|Posted by Tim Huwe on April 8, 2012 at 2:25 AM|
I attended the April 7, 2012 game between Peoria and Beloit. These are my comments.
Chiefs starter Jose Rosario was throwing mid-90's gas. It seemed like it, at least. Each team had a radar gun going. The Twins guy said 92/93, but I didn't believe him. The Cubs scouts were behind me. The main questions I asked them were "Where was that?" when a tiring Rosario put one in the zone on a 3-0 pitch late to his namesake Eddie Rosario. The ump called it a ball. I'm not sure where he put the dot on his pitch-tracker thingie. I also asked how long they'd been with the team. Pitch-tracker had been with the team two years. Radar gun three or four. Sounds like they are Ricketts hires, not Team Theo ones. I also asked for Rosario's pitch count when he was in the high 60's. He came out after climbing just over 80.
Anyway, Rosario was a ground ball machine. When he was ahead in the count (most of the night), he kept the ball low in the zone, or lower. His curve is a work in progress. I like his velocity, but wonder if he might not eventually be better off learning a splitter and being a late-inning reliever. He misplayed/misthrew a grounder near first base in the fifth. He had to run most of the way to first to get the ball, so I'm not worried about his defense. He seemed far more comfy in the windup than out of the stretch, which counters my reliever argument. I'll be paying attention to Jose's starts going forward.
Yao-Lin Wang was the first of three relivers debuting for the season. I'd peg his velo at 91-92, though I could be off. Decent curve ball. Reliever type probably, thought at this level or the next, he could probably go 4 or 5. He was pitching for one of the more amusing plays of the night. He plunked two hitters (he faced six, fanning two). With none out in the seventh, he hit his second hitter. The next guy rolled into a 4-6-3 Twin killing (I crack me up, as Beloit is a Twins team), except the play at first wasn't really very close. The runner beat the throw, easily. But, the batter/runner was called out. The home team fans had fun with that one. Wang polished off the next hitter with a sweet curve.
Austin Reed took the mound for the eighth. With a four run lead, he threw two straight balls, then proceeded to pitch a 1-2-3 inning. Two grounders to short and a fly to medium deep left. Not really much to take away from his maybe fifteen pitch night, but he looks like he could continue up the ladder. Probably a bit more pace on his FB than Wang. More of a slider than a curve, iirc.
Andrew McKirahan, I like going foward. There are two kinds of lefty relievers. One is the guy who will get lefties out. Funky delivery. Deceptive motion. Andrew is the other kind. McKirahan is a solid looking pitcher that throws left-handed. Nice curve, though it would benefit from a bit of tweaking, but I like it now. Maybe low-90's on the gun, but it varies enough from his curve that it represents faster. He looks like a guy that could be a seventh or eighth inning guy going forward, no worries.
For Beloit, Tim Shibuya got the start. I expected more from a Rookie League MVP from last year. Maybe it wasn't his night. The first hitter doubled on him. He gave up runs the first three innings. Though he walked only one, he was pitching from behind all night. When runners were on, he channelled Sergio Garcia on the links (thanks to Jen for the line.) I put his FB at 92 (I really wish they had a radar gun visible in the facility). If he can hit the corners he was missing, I would be more impressed. He might represent High A Ball, but I don't see much more than that for Shibuya (who should have "Shattered" by the Stones as his walk-up music).
AJ Achter pitched next. His delivery appears awkward. His fastball was straight. Of the six balls hit off of him, four were very solid contact, including a homer. I didn't see much from him.
I liked lefty Ryan O'Rourke. It looked like he was using too much shoulder when pitching, but he fanned three of the six guys he faced. He is a funky-style lefty. He fanned the only lefty he faced. I wouldn't be surprised to see him move up the ladder, or have to go under the knife for a shoulder malady. He was the best Snapper arm on Saturday.
Corey Williams pitched the eighth and ninth for Beloit. Much more impressive thab Shibuya or Achter, some of it could have been the Cubs taking their ABs more quickly with a four run lead late and rain approaching. He pitched well, though. Righties Golden and Hoilman squared him up fairly well, and he hit a lefty hitter as well. I withhold judgment on Williams, but he looked fairly decent.
Three hitters for Beloit deserve mention. They only had two hits. One was a homer by Eddie Rosario in the first. I really like his bat. He's patient, and if he times up a pitch, it can go a long way quickly. He drew a walk, and fouled off some pitches to keep other ABs alive. Defensively, he made a costly error. With two on and none out in the second. He went two steps to his glove side. There was no DP option, but it represented a 4-6 forceout. He never got a handle on the ball taking it out of his glove. Not a damning error, but he still has work to do at second. I like his bat enough to think he might be able to play right field moving up if fielding grounders to his left doesn't work out. But I love his hitting approach.
Miguel Sano is a huge individual. He hit a grand slam last night. He had serious trouble with curve balls today, but considering he's three years younger than the guys he's facing, I'll cut him some slack. Nobody seemed to want to challenge him with hard stuff. Maybe "The Cubs Way" of scouting is catching on. He made a play late ranging to his left that would have looked good in AA if he was 24. He's 18. I'm glad I have a Miguel Sano autograph card in my memorabilia collection. He will be at third in Minnesota as soon as he can hit a curve. His fastball hitting and defense won't hold him back. Very impressive.
The backup catcher Koch (pronounced Coach) had a double, but was otherwise unmemorable. Wang-Wei Lin is the other Snapper I will discuss. Not for how wonderfully he performed. In the three run second, he made a decent running catch with the bases loaded. He air-mailed the return throw, instead of going to second, which is where it should have gone. It ended up somewher near short, missing the cutoff man, allowing a runner to move up.. It is Lin's third year in Low A Ball. Not only did he misdirect a throw completely, missing the cutoff man, he turned a routine fly in the ninth into an adventure. Do the math.
For the Chiefs, Zeke DeVoss started things in the top of the first with a line drive double to CF, showing his blazing speed. On a grounder right at him by the next hitter, he properly moved up to third. On a bouncer to the mound, DeVo not only stayed in the run-down long enough for the hitter to reach second, he might have been safe sliding in at third. He was called out, but he is very good with his baserunning.. He reached twice more, with a walk and an RBI HBP. He is very willing to take pitches. He also was better with the glove than advertised. The first Beloit hitter tested him to his left, and DeVoss tracked it and threw him out on a close play. He also looked fluid working with Gonzalez on two double plays. DeVoss is probably better on defense than Rosario.
Wes Darvill showed patience at the plate. He was only one for five, but worked the pitcher quite well. I'm not sure how far he'll climb up the ladder, but is a pro hitter, valuing each at bat.
Marco Hernandez was playing SS on the grass late. Not sure what that's about, but he made every play. He was hitless, but is a switch-hitter. I'd heard he was, though he is listed as a LHH. He hit from the right hander's box against lefties. He had his second SF of the year (that Lin threw to the wrong base). I didn't learn much offensively about Hernandez, but he is good on defense. But, really? On the grass?
Paul Hoilman didn't strike out. That is news. He didn't homer either, but walked. He toothpicked a bat, and singled in a run in the first. It was a rather uneventful day for the slugger. Reggie Golden showed a solid arm in right, and made solid contact twice in five tries. He also grounded out to the pitcher unassisted, and hit one about 8 feet for a 2-3 putout.
I knew nothing about Eduardo Gonzalez coming in to the game. I looked his numbers up online, and found he'd never homered as a pro. In his first AB, he almost gutted the pitcher. In the fifth, he homered to center for the team's first of the year. I doubt he will go much higher up the ladder, but his bat played today.
There wasn't much to report from Brad Zapenas, Taylor Davis, or Pin-Chieh Chen, but they represented today.
It's fun to say the Cubs farm club was the better team, and they were. Questions are welcomed below.
Categories: Minor League Scouting