Cubs Edge A's at Papago Park

Frank Batista threw four shutout innings and Carlos Rojas got the last four outs to nail down the victory, as the EXST Cubs edged the EXST A’s 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning.

Batista became the first EXST Cubs pitcher to throw four innings, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out one. The 21-year old Dominican RHP was the Cubs #1 pitching prospect in the DSL last season, going 4-2 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, with 7/63 BB/K in 58.1 IP for DSL Cubs #1. So far at EXST, Batista has thrown 9.2 IP, allowing four runs (three ER) on six hits, 2/4 BB/K, with a 2.79 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and .171 OBA.

EXST Cubs co-closer Danny Keefe (2009 14th round draft pick out of the U. of Tampa) had a rough day on the mound, allowing three runs on four hits (including three ringing doubles) in 1.2 IP, before Carlos Rojas extinguished the fire.

3B Charles Thomas (2009 10th round pick out of Edward Waters College) had two hits, scored a run, stole a base, and made two nifty plays at 3B (one a running catch in LF foul territory and the other a nice scoop & throw). The 21-year old 6’4 225 Thomas is now hitting .405 (.463 OBP), and leads the EXST Cubs in BA, OBP, hits, walks, runs scored, RBI, and stolen bases, and has struck out just three times in 41 PA. (He led the AZL Cubs in hits, doubles, and RBI in 2009). Thomas also has a cannon for an arm, one of the most-powerful throwing arms in the organization, making him a good candidate to get moved to the mound if things don’t work-out at 3B (he was a combination 3B/RHP in college).

The one negative against Thomas right now (besides the fact he is blocked at 3B by Matt Cerda at Peoria and Josh Vitters at Daytona) is that for a big guy, he just doesn’t seem to generate much power (he hit just one HR in 45 games with the AZL Cubs last season, and he had his first EXST XBH—a double--today). Because he is a big dude, Thomas also gets starts at 1B, and while he can play 1B, his arm is wasted there.

Catcher Luis Flores saw his first game action today since Minor League Camp in March, starting the game at DH before moving to catcher in the 6th. He did not reach base, but he did drive-in a run with an F-9 SF. The 23-year old Flores was reinstated from the Suspended List on Monday.

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

LINEUP
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, DH #1: 1-3 (K, BB, 1B, 1-3, RBI, SB, CS)
2. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 0-4 (F-7, K-DP, 3-1, F-9)
3. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-3 (K, BB, K, K)
4. Charles Thomas, 3B: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, 2B, K, R, SB)
5. Bobby Wagner, 1B: 1-4 (P-2, 3-1, 1B, K, R, RBI)
6. Alvaro Ramirez, CF: 0-1 (4-3, BB, 1-3 SH, R, SB)
7a. Blair Springfield, 2B: 0-2 (K, K)
7b. Wes Darvill, 2B: 0-1 (FC, R)
8. Luis Flores, DH-C: 0-2 (F-9, K, F-9 SF, RBI)
9. Jose Guevara, C-DH: 0-3 (F-9, E-5, K, R)
10. Cody Shields, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 4-3, 5-3)

PITCHERS:
1. Frank Batista – 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/6 GO/FO, 52 pitches (37 strikes)
2. Alvido Jimenez – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 5/0 GO/FO, 25 pitches (13 strikes)
3. Danny Keefe – 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/3 GO/FO, 36 pitches (25 strikes)
4. Carlos Rojas – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 12 pitches (8 strikes)

ERRORS (2):
SS Arismendy Alcantara E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base – did not score)
SS Arismendy Alcantara E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base, runner on 1st base to advance to 2nd, and runner on 3rd base to score unearned run)

OUTFIELD ASSIST:
CF Alvaro Ramirez: batter-runner thrown out 8-6-5 trying to stretch double into triple

ATTENDANCE: 15

WEATHER: Partly cloudy and breezy with temperatures in the 60’s

Comments

Thanks AZ PHIL as always. I was wondering - since you spend so much time evaluating and looking at various team's youngsters - in your opinion, how does the Cubs A and AA prospects stack up compared with the other systems? Could you rank them possibly? Thanks.

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In reply to by The E-Man

Submitted by The E-Man on Fri, 04/30/2010 - 5:26pm. Thanks AZ PHIL as always. I was wondering - since you spend so much time evaluating and looking at various team's youngsters - in your opinion, how does the Cubs A and AA prospects stack up compared with the other systems? Could you rank them possibly? Thanks. ================================== E-MAN: I only see the Angels, Giants, A's, Angels, and Brewers in Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Taining, with the Dodgers and White Sox added in AZ Instructional League play, and then I see the cream of everybody's AA crop and a few of the bext A+ guys in the AFL, so based on that, I would say that the Cubs probably have among the best prospects in baseball crammed into the Peoria-Daytona-Tennessee range, but not so much at AAA. The Cubs also have not done much in Latin America lately, taking more of a quantity over quality approach in the DSL, and that has had a bit of a negative impact on the depth at Extended Spring Training.

i'm boycotting AZPhil's posts. =p enjoy the break in weather before summer kicks in. this kind of baseball reporting is rare and welcome for the mega-fan. thanks.

AZ -- is it possible Thomas is just working on things or has he never really hit for power? A guy that size doesn't sound like a slap hitter to me.

[ ]

In reply to by Old and Blue

Submitted by Old and Blue on Fri, 04/30/2010 - 6:58pm. AZ -- is it possible Thomas is just working on things or has he never really hit for power? A guy that size doesn't sound like a slap hitter to me. ============================================ OLD & BLUE: Charles Thomas isn't a slap hitter. He hits the ball hard, sometimes really puts a hammer on the ball, but when he does they mostly turn into ground balls & choppers and opposite-field low line-drives. When he does put the ball into the air, the result is most-always a lazy pop-up, usually to the opposite field. He almost never elevates the ball with authority, and he hasn't learned how to turn on a pitch and pull it. If he can learn to do this, he could be a star. Otherwise, I suspect he will become a RHP.

Hey, Anyone notice that Wells didn't walk anyone yesterday? He knew the wind was blowing out but pitched like a man and took his lumps. He was rewarded with a victory despite giving up 5 runs. I like it.

promoted to Triple A

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In reply to by Rob G.

He's actually going to pitch tomorrow in AA. Eastern League Managers celebrate. I wonder what he's supposed to learn in AAA. How long does he need to stay down to push back arbitration a year?

Just an observation:The Dustysizer finally pulled Homer Bailey (5 GS, 0-1, 6.04 ERA) after 121 pitches today. Bailey had been averaging 5.1 IP/ start this year. Today he went 6.2 allowing 3 runs but Cincy lost to the Cards 6-3.
Wed, 17 Feb 2010 02:35:20 -0500 Sports Illustrated (SI.com) reports Major League Baseball writer Tom Verducci has listed 10 pitchers he believes may suffer from the "Verducci effect," which is a slump from one season to the next following a sudden rise in innings pitched. At highest risk is San Diego Padres SP Cesar Carrillo, whose 160 2/3 innings marked an increase of 84 innings from the previous year. Other pitchers at risk include Houston Astros SP Bud Norris, San Diego Padres SP Mat Latos, New York Yankees SP Joba Chamberlain, Cincinnati Reds SP Homer Bailey, Florida Marlins SP Josh M. Johnson, Detroit Tigers SPs Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer, Seattle Mariners SP Felix Hernandez and Tampa Bay Rays SP Wade Davis. Read more: http://www.kffl.com/player/10488/MLB#ixzz0miAkzt6k

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In reply to by crunch

Bailey has never thrown as many as 120 pitches before as a Red -- maybe never before, period. So, well see if he's going to be fine or not. The post was about the Verducci effect. And so far Homer Bailey (0-1 6.04 ERA) has been having a rough year as predicted. But why Verducci doesn't include minor league innings sure does makes the whole concept weak.

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In reply to by navigator

bailey's maybe never thrown 120 pitches for the reds...so what? 120 isn't some magic number. a guy will never throw 120 if he's never going to be put out there to do so. guys used to throw 120-150 pitches in an outing and they went on to have "just fine" careers. besides all that, he was on 6 days rest and has a 200 inning season behind him. he showed up for 2010 ready to go. too bad he's not that good of a pitcher, anyway. all "stuff."

ATL organ player (they're doing a way better job not relying on the sound effect board this year) was playing nirvana's "in bloom" between an ab. ha.

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