Soler Attacks Scoreboard with Laser at HoHoKam Park
Jorge Soler drove-in three runs with an infield single and a two-run home run, Ben Carhart blasted a three-run homer, and Shawon Dunston Jr doubled, tripled, and walked, and scored three runs, leading the AZL Cubs to a 9-2 thrashing of the AZL Indians in Arizona League action this evening at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
Soler played RF and hit clean-up tonight, and went 2-4, hitting a high-chopper to SS in his first AB that should have been a 6-4 FC but was misplayed into an error (Soler would later score on Carhart's HR), before reaching base on an RBI infield single (still another high chopper to SS) that drove-in Dunston from 3rd with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd, as Soler beat the shortstop's throw to first.
Then with two outs and a runner on 1st base in the bottom of the 4th, Soler hit a laser-shot line-drive two-run HR off the iron fence ("clank!") at the base of the scoreboard (beyond the LF wall and over the berm) off Tribe RHP Dillon Howard (CLE 2011 2nd round draft pick), giving the Cubs a 9-2 lead. He struck out swinging (checked swing on a 1-2 pitch) in his final AB in the 6th.
Cubs 1st round pick Albert Almora played CF and hit third in the order, and was hitless in five AB, but he reached base three times on errors (the Indians infield made a total of six errors in the game) and drove-in two runs and scored two more in the process. He hit one ball hard, a liner that bounced off the pitcher's leg and caromed directly to the Tribe 2nd baseman, who promptly fumbled the ball for an error.
Almora also made one of two outstanding defensive plays by the Cubs tonight, a run-saving back-handed sliding catch in left-center with one out in the 6th. Almoira's catch immediately followed a sliding catch by 1B Ben Carhart in foul territory in front of the 1st base dugout.
Carhart (normally a 3rd baseman) got the stert at 1B tonight, what with Dan Vogelbach having been promoted to Boise after last night's game. Prior to his promotion, Vogelbach was leading the AZL in doubles and RBI, and was second in HR.
Cubs 3rd round draft pick RHP Ryan McNeil (Nipomo HS - Nipomo, CA) made his pro debut in tonight's game, getting the start and working one inning. He labored throughout the frame and had difficulty throwing strikes (29 pitches - 16 strikes), allowing one run on a lead-off single and a two-out RBI double. He also walked one batter, but then he also struck out two.
McNeil is a big, raw kid (6'3 215 with a HS basketball background), and he looks fairly athletic on the mound. He received a $425K bonus when he signed with the Cubs, giving up a chance to play college ball at Long Beach State.
LHP Brian Smith made his first game appearance in almost a month (he is on the Boise DL, although he never actually left Mesa), throwing one inning (22 pitches - 14 strikes) and allowing one run. He surrendered a lead-off single and an RBI double to the first two men he faced, before striking out the side (one batter looking and two swinging) and stranding a runner at 3rd. Smith is a breaking-ball pitcher who uses his fastball as a "show-me" pitch to set-up his curve, and he got all three strikeouts with a "strike three" bender.
Supplemental 1st round pick RHP Paul Blackburn (Heritage HS - Brentwood, CA) followed McNeil and Smith to the mound and threw two shutout innings (and he needed just 15 pitches to do it), allowing a lead-off double in his second inning of work (but then the batter was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple). The 18-year old Blackburn is a sinkerball pitcher, and he got four outs on grounders. Blackburn gave up an opportunity to play college ball at Arizona State when he signed with the Cubs last month ($900K+ bonus), and he is considered more-polished than the typical HS senior.
Cubs RHP Justin Amlung (Cubs 2012 12th round pick) worked the 5th and 6th innings (33 pitches - 22 strikes), throwing shutout ball while allowing a two-out single in the 5th and a lead-off walk in the 6th. He struck out the side in his first inning, and benefitted from the Carhart and Almora catches in his second inning of work.
Amlung was drafted by the Cubs as a college senior (he was the #1 starter at the U. of Louisville and a one-time teammate of AA Tennessee RHRP Tony Zych), and looks ready to move-up to Boise right now. He is a short-armer who throws a mid-90's four-seam fastball in short bursts, so he probably profiles as a reliever in pro ball. (He was throwing gas in his first inning tonight when he struck out the side, but then not as hard in his second inning when Indians hitters started to tag him a bit).
Arizona Phil 7 hours 49 sec ago (view)
You can pretty much figure out from my AZIL game reports who the Cubs will likely target if they trade Kyle Hendricks to the Angels during the off-season (which I believe is a distinct possibility).
crunch 10 hours 20 min ago (view)
"On Wednesday, and again on Friday, manager Joe Maddon said the Angels needed to land two front-line starters or risk perpetual mediocrity. On Saturday, Mike Trout said the Angels had “a lot of money to spend” and the offseason was “going to be big.”"
$180.3m payroll and the star player + manager softly demanding more talent.
wait. you can do that?
hey d.ross and...umm...hold up...do you have to have a star player to make this kind of demand? sigh.
tim815 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
Exactly. Teams realized that under-playing the rest of the season, and assessing what's currently on-hand, works. At least, better than pickung three or four spots lower on the draft board with less spending space.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
It required a good amount of luck, and the other hard part is like a third of the league are tanking now too. Last time it was basically us and Houston.
crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
this team is very hard to watch. i can't take this for 1-2 more years. i hope the 2022 plan is at least hybrid-competitive (team built to compete, but trade-ready if failing mid-season).
rebuilding on total destruction for a slew of 1st round picks for years is/was lame even if those 1st round picks was pretty much all that worked for the cubs in the theo-era drafts.
K Dub 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
PHIL: Thanks for the update on Devers. Are you able to give us some more context (velocity, pitch mix, etc)? Also, was Drew Gray included in the group you compared Devers to when you said Devers was "by far" the ACL Cubs best pitching prospect? I ask because I know Gray only pitched 4 innings this season.
crunch 2 days 10 hours ago (view)
cards 15 wins a row...franchise record
Hagsag 2 days 21 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have no starting pitching right now with Carl in a funk.
Eric S 3 days 4 hours ago (view)
Cubs were Nootbaar'ed to the tune of 12-4 in Game 2
Cubster 3 days 5 hours ago (view)
With a Doubleheader loss, the Cubs are back on track for a better draft choice. Right now at 67 wins they pick #7, just ahead of KC and Minnesota who have 68-69 wins.
crunch 3 days 6 hours ago (view)
the shit sandwich that is zach davies is a 6 foot party sub.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 6 hours ago (view)
I am celebrating the day he signs with another team this offseason. I didn't know I could hate him more than I did when he was in Milwaukee but here we are!
crunch 3 days 7 hours ago (view)
wisdom can hit some bombs when he does connect..wow.
also davies still sucks.
tim815 3 days 7 hours ago (view)
McAvene is struggling against hitters in Instructs. He's not ready for the AZ Fall League. I'd expect to see Juan Gamez otr Aneuris Rosario first. Vazquez, I agree with, entirely.
bradsbeard 3 days 9 hours ago (view)
On the position player side, Amaya if he's healthy. Chase Strumpf makes a lot of sense (missed some time early and late, missed all of last year). Nelson Velazquez maybe as a Rule 5 guy if they're on the fence. Cam Balego and Andy Weber are two other candidates if healthy. Luis Vazquez could also use more upper level PAs and would make sense.
Lots of potential pitchers. Ideally Marquez but not sure they'll let him pitch this year. McAvene is probably another one. Would be awesome if Kohl Franklin could participate.
First.Pitch.120 3 days 11 hours ago (view)