According to a Thursday press release by the Hawks
front office, the Chicago Cubs have sent 2010 third round draft choice Micah
Gibbs to Class-A Boise from their Mesa based rookie-team. He is now the third
catcher on the Hawks roster, along with 22nd rounder, Jeff Vigurs, and two-year
Hawk, Jose Guevara.
Though the catcher position may seem more crowded
than a Twilight Saga Premier, Gibbs’ arrival couldn’t be more needed – Vigurs and
Guevara are both struggling offensively with .188 and .097 batting averages
Before being drafted, Gibbs hit .388 with 10 home
runs and 60 RBI for the Louisiana State University Tigers, earning him 2010
All-Southeastern Conference status.
In his 2009 collegiate season, Gibbs received ABCA
(American Baseball Coaches Assosiation) Gold Glove honors and was placed on the
SEC’s All-Defensive Team individually, while catching for the 2009 College
World Series Champion Tigers as a sophomore.
The previous season, Gibbs was named a First-Team Freshman
All-American by Baseball America – an organization devoted to following
promising prospects in the collegiate and minor league ranks.
As with all minor league coaches, Jody Davis will
attempt to award ample playing time to each of these emerging catchers, but in
the end, the best will see the most playing time.
In the five games that he’s played in, Vigurs is
3-16 with an 0-11 slump currently underway; while Guevara is 0-14 in his last
four games. Defensively, the pair has a combined five errors – despite that
Vigurs has the second least playing time on the team.
New players can add a new excitement to a young team
that has been struggling of late. The Hawks received four new players from the
draft: left-handed pitcher, Eric Jokisch, right-handed pitcher, Aaron Kurcz, in
fielder, Pierre LePage and Gibbs.
In his sophomore season with Northwestern
University, Jokisch was 12-9 with a 5.48 ERA. Teammate of first-overall pick
Bryce Harper, Arron Kurcz was selected with the 310th pick by the Cubs after
going 3-3 in 35 innings of relief with the College of Southern Nevada. Lepage
was selected in the 13th round by the Cubs after hitting .327 with three home
runs and 57 RBI in his junior season with Connecticut.
Gibbs is most likely to make the quickest impact for
Boise, because of the current state of the catcher position, until the still
unknown arrival of first-round pick Hayden Simpson. His strong defensive skills
behind the plate and above average power should add more stability in the
middle of the batting order.
On Wednesday, a terrible crime took place at
Memorial Stadium in Garden City; the Boise Hawks were brutally murdered by the
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in an 11-0 drubbing in front of a nearly-sold-out crowd.
Luckily, no fans were drowned in the bloodbath last night.
Slightly resembling a Hitchcock thriller, the Boise
Hawks completely lost control of a feasible win against their rivals, the
Volcanoes. Despite his 8.22 ERA at nights end, John Mincone pitched four
quality innings for the club, giving up three “earned” runs while fanning three
Volcanoes hitters and only walking one.
In the fourth inning, Mincone suffered his first so-called
earned run after Daniel Brock of the Volcanoes singled to Hawks center fielder,
Runey Davis, who, instead of attempting a throw to home to catch the rounding
Jose Medina, double pumped and proceeded to lob the ball into the awaiting
cut-off. This was just the first of many lackluster plays by the home team.
Don’t be mistaken, the Volcanoes crushed the ball
all evening, but it was the lack of concern by the defense that made this game inexcusable.
In his fifth inning, Mincone was given a wild pitch, after Boise catcher, Jeff
Vigurs once again couldn’t squeeze the pitch, allowing Carlos Quintana of the
Volcanoes to score. On the next batter, with a runner on third, Mincone forced
Salem-Keizer second baseman, Raynor Campbell to hit a sharp grounder to Brandon
May at third base. Instead of attempting the double play – there was also a runner
on first who was close to the base to begin with because of Mincone’s strong
pick-off move – or gunning out the runner at home, May went for the easy play
at first base, leading to Mincone’s removal from the game.
Earlier in the season, manager, Jody Davis, told me
that the main goal for them was to “train players to get to Chicago” and “if we’re
winning past the sixth inning we try to win the game.” But when a pitcher has
such a positive outing, only to be ruined by complacent fielding, shouldn’t
there be some disciplinary action even at such a low level of professional
After Mincone’s removal, the flood gates opened
wide. Salem-Keizer scored two runs in the fifth inning, followed by six in the
sixth and two in the seventh, to improve their already sizeable lead to 11-0.
The Volcanoes had 18 hits on the night to match Boise’s tow. Surprisingly,
though, the Hawks only committed two errors in their worst lost of the season.
The small error total is most likely due to Davis’
decision to remove starting shortstop, Arismendy Alcantara from the lineup – he
has made four of the team’s 11 errors in 2010 – while sliding George Mathues
over from his third base position, and putting Brandon May at third.
An interesting side not, to start the game, it appeared
that Davis wasn’t looking for run support for his starting pitcher, Mincone
(0-2), after multiple Hawks hitters were either looking for the walk with timid
approaches, or attempting to bunt for an infield hit.
Whatever the outcome of last night’s game, there’s
always another one waiting tomorrow – the beauty of short season baseball. The
Hawks will play Salem-Keizer in the fourth game of their five game series in which
Boise looks to get their second win at home in 2010.
BOISE — Despite the uncooperative actions of the Treasure
Valley weather gods, summer is among us and the 2010 Northwest League season is
just two days away. Media Day has come
and gone from Memorial Stadium, marking the return of the Boise Hawks and the
renewal of minor league relationships.
Though the Chicago Cubs placed 26 players on the Hawks’ 2010
roster – 15 of which have previously played for Boise – only two were selected
by the club in this year’s First-Year Players Draft just nine days ago.
Jeff Vigurs and Joseph Zeller were both inducted into the
life of professional baseball when they were selected in the 22nd and 28th
rounds respectively, and were the only two draftees to find their way onto the
Hawks’ 2010 roster.
Vigurs was selected by the Cubs as a catcher, after totaling
four home runs, 13 doubles and 41 RBIs to match his .333 batting average as a
Bryant University Bulldog in his junior season.
Although he saw success in college, Vigurs has already felt the drastic
transition from collegiate to professional baseball before even playing in a
“It’s a lot different than college,” said Vigurs, “and it’s
really exciting right now. I’ve only been [with the Cubs] a couple of days and
I’ve already been to Arizona and Boise the next day, so it’s been nice to
finally settle down.”
A Mission Viejo native, Zeller, formally a right-handed
pitcher for The Masters College in Santa Clarita, California, was drafted by
the Cubs in the 28th round after going 5-7 with a 5.24 ERA in 91 innings for
the Mustangs. Zeller previously played second base until his senior season, and
played his freshman season for Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.
Like Vigurs, Zeller expressed a feeling of excitement and
confusion when first experiencing professional baseball.
“It’s really exciting, but the initial reaction was just
trying to figure out what’s going on because you get thrown right into it and
just trying to figure it all out,” said Zeller.
For rookies like Virgus and Zeller, it takes the leadership
of experienced players like George Matheus, in addition to the coaching staff,
to develop young players into confident teammates. Matheus will be making his
second stop with the Hawks, after beginning the season with the Class-A Peoria
Chiefs where he hit .208 with four RBIs in 16 games.
“What I say for the new guys is that the most important
thing is, ‘don’t change how you play; if you play hard, keep playing hard.’ The
difference now is that there are more people in the stands. Last Year was my
first year playing in front of a lot of people, in this ball park, and I see
for the first time a lot of people watching me play.”
“I understand that it’s their first time and they’ll feel a
little bit e nervous, everyone is a little bit nervous,” said Matheus.
With the leadership of veterans and returners from last
season, Zeller and Vigurs are sure to have a successful debut in professional