RECAP: A crowd of nearly 3,100 (almost capacity) on a very cool night (68F) for Boise watched a great Opening Night for the 28th edition of the Hawks.
It began with a great start from lefty Tyler Ihrig, who was nearly unhittable, using all three of his pitches effectively. Ihrig retired the final 14 men he faced, allowing only a broken bat infield single in his five innings of work. It was very reminiscent of the Opening Night start last season by James Pugliese.
David Bote returned to the Valley earlier this week after spending all of 2014 and provided a spark in the middle of the Hawks line-up, going 3-for-4, including a double off the glove of Tri-City first-baseman David Bergen.
David Garner threw heat in his two innings of work, fanning four to pick up his first professional save – working out of a first-and-third jam in the ninth.
And then there was Kyle Schwarber. The first-round pick definitely was nervous early on – committing a throwing error in the first and rolling over on a ground ball in his first professional at bat. He loosened up as the night went on – ripping a single into right in both the fourth and sixth innings, then crushing a 3-0 batting-practice type get-me-over fastball over the sandpile and into a grove of trees way beyond the right-center wall for the go-ahead three-run homer in the 4-2 win.
EERILY SIMILAR: Schwarber became the third-straight Chicago Cubs first-round pick to hit a home run in his first game at Memorial Stadium. Albert Almora lined a homer inside the left field foul pole against Salem-Keizer in his second at bat vs. Salem-Keizer, while Kris Bryant crushed a homer in his second at bat last year vs. Spokane.
Bryant and Schwarber are also connected by this line – both hit three-run, go-ahead homers and both were on 3-0 counts.
Kyle Schwarber’s first pro homer
Other games tonight in the Northwest League have Hillsboro at Everett (where it is raining), Eugene at Spokane, and Vancouver at Salem-Keizer.
Here also is a little insight on the Hawks opponent – as Tri-City radio guy Chris King has provided player profiles for the 41 (yes, 41) players currently on the Dust Devils roster (they will have to trim it to 35/30/25 before tonight)
Something I’ve never done for the casual Boise Hawks fan I am doing tonight…the following is the official Boise Hawks Opening Day Media Guide – including bios of every player and historical information on the team.
Look for Game Notes posted on a regular basis throughout the season.
It was quick – fourth overall pick in the 2014 Draft, Kyle Schwarber signed with the Cubs and arrived in Boise today. The former Indiana Hoosier to me resembled the new Dan Vogelbach – with the same strong frame.
Will be posting video as the week goes on of his at bats, but here is a video from today’s press conference. (I appologize for the poor audio…)
Found this online today – a look at the new Boise Hawks interns in 2014…you’ll see them throughout the season at Memorial Stadium – including Chanse Ward, who served as my Social Media Intern last year.
The email from trainer Toby Williams put the seal of approval on the 2014 Boise Hawks roster – that is, the players that will make the jaunt from Mesa to Boise tomorrow morning, meet host families, and grind through Media Day on Wednesday.
Just as it was last year, the 25-man roster does not include any 2014 draft picks – though the Cubs have not announced any signings of players so far.
Of the players – nine have previously played for the Hawks, seven are players selected in the Top-10 rounds of the MLB draft, with three players making their United States debuts.
Of the 13 pitchers on the roster, four have pitched previously in Boise – Ben Wells (2011), Trey Masek (2013), Trey Lang (2013), and Scott Frazier (2013). Wells helped the Hawks to the postseason in 2011 and was 9-6 with a 3.28 ERA in Daytona in 2013. Masek (1-0 2.16 ERA) and Frazier (1-2 2.61 ERA) were key contributors in last season’s South Division pennant, while Lang made six appearances early in the season for Boise.
Other notable pitchers include Josh Conway, the 2012 fourth-round pick out of Coastal Carolina, who is looking to recover from a pair of injuries that have sidelined him since college. Another 2012 selection, third-round pick Ryan McNeil, will return to the mound after missing 2013 due to injury.
Two others – Venezuelans Francisco Carrillo and Greyfer Eregua – will make their U.S. debuts in Boise. The righties combined for a 10-4 record and a sub 2.00 ERA for the Cubs Venezuelan Summer League affiliate, striking out 95 and walking nine.
Two catchers are on the roster, including returner Justin Marra – who hit six homers for the Hawks in 2013. Also behind the plate is Mark Malave, who was signed by the Cubs for 1.6-million dollars in 2011.
Of the infielders, only Jesse Hodges has worn a Hawks jersey – but has never played in Boise. The Victoria, B.C., native joined the club during both trips to Vancouver in 2013 – while hitting .210 with two homers and 20 RBI in Mesa. Middle infielder Guiseppe Papaccio, out of Seton Hall, has played at Kane County, Daytona, and Tennessee, while Tim Saunders began the year at Daytona.
Three of the four outfielders are former Hawks – Oliver Zapata (2012), Kevin Brown (2013), and Jeffrey Baez (2013). Zapata helped the Hawks to the 2012 East Division pennant, hitting a pair of homers and driving in 10, while spending all of 2013 in Kane County; Baez had a pair of triples for the Hawks late in 2013; with Brown spending a week with the team in Vancouver, going 2-for-7 with an RBI.
Additional roster moves are expected prior to the start of the season.
A six hour marathon of over 1,200 names called came to a close, with 30 new players added into the mix of who could potentially wear a Boise Hawks jersey in the future.
A boatload of high school talent – most of whom will end up sticking with their college plans (high profile schools such as Vanderbilt, Fullerton State, Oklahoma State, Texas) – mixed in with college seniors who will undoubtedly see what Boise is like and experience the summer that is the Northwest League.
But for me (and most Boise Hawks fans), two names stuck out – Joey Martarano and Andrew Ely. Why? They are from right here in the 208.
It was fun to watch Twitter after the Cubs selected Martarano in the 22nd round – as the draft listed him as from Boise State – who does not have a baseball program. Yes, he is a redshirt freshman linebacker for the Broncos, but after some quick searching, most realized that he was one of two highly sought after players from the Gem State last year (along with current Padres farmhand Mason Smith) and turned down 100K from the Phillies after being drafted in the 12th round.
If Martarano signs, it will be fun to watch his progress – though he hasn’t played since starring for a very good Fruitland High team during his prep days – but made waves during the summer of 2012 competing on the summer baseball circuit. Scouts love his swing (which he showcased at Memorial Stadium last summer in the BSU Charity Softball Game – hitting balls out of the park) and his 6-3 240 pound frame.
Ely, drafted in the 32nd round by the Cubs, is coming off a great season at the University of Washington, helping the Huskies to the Oxford Regional final and earning All Pac-12 honors. He was a four-time All-Southern Idaho Conference pick playing for Frank Wright and the Eagle Mustangs. It will be interesting to see what Ely decides – whether he works out a deal with the Cubs to get his schooling paid for and begins his pro career – or whether he returns to the Montlake to finish his senior year in the brand new facilities at UW.
If they play in Boise, they will join the Pat McIntyre’s, the Jordan Latham’s, the Roger Evenson’s, and the Izaac Garsez’s – local kids in the last decade that play in the shadows of their home town, for their home town team.
One Day 3 arm sticks out to me (and has a stretch to the Treasure Valley) in pitcher Jordan Brink. The 11th round selection out of Fresno State (Mountain West Conference – there’s the stretch) was 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA in his first full-season as a pitcher. Scouts and draft experts see him as an over-slot selection as he could return for his senior year and possibly have his stock rise.
Two infielders whom I feel will join the Hawks this summer will be Alex Tomasovich (20th Round out of Charleston Southern) and Chesny Young (14th Round out of Mercer). Tomasovich hit .361 with 5 homers, 21 doubles, and 44 RBI at CSU, while Young (who hit .403 in 2013) hit .348 with 38 RBI, but had 28 walks and only 14 strikeouts in over 200 plate appearances.
Three outfielders intrigue me – Calvin Graves (27th Round – Franklin Pierce U.), Daniel Spingola (24th Round – Georgia Tech), and Charlie White (21st Round – Maryland). White is the most obvious, since most Cubs fans were watching White’s Maryland teammate, Jake Stinnett throw against Virginia in the NCAA Super Regionals – with the center-fielder stealing the show by going 3-for-5 and make an amazing catch in the first inning to help the Terps win. Heading into the Supers, White was hitting .284 with 13 doubles and 24 stolen bases. Speed is what brings Graves to the table, hitting .319, but stealing 32 bags this spring for the Division II school. And Spingola played for a outstanding Georgia Tech team, earning All-ACC honors after hitting .348 with 38 RBI.
Now comes the waiting period – who signs, when to they report, who gets assigned to Boise – considering the Hawks are less than 72 hours from arriving in the City of Trees.
I will have more on the Day 3 selections by the Cubs later tonight, but here is the complete 40-man 2014 first-year player draft roster of the Cubs, along with complete high school/college statistics for the 40 selections.
Once signed, many of these players will end up as members of the Boise Hawks – with three of the players having Northwest ties – U. of Oregon lefty Tommy Thorpe, U. of Washington (and former Eagle HS) infielder Andrew Ely, and Boise State football player (and former Fruitland High baseball standout) Joey Martarano.
A total of 21 pitchers and 19 position players selected by the Cubs (14 high school – not including Joey Martarano, who hasn’t played in college – 5 junior college players, 21 four-year college players)
The baseball pundits talked extensively for weeks that the Chicago Cubs were going to draft “pitcher heavy” this June – with Friday’s second day of the first-year player extravaganza living up to the bill.
The Cubs opened by selecting a speedy catcher in the third-round, but followed it up with not 1-2-3-4-5-6, but seven straight pitchers, including high school arms in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds.
For fans of the Boise Hawks, Day 2 is an interesting day – since high school arms rarely find their way to the Treasure Valley their first year (2015 could be special on the mound), while the Cubs selecting a catcher in the first and third rounds would suggest one is headed to Boise, one to Kane County. However, three collegiate arms picked in Rounds 7-10, including a legitimate closer, could prove fruitful for the club.
One player in the group has Northwest ties – Oregon lefty Tommy Thorpe – who grew up in Vancouver, Wash., and was an All Pac-12 selection. Depending on his signability, the southpaw may get an opportunity to pitch in his collegiate ballpark if assigned to Boise before the team heads to PK Park to take on the Eugene Emeralds on June 18.
Ryan Williams, a righty out of East Carolina, intrigues me. Williams pitched in 32 games, all in relief for the Pirates, going 11-3 with a 1.81 ERA and seven saves. With the Cubs pitching philosophy (guys not throwing consecutive days), it will be nice if the collegiate closer is assigned to Boise and given a chance to close games every other day (or every third day).
Virginia Tech catcher Mark Zaguris was the first player selected by the Cubs on Day 2 and really seems to be straight out of the Craig Biggio mold (most forget Biggio was a catcher before he moved to the outfield and then to second base). A very good contact hitter with outstanding speed for a backstop – something that Gary Van Tol could utilize if he is assigned to Boise. There are also Twitter reports that Zaguris has already signed a contract (615K – 100K under the 3rd round slot), which could fast-track him to Boise or Kane County.
Two other college players were signed – St. Louis righty James Norwood and Arizona righty James Farris. Norwood throws hard, topping out this season at 98 on the radar gun and could immediately become a fan favorite. Farris had success for the Wildcats and drew the start in the College World Series championship game for UA two years ago.
The high school arms selected have upside – will they be Paul Blackburn or will they be Mark Pawelek? Fourth-round pick Carson Sands has signed at Florida State and has drawn comparisons to Barry Zito; another lefty, Justin Steele has a good fastball and has signed at Southern Miss; with sixth-round pick, Dylan Cease a hard throwing righty that is headed to Vanderbilt, despite having some arm/elbow issues that limited his time on the mound in 2014.
Day 3 typically builds the nucleus of the Boise Hawks team – 30 selections in a six hour window. Look for a complete draft roster and stats by Saturday evening.