick it a year or two further down the line. Some of them will wash out (perhaps even some thought of now as "sure things") or get traded for pitching, and there could be a surprise or two who will suddenly and unexpectedly emerge as a prospect (like Geovany Soto did in 2007). I'm just projecting the players who are presently in the Cubs system and (AS OF NOW) where it appears they would fit-in IF (and that's a big "IF" folks) they all somehow were to make it to the big leagues (which is unlikely to happen).

This makes me want Soler more. The Cubs have a few decent prospects for the infield, but after Brett Jackson, the outfield looks more reachy than the infield does (though, as a homegrown-only projection, it's obviously all best-case).

2015 Cubs infield: 3B Lake, SS Baez, 2B Castro, 1B Rizzo. Stay tuned.

Thus far, Lake has been racking up the errors at 3B. Obviously he's new to the position but if he struggles there and his strides on offense are real, he could work in RF (especially with that rifle of an arm).

Sun, 05/27/2012 - 8:23pm — Raisin101 New Thus far, Lake has been racking up the errors at 3B. Obviously he's new to the position but if he struggles there and his strides on offense are real, he could work in RF (especially with that rifle of an arm). ======================================== RAISIN: Absolutely. If Lake hits well enough to be an everyday MLB player (or even a platoon player), it will almost certainly be in RF. Lake is not a good defensive player, but he has one of the best arms in baseball. As long as he keeps hitting (with power) and continues to make strides with his approach at the plate (i. e. takes walks and lays off pitches he can't hit), I would expect him to be moved to RF by next season, or possibly at Instructs post-2012.

"Thus far, Lake has been racking up the errors at 3B." Source? BR has him with 2 errors at third in 25 chances over 7 games, and 6 errors at short in 55 chances over 13 games.

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