Results tagged ‘ Dan Vogelbach ’
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Even the biggest Cubs die-hard can get a little tired of Spring Training baseball—especially this year, with 39 games on tap. But sometimes all it takes is a high-profile match-up to get fans back in the swing of spring.
Cubs fans are in luck Friday, as the North Siders take on a pair of interesting opponents. Half the team will be traveling to Camelback Ranch to face the White Sox, while the other half will stay at HoHoKam to host Team Japan.
Throwing for the Cubs against the Sox will be right-hander Scott Feldman. In three starts this spring, he’s gone 7.0 innings, owns a 9.00 ERA, and has struck out six. Opposite the 30-year-old will be Sox starter Gavin Floyd.
The game starts off at 2:05 CST and will be broadcast on MLB.TV and locally on WGN. Here’s the lineup Floyd will be facing:
3B Luis Valbuena
2B Darwin Barney
SS Starlin Castro
RF Nate Schierholtz
DH Scott Hairston
C Dioner Navarro
LF Brian Bogusevic
CF Darnell McDonald
1B Brad Nelson
With Anthony Rizzo not yet back from his stay with Team Italy, prospect Dan Vogelbach will man first base as the other half of the Cubs host Team Japan. Named one of the top 10 first base prospects by MLB.com this offseason, the power-hitting Vogelbach had a great 2012 campaign, hitting .322/.410/.641 with 17 homers in 61 games of rookie and Short-Season ball. He’ll be batting eighth.
Having already wrapped up a spot in the World Baseball Classic semifinal (March 17 in San Francisco), the Asian team is looking for a little extra work. Unlike previous Japanese WBC sides that were led by high-profile big league names like Ichiro and Daisuke Matsuzaka, this squad has no players currently on a major league roster.
Travis Wood will be starting for the Cubs. The game kicks off at 3:05 CST. Here’s the lineup Japan will be facing:
CF David DeJesus
SS Javier Baez
C Welington Castillo
DH Alfonso Soriano
LF Dave Sappelt
3B Josh Vitters
RF Jorge Soler
1B Dan Vogelbach
2B Alberto Gonzalez
Other Prospectus Previews:
In a farm system that has received much praise over the last few weeks for its steady improvements, there’s nobody in the Cubs’ minor league system that has the power of Dan Vogelbach.
The 2011 second-round pick got 61 games under his belt in 2012, and had a successful first full season. In 24 games with the rookie ball team, Vogelbach hit .324/.391/.686 (AVG/OBP/SLG), belting seven home runs and recording 12 doubles.
Then the slugging first baseman jumped onto the Short-Season Boise squad midway through the campaign, where he managed to maintain the similar numbers despite facing better pitching. Hitting .322/.423/.608 with 10 home runs and driving in 31 in 37 games, Vogelbach took the league by storm, aiding the Hawks to the championship series.
Vogelbach is just one of more than 60 players covered in Vine Line’s annual Minor League Prospectus. The issue is on newsstands now, with single issues available by calling 800-618-8377. It’s an exhaustive rundown, perfect for Spring Training and beyond.
1B | Dan Vogelbach
Born: 12/17/92 in North Fort Myers, Fla.
Acquired: 2011 Draft (2)
Tools: Hit for Average, Power
2012 STATS (Rookie): .324/.391/.686 (Short-Season): .322/.423/.608
Vogelbach is a bat-only prospect, but what a stick it is. He has elite, 80 raw power and incredibly fast hands. He bashed a home run every 14 at-bats for Boise, showing the light-tower reach that made him a second-round pick in 2011. Perhaps most impressive is his surprisingly short stroke considering his ability to mash. He hits to all fields with power, and he controls the strike zone well. His makeup and personality are top-notch too. On the other hand, his defense and body have always been a struggle, and Vogelbach knows he has to work hard on both.
Other players featured in this section: Catcher Wilson Contreras; Infielders Arismendy Alcantara, Gioskar Amaya, Javier Baez, Jeimer Candelario and Marco Hernandez; Outfielder Trey Martin; and Pitchers Lendy Castillo, Dillon Maples and Ben Wells.
Plus, tidbits on IF Ronald Torreyes, RHP Jose Rosario, RHP Austin Reed, IF Carlos Penalver, RHP Tayler Scott, RHP Michael Jensen, OF Jeffrey Baez, OF Pin-Chieh Chen and IF Zeke DeVoss.
MLB.com ranked Albert Almora baseball’s No. 9 outfield prospect and the 39th best prospect overall.
(Photo by Jason Wise)
As January winds down, baseball publications everywhere are unveiling their lists of the game’s top prospects.
MLB.com got things rolling this week as they released draft expert Jonathan Mayo’s top 10 prospects by position and wrapped things up last night with a list of their top 100 prospects in the game. The Cubs were well represented on many of the lists and had three players in the top 50—Javier Baez (16), Albert Almora (39) and Jorge Soler (42). First baseman Dan Vogelbach was also named the eighth-best first-base prospect in baseball. Below is a breakdown of each of the mentioned prospects with MLB.com’s analysis, followed by a brief recap of the player’s 2012 season.
Positional Rank: 3
Overall Rank: 16
ETA to big leagues: 2014
Taken No. 9 overall in the 2011 Draft, just one spot after [No. 2 shortstop Francisco] Lindor, Baez might be the more dynamic pure hitter of the two, even if Lindor is the better defender. Baez’s plus bat speed will allow him to hit for average and power, both of which have already been on display, and he will improve as he refines his approach. He’s not without defensive skills, with a strong arm and good hands, and more folks are thinking he can stay at shortstop than did when he was coming out of the Florida high school ranks. Even if Baez has to slide to third base, his bat will profile just fine there.
Baez opened the season by showing all of his offensive tools in Low-A Peoria, hitting .333/.383/.596 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 12 home runs, 10 doubles, 20 stolen bases and 33 RBI in 213 at-bats before an inevitable promotion to Daytona. Baez openly admitted to struggling to adjust to the unfamiliar pitching. In 80 at-bats, he hit just .188/.244/.400 with four home runs. However, the shortstop will improve with time. He was one of only 10 players issued a future rating of 7, meaning he could develop into a perennial All-Star.
Positional Rank: 9
Overall Rank: 39
ETA to big leagues: 2015
While [No. 5 outfielder Byron] Buxton might have had the most tools of any high school outfielder in the 2012 Draft, Almora wasn’t far behind. Taken No. 6 overall, the Florida high school standout is a veteran of USA Baseball and the international stage several times over. He has the offensive skills to be an above-average hitter, and he can drive the ball to all fields. He’s shown glimpses of power, but he should grow into that as he matures. His instincts and work ethic are off the charts, which should allow all of his tools to play up as he progresses.
Everyone has been hyping Almora’s instincts in the outfield, but he also fared pretty well in limited action at the plate in 2012. He manhandled Arizona League pitching, hitting .347/.363/.480 in 18 games, racking up five doubles and driving in 13. He then got bumped up to a young but exciting Short-Season Boise squad, and his numbers didn’t slip much while playing for the league runners-up. Almora’s stat line read .292/.292/.446 in 15 games. Expect him to break camp with either Low-A Kane County or High-A Daytona to start 2013.
Positional Rank: NA
Overall Rank: 42
ETA to big leagues: 2015
Three Cuban outfielders signed big contracts with Major League organizations in 2012. The first was Yoenis Cespedes, who finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting. Soler signed with the Cubs shortly before Yasiel Puig did with the Dodgers and it will be interesting to watch the trio develop over time. While Soler is young, he has a very good approach at the plate with good discipline. His plus bat speed gives him the ability to drive the ball to all fields and he has significant raw power. A solid runner, Soler has an above-average arm, giving him both the offensive and defensive profile for a prototypical right fielder.
Closely following Almora in the ranking was friend and former Arizona League roommate Jorge Soler. After the 20-year-old Cuban finalized a deal with the Cubs in June, he was shipped to Arizona, where he had to handle the assimilation to the United States as well as face new pitchers. Though he went 13-for-54 (.241/.328/.389) in 14 games in Mesa, his numbers shot up after a promotion to Peoria. There, Soler hit .338/.398/.513 and struck out just six times in 80 at-bats—solid numbers for a guy known for his power tool.
Positional Rank: 8
Overall Rank: N/A
ETA to big leagues: 2014
When Vogelbach was an amateur, he created a good amount of buzz with his left-handed power bat. Vogelbach has not disappointed as a pro after the Cubs took him in the second round in 2011. He has as much raw pop as anyone in the Minors at this position and can hit the ball out to all fields. Vogelbach has an advanced approach that has allowed him to get on base and hit for average. He was very out of shape in high school, but has worked hard to slim down since signing, something he will have to continue to do as his bat propels him up the organizational ladder.
Hyped as prospect with massive power, Vogelbach also showed off his hitting ability in his first minor league season. In 24 rookie league games, the massive first baseman hit .324/.391/.686 with seven homers and 31 RBI in 102 at-bats. His numbers didn’t drop even after a jump to Boise for the second half of 2012. He posted a .322 average and a 1.031 OPS with 10 homers and 31 RBI in 143 at-bats.
Outfield prospect Albert Almora ranks No. 2 on Baseball America’s Top 10 Cubs prospects. (Photo by Jason Wise)
Every year, Baseball America breaks down each major league organization’s top 10 prospects. Earlier this week, Jim Callis unveiled his list for the Cubs.
The Cubs organization has undergone a dramatic overhaul since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over in October 2011, and this prospect list is a perfect example. Five of the top 10 players are new to the list—and the organization—this year.
The top portion of the rankings offers few surprises, with infielder Javier Baez, outfielders Albert Almora and Jorge Soler, and pitcher Arodys Vizcaino at No. 1 through 4. Baez was the team’s 2011 first-round pick, and Almora was the top pick in 2012. Soler was signed as a non-drafted free agent this summer, while Vizcaino was acquired from the Braves in a deal for Paul Maholm. All four are expected to be major contributors to the future of the organization, and Vizcaino, on his way back from Tommy John surgery, should be a member of the Cubs’ big league squad in 2013.
Outfielder Brett Jackson, who got his first taste of the big leagues this past season, was ranked No. 5. Despite showing flashes of good play in 2012, he struggled in his major league debut, hitting just .175 and striking out 59 times in 120 at-bats. But his stellar play in the outfield and work ethic keep him at the top of most Cubs prospect lists.
Right-handed pitcher Pierce Johnson, slugging first baseman Dan Vogelbach and infielder Jeimer Candelario were ranked sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
The 32-year-old Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa comes in at No. 9. Though he has no major league experience, the longtime NPB pitcher will break camp with the major league club out of Spring Training and likely inhabit a late-innings role. Infielder Arismendy Alcantara rounds out the list.
For more information on the prospects, a list of players with the best particular tools and a projected 2016 lineup, click the link above.
Albert Almora (Photo Courtesy of Alex Hernandez/USA Baseball)
Today we begin our tour around the Cubs farm system, taking a level-by-level look at performances the organization hopes to build on in 2013. First up, the Short-Season Class-A Boise Hawks.
When Albert Almora took batting practice earlier today at Wrigley Field, Theo Epstein commented to reporters that Boise “had a prospect at every position” by the end of the season.
One of those prospects was Almora, of course, the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft. Almora played a strong center field for the Hawks and also hit for a .292/.292/.446 slash line (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) in 65 plate appearances. That included seven doubles and a home run in his 19 hits. Before his mid-August promotion, he had hit for a .347/.363/.480 slash line in 80 plate appearances with the organization’s Rookie-level complex team.
Other names that are well known to watchful Cubs fans are catcher Willson Contreras, first basemen Dan Vogelbach and Rock Shoulders, second baseman Gioskar Amaya, shortstop Marco Hernandez, third baseman Jeimer Candelario and infielder/outfielder Stephen Bruno.
Don’t forget the pitching: Pierce Johnson and Tayler Scott were impressive in the rotation, while Michael Heesch formed a crucial part of the bullpen.
First Half / 13-25, third place, 8.0 GB
Second Half / 24-14, first place, 8.0 GA
Storylines: The Hawks won the Eastern Division’s second-half championship to make the postseason, despite being the Northwest League’s youngest team. They came back from a one-game deficit in their best-of-three series against the Yakima Bears (Diamondbacks) but couldn’t do the same against the Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays) in the championship series. (more…)
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.
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.
Whether Javier Baez sticks at shortstop or moves to third base, he possesses one of the best hit tools in the 2011 draft class. (Photo courtesy of Aflac All-American)
After this season’s First-Year Player Draft, the future of the Cubs is the most promising it’s been in years.
The Cubs agreed to terms with 34 of their 50 selections by the Aug. 15 deadline, including each of their first seven picks: IF Javier Baez, IF Daniel Vogelbach, OF Zeke DeVoss, RHP Tony Zych, RHP Tayler Scott, C Neftali Rosario and IF Trevor Gretzky.
“This is one of the most talented draft classes I’ve ever seen signed by an organization,” said Tim Wilken, Cubs scouting director.
This investment marks a franchise-record for the Cubs, with their financial commitments totaling more this season than the past two years combined.
“This commitment to the draft is significant in a couple of ways, both in terms of financial investment, which was substantial, and the quality of players that are joining our organization,” said Wilken.
The official press release had more to say about some of the new Cubs: (more…)