Courtesy of AZ Phil at the Cubs Reporter, there is some actual Cubs baseball to talk about today. Granted, it's just the instructional league where there are no trophies --or official stats for that matter-- but what happens in instructs can help determine a player's readiness to advance. Cubs fans are eagerly awaiting big impact talent to arise from their system and the players with the best chance to fulfill that potential are in A ball or below. The quicker they can rise through the system, the better it is for Cubs fans who don't want to acquire all their talent on the free agent market.
Some of the highlights:
- Javier Baez held his own and batted .273, though he has yet to show power or patience with a 9/0 walk to strikeout ratio and just 2 doubles.
- Jeimer Candelario more than held his own. He put up a .297/.361/.459. He maintained a respectable walk rate against more advanced pitchers and showed extra base power. I look for Jeimer to be put on the fast track.
- Dustin Geiger is a guy that Wilken really likes, once saying "He's going to be very big and he'll carry the weight easy. He plays a very good third base and we really like the bat quite a bit. He's a confident kid." Geiger batted .333/.407/.458. I see him starting the year in Peoria with a shot at Daytona by midseason.
- Micah Gibbs was a little old for the league at 23 (6 years older than Candelario) but his bat was a very pleasant surprise. Gibbs is known more as a defensive catcher but he batted .448/.541/.758. I'd say that earns him a promotion to Daytona.
- Garrett Schlecht once tweeted about how hard is to hit in AZ because it's tough to see. Well, Schlecht saw well enough to hit .250 but, more importantly, get on base at a .455 clip. Power not there yet, but he has enough size to develop it down the road and he has shown a tremendous batting eye early in his career.
- Dan Vogelbach showed tremendous polish and, reportedly, tremendous enthusiasm in his game. The numbers back it up. Vogel-Bomb hit .261/.393/.413, walking an outstanding 10 times and occasionally flashing his prodigious power. He also made just one error, was 2 for 2 in SBs and apparently legged out a triple. I would have loved to have seen that. I wouldn't be shocked to see Vogelbach start in full-season Peoria.
- Rubi Silva is a talented signee out of Cuba. A bit older at 22 but he fared well, playing both the IF and OF and hitting .317. He took to 2B pretty well.
Prospect Reggie Golden struggled a bit, as did last year's top international signee SS Carlos Penalver, Zeke DeVoss, and Shawon Dunston, Jr. This year's prized Venezuelan recruit Marck Malave hit just .143, but give the kid a break. He's just 16. The fact that he got to play as much as he did says a lot about what the Cubs think of him. He's guy to watch in the DSL next year.
As for the pitchers...
- Dillon Maples showed he had some work to do. He struggled with his delivery and command and finished with a 4.91 ERA. He walked 4 batters and had 1 HBP in just 3.2 IP.
- 19 year old Austin Reed bounced back after a tough year, pitching 8.1 scoreless innings with a 0.60 WHIP. He has an advanced change-up and feel for pitching so I'm hoping the Cubs promote him to the pitcher friendly Florida State League despite his poor season in Boise.
- 19 year old and 5th round pick Tayler Scott also pitched well. He finished with a 2.16 ERA and surprising control for such a raw pitcher. He had 3 walks in 8.1 IP with 6Ks. His athleticism and seemingly innate feel for pitching should help him develop very quickly despite his lack of experience.
That's all I'll write about at this point. Check out the rest of the numbers at The Cub Reporter.