What a Guy!-er

Brandon Guyer ripped a two-run home run over the LF fence in the 5th, made a spectacular run-saving diving catch in right-center in the 7th, and sliced a game-tying single to right with two outs in the top of the 9th, but the A's took advantage of a Ryan Flaherty error in the bottom of the 9th to score an unearned run and edge the Cubs 5-4 in AZ Instructional League action at the Oakland A's Papago Park Sports Complex Field #2 in Phoenix this afternoon. 



The 23-year old Guyer is one of the most experienced players at Instructs (he has a half-season of AA experience), and he was invited to Instructs specifically to work on improving his arm strength, HR power, and outfield play in CF and RF.   


Guyer was a third-baseman in HS before enrolling at the University of Virginia in 2004, where he was moved to LF because some guy named Ryan Zimmerman had already staked-out 3B for the Cavs. The Cubs drafted Guyer in the 5th round of the 2007 Rule 4 Draft, and kept him in LF at Boise.


Guyer began to display HR power at Peoria in 2008, hitting 14 dingers in just 88 games (he missed the first half of the season rehabbing an elbow uinjury at Extended Spring Training),.and he was so impressive at Minor League Camp this past March that he was jumped to AA Tennessee to start the 2009 season. 


But Guyer struggled at Tennessee and was demoted to Hi-A Daytona in May. Then after hitting 347/407/453 in 73 games for the D-Cubs, Guyer was moved back up to Tennessee again in August. Combined at Daytona and Tennessee in 2009, Guyer hit 282/339/385, with 28 doubles, five triples, 3 HR, and 30 SB (7 CS) in 130 games. 


Even though he is not a "natural" outfielder, Guyer plays OF with the "crash & burn" spirit, energy, and enthusiasm of a football free-safety (like a Reed Johnson or an Eric Byrnes), which has (unfortunately) resulted in all too-frequent injuries  But when healthy, Guyer can make the run-saving or game-saving spectacular catch, as happened today.  


It's likely that Guyer will begin the 2010 season back at AA Tennessee (where he finished the 2009 season), probably playing all three OF positions to help him develop the versatility he will likely need once he reaches the big leagues. The fact that he has also played 3B in HS and both 3B and 1B occasionally in college could mean that he might morph into a super-sub IF-OF at some point, especially if he can learn to play 2B.  


Although I have no specific reason to believe this will happen, it's possible that the Cubs will add Brandon Guyer to the "taxi squad" of the Mesa Solar Sox next week, once Instructs is over and the AFL season commences. They did this two years ago with Steve Clevenger, after he completed Instructs. (Players on an AFL team's "taxi squad" are permitted to play in games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only, although taxi squad players often will end up being elevated to "full time" status to replace an injured player). 


Besides Guyer's big day, 2009 6th round pick Brooks Raley got the start in this afternoon's game, and threw three shutout innings. The 21-year old lanky 6'3 lefty struggled with his command (throwing 56 pitches, but only 29 strikes), although he did get lots of ground ball outs, especially when he really needed them.


Raley is not overpowering (89-91 MPH sinker, with a decent breaking ball and an OK change), and while he is not as polished as fellow LHP Chris Rusin (Cubs 2009 4th round pick out of the U. of Kentucky), he does seem to understand the concept of mixing his pitches and working hitters. As things stand right now, I would expect Raley to begin the 2010 season in the Peoria Chiefs starting rotation, with Rusin probaly getting jumped to Daytona . 


What's interesting about Raley is that he was probably the best "two-way" player in college baseball in 2009, a "draft-eligible" sophomore who played OF on days he wasn't pitching (Raley is a good hitter with plus-speed and an outstanding OF arm). Of the scouts out here who saw Raley play at Texas A & M, about half liked him better as an outfielder (CF), although (obviously) the Cubs see him as a pitcher (at least for now).   


Raley's $750K signing bonus was more than what most 2nd round picks got this year, so his bonus was WAY above the slot where was selected (6th round, #200 overall selection in the draft). In fact, among the Cubs 50 draft picks in 2009, only 1st round pick Brett Jackson received a larger bonus than Raley,.But the Cubs had to pay over-slot to persuade Raley to turn pro (and he didn't sign until July), since he had two years of eligibility remaining at A & M. Now it's up to Raley to prove the Cubs weren't fools.   


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


LINEUP:
1. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-4 (K, K, 4-3, 1B), R
2a. D. J. LeMahieu, 2B: 1-3 (L-4, 1B, 6-3), CS
2b. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-0 (BB), R
3. Ryan Flaherty, 3B: 1-4 (F-7, 1B, F-8, 1-3), R
4. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 1-4 (F-9, P-6, 1B, 5-3), RBI
5. Brandon Guyer, RF: 2-4 (4-3, HR, 5-3, 1B), R, 3 RBI
6a. Michael Brenly, DH #1: 0-2 (K, 5-3)
6b. Runey Davis, PH-DH: 2-2 (1B, 1B), SB, PO
7a. Brandon May, C: 0-2 (K, K)
7b. Jae-Hoon Ha, C: 0-1 (K)
8. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-2 (K, L-9, BB)
9a. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-2 (K, 4-3)
9b. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 1-1 (1B)
10. Pin-Chieh Chen, DH #2: 1-3 (K, 2B, F-7)


PITCHERS:
1. Brooks Raley - 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 6/1 GO/FO, 56 pitches (29 strikes)
2. John Mincone - 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 2/1 GO/FO, 33 pitches (18 strikes)
3. Yao-Lin Wang - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 28 pitches (16 strikes)
4. Julio Pena - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 16 pitches (13 strikes)
5. Corey Martin - 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 1/1 GO/FO, 27 pitches (19 strikes)   


ERRORS (1): Ryan Flaherty (E-5) - juggled ground ball allowing batter leading off the bottom of the 9th inning to reach base, and the runner moved up to 2nd base on a WP and to 3rd on a balk, before scoring the (unearned) winning run on a one-out line single to CF.


CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Brandon May: 1 PB
2. Jae-Hoon Ha: 0-2 CS   


WEATHER: upper 80's & sunny (it's getting hot again!)


ATTENDANCE: 36 (SRO)

Comments

An interestring sight at today's game was the A's Outfield Instructor standing next to the LF, CF, or RF while the A's were in the field, offering real time instruction. Which gave us the idea that perhaps that might be something the Cubs might consider doing with Soriano. Have Sam Fuld stand next to him in LF, and if the ball is hit that way, let Fuld make the play... Just a thought... 

haha.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=...

pretty intense class-ism/economy/humor article.

it's a week old, fwiw.

Thanks for the link, Crunch. It's an aspect of sports that's rarely touched on these days. Of course, everyone going to pro sporting events doesn't come from a household making over $75,000/yr. So they no doubt lay it off on plastic which leads to all kinds of other problems we're seeing. Nice to see a sportswriter even talking about class in America. Sports and class are intertwined in many interesting ways.

Phil, is Jeff Fassero now a Cuns minor lge pitching coach? Thanks.

he's in mesa as an instructor.

also, quit calling me phil.

for those that might care, game 3 phi/col is off because of snow.

PHIL: Re "two-way players", I believe I was watching ESPN for a couple minutes and saw Colin Kaepernick, who is the QB for Nevada Wolfpack. The announcer said he was drafted by the Cubs. In fact I looked him up and he was taken in the 43rd round. So, maybe he would be in the "team photo" for best young "two-way player", although, I have only seen him on the grid-iron.

Thanks as always for your AZ coverage, AZ PHIL.

Finally, do you think you will get around to your "AZ PHIL'S TOP PROSPECTS" soon? I'm sure many of us would enjoy an update on your perspective since the season is over for our MLB and MiLB affiliates. GO PHIL!

Worst article I've partially read in a long time. The criticism is absolutely inane. Could have been written by a resident of Bridgeport.

I thought the Red Sox one was pretty accurate, I have to say. Only read three or four myself. "English Football Fans" like there's one team is a bit stupid. Fantasy Football fans are 10X worse than any individual team's fans if you're just making non-sense groups.

They were talking about this on local (Houston) radio yesterday... the main reason that people don't like Cubs fans, from what I can tell is that it's because they exist.

If you look at ticket sales and merchandising sales to actual baseball fans, Cubs fans are by far the #1 team in America. Yes, more Yankees hats are sold, but walk up to someone in Texas (or Colorado or New Mexico or Canada or UK) with a Yankees hat on and ask him who their second basemen is, and he'll most likely not going to know. Ask a guy with a Cubs hat, an he'll know (as well as who the Cubs second basemen of the week is).

1- the yanks arent on this list for some reason
2- it's put together by/for a social scene that lets Maxim Magazine tell them how to act and dress like "real men"

i bet the guy who wrote it wears various Axe for Men scents depending on the day of the week.

"If you look at ticket sales and merchandising sales to actual baseball fans, Cubs fans are by far the #1 team in America..."

I don't know if I would agree with this statement. Do you go around to these states to take straw polls?

To a degree, the teams that win regularly sell more merchandise, and have deeper, knowledgeable fan bases.

After the Yankees make it to the WS this year, people will know who their 2B is. Red Sox, during their Playoff and WS runs, same.

When the Braves were on their "clock", Forbes had them ranked as more "popular" than the Cubs. According to gate receipts, from 2009, the Cubs rank #1 in "away" attendance.

But, the Cubs really don't even have a 2B TO remember. Unless you count Jeff "whats-his-name" - oh yeah, BAKER. And, the other three guys!

Just visit towns and walk around - go to sports bars and see which games people ask to put on, go to a festival and see 5 Cubs hats for every Red Sox hat, and people yelling "Cubs!" if you walk by with a Cubs shirt on.

The Cubs and Yankees are the biggest away draws - but the Yankees attract people to cheer for their home teams against the Yankees, whereas the Cubs attract people to cheer for the Cubs.

Yeah, if you win a WS it helps you pick up some fans with no allegiance, but the Cardinals have won their share, and they're nowhere near as popular as the Cubs or Yankees.

Yep, Cubs fans suck. We're bigots and whiners. May we rot in hell because our team can't win and we bitch about it.

I guess I should just care less, but the whining about Cubs fans gets really old.

It's the eternal optimism I think that is supposed to allegedly get on people's nerves, not the bitching.

Is it the eternal optimism, or the falseness--the ironic optimism: "There's always next year"?

I don't like the media reputation of most Cubs fans, and I'd rather not listen to many lackadaisical Cubs fans talk about the Cubs--but the people who watch most of the games and love baseball, there as good a set of baseball fans as you'll find anywhere else. And other teams have those fans who go to games and don't pay attention but still pretend to be fanatics.

Submitted by The E-Man on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 1:49pm.
PHIL: Re "two-way players", I believe I was watching ESPN for a couple minutes and saw Colin Kaepernick, who is the QB for Nevada Wolfpack. The announcer said he was drafted by the Cubs. In fact I looked him up and he was taken in the 43rd round. So, maybe he would be in the "team photo" for best young "two-way player", although, I have only seen him on the grid-iron.

Thanks as always for your AZ coverage, AZ PHIL.

Finally, do you think you will get around to your "AZ PHIL'S TOP PROSPECTS" soon? I'm sure many of us would enjoy an update on your perspective since the season is over for our MLB and MiLB affiliates. GO PHIL!

================================

E-MAN: Colin Kaepernick was a "two-sport" player (football QB & baseball RHP) in HS, but he hasn't played baseball in college. The Cubs drafted him off an old scouting report from when he was in high school.

But Brooks Raley was a "two-way" baseball player in college (at Texas A & M), playing OF on days he wsn't pitching. Top pitching prospect RHP Jay Jackson is another guy the Cubs drafted who was a true college "two-way" baseball player (at Furman). Jackson played CF on days he wasn't pitching.

We'll do a Top 15 after the season is over. There is still another week of Instructs, and about six weeks of AFL baseball left.

Thanks AZ PHIL.

Is this common?:

"The Cubs drafted him off an old scouting report from when he was in high school."

I am assuming they based this on his football arm currently, then, and he must have had some success at the HS level?

Submitted by The E-Man on Sat, 10/10/2009 - 5:00pm.

Is this common?:

"The Cubs drafted him off an old scouting report from when he was in high school."

I am assuming they based this on his football arm currently, then, and he must have had some success at the HS level?

=========================================

E-MAN: 6'6 Colin Kaepernick was a highly-regarded RHP prospect in high school, although he went undrafted because he had committed so strongly to football.

I suspect the Cubs selected him just to let him know they were thinking about him, and that he is still considered an MLB pitching prospect even though he isn't currently playing baseball. (Or maybe Hendry was hoping to sign Kaepernick so he wouldn't be available to play against Notre Dame last month).

The Cubs did the same thing with OF Glenn Cook (2009 46th round draft pick), who was a "two-sport" player in HS (LB in football and OF in baseball) before playing just football at the U. of Miami. (Cook was a starting LB at the U. and worked out at the NFL combine last February, but went undrafted).

Cook was worked-out by the Cubs South Florida Area Scout prior to the '09 Rule 4 draft (supposedly a couple of impressive BP sessions), but they were basing the selection mainly on an old HS scouting report.

And the Cubs did sign Cook after drafting him, although he got released after the close of the season (he hit just 167/311/238 in 34 games for the AZL Cubs, plus he's 24 years old).

 

84 at bats after having not played baseball competitively for 4 years and they release him? I guess I shouldn't complain, though, since I am always railing about them drafting athletes instead of baseball players, but it would have been nice to at least let him have a crack at Instructs.

"Or maybe Hendry was hoping to sign Kaepernick so he wouldn't be available to play against Notre Dame last month..."

HAHA! Probably the truth, AZ PHIL. Yep.

Recent comments

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  • BRADSBEARD: Javier Assad was still pitching into the 6th inning, and the first batter he faced reached base on an E-4 (that was Assad's 70th and final pitch of the game). Then Leathersich relieved Assad and retired the second batter 4-3 (the runner at 1st base advanced to 2nd on the play), and then on an 0-1 pitch the third batter in the inning (second one faced by Leathersich) lined into an inning-ending 6-4 DP (baserunner doubled off 2nd base).

    Arizona Phil 35 sec ago view
  • Wow. The site actually loaded without an error! Happy 4th all, and Go Cubs!

    The E-Man 30 min 31 sec ago view
  • OK -- my 4th of July resolution is to try to stay more positive. So -- 10 games to the AS break, meaning the Cubs will be in first place at the break! First time since...2008? Also, hopefully, Willson, KB and Javy learned something about Familia yesterday that they can use in the future.

    billybucks 1 hour 5 min ago view
  • Hmmm, my math might be fuzzy but if he retired 3 batters with 3 pitches, how did he get a 1/1 GO/AO ratio?

    bradsbeard 2 hours 30 min ago view
  • Pls DFA Peralta when Richard comes back. Richard 1 IP, O R, O ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks in first rehab appearance. We really need to trade for a LHRP.

    chitownmvp01 2 hours 47 min ago view
  • "The Boston Red Sox were banned from signing any international players for the next year and had five of their teenage prospects declared free agents on Friday after a Major League Baseball investigation showed they circumvented signing-bonus rules last year, a source familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports."

    https://www.yahoo.com/sports/news/source-red-sox-b...

    Rob Richardson 6 hours 27 min ago view
  • The thing with Heyward is its not just free agency. He is way under performing his career #s. He's making the same % of contact but his soft contact is much higher and hard contact much lower than all his previous years so there is something very specifically going on this year causing the issues. Chances are he will eventually get back to his previous #s and it's better to get the slump now and get that hot run later but I wish I knew what is different about this year. He's either just not seeing the ball as well or a swing change is causing it.

    johann 6 hours 42 min ago view
  • Only 3 pitches for Leathersich. Not much of a rehab outing.

    Thanks for the reporting Phil.

    QuietMan 6 hours 54 min ago view
  • He's the nastiest pitcher I've seen in awhile. I'm gonna give them all a mulligan on this one.

    Coghlan's strike out was more disappointing. He was fighting off a lot of pitches and not swinging at crap, and on the last pitch, he swung at stuff he was laying off, and struck out.

    And Heyward, too. I don't blame Heyward - I blame free agency. I hate it. You almost never get a valid return on the investment.

    I look forward to the day when ball players own the teams. The current economics are not sustainable.

    Old and Blue 7 hours 55 min ago view
  • Oh, I'm sure you're right. He's not 27-27 in saves for nothing. But, man, I hope they learned last night that he didn't throw a single pitch in the zone to KB, Contreras or Baez, and they all just kept swinging.

    billybucks 10 hours 3 min ago view
  • Sounds like a much better game than last night's fiasco in Flushing.

    Old and Blue 10 hours 20 min ago view
  • I'm pretty sure it looks like a sweet pitch on the way in. How many sinkers like that are there at 98 mph? I agree that they should just do a Lackey and stand their with their bat on their shoulders until he throws a strike next time, but I can see how that's hard to do.

    The bullpen, on the other hand, is a mess, and Heyward is starting to piss me off.

    Old and Blue 10 hours 21 min ago view
  • I noticed that too. He's getting to everything, but when he gets right under it on a high flyball he looks uncomfortable

    cubbies.4ever 18 hours 55 min ago view
  • Did you expect anything different?

    billybucks 19 hours 25 min ago view
  • Wow, did they blow this game. Stupid plays by the kids in the 7th -- Almora throwing to 3rd instead of 2nd to keep the DP in order (when a DP probably wins the game) and Baez throwing to 3rd (to a backpedalling KB) instead of getting the easy 2nd out at first - cost them the game. Also, Contreras almost throws the ball into RF on a nonexistent pick-off play. And Maddon, for using Peralta in the first place. Did they do a bunch of shots in the dugout before the 7th? Unbelievably bad baseball. I thought Almora had a high baseball IQ?

    billybucks 19 hours 47 min ago view
  • men on 2nd/3rd, 0 out...and nothing.

    cubs lose :(

    crunch 20 hours 20 min ago view