B-Jax, Watkins, and Rusin Lead Cubs to Victory at Fitch Park
Brett Jackson reached base three times on a single, a double, and a HBP, scored a run, and knocked in another, Logan Watkins belted a bases-clearing three-run triple to cap a six-run 5th, and Chris Rusin threw six innings of three-hit ball, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 9-6 victory over the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels AAA affiliate) on Field #3, and despite three hits by Rubi Silva and two each by Matt Szczur and Rafael Lopez, five pitchers combined to throw a ten-hit shutout with ten strikeouts, as the Arkansas Travelers (Angels AA affiliate) blanked the Tennessee Smokies 6-0 on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
Getting ready for the PCL season, starting pitcher Chris Rusin was in the I-Cubs lineup and got three ABs, ripping an RBI single through the box in the 4th, and then walking and scoring in the six-run 5th. (Rusin was a DH at the U. of Kentucky on days he wasn't pitching).
"Super-sub" Jonathon Mota played seven innings at 3rd base for Tennessee on Field #2, before moving over to Field #3 and playing two innings at 2nd base for Iowa. It would appear that Mota (who can play any position on the field) might be employed as a player-coach at either Tennessee or Iowa, going on the DL and coaching 1st base when he is not needed (he had TJS in 2012, so the DL excuse will probably be shoulder-related), and then getting reinstated whenever a warm position-player body is needed.
Several players from the Boise/Mesa squad (Extended Spring Training) saw action in the later innings of the two games, including Reggie Golden, Xavier Batista, Trevor Gretzky, Garrett Schlecht, Lance Rymel, and Justin Marra.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
1, Matt Szczur, LF-DH: 2-4 (1B, 6-4 FC, 1B, F-8)
2. Anthony Giansanti, 2B: 0-4 (K, F-8, F-9, 6-3)
3. Rubi Silva, CF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, 2B, 1-3, CS, PO)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-4 (F-7, K, K, K)
5. Christian Villanueva, DH-3B: 0-4 (K, P-3, K, L-8)
6. Rafael Lopez, C: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, K, 2B)
7. Johermyn Chavez, RF: 1-4 (K, F-7, 2B, F-8)
8a. Jonathon Mota, 3B: 0-3 (K, F-7, K)
8b. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-1 (K)
9. Elliot Soto, SS: 2-3 (1B, F-9, 1B)
1. Eric Jokisch: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 87 pitches (60 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
2. A. J. Morris: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Jeff Lorick: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 21 pitches (11 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Ryan Searle: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
TENNESSEE ERRORS: 3
1. C Rafael Lopez - E-2 (errant throw on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed runner at 3rd base to score unearned run)
2. 3B Christian Villanueva - E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
3. 3B Christian Villanueva - E-5 (fielding error allowed unearned run to score)
TENNESSEE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rafael Lopez: 1-3 CS, 1 E (see above)
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
1a. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-3 (BB, 3-U, K, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI)
1b. Jonathon Mota, PH-2B: 1-1 (1B)
2. Brett Jackson, CF: 2-4 (L-8, 1B, 2B, 5-3, HBP, R, RBI)
3. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-5 (K, 1B, 6-3, K, K)
4. Brad Nelson, 1B: 1-3 (2B, F-8 SF, BB, K, K, R, 2 RBI)
5a. Darnell McDonald, LF: 0-1 (F-8, BB)
5b. Trevor Gretzky, PH-LF: 1-2 (2B, BB, K, R, RBI)
6a. Brian Bogusevic, RF: 1-3 (4-3, P-2, 2B, R, RBI)
6b. Garrett Schlecht, PH-DH: 0-1 (K)
6c. Justin Marra, PH: 0-1 (K)
7a. Luis Flores, C: 1-4 (F-7, 2B, F-8, 5-3, R)
7b. Lance Rymel, C: NO AB
8. Tim Torres, SS: 1-3 (3B, 4-3, BB, K, R)
9a. Chris Rusin, P-DH: 1-2 (P-6, 1B, BB, R, RBI)
9b. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-0 (HBP)
1. Chris Rusin: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, 85 pitches (55 strikes), 9/3 GO/FO
2. Esmailin Caridad: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 33 pitches (19 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Rafael Dolis: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 10 pitches (8 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Trey McNutt: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes)
IOWA ERRORS: 3
1. P Chris Rusin - E-1 (throwing error on sacrifice bunt attempt allowed batter to reach 2nd base - eventually scored unearned run)
2. 3B Josh Vitters - E-5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. P Rafael Dolis - E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed baserunner to advance to 2nd)
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy & breezy with temperatures in the 80's
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!