The second game in the final stretch of Kevin’s Cactus League Road Trip 2012, featured the Arizona Diamondbacks versus the Chicago Cubs. The game was at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, which is home to both the D’Backs and Rockies. I’ll give you the highlights of said game and then some photos.
1st inning: J-Up, Justin Upton, doubles. Miguel Montero hits the world’s longest single, scoring Upton. (1-0 D’Backs)
3rd inning: J-Up doubles again, scoring Aaron Hill. (2-0 D’Backs)
4th inning: Paul “Gold-Finger” Goldschmidt homers deep to center field. I estimate about a 440 solo shot. (3-0 D’Backs)
7th inning: Ian Stewart doubles, scoring Blake DeWitt. (3-1 D’Backs)
8th inning: Micah Gibbs singles, DeVoss scores. (3-2 D’Backs) <—- no idea who they are
9th inning: D’Backs closer J.J. Putz shuts the door on the Cubbies retiring two players with the best names of the day, Dave (not Chappelle) Sappelt and Blake Lalli-pop.
Witnessed: Ian Kennedy mowing down Cubs hitters left and right. 7IP, 4K, 1ER. Ian Stewart throwing his mac down on a couple of shorties pre-game.
Not witnessed: Anthony Rizzo, Jed Hoyer, Theo Epstein. Grrr. Stupid split squads.
Just a few of the images I shot so far this Cactus League Season. KungFu Panda, J-Up, Madison Bumgarner, Todd Helton, Ryan “The Riot” Theriot, Beer Man and a shot of Scottsdale Stadium, the Spring Training home of the San Francisco Giants.
The Arizona Diamondbacks played two games on Saturday to start their Cactus League season. One of the match-ups paired two of baseball’s best young pitching prospects head to head. Trevor Bauer-outage went against opposing starter, Drew Pomeranz for the Colorado Rockies. Both pitchers went 2 innings each and recorded two strikeouts. Bauer did not give up a walk or a hit. Legit stuff. Ace in the making. Glad he’s a D’Back.
I’ve been saying for weeks now, screaming actually, to anyone who will listen that Drew Pomeranz is going to be a stud and that the rest of the Rockies are a) old, b) almost fossil like and c) will struggle on offense. It’s only one game and it is Spring, but the Rockpile started with an ominous sign. They had their starting lineup, sans Helton, and totaled one run on four hits. I fully expect some backlash from the Rockies fans on this. It seems if I sneeze the wrong way, the Rox fans let me know all about it.
Elsewhere, a quick recap of two days in the Cactus League. Justin Upton is ready to start the regular season. Chris Young, ready for the regular season. Tim Lincecum, Jemile Weeks, Brandon Belt, regular season. Manny Ramirez? Not ready for the regular season. Prospect wise, Jesus Montero looks like the real deal in Seattle with a HR in his Cactus League debut. Jarrod Parker pitched 2 innings, striking out 4 and giving up no runs. Michael Choice in Oakland and Nolan Arenado are hitless, but it is very early. Like day one.
So keep checking back. WestSide Culture is your source for all things C-League and we’ll tell it like it is. Like the Rockies will be lucky to win 70 games this year.
Here at WestSide Culture, we like to save the best for last. So, our final Cactus League Spring Training Preview will be the Arizona Diamondbacks. Last year, the D’Backs came from nowhere, pulling the worst-to-first rabbit out of their 59FIFTY caps. This year Los Diamondbacks have el gigante target (yo no se the spanish word for “target”) on their backs.
Arizona’s pitching staff is stacked like the dishes in my sink. Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill, Josh Collmenter have all proven themselves at the big league level to be very, very good. Kennedy was in the running for the NL Cy Young a season ago. His record of 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA is downright disgusting. Others to watch on the AZ staff are prospects Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer, who apparently has 9 big league pitches. Both feature top-notch, ace like stuff. Joe Saunders will eat up innings, probably some doughnuts, too. The bullpen is lights out with David Hernandez and closer J.J. Putz.
Expect the D’Backs offense, which finished 2011 ranked 9th overall in runs scored, to be even more powerful this year. Justin Upton (not to be mistaken for Kate ‘meow’ Upton) is an MVP candidate. J.D. Drew will be back from an injury which forced him to miss much of 2011. His bat, along with new D’Back Jason Kubel’s stick, give the Snakes serious venom.
NL Manager of the Year, Kirk Gibson, promises his team will remain hungry. I say, “If hungry is what they need, than let them fast.” D’Backs win over 95 games and repeat as NL West Champs.
Bet on it. Just don’t blame me if you roll Snake eyes.
Strange things are going on in Los Angeles. The Lakers are no longer the team. Somehow the Clippers have stolen much of the spotlight. And the Dodgers have been surpassed by the Angels. Not good. Bankrupt with a new owner soon. Hopefully this one doesn’t run the team like his own personal piggy bank.
Still the Dodgers have the talent to get it done in the NL West.
The Los Angeles Dodgers feature a starting rotation of Cy Young Award Winner, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly. It is not going to match the other LA team in terms of pure dominance, but really how many teams can match the Angels pitching staff? I expect Harang and Kershaw to lead the team, with the rest falling in line nicely behind them.
The line-up does have a few holes, but with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Tony Gwynn Jr., James Loney and Dee Gordon, they will score some runs. They could use an upgrade at catcher and third base. If they are in the hunt come July, look for them to fill one of those needs.
I would love to see Scott Van Slyke make the big league club, perhaps take over the everyday job in left field. I always enjoyed watching his pops, Andy Van Slyke, play even though he always beat my Cubs. That dude gave it all, every single day and his son might be even more talented. At 6’5″ and 220 lbs he is definitely bigger.
My guess is the Dodgers will hang with the D’Backs and Giants until the dog days of August before one of those teams pulls away from the rest of the NL West. Kemp will compete for the MVP, which he should have won last season and Kershaw will be in the hunt for a 2nd straight Cy Young Award.
MLB.com recently came out with a list of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks have 3 of the top 21 best prospects and they all are pitchers. It would have been 4 in the top 25, but the D’Backs traded away their best prospect, Jarrod Parker. Parker, the #8 overall prospect, was sent to Oakland in exchange for the former ace of the A’s staff, Trevor Cahill.
The top prospects in the D’Backs organization are as follows: Trevor Bauer (#9 overall in MLB), Archie Bradley (#20 overall) and Tyler Skaggs (#21 overall). Add them to the mix with dominating righties Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Josh Collmenter and Daniel Hudson and you begin to see why the D’Backs are becoming known for their pitching.
Trevor Bauer is from North Hollywood, CA and went to UCLA. The D’Backs drafted him with the #3 overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft and he has a very good chance of making the big league club this season. Find out more about him on twitter @baueroutage.
Tyler Skaggs is from Santa Monica, CA and was originally drafted by the Angels. Skaggs along with Joe Saunders were sent to Arizona in exchange for Dan Haren. Skaggs started the 2011 All-Star Futures game in Phoenix, along with Paul Goldschmidt. Follow him on twitter @TylerSkaggs23.
Archie Bradley was drafted with the #7 overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, which along with Bauer, gave the D’Backs two of the top 7 overall picks. Bradley is all kinds of nasty and is big. He throws 98-99 MPH and check out this breaking ball. Unlike Skaggs and Bauer, he is just 19 and not quite major league ready. Bradley’s twitter handle is @archiebradley7.
These 3 players legitimately give the D’Backs 6 potenital aces, including Cahill, Kennedy and Hudson. Provided they all can stay healthy and the prospects live up to projections, Arizona has an incredible front line of arms, unmatched by the rest of the NL West.