No Lead Safe When Playing AZL Cubs
Cubs 2008 20th round draft pick and current AZL batting leader LF Jericho Jones (who is now hitting .437) rapped out four hits (three singles and a double), 1B Bryan Jost reached base five times (two singles, a triple, and two walks), and RHP Ryan Searle returned from Australia to throw three innings of no run/no hit relief (0/5 BB/K), as the AZL Cubs rallied from an early 8-0 deficit to edge the AZL Brewers 9-8 at Fitch Park Field #3 Saturday morning.
The 19-year old Searle spent the past two months at the MLB Australian Academy, where he led all MLBAAP startng pitchers in wins, ERA, WHIP, and K. He attended Cubs Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training in both 2007 and 2008, but yesterday was his first "official" minor league appearance. It was the most dominating outing by any AZL Cubs pitcher at Fitch Park so far this year, with the possible exception of 1st round pick Andrew Cashner's one-inning pro debut on Thursday.
The MLBAAP concluded it's season last week amidst heavy rains that forced cancellation of the last couple of games. In addition to Searle's superior performance, 18-year old left-handed hitting OF Sean Williams hit 330/412/455, good for 3rd in the league in BA, 5th in OBP, and 7th in SLG. He also finished 3rd in doubles and 4th in hits, as well as tying for 2nd in the league in RBI and 4th in runs scored.
At least four Australians (Searle and Williams, plus two 17 year old pitchers--LHP Cody Hams and RHP Adam Spencer) will be attending Cubs Minor League Camp next March.
A former Australian cricket star (bowler), Hams attended Minor League Camp and EXST at Fitch Park this season before returning to Australia with Searle on May 21st for the MLBAAP season.
Korean SS Hak-Ju Lee also attended the MLBAAP this year, but he participated only in the "Two Week Phase" before returning to South Korea.
Like the four Australians, Lee will be at Cubs Minor League Camp next season, and he might possibly also attend the AZ Instructional League at Fitch Park in September-October 2008 (still TBD), as RHP Dae-Eun Rhee (currently rehabbing from recent Tommy John Surgery) did last year.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.