Results tagged ‘ Albert Almora ’
Photo by Scott McDaniel / BoiseHawks.com
The wheels came off late for the Boise Hawks in Game 1 of the Northwest League championship series, as they squandered a six-run lead. They’ll look to bounce back tomorrow night when the series shifts to Idaho for the next two games, if necessary.
The Hawks built a 7-1 lead by the top of the sixth inning thanks to an offense that was taking its walks and getting clutch hits. Up 2-1 in the fifth, they added on three runs thanks to a bases-loaded RBI walk by Dan Vogelbach, an RBI single by Jeimer Candelario and an RBI ground out by Albert Almora. Another potential run was lost when Stephen Bruno thrown out at the plate.
In the sixth, Marco Hernandez plated Willson Contreras and Trey Martin with a single. The shortstop Hernandez went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI in the game.
After Hawks starter Ian Dickson worked his way out of some trouble in three innings of work, allowing just one run and striking out three, the game was turned over to five relievers with mixed results. Justin Amlung (12th round, 2012) struck out the side with the bases loaded in the fourth. Hunter Ackerman (fourth round, 2010) got two strikeouts in a scoreless fifth but then put two runners on in the sixth for James Pugliese (18th round, 2011). Both scored as the game narrowed to 7-3.
But it all fell apart in the seventh. Vancouver plated seven runs off Pugliese, Hayden Simpson and Rafael Diplan, partly thanks to some mistakes in the field. Third baseman Calendario made a fielding error, and second baseman Gioskar Amaya threw the ball into left field on a grounder that would have ended the inning. Simpson (first round, 2010) suffered from that but also walked two of the three batters he faced. With the game tied at seven, Diplan (international, 2010) allowed a two-run single with the bases loaded and then a wild pitch before getting out of the jam.
Game 2 Starting Pitchers: Pierce Johnson takes the hill for the Hawks. He gave up an unearned run in three innings of work in his first-round start—it was his longest appearance of the year. He’ll be on a strict pitch count again, so expect him to pair up with spot starter Jose Arias again. You can read some of our notes about the Cubs’ supplementary-round pick in last week’s preview.
Vancouver pitcher Roberto Osuna will be one to watch. He was born Feb. 7, 1995—I’ll pause as you do the math. (Yes, he’s 17 years old.) The Blue Jays purchased his contract from the Mexican League’s Mexico City franchise, and he’s been on the fast track since. He’s 6-foot-2, 230 pounds and reportedly sits in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball. He has limited opposing batters to a .201 batting average in 12 appearances this year (five in the Northwest League) and has struck out 49 batters while walking 15 in 43.2 innings.
His last appearance was on Aug. 26 against Boise—he gave up a run on three hits and a walk in three innings. Baseball America’s Ben Badler has some more details on Osuna, and Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks posted a scouting report last year.
Listen Live: Once again, you can pick up Mike Safford’s broadcast for the Boise Hawks at BoiseHawks.com.
Time Traveled: Ah, the glories of minor league life. The Hawks won Game 3 of their divisional series in Yakima, Wash., Wednesday night. They then had to make the five-hour drive to Vancouver, Canada, for Thursday night’s game. Today, they made the 12-hour drive back to Boise for a championship series that resumes tomorrow night.
Scott McDaniel / BoiseHawks.com
After a frustrating battle with situational hitting for the first 17 innings of the series, the Boise Hawks poured it on in the ninth last night to force a deciding Game 3 in their first-round playoff series. The Hawks and the Yakima Bears (Diamondbacks) will settle it all tonight in a game that you can hear at 7:05 Central Time via BoiseHawks.com.
Boise scored seven runs in the ninth to break a 4-4 deadlock and ultimately went on to win 11-5. Albert Almora, the sixth-overall pick of the 2012 draft, was at the center of several rallies. He hit a two-out triple with the Hawks trailing by a run in the eighth, and scored on a wild pitch. The next inning, he followed up Jeimer Calendario’s two-run triple (which was misplayed in the outfield) with a two-run double to put the game away for good.
Scoring Recap: Boise struck first, taking a two-run lead on Gioskar Amaya’s home run in the third inning. Yakima answered right back in the bottom half, thanks to a double, walk, bunt and then two-run single by Kevin Medrano. Batting ninth, Trey Martin led off the fifth with a double, and he scored on Stephen Bruno’s single for a 3-2 lead. Medrano and Joseph Loftus led off with singles off reliever Michael Heesch in the bottom half. They scored on a one-out single to give Yakima a 4-3 lead. Almora came up big in the eighth with a two-out triple and scored on a wild pitch to tie things up. In the top of the ninth, the Hawks took off. After two quick outs, Boise put nine straight men on base and took a commanding 11-4 lead. Tyler Bremer closed out his third inning of work by allowing just a run in the bottom of the ninth for the 11-5 win.
Top Performances: Boise starter Tayler Scott was sitting in the low-90s on the Yakima stadium gun. He didn’t have his best stuff, according to Hawks broadcaster Mike Safford, but he battled out of tough situations throughout his five innings of work. His ability to induce ground balls on all three of his pitches showed again yesterday.
Speaking of ground balls, second baseman Amaya picked a sharp, one-hopper in the first inning to start a double play and keep things scoreless. Amaya did just about everything yesterday: He gave Boise a 2-0 lead in the third when he turned on an inside fastball for a home run. He also added a couple of sacrifice bunts and a walk. Amaya’s natural tools may not match up with some of his teammates’, but he proved himself in myriad ways as a 19-year-old in the Northwest League. He’s one to watch.
Tonight’s Starting Pitchers: Felix Peña is expected to take the hill for the Hawks. The 22-year-old, Dominican born right-hander is now in his second season in the U.S. He throws a fastball, curve, slider and change. His fastball gets some sink when he locates it down, which is always a key for him. The slider can be a strikeout pitch when buried low and away from a right-handed hitter. His curveball is a slow change of pace and can be inconsistent, but he gets good downward break when he gets on top of it. Sometimes it looks like he’s rushing through his delivery, but he’s shown the ability to adjust in games.
Peña’s two starts against Yakima this year were polar opposites. On July 25 at home, he gave up seven hits and four earned runs in four innings. On August 21 at the Bears, Peña allowed just four hits and an unearned run in five innings.
Yakima’s starting pitcher was unknown as of last night, but it looks like they’ve settled on 18-year-old right-hander Jose Martinez. He’s made just two appearances outside of the Dominican in his career (10.2 IP, 4.22 ERA).
The Big 6-0-0: Safford celebrated his 600th Northwest League broadcast last night. It was only his 594th with the Hawks—he also has six games with the Spokane Indians under his belt. Listen to him again tonight at 7:05 Central Time at BoiseHawks.com.
Photo by Scott McDaniel / BoiseHawks.com
It was a mistake-filled postseason opener for the Boise Hawks, who dropped Game 1 of their best-of-three divisional series to the Yakima Bears (Diamondbacks). The Hawks committed four errors (SS Marco Hernandez, 2B Gioskar Amaya, 3B Jeimer Calendario and LF Trey Martin) and had a run-scoring passed ball by catcher Willson Contreras, who was needed behind the plate after Carlos Escobar sprained his ankle a week ago.
Albert Almora, the sixth-overall pick in the 2012 draft, led off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single, and advanced to third thanks to a stolen base and a one-out wild pitch. But he was stranded there by Contreras and Martin.
Scoring Recap: Yakima took a 1-0 lead in the first on shortstop Hernandez’s throwing error, which allowed a run to score from second. The Hawks came back with a roar in the fourth inning, when Hernandez hit a leadoff triple, Dan Vogelbach and Calendario drew walks, and Rock Shoulders made it count with a grand slam. Yakima scored three to tie it in the sixth inning thanks to an RBI double, a hit by pitch, two walks (one with the bases loaded) and a run-scoring passed ball. In the ninth, Yakima’s Danny Poma legged out a disputed infield single, was moved over with a bunt and then scored on a liner (and Martin’s missed throw to the cutoff man) to put the Bears up for good.
Top Performers: Starting pitcher Pierce Johnson gave up just one unearned run in three innings of work, his longest appearance of the year. He allowed two hits and a walk while striking out two. Unfortunately, the Boise video feed was unavailable while he was on the mound.
After Jose Arias struggled with his control in the middle innings, tall left-hander Nathan Dorris (17th round, 2012) closed things out with three innings of one-run ball. Dorris used a fastball-cutter-curve-change combination and induced a number of easy ground balls with his change against right-handed batters.
Though he struck out three times on the night, Shoulders pulled a 3-2 hanging slider over the right field fence for his third grand slam of the year. He was the Cubs’ 25th-round pick in the 2011 draft and hit for a .250/.342/.447 line in 63 games with Boise.
Tonight’s Starting Pitchers: Taken in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, right-hander Tayler Scott takes the hill for the Hawks. When scouting director Tim Wilken (now a special assistant to the GM) selected the pitcher last summer, he noted Scott’s exceptionally quick arm, athleticism and coordinated delivery. Those attributes could play a big part in his development as he fills out his growing 6-foot-3 frame. Scott was born in South Africa, where he was a promising soccer player. Though he didn’t start pitching until high school, he isn’t as raw as you might expect. He competed well against older guys in the fall instructional league last October, posting a 2.52 ERA in 71.1 innings of work.
He keeps the ball on the ground thanks to a low-to-mid-90s fastball that has some sink. His curveball is developing quickly—he snapped some great ones with Boise this year and has shown good feel for the pitch—and rounds out his arsenal with a change-up.
Yakima’s Daniel Watts was Arizona’s 32nd-round pick in the 2012 draft. The left-hander has a 2.23 ERA in 15 starts this year.
Listen Live: Yakima doesn’t have a video feed, but you can listen to Boise’s Mike Safford on MiLB.com.
Watchful Eyes: If you want an idea of how important these youngsters are to the future of the Chicago Cubs, you don’t have to look much further than the crowd. President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer, SVP of Player Development and Scouting Jason McLeod and Chairman Tom Ricketts were all in attendance.
In an interview with the Idaho Statesman’s Chris Langrill, Ricketts emphasized that there’s daily excitement for this Hawks team.
“I read the scouting reports every morning,” he said. “We’re very excited. There’s a lot of guys from this year’s draft and last year’s draft and international players that have all stepped up.”
Albert Amora, Gioskar Amaya, Jeimer Calendario, Dan Vogelbach and Pierce Johnson—if you’re a Vine Line reader, you know these are some of the Cubs organization’s newest and most promising players. They may be years away from the big leagues, but they’ve already earned a playoff appearance on their developmental path to Chicago.
The Boise Hawks host the Yakima Bears (Diamondbacks) in Game 1 of the Northwest League Division Playoffs, beginning at 7:45 p.m. Central Time tonight. The game will be shown on MiLB.tv thanks to the excellent production work out in Boise, and we’ll recap the games this week. Here are some notes to get you ready for tonight’s matchup, the first of a best-of-three series.
Season Recap: The Hawks rebounded from a poor first half (13-25) to take the Northwest League East Division with a 24-14 second half.
Roster Breakdown: The Hawks dugout currently features 11 players from the 2012 draft, seven from 2011, three from 2010 and 10 international signings.
Tonight’s Starting Pitchers: Pierce Johnson starts for the Hawks, though it will effectively be a bullpen-by-committee night. The 43rd overall pick of the 2012 draft, Johnson was selected out of Missouri State and battled some minor injury issues earlier in the spring. The Cubs have been keeping him on a strict pitch count, which has resulted in just two-inning starts each time out.
Watching video of his two home starts for Boise (August 11 and 28), Johnson features a hard fastball with good run, a power curveball that moves away from right-handed hitters thanks to his three-quarters arm slot, and an occasional straight change. His fastball sits in the 93-96 mph range, and he was able to locate his curveball well for strikes. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds, he’s tall and lean and looks very projectable. As the second player drafted in the Theo Epstein/Jason McLeod era, he’ll definitely be one to watch.
Last time around, Johnson was followed by Jose Arias, who had previously started all 13 of his appearances. He throws a fastball with some sink, a slider-type breaking ball that he can bury and a change-up. We’ll see if those two form a tandem again in the postseason.
Blake Perry, Arizona’s sixth-round pick in 2010, takes the hill for Yakima. He threw four shutout innings against Boise earlier this season.
Hitters to Watch: First baseman Dan Vogelbach was Boise’s best hitter for the season, powering his way to a .324/.427/.619 line with 10 home runs in 36 games. He was Chicago’s supplemental-round pick in 2012 and is just 19 years old.
There is no shortage of positional talent on this squad, so it’s quite impressive that infielder Stephen Bruno has been able to stand out as much as he has. He led the Northwest League with a .361 average and rides a 22-game hitting streak into tonight’s game. A product of the University of Virginia, Bruno was the Cubs’ seventh-round pick this June. Not only has he shown a mature approach at the plate, but he’s also made several nice defensive plays around the diamond.
As the Cubs brain trust will tell you, draft day is the most important day of the year.
The Chicago Cubs made three selections in the opening rounds of Monday’s 2012 Major League First-Year Player Draft, taking high school outfielder Albert Almora with the sixth overall pick. The team also selected two right-handed pitchers in the compensation round: 21-year-old Pierce Johnson with the 43rd pick (compensation for Aramis Ramirez) and 18-year-old Paul Blackburn with the 56th pick (compensation for Carlos Peña).
The Cubs’ interest in Almora, an 18-year-old out of Mater Academy Charter in Hialeah Gardens, Fla., might have been the worst-kept secret in the draft. Most experts expected the Cubs to take the high-ceiling outfielder, whom Baseball America named the best defensive player, second-best outfielder and the third-best high school player in the 2012 draft class
The six-foot-two, 180-pound Almora hit .603 (44-for-73) with 13 doubles, five triples, six home runs and 34 RBI in 25 games for Mater Academy last season. His 14 walks compared to just three strikeouts in 87 plate appearances helped him to a robust .677 on-base percentage.
The 2011 USA Baseball Athlete of the Year has also been part of six USA national teams and earned five gold medals. He is committed to the University of Miami.
“We scouted Albert extensively throughout his career, and he fit the criteria we were looking for,” said Jason McLeod, Cubs vice president of scouting and player development. “He has multiple tools across the board and an incredible work ethic. We are looking forward to seeing him start his career.”
Johnson, a right-hander out of Missouri State University, led the Missouri Valley Conference with 119 strikeouts in 99.2 innings pitched this past season. He was named the conference’s Pitcher of the Week twice, helping lead the Bears to their first NCAA Regional appearance in nine years.
Blackburn went 8-3 with a 1.27 ERA and notched 87 strikeouts in 77.1 innings of work for Heritage High School in Brentwood, Calif. He recorded his first career no-hitter this past May, striking out eight and walking two. Blackburn is committed to Arizona State University.