Pena, Vogelbach, Orozco lead Boise to NWL finals

It wasn't your typical Boise game.  They didn't homer.  They didn't even get an extra base hit, but they did justs enough to vault them to a 3-2 win and into the NWL finals against the Vancouver Canadians.

On a night when they uncharacteristically had trouble getting their offense going, the Hawks got a strong pitching performance from an unexpected source. 22 year old Felix Pena wasn't even supposed to be in Boise, but a rough start in low Class A Peoria landed him down in Boise, where the team eventually moved him from the bullpen to his current role as a starter.  Maybe not a great thing for Pena at first to get moved down, but it turned out to be a good thing for Boise last night and perhaps it will in the long term for Pena.   Pena went 7 scoreless innings, allowing just 5 hits and no walks.

All the offense came in the 3rd inning when the Hawks took advantage of some wildness on the part of Yakima starter Jose Martinez.  The inning started with a walk to C Wilson Contreras, who advanced on a wild pitch.  A single by Trey Martin put Contreras on 3rd where he was able to score on a second wild pitch to give Boise the lead they would not lose this time...though they did come close.

Gioskar Amaya and Jeimer Candelario kept the inning going with walks, which loaded the bases for Dan Vogelbach, who singled to left to score Martin and Amaya to put the Hawks up 3-0.

From there it was just Pena dealing until he gave way to the hard-throwing, but raw LHP Brian Smith.  It was the Hawks turn to get a little sloppy. After a leadoff single, Smith walked a batter and then Amaya botched a throw to 2nd on a DP attempt, allowing the runner to score from 2nd.  Yakima was now down just 3-1 with runners on second and third with nobody out.  Considering the problems with Boise's bullpen all year, it was hard not to feel the impending sense of doom.

Smith got the next batter to ground out, allowing a second run to score and putting the tying run on 3rd with just one out.  The Hawks then turned to one of their few reliable bullpen arms, "Steady Eddie" Orozco, who got a huge strikeout for the second out, then retired the next batter to keep the 3-2 lead in tact.  Orozo then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to preserve the victory and lead Boise to the finals, where they will meet the Toronto Blue Jays affiliate, the Vancouver Canadians.



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    At least at Boise there are reasons for optimism....the Cubs actually have a logjam of talent in the middle infield in A+ and below, more prospects than slots to play them early next season....a good problem to have, finally.

    The key is going to be to develop some pitching; I hope Pierce Johnson makes a strong ascent through the system. We need help.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Always good to have a lot of good hitting middle infielders. They're the players who are most able to move to any other position.

    Keep your eye also on Juan Paniagua. He really impressed scouts in AZ and may start next year at Daytona.

  • John, I love the scrappy make-up of this team. I know it's talent laden, but these kids don't ever seem to give-up. Hopefully, this whole vibe will trickle it's way up throughout the organization as the kids develop and move up.

    I saw a tweet last night describing that final out in the 8th inning as a sensational diving stop from Gioskar Amaya and he gunned down the runner from his knees!

    Anyways, these kids got me thinking I'd be better served to spend my $$$ on a subscription vs a subscription next year.... lol

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I was just thinking that I hope we write about the Cubs team in the same way. Talent laden, yet highly competitive, great makeup.

  • White Sox catcher A.J. will get 50 days today for PEDS......I wonder if Dragon is still sticking with his Sox?

    I was thinking what would could cause a drug test on some of our Cubs....

    If Tony Campana hits home runs on Waveland Ave......there should be a drug test

    If Lendy Catillo get a batter out.....there should be a drug test

    If Barney starts leaping 30 feet up in the air to snap line drives....there should be a drug test

    If Rafael Dolis does not give up a home run in an inning.....there should be a drug test

    If Josh Vitters has two hits in a row.....there should be a drug test

    If Matt Garza does not go on the DL by next July 31st....there should be a drug test

    Ryan Dempster is now 5-1 with Texas.......I bet the Dodgers are kicking themselves in the rear.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Looks like the AJ rumor is a false one...and totally agree that I hope LA is kicking themselves.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    And great stuff by the way!

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    lmao.... I'd be happy if some of our coaches would just teach Campana to drag bunt & perfect his over all bunting skills. With that speed, he should be fined if he hits the ball in the air.

    I hope LA is kicking themselves in the arse over Demp & Sori. They may squeak into the post season (I hope not) but I doubt they make it past CIN or WAS.

  • To riff a second on Cubstalk's funny post...

    If any of the Cubs finesse lefties throw harder than 60 mph... there should be a drug test.

    If Clevenger hits more than 2 HRs a year... there should be a drug test.

    If Sveum doesn't break out an all righty line-up against a lefty even though it will mean leaving his best players on the bench and the righties he's putting in can't hit their weight... there should be a drug test.

    If John goes a month without sipping on a fine single malt....

    If Loxas decides he likes the team just as it is...

    If Felzz writes a game summary with a reference to Carly Mae Repsen... there should be a drug test.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Actually, I believe should be drug tested for slotting Mather in the lead off spot... repeatedly!

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Absolutely. I have to confess that I was excited about Mather in April. Now... not so much.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Haha! Nicely done!

  • For those who haven't read Kaplans article on Soler, here it is:

    They're also airing a special on him tonight on SportsNet Central. I think it's at 9 or 10pm, not sure.

  • This Boise team had me so excited that I did a little research, put together a spreadsheet and spat out some results. I took the top 20 prospects, mashed them with Arguello's post deadline list, and crunched the numbers. There were a total of 23 names, which I removed anyone who has been to the show (jackson, vitters... also didn't include Panigua, Cubs Den's new man crush - did include Robert Whitenack, who is probably moving off the list).

    Here's what the nonlying digits told me:
    1. Sixteen of the players are in A+ (Daytona) or below.
    2. Fourteen of the players are 20 or under (only 5 older than 23)
    3. 1b (1), 2b (3), SS (3), 3b (3), RF (1), CF (2), RP (3), SP (7)
    4. AZL (4). Boise (6), Peoria (3), Daytona (4), Tennesse (5), Iowa (2)

    Of course we all know the future is bright, but it's nice to see the numbers back this up. John, I'll send the spreadsheet to you in a separate e-mail in case you want to have a look at the specifics.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    all I can say is "WOW".... I'm going to call into the FO blind and solicit your services to Theo. lol

    So far as Johns new "man crush" Paniagua, I have a few Questions regarding this international man of mystery....

    1). Juan Carlos Paniagua, is that his "real" name?
    2). How long is his $1.5 million deal for?
    3). This is the 3rd time Paniagua has signed with a club but only the first time it was approved after he used an assumed identity and fraudulent identification papers in his first two attempts. His listed date of birth is still unconfirmed by the MLB. Is this something that could come back to bite the Cubs later? i.e., is there still a chance his signing is voided by MLB? Any fall-out for the Cubs if this happens?
    4). What can you tell us about Paniagua’s pitching ability? I've heard he's been clocked up to 98mph and has a hard slider that rates as a plus pitch too.
    5). Where would you guess he fits in the Cubs top prospects?

    Okay, so that was more than a few..... lol

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    1.Right now Paniagua is his real name, but who knows?
    2. It's a signing bonus. They have control over him as they would any other non-MLB deal
    3. He used the same exact info as he did with the Yankees but looks like MLB just decided to let it go this time. Needless to say, Yanks aren't too happy about that. Decision appears to be final this time. No fallout for the Cubs. Yanks are ticked, but its with MLB.
    4. Sits 94-95, touches 97, hard slider, and a change that was said to be good in the DR but he hasn't been able to duplicate it in the US. The time off probably has him a bit rusty.
    5. You can make an argument that he's the best Cubs SP prospect after Vizcaino, which could put him in the top 10. I'm not sure I'd go that far since he hasn't really faced top competition I'll have to see how it shakes out when I make an updated list after the season.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Nice work! Thanks for the spreadsheet too.

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    Looks like the Cubs signed a kid from Canada. He is an infielder named Jesse Hodges. Anyone know anything about him?

    You may need a subscription to read about it at:

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    If he is Canadian.....He says "A there" at the beginning and end of sentences..........has parents are " Florida Snowbirds" .......he does not tip a waitress.......talks about moose hunting by August.......has a log cabin in some wilderness......has a hockey stick next to his baseball bat.....named his first son after the "great one".......goes swimming when it is 15 below....his favorite recipes involves moose meat.....he owes more money on his snowmobile than his car.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Eh, looks like a thick bodied guy, no way he stays at SS, not even sure he stays at 3B. So that probably puts a lot of pressure on that bat. You have to wonder about a guy who didn't get drafted when there were no injury or signability issues. To me there are much more talented guys to get excited about that were already in the system.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I've been looking around the web and I think you're right. We may even take a look at him at pitching from what some sites say.... Nothing to see here.... move along.... lol

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    You never know. It's always possible the Cubs scouted him as a pitcher and he suddenly throws in the mid 90s -- but personally I haven't heard anything like that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You've forgotten all about Sydd Finch.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Here's a tiny video of Hodges:
    Short arms ball to 1st, double pumps...

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    Although the lower-level prospects are exciting, playing devil's advocate, I think we really need to see these guys at a higher level before getting too excited.

    For hitters, I like to see at least success at A+; the FSL is a notorious hitters league, so success there is usually a good sign. Too many hitters have trouble making that adjustment from A to A+ (remember Dopirak?)

    For pitchers, I like to see success at AA before getting too excited. AA is a prospects league, so there are talented hitters; if you can succeed there, that's a plus.

    Odds are, between Baez, Soler, Almora, will be an all-star, one or two might be ML regulars, and one or two might be busts. We just don't know which ones at this point....

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Zonk, Your right, but dam it! These kids are all we have to be excited about! lol

    P.S., FSL is a notorious "pitchers" league.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Absolutely. You want to see these guys succeed in AA first. At the same time, it's been a while since the Cubs have had guys like Baez, Soler, and Almora at any level in the system. The talent level of those 3 is unlike anything the Cubs have seen here in a long time. They may not all succeed, but it's nice to have 3 guys who have a chance to be stars -- that has not been the case here for awhile.

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