Socorro Pro Debut Should Make Marshall Proud
Making his professional debut, Cubs 2011 46th round draft pick Kenny Socorro (Marshall U.) had three hits and drove-in three runs, and Oliver Zapata drew four walks and scored twice, leading the AZL Cubs to an 8-5 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action at Connie Mack Field at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix this evening.
The AZL Athletics defense graciously committed five errors to aid the Cubs cause.
Cubs 2010 4th round draft pick LHP Hunter Ackerman got the start for the Cubs and continued to struggle to throw strikes, just as he has throughout his short pro career. He worked three innings (61 pitches - 35 strikes, including a 33-pitch first-inning), allowing three runs on three hits, three walks, and an HBP, while striking out four. Sometimes Ackerman will look like a world-beater against one hitter, and then can't throw strikes to next one. If he can't get his pitches-per-inning down to a reasonable number, he will likely be limited to being a minor league reliever (presuming he ever gets out of Arizona).
Cubs 2011 40th round draft pick RHP P. J. Francescon made his pro debut and had a much better night than Ackerman did, working two shutout innings (21 pitches - 14 strikes) to record the save. The 22-year old Francescon allowed a lead-off infield single to the first man he faced, and then easily retired the next five in a row (6-4-3 DP, K-swinging, F-7, K-swinging, and a 6-3 GO). Francescon does not appear to have anything exceptional in his repertoire, but he works fast and has four years of college experience (most recently at Trevecca Nazarene University, and at Middle Tennessee State before that) under his belt to aid him in his adjustment to pro ball.
NOTE: There is one very obvious mistake in the box score as it presently appears in MiLB.com, and that is that Johan DeJesus PH for Jose Guevara in the top of the 8th and popped up to the second baseman, and then remained in the game as the catcher. The box score shows Guevara playing the entire game.
Also, Kenny Socorro hit an RBI double in the top of the 8th (Socorro's second double of the game) to drive-in Eduardo Gonzalez from 2nd base. I guess the official scorer could have called it a single where Socorro took second on the throw, except there was no throw home on the play, and in the play-by-play account (as it presently appears) it does not mention Socorro advancing to 2nd base at all.
And in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Boras grounded out 6-3, Baez walked, Solano struck out swinging, and Stafford grounded into a 6-4 FC to end the inning. (This is different than what presently appears in the "play-by-play").
And here is what happened in the top of the 7th on the pop-out by Hernandez that resulted in Zapata being thrown out at the plate: A's first-baseman Leyland caught an infield pop-up and tried to double Zapata (who broke with the pitch) off second-base, but instead threw the ball over the shortstop's head into left-center field. Zapata advanced to third on the overthrow, but then got greedy and tried to score, getting caught in a rundown between 3rd and home, before being tagged-out for the third out of the inning...
For those of you who religiously read the box scores and play-by-play at Milb.com and presume the stuff you read there to be accurate, here is how the information you read is transmitted...
The official scorer who is present at the park calls the milb office every half inning and verbally recites what happened the previous half-inning and notes any lineup changes that might have occurred. This call is often made after the next half-inning has started, and so (quite obviously) it can lead to mistakes being made due to the official scorer being distracted, and these mistakes are then reflected in both the "official" box score and in the "official" play-by-play. When the official scorer does get distracted and realizes he missed something, he will usually ask the player who is running the scoreboard to tell him what he missed, but that presumes the player was actually paying attention, and it also depends on the official scorer realizing he might have missed something.
There has to be a better way to do this. The way it's done now is not working. Incorrect information is appearing in what are supposed to be "official" box scores and play-by-play accounts. The practice of official scorers calling the milb.com office every half-inning to recount the previous half-inning must be stopped, because it distracts the official scorer from doing his job. Maybe the scorer could just wait until the game is over before making the call, or maybe the information could be transmitted contemporaneously-electronically as it occurs (after each AB) instead of verbally by phone after every half-inning.
Three amigos? Because the Dominican, the Venezuelan, and the Cuban?
Maybe the three-headed dragon?
Who says Contreras can't frame? Stone cold robbery of Eaton with that called third strike for the first out in the eighth
Three amigos time?
he should hit more of those. that would be an ideal outcome. /moneyballs
Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.
...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.
I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.
He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.
How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.
If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.